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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.

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 allows 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.

The King of Fantasy

Spoiler Alert!

It’s almost over…

This filth Orochi thinks he can kill all of humanity?

Hmph!

“I won’t be defeated by the likes of you,” says Orochi with calm contempt.

Its eyes then stare directly into yours, as if piercing your very soul.

“Kill Kusanagi and Yata…”

What?!

“…and smash the three sacred treasures, my child.”

Why the heck would…

!!

Numbing agony suddenly wracks your entire body and fury begins to fill your mind.

*cough* *choke* *cough *

…b-blood?

I-Is this…the “Riot of the Blood”?!

The rage within you builds…

“Gh…uh…gh…GGGAAAAAAAAAHHH!!”

All you can see is…red. Blood red.

You see…Kusanagi?

KUSANA…NO!!!

Orochi…this…KILL…MUST…

Toy with you, would he?! Let’s see how he likes his own life in another’s hands!

“Let’s finish this!”

…Kusa…nagi?

No. No. NO!

Orochi is yours to kill! YOURS!

“You intend to kill me along with this whelp?” Orochi calls out. “You’re sealing your own doom!”

“YAGAMIIII!”

So bright…so noisy…stop…screaming…

Oh, wait. That’s you.

This calm…peace…

Is this…death…? At least…the rage…will be no more…

The light gradually subsides and you open your eyes.

What…?

A forest…?

Where…are you?

“KIKIKIIIIIIIIIIII!”

The strange animal call from behind you breaks your reverie and you swivel around.

What are these…things?

Whatever they are, they definitely look like they want to tear you apart!

We’ll see about that!

You instinctively conjure a purple flame and cast onto the ground. It streaks forward until it reaches and ignites two of the little critters.

The other creatures halt with fearful hesitation on their faces.

So they do understand fear!

Their faces pinch with anger and they all rush you at once.

Trying to overwhelm you? Fools…

You conjure flames in both your hands and jump while spinning with your arms outstretched.

Charred bodies collapse on the ground around you.

Wretches…just lay down there and die…

Who’s th…?!

A girl? Who…

Uuunh…diz…zy…

The King of Fantasy: Iori Yagami’s Other World ~Remember When You See The Moon!~ (ザ・キング・オブ・ファンタジー 八神庵の異世界無双 ~月を見るたび思い出せ!~, The King of Fantasy: Yagami Iori no Isekai Musō ~Tsukio Miru Tabi Omoidase!~) is a light novel and manga written by Nobuhiko Tenkawa (天河 信彦, Tenkawa Nobuhiko).

About two millennia ago, the divine will of Earth, Orochi, arose to annihilate humanity for the destruction it had inflicted upon the planet for eons. The war between humanity and Orochi’s forces ended when the Kusanagi clan, the Yasakani clan and the Yata clan used three sacred treasures to seal away Orochi itself. In 1337, Orochi’s followers tricked the Yasakani Clan into making a blood pact with their master, granting them great power while cursing all of their descendants to eventually die young. The Yasakani also rename themselves the Yagami to distance themselves from their former allies.

On the 17th of September, 1997, Orochi is released by its followers and confronts the descendants of the clans that once banished him: Kyo Kusanagi, Iori Yagami and Chizuru Kagura. In the final moments of the fight, Iori throttles Orochi and a blinding flash of light ensues when Kyo delivers the final blow. After the light subsides, Iori finds himself attacked by several unfamiliar, ugly humanoids and dispatches them before he faints.

At the tournament, Iori evades Althena’s Sword Accelerator

Upon regaining consciousness, Iori meets the young knight Althena Viktorias, who explains that he had just saved her from goblins. She also explains that they are now in the Principality of Esaga and that Iori appeared during a lunar eclipse, a time prophesized to be when the Demon King will appear, heralded by fire. Realizing that he is no longer on Earth, Iori follows Althena to Shisaga, Esaga’s capital, where they participate in a tournament that will determine who will challenge the Demon King. After Iori is declared the winner, Prince Midou commands Iori and Althena to hunt a dragon causing trouble in southern Esaga.

Lilili restores the academy….after a fashion!

In the Higatsu Forest, Iori and Althena find the magician Lilili attempting to restore the magical academy she destroyed accidentally at her graduation! After Lilili joins the group and they rest at an inn, a passerby tells them about a dragon living at an abandoned mine in the mountains on the southwestern Esaga border. There, the trio find a horde of goblins, orcs and kobolds led by the passerby who is actually a mage! Prince Midou also reveals himself, for it was he who paid the mage to murder Althena. A huge melee begins.

