How a Realistic Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom: Volume V

Specter Von Baren

Annoying Green Gadfly
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May 4, 2020
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I want to first say that I've been enjoying this series for the first four books, the premise is interesting and the author has managed to do interesting things that have diverged from most stories in the isekai sub-genre. That being said, this book has made me confident in my assessment of the weaknesses of this series and I have to put it down in words or else my frustration is going to bubble over.

The first issue is Lisca. I was worried about this since the start of the series but feel the problem is worse than I expected and is, from my view, most apparent in this book. Liscia has no character. There's an extremely common trope in love stories with multiple romantic interests, that of the "main girl" the girl that is usually the first introduced, the one the story focuses on the most, and the one that is made clear to the audience is the one the main character is going to end up with.

They also tend to be the least interesting of the romantic interest.. Maybe it's that the creators feel the need to have the "winner" be the one that's most palatable to the most people by having no extreme personality traits or they're drawn to some idealized concept of the "best" partner, I don't know, but it's a thing.

Liscia, from her introduction, was clearly being telegraphed to be a "main girl", I don't like this trope but I'm used to it, so I didn't think it would be a significant issue for me. That changed once the story introduced the fact that Souma could have multiple wives and I think this is why this trope is a bigger problem for this story and Liscia as a character. While "main girls" may not be the most interesting, they have something which the other romantic interests do not, the main character's love. While they may not be the most interesting of the love interests, the main character is attracted to them and loves them, so they "win" the romance game.

Thanks to Souma being able to have multiple wives though, Liscia does not have this distinction. Aisha, Juna, and Roroa are their own unique characters, yes, some may point out that they have their own tropes to them, but they are still more complex than Liscia. Aisha likes eating, she's a bit of a meathead but can also be rather shy at times, she comes from a race of elves that have isolated themselves in the forest. Juna likes singing, she's calm and caring and has a maturity beyond her years and her grandmother is the former duchess of the navy and current commander of the military. Roroa is mischievous and upbeat, she likes nice things like clothes and earning money and she's the princess of a former enemy nation.

What is Liscia? We haven't seen her be interested in any past-times, she never does anything unless she's with Souma, and what personality traits she has are just those of the standard "main girl". Her mother and father are the former queen and king of the kingdom but she's barely interacted with them and in the last volume the two decided to just completely leave the story anyway. She has a Carmine but it's also barely been explored outside of the scene where she cut her hair. She's gone to the military academy yet despite a war breaking out and her being a commander in it we didn't see her actually do anything to influence the outcome or see her fight.

Once you eliminate the meta reason for a main girl which is to have an aggreable "winner" for the protagonist's heart, you have no need for her and she just becomes a millstone around the neck of the story as a bland wet blanket. Liscia's only purpose is to be Souma's "Watson", the person Souma explains his plans and construction projects to and that then remarks on how good an idea it is. I've actually started skimming the parts of the story that are between her and Souma because of how hollow it is to see them be romantic or talk about how in love they are. When you have three other characters with some element of nuance and character engaging in their own romantic scenes with unique elements to them based on their characters traits, Liscia's and Souma's are just boring.

The author needs to either start working to make Liscia her own character, make it so she talks with other people about something that isn't related to Souma, give her a hobby in chess, make it so her military background or her upbringing as a princess actually influence how she is as a character, or they need to kill her off and use her death for drama.

Second problem; speed of advancement. The author did a good job with making the setup of the story make a degree of sense. Souma is someone that read a lot of history, was working in a government position (Though a lower rung job) and was planning to work in city infrastructure before he was summoned, these are skills suited for the roll he has in the story as someone that can revolutionize a medieval like country and it makes what he did in the first two books make sense. If you take someone that knows what and how a water filtration system works and give them the authority of a king then he can have it constructed by ordering his subjects to build it according to his specifications.

This doesn't work so well with something like the field of medicine. Souma doesn't know exactly how this field works, only the generalities, and he and this world do not have access to nearly enough of what is required to create a revolution that brings about a medical world like the one we have today, nor are the people of this world at a point where it makes sense for them to just accept someone telling them how cleanliness and viruses work.

