Seirei Gensouki Anime Series Review – High Potential But Limited Pay-Off For Anime Only Viewers

Seirei Gensouki Series Review

The Seirei Gensouki anime is going to be a challenge to fairly review. Because objectively it isn’t that bad. There’s actually a number of positives I’ll discuss throughout this review. However, with the anime series ending the way it does it more or less makes this an impossible recommendation in terms of anime to watch. Largely because clearly this is for people who’ve read the source as there’s little satisfaction to be found otherwise.

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Seirei Gensouki anime

Seirei Gensouki anime – It’s a race to adapt.

From early on in the Seirei Gensouki anime it became fairly apparent that this was an anime intent on getting through material fast. Characters get isekai’d (at least through a bus accident rather than main character getting hit by ubiquitous truck) and the main character rescued a princess, is tortured, accepted into some academy, learns sword fighting and magic, is framed for potentially putting the princess at risk, runs away, saves the assassin sent after him, and so on and all of this is within the first third of the series.

The pace doesn’t slow down after that as Rio, our main characters, plunges on to new settings and situations, learns new skills, meets new characters, faces various potential challenges (none of which actually seem to challenge him and we’ll discuss that in a moment) and then moves on.

Seirei Gensouki anime

What this means is for anime only viewers of Seirei Gensouki is that none of these characters or settings leave much of an impression. None of it is actually bad. I kind of think the world we very quickly see in this anime series could be incredibly interesting. But nor can I say that the anime gives us time to appreciate any of the places or people Rio meets and by the end they all just kind of blur together. I’d really struggle to name more than three characters and all three of them would be characters who appear at the start and end of the series.

Fortunately though, while we’re doing this travel style anime, visually Seirei Gensouki looks really pretty. That isn’t quite the same as saying it has good animation because the actual movement is serviceable. But backgrounds and character designs are really nice to look at and I like the bright use of colours. If I had to continuously watch a character move through different locations, this at least felt like it was visually up to the task of bringing those places to life.

Seirei Gensouki Episode 4 - Volcanic terrain

And if you went in knowing you were going to very hastily skate over a story and settings that are probably told better in the source (never read it so won’t say for sure) you can probably end up appreciating the Seirei Gensouki anime for what it does do and in terms of isekai light novels, while there’s definitely some of the common tropes I get the feeling that this story could be a lot more interesting than the usual cliché paint-by-numbers efforts.

Where Seirei Gensouki stretched my reasonably favourable view to far was in how it ended. I’ve kind of made my opinion of episode 12 clear in the review so I won’t rehash it here. However, in reviewing the whole series let me be clear that this story won’t resolve any of the main plot line and will still be introducing new ideas right up to and after the closing credits. If you want any sense of resolution, this adaptation will not deliver it.

Seirei Gensouki Ep12 4

Which actually makes me wonder if they ever had any intention of making this anime a story or if they really were just making an advertisement for the books. And even if they were making an advertisement for the books, that’s no excuse for not considering viewers at all and thinking about where a decent resting point might be for a season end. The way they’ve done it here really does just feel lacking and somewhat lazy and it leaves a bitter taste in the viewer’s mouth when actually the series as a whole wasn’t brilliant but it also wasn’t bad.

Talk about shooting yourself in your own foot.

Anyway, the Seirei Gensouki anime follows Rio/Haruto who at first is kind of an interesting isekai protagonist. Sure he’s overpowered in some respects and being able to access Haruto’s sword training from Japan gives him some advantages. However Rio makes the decision to live in his current world and while he takes advantage of some of Haruto’s abilities, he really sets out to make himself his own person. It’s an interesting decision and one that feels different from so many isekai characters who lean heavily on their former lives.

Seirei Gensouki Ep1 1

Equally, Rio starts out in a quite low position in society and a lot of characters work to keep him there. This inevitably leads to him finding out that his mother was… you know what, it is a pretty obvious reveal but even so I’ll let you find out for yourselves if you ever watch the anime or read the source.

At times, the younger Rio even has glimpses of an actual personality.

Unfortunately, by the very short number of episodes we have until Rio is older, somehow that all kind of gets washed away and instead we have the usual kind older brother character who saves girls but asks for little or nothing in return. He’s nice to everyone except those who have clearly demonstrated themselves to be evil (or completely idiotic) and then he easily defeats them giving them their much deserved comeuppance.

Seirei Gensouki Episode 6 - Rio saves the girl

He usually doesn’t even break a sweat. Not against idiots. Not against wyverns. Pretty much the only fight that even damages his cloak is the final one in episode 12 and even then he wasn’t really in danger.

This makes it hard for the Seirei Gensouki anime to really get an emotional response from the viewers. The main character is never in danger so there’s little to no tension. He equally has insufficient personality traits to really be more than your standard isekai trope wandering through a story that is being rushed so I’m left with little to say about him other than he’s good with a sword, has learned spirit arts, has a harem of girls, and is nice. We could apply most of that description to way too many other characters so Rio isn’t really going to stick in my memory very long.

The girls, for the most part, are very cute and most of them seem to have a personality, they just don’t ever get enough screen time to really let it shine. This is another case where the Seirei Gensouki anime’s pace hurt it. None of the girls travel with Rio for very long so as he moves on they disappear from the story until he passes back through their lives. While each one could be an interesting character, they inevitably don’t get the chance.

Seirei Gensouki Episode 6 - What kind of egg?

All and all, I wanted more from the set up here and I feel that the worst offense the Seirei Gensouki anime commits is wasting the potential of this story and these characters. If the goal had been to tell a decent story based upon these ideas and with these characters, that fit within the confines of an anime season, they really could have done a better job. The waste of potential hurts more than anything else.

Which means, I can’t recommend this anime. It isn’t the worst thing you’ll ever watch, but nor is there any point to watching it. If you want this story, its probably better to explore it through a medium that takes a bit more time with each part and may at some point conclude. Here, you’ll just be left with an incomplete narrative and feel like the goal was to get through it as fast as possible rather than to enjoy the journey.

If you watched the Seirei Gensouki anime what did you think?

