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Jobless Reincarnation

Spoiler Alert!

It was just another day of typing away at your computer when your siblings, having finally lost patience with your inability to be independent, throw you out of the house after your parents’ funeral. Overweight, jobless, penniless and aimless, you come to the conclusion that you wasted your life. In this haze of despondence, you see three high school students about to be run over by a truck. Deciding that saving their lives would give some meaning to your own, you push them out of the way…and the world turns black. When you open your eyes again, it is through the eyes of baby born to a fantasy world of swords and sorcery…

Jobless Reincarnation: I Will Seriously Try If I Go To Another World (無職転生 ~異世界行ったら本気だす~, Mushoku Tensei: Isekai Ittara Honki Dasu) is a web novel, manga and anime written by Rifujin na Magonote (理不尽な孫の手).

The hero of this story is Rudeus “Rudy” Greyrat, a reincarnated 34-year old reclusive, perverted NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) who has vowed to not repeat the mistakes of his old life and focus on making the best of his new one. Retaining his memories and self-awareness from rebirth, Rudy secretly practices magic as a baby but his talents are soon discovered by his parents, Paul and Zenith Greyrat.

At three years old, Rudy is introduced to his magic tutor Roxy Migurdia, a seasoned adventurer and mage and a native of the far-away Demon Continent. Under her tutelage, Rudy learns to control and develop his magic while his father Paul teaches him the art of swordsmanship. Two years later, Roxy declares that Rudy has learned all that she can teach him, giving him a wand (the mark of a mage who has completed basic training) and departing.

Rudy then meets Sylphiette, a young girl of his age, when she is being bullied by other children. Over the next two years, the two children develop a close bond of friendship with each other. Deciding that time away from his family would be best for Rudy, Paul and Zenith decide to send their son to live with relatives in the Citadel of Roa. It is there that Rudy meets Eris Boreas Greyrat, daughter of the aristocratic Boreas Greyrat family and a distant older cousin to Rudy himself. After a hostile first impression and a few misadventures, Eris gradually learns to trust and respect Rudy, eventually accepting him as her tutor in magic and general knowledge (i.e. reading, writing, mathematics).

A few days after his 10th birthday, Rudy takes Eris and her bodyguard Ghislaine out of Roa to demonstrate the limits of his magic. As he begins, Rudy sees unusual clouds gather above Roa in the distance and then, with Roa at the epicenter, a flash of bright light growing to encompass the land around it…

Characters

Rudeus “Rudy” Greyrat, the son of Paul and Zenith Greyrat, born in Buena Village in the Asura Kingdom of the western Central Continent. Before his reincarnation, he was an unnamed 34-year old who spent much of his life alone in his room after being persecuted at his high school. By the time he was kicked out by his own family, he came to the realization that had he made different choices, his life would have been better. Seeing his reincarnation as a chance to become the best he can be, Rudy embarks on a lifelong quest to improve himself in as many ways as possible, be it learning new skills, developing himself as a person, establishing lasting friendships and, most importantly, securing a girlfriend! He soon becomes a capable warrior, a skilled magician and a polyglot. Rudy will soon find himself challenged in ways that even his old life could never prepare him for.

Roxy Migurdia, a female, blue-haired Migurd mage and adventurer. Despite appearing to be around 12 years old, Roxy is actually an adult (she was 37 years old when she first met Rudy, making both of them technically the same age!). Born in the Migurd Village in the Begonia Region of the northern Demon Continent, Roxy was born without her race’s natural telepathy. While she wasn’t treated badly by her family or her peers, Roxy felt like an outcast within her village since she had no way to understand those who normally didn’t need to speak aloud. Roxy’s life changed when a passing mage/travelogue writer visited her village and taught her the basics of magic. A year after the mage left the village, Roxy, then aged 14, decided to leave the village as well in order to travel the world her teacher described so vividly. Over the years, she developed her magic skills (becoming particularly skilled in water magic), became an experienced adventurer and eventually graduated from the famous Ranoa Magic Academy. During her time as Rudy’s magic tutor, Roxy taught the boy not only magic but also how to overcome the trauma from his past life. She is the main character of the prequel manga story Jobless Reincarnation: Roxy is Serious (無職転生 ~ロキシーだって本気です~, Mushoku Tensei: Roxy Datte Honki Desu).

Sylphiette (a.k.a. “Sylphie”), a young green-haired girl with pointed ears and a talented mage. Sylphie has a diverse ancestry, being the daughter of a half-elf father and a human mother with a beastman lineage. Her family moved to the Buena Village when her father found work there as a hunter. She was soon bullied by the village’s children for her green hair, which is said to be the sign of the Magic Race that once betrayed humanity in an ancient war. After Rudy protects her from the bullies, the two children form a deep friendship with each other, almost to the point of co-dependence. Because of this, Paul and Zenith decide to send Rudy to Roa to further his education and experience. Sylphie missed Rudy but later decided to work on improving herself and the magic he taught her in order to make sure that she would not be dependent on him when they meet again.

Eris Boreas Greyrat, the heiress of the Boreas Greyrat family, one of the noble families of the Asura Kingdom. Her first meeting with her younger distant relative Rudy was far from amiable, consisting of her punching him in the face and declaring that she’ll never learn anything from him. Hot-tempered, impulsive, strong, and spoiled, Eris proved to be quite a handful for Rudy, who was given the job of being Eris’ tutor in exchange for enough money to pay for his and Sylphie’s future education at the Ranoa Magic Academy. Rudy is soon able to win Eris’ grudging respect through a combination of showing her the cruelties of the real world, demonstrating his own skills and understanding her as a student and a person. During this time, Eris discovers a talent for swordsmanship, which meshed well with her temperament. She also develops a crush on Rudy, which would blossom into true love as the years go by.

Personal Thoughts

The story features a fair deal of worldbuilding, with an established geography of three main continents (along with villages, cities and different regional cultures), a currency system, an international guild system for adventurers and mages, a bit of background history for the world and a few unique humanoid races alongside elves (who created the world’s magic) and dwarves. Jobless Reincarnation touches on some of the more common issues of our world such as the need to work day-by-day to earn a living, working with other people despite personal differences and coping with death. It also touches a bit on the sensitive problem of racial discrimination, since many humans discriminate against the Magic Races for the aid their ancestors gave to a legendary demon god centuries ago.

