Seirei Gensouki episode 9 more or less opens with Rio explaining his origins to his cousin and then telling her he intends to leave the village in a year. What follows is a fairly truncated view of his life in the village over the next few months with seasons changing and Sayo making her own preparations as she’s not quite ready to let go of Rio.
Ultimately, other than being a snap-shot of a nice life Rio could have settled into, nothing really comes from any of this other than Rio leaving on his own and leaving yet another girl pining in his wake.
Seirei Gensouki has Rio leaving a girl in every village.
But if I was watching a fantasy slice of life rather than expecting an action or adventure story, episode 9 of Seirei Gensouki is actually pretty pleasant viewing and draws to a close this chapter of the story. Rio has reconnected with family and has found a place he is welcome to return to, should he ever wish to, and while scenes of seasons changing, festivals and rice planting may not be thrilling, they are certainly calming and make you reflect on the life Rio could have had ‘if only’.
Even Sayo gets a nice few moments in this episode as we see her spending months frantically training in the hopes that she might perhaps travel along with Rio. As her confession is calmly but certainly shot down, she accepts it and sees Rio off in the end without much in the way of strong emotions. I have to wonder if she’ll come back into Rio’s life at some point but for now Sayo is behind him and he’s returned to the village where he left Latifa (at least momentarily).
Part of me feels like Seirei Gensouki is taking the voyage and return narrative model very literally with Rio having travelled away from the kingdom he was raised, meeting people and learning skills along the way, and now he’s making the return journey as an older and more prepared character to face what might have been an insurmountable challenge earlier in the story.
My only real criticism of this would be that nothing Rio has encountered along the way has really felt that life-altering or dramatic, leaving us without a dramatic escape and more a leisurely hike back to his point of origin. Certainly events could have been portrayed that way as he killed a wyvern and then learned of his royal heritage, but instead these events have come across as very low-key steps. Even Rio connecting with family, while we have seen Rio seemingly come to some kind of conclusion, hasn’t exactly been an emotional affair.
Still, for those who missed the village where Rio left Latifa, Rio returns and is reunited with the gaggle of fairly generic but cute girls. They are thrilled to see him even if he explains he’s only there for a few months before moving on again.
This all of course leaves me wondering if the reincarnation of various people into this world is ultimately going to have any bearing on the story. Early episodes were promising with Rio, despite resolving to live this life in this world at least acknowledged that Haruto existed. But it has been a fair time since any real reference or link has been made to the reincarnation element in this isekai story.
Not to mention he’s met at least two other characters who were also reincarnated (possibly more) but nothing really seems to have come from this. Leaving me to wonder if the writer just got bored of the gimmick or whether it will return as a plot point prior to reaching the end.
Images from: Seirei Gensouki. Dir. O Yamasaki. TMS Entertainment. 2021
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