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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.

Dungeon Reset

Spoiler Alert!

Unnh…

The wave of nausea in your stomach disappears as the bright light around you fades.

Hmm?

Where are you?

Who are these people?

“What’s going on here? Some sort of trick?”

“I was on my way to a job interview…”

“My smartphone doesn’t work!”

Suddenly, a cheery, high-pitched voice calls out above the crowd murmurs.

“WELCOME TO THE DUNGEON!”

Who said…that?

A rabbit?! A doll?

A man in a suit pushes you aside as he approaches the rabbit.

“Hey! I don’t care who or what you are, but I’m not interested in this game! I’m on my way to an important job interview!”

“I’m trying to tell you something important, so please don’t interrupt!”, says the rabbit. “Now the rules of the game are…”

The rabbit smiles but…there’s a grim look in its eyes.

“As I was saying, the rules of the game are quite simple. The first is…always be nice to the Guide.”

Huh?

What…just happened?

By the time you regain your senses, the suited man is lying on the ground in a pool of blood with his head rolling nearby.

“You see?! Ignore the rules and you die!”, the rabbit guffaws.

“A…AAAAAAH!!”

“He…he’s really dead!”

Your knees fail you as the crowd panics and tries to run.

“No, no, no, noooo!” the rabbit cheerfully calls out. “This place is daaangerous! As the Guide of Stage 1 of this Game, it’s my job to ensure that you all have your basic equipment!”

A dagger appears out of nowhere in front of you.

You look around and see everyone holding a weapon of some sort, like those from a medieval fantasy-style RPG.

“Is…is this some newfangled VR technology? It feels real!”

You pick up the dagger…the weight and touch of metal do feel real!

The rabbit floats into the air.

“Alright now! Each of you now has a special Skill to help you along in the Game. You can check your Status Screen to see what it is. You can also access an Inventory to store any items you acquire during the Game. If you have further questions, please feel free to ask me, for I will watch over your journey.”

Is this really happening?

The rabbit throws its arms into air.

“Here we go! Let the Dungeon Game BEGIN!”

Dungeon Reset (던전 리셋, Deonjeon Lises) is a web novel and web comic written by Daul (다울).

After finding himself fighting for his life against waves of monsters, the young Daun Jeong one day accidentally falls into a pitfall trap and his companions are forced to leave him behind. Barely surviving impalement on the trap’s spikes, he is healed after his group defeat Stage 1’s boss monster, an Earth Golem. When the group moves onto Stage 2, the land of Stage 1 undergoes a “Reset” in preparation for more participants. Daun is later found by the Rabbit, who is dismayed by the young man’s survival. As a result of being considered dead by the Game’s system and being outside the Stage 1 area (within the pit) during a Reset, Daun is no longer bound by the rules of the Dungeon Game. Upset with this unforeseen event, Rabbit simply advises Daun to die. Undaunted, the young man vows to survive by any means necessary.

Daun survives by the skin of his teeth.

Unable to escape the pit by climbing, Daun instead digs underground with his hands. As a result, he gradually gains new Skills to manipulate dirt and is later able to build an underground home for himself. Eventually, Daun returns to the surface and learns to fight monsters using hit-and-run tactics, growing stronger and gradually improving his Skills.

Unable to cross the gate to Stage 2, Daun travels to the nearby Death Mountains. There, he discovers the shrine of Erthea, the Dragon of Life. The spirit of the shrine, Alpha, appoints Daun as the shrine’s overseer and grants him new Skills. Meanwhile, Rabbit is dismissed from its duties as a Dungeon Guide due to Daun’s survival and the growing number of participants surviving Stage 1. With nowhere else to go, it follows Daun into the Death Mountains and pledges its loyalty to him.

The remains of Erthea, the Dragon of Life

After discovering a cliff near Erthea’s shrine, Daun digs underground for two months in order to reach the fog-shrouded lands below. After killing a griffin and running into a horde of skeletons, Daun is reunited with some of his former companions from Stage 1. Teary-eyed, they tell Daun that he is now in Stage 4 of the Game and escort him to Gap Village, an encampment where participants rest between dungeon quests.