The most compelling thing in Jobless Reincarnation is Rudy’s determination to make the best of his new life after being utterly miserable with his old life in Japan. The bullying Rudy went through during his first life is sadly a not an uncommon occurrence in Japan, where social conformity is quietly encouraged, hence the saying: “The nail that sticks up gets hammered down.” As a result, Rudy developed serious flaws that dragged him down even further such as his inability to empathize with others, his fear of failure and his inability focus on his dreams, making him quick to give up.

In his new world, Rudy faces choices and problems far harder than he could have faced in Japan, yet he soldiers on through sheer determination and his own desire to be reliable to those he cares for, despite (or perhaps because of) being fully aware of his past life’s failures. This need for self-determination and self-improvement is also a trait demonstrated at various degrees by many of the other heroic characters of Jobless Reincarnation. It sounds simple when you see it or read about it, but having the actual need and willpower to do it is not something that everyone has.

Moral

You must keep learning and stay determined if you wish to improve your life.

I Am My Wife

Spoiler Alert!

*sigh*

*glug* *glug* *glug*

You’ve had a crush on Jin Jing since high school and now she’s getting married…to another man.

If only you confessed to her back then…

If only you became a better person in school instead of ending up with a dead-end desk job…

But…what is past will always be past.

Just like this shopping street.

It’s been a part of your life for as long as you can remember and now it’s due for demolition.

Not even memories will remain…

*rumble*

Hmm?

Those clouds look pretty dark. Better get home now.

You pick yourself up from the bench.

*CRASH!* *BOOM!* *RUMBLE*

The deafening thunderclap fills your ears and leaves them in seconds!

Did it come from behind you?

You turn around.

*CRASH!*

Another thunderclap snaps you out of your shock.

Wha…

*BOOOOOOM!!!*

AAAAAAHHH!!

After what seems like an eternity, you open your eyes.

Huh?

The shopping street looks…brand new?

You walk up to the front window of the Little Bear restaurant.

Hmm?

Who’s this?

Wait…this is…YOU?

You’re a…girl?!

You catch a glimpse of a digital street clock. It’s the year 200X.

Ten years ago? You’re in the past?!

What’s going on?!?

“Wen Wen, what are you doing here spacing out?”

Who is she?

“A…are you talking to me?”, you ask.

“Is something wrong, dear? Anyway, let’s go home now!”

“Uh…sure.”

THIS…is your home?! But there wasn’t anything here before!

A butler marches out the front door and bows in front of you.

“Welcome home, madame! Welcome home, young miss!”

Madame? Young miss?

A moment later, four teenage girls in maid uniforms also come out the front door and bow.

Are you the daughter of some rich family or something? The woman who found you is your mother?

“Please take our bags out of the trunk and take them to our rooms,” your…mother says.

“Very well, madame,” the butler replies.

The inside of this house is like the villa of a CEO or high-ranking politician.

And your room is so spacious!

*knock* *knock*

A maid enters your room.

“O-okay…”

You try to close the door, but the maid stops you.

“Shall I help you change your clothes?”

So…pretty…

No, wait!

“N-n-n-no! I’m fine!”

“Okaaaay…”

She closes the door.

Did she look…disappointed? What kind of relationship do you have with the maids here? Don’t they need to go to school?

You open the closet. It’s full of girls’ clothes.

You pick up what looks like a school shirt.

Hmm?

WENLAN ACADEMY?! But…that’s your high school!

I Am My Wife (我是我妻, Wǒ shì wǒ qī) is a web novel and a web comic written by Troubled Silver Lady (乱世银娘, Luàn shì yín niáng).

Depressed and drunk after watching his high school crush, Jin Jing, marry another man, the 26-year old office worker Qiu Yi is struck by lightning. Upon opening his eyes again, he finds himself in the body of a 16-year old girl ten years in the past! Qiu Yi soon learns that he is now Ye Wen, the daughter of a wealthy couple and a new student at the Wenlan Academy (文澜学院, Wénlán Xuéyuàn), his former high school. At the Academy, Ye Wen realizes that she is now a student in her former self’s first-year high school class, where she meets many familiar faces from her previous life, including, to her shocked disbelief, a 16-year old Qiu Yi!

Busy with living her new life, Ye Wen fails to notice Qiu Yi’s growing crush on her. In the meantime, she happily spends her days with old and new friends. One day, Ye Wen is kidnapped and held for ransom by a gang of thugs. Witnessing the kidnapping and hoping to impress Ye Wen, Qiu Yi attempts to rescue her but gets caught. Despite this, Ye Wen is impressed by her former self’s newfound boldness. Eventually, the police free the two students.

Life at the Academy continues as usual, with Ye Wen and Qiu Yi in a budding relationship. Despite being worried over being in a relationship with literally herself, Ye Wen tries to give Qiu Yi the love and motivation to succeed that she never had as a man. After the kidnapping incident, Ye Wen and Qiu Yi’s parents have befriended each other. The four of them eventually decide to go together on a five-day trip to Japan. Later, their plane crashes in the South Pacific Ocean with no survivors…

Mourning her parents from both her old and new lives, Ye Wen is left nearly penniless by squabbling relatives. After moving into a cheap apartment with a single loyal maid, she gets into e-sports (competitive video gaming) to eventually earn money for herself. Her relationship with Qiu Yi continues to grow as they go on a date, study together and seek comfort in each other. A new school year at the Wenlan Academy soon begins.

Main Characters

Ye Wen (叶雯, Yè Wén), a high school student, the daughter of a wealthy family and a former office worker. Calm, helpful and understanding, she retains the experience of an older man disappointed with his life and is now resolved to live without regrets. With her knowledge of things to come over the next decade, Ye Wen now acts to make life better for herself and her friends. She is also determined to give Qiu Yi the confidence and happiness she never had as him, though she sometimes worries over the prospect of eventually becoming his wife!

Qiu Yi (秋易, Qiū Yì), a high school student and Ye Wen’s previous self. Cautious and introverted, he often lacked confidence in himself. After he falls in love with Ye Wen, he gradually asserts himself and becomes determined to improve himself to impress her, such as studying harder and taking more duties at school.

Jin Jing (金晶, Jīn Jīng), a high school student and Qiu Yi’s former crush. Confident and graceful, she is one of the most popular girls at Wenlan Academy. Now having never been Qiu Yi’s crush, she is one of Ye Wen’s friends.

