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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 upcoming 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 Golden-Haired Elementalist

Spoiler Alert!

“I’m sick of it, you hear me? SICK! Every day, it’s study, study, study!”

“…”

“If you’re embarrassed, then get a better daughter!”

You press “End Call” and put your iPhone in your pack.

Hmph!

Why does Mom always compare you to her neighbor’s daughter?

She probably hates you now…

*Sigh*

It seems running away from home was the best choice.

It’s been a long time since you’ve seen the sun set, since tutoring always ended after 11 pm.

*Yawn*

Maybe you should get some sleep. The bus should reach its destination by the time you wake up.

***

*CRASH!*

AHH!

What was that?!

It’s pitch black outside…is this a tunnel?

“Everyone out of the bus! NOW!”

Was there an accident?

You get out of the bus with the other passengers.

The acrid smell of burning rubber and oil assails your nose.

There’s black smoke everywhere.

You overhear someone gasp, “What happened?”

“An oil tanker up ahead got overturned!”

A man bumps into you and runs past.

“FIRE!!”

The oily smell is getting stronger.

You run towards what you think is the direction of the tunnel exit behind the bus.

*Cough* *Cough*

With each step you take, it gets harder to breathe.

*Cough* *Cough*

You slip on the floor.

It’s covered with black oil.

Must get…up…

*Cough* *Cough* *Cough*

How long has it been? It’s getting darker…

Where is everybody?

Huh?

Did you kick something?

Looking down, you make out the vague shape of a person sprawled on the floor.

Is this how your life will end?!?

No…no…noo…

*Cough* *Cough*

Only one thing to do…

Fighting back tears, you press the quick-call for “Mom”.

Hurry! Want to…hear you *cough*…one last…time…

“Hello? Hello? Jen, what’s going on?”

“Mom…save me *cough*…please…I don’t want to…die…”

“Jen?”

“I’m sorry I got *cough* angry. Mom, I’m sorry…I…screamed…”

“Jenny? Jenny!”

*Cough*

Sleepy…thir…sty…

“Jenny! Where are you?!”

Mom…Dad…

***

You open your eyes…

You feel so weak…

“What’s wrong, Jeanie?”

Who is she?

Where are you?

Are you…alive again?

Are you the daughter of a noble family?!?

That means…you’ll live a long life without working hard!

The Golden-Haired Elementalist (금발의 정령사, Geumbal-ui Jeonglyeongsa) is a web novel, light novel series and web comic written by Writing & Coating (글비 & 도막, Geulbi & Domag)

Fed up with long days of seemingly endless studying and after-school tutoring, a Korean high school girl runs away from her family by taking a bus out of her hometown. The bus ends up in an accident at a smoke-filled tunnel due to an overturned oil tanker truck. After calling her mother one last time on her iPhone, the girl passes out and dies from smoke inhalation. She is eventually reborn on another world as Jeanie Crowell, the youngest daughter of the Crowell noble family in the Dimitry Kingdom. At 7 years old, she is found to have strong potential for magic and is sent to the Royal Drike Academy, an institution for the kingdom’s brightest. Frustrated with having to study hard once more, Jeanie is a reluctant student at best.

Not another life of studying hard!

In the Academy’s library, Jeanie accidentally discovers a book about the elementalist, a rare type of wizard who makes contracts with magical spirits. These spirits have the ability to cast spells by drawing upon the elementalist’s mana (magic power). Deciding that this is the answer to her desire for an easy life, Jeanie requests the Academy headmaster for personal education as an elementalist. Three years later, she becomes frustrated with the lack of progress and secretly tries summoning a spirit. The result is a metal spirit she names Ray. Afterwards, she summons an Undine, a water spirit, under the supervision of her elementalist teacher. Jeanie soon gains the favor of the Academy headmaster and the King of Dimitry for her prodigious talent in a rare form of magic.

Entranced by the resplendent King of Dimitry

Later, Jeanie is chosen as one of several representatives for the Drike Academy at the upcoming Weican Festival, a gathering where the students of five countries’ royal academies compete against each other in both weapons and magic. The Festival will take place at the Wienthid Academy in the Elan Empire and the journey would normally take three months by carriage. To save time, the Drike expedition uses teleportation magic at several transit points. During the long journey, the headstrong Jeanie encounters orcs, ogres and even noble-hating terrorists. At one point, she barely survives drowning in a river and is rescued by a friendly group of passing mercenaries.

Thus begins the story of the golden-haired elementalist.

Main Characters

Jeanie Crowell, promising elementalist, the youngest of the Crowell family’s four children and former high school student. Although smart and generally well-meaning, she is headstrong, impulsive and fairly quick-tempered as a result of having died during a rebellious moment of her previous life. Wanting nothing more than a life of ease, Jeanie often looks for shortcuts in magic that will enable her to gather power quickly. Because of this, she rarely considers the consequences of her choices and sometimes gets into trouble. Due to being the only elementalist student at the Royal Drike Academy, Jeanie is shunned by most of the other students but there are a few who try to befriend her.

Summoning Undine for the first time

As an elementalist, Jeanie has the ability to summon spirits with whom she has made a contract. She can also telepathically communicate with them. Since these spirits have to use Jeanie’s mana to cast spells, their power is limited by her mana capacity. Ironically enough, Jeanie has to develop her own mana capacity through training and study in order to allow her spirits to cast more powerful spells. Whenever she attempts to speak about her past life, she is mysteriously unable to give voice her words.

