Title: Record of Grancrest War Vol. 4
Author: Ryo Mizuno (Story), Makoto Yotsuba (Story/Art), Miyuu (Character Art)
Publisher: VIZ Media
Genre: Fantasy, Battle
Publication Date: August 13, 2019
Volume four of Record of Grancrest War is all action as the soldiers of Waldlind and King Sievis look to lay siege to Theo’s castle. From beginning to end, the volume was filled with action and some surprising turns during said battles… one of which I kind of scoffed at which I will get to in my final thoughts. Even though there was a lot of action, there was some meaningful dialogue in terms of strategy and the emotions of our characters during the battle. In addition, we ended up getting some nice backstory between Siluca and Aishela.
Of course, the end of the volume came with a typical turn in the battle but no real conclusion. It’s a classic hook to get you into the next volume but the situation that it set up was a bit predictable.
I usually like to go into details with the story but since this was mainly an action-packed volume, I’m being vague to try and not spoil some of the big turning points and moments in that battle. I will say that Waldlind’s soldiers seem like the real deal and a joke at the same time. There are points where they were easily dealt with, despite their heavy armor and crests, and then there were moments where they were feared and seemed like nobody could defeat them. It was a weird tipping of the scales which either speaks to the power level of one particular character or to the story writer who doesn’t have the concept of keeping power levels consistent. I’m leaning towards flaunting the power level of a character but it just seemed a bit odd to see one person dominate the toughest soldiers in the land, yet, a combined army can’t do much against them.
As aforementioned, we received some backstory on how Aishela and Siluca met. They were both taken into the same academy in order to hone their skills at controlling chaos. At first, Aishela didn’t like Siluca and felt she was there to steal “father” away from her. She brings Siluca out to the forest only to berate her when, suddenly, she is entrapped by living vines. On the verge of death, Siluca rescues her and makes Aishela see her in an entirely new light. Since then, the two of them consider each other as sisters, despite not being blood-related.
We also received a little development with Marrine. The Lords have their own agenda and feel that Marrine cannot see the big picture. Her goal is to become the first emperor by united all the lands under The Alliance but nobody seems to take her seriously. We see how these opinions really affect her but how she can also keep herself composed despite the feelings of those in The Alliance.
Overall, I felt the action was great and I enjoyed the backstories told and the emotions of our characters. What I didn’t like was the predictability of some of the plot points in the volume. The way the manga ended was your typical “But wait!!” moment which should serve as a cliffhanger but if you’ve seen this plot device used before, you simply sigh. It just seems like a way to get your cast of characters out of peril by providing an artificial solution. I think the ending would have worked better if they had built up the dialogue to support it more.
The plot point I eluded to earlier lies in the way death is treated. I won’t say which character but a character ends up dying during the battle but through a plot device, ends up surviving. The book did a great job of building up the emotion of this character’s death and it got the reader invested and engaged with said character. Then, in what felt like an asspull… not once, but TWICE, this character ends up surviving.
I get that the intended emotion is to bring a sigh of relief to the reader; however, the way it was handled was a poor attempt at misdirection. If you’re going to have a character survive… then have them survive. Don’t do this elaborate storytelling, wasting almost an entire chapter, have them die only to pull a Deus Ex Machina plot device. That character should have stayed dead for a deeper impact on the overall story but that wasn’t the case. If just felt like a complete waste of time and wasted build-up. With how good this series was up to this point, I expected better out of it.
That and the predictability were my only gripes with volume four. The rest was pretty solid even if I’m a bit deflated going into Volume 5.
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This item was purchased for review