Record of Grancrest War Ep. 13: Where side maidens go to die

Theo finally returns to his roots in hopes of liberating his homeland, but he and Siluca seem ill-prepared for the resistance they’re about to encounter. 

— To be honest, I’m a little shocked that Theo didn’t bring any troops with him. Granted, it would’ve been difficult to quietly return home with an army in tow, but he’s trying to liberate his people. You sort of need numbers for that.

— Still, we finally get to see some old faces. I had almost forgotten that these characters existed.

— We are also reminded that demons still exist in this world. These spiders only make a very brief appearance, though.

— So what’s Siluca’s grand plan? Theo will go to the largest city in Sistina (I think) and boldly announce his intentions to depose Rossini. Naturally, the big, bad baddie will most assuredly send his armies after Theo in response, but our heroes are confident in their abilities to elude capture. How? Shrug. They do have a ninja on their side. Siluca is more interested in having news of Theo’s arrival spread like wildfire. It sounds foolish to me, but hey, what do I know?

— Siluca also hopes that the peasantry will rise up and help Theo overthrow Rossini. Now this is a little more difficult to swallow. Rossini presumably has well-trained and well-equipped soldiers in his corner. Do you really think that the impoverished and downtrodden peasantry, armed with nothing more than farming equipment and the ragged pieces of cloth on their backs, can really mount much of a resistance? I understand having the people on your side, but you kinda also need an army. But I’m not a lord, so again, what do I know?

— Oh hey, another familiar face! Remember her? She was that black witch they fought against in that strange episode about vampires and werewolves! Naturally, she’s aligned with the Rossinis as well.

— I never knew one spilled glass of wine could make such a mess.

— After announcing his arrival, Theo quickly high-tails it out of a restaurant. Why? ‘Cause the Rossinis have the special ability to make people disregard any sort of human decency. Amazing.

— The patriarch later allows Salvador, one of his sons, to hunt Theo down, but that’s just signing the kid’s death certificate. You just know that he’ll die to Theo, and this will make Rossini super duper mad.

— Hm, these two things don’t seem to go hand-in-hand.

Theo and Siluca quickly discover that the peasantry aren’t exactly thrilled to join their cause. After all, they’re scared. They’re farmers, not warriors. Most of all, they’ve known nothing but cruelty at the hands of Rossini. So when some upstart young lord shows up on their island without an armyof course they’re not leaping at the chance to join a rebellion! If the rebellion fails, who’s going to suffer even more? The peasantry, of course. Seriously, what did Siluca think was going to happen?

— Elsewhere, Salvador stands before a tiny army. He thinks he only needs 200 men to capture Theo. Ah, so that’s how this is gonna go… the bad guys’ arrogance will lead the peasantry to believe that they do have a chance to win.

— For some reason, the show’s creators deem it necessary for me to see Rossini’s son grab the black witch’s ass.

— Anyways, Siluca suggests that perhaps they should try to appeal to Theo’s village. Our hero’s mood suddenly turns dark, and this fools me into thinking that we’re going to get a good backstory… but not really. You’ll see in a bit.

— Right before Theo and his friends reach his village, we bump into this girl marveling over a fancy piece of jewelry. Obviously, she got it from the bad guys. What would a simple country girl be doing with something so expensive? Looks like someone’s about to sell Theo out.

— We get a flashback in which the girl — her name’s Rebecca — had implored Theo not to leave the island. Apparently, the village did his father something dirty. On the other hand, this girl was clearly his childhood friend and maybe even his first love.

— Predictably enough, Theo’s village isn’t very enthusiastic about going to war against the Rossinis either. Off to the side, Rebecca fills Siluca in on Theo’s father’s tragic death. The old man had built a secret grain storage to help feed the village, but someone sold him out anyways.

— And now, Rebecca’s going to sell Theo out. She asks him to go visit his father’s grave, which is obviously a trap. Theo knows it too, so he tells his team that he’ll go by himself. But why? Does he intend to die? I don’t get it.

— Rebecca seems to resent Theo for the fact that he left. But by everyone’s admission, Sistina is a shithole unless you’re part of the 1%. So if she cared so much about him, why would she want him to stay? Her feelings aren’t uncommon, though. I get the impression that this sort of crab mentality exists throughout many small, dying communities. Everyone thinks it’s some sort of betrayal to leave and find success elsewhere.

— Theo had already guessed Rebecca’s intentions, but he’s such a saint that he holds her no ill will. He even tells her to return to the village and warn them to escape. After all, even if the Rossinis manage to capture him, they’ll probably still retaliate against the village. See, I initially thought Theo had left Siluca behind so that his mage could try once more to convince the village to pick up arms. But no, he wanted them to run away, so he clearly intended to fight against an army by himself. Not only that, Theo has no clue how many troops he’s up against. We know that the bad guys only number 200, but Theo doesn’t know that. So what is this foolhardy plan of his? Why has he come all this way just to risk it all?

— Theo eventually finds himself staring down a barrage of arrows. I thought that maybe the guy had been training real hard lately, and we’d finally see him take on an entire army by himself. After all, the start of the series claimed that those who wield Crests could take on hundreds of men by themselves. But not Theo. Hell, I’m not so sure he would’ve survived this encounter on his own.

— Luckily for him, however, Siluca had sent Irvin up ahead to protect him. God, this guy is so fucking lucky he has Siluca on his side. She should be the hero of the story.

— Anyways, Rebecca doesn’t tell the villagers to run. Instead, she convinces them to help Theo. As a result, we see a ragtag group of peasants come marching over a hill with pans and soup ladles as weapons. Man oh man… this is supposed to be inspiring, but I’m just incredulous. Not only that, Theo’s victories often rely on nothing but luck. What if his village had not shown up? Then what? Does he even have a Plan B?

— Man, not only did Theo not bring an army with him, he didn’t even bring his sword! He’s going into battle with an incredibly short-ranged axe!

— In the end, however, the axe snaps Salvador’s sword in half, so he tries to run away. Somehow — just somehow — Rebecca is not fighting with the rest of the peasants in the back. Instead, she comes out of nowhere and grabs onto Salvador, thereby preventing the evil bastard from making his escape. The guy retaliates by pulling out a dagger and stabbing the girl. This enrages Theo, so he catches up to Salvador and lands the killing blow.

— But the damage is done. Rebecca apologizes in Theo’s arms then quickly passes away. Priscilla doesn’t even get the chance to try and heal the girl’s wounds. Whatever love Rebecca might have had for Theo, it was never meant to be. She’s a side character who merely serves as one of the hero’s stepping stones towards greatness. This happens all the time in these stories. Girls are sacrificed merely to steel the protagonist’s resolve.

— Siluca even adds that the battle may as well have been lost had Salvador managed to escape, but why? Not only would they have repelled an army — albeit a small one — they also managed to sway Theo’s village to join their cause. I’m not at all convinced that Rebecca had to die. Rather, it feels like the story wanted a tragedy for tragedy’s sake, so we had to kill her off.

— Anyways, next week’s episode is titled “The Liberator of Sistina,” so the anime might return to its breakneck speed. We’ll see, though.

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