Ray, a metal spirit and Jeanie’s first contracted spirit. Crafty and unscrupulous, Ray cares for little else besides Jeanie and its hunger for precious minerals. It also gets jealous whenever the elementalist turns her attention to another spirit. Originally bodiless, Ray now inhabits the body of a snake and poses as the Jeanie’s pet, since it was originally conjured in secret. As a metal spirit, Ray has the ability to consume and take on the properties of any mineral or metal. For example, it can take on the properties of a diamond in order to gain resistance to heat. Ray can also adjust its density and weight at will, enabling it to crush whatever it coils around.

Undine, a water spirit and Jeanie’s second contracted spirit. Quiet and graceful, it is the most gentle of Jeanie’s spirits. Undine can use several basic water spells such as Aqua Ball (a small missile of water), Drown (encasing a target’s head with water), Purification (purifying water to a drinkable state), Water Breathing and Water Walking.

Seconds away from falling into a raging river

Ador, a lightning spirit and Jeanie’s third contracted spirit. Bellicose, proud and restless, it claims to have once served a more powerful master. Ador can use spells such as Lightning Hand and Thunderbolt, sometimes in conjunction with Undine’s Aqua Ball to enhance the conduction effect on targets.

Electrocuting an ogre

Personal Thoughts

The main protagonist of this story is a fascinating character. Originally a teenager rebelling against a demanding life of education and study, Jeanie Crowell now wishes only for an easy, relaxing life. After taking what seems to be a quicker, easier path to mastering magic, she soon realizes that this path is not smooth as she thinks. The spirits she has contracts with are dependent on her own ability to channel mana, which has to grow and develop from training and study. The spirits also have their own personalities, which sometimes results in conflicts between them and their mistress. If she had chosen to be a regular wizard, she probably wouldn’t have to deal with noisy spirits! Jeanie slowly realizes the consequences of her impetuous choices and she acquiesces to the need to develop as a person if she hoped to become a powerful elementalist.

Someone certainly loves their sweets!

This situation is similar to how a rebellious teen has to learn about the harsh realities of life on their own. They would realize that education and work is necessary to give a comfortable life, but they would need to find their own work-life balance so that they don’t need to be miserable. If such a rebel has to take care of children, the demands on their life would be doubly harsh. They might even ironically realize why the discipline they were taught as a child was necessary!

Jeanie receives her first ever confession from a boy!

Learning about how ill-conceived decisions can lead to unintended consequences is something that we all go through. Such decisions can harm not only us but also those we care for. For example, smoking and drinking alcohol may seem fun at first glance but both habits have long-term effects that ruin our health. Since childhood, we all gradually learn how to rein in our selfish instincts and how to be more aware of long-term results of our choices, both good and bad. Some become wiser while others…not so much.

Moral

Impetuous actions often have unwanted consequences. It is advisable to know and understand the circumstances involved first.

Campfire Cooking in Another World with My Absurd Skill

Spoiler Alert!

You don’t believe this.

Even though it’s been about a week now, you still don’t believe this!

***

You were just an ordinary 27-year old salaryman in Tokyo. You read web novels in what little spare time you have, but you never expected to go to another world yourself!

In a ritual meant to summon three heroes, you were accidentally summoned along with three high school students, two girls and a boy.

When the summoners analyzed the four of you, you all had the Item Box and Appraisal skills that all otherworlders have.

The students were found to have a multitude of skills such as holy sword, holy magic, fire magic and so on. Talk about OP!

Your only unique skill was Online Supermarket!

What’s up with that?!

The four of you were brought before the king, who gave a speech about how his kingdom, Reijseger, was in trouble and that only the summoned heroes could save it.

What was more interesting to you was that the king was a fat, old man wearing jewels that cost far, far more than you’d earn in a year!

The princess sitting on the king’s left wore an awfully luxurious, expensive-looking dress.

If Reijseger really was in trouble, could its royal family really afford to live in such luxury?

You then asked for some money and permission to leave. After all, since you weren’t a hero, it’s unlikely that you could count on their hospitality!

The next day, you quickly left the capital to reach the neighboring kingdom of Feenen.

At the next town, you hired a band of adventurers as bodyguards for your journey.

You’ve been cooking meals for them since then.

***

Thinking about all this makes you hungry. Today’s meal is stir-fried pork, made from a giant red boar the adventurers hunted early today.

Well, time to eat!

Hmm?

You look up at the adventurers. Their faces are rigid with fright and shock.

They seem to be looking at something…

…behind you?

Its jaws open…

“HUMANS, LET ME…EAT WITH YOU.”

Campfire Cooking in Another World with My Absurd Skill (とんでもスキルで異世界放浪メシ, Tondemo sukiru de i sekai hōrō meshi) is a light novel series and manga written by Ren Eguchi (江口 連, Eguchi Ren).

On a seemingly typical day, the Tokyo salaryman Tsuyoshi Mukoda is whisked to another world along with three Japanese high school students. Not only does he learn that his summoning was a mistake, but also that his only unique skill is Online Supermarket. Mukoda and the students are then taken to the king of the Reijseger Kingdom, who explains that his country is currently fighting a losing war with the neighboring Demon Kingdom and they, the summoned heroes, are his people’s last hope. Noticing the king’s generous waistline, the royal family’s expensive-looking jewelry and the throne room’s opulence, Mukoda suspects that the Reijseger Kingdom has less-than-altruistic motives. Deciding to take his chances, the salaryman requests a small amount of money and leaves the castle.

