A failed assassination attempt in Seirei Gensouki.
There was a brief moment during episode 4 of Seirei Gensouki where I actually wondered if this anime was based on a game. Largely because the sequence where Rio is buying pasta and meeting the cute girls who are running the merchant guild felt so unnecessary outside of having those girls appear in the story. It was almost like they were some kind of fan-favourite character and so given precious minutes of an episode despite serving pretty much zero purpose.
Realistically, Rio could have tried the pasta at the stall, gone to the merchant guild and then we could have transitioned out of the city without any of the intervening sequences inside the merchant guild. It seemed like a bizarre little aside that brought an otherwise pretty fun episode to a standstill until things got moving again.
However, outside of that complaint, Seirei Gensouki continues to be decently entertaining and with a fight sequence, some great scene changes, and Rio realising Haruto isn’t the only person transported from another world, there was a lot to enjoy about this fourth instalment.
Our animal eared assassin girl, who appeared at the end of episode 3, makes her assault as Rio ventures fourth into the wilderness. Given he’s the protagonist not only is he undefeated by her despite her using a poison dart up-front in the battle, he then naturally frees her from her slave collar and despite coldly sending her on her way ends up being called her onii-chan and followed into the wilderness.
Anime. Where assassin girls become younger sister type characters and never try to kill you again.
I will say the fight sequence Seirei Gensouki offered up this week between Rio and Latifa was one of the more energetic and interesting fights so far. Latifa attempted utilising the terrain to stay out of Rio’s range and she was pretty fast and zippy.
Too bad for her that Rio is most definitely protected by protagonist plot armour.
He instantly neutralises the poison making it more or less a non-plot point and then proceeds to analyse her attacks and pretty much disarm her and slam her into the ground.
Though just in case we weren’t feeling sorry enough for Latifa we then get an angsty flashback of the young girl from the initial bus accident waking up and realising she was now a slave animal girl and being tortured in the guise of ‘training’. The flashback sequence is pretty brutal and at least makes it clear that she had no actual allegiance to the people who sent her to kill Rio, though I’m not entirely convinced it needed to be spelled out so explicitly.
Once again I’m left wondering if Seirei Gensouki gets subtlety given the way they dealt with class discrimination was pretty blunt and now rather than imply the trauma of a young girl being enslaved and sent out as an assassin we have to have it played out for us.
It doesn’t prevent Seirei Gensouki being enjoyable but it does stop it from being elevated beyond an interesting watch to something that is actually memorable or even a must watch. Which is a bit of a shame because for an isekai story it is so far doing a pretty decent job in establishing its own identity and feeling quite refreshing for the genre and at the very least it won’t be joining my list of bland isekai that don’t put in any effort. I just kind of wish it was more nuanced.
The final stages of the episode are more or less a travel montage with Rio and Latifa crossing various terrains and somehow never looking dirtier or more dishevelled despite the seeming miles they must have crossed given we have forests, volcanic regions and at one point what looked like frozen tundra (not entirely sure they really thought about how these different landscapes fit together).
It’s pretty and all but the after credits sequence leaves us with another cliff-hanger after they set up camp in a forest with a giant tree in it.
All and all, this is a pretty solid next episode for a series that has been decently entertaining this season and I kind of wonder what is coming next.
Images from: Seirei Gensouki. Dir. O Yamasaki. TMS Entertainment. 2021
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