OP: 「HELLO HORIZON」 by Inori Minase
「まず勇者より始めよ」 (Mazu Yuusha Yori Hajimeyo)
“First Begin with a Hero”
New season, new isekai. You surprised? Better not be, because this genre isn’t disappearing anytime soon if upcoming adaptations are anything to go by. The good news at least is that we’re not beholden to the exact same concepts time and again which Genjitsu is out to prove. It may not be the most intriguing of isekai, but it’s certainly out to separate itself from the pack.
Per the always on-point (and totally never wrong) RC Preview, Genjitsu can be thought of as an isekai miscreant. This one isn’t about saving the world from some demonic threat, overeager usurper, or miscellaneous threat. Or, well, mostly. Sure, the demonic aspect of otherworldly invasion remains, but gone is the idea that the summoned hero must combat the threat through might, magic, and Gary Stu powerups alone. No, for Genjitsu the twist is that the summoned hero’s strength comes from the mind, a strength through which everything involving the embattled Kingdom of Elfrieden subsequently develops, and something the show wastes little time in squirreling away. Need look no further than casually dropping The Prince and having the summoned hero in Souma Kazuya (Kobayashi Yuusuke) immediately turn to state finances to get a good idea of where things are conceptually going. There’s a kingdom to save here, and hero Kazuya is going to use his brains to do it.
In terms of characters themselves, Genjitsu likewise doesn’t spend too long in teasing the obvious. Kazuya for example is about as vanilla as they get for isekai leads, a kid whose goal was being a nondescript civil servant (read: middle manager) before being dispensed into isekai central and shouldered with Elfrieden’s burdens. Or in other words, thoroughly vanilla and with little of the real bean. If that wasn’t enough to highlight things either, the alternate world cast themselves reinforces the point: besides the run of the mill fantasy races, Elfrieden’s ruling monarchy pulls a incomprehensible in abdicating in favour of Kazuya while embracing full modern equality in giving first princess Liscia (Minase Inori) the choice in whether to go through with the decision; fantasy or not, some awfully convenient and anachronistically dubious decision-making was used here to effectively give Kazuya full control over stately proceedings – and all before considering what could happen in the near future. Whether early days or not, Genjitsu will have to narratively show it’s more than skin deep.
Such character concerns, however, somewhat bely where Genjitsu is likely (and conversely) to draw strength: its politics. I wasn’t kidding when I related this one back to Maoyuu Maou Yuusha in the preview, domestic conflict, international competition, and state survival are effectively the names of the game here with characters more personifications of larger interests than singular powers in of themselves. Need look no further than the foreshadowing of internal struggles within Elfrieden to see where things are going while Kazuya’s proclaimed realism (the political science variety) gives a good understanding of the mechanisms through which conflicts will be resolved. Don’t expect anything too deep on the theory front mind you (at least unless the likes of Polybius, More, or Hobbes pop up), but I imagine any lover of system building won’t be disappointed by what Genjitsu has on tap.
While a few episodes will be needed to get a proper handle on Genjitsu, rest assured there’s more to this one than meets the eye. Anyone’s guess what sort of material it winds up being, but I’m certainly intrigued on seeing what ultimately lies in store for this alternate world adventure.