How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom, Vol. 3

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

I will give credit to the author, he managed to hold my attention despite the fact that the entire content of this third volume of Realist Hero is setting up the board for future books. This despite the fact that it’s also dealing with the fallout from Book 2, i.e. the war with Amadonia. This world’s equivalent of the United States is dropping by to arbitrate, and by arbitrate I mean tell Souma and company to give Amidonia back to its rulers, even though the arbitration is done with reluctance. Souma has plans, though. He’s starting the equivalent of a Japanese variety show in order to show Amadonia what true freedom is like. He’s discovering Aisha’s previously unknown talent for tsukkomi. He’s dealing with the nobles who didn’t rebel against him but are still being evil, and does it using (sigh) the power of Machiavelli’s The Prince, which I am never going to enjoy. And if all else fails, he still has his Mr. Rogers cardigan to break out.

As you may have gathered, Aisha, Souma’s elf bodyguard, does get a bit more to do in this book, which is good, given that she’s also set to become Souma’s second ‘primary queen’. The difference between royalty and commoners is highlighted in the narrative, but also pretty much accepted as ‘well, that’s the way it is’, which is uncomfortable. Aisha is royalty by dint of being an elf princess. In any case, there’s also Juna, who gets to be the country’s first big idol singer – something which backfires on her when Souma points out he can’t announce he’s marrying her as well or there would be riots. She is first on his bucket list, though, which also has a few likely suspects that get hinted at here. Though not, refreshingly, the younger sister of the Gran Chaos Empire, Jeanne, who gets ship tease with the prime minister instead. It’s nice to see romance in the series that doesn’t involve Souma.

We also get our first slave, since slavery is legal here as well, because fantasy world. This is a way to reconcile the plot with Castor and Carla, who were on the bad side but weren’t “against the king” per se. Castor is basically stripped of everything but allowed to live because of his years of military experience. Carla doesn’t have that, but she’s Liscia’s friend, so she’s made into a maid for the household. I suppose it’s a better way to deal with her in this narrative than killing her off, but again, I wish this series kicked back a bit more against its cliches, particularly when they involve ‘these people are better than those people’. I may get my wish in future books; there’s a suggestion that Souma’s inability to tell “demons” and “monsters” apart, and everyone’s else’s shock at this, may factor in future books.

And so we end with Souma having to come to terms with the fact that he had a dozen people executed for the crime of ‘might plot against me in the future’, and the fact that this is, to a certain degree, monstrous. Fortunately, he gets some healing therapy in the form of two hot fiancees in bathrobes snuggling up against him. (Note: this therapy likely only works in isekai harems.) I have many issues with Realist Hero, and they keep stacking up like cordwood, but I can’t deny its compulsive readability.

Also, Souma and Aisha’s banter during the ‘variety show’ was A+, the book is worth the price just for that one scene.

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