「衣食足って、栄辱を知る」 (Ishoku Tatte, Eijoku o Shiru)
“Well Fed, Well Regarded”
I’m kind of two minds when it comes to Genjitsu right now. Part of me quite likes the willingness of this series to delve into the nitty gritty of political systems and pure unadulterated realism (the good kind), yet we then get episodes like this which pretty much stray no further than the well-trodden kiddy pool. Sure, early days and all that jazz, but I’m hoping the smelling of roses doesn’t continue in perpetuity.
Probably what irks me this week is how last episode’s Iron Chef gone isekai largely carried over into this one. While one episode of alternate world food tastes is fine and good, spending a bunch of time on the culinary benefits of slime ranching (after the food adventures previously) seems a tad too much when the main emphasis here – i.e. politics and all its hassles – has only just been touched on. Even for everything Genjitsu is cutting material-wise (and rest assured it’s quite a bit) it feels right now as though the show doesn’t know exactly how far to head down the rabbit hole. Is the audience led in gently through inexperienced dark elves and isekai harem tropes wrapped up in fancy packaging, or do matters go full hog and bring forth the scheming in all its gritty and dirty glory? While I can see the benefit of building up the likes of Kazuya and Liscia before delving into meat and potatoes, I do admit my biases have me preferring taking the latter approach. Genjitsu is all about the politics, so let the politics shine.
Of course, such an argument ignores how we’re getting to the point of conflict and this episode can also be considered a calm before the storm. Aisha’s mentioning of resistant conservative elements in her own clan is a fairly good reminder that for all of Kazuya’s successes he’s still an insecure king. For all his support, all his loyal retainers, and all the benefit of rational and pragmatic powers, there’s plenty out there who don’t feel the same and won’t hesitate to put him in his place to benefit themselves when the opportunity arises. We’ve seen examples of these individuals already earlier, and though they have yet to be properly introduced, it’s a decent bet that day is not far off. Kazuya after all currently lacks a proper and defined enemy to drive future developments, so the only reasonable action is to give him one.
Who (and what) it’ll be is anyone’s guess, but rest assured we have yet to see just what teeth Genjitsu has lying under the surface.