I know I more or less knew that we were going to find out Rio was of some noble blood line, and even Seirei Gensouki deciding to reveal he is royalty wasn’t too surprising. What did surprise me was how poorly this plot development was handled overall within this anime.
Sure the foreshadowing throughout the series and the excessive number of people willing to rub Rio’s nose in his commoner background made it an obvious reveal, but even then it could have been done with some fanfare or even just made some kind of critical character point. Instead we have an episode that gives the punch-line in it’s title (Royal Lineage) and then a character who reacts to the news like he’s just been told that you’ve run out of cereal and you’d like him to go buy some more.
Now, Seirei Gensouki has never been a particularly thrilling watch, but it has been pretty fun, relatively entertaining, and most of the character moments have been handled competently enough even if nuanced antagonists wasn’t this story’s strength. Even the plethora of girls who’ve swooned for Rio as he’s moved from the school to the forest village and now to his parents home village have all had enough character moments to distinguish them.
Episode 8 therefore was the first episode where I really felt this story was just going through the motions.
Has Seirei Gensouki slipped or is this just a transition to the next part of the story?
It is difficult to know without seeing the next episode whether this was an anomaly or whether after a reasonably credible start this series has now lost momentum. It is quite possible that while this particular character moment wasn’t handled well, it was because they just wanted to get this moment over and done with so that they could transition Rio on to the next part of the story that Seirei Gensouki wants to tell. While that would still be disappointing it would mean that we could anticipate things picking up next week.
Anyway, the episode basically has Rio going to the town to deliver supplies or sell stuff or whatever they are doing and in the process he gets to eat ramen, or whatever they decide to call the bowls of definitely ramen. In honesty, this section was the most emotive with the food reactions being far more exuberant than anything we get later in this episode.
Likewise, we transition to Rio taking the girl from the village out shopping and we get the usual they are mistaken for a couple moment before he buys her a hair-stick and she gets all starry eyed at him. Rio is seriously going to have at least one girl pining for him in every town the way he’s going which kind of explains all the cute girls who appear in the opening of Seirei Gensouki.
He also casually stops an abduction which later turns out to be someone’s sister but this feels like it is absolutely unimportant because it kind of just happens and later on they run into each other and they just kind of mention it and then move on. Don’t actually even know why someone was getting kidnapped (seemed like an almost everyday occurrence the way no one made any kind of fuss about it).
However, then we transition to the Rio meeting his grandparents, finding out his mother was royalty before needing to flee to avoid a forced marriage for political reasons (parents helped her flee). Rio reacts with a slight widening of eyes but otherwise is almost completely expressionless. He then recounts his mother’s death, also with little emotion even as he expresses that he won’t forgive the man who killed her.
On that note, what did the guy force him to drink? Is that going to be important later?
Finally, the end of the episode has Rio visiting his parents ‘graves’ once again and declaring he won’t run away but will move forward. This scene actually kind of surprised me because I can’t really see any moments in Seirei Gensouki where Rio hasn’t faced forward. Admittedly, he hasn’t stayed in one place but his goal was to visit the place his mother lived and he has moved toward that fairly steadily. Why he can’t now just stay there is anyone’s guess.
So yeah, as much as I had been enjoying Seirei Gensouki, this episode was pretty bland all around and I’m not entirely convinced by Rio’s character at the end of it. Hopefully episode 9 returns to feeling just kind of fun and easy to watch.
Images from: Seirei Gensouki. Dir. O Yamasaki. TMS Entertainment. 2021
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