College student and aspiring bureaucrat Souma Kazuya is alone after the death of his last relative, his grandfather. Some of said grandfather’s advice to Souma was to start a family so he wouldn’t be alone. Change of scene: a fantasy world imperiled by monsters. The kingdom of Elfrieden resorts to a centuries-old hero summoning ritual, which snags Souma. Elfrieden isn’t fighting the monsters directly, but the empire leading humankind’s war effort is demanding aid, either in the form of money (which Elfrieden doesn’t have) or the use of Elfrieden’s unique hero summoning power. Rather than be turned over to the empire as tribute, Souma proposes reforms that could make Elfrieden stronger and more financially stable. And then, to the shock of Souma and pretty much literally everyone else (with one exception), the king suddenly abdicates, declaring Souma his successor and betrothing his daughter Liscia to the new king. The latter part of the episode focuses on various people in and outside the kingdom, most notably Liscia herself, reacting to this abrupt turn of events.
This adaptation of a light novel series seems likely to entertain – even more than the light novel, in fact. Besides being an interesting twist on the prototypical isekai formula, this episode was funnier than the open section of the LN (cf. the screenshots above and below this paragraph). I think the anime is also likely to dodge one of my biggest complaints with the source material: painfully awkward writing when the story is trying to keep something secret from the reader that the characters already know. With no first-person narrator, it’s vastly easier for the anime to keep secrets without being obnoxious about it. In conclusion: as a light novel reader, I enjoyed this episode and look forward to what’s the come. I think this adaptation has serious potential to surpass the source material.
How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom is airing on Funimation. Read our thoughts on all the new summer anime series, in addition to comments from our other writers, on our Summer 2021 Anime First Impression master post.