Episode 11 – How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom Part 2

Okay, I’m going to do my best here folks. As with any review, I’ll try and make it 100% clear that my opinions are simply my perspective, but this episode touches upon some areas I want to be particularly careful about discussing. This episode features two characters – Jirukoma and Komain – who are refugees from another nation. They are wearing garb that is clearly inspired by those of the Native American peoples (or at least the popular stereotypes of them). As a white person, I’m not super comfortable discussing the propriety of these portrayals, but since the episode predominantly revolves around them I have to at least address their presence in some fashion. Once again, I acknowledge that my perspective is limited to that of an outsider, so if I misspeak, misrepresent something, or gloss over something vital, please let me know.

So, structurally I feel like the episode is constructed quite well. The first half is largely about addressing the refugee crisis that has been simmering in the background, while the latter half addresses the more immediate issue of a birth. Having the resolution to both problems be tied to a shared understanding of the value of life and using novel solutions to resolve difficult problems is a brilliant narrative choice and one that I feel resonates outside the text as well. One of my recurring issues with this series has been that many of the very complicated problems Souma encountered were often solved with what, to my mind, felt like overly-simplistic solutions. Here we get a lot of back-and-forths that really demonstrate how messy life can be, whether you’re trying to run a nation or ensure a successful childbirth.

While I will still refer back to my initial concerns about my limited perspective here, I do feel that the introduction of Jirukoma and Komain is overall done in good faith. They are portrayed as complex characters with clashing views on the best way forward for their people in this difficult situation. Additionally, the eventual resolution is not a clean-cut one; They ultimately end up acknowledging that while some of their people may be comfortable settling in this new port city, others will want to fight to reclaim their home. Souma is also careful to avoid exploiting them (or at least exploiting them in the same manner as the Gran Chaos Empire) and treats them as equals in the negotiation, which is all great to see. There’s obviously a lot of missing nuance to this, particularly as it concerns the displacement of Indigenous people (albeit conveniently due to demons and not the actions of other human beings), and there remains the question of whether the topic should be addressed at all in the format of a single episode plotline for a weekly anime. But again, I’m not really the person to weigh in on that, other than to say I don’t get a sense that this was done out of a sense of malice.

The childbirth sequence was another heap of positives and negatives to weigh in on. What I liked was that this was a problem where Souma helped slightly but is ultimately forced to rely on the expertise of others more experienced than him. This is something I want to see more of going forward, where Souma leverages his knowledge to assist others without necessarily waving a magic wand and fixing things immediately. I also like that Carla calls him out for being detached and clinical about childbirth, stating that even if it were 100% safe it is still a major ordeal and nothing to be taken lightly. Again, this is good character writing in my opinion and in line with what we know about Souma: he has all this knowledge and thinks he knows best, but that can also make him come off as far away and somewhat cold about the reality on the ground.

The main issue I have with this section has to do with the C-section procedure itself. The question of whether the people of this fictional fantasy land would have a method to safely perform a C-section without a high risk of death for either the mother or child is a murky one. Without getting too deep in the weeds, it’s certainly believable for a vaguely medieval-European fantasy region to not have the technology or knowhow to safely pull off the procedure. It’s also not a surprise that Souma would suggest the C-section to save them both. What I’m puzzled about is how he knew enough about the procedure to help the light mages/midwives/doctors do a better job of it than what they already knew with their experience. I certainly doubt he learned that from Machiavelli, so I assume he’s just working with general knowledge and a few particulars about this complicated medical procedure that he picked up through cultural osmosis. I know it wouldn’t be too much of a problem for me to broadly describe a C-section to someone unfamiliar, but if you pressed me on how to modify the procedure to integrate it with a magical healing system, I don’t know what I could offer other than “Uh… keep casting Cure Light Wounds the whole time you’re cutting????” Maybe I’m alone in my ignorance and everyone else just knows a ton that I don’t, but Souma’s competence in this area seemed like a stretch.

In any case, I think the episode was well-constructed overall and its heart was in the right place, though there are more than a few particulars in its portrayal of real-world elements that one could take umbrage with.

Rating:



Grant is the cohost on the Blade Licking Thieves podcast and Super Senpai Podcast.


How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom is currently streaming on Funimation.

Leave a Comment