People are skeptical (This is touching on my third main issue) and are slow to change, particularly people before the modern era where radical changes in technology have been more common, so getting people to go along with something like sanitation and modern knowledge of how the body works when most of these people don't even have the luxury, wealth or resources is just ludicrous and inventing a race that can see micro-organisms and a physician with a ludicrously modern understanding of medicine is just handwaving the issue away. This kind of thing should have taken more time and been built up over many chapters.

Further, things like a modern futuristic propulsion device being built and implemented in the army as quick as it was, or at all, worries me. Slowly the author is removing the things that make the world the story takes place in more and more like our own and much less interesting. The author explained that major sea battles were fought with metal ships similar to our own but that they were towed by sea dragons, that's a very interesting method of sea battle and I would like to see what that looks like but in this volume they've created a ship with the previously described modern propulsion device which is set to replace that method of sea battles. They have armies fighting in the air but now we're going to start seeing dragon's with engines on their backs dropping off paratroopers and it just makes the setting less and less interesting. With the rate at which this story is going, and there's many more volumes after this one, we're eventually going to end up with giant mechs fighting each other while shooting lasers and crushing cities under their feet.

If the story is going to be defined by continuous jumps in technology that brings it both closer to modern times and even overtaking modern times then it needs to go slower or it's going to run out of reasonable outlets for this and have to top itself by becoming ridiculous.

Third and final major issue; everyone is too reasonable. This is an issue that was present all the way from the very first chapter with the king quickly and easily transferring his crown to Souma despite having only met him for a few hours. Yes he was the summoned hero meant to save their country, but it was a very extreme step for the king to take. To the author's credit, they did turn that into something more interesting in the third book by giving a reason for why the king did that instead of just leaving it as a handwave so the story could get going. But the issue is present in more than just that big event and it's becoming a mounting issue as more and more characters are introduced.

Characters accept things too easily, they back down from arguments too quickly, they act how someone anticipates them to act too often. This is tied to a problem that often occurs in this sub-genre, where things come easily to the main character. The main character solves problems quickly and easily, people like them too much, they're too powerful, there are no stakes, and they never fail to any significant degree. This story has managed to avoid making Souma like the typical isekai protagonist because he's not in a fighting story. This story is about someone changing society through changes in politics, culture, and technology which can't be done by one person so Souma can't just be an overpowered super fighter that just beats up all the bad guys or cure someone of all their physical ailments with their super magic, he has to work with people and those people have to be competent enough to do things on their own.

However, the characters, even the ones that are acting unreasonably, are acting too reasonable. A prime example of this is from this very volume whith the meeting between the new character Souji and the Lunarian court. Straight up, this should have been Souji's end, this should have been the moment where we saw him carted off by the officials to be locked up forever or excommunicated and thrown out of the country. The Lunarian Orthodoxy was portrayed as corrput and cynical politicians that were using their religion for power. If people like that were going to bother bringing Souji to a private trial for how he was making them all look bad then either they would have had something to get him on (Whether real or manufactured) or it wouldn't have matter what Souji said or did there, he should have been toast. Instead he stops them with what they know are sophist arguments and they just... back down. It's ridiculous. People debating in good faith with one another with honest convictions will go on for hours over even the most trivial topics, it is completely out of character and reason for this event to be so short and end the way it does.

Conflicts are resolved too fast and with very little mess. This was already an aspect of the story in the previous volumes but those volumes were the starting incident and the difficulties our heroes face should be increasing in order to pose a real challenge to them. Antagonists need to put up more of a fight, characters shouldn't just go along with things as easily as they do (An example being how Souma convinced Ludwin and Genia to get hitched in less than five minutes), it doesn't matter if a character is a good guy or bad guy, people very often don't agree on things and will resist being told what to do even if it's something they want to do. The story needs more conflict and it needs to slow down so the characters and plot can "ferment" and be stronger and better. Having everything go so fast makes things feel like junk food.

Minor issues. If I had a dollar for every time the story used the phrase "wry smile" or "smiled wryly" then I could buy a PS5. Even if it's how the original author wrote the story, the people translating it need to swap these descriptions with something else so it isn't so repetitive.

This story was originally posted online and it shows, it could really have used a once over that removed repetitive descriptions between chapters. It makes sense to do this between books but I shouldn't be reading a description of central characters and how they act every couple chapters.

Overall, I've enjoyed the series a lot for being different from the usual fair but I really hope the author steps up their game a little or else it's going to lose me.