In the afterword to the second of the source novels for The Saint’s Magic Power is Omnipotent, the author mentions, almost in passing, that a number of readers wanted Aira to be punished alongside Prince Kyle. While that may have initially been in reference to the web novels, where Aira’s characterization could have been different, I’m glad that things didn’t go that route. One of those reasons is certainly that it would have lead to unnecessary framing of Sei and Aira as antagonists (which is more than a little silly, given their circumstances), but mostly it’s because it would have cemented Aira’s lack of agency in a story that already robbed her of so much of it, to the point where the king actually uses the word with respect to her being allowed to choose her own future in Salutania. Asking his father to allow this may be the one truly good thing that Kyle has done in this show.
A lot of that is to say that I feel like the anime is painting Kyle much too sympathetically, at least in this episode. Certainly he’s young enough that mistakes are to be expected, and goodness knows he’s handled the entire Saint fiasco with the finesse of a water buffalo. Inadvertently he’s made Aira’s life and transition into her new world much more difficult than they ever needed to be, and he does deserve to be taken to task for that, as well as for the way he bungled the entire Sei situation. But to have the conversations imply that Kyle did it with good intentions, that he manipulated the situation into him looking worse than he already did so as to keep Aira above the fray…well, that just doesn’t feel natural or particularly rewarding. Sometimes people do stupid or bad things because they get stubborn; there’s even an idiomatic phrase about it, to cut off your nose to spite your face. Rushing to attempt some redemption for Kyle feels very much like that, and it instead of elevating Aira, it just feels like Kyle and his storyline are being half-assed so as to avoid having a real villain. Not all princes are noble, and that’s okay.
But at least we get to see Sei and Aira finally interact with each other, via the auspices of Liz. It’s a good thing Liz is there, too, because Sei and Aira feel very awkward around each other. They’re both all too aware of the situation surrounding their summoning and identities, and to that we add the differences in their ages and the fact that Aira has basically been isolated from other girls and women for the entire time she’s been in Salutania. Since she was shy to begin with, now she’s feeling shy and awkward, which in turn makes Sei awkward and uncomfortable. That’s when we see why Sei was receiving “lady” classes – Liz, as a noblewoman, has been taught how to be a good hostess for years, and part of that role is to help her guests feel at ease. As the friend of both Sei and Aira, it’s up to her to help them get past the events of the months prior. She’s good at it, too, which makes for an interesting comparison between she and Johan. Both of them fill a similar role as side characters: they help Sei (and Aira, in Liz’s case) to feel comfortable and help them navigate their new world. Johan’s also got the side-job as Albert’s cupid, which is maybe more awkward than rewarding for him at this point, but even so, it’s nice to see that both Aira and Sei have people who are genuinely helpful and who like them without any of that Saint stuff getting in the way.
For Sei, though, there’s not likely to be much avoiding the Saint business any longer. She’s been officially recognized by the kingdom, and that means she’s going to have to start going out to perform her duties away from the capital. Luckily for her, Albert and his knights are going with on this first journey – and all of them, I suspect, if Albert has anything to say about it. The increasingly impish Yuri will likely second that notion once he figures out that thinking about the people she cares about is the trigger for Sei’s power, something he (and Sei) hasn’t quite figured out yet.
And so we move into adapting the third light novel. There’s some good stuff coming that will help to answer a few questions that have arisen over the course of the season, so that’s something to look forward to next week.
The Saint’s Magic Power is Omnipotent is currently streaming on