Seirei Gensouki has an ongoing problem in that so far not one of the episode antagonists has felt like a particularly compelling threat for protagonist Rio and they are written so terribly you just can’t take them seriously as a character. Whether it was the school bully teasing Rio for his magical ability, the knight who tortured Rio and then tried to beat him in a sword tournament or this week’s visitor to the village, they lack subtlety or even brain cells and honestly it isn’t particularly satisfying watching Rio beat them down.
While the wyvern fight from last week was over amazingly quick, at least a natural disaster threat set up by the somewhat more credible villain (who we know nothing about) felt like it was worth Rio’s time. The guy this week is more like an annoying fly at a picnic who just needs to be swatted before he ruins the cake.
Seirei Gensouki villains so far haven’t really measured up.
Weak antagonists are fine in your usual school drama because normal people do struggle overcoming these petty kind of annoyances, particularly when they become persistent. But when you have a fantasy series with a protagonist who seems perfect at everything from spirit magic to hunting to cooking to being polite to sword fighting and so on you kind of need some kind of threat that at least measures up. Seirei Gensouki has really yet to deliver on that front.
If we assume there isn’t supposed to be an actual confrontation and we’re meant to just enjoy Rio hanging out with the girls in every town or village he comes to, then it kind of works, but why keep throwing in antagonists at all then? Why not just let Rio make bath-houses and train shirtless with his sword while the girls watch approvingly, even though they turn away while he puts his shirt on (yeah, no logic on that one).
But outside of this complaint, I continue to enjoy Seirei Gensouki.
This week, Rio finally arrives in the Yagumo region that he had promised to visit with his mother. He reunites with family though there’s some secret here (and I’m betting he’s going to find out he’s actually nobility of some sort because foreshadowing here is about as subtle as a brick to the face). Then the episode plays out much the same way as when he arrived in the forest village as the girls all kind of swoon and he engages in a range of activities and everyone kind of loves him.
The only real difference being that some of the boys in the village are obviously jealous of the fact that he’s literally good at everything.
Still, there’s a nice contrast in Rio’s personality in this episode of Seirei Gensouki as we start with him being the polite visitor and pious son visiting his parent’s grave.
However, after taking down the bully we see an infuriated and blood soaked Rio who needs to be talked down before he beats the guy to death. This blood splattered Rio is a little dangerous looking and its hard to tell if this is the real Rio when he lets his control slip or whether this was just a momentary lapse. More interesting is that it doesn’t seem like Rio really knows either.
All things considered though, it will be interesting to see what the next episode brings and whether any of that foreshadowing is leading to some actual reveal. Rio’s heritage has been kind of vague all along but with so many obvious put-downs about him being a peasant early on it seems like the obvious reveal is that there’s going to be some great family in his background. I guess we’ll see next week on Seirei Gensouki.
Images from: Seirei Gensouki. Dir. O Yamasaki. TMS Entertainment. 2021
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