Together again!

What new challenges await this unexpected survivor?

Main Characters

Daun Jeong (정다운, Jeong Daun), overseer of the Shrine of Erthea, the Dragon of Life, former Dungeon Game participant and a former junior architect. Clever, friendly, patient, diligent and hard-working, Daun is a competent cook and strategist. While mindful of his need to survive, he is also bold enough to take certain risks when needed such as using hit-and-run tactics to fight wolf packs and coordinating with his Earth Golems to fight against large monsters.

Daun’s first Earth Golem!

When he was first summoned to the Dungeon Game, his only Skill was Purification, which allowed him to purify food, disinfect wounds and cure poison. As a result of persistently digging underground for some time, Daun earned several dirt manipulation Skills such as Lumping Dirt (compressing dirt into blocks), Dirt Shaping and Construction. Using his architectural knowledge, Daun can use these Skills to build houses, furniture and even Earth Golems. He can also build observation towers that enable him to conjure a magical mini-map that can detect nearby creatures. As a result of killing 100 horned boars with a pitfall trap, he gained the Skill “Vigor of the Horned Boar”, an ability that multiplies its user’s strength several times for 10 seconds. After his appointment as overseer of Erthea’s shrine, Daun gained the Skills Install Gate, Install Trap and Reset (remaking anything into its original, unaltered state).

A life-or-death battle with a griffin

Rabbit, a sentient rabbit, Daun’s dubious ally and the former Guide of Stage 1 of the Dungeon Game. Whiny, sadistic and somewhat cowardly, the former Guide now acts as an advisor and helper to its former enemy, having retained its knowledge about the Game and many of its participants. As a Dungeon Guide, Rabbit’s official job was to introduce the rules of the Dungeon Game to participants and provide advice to them, but its secret duty was to ensure that as few people survived as possible. As a result of Daun’s survival and actions, Rabbit was eventually dismissed as a Guide by its displeased master, the Dragon of Death.

Someone’s having a bad day!

Alpha, the caretaker spirit of the Shrine of Erthea, the Dragon of Life, in the Death Mountains. Patient and helpful, yet somewhat delusional, it is extremely loyal to Erthea, whose skeleton resides in the temple’s main hall, and hopes to acquire enough life energy to resurrect him someday. As caretaker of the shrine, Alpha converts offerings to the shrine (i.e. food, magical weapons) into life energy that can be used to empower the Dragon Apostles, people marked by Erthea’s blessing. Alpha was the one who revealed to Daun that all partipants of the Dungeon Game carry an invisible mark of sacrifice to Erthea’s archenemy, the Dragon of Death. Apostles of Erthea appointed by Alpha, such as Daun, are no longer marked as sacrifices.

Seung-Woo Ryu (류승우, Ryu Seung-Woo), a Dungeon Game participant and a former taekwondo instructor. Charismatic, confident and kind, he quickly established himself as a natural-born leader among the other Game participants. Seung-Woo is a composed, skilled fighter and good at establishing rapports with his companions thanks to his experience as a martial arts instructor. He was on friendly terms with Daun, who looked up to him in turn. Seung-Woo was one of the few participants to reach Stage 4 of the Dungeon Game, where he eventually reunited with Daun.

Seung-Woo guides his team

Personal Thoughts

An inspiring example of how far the instinct to survive can take someone. Originally deemed as one of the least likely to survive by Rabbit and several of his own companions for the simple fact that he was a mediocre fighter, Daun Jeong instead relied on his wits, foresight and growing abilities to survive. By doing certain tasks such as digging, crafting and breaking stone countless times, his Skills grew in power and later expanded into higher-class Skills including the construction of Earth Golems. Daun also demonstrated innovative ways to use his abilities, such as rebuilding the pitfall trap he fell into as an animal trap for horned boars, saving himself the need to hunt for food. He also once used his Install Trap and Reset Skills on a boiling oil trap to create an infinite source of fresh sesame oil! Through persistence, learning quickly and understanding his limits, Daun prospered when no one expected him to!

