He might be a Realist Hero but that doesn’t mean others see him that way.
I don’t have a huge amount to say about Realist Hero this week largely because the events in this episode feel like a necessary plot development, building on prior warnings of internal strife as well as guiding us toward what might feel like a climax to the season depending on how it plays out.
I could be wrong. Maybe Souma will simply resolve the issue with the dukes in the next episode and call it a day.
Before I get more on to plot, I’d like to point out that the glaring continuity error early in this episode kind of distracted me from some of the earlier moments so maybe a few points went past me. We see Souma struggling to fall asleep surrounded by papers and, notably, a large pile of books on the bed. However, after a line of dialogue we see him lie down on his pillow and the books have all vanished.
It just felt so bizarre and unnecessary an error given they could have just had Souma reading the papers as the books served no purpose in the scene whatsoever other than showing us that our Realist Hero is in fact a studious person taking his responsibilities seriously. Something that the very presence of all the documents already established. Anyway, it bugged me.
Equally buggy is how little time the Dukes are given to really establish motivation for defying the new king. The lion guy does indicate at first that he’s upset that the Realist Hero Souma has no connection to their past or traditions and therefore has no problem throwing them away, and this potentially could be a valid reason for defiance after discussions break down.
Yet, there’s really been no discussion as none of the dukes were willing to engage in correspondence with Souma from the get-go.
However, even if I view this in the most charitable light possible, when Souma is asking for a reason, he goes on some mindless and empty rant about it being his way of life or the way of a warrior. Part of me wonders if this guy is senile. His motive is unclear and his actions obviously leave his own people in harm’s way with many outside threats just waiting the mess this whole internal conflict is going to cause.
Despite all these criticisms, I’m actually kind of happy about how Souma is depicted throughout this episode. If asked a few weeks ago I would have said that Souma was going to pretty much do whatever to avoid war and the plot would probably let him talk his way out of his problems. Instead, because the duke is such a hard-headed fool, Souma is going to have to take drastic action and he doesn’t really hesitate to make the necessary decision this week.
All things considered, it would be nice to see Realist Hero end on a high note. The conflict with the dukedoms gives that option as does the potential issue with the external threats. What the story really does need though is some credible thought processes going on in some of the antagonists otherwise Souma’s victory is going to feel a little lacking.
There was a brief moment of hope in one of the neighbouring kingdoms when one of the aids tried to appeal against war however he was pretty much beaten down. I’m almost sure he and the princess are going to end up working for Souma when their talents are being so heinously overlooked in their own kingdom.
But that pretty much leaves all of the enemies our Realist Hero is currently facing off against with fairly irrational decision making and while they might have more troops I somehow doubt they are going to pose all that much of a threat. I guess we’ll find out.
Images from: How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom. Dir. T Watanabe. J.C.Staff. 2021
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