Images from: Seirei Gensouki. Dir. O Yamasaki. TMS Entertainment. 2021

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Karandi James

Seirei Gensouki Episode 12 Impressions – It Literally Just Stopped

Seirei Gensouki Episode 12 Review

I am fine with an anime series wanting to leave room for a sequel. I’ve even come to accept anime that exist just to promote source material and so never actually intend to adapt a full story. But anime like Seirei Gensouki that just stop practically mid-sentence and not only don’t resolve existing issues but actually throw more in to the final few minutes are really just kind of annoying.

Seirei Gensouki Episode 12
Yes, this story was a bit of a train wreck in the end.

It’s like someone gave you a book but ripped out the second half so you get through what you have and it just stops.

Absolutely spoilers below.

We’ve arrived at the end of Seirei Gensouki

In fairness to Seirei Gensouki, they do at least close a loop with Rio returning to rescue Celia and succeeding (like that was in any doubt given Rio hasn’t actually faced anything that even vaguely presented a challenge since the first episode). It would have been nice if this rescue had in any way felt rewarding or like somehow Rio had gained something by doing it, or even if the characters had been able to spend a moment actually enjoying the success.

Seirei Gensouki Episode 12

Instead, the final episode of Seirei Gensouki has all these coloured lights shooting into the sky, plays the closing credits, then we see a sequence where some Japanese kids are getting attacked in this fantasy world, loaded onto carts, Rio comes and does some violence and reaches out to cute girl who is probably childhood friend because he really needed yet another additional to his harem.

In case it sounds like I’m being snarky, I kind of am.


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You can forgive a lot in some anime provided it remains kind of fun to watch. While generic overpowered protagonists who are nice to all the girls feature far too often in isekai stories provided there’s enough else it can still hold your interest.

What I won’t forgive is utterly inept story-telling now it is clear that the anime of Seirei Gensouki has no clue how to create or capitalise on dramatic tension, has no desire to actually flesh out characters, and even the world building has been ploughed through so quickly that those in the audience who are experiencing this story for the first time (such as myself who has not read the source) kind of feel like we’ve gotten the cliff-notes version of what should actually be a fairly rich fantasy world filled with some interesting magical lore.

Seirei Gensouki Episode 12

At every point prior, there was a chance that once Seirei Gensouki found its feet it could overcome these issues. But with the final episode of the season airing more or less doubling down on every issue the series has had (poor, wooden villains, overpowered MC with limited personality or clear motive, supporting cast who mostly stand around and do little, plot that seems to be character goes from here to here, and mystery of the whole being reborn thing utterly unaddressed), episode 12 more or less serves as an object lesson of everything wrong with the anime.

When I go to review the whole series, I will actually revisit the positives, because there was some fun to be had on this journey, but right now I just watched a final episode that left a foul taste in my mouth so I’m really not in the mood to play nice.

Seirei Gensouki Episode 12

Charles remained pathetic at every step of this final episode and truly displayed his full range of incompetence. As did most the soldiers who were the worst kind of mindless mob that Rio more or less just jumped over. That was when they weren’t shooting the houses of their own citizenry.

We did get one vaguely decent fight when Alfred took on Rio in the street but rather than offering any resolution here Seirei Gensouki left it more or less a draw with Rio leaving the scene and Alfred searching but not finding him.

Seirei Grensouki Episode 12

Even red-eyed villain who has been kind of drifting through this whole story kind of launched one attack but mostly just watched everything unfold.

With so many characters standing around passively or uselessly, there’s little to say other than Rio came to the wedding, kidnapped the bride, ran away and escaped the entire army (that’s got to hurt the kingdom’s credibility). And rather than dealing with any of this, we instantly move onto a totally different plot point and then the episode ends.


Oh well, I guess I could always read the books and find out how this story is actually supposed to go.

Images from: Seirei Gensouki. Dir. O Yamasaki. TMS Entertainment. 2021

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Karandi James

My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X Series Review – Another Sequel Without The Charm of the Original

My Next Life as a Villainess Season 2 Series Review

What is it about 2021 and sequels? Is there some kind of curse over the anime industry at the moment that means all sequels have to lose what made the original season so entertaining? Then again, I’ve always had a bit of an issue with sequels not measuring up for one reason or another so it is no surprise really that a story focused on comedy, such as the isekai My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X didn’t quite end up hitting the same sweet spot as the original.

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My Next Life as a Villainess Season 2

That isn’t to say that the charm is entirely gone from Catarina’s life as this isekai female lead meanders obliviously over her harem’s emotions, gets kidnapped, eats a lot of food, rescues her brother from being kidnapped and then eats more food. However, season one of My Next Life as a Villainess felt like there was a purpose in Catarina avoiding the death flags from the game she had played. No matter how loose the plot got, there was always the basic premise to fall back on to hold things together.

So what went wrong for My Next Life as a Villainess Season 2?

Season two lacks that and it isn’t until the final episode that we even really get directed back to the game in a sequel or movie bait moment that actually kind of made me interested in watching more even though I had more or less decided not to continue with this franchise after this season. Given the best part of this season was discussing each episode with both Crow and Irina despite having gone in excited for more of Catarina’s story, I came to the conclusion that more was not necessarily better.

My Next Life as a Villainess Season 2 Episode 6

That isn’t to say that My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X is actually bad. It really isn’t. But nor is it infectiously charming and silly in the way season one was. Instead we’re left with an anime that has short arcs where the stakes might seem high but they aren’t, plots that could be dark but will be resolved too swiftly to be taken seriously, and a cast that is actually suffering from bloat because while each character is charming none of them get enough time to really sell their charm to the audience.

Its a bit of a shame when there are some delightful moments along the way.

Early on we were introduced to a ‘villain’ who had kidnapped Catarina. He was a fun character (you know despite being a kidnapper and all) as he verbally sparred with Catarina, sat and ate cakes and had tea with her, delivered a heart-wrenching back story that really went nowhere, but he had a bit of spice as a character and the glasses and butler outfit kind of worked for me.

Villainess S2 Ep3 3

While he wasn’t toppling Nicol as my favourite in the harem, Sora’s introduction had the potential to shake up a group that had fallen into fairly predictable patterns and routine repeats of jokes we’d seen before. There’s only so many confessions, acts of jealousy, and friendly verbal sparring you can watch before it all feels like you’ve seen and heard it all before.


