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The Winter 2022 Preview Guide
How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom Part 2

How would you rate episode 1 of
How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom (TV 2) ?
Community score: 4.1

What is this?

Summoned to a fantasy world, Kazuya Souma is ruling a kingdom with a nontraditional (and very human) route of administrative reform. He's tackling food shortages, mastering dark magic, and dazzling a few ladies along the way. Despite his latest good intentions, Kazuya breaks the ban on war to defeat a military dictatorship. Now, he must answer to the Gran Chaos Empire's idealistic leader.

How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom is based on Dojyomaru's light novel series and streams on Funimation on Saturdays.

How was the first episode?

Richard Eisenbeis

On the surface, the season premiere of How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom is nothing more than two massive conversations. The most traditional “action” we get is a character drawing his sword at one point (only to put it away a moment later). However, dig a little deeper and you'll see that this entire episode is a fight scene—one where words are the weapons and the fate of two countries are hanging in the balance.

This episode is built around a complex political issue: Amidonia secretly promoted a civil war in the neighboring nation of Elfrieden and invaded once the war started. Elfrieden realized this and not only stopped the Amidonian invaders but killed their leader and took over their capital city. The prince of Amidonia then ran to his allies in the Gran Chaos Empire and used a loophole in a treaty to force the Empire to help him get his lost lands back. And now, 50,000 Imperial troops have come to reluctantly parley on Amidonia's behalf.

What we're seeing over the course of this episode is a series of verbal feints and attacks through which Souma, the Elfrieden king, forces Julius, the leader of Amidonia, to realize a simple fact: he has no power anymore. Even if Elfrieden gives back the lands it has taken, it will only be because Amidonia has become a puppet state of the Empire. Souma further twists the knife by showing that he has already won in a way that Julius can't hope to contest. The people of Amidonia are happier under Souma's rule than the previous leadership. They have gained the equivalent of nightly newsreels and entertainment programs, improved infrastructure, less food shortages, and, most importantly, a level of freedom and self-expression they have never had before. While Julius is too arrogant to truly understand, if he retakes power and tries to set things back to the way they were, he will be facing an inevitable rebellion—especially given that Elfrieden can no longer be used as a boogieman to unite the people in fear and anger.

Honestly, it's all brilliantly written. Beyond the wordplay, we can see that Souma, despite his best attempts to remain calm and logical, is taking pleasure with each verbal cut he causes Julius—making sure to rub far more salt in the wound than needed as revenge for all the lives lost in the war. Meanwhile, Jeanne, the leader of the Imperial forces, finds herself as the exasperated arbiter between the two—forced to protect Julius even if ideologically she is closer to Souma's side. In the end, Julius is made to leave the room, having lost the battle so that the real fight can begin next episode: that between Jeanne and Souma.

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