The instinct to survive is something we all have and we would likely be surprised to discover what we could do when push comes to shove. Others may expect you to suffer based on their own beliefs, but these people cannot make the decision for you to survive and live life. That is your responsibility and your choice. We all have to go out into the world and learn how to survive in our own ways, whether it involves training, learning, fighting or earning money. We might even grow and prosper beyond our own expectations with some determination and luck! There are many people in the world who have no choice but to survive because the alternative would be death, more or less. Examples of such include office workers who work every day for a minimum wage or people who live in regions where survival is a daily challenge, such as Bekasi, Jakarta’s Trash Mountain. You’d be surprised with how resourceful we can become when our lives are at stake!

But one must remember that survival shouldn’t be a goal in itself. Sometimes, we must step back and remember why we live life. For the participants in the Dungeon Game, it’s about going home. For us, it could be about taking care of our families or achieving something big in life.

Moral

Living your own life is your choice and your responsibility. We all have the ability to survive.

Handyman Saitou in Another World

Spoiler Alert!

“7,500 yen to open a door?! What a ripoff!”

“Please remember to bring your key with you next time, ma’am.”

You get into your company car and start driving back to the office.

*sigh*

Customers just don’t understand the difficulties you have to go through.

Delicate work. Immediate responses. Low pay. People who think the job is as easy as it looks.

You should talk to your manager about this later today. Maybe if you act a bit tough, he’ll even give you a small raise…

“There are plenty of people who can replace you!”

The manager’s words are still ringing in your head as you walk home.

Somehow, this seems to be the story of your life. Average grades at school, decent athletic abilities, unremarkable skills…

Nothing exceptional.

Do people only want talent?

Does no one want you in this world…?

Why are you here anyway?

Maybe…

Maybe…dying’s not so bad.

Hmm?

Where’s this light coming…from…

Is…this how your life ends?

Would your death even matter?

No, no, no, no, no…

Huh?

W-where’s the truck?

There’s no pain anywhere on your body!

It feels like you’re lying on a bed or something…

Wait, where is this?

“Mmm…”

Hmm? Is someone there?

“Gramps…?”

You turn and find your face-to-face with a girl. She’s…pretty…

“Are you…going senile agai…?”

Her eyes meet yours…and widen in shocked surprise.

“a…a…AAAAAAAAAHHH!!”

WHOA!

Within seconds, she leaps up, takes out a knife and points it at your face!

“Wh-who are you? A thief? A pervert?!”

“Uuh…?”

“STOP, Raelza!”

An old man’s voice?

You turn to the room’s doorway and see an old man with a white beard dressed in a brown robe and a pointed hat. Is that cosplay?

Not from this world?! What does that mean?

Handyman Saitou in Another World (便利屋斎藤さん、異世界に行く, Benriya Saitou san, Isekai ni Iku) is a web manga and manga written by Kazutomo Ichitomo (一智 和智, Ichitomo Kazutomo).

Griping over his thankless, low-paying job as a handyman, Saitou is utterly miserable over the idea of no one needing him. Lost in thought, he fails to notice an oncoming truck barreling towards him until it’s too late…and suddenly finds himself in another world.

Saitou immediately meets three adventurers and joins them in their expeditions in the Great Labyrinth, an underground dungeon complex filled with monsters and the occasional treasure. He quickly becomes an asset with the skills that he once thought worthless by picking locks, dismantling traps and repairing armor. He also befriends Mevena, a shop clerk, and Donbine, a dwarf metalworker, who are impressed with his skills. For the first time in his life, Saitou feels that he is truly making a difference.

