A world on the brink of collapse into chaos watches as the one great hope for peace falls apart in front of them. One young woman tries to stop it and is rewarded with being sent off to serve a man known as the lustful Earl for her efforts. But Siluca Meletes is nothing if not determined, and when she meets Theo, the mysterious young man with a genuine heart and great promise of power, she sees the perfect tool. Together, they work to change the world.

The fate of the world is at stake, but there might be corruption at the highest levels of power, and there are plenty of people in the bottom of the barrel willing to take advantage of the chaos. While the premise of Record of Grancrest War certainly sounds grand, the story does not stand out a lot in a field pretty crowded with fantasy manga options right now, particularly as many of these have a more unusual take on the genre. The one feature of Grancrest War that is unusual is its magic system, which involves crests as well as more standard magic. The Grancrest of the title is in fact a crest within the story, meant to bring peace, as mentioned earlier. It’s not clear where the crests originate, but generally, the only way someone becomes a crest-holder is by having a crest transferred from one person to another. As a person gains social rank through more people swearing fealty, the crest becomes more powerful and visually more complex. People who can use crests are called Lords, and as far as the first two volumes show, are only men. Those who don’t use crests but wield magic in the more traditional sense are called mages, and have been seen to be men and women.

In general, this is pretty run-of-the-mill epic fantasy. There are some pretty serious plot holes in vol. 2 that I don’t think are due to translation issues; there are just gaps in the story that force the plot to go in a certain direction it otherwise wouldn’t go. Also, the second volume is almost entirely focused on one battle, so that doesn’t bode well for how quickly the plot will move in future volumes.

This is definitely a manga rated adult for a reason. There is a fair amount of fanservice and partial or full nudity, as well as some seriously bloody panels and occasional gore. A few panels in Grancrest War wink at the reader, acknowledging that it knows this is fanservice and ridiculous, but it doesn’t change the fact that it happens quite frequently. The art is one of the best components of this series, because it’s incredibly consistent, detailed, and expressive. It transitions well between cute or joke scenes drawn in a thicker lined and simpler style and its usual level of detail. Ironically, when the story gets bloody or gory is when the art is at its weakest, so I’m thankful those scenes only happen periodically.

As a whole, Grancrest War isn’t a bad or poorly made series, in art or story. It’s just not remarkable, which, to be fair, is getting harder in a glutted field of offerings. I don’t know exactly how it connects to Record of Lodoss War, as I have never read it, but that series is now so old I’m not sure how many people still remember it or care about a continuation. However, it’s less over-the-top with the sex and/or violence than some other adult fantasy manga offerings, so if you want something a bit milder but still for the adult section of your library, consider picking up Record of Grancrest War.

Record of Grancrest War, vols. 1-2
By Makoto Yotsuba
vol 1 ISBN: 9781974701889
vol 2 ISBN: 9781974701896
VIZ Media, 2018
Publisher Age Rating: Mature

  • Shannan

    | She/They Teen Services Librarian, San Antonio Public Library

    Features Writer

    Shannan waffled between English professor and librarian as career choices for all of college; eventually librarian won. She is a Teen Services Librarian with the San Antonio Public Library. When not running TTPRG games for their teens or teaching them how to bake, she's doing what she can to promote comics to anyone who will listen. At home they're likely deep in the middle of their latest cosplay project or watching B movies with her husband, while generally pushing the cats out of the way.

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