Well, Seijo no Maryoku may call it an interlude, but I dare say this week was far from it. Shifting from the relative comfiness of Sei we got the backstory of Aira to help flesh some things out, and while maybe lacking in some of expected feels-good moments, it shows this tale isn’t only skin deep.
Given the centrality of Aira to Seijo no Maryoku’s plot – i.e. the apparent false Saint at the heart of Sei’s current predicament – it was only a matter of time until we got more on her, however I was not expecting the nuances and complexity of Aira’s situation. At its core it’s your usual setup: Aira was also unexpectedly summoned, thrust into a role she was wholly unprepared for, and largely left to fend for herself. Prince Kyle, thanks to his egocentrism, effectively imprinted himself on her and made himself Aira’s lifeline in a world she most definitely (at least right now) doesn’t want to remain in. All told I quite like this premise; much like other aspects of Seijo no Maryoku it dispenses entirely with the typical isekai trappings of forgetting one’s old life and only caring about the current one. It doesn’t mean Aira won’t eventually move on and find happiness in this new world, but it’s a very nice touch to see emphasized that this process will take time.
Part of the satisfaction too comes from the character subtleties at work. Aira after all has very clear-cut ones in her shyness and introversion directly impacting her socializing and potential relationships, but Kyle’s really came out of left field. While I still dislike the guy, I can appreciate where he’s coming from; the prince is proud, stubborn, and forceful, but he also cares deeply for his people and is willing to take to take the brunt of the fallout for his errors, of which Aira and her wrongful summoning and his treatment of Sei are the main examples. It’s an incredibly surprising yet satisfying bit of character complexity, and a feature only made better by the flaws at work. His scheming for example is predicated on taking all the blame onto his shoulders, but his pride blocks any realization that Aira wouldn’t escape the consequences. If Kyle punished, there’s plenty who would see Aira as personally to blame for his downfall and waste little time in sticking it to her out of spite or to advance their own positions. And given Aira lacks the confidence to stand up for herself, it’s a fight she would lose.
Of course this isn’t to say Aira will actually get thrown to the wolves later on (I imagine she’ll garner support from unexpected locations), yet until Sei’s Saint status is properly – and officially – recognized it’s a situation which will be incredibly interesting to watch unfold. Who knew Tuesdays would be something to look eagerly forward to.