Feng Yulan (风羽蓝, Fēng Yǔlán), a high school student. Gentle and sensitive, he often gets teased for his feminine appearance. Yulan’s complex over his appearance and “girly” habits reaches a high point when his friend Jin Jiahui dares him to dress like a girl. After doing so during the Academy’s annual sports day, he is harassed mercilessly by some of the Academy’s bullies. After several weeks of being angry with himself and harming himself for being “girly”, Yulan is helped by Ye Wen when she lures one of the bullies into the path of a known violent criminal, whose arrest on television she remembered from her previous life. Yulan also becomes closer to Jiahui, who wants to accept him as he is.

Jin Jiahui (金家辉, Jīn Jiāhuī), a high school student. Bold and resolute, yet easygoing, he is someone who does not hesitate to get his point across. A childhood friend of Feng Yulan, Jiahui becomes curiously attracted to him after seeing him dressed as a girl. After learning about Yulan’s harassment, Jiahui becomes even more determined to protect his friend. Only time will tell how this relationship will develop…

Personal Thoughts

An interesting story of hope, love and regret. Filled with regret over lost happiness and opportunities, Ye Wen uses the hard-earned lessons of her former life to improve her new one. Since she understands Qiu Yi better than anyone else, she tries to fill the void in his life by becoming the inspiration she never had. After they start a relationship with each other, their growing love for each other inspires both of them to do better for each other. Some might even think of this as a kind of incest despite them being no longer the same person! So far, there’s also a side story of a teenage boy with a feminine appearance and habits having a crisis about his sexual identity who gradually learns to accept himself as he is with the help of his friends.

In life, we all make decisions that we might end up regretting later in life and long to undo. None of us will get the opportunity that Ye Wen got, but we can make better decisions and actions based on what we learned from our mistakes. There are people in the world who end up in an abusive relationship because their spouse looked perfect at first glance. With their hard-earned experience, these people could learn to stand up for themselves and take a more careful look at potential future relationships for themselves and others. Students who regret not studying hard earlier in life could do so in future education. Mistakes and regrets cannot be undone, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make things better for our futures.

Love can inspire us to do better for ourselves for the sake of those we care for, but not everyone can find it and it rarely plays out smoothly. Between close friends, families and partners, love can bring emotional support unlike anything else in this world, especially if we appreciate such love and return it with our contributions of happiness. Still, not even a love as close as Ye Wen and Qiu Yi’s is perfect as both have the capacity for jealousy and sadness.

Life itself is never as “perfect” as one would like, so the best we can do is work with what we have and make the best of it.

Moral

We all have regrets, but we also have the choice to make things better for ourselves and be happy.

How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom

Spoiler Alert!

Kazuya…make a family and protect it to the end.

Your grandfather’s words resound in your mind as you stare at his funerary photo.

You came home to tell him that you got accepted into university, but now…

!!

Whoooaahhh?!

You are lifted into the air with smoke surrounding you and getting thicker!

Moments later, you fall to the ground as the smoke dissipates.

Where…?

Is…this a king…and a queen?!

“Are you angry about being here, o hero?” the king asks with concern.

“That d-depends,” you say with unease. “C-can you please explain why I am here?”

The king’s explanations remind you of an intro for a role-playing game.

The world you are in now consists of a single, great landmass known as the continent of Landia. About ten years ago, a massive horde of ferocious monsters and powerful demons suddenly appeared in northernmost Landia. The various nations of Landia united their armies and fought against the horde but were defeated. The monsters, led by a Demon Lord, eventually conquered a third of the continent and established the Demon Lord’s Domain.

The king himself is the ruler of Elfrieden, a kingdom in southeastern Landia. Despite being away from the front lines in the ongoing war, the Kingdom of Elfrieden currently faces a food shortage and an influx of refugees from lands overtaken by the Demon Lord. On top of this, the Elfrieden government is having difficulties paying war subsidies to the Gran Chaos Empire, a large nation that now fights constant border battles with the Demon Lord’s Domain. Recently, the Empire suggested that Elfrieden summon a hero as compensation for unpaid subsidies…and here you are.

“So, what now?” you finally ask. “Are you going to hand me over to the Empire?”

“This is a difficult decision.” the king sighs.

“Your majesty, I should learn about your kingdom’s affairs first. Perhaps I can find a way for you to pay the Empire.”

It had been an intensive two days of talking to the king and his prime minister. Your eyes feel a bit sore from reading all the countless records you requested from them.

You follow the king as you both enter the meeting hall.

You stand in front of the crowd while the king takes his place on the podium. His face looks clear and determined.

What?

“…in favor of the hero!”

WHAT?!

How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom (現実主義勇者の王国再建記, Genjitsushugi Yūsha no Ōkoku Saikenki) is a light novel series, manga and anime written by Dojyomaru (どぜう丸).

Shortly after attending the funeral of his beloved grandfather, the young Kazuya Souma is whisked away to the Kingdom of Elfrieden in another world. He then holds an intense two-day-long discussion with Elfrieden’s ruler, King Albert, about his country’s government and infrastructure. At the end of it, Albert officially abdicates as King and appoints Kazuya as the new King of Elfrieden. Albert also engages his daughter Liscia to Kazuya.

The everyday work of a king is far from glorious

Kazuya reforms Elfrieden’s agricultural system and orders audits on the country’s government expenditures. He also improves the kingdom’s transport infrastructure, sewers, and waste management and commences the construction of a port town to improve maritime trade. Later, Kazuya organizes a recruitment drive to find talented people to work in Elfrieden’s government, eventually recruiting several noteworthy people. As a result, the standard of living in the kingdom improves significantly.

Kazuya faces civil war against the formidable leaders of Elfrieden’s military: Castor Vargas, Excel Walter and Georg Carmine

However, not all in the Elfrieden Kingdom are happy with the sudden appearance of a new king. The three leaders of Elfrieden’s military consider rebelling against Kazuya. The Principality of Amidonia, a neighboring country to the west, sees this as an opportunity to regain land that the Elfrieden Kingdom seized from them generations ago and Prince Gaius, the ruler of Amidonia, personally leads his entire army into the kingdom. The leader of Elfrieden’s navy, Excel Walter, eventually affirms her loyalty to Kazuya while Georg Carmine and Castor Vargas, the leaders of the army and air force respectively, carry on with their mutiny.

