How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom, Vol. 1

By Dojyomaru and Fuyuyuki. Released in Japan by Overlap, Inc. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Sean McCann.

There is a certain variety of story that has been seen more and more often lately. It usually is fanfiction, but as we’ll see, doesn’t always have to be. It usually involves the author (almost always a young male in their late teens or early 20s) reading a work and liking the general idea, but feeling the execution just wasn’t… badass enough. Or the main character was friends with the wrong people. Or the world was run in a nonsensical way, and things would be far better if everyone just had more common sense and thought things through. (These stories also usually involves a large number of heroines deciding they’re OK with sharing the love of the hero in happy polyamory, possibly as they were mostly written by late teen-early 20s boys.) The most famous example is probably Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, but if you’re looking for something along those lines but in an original work, Realist Hero may be right up your alley.

“But wait,” you say, “I thought you said this wasn’t fanfiction!” Indeed, it’s an original story in the isekai genre, of a young man summoned to another world to defeat a demon king, but who instead puts his college learning to good use teaching modern politics, economic theory, and the essentials of running a city to good use, becoming the king and ending up engaged to the crown princess seen in the cover. “But… that’s Saber, right? Saber Red, to be precise.” Don’t be silly, that is not Saber Red. It merely looks just like her. Not a surprise, as the illustrator’s pixiv page basically contains the cover for Realist Hero 1 and a ton of Fate/GO art. That is Princess Liscia, who warms to our hero over the course of the book, acts as a student for all the modern ways he’s teaching them, and in return teaches him about the little known facts of their fantasy kingdom, like the polyamory. Which is probably fortunate as he also gets a hot elf bodyguard and singer/temptress/big sister figure to fall for him (I’m ignoring the loli for the moment), and seems to be adding a feisty young dragonet noble, manipulative princess of the country next door, and tsundere thief to the mix in future books.

I’ve been fairly glib in this review, but I will happily admit the book is something of a hoot to read. It wears its heart on its sleeve, and while I wish it would tone down the Machiavelli (using The Prince as a guidebook on how to run a country is never, IMO, a good idea, especially as some scholars think The Prince was meant to be satire), the lead is actually likeable and not the massive jerk you sometimes see in these sorts of stories. His suggestions are sensible, but don’t always work out perfectly, and I like the fact that we move forward over several months as the book progresses. (There’s also a narrative device where sometimes we hear “little did they know that in thirty years time, this would become etcetcetc.”, which I also liked.) If you’re looking for an isekai that’s light, breezy fun (though the second volume implies there may be war on the horizon), this should fit the bill nicely.

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  1. If you’re looking for an isekai that’s light, breezy fun (though the second volume implies there may be war on the horizon), this should fit the bill nicely.

    I’m going to guess that this series isn’t very true to The Prince then… because having read chapters of it, it is anything BUT light and breezy (nor does it expect a ruler to behave in such a way).

    I mean honestly, if the author intended to write as a true realist, then 90% of the book would be about backroom politics, outmaneuvering, and backstabbing all fronted by PR propaganda and legal debates.

    Whatever else, HP:MOR took its topic (psychology and cognitive sciences) very, VERY seriously — even if the author was on a liberal, pro-life crusade.

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