The first season of How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom has come to an end, and it is now time to pay the piper and look at what the series accomplished in its 13 episode runtime. In this How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom Review, let us look past the prior misgivings and opinions, look at the show objectively, and figure out if the second season will be worth watching. Let’s get to it!
How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom Overview
Genjitsu Shugi Yuusha no Oukoku Saikenki or “Genkoku” for short is a Fantasy Isekai anime that ran for the entirety of Summer Anime 2021 season and was produced by the anime studio J.C.Staff, whose prior works we’ll talk about later in this review. The anime was directed by Takashi Watanabe, who has previously been involved with the productions of Death Note and Slayers. The anime was adapted from a popular light novel of the same name written by Dozoemaru, or Dojyamaru.
We reviewed the entire season from beginning to end in episodic form, so if you’re inclined towards that format of review, you can head towards our review of the first episode and go from there! I highly suggest you do that, in case you are only starting to watch the show now.
How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom Review- The Plot
The plot of How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom is the only thing that sticks out about this otherwise rather formulaic and cookie-cutter show. Today’s anime landscape is oversaturated with Isekai anime of various types. Realist Hero manages to stand out among its peers because of a singular reason- paying attention to the little things. It’s crazy to think that the most boring parts of real-life can make an anime one of the most interesting of the season, but that’s where we are.
For the most part, Realist Hero brings to the forefront the most benign parts of running a kingdom or managing anything, paperwork and pointless squabbles over the smallest of things. After the 8th straight anime where the powers and magic exist only to make the main character overpowered and not explained well, it was refreshing to see How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom‘s take on a trope that has already been done to death.
Our protagonist Kazuya was a civil services agent back in the real world, so he looks at the world of Elfrieden a little different than the others. He possesses the exact knowledge one needs to save the kingdom from ruin, and he applies them in a “realist” way, as in a practical, no-nonsense, non-sentimental manner that takes no prisoners. It is great to see a society develop before our own eyes, especially when you’ve always wondered how our knowledge and technology would apply to a medieval setting.
Kazuya focuses on food, gets the useless heirlooms, sells it to maintain capital, and builds a team that is the best in their fields. He gets a magical power that is completely useless to a normal person, but he makes it work for the one thing that even How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom couldn’t make interesting- paperwork. Kazuya builds cities, maintains armies, and foils coups staged against him, all using clever strategies that he developed using the help of his team.
If that is what the entire series was all about, it would have received a high score in this category, but there’s a little more to it. You see, How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom is also a Harem anime, which means that Kazuya has his admirers among the fairer sex and will marry one or all of them someday. Every time that particular subplot is mentioned, the show’s pacing grinds to a halt, and we have to endure some excruciating moments of non-existent chemistry between one or more of his cohorts.
Some moments, at the end, including a slightly botched war, are also not executed very well. An entire rebellion is quashed without much of a thought, and the villains weren’t villains at all. Instead, the King and Prince of Amidonia are treated as dunces who somehow got in possession of the royal seat and are pushed aside and beaten without much thought by Kazuya.
The overall worldbuilding of How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom is fine. However, a lot of it is done lazily with the help of long boring monologues. There are your usual fantasy characters like elves, monsters, and humanoid animals. The threat of a dark army looming in the background should make the next season interesting if adapted correctly. The series ends at an interesting moment, as the culmination of an entire series’ work is finally rewarded to Kazuya.
The main issue with How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom Season 1 is that hundreds of anime are doing the harem genre much better than How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom ever could. None of them could ever even touch the levels of politicking and warfare that Realist Hero does. The show would focus more on what sets it apart than what makes it generic in an ideal world. Harem isn’t what this show is good at, and I don’t think it should receive as much attention as it does.
How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom Review- The Characters
How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom has many characters with distinct personalities, and we will talk about the most important ones here. The main character, Kazuya Souma, has a fairly decent personality, plenty of motivation and the ability to want to do good in the world of Elfrieden. When the show gives him enough time to shine, he comes across as a measured and gentle individual. While not being unique, those are some good personality traits to have in a protagonist.
The show’s main female character is Liscia Elfrieden, crown princess of the realm and betrothed against her will to Kazuya. She is voiced by Inori Minase, a phenomenal voice actress with a huge backlog of prior work. Liscia has decent chemistry with Kazuya but comes across as slightly boring and is ignored for a large part of the show favouring different girls in Kazuya’s harem. I would like for her to have more screen time, but that ship has seemingly sailed.
Kazuya assembles a team of gems in a weirdly specific manner, introducing many of the show’s major side characters. These include Aisha, the powerful warrior elf, Juna, the magical songstress and Tomoe, a very young forest dweller who can talk to animals, including the demons. The three of these are the core cast of side characters that assist Kazuya and get their own side stories in the anime. These are well-done characters with a ton of upside to them. Juna especially stands out alongside Tomoe, who is thankfully young enough not to be a harem member.
The male gems, Hakuya and Poncho, do not get as much attention and aren’t very well rounded out. They get barely any time in the entire series and stick out like sore thumbs whenever they are on screen. The same can be said about all the antagonists who are terribly written and explored. The king and prince of Amidonia are bumbling buffoons who are unfit to lace a real ruler’s boots. The same can be said about the three dukes save for Excel Walter, and Georg doesn’t feel nearly as smart as he thinks he is. Overall, the show has a neat little cast that feels solid but still needs some work.
How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom Review- Art and Music
How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom works with a generic palette that doesn’t seem to take a lot of effort to produce, which is fine for some parts of the show but excruciatingly bad for some others. The normal talking and politics sections are fine, but things fall apart whenever there is a hint of any action. The war sub-segment of the show was a pain to watch because it was very poorly animated, and things just looked unnatural.
The character models all look awful when they are viewed at any angle other than facing them. That is a unique issue that I have never noticed in any other anime apart from this one. The animators were probably over budget and overworked to the point that I feel and complaining about this, but something has got to give. The series is popular enough to get a second season this early, so it is popular enough to have better animation.
The music is fine, but I do not remember a single OST from the show’s 13 episode run. The opening theme is the most recognisable part of the show, and the voice of Liscia, Inori Minase, sung it herself. Overall, the animation and music in this show is average at their best and horrifying at their worst. Oh boy, this Genkoku review took a while.
How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom started with a lot of potential but threw a lot of it out of the window by the season’s end. The animation was horrible, the music unremarkable, and some characters were forgotten as soon as the show ended. The plot is what kept this series afloat for most of its running. I will not be tuning in for How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom Season 2.