A battleship modified for use on land besieges Castor’s castle

Deciding to attack Castor first, Kazuya uses a walled fort, constructed by magic, to delay Georg’s advance and orders Excel to delay the Amidonian army’s occupation of a border town. After Kazuya subjugates Castor and takes command of the air force, he uses these newly acquired troops to subdue Georg’s forces with as few deaths as possible. After Georg’s surrender, Kazuya declares to the Amidonian army that he will occupy their capital city of Van, driving them back to their principality. On the outskirts of Van, the exhausted Amidonian army is thrashed by the now-united Elfrieden army and Prince Gaius is killed in battle. In one week, later known in history as the One Week War, Kazuya ended a civil war and occupied a neighboring country’s capital city!

Kazuya and the Elfrieden army occupy Amidonia’s capital city

Despite an attempt by Gaius’ son to have the Gran Chaos Empire “request” the Elfrieden army’s retreat, Kazuya eventually annexes Amidonia and creates the united Kingdom of Friedonia. He also forges a secret alliance with the Empire to prepare for all-out war with the Demon Lord’s Domain.

Main Characters

Kazuya Souma (相馬 一也, Sōma Kazuya), the 19-year old fourteenth King of the Kingdom of Elfrieden (later Friedonia) and a former humanities student. Considerate, decisive, humble, resourceful, and wise, he is now gradually experiencing the burdens of rulership including loneliness and stress from responsibility for countless lives. Kazuya is very familiar with the art of government and remembers various works from famous authors including Niccolò Machiavelli and Sun Tzu. In his new world, Kazuya can telekinetically manipulate several objects from a distance and remotely view whatever is in the objects’ vicinity. He typically uses this ability, known as Living Poltergeist, to manipulate manikins of various sizes.

Liscia Elfrieden, the crown princess of the Kingdom of Elfrieden and Kazuya’s first fiancée. Brave, determined, and proud, she was initially unhappy with her father’s arbitrary decision to engage her with a foreign stranger, but her feelings for Kazuya grew as she witnessed his actions as Elfrieden’s new king. While Liscia is tolerant of Kazuya having several fiancées, she is fiercely insistent on being the first one. Trained at her country’s military academy, Liscia is a competent officer and swordswoman.

From left to right: Poncho Panacotta, Tomoe Inui, Juna Doma, Hakuya Kuonmin, Aisha Udgard

Aisha Udgard, Kazuya’s dark elf bodyguard and one of his fiancées. Bold, dignified, gluttonous and impetuous, she is quite naïve about life outside her home in the Elfrieden Kingdom’s God-Protected Forest, where she had spent most of her life. After the young king organized a relief effort to help the dark elves after a landslide almost destroyed their village, Aisha swore her eternal loyalty to Kazuya and fell in love with him. Extremely strong, Aisha can swing her huge two-handed sword with skill and ease.

Hakuya Kuonmin, Kazuya’s prime minister. Calculating, reserved, and shrewd, he is Kazuya’s closest advisor. Because of his keen interest in reading, Hakuya is extremely knowledgeable on a wide variety of fields including law, politics and economics.

Juna Doma, a music pub singer and one of Kazuya’s fiancées. Affectionate and even-tempered, she promotes good morale throughout the Kingdom of Elfrieden with singing and persuasive words. Behind the scenes, Juna is an agent of her grandmother, Excel Walter, and the leader of the Elfrieden navy’s marines, codenamed “Lady Canaria”.

With Poncho’s help, Kazuya introduces takoyaki to the Elfrieden Kingdom

Tomoe Inui, a mystic wolf beastfolk girl. Compassionate and timid, she can communicate with all animals. After Tomoe secretly revealed that she can also communicate with any demonic being, Kazuya decided to arrange the girl’s adoption into the Elfrieden royal family for her protection.

Poncho Panacotta, an expert chef and gourmet. Kind and unassuming, he spent most of his life traveling across the continent of Landia in search of various foods before he was recruited by Kazuya. Poncho’s food expertise proved invaluable in solving the Elfrieden Kingdom’s food shortage.

The current geopolitical map of the Landia Continent

Personal Thoughts

The hero of this story is, more or less, an ordinary person with a focused, rational mind who is determined to do his best for those he considers his family. Kazuya sees himself as an administrator, instead of a king, who ensures that the Kingdom of Elfrieden survives and prospers. He feels the burdens of being someone responsible for the lives of literally millions of people, so he’d rather not have this job but has no choice in the matter. Overall, the story is an example of what a responsible monarch endures and the complexities of managing a country.

Kazuya wonders if he really did do his best as king

The average person in the world is usually concerned only with their particular profession and does not need to understand much outside it. Senior executives, engineers, and politicians have jobs that manage the livelihood of many people and, as a result, have to understand the particulars of several fields and how their decisions can affect the future. Kazuya had to read through countless kingdom records and hold discussions with experts before making decisions to improve life in his kingdom. The fact that every action has consequences is especially true for anyone who manages a country. For example, is it worth spending ten years of taxes on land reclamation to construct more homes for a city? One could easily argue for it or against it.

It’s easy for people to complain to their employers or protest against their country’s leaders, but not all of them truly understand the entire situation involved. Such leaders also have the difficult task of ensuring that their power and influence do not corrupt them, which is very easy judging from the amount of corruption in economics and politics in this world! Rare is the leader who always considers the wishes of a country and its people. While it’s important for us to stand up for what we believe in, we must never dismiss the difficulties country leaders face.

Moral

Never take your country’s stability and prosperity for granted.

Reincarnated as the Piggy Duke: This Time I’m Gonna Tell Her How I Feel!

Spoiler Alert!

*yawn*

Sunlight peeks through your sleepy eyes.

Hmm?

Is this a bedroom?

The last thing you remember from last night was watching the latest episode of Shuya Marionette in the living room.

Hold on…this doesn’t even look like your room!

You rub your eyes and…what?

You feel your face.

Somehow feels…fleshier?

You see a dressing table across the room, rush to it and look in the mirror.

WHAT THE…? Who is this fatso?! What’s going on?!?

Wait…

You’ve seen those creepy eyes and this flabby body before…

This is Slowe Denning, also known as the “Piggy Duke”! He’s from Shuya Marionette!

Is this transportation to another world? Why did you become the hated, arrogant noble? Why didn’t you become Shuya Newkern?!

Aargh!

