How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom episode 21

Rating: 3.5

Last week I made a number of suppositions about why Roroa appeared before Kazuya and offered to become his wife and why he would probably accept the offer. This episode proved virtually all of those suppositions to be correct, even the ones about how Roroa still planned to continue her mercantile practices as a (sub-)Queen, just behind the scenes. Even though I have not read the novels or seen spoilers concerning Roroa, though, I cannot take any credit for prescience here. This series has always unfolded in a very methodical way, so none of those reasoning by Roroa were hard to predict.

If there’s even a slight surprise to Roroa’s actions, it’s that she seems more enthusiastically lovely-dovey with Kazuya than expected. This is the one place where the scenario feels like a pure nod to standard harem anime tropes: she is the Aggressive Newcomer, the one who shakes up the staid status quo of the existing love interests by coming on hard rather than just passively waiting for the protagonist. No, she has no chance of supplanting Liscia as #1, and she is clear that she is not interested in that, but that gives a prod to Liscia in particular to get more motivated about actually pushing Kazuya to fulfill the part of his kingly duties that he has been neglecting so far. (Apparently they did not ultimately have sex in the previous bed scene.) I also do find it slightly amusing that the one place where Kazuya defers to anyone else on decision-making – on choosing whether or not to take on additional wives – is the one place where he probably shouldn’t. Sure, it could be called considerate to Liscia, but it also forces Liscia into the role of Harem Manager. (Actually, the first wife managing the others isn’t at all an uncommon arrangement in polygamist households in other cultures.) Kazuya is just lucky that Liscia is so practical-minded about it.

The conversation with Roroa goes on too long, but that’s par for the course for this series. The extra length does at least bring up a future potential problem spot: the Orthodox Papal State. This group has been mentioned before, and the discussion about how they would take advantage of the collapse of Amidonia – and how they could continue to be a thorn in Kazuya’s side even with the annexation of Amidonia being recognized – is interesting. That almost offsets how awkward the static positioning of Liscia is throughout that whole scene.

Most of the rest of the episode is more talking, this time the long-awaited magical Zoom call between Kazuya and Empress Maria (via Gemstone broadcast). The annexation of Amidonia into Elfrieden to create a new state – the Kingdom of Friedonia – certainly necessitated this, since it does, on the surface, seem to fly in the face of both the treaty and all of the earlier diplomatic efforts by Jeanne. However, Kazuya correctly points out the flaw in the treaty: a situation like this, where the people push for a new political situation despite the treaty. Kazuya is clearly using the Cold War between the capitalist Western countries and the communist Eastern countries during the mid-to-late 1900s to illustrate his point, and I believe he may be referring to Yugoslavia, and how it fell apart in the 1990s, as the problem case which illustrates his point about Amidonia exercising self-determinism.

Sadly, the episode falls back on more typical harem hijinks at the end; the series seems unable or unwilling to fully step away from this, even though the story does not need it. Stunts like this are the main reason why I am not giving this series higher grades, even though I like what it is doing otherwise. (Well, that, and the shaky artistic quality control in several scenes.) And yeah, Kazuya, best not keep Liscia at arm’s reach for too long, even though your reasons for doing so are somewhat understandable. If you’re accepting the role fully now, every part of the role needs to be accepted.

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