The Genius Prince's Guide to Raising a Nation Out of Debt (Hey, How About Treason?)/Tensai Ouji no Akaji Kokka Saisei Jutsu ~Sou da, Baikoku Shiyou~ is a 2018 Light Novel written by Toru Toba and illustrated by Fal Maro. The series was licensed by Yen Press in 2019.
Prince Wein of Natra is seen by his people as a promising new ruler, but in reality, he's lost all hope in governing his tiny kingdom while surrounded by much stronger rival countries. In order to retire, he plans to sell out the kingdom to the Earthworld Empire and makes deals with them so that the annexation will be bloodless and publicly acceptable. Unfortunately, Earthworld's emperor dies of illness, putting a wrench in the annexation and causing people to mistakenly believe Wein outwitted the empire. Other countries and factions within the empire scheme to fill in the power vacuum and Wein has to find a way to survive despite Natra's terrible budget.
In January 2021, it was announced that NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan and Yokohama Animation Lab would produce an anime adaptation, with Soma Saito as the voice of Prince Wein. It began airing about a year later on January 11, 2022.
This work provides examples of:
- Aerith and Bob: The characters' names are mostly fantastical like Ninym or Lowellmina, although some of them bear real German names such as Manfred or Helmut.
- Corrupt Church: The church of Levetia promotes racism against the Flahm and their highest ranking members, the Holy Elite, are mostly hedonists, with some having sick hobbies of tormenting artists or hunting Flahm. Not to mention that its head of Gospel Bureau is trying her best to destabilize pretty much all major nations, which would eventually lead into a continent-wide war.
- The Empire: The Earthworld Empire controls mutch of the east after defeating an alliance of smaller kingdoms in the past and under the last Emperor harbored ambitions to unify the whole continent. Currently, however, it is shaken by a Succession Crisis after the last Emperor's unexpected death.
- Fantastic Racism:
- Most countries in the western part of the continent discriminate against the Flahm and enslave them. The eastern nations, mainly Earthworld and Natranote , are a lot more tolerant, which allow Flahm to rise to high positions of power.
- The western countries also view the eastern nations in general as barbaric and backwards.
- The Good Kingdom: Wein rules the Kingdom of Natra as Prince-Regent. In a slight subversion, the Kingdom isn't prosperous or militarly powerful and sits right between stronger neighbors while housing some improtant mountain passes, making it a prime target for invasions.
- A Lighter Shade of Black: The Earthworld Empire has its share of corrupt nobles and a glass ceiling for women, which is a continent-wide issue, but it's presented more positively than other countries due to being relatively better about racial equality (if not in gender equality, but that seems to be a universal problem).
- Long Title: The English title, The Genius Prince's Guide to Raising a Nation Out of Debt (Hey, How About Treason?), is already fairly long even without the parenthetical.
- Marry Them All: Defied in this series. While Wein is surrounded by attractive and promising women, he or they outright refuse to marry for practical reasons.
- Misery Builds Character: Ninym and the king's current aide, Levan Ralei, discuss how kingdoms can start out promising before the later generations of rulers become corrupt. The first few generations remember how hard it was to establish the country and are disciplined as a result, but later generations don't have that harsh experience and end up complacent and hedonistic.
- "Not So Different" Remark: Ninym claims that Lowellmina is similar to Wein in acting innocent in order to hide their scheming natures.
- Pyrrhic Victory: Natra won the battle against Marden to keep the Jilaat mine, but the mine dried up, meaning they won't be able to recover their war spending. Subverted when a new gold vein is discovered, allowing Natra to slowly make up for their deficit. However, the slow rate that the new ore vein can be exploited in order to turn budget black guides Wein's foreign policy of trying (and failing) to stay the hell away from any trouble in the next several volumes, just to be able to reduce any expenditures.
- Springtime for Hitler: Repeatedly. Wein believes the kingdom of Natra is beyond saving due to its terrible financial state and only wants to sell it off as a Voluntary Vassal, and most of his schemes to make it happen are done either to make the sale more profitable or simply out of survival. One way or another, what happens instead is that Natra comes out of his schemes better than it was before, so Wein can't make the sale and still has to rule his slightly-less-crumbling kingdom properly.
- Stay in the Kitchen:
- Despite the Earthworld Empire being accepting of all ethnicities, women still face discrimination in politics. This is deconstructed because the emperor didn't name an heir among his incompetent sons or his competent daughter, making the empire's instability worse after his death.
- The west has similar attitudes, due to the Church's teaching discuraging women from high offices or powerful positions. This leads to princess Zenovia having to impersonate her dead brother in oder to lead the Marden Liberation Army.
- Voluntary Vassal:
- Wein's goal is for his country, Natra, to become a vassal state for the Earthworld Empire so he can finally retire, but he has to make sure public opinion is in favor of this so that his own people don't launch a coup.
- The kingdom of Antgadull was originally part of an anti-imperial alliance, but their king surrendered to the empire when he realized that his kingdom wouldn't survive future conflicts between the alliance's other countries.
- Princess Zenovia of Marden makes her country a vassal state to Natra rather than an ally, since in the former case, Natra would be obligated to protect them while in the latter case, Natra would use them as a buffer against invasion and thus left to fend for themselves, which is a problem given the sorry state of the nation both before and after being liberated and its new ruler's self-admitting to not being ready to be a full ruler.
- Weak, but Skilled: Wein convinces Earthworld's ambassador to have the empire's troops train Natra's troops. While the training makes Natra's troops able to match and surpass soldiers from other countries on an individual basis, they still have lower numbers and barely any military budget, forcing them to rely on clever tactics to win most battles.
- Zero-Approval Gambit: According to Claudius's history lesson on the founding of Natra, Prince Salema of Naliavene was stuck in a power struggle with his brother, Galea. Instead of solving this issue, the king intentionally egged on their conflict in order to protect his own power. While the two princes didn't want to oppose each other, their factions wanted to upstage the other regardless of their will. The faction war made the country vulnerable during the war, so Salema killed the king and allowed himself to be arrested and branded a murderer in order to take down his own faction, allowing Galea to ascend without opposition. Fortunately, Galea lightened Salema's sentence to exile and helped him establish Natra. Hagel in volume 3 pulled this in combination with Death Faked for You: intentionally get himself attached to a rebellion that's forming in Natra and agitated by an outside power, deliberately weaken said rebellion so that Wein can defeat them easily, had his execution faked by Wein...just to tempt Cavarin to attack Natra after their king's death by Wein and for Hagel to be able to launch a surprise attack on enemy general.