*knock* *knock*

“Are you awake, Lord Slowe?”, a girl’s familiar voice calls out.

You barely snap out of your confusion.

“Y-yes, c-come in,” you stammer.

The room’s only door swings open and a girl pushing a wheeled table with food and drink on it enters.

You don’t believe it…it’s Charlotte, Slowe’s attendant, in person! Just as you saw in the anime!

“Good morning, Lord Slowe. Will you have breakfast now?”

You nod unsteadily.

As you eat, your mind races.

Charlotte was a princess from a fallen kingdom and would have been sold into slavery had Slowe not taken her in as his attendant. He kept the fact that she was royalty a secret from everyone, including his own family. Slowe even fought off numerous assassins sent after Charlotte.

Despite being in love with Charlotte, Slowe felt that his family would never approve of their relationship. He gradually adopted the persona of an arrogant, spoiled bully and pushed her away until she befriended the story protagonist Shuya Newhern. Slowe would later be disowned by his own family.

Will this be your fate as well?

*CRACK*

You snap out of your reverie.

“Sorry, Lord Slowe! I’ll clean this up right away!”

You turn to Charlotte, who is trying to pick up pieces of a broken teapot from the floor.

“That’s alright, Charlotte. Allow me.”

You pick up Slowe’s wand…your wand now, you guess!

Good thing Slowe is a genius at magic!

“T-thank you, milord,” Charlotte says as she bows to you. “But…you’ve never helped me before. Why…”

Alright, you’ve decided! You’ll do what you can to live a happy life with Charlotte! But first…

“Charlotte, I’m going out for a little jog.”

“h-HUH?!”

Reincarnated as the Piggy Duke: This Time I’m Gonna Tell Her How I Feel! (豚公爵に転生したから、今度は君に好きと言いたい, Buta Kōshaku ni Tensei Shitakara, Kondo wa Kimi ni Suki to iitai) is a web novel, light novel series and manga written by Rhythm Aida (合田 拍子).

The story of the anime Shuya Marionette takes place at the Kirsch Mage Institute, a center of magical learning in the country of Daryth. One student at the Institute is the young Slowe Denning, derisively known as the “Piggy Duke” by the other students. Hated by his fellow students and considered a lost cause by family and teachers alike, Slowe was an arrogant and spoiled bully who enjoyed abusing his status as the heir of House Denning, the Family of Wind and one of Daryth’s most influential families.

In Professor Arle’s Magic Theory class

One day, the spirit of a modern-day Japanese teenager ends up in Slowe’s body. The new Slowe becomes determined to improve his health and reputation in order to live a happy life with Slowe’s secret crush, his attendant Charlotte. By paying attention during class and helping the less-capable students, Slowe gains the approval of teachers who had once given up all hope for him. Later, he teams up with Charlotte to participate in a Magic Speed-Eating Contest and manages to win first prize despite the efforts of Shuya Newkern, the main hero of Shuya Marionette, and Alicia, princess of Cirquista.

At the Magic Speed-Eating Contest

Afterwards, Slowe and Shuya are asked by Headmaster Morozov to investigate rumors about a spy within the institute. Slowe soon manages to find the spy, the infamous mercenary No Face, who was posing as a professor. After a fierce duel of magic, Slowe manages to overcome No Face and hand her over to Daryth’s Royal Knights. Everyone at the institute is impressed and Cardinal Maldini invites Slowe to join the selection for a Guardian Knight, a bodyguard to the Queen of Daryth. Candidates for the selection must first prove themselves by capturing a band of thieves hiding in the city of Yoram.

Slowe the Pig vs. Sepith the Traitor

After several days of investigation, Slowe and the Royal Knights learn that the thieves are hiding at the La Cubilie theater. There, the thieves, posing as actors, attempt to kidnap Alicia in revenge for her kingdom driving them into hiding. One of the selection candidates, the Royal Knight Sepith Pendragon, joins the thieves and kidnaps Alicia himself, intending to deliver her to the Dostol Empire in the north in order to break the alliance between Daryth and Cirquista. Born to a noble father and a commoner mother, Sepith hoped that the upcoming invasion by Dostol would sweep away all class discrimination. He is stopped by Slowe, who knew about Sepith’s possible betrayal from Shuya Marionette. With this, Slowe becomes an official candidate for Guardian Knight.

While things are looking up for the Piggy Duke, war and heartbreak await on the horizon for all…

Charlotte with her homemade slimming potion (left) and Tina (right)

Main Characters

Slowe Denning, the third son of House Denning, a student at the Kirsch Mage Institute and a former citizen of modern-day Japan. Capable, clever, kind and strong-willed, he gradually befriends several people and improves his reputation with compassion and heroic deeds. Slowe also diets and exercises regularly with Charlotte’s help. He is the most powerful and skilled student at the Mage Institute, able to use not only his family’s wind magic but also other elemental magic such as fire, water and light. Despite losing weight, Slowe still has the unfortunate habit of saying “Oink!” (“Buhi!” in Japanese) every now and then.

Charlotte Lily Huzak, Slowe’s attendant and the former princess of the now-fallen Huzak Kingdom. Clumsy, honest and trusting, she hides her inner trauma with a carefree attitude. Encouraged by her young master’s sudden desire to change his selfish ways, Charlotte loyally serves Slowe’s needs in any way she can, including enforcing his diet! Despite being notoriously bad at cooking, she is determined to improve her skills to better serve Slowe. Once a week, she sends a report about her young master’s progress to his parents, who are skeptical about their son’s new attitude. As a former princess, Charlotte has the ability to use magic but lacks skill in doing so. Slowe is now training her to better control her magic.

Slowe annoyed by an argument between Alicia (right) and Shuya (left)

Alicia Bra Deer Cirquista, second princess of the Cirquista Kingdom, a student at the Kirsch Mage Institute and Slowe’s former fiancée. Graceful, proud and strong-willed, she is particularly hard on Slowe despite his deeds and his desire to change for the better. Alicia finds herself gradually attracted to her ex-fiancé but tries to distance herself for fear of being disappointed again. A popular student at the Institute, she is skilled in the use of water magic.

Tina, a student at the Kirsch Mage Institute and the daughter of the family that owns the luxury inn, Gordoni. Curious, exuberant and hard-working, she is one of the few students of non-noble birth at the Institute. Fascinated by magic, Tina is jealous of nobles who can use magic easily. After some advice and encouragement from Slowe, she can now use earth magic to create golems.

