How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom
by Grant Jones,
How would you rate episode 4 of
How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom ?
This was an episode of interesting revelations held back by some aimlessness. While I certainly don't mind a bit of character and setting development, it felt like the elements that got most of the screen time here were (to my mind) the least interesting. Instead, this episode tried to lean into territory that it did not have enough… oomph to deliver on.
The positives I think are all present, if unbalanced. The notion that language is really the primary barrier between people and a lack of understanding (also the giant demon portal thing I suppose, but that's probably a metaphor), the admission that human beings are not exactly peaceful when left to their own devices, and the fact that Tomoe can speak with them are all great stuff. It opens the door for more complex plot development and political positioning down the road, and I'm glad to see the inclusion of those ideas.
I also like the broadcasting of the food sequence, at least in broad thematic terms. Rather than go full wish fulfillment, Souma seems to be genuinely trying to feed his people. Opening people's eyes to possible foods they had not tried before to help tide them over until things improve is a move that is as kind as it is wise. Feeding and providing for people is a basic, almost primal element of governance, and the emotional reaction Souma had when eating the food and being reminded of home felt very authentic. Even if going home is out of reach for him at the moment, he can still have a piece of his home and not feel so distant; seeing him being moved to tears by it was also a nice, vulnerable moment. It felt spontaneous and downright human, and I hope to see more of that going forward as well.
The main issue with this episode is the pacing. I'm not saying every moment has to be bookended with car chases and explosions, but it did feel like there were a lot of slow pans over people reacting to statements that were… less than exciting. I felt my attention wandering around the midway point and it did not really pick back up until the end. Furthermore, a lot of shows which focus on food as a primary show element use some combination of detailed cooking advice, gorgeous-looking food visuals, and/or outrageous character reactions to keep things interesting. While I would not say those elements have to be present for these sorts of scenes to work, their absence was certainly noticeable.
Drawbacks aside, I feel like if the show can manage to roughly maintain this trajectory, I'm optimistic for how things will pan out.
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