Instead My Next Life as a Villainess has Sora’s character ending up working at the department of magic with Raphael. Fine. However, the next few times we see him there’s no spice or entertainment to be had. He’s just another generic nice guy who kind of crushes on Catarina. Instead of mixing things up and giving us some new beats, Sora just eats up screen time from other cast members but contributed nothing particularly new.

My Next Life as a Villainess Season 2

It didn’t help that he ditched the glasses and went for a more casual and forgettable wardrobe in the final arc. Ultimately, Sora just blends in to the background of My Next Life as a Villainess and I couldn’t help but feel it was a waste of a character introduction. He had the potential to be so much more.

And while we’re on the topic of wasted potential, we had not one but two kidnapping plots this season. How often do nobles in this kingdom get kidnapped that both Catarina and Keith from the same family can be kidnapped in two separate incidents?

Catarina’s abduction was definitely never intended to be taken seriously as she uses it as an excuse to enjoy not having to get up on time, to eat as much as she wants, and generally be quite lazy. It also did bring Sora into the story and seemed like a decent enough arc. Furthermore, this arc did some solid heavy lifting in world-building as it introduced anime viewers to the complex political relationship between the four princes when really they just want to get along.

Catarina kidnapped? My Next Life as a Villainess

As always though, the conflict is resolved pretty easily and Catarina is rescued without ever really being in danger.

Keith isn’t so lucky as he doesn’t have protagonist plot armour in My Next Life as a Villainess and his kidnapping is actually quite a painful ordeal, not that the follow-up episode would in anyway support that. Despite being tortured for days, Keith seems entirely mentally fine and not at all traumatised by the experience, because you wouldn’t want reality to be a downer on a rom-com (which makes you wonder why bother putting the sub-plot in at all if you aren’t doing anything with it).

Keith kidnapped - My Next life as a Villainess

There are some solid moments of entertainment sprinkled around the messy plot. The play the characters put on early in the season is a delightful return to the world of My Next Life as a Villainess. Also, Gerald finally just telling Catarina straight out how he feels and kissing her was a pretty show-stopping way to end an episode, but then Catarina just plays it super dense so this also goes nowhere fast.

Perhaps my favourite stand-alone plot point was Nicol’s episode where he decided to actually have some marriage interviews. In terms of characters actually being entertaining and charming, this was the episode highlight of the whole season. It felt like it was moving Nicol’s character forward, deepening our understanding of him, and just giving him and his potential matched partner space to really shine. That there were so few other moments like this for the rest of the cast is a little bit sad as Mary and Sophia more or less become background chorus for the majority of the season.

My Next life as a Villainess S2

Visually, My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X is still the same bright and bubbly affair that season one was with some nice contrasting colours, great character costumes, and some beautiful anime food (oh, the food). It isn’t exceptional in terms of the animation, nor does it need to be when a lot of the time that characters are being pretty still, but it does enough in the few action sequences throughout.

The opening theme wasn’t quite as entertaining as season one’s, but the ending theme for episodes 1-11 “give me ♡ me” was one of my season highlights. I didn’t ever stop the episode without watching the ending which is kind of rare for me with anime as I usually get hooked on openings but find most endings fairly skippable.

Overall thoughts on My Next Life as a Villainess:

All Routes Lead to Doom! X

Honestly, I didn’t hate this follow up season to My Next Life as a Villainess, I just kind of found it a little lacking and there were so many moments where it felt like it didn’t make the most of particular opportunities. The end result is it becomes pleasant enough watching characters you like going through the motions of a ho-hum plot with a lot less humour but it also isn’t something you could recommend as a must watch.

Images from: My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X. Dir. K Inoue. Silver Link. 2021

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Karandi James

How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom Episode 12 Impressions – Souma’s Easy Victory Continued

Realist Hero Episode 12 Review

Villains in Realist Hero always seem to resort to surrender or charge.

While no real challenges presented themselves as our Realist Hero and interim king, Souma, mopped up the last of the enemy army, allowed the Prince and a small contingent to escape, and then proceeded to put on a live idol show for the citizens of the city he essentially conquered, they did at least shake things up this episode by having to have more than one attempt at taking down the enemy king.

Realist Hero Episode 12

While the two dukes in episode 11 more or less capitulated with little real resistance, the king this week was not going down without a fight. And for him it was a fight to the death. Though at least his character finally got to make one decent decision which was to send his son away from the battlefield before the end.

Stabbed, burned and then shot full of arrows.

In what seemed like the easiest victory yet, as the king charged toward our Realist Hero’s vantage point, the blonde guy did a beautiful leap through the air on his horse and skewered the king with his spear right through his armour. It looked as magnificent as it could in slow motion and bare bones animation even if I was left wondering how the poor horse managed to save itself from shattered legs on the landing.

Turns out though that we finally had a small wrinkle in the plans. The King had a body double.

Realist Hero - death of a king

The real king continues his charge and is confronted by Carla who has decided she needs to save Souma because otherwise Liscia would be unhappy. I mean, there’s entire cities and the lives of soldiers and citizens alike on the line, but sure, save Souma because of one Princess being unhappy. Whatever motive gets you moving.

Still, we always knew our Realist Hero wasn’t a warrior and here it becomes clear as Carla doesn’t have the strength to drive the king back and Souma certainly isn’t directly entering the fray. Instead we go with an explosive puppet and boy does that go off with a bang.

How the King was still standing, I do not know, but artful job with the destruction of his clothing on that one.

As he throws his sword and gives his last words he’s plugged full of arrows from archers who were somewhere during all of this (why didn’t they shoot at him when he was sparring with Carla). At last he falls.

Realist Hero Episode 12

And just like that the war is done.

Enter the throne room and Souma is making plans but knows that the Empire isn’t going to recognise him taking over the city anyway. Rather than get into the politics of it he’ll grab some singers and put on an idol show for the citizens.

This is where Realist Hero always loses me. We have some fairly complex political and economic quandaries but earlier in the series we had a reality style cooking show and now we’re going with idols. The tone is all over the place and honestly it isn’t doing Realist Hero any favours.