Shuya Newkern, son of Baron Newkern and a student at the Kirsch Mage Institute. Charming, earnest and hot-tempered, he is the main hero of the Shuya Marionette anime from Slowe’s previous life. He is skilled with fire magic and at predicting the future, but his role as the hero is now taken by Slowe.

Personal Thoughts

In today’s world, it’s easy to forget that we would miss much if we judge anyone by their appearance alone. With everyone trying to get the attention of others for many purposes (e.g. business, fame, love) or using distractions to hide the truth, it’s easy for us to become superficial in judgement and not look past the surface. We should remember that one’s actions speak louder than any words they can utter.

On the verge of being cast out as a disgrace and armed with knowledge about his world’s story, Slowe diligently improved his self-image and paid attention to the feelings of others. Those around him were skeptical at first, but his diligence and deeds gradually won them over. By helping and being mindful of others, Slowe made friends, gained the trust of his teachers and even earned the favor of his country’s royalty.

Would you call him the Piggy Duke now?

Another interesting story aspect is the romantic tension between Slowe and the girls around him. The attendant Charlotte stays with her master out of gratitude for saving her life years ago, helping him through his most trying times. Tina, who once struggled to perform even a single magic spell, found her first supporter in Slowe, who taught her that bloodline alone doesn’t make a mage. Because Slowe was there for her when she seriously considered giving up, Tina considers the Piggy Duke a true friend despite the warnings of her schoolmates. Princess Alicia personally witnessed Slowe’s deterioration into the infamous Piggy Duke and often assumes the worst of him. In the course of watching Slowe’s heroic deeds and change of heart, Alicia slowly becomes attracted to him but denies it out of fear of being disappointed.

All these girls liked Slowe because he was there for them at their low points in life. Despite his reputation and appearance, his kindness to these women won him their favor. Again, actions spoke louder than words.

Moral

Judge a person by their actions, not their appearance or words.

Isekai Izakaya “Nobu”

Spoiler Alert!

You walk up to the shrine bell and ring it.

You bow twice, clap twice and bow again with your hands together.

Today’s the day.

Yes, the day that Nobu opens.

It wasn’t an easy choice for you. Having lived in Kyoto for generations, your family still believed in the tradition of arranged marriage. They wanted you to marry the son of a bank’s vice-president!

Instead, you decided to work with Nobuyuki after he quit his job at your family’s restaurant. After months of preparation, everything is finally ready.

Now for the donation!

You open your personal charm, take out your secret savings of 10,000 yen and hold it out over the donation box.

…ugh!

Why won’t the bill leave your fingers?!

Aah…*gasp*

Where’d this wind come from?!

Whoops!

The bill flies out of your hand and into the donation box!

“Please…watch…over Nobu, Inari-sama,” you say ruefully.

Well, time to start work!

You run several blocks from the Inari shrine to the quiet street where Nobu is and enter the izakaya by the back door in an alley.

Inside, you see Nobuyuki cleaning the tables.

“I’m back, Nobuyuki! Shall I hang the noren at the front door?”

“Please do. Oh, and be sure to call me Taishou from now on.”

“Of course…Taishou!”

You take the noren, go outside and hang it above the front door. It looks great!

You take a look around the street…

HUH?

What…where…w…?

You rub your eyes and open them again.

In front of you is a sight you have never seen before with your own eyes.

A street lined with buildings that look like they came from Medieval Europe, just like what you’ve seen in history books at school! It doesn’t look like you’re in Kyoto anymore!

You turn around and see the familiar front of Nobu.

This…can’t be right!

You run back into the izakaya.

Alright…deep…breath…

You peek through the front door.

The same medieval street is there!

How? Why?! Ugh, you’re getting a headache!

“Shinobu, what’s wrong?”

“N-N-N-Nobuyuki…”

“It’s Taishou…”

“L-L-Look outside!”

“Is…this a dream?”

You pinch Nobuyuki’s side.

“OW! Why’d you pinch me?!”

Okay, so it’s not a dream!

“Would we be able to run an izakaya here?”, you ask.

That’s what you’re worried about?”, Nobuyuki exclaims.

Isekai Izakaya “Nobu” (異世界居酒屋「のぶ」, Isekai Izakaya「Nobu」, lit. Alternate World Bar “Nobu” ) is a web novel, light novel series, manga, anime and live-action TV drama written by Natsuya Semikawa (蝉川 夏哉, Semikawa Natsuya).

In the corner of a quiet shopping street in Kyoto, an izakaya (居酒屋) is opened by the chef Nobuyuki Yazawa and the waitress Shinobu Senke. After Shinobu prays for the izakaya’s success at a local Inari shrine, a fox spirit answers by making its front appear in Aitheria, a city on another world and the capital of the Empire. The back door of the izakaya still opens to an alley in Kyoto, so Nobuyuki and Shinobu are able to purchase ingredients and live in Kyoto after business hours.

Fried chicken and lager are a heavenly combination!

Within months, the izakaya Nobu becomes a very popular destination for Aitheria’s citizens for its exotic (to them!) and high-quality dishes and drinks. Among Nobu’s first regular customers are two palace guards, Hans and Nikolaus, and their captain Berthold. Another notable customer is the stern tax collector Gernot, who is joyfully reminded of his childhood when he eats the Napolitan spaghetti Shinobu made for her own lunch! A girl, Eva, becomes Nobu’s first otherworld employee after sneaking into the izakaya one day.

Gernot hasn’t had pasta since the day he left his home village!

Nobu’s growing reputation soon attracts many of Aitheria’s leading citizens, including Holger (master of the blacksmith guild), Lorentz (master of the glassmaker guild and Hans’ father) and Edwin (Aitheria’s local deacon of the Holy Order). A bitter disagreement between Aitheria’s three water transport guilds comes to an end when Nobuyuki demonstrates how eel, thought useless as a commodity in Aitheria, can be delicious with the proper cooking techniques.

Berthold returns to Aitheria with his bride

Captain Berthold soon marries his wife, Hermina, and brings her to Aitheria. Unable to move into their new home as planned, Hermina is hired as a waitress at Nobu. The izakaya later attracts the attention of Bachschouf, the greedy, corrupt chairman of the Aitheria City Council, who hopes to seize Nobu and have Nobuyuki and Shinobu arrested for the crime of selling lager, a drink traditionally reserved for Imperial royalty. Gernot and Nobu’s other regulars are able to get Bachschouf arrested instead and the retired Emperor lifts the royal ban on lager.

