Title: Record of Grancrest War Vol. 1
Author: Ryo Mizuno (Story), Makoto Yotsuba (Story/Art), Miyuu (Character Art)
Publisher: VIZ Media
Genre: Fantasy, Battle
Publication Date: November 13, 2018
The world has been divided into the Alliance and the Union. Both factions have battled for complete control of the land; however, two lords bearing crests have agreed that after an arranged marriage and the first-born heir arrives, that they would merge their crests together to form the Grancrest, ending all war and bringing peace among the land.
During a meeting between the two lords, a mage by the name of Siluca attempted to save them from gathering chaos energy which manifested into a Demon Lord. She was withheld under the assumption that she was trying to disrupt the activities. The Demon Lord converged and killed both of the Lords, bearing the crests. The world, once again, fell into turmoil as both factions sought total control.
Siluca was to be sent to the Union in order to become contracted with a sleazy Lord. The man who held her back, Irvin, felt responsible for all that had happened and stated that he would accompany her for no cost/reward. Along the way, their carriage is attacked by a group of men under the orders of Lord Mest, a tyrant lord. Lord Mest had branded her as a traitor; however, she was saved by a Squire by the name of Theo who bore a crest. Theo was on a mission to save the people of his hometown from Chaos and ends up being forced into a contract with Siluca.
Together, along with Irvin, they stormed Lord Mest’s castle and forced him to surrender. His mage, Saturnus, declared his allegiance to Lord Theo and thus, a new age was born in the small country. News of Mest’s defeat traveled fast and Siluca knew it was only a matter of time before they would be attacked. Siluca had Irvin, who was an artist and highly skilled in battle, on her side but they needed more help. She summoned Balgyary, the next King of the Cait Sith to run an errand for her… to go find her old friend Aishela, who is also an artist. Balyary was reluctant to do so but he went because he owed Siluca a favor. The volume ends with Aishela making her appearance right as Lord Lassic David’s army drew closer.
The first volume of Record of Grancrast War did everything right! It established a world, its lore, and its primary cast of characters. It didn’t waste any time getting us absorbed into the story and even started building its characters from the start. The only complaint I had about it was I felt that the cast was assembled a little TOO quickly as I felt they could have slow burned Lassic’s invasion a little more while ending the volume on giving us a bit of a preview of Aishela. Still, we got a great feel for all of the characters and the type of setting that we’re dealing with here. Even though the world reverted after the Demon Lord was summoned, we now know what the end goal was. Teasing the end goal happening within the first chapter and taking it away is a nice move because it gives the reader an idea of the overall goal of the story and what it will look like all while setting us off on a journey to obtain it.
First off, we have our star attraction, Siluca. She is a mage and a tsundere through and through. Although Theo is the Lord here, Siluca is the one pulling all of the strings. She’s extremely brash and straightforward and they make zero effort in hiding the fact that she knows more than she shows. Her sense of battle, her strategy/planning, the friends she has made, all of which add a ton of mystery to her as a character. It raises many questions about how she came to know all of these people, how she became so battle savvy, and just what her actual goals are. She doesn’t really seem like a trustworthy person right off the bat as she throws a ton of pressure on Theo in order to get her own way. It makes you question her true motives and still, at the end of the first volume, you don’t know what those true motives really are.
She’s the sole driving factor of this story. Everything that’s happening is being created, controlled, and manipulated by Siluca and that makes the rest of the cast feel like they’re just along for the ride. I will reserve judgment because this is only the first volume of the series but I have a feeling that she is the type of character that will mature over time and the more we get to understand her, the more the rest of the characters will begin to fall into place and into their own roles outside of being her forced followers.
Theo is about as naïve as they come. He has a noble goal of saving his village but he has no idea about the ranking system when it comes to ruling a village or country, his battle skills are sub-par at best, and he’s too kind of his own good. He’s the type of Lord that wants to make friends with everyone and show them what a kind and gentle spirit he is. He has no idea how to run a village or a country and is heavily relying on Siluca to handle all of that for him, despite the fact that he’s resisting her methods every step of the way quite simply because he just doesn’t understand what’s going on.
One thing Theo IS good at is blocking attacks. He was able to successfully block all of Irvin’s attacks during their practice sessions which made Irvin believe that he may be better with a shield rather than a sword. I guess that’s one redeeming quality about Theo! Outside of that, there really isn’t much to him. He’s just a typical naïve character that’s going to get pulled along for the ride no matter what. I hope that changes over time but, typically, these kinds of characters change all that much.
Speaking of Irvin, he is an artist which means he is revered as a highly-skilled fighter. He took full responsibility for the deaths of the two Lords at the beginning of the series, realizing that he if hadn’t stopped Siluca, that they may still be alive. He is noble enough to atone for his mistake by enlisting himself in Siluca’s service without compensation. He often keeps his opinions to himself and only offers sound advice when the situation arises. He’s the perfect example of a loyal-type character and I can see good things coming from him. Also, characters like him make great cannon fodder so I wouldn’t be shocked if we already have some death flags raised for him… or I’m just evil to think that! You be the judge!
Balgyary is a fun character. He is a talking cat and the next King of the Cait Sith. Apparently, he and Siluca have a history together as the two of them are entered into a contract. While Balgyary talks in a way where he commands respect, he’s still a cat and melts in human’s hands. Even though he likes to talk a big game from time to time, he gets treated with the utmost disrespect and it’s hilarious to watch! As an example, when he went to summon Aishela for Siluca, Aishela threw him in a cage and rode on a horse at top speed, giving him a severe case of motion sickness! His pleas to slow down were ignored and he was a complete and total mess when they got back! I hope we get to see a lot more of this character because he’s going to be a great comedic relief!
Finally, we have Aishela herself. I’ve you’ve seen this character-type before, you’re not missing much here. A wild attitude, no shame whatsoever, greets Siluca by stripping down to her skimpiest clothes, groping Siluca’s breasts to see if they’ve grown, spits a mean fire when she talks, loud, obnoxious… I could go on but you get the point. Despite all of these things about her personality, she has high confidence in her combat skills and since she’s an artist, it already means she knows her way around a battlefield. The only thing missing from this character is her love of alcohol. There’s always a volume two to help establish that. Just saying….
I felt this was a great start to this series and I highly enjoyed it! The characters leaped off the pages and all stood out in their own unique ways. Siluca seems a bit bully-ish in the beginning but I’m sure that’s going to smooth out over time. They’ve done a great job generating a ton of interest around her and the supporting cast is handled extremely well to prop up Siluca as a character as well as move the story forward.
While the pacing of the first volume was a little too quick for my tastes, it still was able to handle jamming a ton of information into 160+ pages and not make the reader feel lost or confused. Everything was laid out plainly and was simple to understand. We learned about the hierarchy of ranks, how crests grow in power, how you can even obtain a crest without being a Lord, the conflict of the world, its different factions, how people view those factions, etc. A good series will build a world, its characters, and establish its lore within the first volume and Record of Grancrest War did exactly that!
I also love tales of swords and magic so the fantasy setting fits the story perfectly! It reminds me a bit of Hiromu Arakawa’s Arslan Senki series but a little bit more on the fantasy side of things. I have a feeling I’m going to enjoy this series a lot and recommend that you check it out of these kinds of stories are your thing!
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This item was provided for review by Viz Media