Realist Hero - the idol show

If I wanted a light comedy I wouldn’t be watching this particular story but this story also doesn’t quite go hard or serious enough to be good as a serious drama. It just kind of teeters around the middle of a few tones and genres but never quite commits and the end result is a little less than satisfying even though there are some good ideas and moments strewn along here.

Anyway, potential arrival of the empire next week and I guess we’ll see where Realist Hero (the anime) intends to leave us.

Images from: How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom. Dir. T Watanabe. J.C.Staff. 2021

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Karandi James

My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X Episode 12 Discussion with Crow, Karandi and Irina.

My Next Life as a Villainess Season 2 Episode 9 Review
karandi avatar no background

Karandi: We’ve reached the final episode of season 2 of My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X and I’m feeling a little bit flat overall around this season, though I’ll save that discussion for when I get to reviewing the whole season. 

For now, I’m left with a feeling like this episode more or less did a very weak tea version of Ouran High School Host Club’s encounter between protagonist Haruhi and club Vice-President Kyouya Ootori between Catarina and Keith, celebrated two years of Catarina eating, and then left us with a very ho-hum story to be continued. But maybe I’m being a little harsh.

Before we get right into that though, Irina, Crow, how are you?

Irina 2020 4

Irina: I’m doing good. It’s a TGIF sort of week, but it is Friday so everything’s great! This said, I’m pretty much with you on the harsh side. ‘Ve sort of been over this season of Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X since the very early episodes and although I do think going back to its roots might be a good idea for the show, I’m afraid I no longer have the enthusiasm for it. But maybe I’m getting a bit ahead of this post.

I have a bad habit of just going section by sections and replying instead of reading everything before putting my part in. It sometimes leads to a bit of redundancy.

Crow 3549693702 1626481008435

Crow: Gotta say: Irina, you just took a lot of pressure off me! I reply section by section, too, and to be honest, I like the spontaneity it brings to the posts! But maybe I’m just rationalizing things!

It’s a TGIF sort of week for me, too. But the work week is over, unless there’s some kind of after hours disaster. It’s an occupational hazard when working in computer security — and boy do I have a lot of respect for police and firefighters, among others, whose disasters threaten life and limb! I just have to log into a VPN and type.

My Next Life as a Villainess S2

What happens this week on Villainess?

Karandi: I will admit, I took way too many screen caps this week as we cycled through most of the main cast, though I note that Sophia and Mary only really got to be on screen together to echo others and had very few moments of their own. Still, right from the opening conversation between older brother Jeffery and Susanna, taking place in front of that glorious wall of Jeffery’s, this episode was very pretty.

Of course, the fact that I’m discussing prettiness rather than plot or characters probably sums up my feelings about this episode. It kind of brought all the characters together for one last turn about the dance floor and then we were left with a to be continued style conclusion.

Villainess S2 - Jeffrey

Irina: Seaking of Jeffery – Yes I know Karandi wasn’t actually talking about Jeffery but humour me here you guys! – I couldn’t help but notice his equally glorious mullet in that opening sequence. That thing was downright majestic! Fitting for a crown prince and all. It was all I could do to concentrate on anything else for the rest of the episode. 

OK, I may be exaggerating a bit. But of all the aime mullets that are trying to convince me that mullets are sexy, this was up there in the top 10. Great mullet! I have one other fun thing to say about this episode so I’ll keep it for later.

Also, was it just me or were Lana and Jeffery on that scene basically stating that the mirror thing was a very hard to believe deus x machina and Catarina is a massive Mary Sue. Because it sort of sounded that way to me. And if the show had been a bit more into the self-aware humour up to this point, I might have thought this was on purpose and rather witty.

Crow: Karandi, you mentioning Sophia and Mary made me realize how much I’ll miss those two characters — and how much I wish they would have played a bigger role this season! 

Irina, I choose to believe that Susanna/Larna indeed saw through the plot device. How cool would it be if she began to suspect that they were in a space/time parenthetical? For the third season, she could put the pieces together and realize her world changed at certain intervals that she eventually tied to some event outside of the world. Then she could discover that Sophia and Catarina were bridges to that other world! 

Yeah, this episode didn’t really capture my imagination, so I had to keep it busy. Though I had to laugh when Catarina’s Council of the Wise-ish was self-aware enough to realize most of their flashback footage was of food.

Villainess S2 - All about food

Karandi: In case it sounds like I’m being a little too down on this episode, let’s discuss the bouquet of sweets! Can someone make this a real thing? 

So much better than flowers. Okay, I actually like receiving flowers but inevitably my cat eats or destroys them and either way eventually they wilt and die, usually still on my table or kitchen counter and there they stay until I finally get around to turfing them out a window. Of course, that could just be my lack of maintenance of flower vases.

Then I started thinking about what else you could get a bouquet of. I mean, Stranger Than Fiction had the main character deliver flours because the girl he liked ran a bakery. I could do with a bouquet of note books or really funky pens and post-it notes (okay, I’m boring and I like stationery but at least I’ll use it). If we were going for food, a bouquet of pocky would be kind of fun.

What about you two?

Irina: I wouldn’t be opposed to a bouquet of manga or maybe kittens. Provided both are unharmed in the process.

You know what else though, you just made a way bigger deal about the bouquet of candy than Catarina did. That just bugged me a bit. I figured Catarina would have dropped everything, exploited with glee and proceeded to eat half the thing right then and there. But she just sort of politely accepted it and Fey ended up talking it up and appreciating it more than Catarina did. 

Ok, so I did mention that it was sad to reduce the character of Catarina to being ditzy and liking food but don’t take those traits away as well… Or maybe this is when we find out Catarina was never rescued for the first kidnapping of the season and this has all been a fevered dream. 

Villainess S2 - Boquet of sweets

Crow: Hmmm. A bouquet made up of a six-pack of quality beer sounds intriguing. Though to be honest, a bouquet of pocky does sound appealing! I’m from a time period where men-folk didn’t receive flowers. Just as well — they didn’t keep well in the damp caves we had to live in. Though we did get to be pretty good with charcoal for decorating the walls!

