Thursday, September 3, 2020

REVIEW: In Another World With My Smartphone, Vol. 1 (book) by Patora Fuyuhara, illustrations by Eiji Usatsuka, translated by Andrew Hodgson

In Another World With My Smartphone is yet another isekai series (similar to portal fantasy). It's licensed by J-Novel Club.


When God apologizes to Mochizuki Touya for accidentally killing him with a lightning bolt, Touya takes it very well. After all, he doesn't remember dying, and stuff happens. Still, God wants to make it up to him as much as possible, so he offers to give him a new life in a different world. He even agrees to grant Touya a favor, setting things up so that he can continue to use his smartphone in that new world. It will be powered by the magical abilities God has granted him. In addition to all of that, God also gives all of Touya's basic abilities a boost (strength, memory, etc.).

So begins Touya's life in a new world. He meets twin sisters who become his traveling and adventuring companions, as well as a young woman from a country very much like Japan, a duke and his daughter, and a princess, and gradually learns what sorts of things his magic and magically-powered smartphone can do.

I vaguely remember buying this after reading a review that called it stupid but fun. I went into it expecting fast-paced fluff with annoying but hopefully bearable harem romance. Unfortunately, it didn't even meet those fairly low expectations.

The story had zero tension, due to the fact that Touya could basically do anything. His increased strength and speed meant he could easily evade most attacks, and he had unlimited magical power and the ability to perform any magic in existence in his new world, so all he had to do was learn about a spell in order to use it. Add his smartphone to the mix, and there was no problem he couldn't solve in a few minutes. His only limitations were his lack of ambition and lack of creativity. Most of the spells he learned were simple enough that he could potentially have figured them out with a little trial and error (learning that [Reading] existed almost made me throw the book across the room), but he tended to rely on others to tell him spells, as well as on random finds in a book of spells he acquired.

Touya and his female companions had all the personality of stale, unsalted crackers. I had to flip through the book just to remember most of their names. Yae was the samurai who ate a lot. One of the twins was energetic and one was shy, but after their initial introduction, both spoke so little that it was easy to forget which one was supposed to be which. Sushie was the first cute rich girl, while Yumina was the second cute rich girl. Yumina had heterochromia and, although she was only 12 years old, knew instantly that 15-year-old Touya was the one for her. The series' harem romance potential was saved by the fact that polygamy is considered acceptable and normal in this world, although strangely Touya never once encountered anyone in a polygamous marriage.

None of the quests they completed were ever very difficult, primarily because Touya could do anything, and they didn't even have to worry about money because Touya kept accidentally falling into piles of it. Within minutes of arriving in this new world, for example, Touya just happened to come across a fashion designer willing to pay top dollar for all the clothes he was wearing. 

If there's any point to this series beyond Touya wandering around aimlessly before finally marrying fifty nearly interchangeable girls and settling down inside a house made out of money people forced him to accept, this volume makes no indication of it. The only potentially appealing thing about volume 2 is that the author promised Touya would make more use of his smartphone, but at this point I have no interest in reading more of this sentient piece of shredded wheat's "adventures."


Four full-color pages, several black-and-white illustrations throughout, and an afterword by the author.

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