The Realist Hero hesitates?
Episode 3 of How A Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom ended with a bit of a cliff-hanger with the wolf-girl whispering something in Souma’s ear. Well episode 3, after a totally unnecessary opening monologue (something which is becoming the standard opening for this series) we continue from exactly that point.
Turns out Tomoe, our wolf-girl, isn’t just able to talk to animals, she can also talk to demons.
Which when you have a force threatening all the kingdoms that can’t be communicated with the ramifications of being able to open a conversation are actually pretty huge and fortunately Souma realises that.
What follows is a tense discussion around the fact that for now they are just sitting on this information and not going to act on it, which kind of makes sense, as well as a series of solutions for protecting Tomoe. Throw in some uncomfortable comments about potentially Tomoe (who is ten) becoming Souma’s concubine and you have a scene where all the tension of the moment is just kind of leached away.
And then we transition.
Every isekai protagonist knows soy sauce is worth crying over.
The second half of this episode of Realist Hero episode switches the focus to Poncho who, on orders of Souma, has headed off and gathered up a variety of ingredients that are pretty easily found but not often used as food in the kingdom. Which is actually a relatively effective way of dealing with a food shortage however instead of just telling people they could eat it we end up with the main cast hosting a cooking show via magic crystal.
It’s all a little bit silly though I will admit I was pretty hungry after watching their antics.
Naturally, one of the ingredients Poncho has acquired is soy sauce and Souma actually cries as he bites into a bug that’s been soaked in it. While I get the appeal of soy sauce (and have a pantry full of various varieties to use in cooking) I’m not entirely sure the acting king breaking down in tears was exactly the tone Souma was looking for here.
But you know, the weirdest thing was they ended on a cliff-hanger. Nothing to do with the demons or any of the potential political intrigue that came up earlier of course. Instead, it was the next dish to be revealed for tasting.
When did this become a reality cooking show?
I kind of feel like Realist Hero wants to have its cake and eat it too. It wants to claim it is looking at realistic ways to rebuild a kingdom complete with economic factoids tossed in to offer some credibility, but it also wants to be a comedy, slice-of-life, harem isekai story because those sell better.
The end result is a little bit unfocused and this episode really highlights the discrepancies in tone as we bounce from serious political discussion to lame jokes about concubines before transitioning to a youtube food channel.
Admittedly, none of that takes away from the fact that it is a pretty sensible solution to a food shortage – find alternative food sources.
I do have to wonder though if we’re going to get back to the whole issue with the demons, relationships between nations, or more substantial issues or if Realist Hero really does just want to play about. Equally, after Hakuya made such a strong impression in episode 3, this episode outside of the opening scene he does not appear. At all. Even the singer and the warrior from last week turn up as part of the cooking show antics this week so I can’t help but wonder why he was completely excluded (other than not being a cute female character).
Anyway, Realist Hero remains strictly mediocre in pretty much every regard. There’s fun to be had in watching but not enough to really recommend this title in a season where there are plenty of other anime to watch.
Images from: How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom. Dir. T Watanabe. J.C.Staff. 2021
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