And I have to agree with Irina on this point. I really thought Catarina would be over the moon after the junk food bouquet. Though I do hope it’s not a dream. The last season of Dallas completely killed that trope for me. And I didn’t even watch that show!

Karandi: Right, so episode 12 of My Next Life of a Villainess, the ball sees Catarina dancing with Gerald (has anyone tried to count how many times he sighs throughout this series?), then Keith, then Nicol (loved all the other guests fainting at Nicol’s smile), before Catarina makes her way to the buffet where she feeds Alan meat before Mary and Sophia arrive demanding to also be fed. 

It all works but isn’t exactly fascinating as each character is more or less rehashing previous plot points or character moments and while it is lovely to see the core cast back front and centre, as so many of them have been sidelined for a lot of this series, they don’t really get to do anything other than the cameo at the ball.

Or am I wrong?

Villainess S2 Episode 12 - Nicol

Irina: I’m the wrong person to ask. Like I said, I gave up on the season a while ago. But this, this is the second part. Yes, the fainting. I genuinely laughed out loud at the fainting of half the attendees when Nicol asked for a dance. This was a great gag. I wish there were more of them.

Crow: The fainting scene was really funny. It’s the kind of humor I enjoyed from the first season, too! Mary popping up whenever Catarina did the “Ahhhh!” thing (like with Alan) or the dress thing (like with Ginger) made me laugh, too. But, and this goes back to what Irina talked about in her post about the Flanderization of Catarina, the show just didn’t seem to want to give Catarina or her friends room to grow. More than most shows, that bothered me because I like these characters so much. I want to see more of Mary going after Catarina. I want to see more of Maria confessing her feelings. 

And most of all, I want to see more of Catarina coming to grips with who she is, because I’m beginning to suspect she is borderline asexual, and I would love to see a fictional treatment of that perspective. 

Villainess S2

Karandi: We then get to the moment I mentioned at the start of this post. The most where My Next Life is a Villainess took a page straight out of Ouran’s playbook (though who knows where Ouran got it from) and we had Keith trying to make Catarina aware that she’s actually a girl by pinning her down on a bed. 

I didn’t get too annoyed about this in Ouran High School Host Club, but I know some viewers were absolutely rubbed the wrong way by the scene, however, at least there it felt purposeful. Here it isn’t given the time or focus it needs to be anything more than a random sequence that is kind of horrible if you think about it and kind of blink and you miss it if you don’t, and I’m not sure how that leaves me feeling about Keith given he could have just escorted his sister from the room, reminded her it wasn’t appropriate for a lady to be alone in a gentleman’s bedroom, and wished her goodnight.

Am I just taking things too seriously again in this harem comedy that makes no sense anyway? I think it is more that I’ve seen this scene before done better so in honesty if they wanted a sequence like this they should have just committed to it rather than the half-hearted attempt we get here.

Irina: I don’t think you’re taking things too seriously.

Although for me, it’s more the fact that this scene, more or less exactly, has already been done not only in 99% of romance anime before but in this season of this show… We had Sora do this a handful of episodes ago. At this point I’m just more annoyed at the incredibly lazy writing. 

I’m sure our readers know that all this pushing down and kissing out of the blue stuff is pure anime nonsense and not actually romantic…or legal… It’s just an anime thing like complete lack of parental oversight, being able to eat everything in sight and never gain weight or catboys. 

Karandi: Irina, did you just burst my bubble about the existence of catboys?

Ikuto – image from Shugo Chara

Crow: I don’t want to speak for Irina, but catboys are every bit as real as catgirls. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! I mean, some of us prefer illusion to despair

The “blink and you miss it” problem with that scene applied to a lot of this whole season. There were glimpses of what could be emotional moments that got glossed over. That scene we already talked about with Susanna/Larna — that had huge potential. I found myself wanting more of that scene, especially with the hilarious background of the Wall of Brothers. This episode, like this season, felt too unfocused and diffused. 

Karandi: Probably the highlight of the episode for me, outside of the sweet bouquet, is Catarina’s dream where she sees her friend from before she was reincarnated starting to play the sequel game of Love Fortune at the Magic Academy. If Catarina was attempting to avoid death flags, her choice not to just marry Gerald has back-fired horribly as she’s clearly plunged herself straight back into the Otome plot she was trying to avoid.

Irina: For me it was the fainting. I loved that gag so much.

However, like I mentioned right at the beginning, I thought this scene was a good move. I really liked the scenes of Catarina’s before life in the first season and this was a good throwback. It also invigorated what felt like an otherwise kind of aimless plot. It almost made me want to see more.

Villainess S2 Episode 12

Crow: Even clicking on New Game at the last moment was interesting. I’ll come back for a third season, but I’ll make sure I am not excited about it! I have to wonder how much of my reaction is based on it not meeting my expectations, which were really high.

Karandi: I’m with you. This season wasn’t bad but it didn’t meet my expectations.

All and all, this episode does what it needs to do in bringing this season to a close, but like most of this season it was kind of a mixed affair of some good, some not so great, and while there’s been an announcement of a movie I’m not entirely sure if I’m looking forward to that or not. Final thoughts?

Villainess S2

Irina: To me it felt almost entirely like a set-up for another season and was actually sort of lacking in resolution. Sora is introduced super early into the season but his character arc is up in the air. The entire succession thing that they made a big deal of is just sort of hanging. New villain Sarah has no resolution at all, even the state of the harem hasn’t advanced in any satisfying way. 

If there are many seasons to come, and I know a movie has been announced, this episode might be fine as a sort of bridge but as a finale on it’s own, I just don’t think it actually concluded any of the plot threads the season put forward. At all. 

Season 1 had what felt like considerable character evolutions for pretty much everyone and resolutions for all the character arcs. It also nicely tied up the central plot with Catarina no longer being in danger of exile. But this time around, I don’t really see any of that. Maybe I’m the one being too harsh now.

Crow: I don’t think either of you are being too harsh. We can’t say we liked a show if we didn’t. I mean, we have a lot of smart readers, and they’d see right through that kind of thing! The first season was always just a little more than a routine harem comedy, and that’s one of the things that made it memorable for me.