At an inn, Mukoda tries out his Online Supermarket skill and learns that it works like a website from which he can purchase and instantly acquire food and other everyday items from modern-day Japan, from salt, rice, beer and ready-made foods to shampoo, portable stoves (powered by magic) and sleeping bags. After making preparations, he departs for a neighboring country. Along the way, he hires a group of adventurers as bodyguards and prepares their meals using items from the Online Supermarket. One night, they are approached by giant wolf who demands to eat with them! The shocked adventurers tell Mukoda that the wolf is a Fenrir, a powerful, legendary beast and that it would be wise to do as he says. At the end of the meal, the Fenrir learns that Mukoda was the cook and demands to make a familiar’s contract with him. Mukoda reluctantly does so and gives the Fenrir the name Fel.

A merchant’s wife experiences the joys of modern-day shampoo and soap, leaving her wanting more to sell to her friends

Mukoda soon joins the Merchants’ Guild to legally work as a trader and the Adventurers’ Guild to sell the remains of monsters killed by Fel. Although reluctant to fight, he often finds himself dragged by the battle-hungry Fel on dangerous, monster-killing quests. During his adventures, Mukoda befriends a few other creatures and makes familiar contracts with them as well. He also quickly earns a fortune by selling the spoils of his familiars’ hunts and several items from the Supermarket. Mukoda cooks delicious meals for his familiars every day as his part of their contract with him and later regularly sends offerings to some of the world’s deities, who have grown to crave the Supermarket’s unusual snacks and drinks! The former salaryman would rather live a peaceful life, but that’s obviously not going to happen anytime soon.

Left to right: Fel, Mukoda, Sui. It turns out that even a wolf is sensitive about sounding old!

Main Characters

Tsuyoshi Mukoda (向田剛志, Mukōda Tsuyoshi), a 27-year old adventurer, trader and former salaryman. Friendly, observant, timid and a bit of a coward, he dislikes violence but gradually grows in confidence over the course of his adventures. Although Mukoda usually lets his familiars do his fighting, he is not completely helpless in a fight and can use some fire (e.g. Fireball) and earth magic (e.g. Stone Bullet, Stone Wall), enhanced by blessings given to him by deities in exchange for regular “offerings”. In addition to his Online Supermarket skill, he can also use the Item Box skill, which gives him access to an extra-dimensional space of infinite capacity that can perfectly preserve anything inside. Another notable skill he possesses is Appraisal, which allows him to instantly and accurately identify anything, including magic items. A former part-time restaurant chef, Mukoda is skilled in preparing various dishes, even when using meat from fantastical monsters. Being the only humanoid of his group, he acts as the spokesman whenever they stay at a human settlement.

Fel, a 1,014-year old Fenrir, a legendary wolf beast, and Mukoda’s first familiar. Aggressive, brusque, demanding and proud, he enjoys fighting and judges everyone by how powerful they are compared to him. Accustomed to immediate respect, Fel is often impatient for Mukoda’s cooking. Because he is capable of destroying entire countries single-handedly, he rarely feels the need to take battle seriously. Supernaturally strong and fast, Fel can kill powerful monsters such as rockbirds, black serpents and chimeras in mere seconds, with dragons among the few creatures who could give him some pause. He is also a powerful magician who can use almost any kind of magic, including wind, lightning, ice, healing and barrier magic. Fel is very knowledgeable about his world’s wilderness and monsters, but is completely unconcerned about its civilizations. He also immune to all disease, toxins and other debilitating effects thanks to the blessing of his guardian Ninrir, the wind goddess.

With a gesture, Fel slices an Orthrus (two-headed dog) in half!

Sui, a young slime (3 days’ old when found) and Mukoda’s second familiar. Cheerful, curious and loyal, it can consume anything and has grown in power and intelligence as a result, eventually becoming able to speak. Sui is able to shoot bullets of acid, replicate itself and grow to an enormous size. After consuming many healing mushrooms, it is able to create healing potions with its own body. After receiving the blessing of the water goddess Rusalka, Sui gained the ability to use powerful water magic. At Fel’s encouragement and to Mukoda’s dismay, Sui has learned to enjoy fighting. On expeditions, Sui usually resides in Mukoda’s shoulder bag.

Perfect trash disposal where nothing is wasted!

Dora, a 116-year old pixie dragon and Mukoda’s third familiar. Audacious, lively and strong-willed, he has a very casual attitude. Despite his tiny size, Dora is a keen fighter who prefers to charge into his targets like a missile, using magic to augment his body. As a result, he enjoys fighting alongside Fel.

Dora eating kebabs with Mukoda and Sui

Personal Thoughts

An interesting and important dynamic is demonstrated in this story. The main character Mukoda is neither a skilled warrior nor a powerful wizard, but he has skills that contribute to his group’s livelihood. He cooks delicious food for his familiars, provides daily necessities through his Online Supermarket and establishes friendly relations with other people for the group. Fel and Dora are powerful monsters who do the group’s fighting and hunting, allowing them to accomplish difficult quests and acquire the remains of powerful monsters for consumption and skinning. Sui is a slime who can not only fight but also produce clean water and high-grade healing potions. It can also consume trash and unwanted corpses. Each individual is capable in their own way, but they form a formidable team that prospers in and out of battle.