One day, Saitou discovers a Roomba in the Labyrinth and follows it to a hidden door. With the aid of the wizard Morlock, the door is opened, leading to an unexplored area of the Labyrinth that would later be called “Saitou’s Tunnel”. Adventurers from all over the country once again gathered at the Labyrinth, attracted by promises of undiscovered riches and lore. Among these eclectic personalities are the chosen hero Cainz, the cynical priest Montiel Puitt, the elf brawler Flan’nil Nil Ar’nil and the dwarf sorcerer Gibengur.

Within Saitou’s Tunnel, the adventurers find a room with several mysterious items that Saitou recognizes as objects from his world. Here, they are ambushed by the assassin Kisurugi and his allies. After a grueling battle, the outmatched Kisurugi summons a multi-eyed devil to aid him. The creature proves to be nearly invincible to both weapons and magic, so Saitou proposes to have Morlock cast a particularly powerful spell that he found when perusing the old wizard’s spellbooks: a spell that stops time.

Main Characters

Saitou (斎藤, Saitō), a Japanese handyman. Friendly yet insecure, he is eager to be as helpful to his new friends as he could. Saitou’s skill with locks is such that he was able to unlock the 108-lock door (guarded against magic!) preventing access to Donbine’s workshop. He also helps his team by carrying different weapons for Raelza, memorizing spell incantations for the forgetful Morlock and defending Lafan from attack. With this, Saitou is essentially the linchpin of his team, which is demonstrated when the others struggle without him after he caught a cold! Despite all this, he still doubts himself at times.

How can he possibly think himself useless after this?

Raelza Morlock, a beautiful warrior and Morlock’s adopted daughter. A tomboy with a dry personality, she gradually warms up to Saitou over time and even becomes attracted to him but denies it. Raelza is self-conscious about the scar on her right cheek, which was inflicted on her by a goblin when she started out as an adventurer. She is also frightened of eels and other long, slimy creatures. As the fighter of her team, Raelza usually uses a large broadsword and wears heavy armor, but she is skilled with many kinds of weapons. Since Morlock and Lafan are both magicians with no skill in combat, she often had to divide her attention between fighting monsters and protecting them. With Saitou’s aid, Raelza can now focus more attention on the monsters.

Fighting off a mimic

Morlock, an elderly, semi-retired wizard. Lewd and senile, he is a magician capable of casting powerful magic, but he now often forgets the incantations for such magic! For this reason, he relies on Saitou to remember the incantations for him to recite. Morlock enjoys gambling and flirting with any beautiful women he finds, be they human or otherwise. He also suffers from near-constant back pain, much to Lafan’s annoyance. According to his former apprentice, the dwarf sorcerer Gibengur, Morlock was once a legendary wizard from the far east, named Bergheim Chrome, who left 20 years ago to seek forbidden magic. “Morlock” was an alias he used in the past when flirting with women. Of course, Morlock himself doesn’t remember or admit this.

Yes, he can forget that he’s alive and try to befriend the undead!

Lafanpan, a moonlight fairy. Playful yet acquisitive, she is a divine sorceress who asks for upfront payment for her healing magic unless the situation is life-threatening. Despite this, Lafan believes in fair exchange and doesn’t like charity, preferring people to pay for their own needs. She must regularly sacrifice gold to the full moon in order to keep herself from shrinking. Lafan likes to tease Raelza about her feelings towards Saitou and tries to encourage the warrior to be more honest with herself.

Back pain is no joke!

Personal Thoughts

This story is presented in a slice-of-life fashion, placing no importance on a particular plot. To me, what makes it relatable is the main character’s personal crisis of feeling worthless. It’s all too easy to think that a job is as easy as it looks because the one doing the job has the skills and experience to do said job smoothly. We also now live in a world where people actually have to compete for jobs, even internships! Because of this, employers often feel they can afford to be harsher to their staff or even replace those who so much as grumble under their breath. After all, who’d want to go job hunting at an uncertain time such as this?

A slime that only melts metal?!

