I'm thoroughly disappointed. Not in the anime itself, but how people just don't seem to interpret it how it's meant to be interpreted. I've read constant reviews of "well it's just a bland isekai" "nothing even happens" and "why did these characters even do this that" for the obvious reasons of simply not understanding the plot, or rather just wanting to attack the anime because it's an Isekai I assume. Some may be upset with my accusation, however I do believe it's something worth noting before I continue onto my review. Not everyone will love this anime as deeply as I have. As a student of economics, and as someone with a genuine interest in politics as a whole, this show stood out far beyond what I thought it would. My expectations were extremely low going into the show initially, however, almost immediately, I was struck with phrasing I was honestly shocked to be able to understand. Guess that $4,000 worth of economics classes paid off, at least for watching anime haha. At first the anime begins how any other might, with a hero being dragged into another world, but directly after that instance, it becomes an entirely new beast of strategic wonder. I will go into further detail in each category following....
I wanted to address this first as it is seemingly lost to many people who review this anime. Firstly, I want to break something to you all... NOT ALL CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT HAS TO BE CUT AND DRY, NOR DOES IT NEED TO BE OBVIOUS! Now that I'm finished yelling at you, let me explain. Character development is tricky for any story. We eventually get so caught up in the routine of other characters that we expect each one introduced to us to have similar arcs. That is, not the case however. And especially not for this anime. Before I move on though, a second yelling point.... NOT ALL CHARACTERS WILL CHANGE DRAMATICALLY! Although this is similar to the first yelling point, I thought it best to distinguish the two. You will find that most people... once they have hit maturity... have minimilstic changes in their behavior as time goes on. For this show, the MC does exactly that, yet I feel everyone expected him to have some kind of reckoning? I'm not sure why though, this show literally has "The Realist Hero" in the title. The man has a goal, to get the kingdom back on track, and as he progresses through his mission, we see him incrementally change. The same goes for the other characters as well (excluding a few who have dramatic changes during a rebellious sequence of events I won't spoil). This show is not meant to have drastic changes to the characters, otherwise, that just wouldn't be realistic. Everyone stayed true to who they were throughout the show, and the MC, does change, but over time and not all at once like a Dragon Ball training montage. It was refreshing to see such realistic development of a persons identity from going from a guy just trying to survive, to a full blown caring man and king who has clearly decided (spoilers coming so skip to the second part if you don't wanna hear this) to stay in that world, and make the most of his life. And the harem aspect is also quite refreshing. Contrary to what those with... appendages... may want, this show lacked something it needed to lack... the sexualization of the women. There were moments that were rather interesting to say the least with how the MC and his harem interacted (in a good way of course), but it wasn't anything outright flagrant, which it shouldn't be. And the MC isn't a dunce, he's simply planning ahead, and once he's made up his mind on staying, he fully embraces those around him, but still needs to grow accustomed to having someone to love, which should be natural as he is normally an introverted person who's just been thrust into a position and a life he never expected, as well as given the opportunity to create a family he never intended. It's a normal progression of love, one rarely seen in anime, and one not based on "disaster bias" (when someone falls in love just because they save them or there's been a disaster and they feel the urge to fall in love quicker). His harem respects him for who he is, what he's done, and how he treats them. And none of them are Tsundere, which is nice. Although I wouldn't take on a Harem personally if presented the opportunity, the explanation for why it's included, and how it progresses to that point, seems completely natural even for me.
This is another area I feel people have gotten confused with the show. I'm not sure if they got lost, which is understandable because there is a lot of information in the show to take in, or they just really hate isekai and want to trash talk another one, but one thing I wanted to address here before the rest is... spoilers coming again... the rebellion. I'm not sure also if the reviews previously written were made before the reveal of why the rebellion happened to begin with, but if not, then shame on whoever wrote them, because although I thought the rebellion was stupid at first, I didn't hold it against the show, and knew it would be tied in somehow, which in the end it was. This show plans ahead, so far ahead that it goes OVER THE HEAD of some of the people watching who might lack the will to want to focus on the story as a whole. Overall every strategic move the MC makes is very well calculated and explained. He is a smart man and is received as such in my mind.
OH BOY I LOVED THIS PART! This show by FAR has the best economic explanations of any show I've ever seen aired... ANYWHERE! And that's putting it mildly. I literally saw a properly represented supply and demand graph. I'll say though, they didn't show the situation properly on the graph. The MC was explaining how they were going to implement and encourage quicker distribution, and so they showed two supply and demand graphs, but for both they showed different demand angles, which isn't how economics normally works. If an externality is presented, the demand curve would shift, not change angles. And if price is adjusted then it would either move up or down the demand curve itself. But besides that the overall explanation was good, I just think the animation team might have not understood exactly how to present it, BUT THEY GOT DAMN CLOSE AND I COMMEND THEM FOR THAT! Additionally, every situation he posed was completely accurate to real life economic struggles, and his solutions were legitimate solutions. ALSO DID ANYONE NOTICE THE MAN LITERALLY SOLVED THE PRODUCTIVITY PROBLEM AMONG THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES IN THE EPISODE WHERE HE EXPLAINS HOW HE FIXED THE SLUMS? I'm writing a damn paper about that part I swear! This show is so rife with amazing ideas for solving legitimate issues in society, and even posing alternative solutions to issues from the past which could have been overcome more peacefully (such as the issue of the American Civil War). It's crazy to think how an anime can literally pose these amazing ideas and just be interpreted as "another isekai" to me. But all opinion aside, 9.5/10 for the economics, I just had to take off .5 for that missed graphic, and some other economic graphics (which again is probably just the animation team since the overall explanations were perfect.
