What’s it about? Souma Kazuya was raised by his beloved grandparents and was encouraged by his grandfather to have a family someday so that he wouldn’t be lonely. After his grandfather’s death, Kazuya was suddenly transported to another world to become a hero and tribute to the Gran Chaos Empire since the Elfrieden Kingdom is on the brink of financial ruin.
This one feels like another standard isekai series. It starts off relatively calm, with Kazuya and his grandpa spending quality time together before the old man dies. While brief, it does set up the reason why Kazuya is such a “realist” (lol), because he’s only 18-years old and no longer has any family around to guide him into adulthood. He makes the practical decision to study for the civil servant exam so that he can at least have a stable income before being taken to another world.
To be honest, when I first saw the trailer I thought it was hilarious. I know isekai for the most part leans on the “chosen one” narrative, but it really expected me to believe an 18-year old who happens to be well-versed in political science and philosophy is capable of handling the financial difficulties of a struggling kingdom? I know the answer is “Yes.” but that doesn’t mean I accept it. I suppose the camera zooming in on “The Prince” by Niccolò Machiavelli is meant to reassure the viewers that he can be a capable leader, but that’s a bit of a stretch for me.
To give Kazuya some credit, he does immediately ask the important questions about why he was summoned and what the Elfrieden Kingdom intends to do with him, but it’s almost jarring how incompetent the king and his advisors were in properly answering any of his questions. Since everyone kept looking at the Queen, I expected her to actually say something important, but she just kept quiet (the narrator is reliable though).
Kazuya’s also rightfully angry that complete strangers are making important decisions about his life; and while it’s admirable to see his quick thinking saved his life, some of the concepts he introduces aren’t that radical. He literally told everyone “let’s review the financial books and decide on a solution based on that,” which seems to amaze everyone so much that the king abdicates his throne in favor of Kazuya. I’m honestly surprised that Elfrieden still has a kingdom that functions at all considering how weak their government is.
Personally, I like isekai stories when the protagonists are struggling to survive and gradually learn more about the world they are living in. It’s far more interesting watching them develop into compelling characters worth following rather than a ready-made genius like Kazuya.
The rest of the episode is mostly Kazuya wowing everyone with his intelligence, which can get boring really fast and has a weirdly colonialist vibe. There seems to be some indication there are some women leaders and politicians to look forward to in the future, but it really isn’t enough to keep me watching.