It’s easy to find handymen, office workers, waiters, nurses and such who are desperate for almost any sort of job these days. It’s also not unusual to find university graduates doing jobs that underpay them. But this does not make them worthless. Far from it! These people have to put up with others’ selfishness every day in order to make a living. It’s something we take for granted easily when we’re the customer! These people all have the skills and patience to ensure that the world we live in continues to run smoothly.

Someone’s jeeealouuus!

The world runs on countless little tasks that keep our lives as free from trouble as possible. For example, the Internet is run on a near-infinite number of computer programs that all have to work in unison for the combined whole to run smoothly. Computer programmers and hardware producers all over the world have the unenviable task of repairing these programs constantly. While these people are easily missed, their services are what keep the Internet from shutting down in less than a day! Accountants have to work every day to ensure that up-to-date financial records are kept in order to prevent fraud and corruption in the companies they work for. Nurses have to keep constant vigil over patients in order to relieve the burden of doctors. The things we take for granted can easily disappear and we’d suffer for it.

Once we understand how our work contributes to making life easier for others, large or small, we achieve a sense of fulfillment that cannot be acquired in any other way. For example, if even just one person enjoys reading this blog post, I’d be happy!

Moral

Large or small, the jobs we do all help to keep the world running. Be proud.

I Opened a Café in Another World

Spoiler Alert!

*yawn*

You rub your eyes and see…a full moon?

You feel a slight chill.

Are you outside?

“Ah, you’re awake!”

Who said…?

You notice a tiny girl with green hair in a green dress floating in front of you.

A fairy?! Talking to you?!?

“AAAAAAHHH!!!”

“You can see me? Sorry for scaring you,” she says.

Maybe you’re still too tired? You could have sworn that you went to bed right after supper…

Maybe…ah, ha!

“Is this a dream?”

“No, it isn’t! Our goddess invited you to this world.”

Invited? This feels more like a kidnapping!

“C-could you take me back home?” you ask.

“My deepest apologies. World-crossing is a one-way trip. You can never go back to your world…ever.”

Your head feels like it’s spinning.

Is this…a…night…ma…re…?…

“…be fine?”

“Yes…tired…”

Who…?

You get up…from a fluffy, lavish-looking bed.

Sitting next to you are a middle-aged man and woman in clothes that remind you of European nobles. The fairy is floating next to them.

The woman suddenly hugs you!

“Thank goodness! I was afraid you wouldn’t wake up!”

Seriously, what is this?!

“Take it easy, Tasia,” says the man.

“Oh, right. Sorry about that.”

She lets go of you.

The man smiles at you and says, “I’m Gilford Hyde Claude and this is my wife, Anastasia.”

You might as well introduce yourself.

“My name is Risa Kurokawa. Please excuse me.”

“You should thank the spirit,” says Gil. “She was taking care of you all this time. The knights reported a lightning strike where you were and I was sent to investigate. That’s how I found you.”

“Thank you.”

“If you don’t have a home, you’re free to stay here. You should have something to eat too if you feel better.”

“Your clothes are being washed right now,” says Tasia. “I’ll get some clean clothes for you and you can come to the dining room after you’ve changed.”

You’ve walked around the house a bit. It all looks so splendid, like the mansion of an English noble!

At the dining room, Gil and Tasia greet you.

“That dress looks lovely on you!” says Tasia.

“Thanks!”

Is that rice porridge with milk? Not what you’d expect for a house like this…

You sit at the dining table.

“Please help yourself,” says Gil.

“Don’t mind if I do.”

…?

Eugh!

It’s…terrible! Is this what nobles eat?

I Opened a Café in Another World. (異世界でカフェを開店しました。, Isekai de Café o Kaiten Shimashita.) is a light novel series and manga written by Ringo Amasawa (甘沢 林檎, Amasawa Ringo).

Although the world under her protection is peaceful and flourishing, a certain goddess still longs for Earth’s modern-day cuisines, having visited our planet briefly in the past. She already tried to inspire the food culture development on her own world with little success. To solve this problem, she summons a resident of Earth, Risa Kurokawa, to her world. Although not a professional chef, Risa has unmatched passion and perseverance for cooking that would serve her well. The goddess then sends a nature spirit to watch over Risa.