This season almost felt like it was so busy looking over its shoulder at its past success that it couldn’t decide what it wanted to do. And that’s a shame, because the characters still have all the potential they had from the first season! Which proves what Irina just said about the characters not evolving at all this season.

The End?

Karandi: I’ve had a great time this season following My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X with Irina and Crow. Hopefully they’ve had fun as well. We’d love to know what you thought of the season so leave us a comment and hopefully we’ll get to collaborate again on another show in the future.

Images from: My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X. Dir. K Inoue. Silver Link. 2021

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Karandi James

Seirei Gensouki Episode 11 Impressions – The Tears of a Silver Bride

Seirei Gensouki Episode 11 Review

After feeling that episode 10 of Seirei Gensouki was a little ho-hum I was genuinely caught by surprise at the end of this week’s episode. Admittedly, the end credits rolled over part of the wedding procession and there’s an after credit’s sequence that must be watched, but this episode still felt like it simply flew by and it was a very solid penultimate episode setting up what will probably be a decent season conclusion next week.

Seirei Gensouki Episode 11

Seirei Gensouki reunites the cast from the early episodes in these final ones.

While it really does feel like Seirei Gensouki has really rushed through a lot of content leaving the world building and a lot of the supporting cast feeling a little paper-thin, I can’t deny that there’s a fairly exciting story here. Part of me wishes the execution had been a little more on point given this could have been a really brilliant, epic fantasy.

Instead, we get something that works well enough but never quite satisfies.

Seirei Gensouki Episode 11

Speaking of not quite satisfying, Charles really continues to lack any kind of menace. He’s just such an open bully and idiot and it is kind of clear that without those backing him he wouldn’t have risen to any height. The only real question is who can stand being around him long enough to give him a hand-up, but at the same time he’s probably the perfect patsy because he kind of believes he deserves everything and that somehow his own merit has allowed him to achieve it.

Fortunately, this episode isn’t asking us to care about Charles so much as to understand Celia’s current predicament.

And that’s actually enough tension to drive the episode and make this one of the most interesting Seirei Gensouki has put on offer yet. Unlike Rio, Celia isn’t easily walking through her conflict. Instead, she’s trying very, very hard to keep a brave face on during a situation where she is forced to marry a someone she really doesn’t love in order to protect her family.

Worst, the guy already has multiple wives who have made it clear they intend to look down on her. And even if she does go through the marriage, there’s no guarantee her family will be any safer.

Seirei Gensouki Episode 11

Celia’s reaction when she saw Rio during the procession was kind of perfect and was just the right emotional note after such a tense and highly strung episode.

Still, it is really hard to really get a sense of the politics at play here because we’ve been following Rio and the exposition dump at he start of the episode gained from Rio’s questioning of the guy at the academy isn’t enough to really fill in all the ins and outs.

About the only clear danger in Seirei Gensouki is that Celia is going to be utterly miserable if this marriage happens and honestly they made me care enough about her that the overall lack of understanding of the political ins and outs isn’t actually that much of a problem.

Seirei Gensouki Episode 11

As I said in the beginning, this is a solid penultimate episode in that it does everything you really need from a next to last episode. It feels like we’re close to a climax and they’ve made me invested enough in the outcome that I’m now excited for the final episode.

While I’m not entirely sure what my overall opinion of Seirei Gensouki will be as it has had its moments but also lacked in some areas, I do know that I’ll be pretty excited to see what Rio does in the final episode and I really do want to find out what happens for Celia.

Images from: Seirei Gensouki. Dir. O Yamasaki. TMS Entertainment. 2021

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Karandi James

How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom Episode 11 Impressions – Souma’s Easy Victory

Realist Hero Episode 11

Does Having a Bad Plan for a Good Reason, Make it a Good Plan?

Our realist hero, Souma, in the space of a twenty minute episode, takes over the air-force, has Duke Carmine surrender and removes all the corrupt nobles from play, and moves his army to the south to first cause the invaders to hurry back to their own kingdom straight through an ambush before occupying an enemy city. Wow, Souma’s amazing.

Realist Hero Episode 11

So let’s break down each of these three ‘conflicts’ that Souma’s kind of just walked through as if they were nothing. And while I get, they are trying to position Souma as someone who thinks things through and strategizes and has back-up plans, mostly his enemies are just looking really stupid.

A Realist Hero Takes the Air Force

Episode 10 saw the start of this battle with Souma and his forces using an entire battle-ship crossing the land as a decoy (cool move). This week Castor, leader of the forces, takes on Souma (or at least Souma’s harem) and in a fight that is actually kind of cool to watch loses soundly.

Then again, Castor was only ever following Carmine and honestly, of everyone involved in this war, Castor seems to have the least stakes, purpose, or thought processes. He doesn’t seem to want anything and yet still doesn’t surrender when given a chance to do so.

Realist Hero Episode 11 - Duke Castor

So our Realist Hero wraps up this fight, takes control of the air force, also brings Castor’s daughter Carla along for the ride (wearing a shiny new slave collar – and why do so many isekai anime have slave collars), and heads to the battle against Duke Carmine.

The Duke’s Position

This is where the words bad plan don’t even begin to express my feelings about Duke Carmine’s actions.

Incidentally, plot spoiler below if you haven’t watched the episode, but it doesn’t make a great deal of sense anyway.

Realist Hero Episode 11 - Duke Carmine

Carmine opposed Souma, without discussing it with Souma, in order to have all the corrupt noble men gather under him. Thus he could ensure that they were positioned as insurrectionists as all be removed in one fell swoop.

Which, on the surface doesn’t sound too bad except for the part where he could have actually communicated that idea to Souma rather than just ignoring the new king.

Furthermore, he let the nobles spend their hidden money on hiring mercenaries, sending money out of the kingdom, because once the mercenaries were captured they could ransom them back…

Realist Hero Episode 11

It could just be me but I’m sure the Realist Hero Souma could have found a far more logical way to go about getting this money. You know, encouraging the nobles to pay the duke directly as a war fund for hiring of mercenaries who just didn’t arrive (because the duke never hired them). Then the money would just stay in the kingdom in the first place.

