「李代桃僵」 (Ridai Toukyou)
“Sacrifice the Plum Tree to Preserve the Peach Tree”
Well, that went more or less as expected. Rebellion? Dealt with. Traitors? Put on notice. Hotel? Amidonia. It was the conclusion which effectively wrote itself, though if I’m to be honest it’s also and ending which probably could’ve been handled slightly better.
In line with how Genjitsu has been set up, the question for any of its major developments isn’t whether Kazuya winds up winning but rather how he wins. Like all good isekai leads he’s going to barrel over the competition, and no matter how much Castor and Carmine may disagree, it’s going to be a process with only one assured outcome. It is this scenario where I coincidentally draw my greatest criticism: yes, Carmine and Castor were inevitably going to succumb to mental fortitude of Kazuya, but did it really have to be this way? And by way I’m referring especially to Carmine. Say what you will about strategizing, but Carmine’s roundabout idea really stretches at the suspension of disbelief. In a realistic – i.e. politically realistic – world one does not simply make such a sacrifice. You may favour a particular side or lean towards a specific outcome, but letting yourself get trampled under in support of it goes against every principle of survival as we know it. Carmine after all could’ve easily done this manoeuvre through backroom channels similar to how Excel swore her allegiance – just get a sworn subordinate to pledge loyalty and you’re off to the races. It’s stuff like this which (at least for me) shows the narrative weakness of Genjitsu, and how a bit of writing change could’ve gone a long way to improving overall impressions.
Such statements, however, do distract from where some major impressions were formed this week, especially in terms of rebellion aftermath. Quite impressive for example was the use of slave collars; seeing such ruthlessness on the part of Kazuya was not expected for such a tale, but is typically how one deals with the defeated opponents of any domestic struggle. You raise arms against the state and deign to overthrow its vested ruler? If lucky enough to keep your head your life as you knew it is over and firmly at the beck and call of the victorious party. Having Kazuya tackle this aspect through such a ubiquitous fantasy concept is a nice change of pace and shows that this kid isn’t as wishy washy as appearances may indicate. For all the nitpicks I might have regarding the ways Genjitsu is concluding certain events, there’s plenty going exactly how I hoped, enough that I have my hopes up regarding how it intends on wrapping up this arc.
After all, there’s still an opportunistic opponent in Amidonia to take care off, and if Kazuya’s latest actions are any indication, it and its future ruler may not like the results the future peace treaty are going to inevitably yield.