The introduction of bread rising in Feriformia

Soon afterwards, Risa awakens and meets the nature spirit, who tells her that she is no longer on Earth and that she can never go back. After fainting from shock, she awakens to find herself at the mansion of the Claude noble family. There, Risa learns that she is now in the Kingdom of Feriformia, a land of plenty with technology powered by magic. While enjoying the Claude family’s hospitality, she notices that their food is surprisingly crude, such as tough bread, over-grilled fish drenched in oil and no sugar or yeast. A cooking hobbyist, Risa cooks a dinner for the Claudes and they enjoy it as though they’ve never eaten food before.

Risa introduces her cooking techniques to the Claudes

While wandering the city, Risa comes across a recently-vacated bar and gets the idea to start a café. With no children of their own, the Claudes formally adopt her as their daughter in order for her to be recognized as a legal resident of Feriformia. With the help of the Claude family’s connections, Risa is able to quickly purchase the bar and renovate it. Café Omusubi, named after the Japanese rice ball snack, is soon open for business.

Never before seen in Feriformia!

Word of the café’s innovative, delicious food gradually spreads throughout the country. Risa’s reputation soon grows to the point where she is given the job to oversee the preparation of a banquet for the International Royal Conference, a summit meeting of monarchs and heads of state from many countries. After the banquet’s success, Risa receives an invitation several days later from the renowned Feriformia National General Magic Academy to help start up a new Cooking Department as an advisor and a teacher. She is even being considered as a potential future wife for the Crown Prince of Feriformia…

Main Characters

Risa Kurokawa-Claude, a.k.a. Risa Kurokawa (黒川 理沙, Kurokawa Risa), the 22 year-old manager of the Café Omusubi, adopted daughter of the Claude noble family and a former office worker. Dedicated, kind and strong-willed, she has a lifelong interest in cuisine culture. The youngest of four siblings, Risa learned everything about food preparation, such as making her own soy sauce, choosing seeds and raising chickens. Since opening her café, she has gradually revolutionized the food culture of Feriformia, setting a new professional standard for food preparation and gaining the interest of chefs from neighboring countries. Encouraged by her astounding success, Risa now has a dream to bring delicious, quality food to her new world.

Risa receives congratulations for her banquet food from the king of Feriformia himself

Basil, a female nature spirit. Originally nameless, the friendly little spirit was named by Risa for her green hair and clothes. Spirits usually visible only to powerful magicians such as Gilford, so her existence is known to very few people in the story. Being a nature spirit, Basil is familiar with all types of plants including edibles such as vegetables and wheat. She can also control plants and the wind to some extent.

Sieg Brown, an 18-year old staff member at the Café Omusubi and a former knight. Composed, meticulous and stoic, he was highly respected by his workmates and considered a possible future commander of the Feriformia knights. Until he accidentally met Risa and ate her homemade cookies, Sieg considered food to merely be a necessary source of nutrition. Discovering a newfound passion for food, he quit his job as a knight and applied for a job at the Café Omusubi. The same meticulousness that made Sieg an excellent soldier serves him well when he serves and prepares food. His handsome appearance also attracts many female customers. Although he respects Risa for her cooking skills, one couldn’t help but notice the concern on his face when he sees her with other men!

Ladies are not just there for the food!

Helena Chester, 16-year old staff member at the Café Omusubi. Cheerful and somewhat naïve, she is the proud daughter of the Chesters, a family of bakers that have served the Feriformia royal family for generations. After the Chester bakery started to lose customers to Café Omusubi, Helena tried to vandalize the café but was caught. Instead of being punished, she was given a job at the café. Risa also reached an agreement with the Chesters to train them in her baking techniques to improve their bread and help provide it for her café.

