Sunday, January 30, 2022

REVIEW: The Savior's Book Cafe Story in Another World (manga, vol. 1) based on the novels by Kyouka Izumi, story by Oumiya, art by Reiko Sakurada

The Savior's Book Cafe Story in Another World is yet another isekai fantasy manga based on a light novel series. It's licensed by Seven Seas. I bought my copy new.


When Tsukina is approached by a floating orb claiming to be God, who tells her that she's been summoned to another world in order to be its savior, she says no thanks. God is somewhat taken aback, since everyone else seemed thrilled to be summoned and couldn't wait to start their new lives. However, all those other people were starry-eyed teenagers, and Tsukina is a single thirty-something with a stable job and a quiet life that she enjoys. She has no desire to fight monsters and face danger.

God tells her that this summoning in nonnegotiable, but if she'd prefer, she could live a quiet life and just be on standby in case another savior needs help. Tsukina reluctantly agrees but gets God to grant her a bunch of wishes so that she'll be as comfortable in her new world as possible.

And so begins Tsukina's life as the owner of a little book cafe in the middle of nowhere, whose first (and mostly only) customer, Il (the author's awkward shortening of his full name, Soeil), a bookish knight.

I think I may have officially read too many of these isekai stories. Even the ones starring women are getting old, because it's the same basic story templates over and over. This one might have been more enjoyable if the author had been willing to let Tsukina flounder even the slightest bit, but no, despite the fact that God's exact words were that he'd grant "any one wish" (my emphasis), he instead granted a massive list's worth of them. The books in Tuskina's cafe were magically protected from damage, the cafe itself was magically protected, Tsukina had powerful defensive magic, and she could call literally anything into being that she needed.

I thought maybe the fact that she didn't even try to hide that she had access to powerful magic would cause her problems - Il certainly noticed and was amazed by her casual use of high-level magic - but for some reason this turned out not to be an issue. Il was never once suspicious about this woman running a cafe for fun in a mostly deserted area, and no one seemed the slightest bit worried about a powerful magic user suddenly appearing out of nowhere.

The other tiresome thing about this series is that it once again pits two female characters against each other - Tsukina is one of two saviors in this new world, and the other savior is a spoiled teenage girl who uses her status as savior to take advantage of everyone around her. She's constantly depicted as awful, probably because, if she weren't, it might occur to readers that Tsukina is almost as useless a savior as she is. Neither one of them has any interest in doing the job they were transported to this world to do. Although, really, what were either of them supposed to accomplish? It seems like this world was doing just fine on its own until God dropped a ticking time-bomb of a spoiled teen into it.

The romance was...okay. Nothing terribly exciting or interesting so far, but I did enjoy Il's seriousness and slight awkwardness, especially when Beorc entered the picture and caused a little trouble.

The character designs were attractive and the artwork was okay, except that the illustrator seemed to have trouble with feet/shoes and horses. 

Knowing me, it's quite possible that I'll try another volume, and also the light novel if it's ever released in English, because it's easy fluff and I foolishly hope that series like these will get better. Still, right now this doesn't seem to be one of the better female protagonist isekai series.


A bonus story (text, not a short manga) called "Tsukina's Routine," set prior to the start of the series. Its only purpose is to further establish Tsukina as a woman who's uninterested in sacrificing her hobbies and comfort for a boyfriend and kids. A woman after my own heart, honestly. I really wish this series were more interesting.

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