Iori decapitates one of Alighieri’s three heads

After the mage casts an Explosion spell, a huge three-headed dragon appears and kills both the mage and the prince with its fiery breath. The dragon then introduces itself as Alighieri, the Dragon of Flame. Despite seemingly hopeless odds, the trio are able to overcome the dragon in a furious battle. Back in Shisaga, the king of Esaga listens to Althena’s report while grieving his son’s death. When Iori bluntly reveals that he arrived in the fantasy world during a lunar eclipse, the irate king believes him to be the Demon King and banishes him from Esaga. The three companions then travel south to the Magical Kingdom of Higatsumi.

Elsewhere, orcs declare Kyo Kusanagi to be the Demon King after he swiftly kills Durante, the Dragon of Ice…

Left to right: Lilili, Althena Viktorias, Iori Yagami

Main Characters

Iori Yagami (八神 庵, Yagami Iori), 20-year old descendant of the ancient Yagami clan. Blunt, independent-minded, serious, sullen and unapologetic, his generally unpleasant demeanor conceals a grudging gentleness. Although Iori often seems bloodthirsty and sadistic when fighting, he is actually a pacifist and does not fight unless provoked. He also does not like to rely on others and has a poor opinion of those who would use their power to oppress those weaker than themselves. As the latest descendant of the Yagami clan, Iori is an expert of the martial arts style passed through his family for countless generations, which mostly uses claw strike techniques and pyrokinesis. Because of the Yagami clan’s blood pact with Orochi, Iori’s flames have a purplish hue and his body carries Orochi blood. Certain influences, such as Orochi’s presence, can cause Iori to undergo the Riot of the Blood (血の暴走, Chi no Bōsō), a state of near-mindless fury in which he becomes stronger and faster. In modern-day Japan, Iori is a band guitarist of some renown.

Iori plays for a tavern crowd

Althena Viktorias, 17-year old knight of the Principality of Esaga. Humble, outgoing, polite, responsible and virtuous, she is the only female knight of her country. Because she doesn’t openly flaunt her authority, she is well-liked by commoners but also scorned by several Esaga aristocrats including Prince Midou. Having spent most of her life training in the ways of war, Althena is a very capable swordswoman who enjoys fighting strong opponents. She is deeply attracted to Iori, who has demonstrated to be stronger than her and yet caring in his own way. Althena’s techniques include Blue Gale, a slashing wave, and Sword Accelerator, which increases the speed of her sword strikes. She also keeps a bag of magic potions for use in emergencies. As an aside, Althena is frightened of locusts and spiders.

Althena fighting off a horde

Lilili, 15-year old magician. Exuberant, friendly, proud and talkative, she was the best student in her magic academy before she accidentally destroyed said academy during her graduation ceremony! In order to officially graduate as a magician, Lilili must fully restore the academy. As a result of extensive studies, she is very knowledgeable and is familiar with the concept of parallel worlds. To cast magic spells, Lilili must break open latinum (gems containing magical energy) and chant incantations. When doing so, she uses her mask as a focus. Lilili’s spells include Kou’en (a fireball), Fire, Fire Infusion (infuse a weapon with fire that slowly drains its wielder’s life), Heal and Protection (a magic shield). She is frightened of octopuses and bald heads.

Lilili’s strongest attack

Personal Thoughts

In this story, there are many references to the video games produced by the SNK Corporation, particularly the King of Fighters franchise which began in 1994. Chief among them is Iori Yagami, the “bad boy” rival to the main hero Kyo Kusanagi, and his unique combat moves. Althena Viktorias is based on the titular heroine of the 1986 arcade game Athena who was born in the Kingdom of Victory. Lilili is based on Yuri Sakazaki, a former damsel-in-distress from the Art of Fighting series who later became a martial artist in her own right. The fantasy world features several other lookalikes of various characters from the SNK fighting games. The goblins in the story have appearances similar to that of Genan Shiranui, a green-skinned character from the Samurai Shodown series.

Relaxing and planning their next adventure!