Sieg trains Helena for her new job

Marquis Gilford Hyde Claude and Marchioness Anastasia Ashley-Claude, a pair of married nobles and Risa’s adopted parents. Dutiful and kind, these two love to dote on their new daughter and show her off to their friends, including the Feriformia royal family. Gilford is the head of Feriformia’s Ministry of Magic and his wife is the owner of the popular fashion brand, Cyril Mary. Anastasia is also the younger sister of the head of the Ashley Company, the largest trading company in Feriformia.

Personal Thoughts

The story is rather tame compared to many other isekai stories, being more focused on a kitchen and restaurant environment. Here, the main character brought new horizons to the food culture of a fantasy world with her modern-day cooking techniques. Not only do average citizens learn to appreciate good taste, but heads of state have a successful summit after enjoying Lisa’s cooking! People who thought there was nothing worthwhile to know about food, such as Sieg, take an interest in Risa’s unique food and techniques. This new, unknown horizon awakens their curiosity and allows them to relate better to others through a common interest. The stubborn chefs of Feriformia’s palace kitchen also learn that there’s room for improvement in their cooking!

An eventful year has passed!

Pleasant feelings through taste affects our lifestyle more than we think. When we enjoy food, we tend to cheer up and feel a little better about life. In fact, that’s one of the reasons why there are fat people in the world (note: be sure to eat and drink in moderation!). Food also brings people together because it’s something that everyone needs. Because of this, banquets and family meals are excellent opportunities for friends and family to be together.

More importantly, one must understand that there’s always something new to learn and appreciate. It’s easy to think that you know everything there is to know about a particular field of knowledge and dismiss new ideas for fear of appearing incompetent. Learning in itself is a quality that allows us to appreciate life in general and become better people in both skill and personality. The experience isn’t always pleasant, but it’s still experience that allows us to know better! In this story, by introducing new horizons for food culture, Risa opens new possibilities for her new world that others are encouraged to explore. It’s amazing how delicious food can make your life feel worthwhile!

Moral

There are always new horizons and possibilities out there. Try them out!

So I’m a Spider, So What?

Spoiler Alert!

Ah…so sleepy…

“Hey, wanna do some level grinding on this game after school?”

“Rats! I forgot my pencil case.”

“I know this great parfait store down the street!”

Looks like it’s going to be another boring day…

Hmm?

You must dozed off a bit.

It looks like Oka-chan is reciting something…

“Alright, everyone! That quote from Essays in Idleness (徒然草, Tsurezuregusa) is about transience. This’ll be on your upcoming test on literary classics, so please keep a note of this!”

*yawn*

Yep, boring as usual…

Hmm?

Is it just you or is the ceiling above you splitting in half?!

Suddenly, you feel overwhelming agony all over your body!

It feels like your head is splitting in half and your body is being torn apart!

And it looks like you’re not the only one…

Your classmates’ faces are all wrenched in agony and they seem to be fading before your very eyes.

Mercifully, you faint before oblivion overcomes you…

Ugh…uhh…

Well, at least the pain has stopped…

Hmm?

Your eyes are open, but you see only darkness.

You can’t move either!

You can hear a slight rustling…

Ow!

What is this? Are you inside a sack or something?!

Did someone kidnap you?

Moving around a bit, you make a crack that lets in some light.

A crack? Seriously, where are you?!

Gotta keep pushing…

WHOOOOAAAAHHHH???

YUCK!!! A spider swarm?!?

And they’re as big as people!!

What’s going…

?!

Could it be…?

NONONONONONONONONOOOO!!! Howdidthishappen?!

Alright, take a deep breath…

It looks like some of them are eating something.

Come to think of it, you’re starting to feel hungry yourself…

You decide to take a look…

THEY’RE CANNIBALS!!!

You’ve gotta get out of here!

YIKES!

Is that your…mother? Why is she so huge?!?

You scuttle quickly across the floor, over your new siblings and manage to reach a niche in the cavern wall.

Your “mother” tries to reach for you so you retreat further inside.

Sometime later, you stop to take a breath.

Why did you die?

Was that the moment you were reborn as a spider?

Is your body still alive back in Japan?