A natural spring in the middle of a forest, perfect for an onsen!

Inevitably, there will be things that we are good at but others aren’t. On the other hand, there are people who are good at things that we aren’t. When people with complementary skills work together, they achieve far more than they would have as individuals. This actually happens in almost every workplace. For example, in a small company that sells televisions, an engineer is responsible for product quality and maintenance, an accountant keeps track of the expenses, a marketer advertises the products to customers and a manager conducts negotiations and keeps the company working as a cohesive whole. Each of these people has unique skills and their own contributions, potentially creating a company with a reputation for customer-friendliness, quality and reliability. Whether their personalities can allow them to work together is another thing entirely!

A lot of the story’s focus is given to Mukoda’s food preparation, emphasizing how a good meal is needed not only for nourishment, but also to improve the eater’s morale and outlook on life. As Fel and the other familiars grow accustomed to Mukoda’s cooking, their friendship with him grows. It reminds me of the saying, “The way to one’s heart is through their stomach.”

Moral

Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. People with complementary abilities who work together can achieve more than they could on their own.

Magic Knight Rayearth

Spoiler Alert!

This is so high up!

It’s great that the school chose Tokyo Tower for today’s field trip!

Your classmates don’t seem all that thrilled…but never mind!

AAAHHH!

Your time on the binoculars ran out!

Let’s see now…where’s your coin purse?

Huh?

“Please take this with my compliments. I enjoyed watching you having fun.”

Who was that?

One of your classmates says, “Isn’t that uniform from that private school for geniuses?”

You should thank her properly!

You try walking to her, but a group of schoolgirls suddenly gets in your way!

Hmm? Aren’t these girls from a snobby, all-girls school for rich families?

Is today field trip day for every school in Tokyo?

Suddenly, a blinding light from the tower windows envelops you.

As you blink, you see a little girl with long, blonde hair in a white dress.

“Please save our world, Legendary Magic Knights!”

Huh? WhaaaaAAAAH?!

There’s no floor?!?

Seconds later, you make a soft landing on…something.

Looking around, you see the girl with glasses who gave you some money and one of the rich girls who got in your way a minute ago!

You’re also standing on…a giant, flying fish?!

What’s going on?!?

What IS this place??

Eventually, the fish comes to a stop and you all tumble off.

As the rich girl gets up, she says, “Where are we? What happened?”

“This isn’t Tokyo.” you say.

“Obviously!”

“We should introduce ourselves first.” says the glasses girl. “I’ll go first. I am Fuu Hououji, middle school second-year.”

The rich girl sighs and says, “My name is Umi Ryuuzaki, middle school second-year.”

Right, your turn!

“I’m Hikaru Shidou, also in middle school second-year!”

“WHAAAT?”

“You’re the same age as me?! You look like you’re eleven!” says Umi.

“Sorry, I thought you were in grade school.” says Fuu.

Rrgh…why does everyone think you’re a kid?!

“Alright, that’s enough!”

Who said that?

Turning around, you see a boy wearing voluminous white robes.

“So you’re the Legendary Magic Knights…”

Magic Knight Rayearth (魔法騎士(マジックナイト)レイアース, Majikku Naito Reiāsu) is a manga and anime written by CLAMP (クランプ, Kuranpu), an all-female group of manga artists consisting of Nanase Ohkawa (大川 七瀬, Ōkawa Nanase), Mokona (もこな, Mokona), Tsubaki Nekoi (猫井 椿, Nekoi Tsubaki) and Satsuki Igarashi (いがらし 寒月, Igarashi Satsuki). Other works by CLAMP include Cardcaptor Sakura (カードキャプターさくら , Kādokyaputā Sakura) and xxxHolic. The Magic Knight Rayearth anime is one of several anime series integrated into the story of Super Robot Wars T, a tactical RPG video game playable on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch.

Mokona guides the way…

In 1994, three eighth-grade girls from different schools arrive at Tokyo Tower on field trips: Hikaru Shidou, Umi Ryuuzaki and Fuu Hououji. After witnessing a vision of a young girl with long, blonde hair, they are suddenly transported to an unfamiliar, fantastical land. As they introduce themselves to each other and try to get their bearings, the girls are greeted by a boy who introduces himself as Master Mage Clef. He tells the girls that they are now on the world of Cephiro, the harmony of which is maintained through prayer by a chosen Pillar. The girls must become the Legendary Magic Knights and rescue the current Pillar, Princess Emeraude (the girl from their vision), from her captor, High Priest Zagato.

Zagato, piloting his own Rune God, fights off the Magic Knights’ Rune Gods

Accompanied and guided by the little, mysterious creature Mokona, the newly-minted Magic Knights set off on a quest to gradually build their magic power and awaken the three Rune Gods (魔神, Mashin), mecha-like creatures that the Knights can pilot. After they defeat Zagato in a fierce Rune God battle, the girls learn the horrible truth: Emeraude allowed herself to be imprisoned and summoned them to kill her, since no native of Cephiro may harm the Pillar. This was because she fell in love with Zagato, hindering her ability to selflessly pray for Cephiro’s well-being. With this, Emeraude’s despair overwhelms her and she summons her own Rune God, intent on avenging her lost love. After much hesitation, the Knights finally kill the Pillar and are transported back to Tokyo, as though they never left.