The most interesting twist of The King of Fantasy is that both Iori and Kyo appeared in the fantasy world during a lunar eclipse. Since both of them are powerful martial artists who can conjure fire, both could conceivably be the prophesized “Demon King”. While he appears to be a stubborn, sullen villain at first glance, Iori has a strong, but well-hidden, moral code. At the same time, Kyo is a carefree, well-meaning young man with a strong sense of justice who happened to befriend orcs first. His fierce, heated rivalry with Iori is very personal.

Right and wrong often, but not always, become dependent on a person’s perspective. For example, in the aftermath of World War I, Germany was crippled by debt and unemployment as a result of the Treaty of Versailles. Because of this, many of Germany’s citizens grew to resent England and France and saw Adolf Hitler as a hero who restored their country’s dignity and strength. Life is much more complicated than what a simple good/evil belief might suggest. People often make hard decisions based on the challenges their lives give them, whether for the sake of survival, love, ambition, etc.

Moral

One’s perspective often decides right and wrong. Be understanding of others’ desires and situations.

The Faraway Paladin

Spoiler Alert!

“Mary? Blood…?”

Two people whom you consider your family have just collapsed, as though the strength in their legs simply vanished.

“Looks like it didn’t work out after all,” Blood says with tired resignation.

“We refused to give our souls to the Goddess of Undeath as we promised 200 years ago,” added Mary. “And our drive to defend the High King’s seal is gone.”

No, no…

You’ve just defeated an avatar of Stagnate, the Goddess of Undeath, herself! This shouldn’t be happening! It couldn’t!

“Th-this is a joke, right…?”

“The gods are already showing us mercy,” Mary answers in sad firmness. “You’re a smart boy. You understand, don’t you?”

“Is there…anything…we can do?”

“No,” Blood says. “Besides, it’s like you told Stagnate: Live well and die well. We just took 200 years longer than most people.”

“It’s natural for a parent to pass away before their child does,” Mary says with tenderness.

*sigh*

She’s right. But…

Tears flow from your eyes as you fall on your knees.

“No…no…I…I…d…don’t want you to die! I want to come back someday and spar with you again, Blood! I want to do chores with you again, Mary! I promised that I’d show you my children and grandchildren! I…I…How am I supposed to go on?!”

You feel two light knocks on your head.

Emotions rush through your mind and you cry even harder than before.

You feel a hand on your shoulder.

“William, there will still be people in this world even when we’re gone,” says Blood. “Go out there and make some friends…maybe even pick up a few chicks!”

“Don’t encourage him to do anything sacrilegious, Blood!”

“Fine, fine!”

“Love people and forgive sin, Will,” Mary continues. “Yes, you will find betrayal, despair and loss, but happiness, hope and other good things are here as well. May the gods be with you always.”

Yes.

Despite not being related by blood and them being undead, they are your family in every way.

That night, Blood and Mary lie in repose and you give them final blessings as they pass into the gentle caress of Gracefeel, the Goddess of the Cycle of Life and Death and your patron deity.

Watched over by the ghostly Gus, your only remaining family, you spend the night burying your foster family’s bodies at the top of the cliff overlooking the City of the Dead.

Despite your grief, you feel something else as you watch the sun rise.

Is this…hope?

The Faraway Paladin (最果てのパラディン Saihate no Paladin?) is a web novel, light novel and manga series written by Kanata Yanagino (柳野 かなた, Yanagino Kanata).

One fateful day, the evil High King and a massive horde of demons attack the capital city of the continent of Southmark. Eventually, over a hundred heroes fight against the High King’s forces until only Blood (a warrior), Mary (a priestess of the Earth Mother Mater) and Augustus (a legendary sage) remain. Unable to vanquish the High King in battle, the three heroes instead magically seal the King beneath the earth. Despite this, the remnants of the demon horde threaten to overwhelm the heroes. At this moment, the goddess Stagnate arrives and offers the heroes a deal: her aid in destroying the demons and turning them into undead guardians of the High King’s seal in exchange for their souls at a later date. The desperate heroes quickly agree.

The High King emerges

The Southmark continent is gradually abandoned by humanity and the now-ruined capital city becomes known as the City of the Dead, inhabited only by mindless undead and the three undead heroes guarding the High King’s seal. Almost 200 years later, the heroes find an abandoned human baby boy. They name the baby William and raise him with love and care while teaching him everything they know.