No use dwelling on this. The first thing you have to do is survive…whatever this horrid place is.

So I’m a Spider, So What? (蜘蛛ですが、なにか?, Kumo desu ga, Nani ka?) is a light novel series and manga written by Okina Baba (馬場翁, Baba Okina). An anime adaptation will premiere on January 2021.

In Japan, twenty-five high school students and their homeroom teacher are suddenly and painfully killed when a mysterious energy appears in their classroom and tears them apart. Their souls somehow travel across dimensional boundaries and are reborn on another world where humans and demons fight a centuries-long war for dominance.

Surviving in the Great Elroe Labyrinth is no picnic!

One such unfortunate is an unnamed girl whose first experience in her new life is emerging from an egg as a monstrous spider and watching the other spider hatchlings fight and eat each other. After narrowly escaping her “mother”, a gigantic queen spider, she takes stock of her situation and accidentally discovers the world’s System which grants her Skills, Titles and Evolutions based on the monsters she kills, much like how a character evolves in an RPG video game. The spider also eventually learns that she is now in the Great Elroe Labyrinth, a labyrinthine series of underground caverns where monsters of all stripes fight for dominance and survival.

Meeting humans for the first time in years

Fighting fear, hunger and loneliness, the former schoolgirl gradually overcomes a hierarchy of progressively powerful monsters including giant frogs, basilisks, giant wasps, giant monkeys, fire drakes and even dragons. She occasionally encounters humans in the Labyrinth’s upper levels, but is unable to speak to them. The spider evolves through a sequence of stronger forms and eventually becomes an Arachne, a spider monster with the upper torso of a beautiful female human. With this, she begins to communicate with humans for the first time in years. Through her Taboo Skill, she also learns that the world is somehow on the verge of collapse…

Finding something sweet after years of eating disgusting monster corpses uncooked!

Meanwhile, the other students, and their teacher, live their new lives. Most were reborn as humans while others were also reborn as various fantastical creatures. Like the spider, they all retain full memories of their previous lives. Elsewhere, a mysterious entity watches over the lives of the former Japanese youths with amusement and anticipation…

Main Characters

“I” (私, Watashi), a nameless spider monster and former Japanese high school student nicknamed Kumoko by the story’s fans and eventually named in-story as Shiro (白, Shiro) for her pale appearance. A friendless loner who barely knows her own parents, Shiro is a carefree, ditzy and optimistic otaku. Originally reincarnated as a small monstrous spider known as a Small Lesser Taratect, she grew in power as she defeated monsters in the Great Elroe Labyrinth over time and eventually gained the final form of an Arachne. Determined to survive and retaining her human ingenuity, Shiro usually fights by making calculated decisions and using cunning tactics to overcome more powerful foes, making canny use of her growing array of monster abilities. As a result, she can get overconfident at times.

The spider confronts the dreaded Earth Dragon Araba, a monster that haunts even her dreams

A powerful monster, Shiro has a plethora of Skills including HP (Hit Points) Ultra-Fast Recovery, SP (Stamina Points) Rapid Recovery, Deadly Poison Attack, Enhanced Paralysis Attack, Poison Synthesis, Medicine Synthesis, Thread Genius (greater control over her own spider silk threads), Parallel Thinking (ability to divide her mental focus as though she were several different people) and various types of Resistance. She later gains access to Magic Skills such as Heretic Magic, Shadow Magic, Poison Magic, Spatial Magic (teleportation) and several types of Evil Eyes. As an Arachne, she carries a scythe whose blade is made from one of her own front spider limbs. This weapon carries a piece of Shiro’s own soul and can even cut through protections against magic.

Shiro the Arachne, the Nightmare of the Labyrinth

Schlain “Shun” Zagan Analeit, the renowned fourth prince of the Kingdom of Analeit and the reincarnation of Shunsuke Yamada (山田 俊輔, Yamada Shunsuke), one of Shiro’s former classmates. Courageous, hard-working, honest and kind, