Last week’s episode was centered around Falanya growing into her own as both a person and a princess without Wein around. Yet, just when she faced her greatest trial yet—a marriage proposal from the super entitled first prince of the empire—Wein suddenly appeared to save her. While this worked fine in the moment, I worried that it would undercut Falanya’s agency in the story going forward, relegating her back into being the walking exposition dump she had been before. Luckily, this did not happen.
Wein is, by design, an overpowering presence in the story. He is smarter and more skilled than everyone else. However, that’s not to say he doesn’t have weaknesses. In fact, each arc so far has been about a different one of his shortcomings; He’s shown to lose his cool whenever Ninym is insulted in the first arc, that he can’t predict the actions of idiots in the second, and that he needs reliable information to plan and act in the third. Now we see that, sharp though Wein’s mind may be, he can only take on so much before his body fails him.
This weakness serves as both character building and a way to make sure that Wein doesn’t steal Falanya’s spotlight. In fact, him passing out from exhaustion keeps not only him from interfering with Falanya, but Ninym as well (since she refuses to leave his bedside). Falanya is given more free reign than even the previous episode, which she uses to prove that she is a noble that truly cares for the common people and their plight—as opposed to the imperial brothers using their city as an unwilling battleground in their fight for the throne. It’s all great stuff, and the scene of Falanya leading a march of 30,000 civilians earned.
If assassination attempts and a war for the imperial throne weren’t enough, this episode heralds the return of Caldmellia and her latest attempt to set the world ablaze and dance before the pyre. She’s arrived with the King of Soljest and a holy army to bring peace (ie annex) the area. Knowing her, she just wants to pull the Western Kingdoms into the imperial civil war by exploiting their greed.
Wein and Falanya’s way of dealing with them is brilliant. It’s one thing to annex a city of 30,000 with its infrastructure intact; It’s quite another to suddenly have to take in 30,000 refugees. What should have been a major acquisition of land and resources is turned into a financial and social strain. Of course, what Caldmellia thinks the people of the city are doing and what they are actually doing are likely two totally different things. Wein just needs to secure a diplomatic victory before they figure that out.
Unfortunately, while Caldmellia’s arrival does raise the stakes, it also highlights the episode’s biggest flaw: the pacing. As long as it’s easy to follow what’s going on and why, a breezy pace is hardly a detriment to such a narrative (even if it leaves some things on the cutting room floor). However, this episode goes a bit too fast, leaving behind some major logistical questions that should have been addressed. For example:
- How did Caldmellia get an army into imperial territory? Did they come through Natra? Or are there other paths through the mountains? Or did they come by sea?
- Where were the imperial troops that should have been guarding against an enemy invasion? Even during the second arc where there was an open fighting between the imperial brothers, the imperial garrisons still held the borders.
- Where did Caldmellia’s troops come from, and how are they being supplied? I think we are supposed to believe they are from Soljest given that the king is with her—but that doesn’t really work as Soljest is located West of Marden and has no shared borders with the Empire at all.
Maybe all this will be answered in the next episode, but as it stands, it feels like an army materialized out of nothing just because the plot called for it—and that is never a good thing.
• I also enjoyed the other way they removed Wein from the story this week—having his butt thrown in jail for an “assassination attempt.”
• I guess they didn’t let Wein sleep at all during his three-day interrogation.
• Wein just keeps accidentally killing/almost killing egotistical idiots, doesn’t he?
• Is that a Star Trek The transporter sound effect around 9 minutes into the episode or did I have a stroke or something?
The Genius Prince’s Guide to Raising a Nation Out of Debt is currently streaming on Funimation.
Richard is an anime and video game journalist with over a decade of experience living and working in Japan. For more of his writings, check out his Twitter and blog.