William learning from Gus

When William turns 15 years old (the age when a child becomes an adult), the heroes tell him their centuries-old tale and William reveals to them his greatest secret: he is a reincarnated shut-in from another world! Shortly afterwards, Stagnate’s avatar arrives to collect her debt. Determined to save his surrogate family, William battles the avatar.  During this, he has a vision of Gracefeel, the goddess of the cycle of life and death, and pledges himself to her service. William manages to defeat Stagnate’s avatar, and the goddess of undeath furiously vows eternal vengeance. Later, Will makes his final preparations and leaves the City of the Dead for the first time in his life.

William tosses a downed wyvern with a headlock!

During his travels, William meets the half-elf hunter Melendor and prevents him from raiding a village out of desperation. William and Melen then travel together to Whitesails, the northernmost port city of Southmark. On the way, they meet and join up with the halfling troubadour Robina Goodfellow and the merchant Antonio. At Whitesails, William and Melen kill a wyvern attacking the city. As a result, William is appointed as a paladin by the Duke of Southmark. Deciding to tame the Southmark wildlands, William leads many expeditions to hunt demons and local beasts, making the land safer for settlement. He is eventually appointed as feudal lord of the newly-founded community of Torch Port, a restored town not far from the City of the Dead.

William sees Torch Port for the first time

Main Characters

William Gus Maryblood, former shut-in, priest of the goddess Gracefeel, paladin of Southmark and lord of Torch Port. Benevolent, determined and forthright, he fights to protect others and make his world a better place. As a result of his upbringing, he is a skilled fighter, priest and wizard and possesses near-encyclopedic knowledge about many topics including geography, history, magic, mathematics, monster lore and religion. Having recently left his childhood home, William is still somewhat innocent, but he is slowly growing out of this as he gains real life experience and makes new friends. He carries both the dwarven magic spear “Pale Moon”, his main weapon, and the demon sword “Overeater”, a demonic weapon once used by the High King himself. William chose his middle and his last name to honor the three heroes who raised him.

At Whitesails, William is ordained a paladin

Melendor (“Swift Eagle” in Elvish), a half-elf adventurer and hunter. Blunt, independent and somewhat reckless, he is a proud man who likes to tease others but doesn’t like showing his softer side. Born in the grasslands north of Southmark, Melen was born to an elven mother who passed away soon after his birth. Ostracized by the other elves, he took up adventuring and travelled through many lands for decades before arriving in Southmark. Melen is an expert archer and is skilled in wilderness survival. As a result of having elven blood, he has a strong connection to fairies and can call upon their wind magic to aid him. Because he has elven blood, he is far older than he looks and potentially has several centuries of life ahead of him. Melen often acts as the more worldly counterpart to the idealistic, intelligent William.

William and Melendor confront a chimera

Robina Goodfellow, a halfling troubadour and poet. Cheerful, charming, curious and passionate, she spreads word of William’s deeds to encourage the gradual re-settlement of Southmark. Through her songs, Robina wants to ensure that heroes of the past and their deeds are never forgotten and inspire those who hope to become heroes themselves.

Robina sings the ballad of a strong man, a holy maiden and a gifted sage

Antonio, a travelling merchant. Cautious and diligent, he travels Southmark in the hope of finding new opportunities in an untapped market. After William was appointed as lord of Torch Port, Antonio has worked to create supply routes to enable faster immigration throughout Southmark.

Personal Thoughts

This story focuses on empathetic growth in people and coming to terms with an imperfect world. Every character here faces their own problems and tragedies, but persist in order to improve their own lives and those of others. Examples include William’s wish to defend the helpless, Melen’s wish to make amends for nearly becoming a bandit, Robina’s wish to not let heroic deeds be forgotten and Antonio’s wish to build his business.

There are many life lessons in this story, particularly on how to live as a good person. The main character William is a representative of virtues such as compassion, cooperation, friendship, patience and wisdom, which befits the holy knight archetype of many fantasy stories.  This is tempered by his understanding that the world isn’t perfect and that he will face many, many hardships during his journey. Despite knowing this, William soldiers on in honor of both the family that raised him and Gracefeel’s creed on the cycle of life, death and rebirth. Whereas Stagnate, the Goddess of Undeath, believed that death is a horrible, tragic fate that must be avoided at all costs, Gracefeel and William believe that immortality just leads to life becoming merely existences void of meaning. Having lived his life on Earth as a depressed, listless shut-in, William feels that he must actually live his new life, not just survive it.