I'm going to quickly go over this part for those who seem to expect every anime to have an enormous budget for animation. First off, they don't, and this show didn't need any. They presented the world well. It was beautiful when it needed to be, and bland when it needed to be. Also for those saying the "castles looked boring", well duh? Have you ever seen a European castle? They literally all look the same. I swear some people don't have Google... beside that though, it hit the animation well when it needed too. Although I do wish we could have gotten to see full animations for the fight scenes, I understand that the purpose of the show wasn't meant to be that, and honestly if there were amazing fight scenes, it might have taken away from the economic, political, and strategic elements of the show itself, making viewers feel like they're waiting for another epic action sequence instead of just enjoying the show for what it was meant to be... which leads me to the story.
Lastly I'd like to discuss the story. Another thing reviewers pointed out constantly in a rather oblivious manner was "WHERE ARE THE DEMONS???!??!". And let me tell you... WHO CARES! If we wanted a show about demons invading a country, by god just go watch LITERALLY ANY OTHER ISEKAI! They made the point in the episode where the Empire negotiated with the Kingdom that the EMPIRE HAD THE SITUATION UNDER CONTROL. This show wasn't ever meant to be about the demons (I wouldn't have had an issue if they posed a legitimate problem in a later episode, but otherwise it didn't matter), the show is about HOW THE REALIST HERO REBUILT THE KINGDOM. And true to its title, that's exactly what we got. And that's exactly what we needed. If you're upset about it, then please go watch something else, don't bring it to the reviews. And beyond that, the story is overall just excellent. I felt like I got to see how a sound political realist would operate, maintain, and rebuild a country, as well as how he would handle specific situations. And for those complaining it was too fast paced... ok that part I agree on, however it needed to be. It was both fast paced but at the same time not. I felt like the conversations took their time between characters, but also time flew by so quickly watching this show because of how interesting those conversations were. Truly a masterpiece of economic and political struggles focused in on by a writer who understands exactly how to present them.
In conclusion, I'm sorry, but if you have no understanding of economics, strategy, or politics, this is definitely not the anime for you. You will find it bland, and honestly probably just come on here to complain about it for no reason when you could have just accepted this isn't your cup of tea. But for those that do love those things such as myself... THIS IS DEFINITELY THE ANIME FOR YOU! And you should hope that this one comes back for another round of episodes (even though it doesn't have to and had a satisfactory ending). I wish for it to continue but I know a lot of people may have found it boring, and that's ok. I'm just glad I got to enjoy the amazing ride it took me on. And I look forward to writing a paper about the MC and the legitimate implications his solutions have for solving some critical economic crisis in the real world. It should be an interesting time. And at that, I wish you all a good day, and hope you enjoy your anime hunt!
This anime started out with so much promise, was actually doing something different, but now? Now it's just another stupid harem isekai and i'm done.
Maybe i'm being harsh, but such is the contrast between what the show is trying do (looking at the real world issues of running a nation albeit in a fantasy setting) and the absolutely moronic implementation of the harem trope into the show.
Early on they establish the idea that in this world marriages are polygamic with the wives and husbands sharing equal standing and are each free to marry as many partners as they so choose. Now you don't need to be some sort of economic genius to see how this just would not be allowed for tax reasons alone but take this to it's logical conclusion and you could have entire nations where everyone is married to everyone else and the union holds utterly no meaning at all, legally or otherwise. And before someone tries to suggest that this is being inclusive or progressive in someway please note that we NEVER see any marriages of this nature other than with the protagonist himself (and that's a one sided pologamy between him and several women, so really even that doesn't count)!
In the first part tho this was just a stupid idea (with no thought put behind it AT ALL), a way to force the harem trope into an anime that DOES NOT NEED IT cause that's what you do with isekai fantasy anime, ain't it? It's in this part, this season, that the idea takes off into true lunacy as they actually start implementing it for the protagonist who is a HEAD OF STATE!
At this point Souma is now engaged to: the daughter of the former king, the daughter of a tribal chief and his personal bodyguard, the daughter of a prominent noble and the daughter of the king of a annexed nation. Now you don't need to be some sort of political studies student to know that this would not be in any way politically viable AT ALL, and would in fact render the usual benefits (and responsibilities) of political marriages utterly null and void (for once again you take this to it's logical conclusion Souma could go onto marry EVERY single daughter of EVERY nation in this world!).
So yeah, i tried my best to overlook this stupidity but after episode 4 they just kept piling on and on and on, practically 4 episodes in a row has been largely dedicated to this utterly absurd idea in a show with the world "realist" in the title! And it really is a shame as when this show was looking at the inner workings and issues of running a nation it truly was interesting and unique.
