「智者は時にそむいて利を捨てず」 (Chisha wa Toki ni Somuite Ri o Sutezu)
“The Wise Man Never Forsaketh an Advantage”
Now we’re getting somewhere. Although Genjitsu still has its work cut out for it in forging some semblance of overarching conflict, the first pieces are at last being laid bare and the way forward properly revealed. Don’t expect any sort of stupendous masterpiece on the part of this politicking, but rest assured there’s more to the picture than simply touching fluffy tails.
Much as I lavished praise (read: hopes and prayers) on at the start, Genjitsu’s main selling point is its political struggles and this week finally started delving into it proper. While we won’t get anything particularly amazing here, it’s quite nice seeing a willingness to break with typical epic fashion and show that securing power is often the most difficult task of any new ruler. Yes, you may be acknowledged as the head of whatever plot of half-hearted farmland by some local bigshot, but you are never truly secured until all power players recognize you as such; as Genjitsu shows (albeit shallowly) domestic politics and its arrangement always makes or breaks those with hopes of acting on the international stage. Regardless of your skills or talking prowess, the moment you underestimate that loyal subordinate is the day you find yourself looking at the firing squad.
Of course, Genjitsu won’t really get into the nitty gritty of internal powerplays and this episode is the prime reinforcer. No schemer worth their salt is going to plot or reveal their intentions in such an open environment after all, and outside of immediate shock it’s fairly easy to guess how the hesitant harem head will proceed from here. Endowed with multiple threats united only in outlook – i.e. challenging your claim to rule – only? Nothing a bit of divide and conquer via appeals to personal interest cannot solve. Kazuya may be adhering to a playbook dependent upon wholly coldhearted tactics too much at the moment (Machiavelli only gets you so far in isolation), but he’s on the right track for ensuring his head remains firmly attached to his neck, angsty elven protection notwithstanding. For all his changes and all his developments there’s still a power-base unaccepting of his rule, and only imaginative thinking will ensure it continues long enough to potentially secure the kingdom and find a way home.
Or, you know, finally accept the inevitable.