“In which our heroine monopolizes the egg industry.”
You know, when I started watching a light-hearted “trapped in another world” fantasy where thinking of bears can make your magic more powerful, I never thought that it would be the egg economy that would shatter my suspension of disbelief. But here we are.
This week's episode follows Yuna as she discovers the city orphanage has been defunded by the local lord, forcing the orphans to basically go dumpster diving for food. Going with the proverb that it's better to teach a man to fish than simply give him one, Yuna sets out to find a way to utilize child labor and turn a profit for the orphanage. What she comes up with is the idea of having the kids raise chickens and sell the eggs.
As we saw back in the first episode, eggs are quite rare in the fantasy world Yuna has found herself stuck in. It's only in countryside villages that they are abundant and any found in cities are so rare as to be considered luxury items. This is due to the issues that come from trying to transport such delicate items quickly over long distances. Thus, using her bear construction powers, all Yuna has to do is make a chicken coup and buy some chickens and the orphans are all set to crash the egg market.
Of course, the fact that she can do this is what brings the suspension of disbelief crashing down. If it is this easy to raise chickens in a city, why has no one done it before—especially with eggs in such high demand? Chickens don't exactly need a lot of space and even in our world, many people have backyard chicken coops. Hell, chickens have been domesticated for 10,000 years—and you can bet when people started moving to cities, they brought their livestock (including chickens) along.
Going into this episode, I was ready to assume that the chickens in this world couldn't survive in a city environment—hence their rarity. And even as the episode progressed, I thought that perhaps with Yuna's new bear teleportation gate, the orphans could safely transport eggs from the village to the city to get the money they needed. However, the fact that chickens can easily be raised in the city leads to the conjecture that the reason it's never been done before is that no one ever thought of it—which in turn makes the entire population of the world look stupid.
And then comes Yuna's damage to the egg economy—or rather her monopolizing of it. Again, up until this point, eggs have been a luxury due to transport. With her new means of production, she is putting the old egg sellers out of business. Even if they too are able to change their means of production to mirror hers, Yuna's egg-selling business pays nothing for rent, construction costs, or labor. In other words, she has an overnight monopoly that's all but impossible to break as she can undercut anyone else with ease.
The other main focus in this episode is Yuna's second interaction with Cliff Foschurose, the local lord. As a bit of petty revenge, Yuna dictates that her eggs cannot be sold to the Foschurose household since they defunded the orphanage in the first place. Of course, as we've seen before, Yuna has an inherent distrust of the nobility stemming from the video games she's played. Thus, she assumes that Cliff himself is directly responsible (when it should be obvious that there are layers of bureaucracy between him and charity projects like the orphanage).
But beyond being ruled by her biases, we see that Yuna has a tendency to lash out at those she feels are in the wrong. She doesn't stop to gather more information and make sure her feelings are based in reality nor does she think of the consequences her attacks might have.
In this case, Yuna lucked out that Cliff is actually as good and noble of a person as he purports to be. Even as Yuna publicly disrespects him and refuses to listen to his side of things, he decides to figure out what is going on and punish those responsible. If Cliff, had not been such a standup guy, he could have driven her out of town—possibly out of the kingdom—with a single word. Not to mention he could have closed down the orphanage as he owns the land it's on. While Yuna has personal power, Cliff has societal power—and she needs to remember this.
What good is that, by the end of this, Yuna has realized her flaws and feels more than a little embarrassed by them. We'll just have to see if this was a momentary realization or if she'll be able to take it to heart as the series continues on.
• This series cannot stop setting up problems only to solve them immediately. (E.g., Yuna wants eggs but they are far away. Oh look! Now she has teleportation magic.)
• It's kind of hard to support a hero who advocates child labor.
• Once again we see that Yuna only addresses problems when she runs across them randomly. She's never proactively looking to help people.
• At this point, I honestly wonder where this series is going. Does it have an overarching conflict or is it just a fantasy world slice-of-life?