So, in the end I've decided to watch this season after the disappointing first one. This time, I abandoned all my expectations brought about by the hope around the source material (light novel), and just decided to see if at least the show got better in terms of romance/harem/characters.
The short answer is yes, the show did get better. Unfortunately, the full answer is: the show did get better, but not much. It doesn't really make the first season worth watching. This time, I'll write a shorter review that focuses on two things: comparing this season with the previous one and a few words about this specific season.
The story is a bit better in this season because most of the grand events have been concluded, so it's time to deal with the aftermath, some minor events, and characters/harem, which leaves the viewer with smaller expectations to be dashed (although I'll admit I already expected the harem part before watching due to reading other reviews of S2).
It's a good thing that we get more focus on harem—it really needed it. In the previous season, we just get random waifus added one after another. This time, there's more focus on those relationships. Sadly, the execution is still pitifully bad in a sense that we first get just small snippets, and then we get half an episode (or was it a whole episode) that instantly brought us up to date on a bunch of development that apparently happened off-screen because we see almost none of it happen in the show until then (I admit that that half an episode was done in a somewhat interesting way, but it doesn't make up for the half-bakedness). Only the last episode somewhat lived up to normal standards.
In general, I got a strong feeling that I was dealing with a show that adapted source material that had lots of slow character relationship development spread over a big amount of text in small bits and pieces (as is sometimes the case in light novels), yet the show just took some more important events, and left out all the "petty" details, which were nonetheless what gave soul to the said development. In other words, the adaptation was a failure—they should've employed a more fully encompassing treatment of the material they were adapting instead of thinking it'd be okay as long as they adapted the main parts.
This doesn't only refer to characters and their relationships, as in general a lot of this S2 was kind of a hit-and-miss in terms of plot, where we deal with important events at one time, and then they waste half an episode on triffles that could've been handled much quicker and better. For example, this was the case with the medical episode and slavery episode.
There was also some crap as in the S1—poorly executed events. This is a bit of an inadvertent pun because my example is how they killed some inconvenient nobles (weird implementation of Macchiavelli stuff again), but nobody cared afterwards, neither to praise nor condemn this supposed act of tyranny. A considerable plot hole. Imagine the prime minister killing all opposition party politicians in your country and nobody cares.
I feel like the animation was considerably better in this season, but maybe it's because there were no action scenes, so the budget wasn't as tight (or they had no opportunity to screw up)? I don't think there were any obvious problems, though I also feel like I'm forgetting some scene...
Neither good nor bad, just like previously. The only major difference is that instead of incorporating songs directly like in the first season (which I honestly found cringy), they picked a subtler approach of using them as BGM only (with one acceptable exception).
I've already mentioned the harem in the [story] part, so I won't repeat myself. I can at most add that waifus are still poorly characterized in the series.
The same goes for the protagonist. He isn't as bland as many isekai MCs, but he has no real charisma except for the moments when he makes official decisions and issues official orders as a king. It's nice though that he grew into his role a bit more compared to S1.
Generally, characters were just as bland as in the previous season. We also had missing characters (like the former prime minister, who was supposed to stay in some role in the court, but only appeared once I think, and that, too, was just a brief a flashback or something).
Still characters, but now it's going to be spoilerish.
Curiously, of the 5 talents from the first season, the wolf-eared loli completely had no screen time (are they waiting for her to grow up to join the MC's harem?), and the fat dude didn't appear much, either. Of course, the two talents who are in the harem had sufficient screentime.
I appreciate, though, that our new prime minister finally got some time to appear. I also like that he's developing some ship with empire's general. It's just sad that that ship got so little attention. I think it's great to see some ships besides MC and his harem in a show, so it was a wasted opportunity.
Also, the annoying brat and annoying fox girl were gone in this season. Good riddance, both were redundant and unpleasant to watch.
I don't recommend, unless you enjoyed the first season. If there's a third season in the future, the chances of my watching it are very low. I only bothered with S2 because it was already out in full. Perhaps I'll give the light novel a try a few years from now after I mostly forget this failure of a show.
The majority of it is slightly worse than the first season, but everything is passable until the final episode. The final episode is basically nothing but a super dragged-out stupid reveal. Started pretty okay and ended the show on a painfully mediocre note. Not nearly as excited for more of this series anymore. The whole thing is an okay watch I guess if you've got nothing else.
Politically-motivated Harem is a new genre, I guess.
Realist Hero Part II has bigger stakes and a more focused plot this time round, but suffers from really slow pacing. For example, a lot of the narrative focuses on King Souma's troubles after the war with Amidonia, but it takes 3 episodes for anything to be established. The interactions are more interesting this time, with a standout being a conversation between Souma and the disgraced general, Carmine.
The problem is that for every unique and interesting scene, it's followed up by an episode with nothing going on at all.
Also, the Harem continues to grow for political reasons, with leaders from different nations as well as people in Souma's rule wanting to be his wife. It;s never really explored, but I guess we might see more if there's a season 3.
Animation is pretty standard, as well as the sound. Not much to add there.
Overall, an improvement over Part 1, I just wish they didn't kill the pacing every other episode.