William is watched over by Gracefeel, Goddess of the Flame and the Eternal Cycle

We all have parts of our lives that made us happy and comfortable, such as the times when we were carefree children with our beloved families or as newly graduated students with our careers ahead of us. It’s a simple fact of life that nothing lasts forever. This world has the very real capability of hurting us through many means such as human selfishness, financial distress, disease and natural disasters. Still, we must never let fear or cynicism overcome us because there are many good things in this world as well. Hobbies, video games, books, sports, careers and accomplishments that improve life are here as well! Writing this blog is one way I enjoy life because I hope to make a helpful difference to someone in my own way!

Moral

Life is more than just survival. Get out there and live it!

Loner Life in Another World

Spoiler Alert!

You’re a loner, plain and simple.

Most of your classmates play and talk with each other during break, but you’d rather enjoy a good book alone.

Just like now.

Many of your classmates have formed cliques such as the athletes and the honor students.

You’d rather not have anything to do with them, especially the delinquents and the mean girls over there!

Still, you occasionally talk with the otaku group about fantasy video games, so it’s not all bad.

*sigh*

Why are there so many nutjobs in this class?

Hmm?

Where’s this glow coming…from…?

Magic circles?!

That’s amaz…NO, WAIT! IT ISN’T!

Going to a different world always means trouble! You’re better off just reading about them!

No good…the doors are jammed and the windows can’t be broken! Is this magic?!

There’s only one thing left…

You clamber onto the closet in the corner of the classroom and go through a panel in the ceiling.

Made it! The attic should be safe…

No! That light!

Ngh!

Where…? What?

Huh? An old man? Is this a retirement home or something?

He suddenly spots you.

Did this guy have lunch yet?

The old man shouts, “I didn’t!”

HUH? How did…was he reading your mind?!

Ah ha! This geezer must be a god or something!

“I already sent your friends to the other world. I tried to summon all of you as a group, so why weren’t you with the others?”

Hmm? Could it be…?

The god cries, “Could it be what?!”

You’re a god and you missed the attic?!

“How would I know about that?! Gods aren’t omnipotent!”

He gives a deep sigh.

“Well, since you’re here anyway, you should get ready and join your friends. You can choose your Job Class and your Skills now…first come, first served, though.”

With a wave of his hands, the god call forth a giant stone slab from above. It’s covered with engraved writing.

“The glowing words here are the available Jobs and Skills.”

Alright, let’s see…

All the cool ones have been taken! What’s up with that?!

Shut-in?! NEET?! You’d lose your life before you lose your job!

Cane Arts? Healthy? Temperature? Packing? Uselessness?!

Is this seriously all there is?!

You turn back to the old god. He looks rather downcast.

“The most I’ve summoned before was 30 people,” he says somberly. “But…43 people came this time and you were left out…”

A moment later, he suddenly perks up.

All? What is he…

“You can have all of the remaining Skills! FAREWELL!”

Farewell?!

Without warning, the scenery around you suddenly changes into a lush, unfamiliar forest.

Loner Life in Another World (ひとりぼっちの異世界攻略, Hitoribocchi no Isekai Kouryaku) is a web novel, light novel series and manga written by Shoji Goji (五示 正司, Goji Shoji).

On a seemingly typical day, the floor of a high school classroom is engulfed by glowing magic circles. Quickly realizing that this potentially meant transportation to another world, the class loner Haruka tries to get out of the classroom by escaping into the attic above. Despite this, he is transported to a space of utter white where he meets a surprised elderly man, who tells the boy that he is a god who sent his classmates to another world some time ago. Apparently, Haruka’s attempt to get into the attic merely resulted him in arriving late by a week! When he is given a list of Jobs and Skills to choose from, Haruka is disappointed to learn that his classmates have already taken all of the desirable choices. The god guiltily gives Haruka all the remaining Skills on the list and sends him to the world his classmates are on.

Wishing only to live the simple life of a loner, Haruka sets up a comfortable home in a cave and forages for fruit and mushrooms in the forest. At the same time, he tests his new abilities and trains against any monsters he comes across. A few days later, he is found by the class otaku, who tell him that the other students have recently gone their separate ways.

Haruka leads the girls out of the forest

Soon afterwards, Haruka is found by the “mean girls” clique and the class president (“Prez”) herself. Wanting to get stronger, the girls train under the direction of Haruka and Prez. The students eventually travel to the forest outskirts, where Haruka and Prez save a caravan from a large pack of hungry green wolves. The grateful adventurers guarding the caravan escort the students to the town of Omui, where Prez and the girls join the adventurers’ guild and Haruka purchases many useful magic items.

Using his new Truth and Lie Skill, Haruka vanquishes Tanaka

A few days later, Haruka returns alone to the forest and finds the athletes from his class, badly wounded. After healing the athletes and telling them to flee to Omui, Haruka confronts their attacker, his classmate Tanaka. Believing that only he deserved to be the hero, the arrogant class genius no longer has any qualms about murdering his former classmates. After a bitter, hard-fought battle, Haruka defeats Tanaka and returns to Omui, where the reunited students joyfully welcome him.

Meanwhile, in the deepest depths of a labyrinth near Omui, an undead desperately clings to its last vestiges of humanity…

Main Characters

Haruka (遥, Haruka), a 16-year old adventurer and a former high school student whose hobby is reading. Despite being a self-professed easygoing loner, he is brave, clever and resolute when he has to be. He is at his happiest when there is no one to bother him, but he can be friendly to others, especially the class geeks and the class president, his childhood friend. Haruka’s tendency to tackle problems alone often results in him taking tremendous risks, which has resulted in the other students keeping an eye on him out of concern. Although he has no Job Class and has average physical abilities, Haruka possesses many Skills and tremendous luck which allows consistent fortuitous events such as higher chances of inflicting mortal wounds on enemies and surviving situations that would normally kill him. He also prefers to use clever tactics, tricks and traps to fight monsters far stronger than him.

Class President (委員長, Iinchō), or “Prez”, a 16-year old adventurer and a former high school student whose favorite food is chestnuts. Diligent, kind, responsible and thoughtful, she is looked up to by the other students as their leader. Having known Haruka since elementary school, Prez is on affectionate terms with him and scolds him whenever he insists on doing things alone unnecessarily. Her chosen Skill is Plunder, which allows her to steal the skills of others. While she took this Skill to keep it away from the class delinquents at first, Prez now uses it to steal useful skills from monsters.

Shimazaki (島崎, Shimazaki), a 16-year old adventurer, a former high school student and the leader of the “mean girls” clique. A shallow, spoiled girl at first, the hardships of the new world have forced her to gradually mature as a person. Shimazaki now strives to help her fellow classmates in any way she can and has even befriended the otaku Oda.

Oda (小田, Oda), a 16-year old adventurer, a former high school student and one of the class otaku. He and the other otaku are counted among the most capable adventurers in their class because of their experience with fantasy manga and video games.

Omui, the current home of the students

Personal Thoughts

Like many other isekai tales, this story uses a familiar rule system in the style of a fantasy role-playing game, complete with “Jobs”, “Skills” and “Magic”. At first, the main character Haruka seemed to get the short end of the stick when he receives all the special abilities that none of his classmates wanted. It’s almost like getting what’s left in a bargain bin after a big sale!

Instead of fighting a dozen goblins at once, Haruka leads them to a pitfall trap

Instead of directly fighting his enemies, Haruka uses their weaknesses to defeat them with a minimum of effort. For example, he uses the light of small fireball to lure a swarm of giant moths before allowing the fireball to explode, killing many of the moths in one stroke. He also once used vinegar to confuse the sensitive noses of a two-headed dog, making the monster an easy target. Haruka’s innovative solutions to fight monsters is similar to how there are several possible solutions to a problem or how several different plans can accomplish the same goal. If a possible plan or solution doesn’t work, we can try something else. For example, instead of insisting on traveling to another country for the summer, we can find something else occupy us. This could involve trying new hobbies such as making collections or taking online language lessons. There are times when being stubborn doesn’t really help us.

Haruka can now defeat the powerful Goblin Emperors!

More importantly, Haruka also took the time and effort to master his acquired abilities so he could rely on them when he really needs them. With practice, he used Temperature to learn Fire Magic, Healthy to resist abnormal status (e.g., poison, instant death) and Packing to carry as many healing potions as he wants. Over time, he learns completely new abilities that rival those of his classmates. Due to almost constantly fighting monsters and learning from experience, Haruka is a far better fighter than many of his classmates despite the fact that their Levels are higher than his. It’s common logic that practice and experience enable one to be more capable at something. We study to do well in tests. We get better at jobs after doing the many tasks involved for years. People who play video games every day are more likely to well in e-sports!

Moral

If you want to do something well, put more effort into it!

Uproar from Reincarnation on Another World

Spoiler Alert!