A single castle untouched by Cephiro’s devastation

One year later, the three girls meet each other again at the Tokyo Tower, still overcome with distress and guilt. Once again, they are transported to Cephiro, which has become a devastated, near-lifeless landscape with only a single castle of crystal left standing. There, Clef tells them that this is the result of Cephiro without a Pillar to pray for it and a new Pillar must be found before the world tears itself apart. In addition, three other planets, Autozam, Chizeta and Fahren, have sent their forces to conquer the now-weakened Cephiro. As the girls defend the castle from all hostile forces, they come to the conclusion that Cephiro’s fate shouldn’t be the responsibility of only one person. Once another Pillar is chosen, the vicious cycle of failing to pray solely for Cephiro’s well-being, summoning Magic Knights and dooming Cephiro could occur all over again…

Main Characters

Hikaru Shidou (獅堂 光, Shidō Hikaru), a 14-year old middle school student and Magic Knight. A brave, exuberant and straightforward tomboy, she is the most determined and loyal of the Knights. Hikaru is also rather innocent and is able to relate well to animals, from her family dog Hikari to several of Cephiro’s fantastical beasts. The youngest child and the only girl among four siblings, she comes from a family that runs a kendo (劍道, kendo, lit. “sword way”) training hall. It is said that Hikaru’s talent for kendo was such that she defeated her father in a duel at 5 years old, resulting in him going on a training journey from which he has yet to return. As a Magic Knight, she can use fire magic such as Arrow of Fire and Ruby Lightning. She also carries a longsword made of Escudo, crafted by Master Artisan Presea. Weapons made from Escudo ore have the unique ability to magically evolve along with their owners and are usable only by their chosen owner.

Hikaru fighting Lafarga, Emeraude’s Captain of the Guard

Umi Ryuuzaki (龍咲 海, Ryūzaki Umi), a 14-year old middle school student and Magic Knight. Caring, impulsive and optimistic, she is the most grounded of the Knights. The only child of a wealthy couple and a fencing champion, Umi seems somewhat selfish and spoiled at first, but beneath this is a sensitive girl who cares deeply for those close to her. Her quick temper and her tendency to speak her mind are the source of much of the story’s comedy, from fretting over Cephiro’s defiance of common logic to getting annoyed by Mokona’s antics. In battle, Umi becomes calm, focused and fiercely determined to win. As a Magic Knight, she can use water and ice magic such as Water Dragon, Azure Hurricane and Icicle Blades. Her weapon is a thin, rapier-like Escudo sword.

Fuu Hououji (鳳凰寺 風, Hōōji Fū), a 14-year old middle school student and Magic Knight. Calm, observant, polite and reserved, she is the most intelligent of the Knights. A natural strategist, Fuu sometimes suffers from self-doubt but her faith in herself and her friends allows her to pull through in the end. The younger of two daughters, she is a member of her school’s archery club and she enjoys reading and playing RPG video games. As a Magic Knight, Fuu can use wind magic with a variety of effects such as Winds of Healing, Winds of Protection and Emerald Typhoon. Early in the story, she uses a magical bow loaned to her by Presea, but later gains a large, two-handed Escudo broadsword that is almost weightless to her.

Fuu confronts Pajero, a monster that hunts by means of sound

Personal Thoughts

One of the most popular works of CLAMP and a classic, but poignant, lesson about friendship.

While much of this story is optimistic in nature with occasional comedy, there are a few dark moments, of which the twist of actually killing a princess is the most notable. For the main characters, the overall objective was personal empathic growth as people, symbolized by how their weapons and armor grew in power as they themselves matured in personality. Hikaru’s and Umi’s character development was especially profound. The formerly innocent and idealistic Hikaru gradually came to terms with killing Emeraude while retaining her inherent selfless nature. Meanwhile, Umi became less selfish and more willing to fight for those she cares for. It’s basically an example of how teenagers eventually learn that reality won’t always be kind to them and that circumstances won’t always allow them to make the choices they want, but they still have the choice to be happy. Life is often about making the best of what we have.

A tragic twist for the heroes and the princess…

There are several life lessons throughout the story, but the most important one here is how friendship and working together can ease the burdens of responsibility and tragedy. When Princess Emeraude became the Pillar of Cephiro, she shouldered the enormous responsibility of protecting an entire world by herself while being forbidden from pursuing her own happiness. When she fell in love with Zagato, she also felt guilt and shame for her own need for happiness, believing she had failed her responsibilities. Unable and unwilling to share her burden and grief, Emeraude was overwhelmed by stress and later believed that death was her only salvation.

On the other hand, the Magic Knights gradually built their friendship during their time together and learned to believe in each other even when hope seemed lost. Through their shared bond of friendship, they endured tragedies and work towards a better future.

Moral

Having a friend who understands you can help ease your sadness and anger. By working with friends and family, you can live life with more happiness and purpose.

Crimson Karma

Spoiler Alert!

Disappointing. Not only was the target a lookalike, but the terrorists were more incompetent than you thought. You stride into the commander’s tent and salute to the officer sitting at a desk.

“Colonel Kasia Del Roman reporting.”

“Welcome back. Is Ahmad dead?”

Who is this man? Is he a new transfer? He looks familiar for some reason.

“The target in the city was a lookalike.”

“I see. There aren’t many who would admit their mistakes.”

(BANG!)

?

Turning around, you see a soldier aiming his smoking gun at you.

Coughing blood, your legs lose their strength and buckle underneath you.

The officer gets up and stands in front of you.

You look up at his face.

He’s…from Camp X!

“Sage…Cahill?”

He pulls out a handgun and aims it at your forehead.

“I never liked that look in your eyes.”

He then gives you a cruel smirk.

“If you have any last words, say them. If you beg for your life now, maybe I’ll change my mind…maybe.”

So it’s come to this…at last.

“Why are you smiling?”

You roll the capsule in your mouth to the back of your jaws.

Sage’s face contorts into a mask of fury and panic.

“NO! CAPTAIN, HOLD HER DOWN! STOP HER!! NOO!!!”

You bite down hard…

It’s finally the end. It’s finally over…

You hear gunshots around you as you lose consciousness…

How long has it been?

It feels like you’re drifting through nothingness. Somehow, you find it comforting.

Again.

?

You must go back again.

To where? To whom? Why?

A blinding light fills your sight…

You blink and see…a blue sky?

Urgh! You ache all over for some reason.

“Over here! She’s still alive!”

You see…people standing over you. A nurse…?

“Alive? Like this?!”

Your nose is assailed by a stench of rot and…gunpowder?

No…not another battlefield?!

Crimson Karma (진홍의 카르마, Jinhong-ui Kaleuma) is a web novel and web comic written by LemonFrog (레몬개구리, Lemongaeguli).

Betrayed by her comrades and threatened by someone from her past, U.S. Colonel Kasia Del Roman commits suicide by breaking a capsule containing a deadly virulent agent in her mouth. Dying to the fading sounds of gunshots, Kasia embraces the cold comfort of death only to regain consciousness some time later. Badly injured but alive, she quickly learns that she is not on Earth anymore. Instead, she is in a medieval-era country called Calistonia where she is a young female knight also named Kasia. According to her caretakers, she was the only survivor of a huge magical explosion that wiped out countless soldiers. Unsurprisingly, Kasia has no memory of her life on the new world before this incident.

Old habits die hard.

During her recovery, Kasia learns that, as a knight, she serves Prince Tasel, the second prince of the Calistonian Empire who is currently commanding an army against the rebellious first prince, Caylen, in the name of their father Emperor Altherion. After accidentally learning about Kasia’s assassination skills, Prince Tasel sends her on a secret mission to rescue his mother, Queen Elena, from house arrest at the Karina Palace. At the top of a dingy tower at the palace, Kasia finds the queen starved to death, neglected by her own guards. She realizes that the Emperor kept Elena’s death a secret in order to keep Tasel under his thumb. The civil war between Emperor Altherion and Prince Caylen was likely a elaborate ruse to kill Tasel, who was long hated by his own family apart from his mother. After Kasia brings the queen’s corpse back to Tasel, the prince officially ends his allegiance to the Emperor and becomes the leader of his own Imperial faction.

A terrible end for a queen…and the beginning of a prince’s rebellion

At the border city of Derun, Tasel sets up a temporary headquarters and invites his allies to join him. The second prince’s army is reorganized and Kasia is appointed as commander of a new covert squad specializing in espionage and assassination. For this purpose, she puts her new subordinates through extremely harsh training. Later, Kasia is given a mission to investigate Prince Caylen’s army. On the way, she encounters the Imperial archmage Ernon, one of the Empire’s most powerful wizards and one of Caylen’s supporters. Posing as a mercenary, Kasia hires herself out to Ernon as a bodyguard as a way to learn information on the inside. She eventually learns that the archmage has a magical seal of obedience placed on him by his own father, Duke Alistas.

Meanwhile, Emperor Altherion is working on finding a way to become the inheritor of Caladbolg, a legendary magic sword said to belong to the hero who will bring prosperity to Calistonia.

Main Characters

Kasia, formerly Kasia Del Roman, a 22-year old low-born knight of the Aruelo Order, assassin and commander of Prince Tasel’s covert squad. Detached, diligent, level-headed and observant, she is a seasoned war veteran who goes to almost any lengths necessary to succeed in her missions. On Earth, Kasia had a death wish and lived only for her success of her missions. On her new world, she is gradually learning how to feel the emotions she suppressed long ago. Kasia retains all her skills as an assassin and a military officer from her previous world, making her one of Tasel’s most valuable allies. In addition, she now has some potential to use magic, which she mostly uses to find those hidden from her sight around her.

During her escape from war-torn Lebanon as a child, Kasia Del Roman watched her mother throw herself overboard from the refugee boat that was transporting them to Europe in order to prevent capsize. After living as a vagrant for some time, she was taken by a soldier to a secret military training camp known only as Camp X. There, Kasia was constantly and ruthlessly trained, along with countless other children, to kill without hesitation. She later joined the United States Army where she swiftly rose through the ranks, eventually becoming a Colonel. There, she gained a reputation as an unsympathetic, pragmatic commander who achieves victories that minimize overall losses, no matter how many die in the process, be they soldier or civilian. Because of this, she was hated, yet grudgingly respected, by those who worked with her.

Prince Tasel

Tasel Kan Amaris, second prince of the Calistonian Empire and rebel leader. Attentive, considerate and somewhat troubled, he is an intelligent man who weighs the opinions of those around him to make tough decisions. Tasel’s mother, Elena, was a princess from a country that the Calistonian Empire conquered many years ago. Because that war resulted in the death of one of the Emperor’s favorite generals, Elena was constantly abused by her husband and ostracized by most of the Calistonian nobles despite her status as queen. When Tasel was born, he came to be abused and hated as well. Because of this, Tasel is deeply suspicious of nobles in general and tends to trust commoners more.

Kasia meets Ernon

Ernon, Imperial archmage aligned with the army of first Imperial prince Caylen. Curious, confident and a bit sadistic, his bored, indifferent expression hides a deeply troubled man. The son of an aristocrat, Duke Alistas, and a prostitute, Ernon was ignored and neglected by his father until his potential for magic (indicated by his bright violet eyes) was discovered. Despite this, the duke sees his bastard son only as a useful pawn for his own schemes, having placed a magical seal on him years ago to ensure his obedience. Because of this, Ernon deeply resents those who seek to control his life. He sees Kasia, whom he nicknames “Etelle”, as the one bright spot in his miserable life of enforced servitude and is teaching her how to better use her innate talent for magic. A powerful wizard, Ernon particularly enjoys using flight and teleportation, since these spells afford him a degree of freedom away from prying eyes.

Personal Thoughts

This is an interesting, if slow-paced, story. Thrust into the midst of a civil war in a country where prejudices against commoners and women run strong, Kasia once again struggles to survive but also gradually finds appeal in those who believe in fighting and living for the sake of others. She eventually becomes protective of these people and even learns to consider them friends. In time, Kasia learns to actually feel love, but is somewhat scared of this because she is afraid of the anguish she felt when she saw her mother drown. An interesting take on a female lead character with a reverse harem!

Krone tries to jog the memory of his childhood friend

This story also shows the darker side of humanity, as expected of its cynical outlook. Most of Calistonia’s aristocrats are arrogant snobs who look down their noses on anyone beneath their station. The Emperor, known to his people as the hero who founded the Calistonian Empire, is a cruel, capricious narcissist who wants to destroy anything that could threaten his rule or his public image. The soldiers assigned to Kasia deeply resented being under the command of a low-born woman and, when they first learned about her, planned to beat and gang rape her into submission. Only when the assassin beats them to pulp do they learn to reluctantly respect her.

Kasia learns to actually LIKE someone!

Life isn’t always happy and it often becomes a tiring struggle for many, but it becomes much more worthwhile when we find a purpose that helps others. There are many ways to help others such as teaching, doing chores for family and working on projects that benefit many people such as a power station. Somehow, when we know we have helped to improve life, we feel better about ourselves. Even small acts of kindness allow us feel better, but we must be careful about who and what to help.

Moral

Life is a struggle to survive, but helping others makes it more worthwhile.

Skeleton Knight in Another World

Spoiler Alert!

Unhhh…

Did you pass out again? That game was so much fun, as always!

Huh?

Where are you?

You look around and find yourself on a cliff overlooking a forest.

Weren’t you in your room just now?

You look at your hands.

You’re wearing…gauntlets?!

Very familiar gauntlets for some reason…

You look over yourself…you’re covered head to toe in full-body silver armor!

Isn’t this the armor of Arc, your avatar in the online game you played just last night?!

You reach over your back…yes, your sword Caladbolg is there!

Wow! It feels a bit heavy, but it’s really in your hand!

Maybe…

You aim at the trees behind you and imagine yourself using the Wyvern Strike skill from the game.

Suddenly, you feel a strong force emanate from the sword, cutting a swath of trees in half!

Seriously??!!

Arc should be a Heavenly Knight now, so he shouldn’t be able to use a Knight skill like Wyvern Strike.

Is it possible that you could use all the skills from your character’s previous classes?

Let’s see…there’s Mage, Sorcerer, Summoner, Warrior, Knight, Holy Knight, Priest, Bishop and Pope.

Could you use skills from all these prerequisite classes for Heavenly Knight?!

This is way too convenient!

Let’s try the Dimensional Step skill. It’s a skill that can transport the avatar to any location on the map and it can be used for in-game emergency escapes. The cooldown time is pretty short too.

You look at the sky in front of the cliff and think, “Dimensional Step!

You find yourself in the sky. After a few seconds, you look ahead and use the Step again. In this world, it seems to work like a short-distance teleport spell. It’s almost like you’re flying!

The sun’s setting…how long has it been?

You’ve had so much fun “flying” that you lost track of time!

Despite wearing armor, you don’t feel hot or tired at all.

Ah, a river.

Maybe a drink will help…

You take off your helmet and reach into the river…

Not good…

Skeleton Knight in Another World (骸骨騎士様、只今異世界へお出掛け中, Gaikotsu KishisamaTadaima Isekai e o Dekake-chuu) is a web novel, light novel series and manga written by Ennki Hakari (秤 猿鬼, Hakari Enki).

After passing out from a long night of playing an MMORPG, a middle-aged salaryman wakes up in an unfamiliar world, possessing the body of his in-game character, Arc the Heavenly Knight. He quickly learns that he also retains the various powers he earned from the online game. Unfortunately, Arc retains the appearance he set his character at in the game – a skeleton hidden only by his full body armor. Deciding that money and survival are his first goals, Arc comes upon and rescues a noble lady and her maid from bandits. The two women then guide him to the town of Lubielte, where he registers himself as an adventurer.

A knight in shining armor?

At a bandit hideout, Arc releases and befriends a small, fox-like creature that he names Ponta. Later, he finds a gang of slavers transporting elf slaves. Suddenly, a female elf with white hair attacks the slavers and Arc comes out to help her. After the slaves are released, the white-haired elf introduces herself as Ariane Glenys Maple and recruits his aid in following the slavers’ trade route. Arc and Ariane gradually uncover a criminal organization in the Roden Kingdom secretly sponsored by several human nobles. Along the way, they meet and eventually befriend the beastwoman ninja Chiyome, who is on her own mission to free beastman slaves.

Too bad it doesn’t last…

After the organization’s boss is killed, Ariane invites Arc and Chiyome to Lalatoia, her hometown in the Great Kanada Forest. There, they learn of a magical spring located in the valley of the nearby Dragon Lords Mountain Range. Several days later, they find the spring and Arc bathes in it. Although he briefly gains flesh, he faints from shock a moment later and his new flesh disappears. A local dragon later tells Arc that his original body is still on his original world and that the sudden shock of fully regaining that body could potentially kill him. Having now acquired resistance to the spring’s magic, Arc resolves to find another way to regain his flesh. Arc, Ariane and Chiyome then set off for the southern continent after hearing another elven agent’s report about fighting a robed warrior using two swords there. Upon learning this, Chiyome becomes particularly interested…

Left to right: Chiyome, Ariane, Ponta, Arc

Main Characters

Arc, an adventurer and a former Japanese salaryman. Easygoing, practical and principled, he always looks for ways to earn or acquire more money, but he will stick to his moral code whenever it counts. A fan of anime, movies and video games, he sometimes quotes them either aloud or in his mind. Arc’s emotions are somewhat stunted because of his skeletal state, but he still needs to eat and sleep like other people. Later in the story, he is made an honorary citizen of the dark elven town of Lalatoia by Ariane’s mother Glenys, thus giving him the name Arc Lalatoia.

Arc can resurrect others if they haven’t been dead for long and their bodies are still in good condition

Arc’s armor, cloak, shield and sword are all high-quality, magical items from his online game that grant him physical resistances (e.g. curse resistance, fire resistance, knockdown resistance) and ability boosts (e.g. agility up, attack up, defense up). Although his main character class is Heavenly Knight, Arc retains the levels he earned in previous prerequisite classes from the online game. As a result, he has a wide plethora of combat abilities, arcane spells and divine spells, in addition to his Heavenly Knight abilities. His most notable abilities are Dimensional Step (instant movement to anywhere within line-of-sight), Lightning Downpour (a storm of lightning bolts within a targeted area) and Summoning (can summon powerful monsters including giant beasts and archangels). Because he was an ordinary man with no actual combat experience, Arc relies mostly on his overpowered abilities but he gradually becomes a skilled fighter over time.

Summoning the fire beast Ifrit

Ponta, a small, fox-like female spirit beast, known as a bento volpiz. Curious, gluttonous and a bit spoiled, she became loyal to Arc after he rescued her from slavers. Ponta’s companionship is what convinces others that Arc can be trusted.

Ariane Glenys Maple, a 50-year old dark elf agent of the Dark Elf Kingdom in the Great Kanada Forest. Decisive yet righteous, she conceals a softer side such as getting embarrassed over her family with outsiders. Over time, Ariane’s feelings for Arc grow to the point that she gets jealous whenever he is kind to other women, despite her own denials of such. Like other dark elves, her full name consists of her first name (Ariane), her same-sex parent’s first name (Glenys, her mother) and the name of her current home (the capital city of Maple). As a covert agent, Ariane is skilled in swordsmanship, magic and stealth.

Arc tames a dragon mount by impressing it with his power

Chiyome (birth name Mia), a beastwoman ninja of the Jinsin Clan. Gentle yet professional when on a job, she holds her loyalty to her clan above all else. Orphaned as a child by human bandits and adopted by the Jinsin Clan, she trained hard in ninjutsu in order to conquer her own weaknesses. Eventually, she became skilled enough to earn the name “Chiyome”, one of seven names inherited only by the best Jinsin ninjas. Chiyome can throw and wield kunai with great skill and is an expert in stealth and subterfuge. She can also use water spirit magic.

Cute she may be, but she can murder you in your sleep!

Personal Thoughts

Aside from the main hero having the body of a skeleton under his armor, this story is a fairly straightforward sequence of heroic quests (e.g. rescuing slaves, uncovering conspiracies). As long as Arc remains careful in revealing his unusual appearance, he has few real problems to deal with because he is very powerful. He also quickly gains the trust of others with his unselfish behavior (and Ponta’s companionship), so people learn to trust him and won’t mind his appearance that much if he reveals it.

A kraken…possibly the best meal that these sailors will have for weeks!

Although Arc’s personal goal is to regain his flesh and blood, he seems to have no solid plan on how to do so for now. Despite this, he still helps his friends and fights with them. Being generally selfless and practical, he also fights for what he believes in and to acquire enough money to sustain himself.  There is no single overall goal in the story, so the heroes push forward doing what they believe in or following clues when they are found.

Often, we find ourselves lost in life or realize there’s a long-term problem that cannot be solved anytime soon. At times like these, the only thing we can do is press on. We do whatever we feel is right or whatever can help others until we find a solution or come to terms with the problem itself. I had a relative who was dying from cancer for almost two decades who decided to enjoy life as fully as possible by travelling to various countries and trying out new foods. By moving forward and doing what she believed in, she lived life with no regrets.

Moral

There are times when the only thing we can do is move forward.