PopLurker would like to thank Viz Media for providing us with a review copy of Record of Grancrest War Volume One.
In the next line of manga released after the debut of its anime counterpart comes Record of Grancrest War, a fantasy adventure created by the writer of the loved and famed series Record of Lodoss War.
I remember Lodoss War from the mid-to-late 90s and it was a series I wished I had seen more of. I remember the OAV airing on the Sci-Fi channel in 1999, knew the elf’s name was Deedlit (and that her design was stunning), and that actress Niiyama Shiho (best known for her remarkable work as Sailor Star Fighter/Seiya Kou in the final season of Sailor Moon, who unfortunately passed away from leukemia in 2002) voiced Deedlit in one of the television versions.
So when word around the playground was that a spinoff, or sequel, or alternate universe, or cash grab, or something-something that took advantage of the Record of XYZ War naming convention was coming around, it was intriguing! That said, how does this story stack up?
From the back of the book:
In a world where the noble elite are supposed to fend off the threat of terrifying Chaos but instead engage in pointless, petty squabbles, young mage Siluca Meletes dreams of bringing justice to the land.
When tragedy strikes during a wedding that would bring together the Fantasia Union and the Factory Alliance, Siluca finds herself with no choice but to forge a new future for the world. With the aid of Theo, a knight errant with great potential, she will go against the world’s order to achieve peace through the magical power of crests. And as Theo soon finds out, her methods are more than a little unorthodox!
Welp, we have a premise.
This manga is rather thin, and the information is presented in a fashion that’s called an ‘info dump’ in the narrative of plot and structure. While I appreciate that the story opens right into the action (almost immediately introducing Chaos and the death of two nobles during the wedding that spirals the conflict into action), I feel that a little more world building and coaxing would have immersed me a little more. I also can’t help but wonder if I’m supposed to have known Lodoss War better, or if this universe stands on its own. Because if this is a world I’m supposed to be acquainted with already, then I can totally get behind already knowing the rules of this world.
The artwork and action are incredible, and that’s really where this story shines. It has a late-90s sensibility that really appeals to me. Now, I’m not sure how much of the original Lodoss War novella or manga Ryo Mizuno actually wrote (they’re not the author or artist here), but some of those expired sensibilities snuck their way into this book, such as homosexuality as a punchline.
What do I mean by that? Well, hear me out.
The rating on this book is Explicit. That is a word with some weight. Explicit. So, what do we have in here that’s so explicit? Is it super violent? Massively bloody? A horrifying rape scene where a town of poor villagers is infiltrated and someone is sacrificed at the hands of a cruel and demented lord?!?!
Nah– just some boobie groping. And it’s a gag-joke to show that Siluca’s boobs haven’t grown in the last few years.
Snore. Go ahead and lick the boobs or something. Then we can have the explicit conversation, Viz.
Otherwise, Record of Grancrest War is a familiar story. We have an unlikely hero. A bossy, albeit cranky magical pixie dream girl (mage) who will turn his life around. And clashing of lords who will ultimately casue some sort of war. Oh, and a hot babe warrior with her tits out who we know is going to cause all the trouble.
Is the world here cool? Yeah, sure. It works. But does it revolutionize its genre? Not at all.
I give Record of Grancrest War Vol. One 3.5/5 stars.
Loryn is getting Gran…d…on Twitter.