“It’s so sweeeet!”, everyone says.

Ah ha! It worked! You’ll have to thank Masaharu for memorizing the method of making sugar from sugar beets!

“Sugar from squeezing and boiling worthless potatoes? You’re amazing, Baldr!”

You proudly place your hands on your hips.

Sugar cane and honey are rare on this continent, so fruit is the usual ingredient for making sweet foods. It’s an excellent opportunity to make a new market with sugar beets!

And this is just the beginning!

You want to make lots of money!

So much you’ll drown in it!

Money! Money! MONEY! MONEY!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

Hmm?

Oh, right!

You gather some of the crystallized sugar from the bottom of the pot and place it in a pouch.

“Alright, everyone,” you announce. “Remember to say nothing about this sugar to anyone! If you do, I will never make you my vassals!”

“Leave it to us, Lord Baldr!”

“Good! I’ll leave the harvesting to you guys!”

Minutes later in town, you walk into the offices of the Savaran Company.

“Still making money, Selina?” you ask.

“More or less.”

Selina eyes the pouch in your hand with a sly grin.

You place it on a table and open it.

“Try this.”

She takes a small chunk from the pouch and pops it into her mouth.

YES!

“I want to earn profit from this immediately,” you continue. “Before someone else learns how to make it.”

“So ya wanna to leave the marketing ta me?” asks Selina.

“More than that. I want to use your company’s name and let you handle the business while I manage the finances.”

“Whad’ya mean?”

“It’s simple. I decide what to buy or invest in. Meanwhile, you’d have a free hand in actually selling it.”

“What’s ma cut?”

“How does 10% sound?”

“I’m the one financing the entire venture! How about 15%?”

“Without me, yer dream’ll just be a pie in the sky! Besides, who else can ya ask? 30%!”

Rrgh!

Ah ha!

“Alright! I’ll give you 30%…if you let me touch your ears.”

Boy, you’ve never seen her so flustered before!

A moment later, she stutters nervously, “A-Alright, j-j-just a l-little…”

This sensation…it’s firm yet yielding. Words can do no justice to this wonderful feeling…!

You finally found the answer…to whether cat ears or dog ears are better!

Uproar from Reincarnation on Another World (異世界転生騒動記, Isekai Tensei Sōdō-ki) is a web novel, light novel series and manga written by Ryosen Takami (高見梁川, Takami Ryosen).

On another world, the souls of the samurai Sadatoshi Oka Sanai and the high school student Masaharu Oka suddenly find themselves sharing a body with Baldr Cornelius, the young heir of the Cornelius County within the Mauricia Kingdom.

At 11, Baldr secretly manages a hidden farm of sugar beets with the goal of creating a new source of sugar, a rare luxury on the continent. With the help of the local Savaran Company, Baldr sells the sugar and earns a small fortune for himself. The new sugar trade also helps to improve the economy within the Cornelius County, which upsets the plans of Marquis Selvi, a noble of the neighboring Haurelia Kingdom who desires to conquer Mauricia. The agents sent by the marquis to investigate are all killed by Baldr’s mercenaries. After hearing about this incident, Baldr’s father sends his son to the Royal Knight School at the Mauricia capital city of Cameron.

Using the honed skills of a samurai, Baldr defeats a veteran knight

At 12, Baldr becomes the Royal Knight School’s youngest cadet and soon befriends two other cadets: William Mauricia, third prince of the Mauricia Kingdom, and Silk Randolph, heiress of the powerful Randolph family. With these connections, Baldr soon earns the attention of the king of the Mauricia Kingdom, Welkin V. One day, Princess Rachel, one of William’s older sisters, falls ill with cholera after returning from a tour of the neighboring Sanjuan Kingdom. Baldr uses oral rehydration therapy to enable Rachel’s recovery and recommends a quarantine to prevent a widespread cholera epidemic. As a result, many deaths are prevented in Mauricia while thousands die of cholera in Sanjuan. Impressed, King Welkin gives Baldr the rank of Baron and sends him to Sanjuan as a goodwill ambassador.

