「前に古人を見ず、後に来者を見ず」 (Mae ni Kojin o Mizu, Nochi ni Raisha o Mizu)
“Ahead, I See No Ancestors; Behind, I Find No Followers”
Well did promise there would be some surprises in Genjitsu’s final act, and lo and behold surprises appeared. Quite the wrap up provided all things considered: Kazuya found out the reasons he was made king, Carmine got the obvious redemption that was known from a while back, and we got Steins;Gate in isekai fantasy form. Why yes, how did you know I had a smirk on my face? Genjitsu certainly is not without issues (as I’ll get to in a moment), but for all the trips and falls it kept on chugging and made for some entertaining times. After all, hard to fault leaving off with warm and fuzzies, even though I fully believe best girl deserved them more. Anyways, onto those final impressions!
Out of all ways I could describe Genjtisu sanitized would probably be the word of choice. Two seasons worth of political science infused isekai plot and harem-lite shenanigans over time gave way to a story which was arguably more about connecting dots than providing suspense and intrigue. Genjitsu checked off the boxes for anyone with a general taste for geopolitics and state-level machinations, but it also had the potential to be much more.
My main issue with Genjitsu is its veritable paint by numbers simplicity. While conflict was never far from Kazuya and various showdowns occurred, none really rose to the level of nail biting, edge of your seat suspense. Conflict in Genjitsu was basically there for Kazuya to simply espouse some basic political science principle, particularly ones derived from Machiavelli. Rowdy nobles? Put them down ruthlessly in one instant. Secure your legitimacy? Take away the reasons for potential rebellion. Challenged on the international stage? Play your opponents off one another. Any one of these would be interesting in of themselves (as anyone who’s seen the likes of House of Cards can attest), but all conflict almost seemed secondary to just having Kazuya talk about them, as especially evidenced by how quick and neat all of them were wrapped up in their associated arcs. After all, not everyday you deal with a refugee crisis in the span of a couple episodes.
Particularly egregious in this regard is how many of these arcs were concluded: marriage. By itself harems aren’t that bad in anime; they’re a meme unto themselves sure, yet many stories do utilize the concept well enough for their purposes. The problem for Genjitsu is how liberally it leveraged Kazuya’s harem. One or two strategic marriages would’ve been fine (e.g. Liscia and Roroa), but going for four and using it as the mechanism to resolve almost all key conflicts really tested impressions over time. Many of these neat and tidy resolutions for instance could’ve become more interesting and prolonged arcs, seeing far more tension and uncertainty than what we got. The annexation of Amidonia for one would’ve assumed a greater degree of struggle without the convenient escape of marriage, and even internal events like Kazuya obtaining the support of Elfrieden’s populace would’ve become more interesting if certain groups like the elves couldn’t simply give the likes of Aisha as a gift of peace. Simply put Genjitsu relied too much on the tool at hand when others just out of reach could’ve arguably done a better job.
Although all this said makes it seem like I disliked Genjitsu, in the end I don’t regret my time covering it. For all the warts and stumbles it still was a decent watch, particularly when it tickled the fancy of my political science loving mind. Genjitsu at its core is admittedly a show with limited appeal, but should you enjoy the concepts it indulges in and builds off of I would recommend giving it a shot. You may not wind up singing its praises, but it sure as hell might just sell you on exploring the source material as it did me, which if anything can be considered a job well done. Not all anime as promotional material need be immediately discarded after all, and if there’s anything Genjitsu does well it’s showing how a bit of decent marketing does wonders for keeping a series firmly in the public’s eye.