Been a while since I’ve pretty much gotten controversial, but I’ve never been one to hold my tongue so let’s not beat around the bush.
Episode 8 of The Magical Revolution of the Reincarnated Princess has aired and I have been… quietly observing the series. I had no real intention of reviewing it because it’s popular enough that other people are doing that and my time is limited to where I’m late on a series that ended months ago. I will not critique the relationship of the heroines, because I don’t really feel the need to comment on it since it’s not really the focus of this discussion. It’s Yuri, people like it, moving on.
Instead, I want to talk about the antagonist of the first part of the series: Algard Von Palettia.
He is the younger brother of the heroine, Anis, and the crown prince. However, he is only in that position because his older sister gave up her claim to the throne when she was younger and instead opted to pursue her research into Magicology with a side of Adventuring. Also she’s got Dragon powers now.
In this episode, he basically decides to actually make an open move by ripping the magicite from the chest of a young girl after severely injuring another one. His reasoning being he wanted to make himself a Vampire so that he could start enforcing change in the country and deal with the divide between the ruling class and the lower class. His sister is naturally trying to stop him because… well, again, he just hurt two people close to her and is getting ready to start what amounts to a coup to get the job done.
The dude has to be stopped from a purely moral standpoint.
But while he was giving his lecture about how he needed the power and she was trying to talk him down, I sat there listening to their arguments and realized something important:
He’s got a point here.
I won’t say I agree with his method. He got that power by literally ripping it out of the girl’s chest and leaving her mortally wounded while also harming the maid. He’s going to enforce his change via mind-control, which is kind of a big deal. Plus even with mind-control, he’s probably going to have to shed a lot of blood to get that change going.
But he was making some solid points.
The country is corrupt. The upper-class can get away with abusing the lower-class since they have more power. Magic is everything and if commoners have restricted or no method of gaining access to magic, they have no power. And without power, there can be no change.
Anis is speaking of making connections and relationships. But what if the majority of the people who you make connections with and forge relationships with don’t want to change things? What then?
You might think that being a King would mean he should be able to enable change, but his counterpoints are solid as well. The last time someone in the royal family tried to make change they ended up with a rebellion that they’re still feeling the afterburn of to this point. Kings do not rule a Kingdom on their own, they need the support of the nobility to do so and hence they have to play nice or else risk rebellion. And the most damning part is he doesn’t even have a fraction of the support that they have for his claim to the throne.
His sister does.
It’s not just him having an inferiority complex. Everyone else either loves, respects, or fears her because they recognize she’s a genius. She’s legitimately perfect for the throne, and any accomplishments he could achieve are dwarfed by her own, including defeating a Dragon.
That has a tangible effect in the form of Soft Power. The number of people who would support her rule would be very high and with the backing of the people she could enact change and revolutionize the country with a great deal of ease because she’s proven she could get things done. She’d face resistance but the number of people willing to support her would be higher.
But she doesn’t want the throne and shoved it onto him when they were younger. She had her reasons for doing so, several of them good. But it doesn’t really change the fact that, in the end, he was going to inherit the throne despite everyone agreeing that he’s the inferior heir, along with all the responsibilities it entails.
He’s going to be crown prince, but people don’t feel secure in having second-best as their ruler. Even the support he does have comes from the people who are afraid of Anise trying to change things with her magicology and thus are backing him because they believe that only the nobility should have magic and cling to tradition. That is a weak power-base he only has because of the corruption he hates and there is no way they know what his real intentions are, to cause widespread change amongst the class system, otherwise they would never back his ambitions.
And he knows this.
This poor bastard knows he isn’t a genius like his sister. He doesn’t have the support he needs to make wide-sweeping change. And if he does a half-assed job like the previous ruler then at best he’ll be forced into the role of a puppet ruler to appease them or at worst he’ll just make the same mistakes.
So he needs some kind of power that would give him an edge to take control of the country. Something above that of what his bloodline alone can provide. Something that could match his sister’s natural genius.
And then he found a Vampire.
It all came together. That kind of power, to influence minds even without them realizing it, would be a godsend. People would just go along with his suggestions on how to deal with the gap between commoners and nobility, and with enough time they could accept it as being the norm even long after his reign has ended. And to do that, he needed her magicite.
So he took it.
It seems hypocritical that he effectively took advantage of a commoner to make a change for them. But the end result would not change if she was nobility. He went after her not because of her rank but because she was unfortunate enough to have the very power he needed, which he said right before he plunged his hand into her chest.
Not that I approve, but I get it.
If he was a genius like his sister, he could have come up with a method of doing things like she would and it would be a lot less messy. I sincerely believe that if Anis were the crown princess and faced with the same issue, she could find a way that worked based on her connections and relationship. It would take a lot longer, considering her father had to stop her from putting out all her devices because it would cause too quick of a change, but it could be done.
But he isn’t her and that’s the problem.
He’s what happens when you have someone unremarkable attempting to do something far above their ability. They don’t have the luxury of choosing their methods. They can only grab whatever comes to them with the methods available to them, or sit back and do nothing.
And I find this refreshing to be honest.
I’ve seen crown princes who aren’t suitable for the throne before. Normally, they’re the ones who would drive an empire to ruin because they were hedonists who would indulge in their whims. Or just straight-up incompetent and typically the kind to end up under the thumb of some mastermind as a puppet ruler.
He knows where he stands. He’s faced with an issue that he can’t solve on his own, put into a position he never wanted and sees as a curse, and can’t bring himself to turn a blind eye to the things he hates about the country because its the responsibility that comes with being royalty. Even so, he doesn’t allow himself to become someone else’s puppet or choose to ignore it.
I might not approve of his actions from a moral standpoint, but I respect the motive he gave and the fact that he tried. His grievances are something I can sympathize with, especially when someone more capable than him who can solve those problems is right there but doesn’t want to sit on the throne. It’s entirely easy to see from his point of view how it came to this the moment Anis gave away her position and all responsibility that would come with it.
He doesn’t take joy in any of this. He wasn’t laughing sadistically or even trying to just finish the two off despite knowing they’d be witnesses. He’s doing it because if he wants change then sacrifices have to be made.
The lives of others. His humanity. No hesitation.
And in the end, we all know he’s going to fail. His sister is going to crush him. Even she seems damn confident that he still has no chance and she’s titular ‘Reincarnated Princess’, so he’s not going to win this fight.
Then again, he doesn’t need to.
I mean, what other choice does Anis have but to take the throne or let him rule as he pleases with the power of a Vampire? Those factions who hated her aren’t going to just sit still once she takes the throne. And she’ll be forced to act and make things change, even if he probably won’t be around to see it.
Algard you were a wonderful antagonist.