Anyway, on Souma taking the air force, Carmine rounds up the corrupt nobles, something he could have done ages ago, and then puts a slave collar on himself and surrenders. Souma doesn’t even have a conversation with him because he’s off to war front number 3.

Don’t Upset the Realist Hero

Souma may just be an acting King but he is taking his duties seriously. The Kingdom of Amidonia has invaded Elfrieden during their moment of internal crisis and not only is Souma not letting that stand, he’s pretty much making them an example to anyone else who might try to take on the weakened Kingdom.

Realist Hero - Episode 11 - Declaration of War

It’s a sensible move from the Realist Hero when you consider how the other kingdoms who might threaten Elfrieden will view this situation, only it leaves me wondering where this common sense was when he more or less promoted the first guy he heard talking about betraying him.

That said, this conflict at least isn’t completely wrapped up, but given they took out half of the opposing forces in transit and the replacements are hardly trained soldiers, and they are already occupying the city, it seems unlikely Souma is going to lose this fight.

I guess, the only question remaining is how does this resolve? it isn’t as though the other human kingdoms are going to let Elfrieden conquer their neighbours without raising an eyebrow. Or do we end up with the cute and sassy Princess character becoming a hostage in Elfrieden to ensure Amidonia’s good behaviour?

Realist Hero has 2 episodes to figure it out so I guess we’ll see.

Images from: How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom. Dir. T Watanabe. J.C.Staff. 2021

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Karandi James

In Another World With My Smartphone Series Review: Let’s Play Cliche Bingo


In Another World With My Smartphone Overview:

In Another World With My Smartphone starts the usual way for isekai stories when Touya is accidentally killed and to make up for it god lets him be reborn (or just kind of appear really) in another world. God also levels up all his stats (his words) before sending him as kind of a bonus because Touya wasn’t supposed to die. So now the overpowered Touya finds himself in a standard fantasy setting and is soon the centre of a harem of adventuring girls.

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In Another World With My Smartphone Review:

In Another World With My Smartphone falls into a very small group of series that are comedies, and not all that good (and not bad enough to be funny because they are bad) but for some reason I really enjoyed watching it. Despite individual episodes making me want to scream in frustration, I would eagerly await the next installment and no matter how terrible the narrative got I was still quite invested in Touya’s next adventure that he would get through without a scratch because he is the overpowered protagonist of this clearly trying to be overly clichéd isekai (in another world/dimension) story.

There’s a few reasons why this show appealed, but let me make it clear that objectively, this show is not particularly good. It works in that the characters are functional and kind of have a narrative purpose in that they go on adventures, but there’s no real end goal in sight over the course of the 12 episodes here, little to no character development (relationship development is not the same thing as character development) because otherwise some of the characters might stop being tropes and become characters.

But it isn’t particularly good. It isn’t even particularly good at being a parody of the genre because rather than wanting to be a parody it is more embracing the clichés of isekai stories and shoving them directly under the nose of the audience.

In Another World With My Smartphone - stalking a friend.

Particular moments of true pain came in this story where a boob grabbing sequence went on far longer than needed, a beach scene that included girls discussing the various things that got stuck between their breasts, the robot girl not wearing pants when we met her, and the slime episode (though that wasn’t as bad as it could have been). There were other jokes and moments that fell kind of flat for me, but mostly I had fun with this show.

Even these moments weren’t deal breakers, they were just kind annoying and made me mostly want to close my eyes and wish that they would go away.

So what did I like about the show?


I like Touya as the protagonist. He is as generic and self-insert as they come and has all the hang-ups people complain about with over-powered main characters. He’s also completely oblivious to the harem that almost instantly forms around him (though fortunately the anime deals with that situation in the final episodes in an almost novel manner).

Part of the reason I like him is I don’t dislike over-powered main characters in the first place so that wasn’t so much a problem once I got over the lack of any tension in any encounter (even Kirito managed to make it look hard to win some of those fights). But I just found Touya pleasant to spend time with and even though he was a nice, ordinary guy, he didn’t seem like he could be replaced with a plank of wood with the word protagonist written on it. He has personality, even if it is a personality derived from 100’s of other characters in other anime.

Part of the fun is that Touya has already died and when informed of this he’s pretty much, okay so what next. And that’s more or less how he tackles everything. He just kind of gets on and does it. One of my favourite moments from the series came when a King challenged Touya to a duel and Touya used his slip spell on the King essentially ending the battle in an instant (the King of course demanded a rematch).

It was hilarious and so much better than characters who toy with their opponent and hold off on using a strong attack and unleash it later. Touya looked at the situation, though about what he wanted (he didn’t want to fight) and dealt with it quickly and efficiently. His actions shoot the plot in the foot a few times, but they make him a delight to follow around provided you find that sort of thing amusing.


I also really enjoy the girls in the harem. While there are definitely fan service moments dumped into this story and some of those (as mentioned earlier) are incredibly cringe worthy, a lot of the time these girls are dealt with respectfully as characters even though they are just tropes. You’ve got the twins where one is shy and the other brash, then the samurai girl who is all about honour, and finally the Princess who manages to talk her father into essentially making Touya her fiance.

All pretty standard for this kind of story. However, what isn’t standard is that these girls continue to actually think things through and behave like rational humans despite all being in love with the same character. What makes it better is that all of the girls are strong in their own right, so even though Touya is massively over-powered for the world he is in, the girls aren’t exactly damsel’s in distress, even if occasionally they get pressed into the role momentarily.


The setting and visuals are all pretty standard fantasy. The magic is pretty enough and it would have been nice to see more of that going on. I really enjoyed some of the ways Touya managed to combine magical spells (the programmed slip loop is still my favourite) and I also liked how he blended magic with the capabilities of his smartphone. More of that would have made the title make more sense as the phone becomes fairly gimmicky and seems pushed into scenes sometimes just because he’s supposed to have it.


Kohaku, the summoned white tiger that then kind of transforms into a kitten, is adorable and manages to steal the scenes he is in, but again this is an underused part of the story.  Actually, early on there’s a lot of fights with beasts, including a dragon fight, and yet in the second half the story moves more into silly comedy rather than action comedy. Kind of a shame because some of these encounters were really fun.


