I’ve been following along with the show up until now (episode 9), but I don’t understand why some people seem to like this show so much. I’m having trouble keeping track of the characters, the pacing is weird, I still don’t know what’s up with the lack of names – what are you getting out of this show? Does it only make sense if you read the manga?
Nope! I read a few chapters of the manga, but stopped well before the point the story has currently reached.
I think it’s understandable that many people have dropped this show or don’t really get why others like it so much, because not only is it really mainly about the thematic and real-world implications of its events (as opposed to those events themselves), it also kind of hides that by occasionally focusing on its fantasy elements or characters.
What is awesome about this show is that it is taking a default fantasy world and using the story of that world’s conflicts, religions, and technologies to make universal points about human nature and human history. The characters not having names is actually really crucial – it’s one of the most overt ways that this show is declaring it is more interested in talking about People than talking about these specific people. It is also very frequently interested in talking about Storytelling, as opposed to this specific story, and Worldbuilding, as opposed to this specific world – so things like the hero’s teleportation are not really of interest to the writer, because they are just convenient devices, and getting into the specifics of this world’s magic jargon would dilute the larger points.
All that said, moments like this episode’s speech can come across as both personal and universal – just because the show is not solely focused on the narrow world of its characters doesn’t mean they aren’t well-illustrated and respected by the text. This emotional resolution has been building for almost the entire show, and the way her personal life story mirrors the larger theme of education being the cornerstone of freedom and civilization makes that point hit home much harder. I’d say this show still functions pretty well as a story taken at face value, but you’re missing a lot if you’re not viewing it as a critique of both traditional fantasy storytelling and human nature.
Regarding characters, I think the only incredibly critical secondary characters are the Winter King, the Merchant, the Female Knight, and the Older Maid – all of these pieces represent crucial sides of humanity in the picture this show is trying to draw.