If I have one criticism of Seirei Gensouki it would be the antagonists so far.
My episode one impressions of Seirei Gensouki were that the introduction was a little messy with lots of concepts kind of being thrown at us. Episode two doesn’t really have that issue despite there being a five year time skip in the story largely because we have the fairly tried trope of sending the main character to a school and so sketching in a few details and then leaping forward is pretty much good enough.
I will say though that Rio cleans up very nicely between episode 1 and 2.
However, the commoner going to a school full of nobles leads to the introduction of a character who seems to exist only to be antagonistic. He isn’t clever or interesting and his attempts to reduce Rio’s credit largely make cause the audience to view him as utterly ridiculous. I’m kind of hoping Seirei Gensouki has larger and more interesting villains along the way because this guy was kind of like an annoying fly just waiting to be swatted.
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Equally, the return of the knight who tortured Rio in episode one for an exhibition match added little other than a character we’d rather not spend time with. Fortunately it seems his foolishness is a deliberate character trait as it is quite clear he’s being manipulated from behind. There’s some actual potential for a greater threat to Rio to be looming and that makes me optimistic for the future.
The sword fighting was neither particularly compelling nor was it terrible. They didn’t exactly have amazing animation quality but Seirei Gensouki did give us a good sense of movement.
I wonder what the actual outcome would be of Rio’s traditional Japanese style swordsmanship against a broad-sword and shield though I assume Seirei Gensouki is going to tell us that Rio will win regardless.
What the school focus does allow is a chance for Rio to gain some necessary skills for later in the story, learn a few points about the world and one or two other characters, and for the narrative to really settle.
Even with the time skip this episode felt very coherent and more or less prepared us for whatever Rio’s next steps will be. And let’s be clear, despite Rio’s pretty compliant and calm demeaner, I find him intriguing. He’s still wrestling with the memories of Amakawa Haruto as well as considering his own future. It will be interesting to see where his character development goes as it is clear from the sword fighting sequences that Haruto’s memories are still well and truly alive.
This episode of Seirei Gensouki also sees Rio developing a fairly solid relationship with Claire, the young teacher of the class. What is it with anime and having children as teacher’s? Even if a student had skipped all those grades would you really put someone as emotionally undeveloped in charge of a class?
According to anime, yes.
Anyway, the friendship that grew here was actually really sweet and I kind of hope that Claire doesn’t get shuffled out of the narrative to fit in the copious other girls who appear in the opening credits.
Really, so far Seirei Gensouki hasn’t been amazing but I’m intrigued and it seems to be setting up the kind of story I’ll happily watch even if I mock bits and pieces of it along the way. So as long as it keeps me curious and wanting to know what happens next I’ll probably stay on board.
Images from: Seirei Gensouki. Dir. O Yamasaki. TMS Entertainment. 2021
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