Basically, I am not arguing that this show is good, but I had a lot of fun watching it. I actually wouldn’t mind rewatching this at some point and I wouldn’t mind more of this story if they ever made a second season. It isn’t great but it is kind of fun to just switch off your brain and watch.

I’d love to know your thoughts on the show.

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Karandi James

Seirei Gensouki Episode 10 Impressions – An All Round Amazing Spirit For An All Round Amazing Protagonist

Seirei Gensouki Episode 10 Review

What a difference a few years makes, or at least that’s what Rio is going to discover when he finally returns to see Claire this week in Seirei Gensouki.

Last week ended with him waking up beside a naked girl, which is quickly explained as harmless because she’s an amnesiac spirit who ends up just dressing herself using mana. Anyway, Rio quickly sees that she bares an uncanny resemblance to the childhood friend/crush he had back in Japan when he was Haruto and so naturally he gives spirit girl the same name, Aishia.

Seirei Gensouki Episode 10 - Aishia

Not entirely sure it makes sense to cling on to that life, particularly when Rio has spent a lot of time making sure he’s living in this life and not in the past, but hey, childhood crush.

Meanwhile, Aishia is wowing everyone in Seirei Gensouki by being able to control pretty much every element and she fights Rio and matches his level of amazingness which given he has protagonist plot armour deeply wrapped around him is an impressive feat indeed.

Does it feel like Seirei Gensouki is missing something?

The whole way through this season, Seirei Gensouki has been driving forward. Rio seldom stays in one place longer than two episodes (outside of the initial kingdom which he lasted three episodes in) and he meets different people and makes different friends in each location.

Seirei Gensouki Episode 10

Problem is, at episode 10 with 2 episodes to go, I’m left wondering if enough has been done to really make me care about this trumped up conflict Claire is now in. Plus, Rio seems to pass in and out of Latifa’s life pretty easily and it would be good to see if he at least intended to eventually settle down in one of the locations he’s visited.

With all that said though, Aishia was pretty awesome to see in action and the fight between her and Rio was solidly entertaining and perhaps the most dynamic fight we’ve seen from Seirei Gensouki yet. That they spent a little too much of it on reactions from those watching isn’t really a problem given visually Seirei Gensouki hasn’t been a disaster but nor is it particularly impressive.

Seirei Gensouki Episode 10

Return of the lame villains.

Still, one of my earliest complaints about Seirei Gensouki was how incredibly lacking in nuance the villains or antagonists were. They are bullies or blunt instruments and they don’t manage to ever feel even vaguely threatening or even plausible as a real character. So it is with the smug faced Charles this week and if this is the final confrontation for Rio I really don’t think I’m gonig to be that invested.

Seirei Gensouki Episode 10

See, I was kind of hoping for Rio to confront the guy who killed his mother, a potential actual threat, rather than deal with some arbitrary issue that really doesn’t seem to be connected to much of anything we’ve seen so far.

But we can’t have everything and episode 10 of Seirei Gensouki delivers cute girls, magic battles, yet another scene change for Rio, and it does set up this new conflict even if I’m not so keen on watching it play out. There’s little more you can ask for this late in the season so lets hope Seirei Gensouki can end strong.

Images from: Seirei Gensouki. Dir. O Yamasaki. TMS Entertainment. 2021

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Karandi James

How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom Episode 10 Impressions – War on Three Fronts

Realist Hero Episode 10

Reality Bites

The war has finally happened and Souma is outmanned but not out imagined as he defends his borders and takes the fight to one of the Dukes. Our Realist Hero at least has the advantage of surprise and also apparently being a tactical genius because he read books before being summoned to another world (because somehow that gives your average Japanese citizen the ability to command forces on multiple fronts).

Actually, the war itself was kind of interesting. What was less impressive was the animation. This episode of How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom was definitely looking very ordinary with a lot of stills with some shaking over the top and some voice over shouting to give the impression of some kind of movement. It wasn’t quite as bad as the final of The Promised Neverland season 2. Actually if anything this episode was reminding me of Lord Marksman and Vanadis with less fun characters.

Realist Hero Episode 10

What is a Realist Hero to do?

The episode starts with the invasion of the kingdom by the idiot from the south. I think he was from a southern kingdom at least. Anyway, his big plan is stand outside a city and look menacing, intimidate the messenger, and then accept delay tactics that are obviously just in place while some other plot is developed. Yep, he’s an idiot.

It really does make it hard to appreciate Souma’s natural genius in Realist Hero when all his opponents are so pedestrian in their motives and actions.


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Not that this anime has proclaimed Souma a genius but given the breadth of his knowledge from agriculture to finance, economic and political reform, and now military tactics one has to assume as much. As much as most of his theories and ideas have been pretty basic from each of those fields, as I said it is the range of knowledges he’s demonstrated that are starting to make me tilt my head and wonder if he’s got an encyclopaedia stores inside his skull.

Souma surprising his enemy once again - Realist Hero Episode 10

With the external enemy more or less on hold for a day, Souma still has to deal with Duke Carmine who commands 40,000 men to his 10,000 and he also has the Red Dragon and the airforce to deal with.

Rather than simultaneously fighting on the three fronts, he’s delayed one, uses a fortress to hold up Duke Carmine’s forces, and the attack goes toward the air-force.

All of which makes sense but it also all goes pretty smoothly as he seemingly surprises and overwhelms his enemy at every step.

Realist hero Episode 10

I would however be remiss if I didn’t point out that the setting for the third act in this episode, Souma actually launching his first attack rather than defending or holding a position, was very cool. The full moon and dark sky behind the giant war ship as it rolls across the landscape toward its target, launching long range attacks upon the city was a very impressive sight. Perhaps the best the episode had to offer.

That it was also not the main attack in the end just adds to the overall impression because that much effort put into a diversionary tactic has to be appreciated.

Realist Hero episode 10
Okay, these two didn’t appreciate it.

Honestly, this was about as much as I could have hoped for from this episode of Realist Hero after the declaration of war last week. While I would have preferred better animation and potentially at least one of these three enemies to put up a more interesting fight, this episode still managed to be entertaining enough.

Images from: How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom. Dir. T Watanabe. J.C.Staff. 2021

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Karandi James