Realist Hero: How to Get Started With the Anime and Light Novels

Since debuting on screen in the summer of 2021, How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom has quickly garnered considerable popularity and enthusiasm among anime fans. A playful satire on fantasy isekai, Realist Hero is known for its enthusiastic and detailed descriptions and expositions of policy, as well as its highly complicated political intrigue. The screenwriting proceeds along with a playful tone, memorable and interesting characters, and detailed explanations of its fictional fiscal and administrative initiatives.

The result is a charming and self-aware satire of isekai which, by shining a light on the nonsensicality of many of its tropes, tells a compelling story. However, Realist Hero also features a varied ensemble cast of royals, advisors, elves, anthropomorphic sea serpents, beastmen, and one lucid, tireless civil servant: protagonist Kazuya Souma. Here's how newcomers to the isekai series can get started with the anime, manga and light novels.

The Plot of Realist Hero

Kazuya Souma dispenses some pragmatism..

The story of Realist Hero centers on Kazuya Souma, a young civil-servant-in-training unexpectedly summoned to the fantastical, imperiled realm of Elfrieden. Beset by problems within and without -- as well as commonplace and supernatural -- the king and his advisors resort to the aptly-named Hero Summoning Ritual to acquire their very own "chosen one" to save the kingdom.

However, upon his forced arrival, Souma shocks the court with his candor and pragmatism. He refuses to submit to Elfredien's imperial overlords or fight them directly, instead proposing an aggressive battery of policy reforms. The object of these, he argues, is to improve to kingdom's position to such an extent that violence will be unnecessary. In doing so, Souma freely admits his interest is as much to magnify his own relative position as to save the kingdom which has abducted him; though the people are shocked by the demeanor of their new "hero", they are soon relieved by his effectiveness.

As Realist Hero's story progresses, Souma deals with the successes and failures of his policies as well as the machinations of his antagonists, his own dry pragmatism and realpolitik masking his growing sentiment for his new home and family.

Where to Read the Realist Hero Manga and Light Novels

Jeanne Euphoria, Hakuya Kwonmin, and Liscia Elfrieden react in shock in How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom.

The original novel, written by Dojyomaru, was published serially on the user-generated community Shōsetsuka ni Narō ("Let's Become a Novelist") in 2014 and later on Pixiv, beginning in 2016. The light novel and manga, each illustrated by Fuyuyuki and Satoshi Ueda, premiered in 2016 and 2017 respectively through Overlap.

Realist Hero's light novel and manga adaptations emphasize the playful yet satirical tone of the original, capturing Souma's subdued intensity and scrupulously rendering his elaborate maneuvers and initiatives with rich diagrams and illustrations. The English versions were published by J-Novel Club and are available in physical and electronic form through most major media online outlets, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble and RightStufAnime.

Where to Watch the Realist Hero Anime

The anime adaptation for Realist Hero was announced on April 17, 2020 on the publisher's website. Produced by J.C. Staff and directed by Takashi Watanabe, the series' debut was quickly followed by its English dub.

Realist Hero is currently available to stream on Hulu, Funimation/Crunchyroll and Prime Video. The series was split into two halves, with Part 1 running from July-September 2021. Part 2 is currently still airing on Funimation as part of the Winter 2022 anime lineup.

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