「縦横、成らず」 (Tateyoko, Narazu)
“Contrary to Wishes”
Now that’s what I’m talking about. Mostly. Dancing around the elephant in the isekai room? Thoroughly eliminated this week as the enemies finally come into focus. Doing so far beyond the point when such stuff should’ve been teased? You’re damn right. Is Pancakes just a perpetual bitching machine? Could be – but deep down you know there’s truth to the words I speak.
Much as highlighted before the major part of Genjitsu’s problem is the lack of opponent. Everything Kazuya has done to date has largely been in a void: he’s developed, built up, and otherwise created systems devoid of any pushback typically associated with any sort of major change. Sure, there have been hints of such opposition over the weeks, but nothing tangible has ever presented itself, at least until this week. Part of me is relieved knowing we’re now getting to what has been nearly a month in anticipation, however I’m more inclined to side with incredulity; why are we only getting to this now, why wasn’t this teased better beforehand? Any political thriller worth its salt is going to highlight and build up the opponents to progression, and so far Genjitsu has done precious little in meeting that requirement.
To Genjitsu’s credit though, what we have now is at least in line with expectations. A rebellion on the part of the three dukes – i.e. Elfrieden’s true power brokers – was inevitable considering their overbearing influence, and while I’m dubious that honour and pride is enough of an excuse for the circumstances (seriously, how hard is it to just admit you don’t like change?), I can certainly approve of characters holding true to the confines of their positions. Duke Carmine for example is your quintessential conservative lord, adhering strongly to the principle of change being bad no matter the context, while Duke Vargas is simple opportunism wrapped up pretty for all to see. Both aren’t rebelling over any sense of saving Elfrieden, they’re doing so because their control over Elfrieden is threatened and think they can secure a stronger power base by taking out Kazuya in favour of their own puppet. It’s pure Machiavelli at its finest (heh), and though fairly obvious how this battle will turn out (losing a third of your strength immediately isn’t a good sign), it’s at least a decent struggle to help flesh out this season.
One way or another Kazuya is now set to get a challenge worth his time, and you best be sure overcoming it won’t be a simple walk in the park.