With its food and dedicated staff, the izakaya Nobu brings joy and unity to Aitheria like never before.

Main Characters

Nobuyuki Yazawa (矢澤 信之, Yazawa Nobuyuki), the 32-year old chef and owner of the izakaya Nobu. Calm, diligent and professional, he is keen on improving and expanding his cooking skills. After graduating from high school, Nobuyuki was employed as a cook at the Kyoto luxury restaurant Yukitsuna, where he gradually honed his skills and earned a reputation for excellence. After working at Yukitsuna for 14 years, he quit in order to fulfill his dream of opening his own business. Nobuyuki lives on the second floor of his izakaya and enjoys watching police television dramas in his free time. He has a tendency to buy too many ingredients and sometimes neglects locking up the izakaya, much to Shinobu’s annoyance. Everyone refers to him as Nobu-taishou (のぶ大将, Nobu-taishō).

Shinobu Senke (千家 しのぶ, Senke Shinobu), a 23-year old waitress at the izakaya Nobu. Cheerful, cordial and patient, she becomes stern whenever ill is spoken about Nobuyuki. As an heiress to the luxury restaurant Yukitsuna, Shinobu is very familiar with the ins and outs of the restaurant business and is experienced at handling customers. She has a highly-developed sense of taste and the ability to remember the faces and preferences of customers, making her a very popular fixture among Nobu’s regulars.

Eva eats the first calamari tempura made in Aitheria

Eva, a 14-year old dishwasher at the izakaya Nobu. Kind and obedient, she has three older brothers and two younger siblings, the latter of whom she brings food regularly from Nobu. She gradually learns much about her world from Nobu’s many customers and later receives basic education from the deacon Edwin.

Once thought inedible, eel quickly becomes one of Aitheria’s most popular foods thanks to Nobu

Hermina, a 16-year old waitress at the izakaya Nobu and the wife of the Palace Guard Captain Berthold, who is twice her age! The dedicated, kind and strong-willed daughter of a squid fisherman, her fisherwoman’s strength and her experience at handling seafood prove helpful in her job as a waitress.

Personal Thoughts

In the process of introducing new kinds of high-quality food and drinks to a Medieval-era European city, Nobuyuki and Shinobu created a nexus where many of Aitheria’s citizens, from various walks of life, find common ground on an informal basis. From city guards to nobility, Nobu’s customers share a passion for Nobuyuki’s food and befriend each other during their meals. As a result, they cooperate and work to make life better for Nobu and each other. The culmination of this is when they all work together to prevent a corrupt city official from seizing the very restaurant they all enjoy eating at.

By working at Nobu, Eva and Hermina’s lives improve as well. Eva gradually receives an education, giving her a chance for a brighter future, and Hermina learns more ways about how to prepare different kinds of seafood, even those not considered food before in the Empire such as eel and octopus.

There are many fantasy stories about fighters, wizards and such going on quests to kill monsters, evil wizards and demons. Here, a chef, his staff and his restaurant unite a city by giving its citizens a common interest, new horizons and a place where they can all be just…people. Since eating is something that literally everyone in the world does, people find more common interest in food than most other issues. Family gatherings everywhere in the world usually involve meals where everyone eats together, putting everyone in a good mood and giving them a place to talk to each other. It’s also common for businesses to give potential clients and partners a good meal so that they will be a good mood when it’s time to come to an agreement.

Also presented to you live on TV drama!

Japan has a unique food culture, examples of which drive the story’s plot. Typical izakaya dishes include fried meat (唐揚げ, Karaage), tofu in thick ankake sauce (豆腐の餡掛け, Tofu no ankake), tempura, sashimi, and eel grilled and prepared in a soy-based sauce (うなぎ 蒲焼, Unagi kabayaki). Sake and beer are also introduced along with several snacks to go with them. The story of Isekai Izakaya “Nobu” seems to be based the saying, “The way to someone’s heart is through their stomach.” That goes for both the story’s characters and us!

Moral

Never underestimate how good food can bring people together.

The Wrong Way to Use Healing Magic

Spoiler Alert!

It’s practically raining cats and dogs today!

And you without your umbrella!

Man, if this was a fantasy world, you’d use magic to stay dry.

*sigh*

Life is getting so boring…

“Eeek! It’s the Vice President Kazuki and President Suzune!”

Hmm?

Ah, Kazuki Ryusen. The perfect, handsome guy in the same class as you. If only a bus would run him down!

Suzune’s so beautiful and smart that even the girls admire her…too bad she’d never go out with a drab guy like yourself.

Ah, well…

Eh?

Did Suzune…speak to you?

“Y-yes. Why?”

“I brought an extra umbrella today,” says Kazuki with a smile. “You can use it.”

“You sure?”

“Sure! Just call me Kazuki. We’re classmates after all!”

“Okay, call me Ken then,” you reply.

“Do you mind if I call you the same?” says Suzune.

The beautiful student council president herself calling your name? Is this heaven?!

“N-n-not at all!”

“Let’s go then!”

To think that you’d be chatting with the two stars of the student council!

“Hmm?”

What?

“Ken, did you hear a loud bell just now?” asks Kazuki.

“Yeah, I heard it,” says Suzune with a slight frown. “Strange.”

You shake your head.

A magic circle!?

“Are we being summoned to another world?! A place where heroes and magic exist?!?”

Did Suzune say that? You didn’t know she was into this stuff!

Unh…

“Greetings, heroes!”

Who…?

“I am King Lloyd Bluegust Lyngle…”

“I’ll be brief. We managed to repel an invasion by the Demon King two years ago, but he is steadily rebuilding his forces. You are our last hope.”

Suzune looks a little too happy!

You feel…disillusioned somehow.

“The ritual we used looks for suitable people and summons them as heroes,” says the King. “Didn’t you hear the sound of a bell?”

You didn’t so…does that mean you were just dragged along?

“My apologies, but the summoning was a one-way trip.”

WHAT?!

“Yes, there’s no excuse for what we did,” the King continues. “But we have to what we can to save this kingdom…no, the world.”

“Very well, then,” Kazuki sighs.

“Alright, Ken,” says the court mage. “Touch this crystal and we’ll what kind of magic you can use.”