Installing hand pumps in the Sanjuan Kingdom to help fight a cholera epidemic

Accompanied by his childhood friend Teresa Bradford, Baldr learns that the Sanjuan Kingdom is in the midst of a succession crisis. With the kingdom’s crown prince recently dead from cholera, the surviving Princes Franco and Pedro are being used unwillingly as figureheads by factions within the Sanjuan government. Although both princes initially have no wish to become the next king, Franco changes his mind when he falls in love with Teresa. To give Franco the influence needed to become crown prince, Baldr wins the allegiance of Sanjuan’s navy by helping it fight against the pirates that have plagued the southern seas for years. He also enlists the help of Countess Urraca “Black Storm” de Parma, a legendary marine commander from the Majorca Kingdom.

After the pirates are defeated, Franco officially becomes Sanjuan’s new crown prince and the kingdom becomes a fast ally of Mauricia. Pleased with this success, King Welkin promotes Baldr to Viscount and gives him lordship over Mauricia’s Antrim Region, where the last war with Haurelia began 12 years ago.

How far will Baldr Cornelius’ meteoric rise go?

Baldr (center) with the souls of Masaharu (left) and Sadatoshi (right) within him

Main Characters

Baldr Cornelius, the eldest son and heir of the Cornelius family. An odd spiritual amalgam of three men, he is brave, eccentric, guileful, knowledgeable and shrewd. A wily opportunist, Baldr uses his combined experience and knowledge to rise swiftly to the top echelons of society.

Sadatoshi Oka Sanai (岡 左内 定俊, Oka Sanai Sadatoshi), one of Baldr’s souls and a samurai who once served the Uesugi Clan during the Warring States Period (戦国時代, Sengoku Jidai) in Japan. A veteran of countless battles, Sadatoshi’s only known achievements in history were a brief fight with the legendary Masamune Date (伊達 政宗, Date Masamune) and the large amount of wealth he accumulated before dying of old age. Much of Baldr’s considerable skill in battle comes from the old samurai, who retains his decades of experience in the ways of war and profit. A quirk Baldr inherited from Sadatoshi is his desire to bathe naked in large piles of gold coins!

Masaharu Oka (岡 雅晴, Oka Masaharu), one of Baldr’s souls and a Japanese high school student. An otaku, he deliberately memorized much of modern-day Earth’s practical knowledge and technology in the somewhat deluded anticipation of someday reincarnating on a fantasy world. His wish came true on the day of his university entrance exam when he jaywalked in front of an oncoming truck! Through Baldr, Masaharu introduced gold electroplating, handmade shampoo, mayonnaise, hand water pumps, compasses and other items to Mauricia, earning Baldr several fortunes on the patents. A quirk Baldr inherited from Masaharu is his obsession with the cute animal ears of beautiful beast girls!

Count Ignis Cornelius and Countess Magotte Cornelius, the rulers of the Cornelius County and Baldr’s parents. A lady-killer in his youth, Ignis is now the even-tempered, responsible ruler of his domain. By contrast, Magotte is a belligerent, fiery and powerful ex-mercenary once known as “Silver Light Magotte” and is feared by family, friends and foes alike, including her own son!

Baldr NEVER looks forward to training with his battle-hungry mother

Seyruun, the young personal maid of Baldr and the daughter of Sero, a knight of the Cornelius County. Loyal and caring, she has looked after Baldr since childhood.

Selina Savaran, the beastwoman owner of the Savaran Company. Ambitious, bold and diligent, her partnership with Baldr has allowed her to extend the Savaran’s Company’s reach to much of Mauricia and beyond.

Personal Thoughts

“How will this benefit me?”

A decidedly ugly question, yet one we ask or are asked in one form or another, whether we realize it or not.

Baldr uses his many talents to build his fortunes and make himself useful to those around him. In return, most of his allies and his friends are willing to work for or cooperate with him for their own benefit. Baldr is someone who understands the basic selfishness of people and has the resources and skills to use that to his advantage. While he is an experienced fighter, Baldr is equally capable of using his negotiation skills, resources and trickery to fight enemies who seek to ruin him and his friends financially or politically. This often involves making allies of those who would also benefit from the downfall of said enemies.

Deals happen all the time, not just in stories

We basically live in a world where most of us make mutual concessions in exchange for benefits. This is called “give-and-take”. We use our skills so that we get paid. People at job interviews have to advertise the benefits they can bring to a potential workplace such as experience and perseverance. Family members learn to cooperate with, or at least tolerate, each other so they can live in harmony. Businesses work with each other to earn more money than they individually could. A government could receive aid and better health services in exchange for more exclusive economic deals with another country. The list goes on and on!

In general, we are more likely to help those who help us.

Moral

We live in a world of give-and-take. Nothing in life is free.