Apparently, Suzune can use lightning magic and Kazuki can use light magic, which is supposed to be harmful to demons.

Alright, let’s give it a try…

It’s green. A very bright green, too!

Hmm? The mage looks rather pale for some reason.

“K-K-Ken! Y-your affinity is w-with…healing magic!”

The Wrong Way to Use Healing Magic ~Healers Racing Across the Battlefield~ (治癒魔法の間違った使い方 ~戦場を駆ける回復要員~, Chiyu Mahō no Machigatta Tsukaikata ~Senjō o Kakeru Kaifuku Yōin~) is a web novel, light novel series and manga written by Kurokata (くろかた).

One rainy afternoon, the bored Ken Usato makes the acquaintance of two members of his school’s student council: Suzune Inukami, the beautiful president, and Kazuki Ryusen, the handsome vice president. While chatting with each other on their way home, the three students are suddenly transported to another world, where King Lloyd of the Lyngle Kingdom implores them to fight against the Demon King. Despite initial reluctance, the students agree and have their magical affinities assessed by a court mage, who becomes alarmed when she learns about Ken’s affinity with healing magic. Shortly afterwards, a tall, menacing woman in a white coat arrives and simply carries Ken off. King Lloyd awkwardly explains to Suzune and Kazuki that the woman is Rose, the feared and renowned leader of the Lyngle Kingdom’s Rescue Squad, which was instrumental in saving the lives of countless soldiers during the last war with the demons.

Over the course of the next two weeks, Rose pushes Ken through a grueling training regiment of physical exercise and magic training. After this, he is made an official member of the Rescue Squad. During a walk in the capital, Ken meets a young girl who takes his hand. He is suddenly overwhelmed by a brief vision in which a knight in full black armor stands triumphant over the bloody corpses of the defeated Lyngle army, including Suzune and Kazuki. Before disappearing into the crowd, the girl tells Ken that the future can be changed and he will owe her a favor.

A few days later, a demon army appears at the Lyngle Kingdom’s border, led by a familiar black knight. They are confronted by the Lyngle army while the Rescue Squad saves as many of the injured as possible. The black knight almost kills Suzune and Kazuki before Ken rescues them at the last second. Learning that the knight’s armor is a solidified magic spell that reflects any attacks done to it, Ken attacks the knight with punches while using healing magic on the armor to neutralize its reflection ability. When the black knight is defeated and captured, the demoralized demon army quickly retreats.

Later, Ken meets the mysterious girl from before, who introduces herself as Amako and, in return for the vision she gave earlier, wants him to accompany her to the Beastfolk Nation to heal her ailing mother. Knowing that the demons will eventually return in greater numbers, King Lloyd assigns Ken, Suzune and Kazuki to deliver letters requesting aid to other countries. Their first destination is Luqvis, the City of Magic. After that, Ken and Amako go their own way to Samarial and the water city Millark, where they can eventually reach the Beastfolk Nation. Along the way, Ken shows the world that healing mages are not to be trifled with…

Main Characters

Ken Usato (兎里 健, Usato Ken), a 17-year old healing mage, a member of the Rescue Squad and a former high school student. Brave, considerate and cooperative, he has become much more aggressive, focused and tenacious as a result of completing Rose’s hellish training. Once bored with a humdrum life on his own world, Ken now wishes to do his best to support his new friends. He also constantly looks for ways to improve himself, though the degree of such “training” often unnerves those who see a little of his terrifying mentor in him! In addition to his powerful healing magic, Ken is extraordinarily strong and fit as a result of using his magic on himself while training constantly. He is also skilled at unarmed combat, which he can combine with his healing magic. Ken is usually accompanied by his loyal pet Bluey, a Blue Grizzly cub, whom he carries as part of his training.

Amako, a 14-year old fox beastfolk girl. Quiet, reserved and sometimes impolite, she has gone through many hardships during her lonely journey to find a healer who could cure her mother’s mysterious illness. Because most countries except the Lyngle Kingdom scorn or enslave beastfolk, Amako is usually wary of humans, apart from Ken. She has the rare ability to use prophecy magic, which allows her to anticipate danger or see brief prophetic visions.

Suzune Inukami (犬上 鈴音, Inukami Suzune), an 18-year old heroine and a former high school student. Having maintained a composed, graceful façade as a student council president, she is now surprisingly easygoing, excitable and outgoing as a result no longer feeling the need to restrain herself.  Suzune is a fan of fantasy stories and is intensely curious about the fantasy world she is now in. She is attracted to Ken as a result of his recent heroics, but he is somewhat discouraged by her overenthusiasm. After some training, Suzune is now a skilled swordswoman with the ability to use lightning magic.

Kazuki Ryusen (龍泉 一樹, Ryūsen Kazuki), a 17-year old hero and a former high school student. Caring, friendly and sensitive, he is popular with women but other men tend to avoid him. King Lloyd’s daughter, Princess Seria, is attracted to Kazuki. He has the ability to use light magic, which is particularly effective against demons and undead.

Personal Thoughts

This story is a deliberate defiance of the common assumptions about healers in many fantasy roleplaying games and stories, which often depict them as weak and vulnerable. In such cases, healers often need to be defended by stronger, more aggressive characters, making it easy for most modern-day people to dismiss the importance of healing in combat. The roles of fighters in any story seem more glorious compared to healers, but healers are the ones who allow the fighters and others to stay alive and keep fighting.

Outside the Lyngle Kingdom, most people assume that healing mages are weaklings who hide behind the “real heroes”. The main character Ken is skilled unarmed fighter who could stand against all but the most powerful of monsters. The Rescue Squad itself is the fantasy equivalent of an experienced paramedic team that provides quick emergency medical aid and makes sound decisions that mean the difference between life and death for their patients. They are also trained physically and mentally to take care of themselves and reduce the risk of them getting killed in battle. The Squad leader, Rose, is a fearsome and demanding drill sergeant who expects the Squad to be prepared for any kind of medical emergency, be it from a plague, an invading army or a monster destroying a city.

It’s important to understand that premature assumptions can lead to conclusions about people and other things that are not necessarily true. Just as a knight is a hero for slaying an evil dragon, a healer is also a hero for saving those who would have died. As this story demonstrated, healers are not necessarily weak and passive either!

Moral

Do not let preconceptions drive you to premature conclusions.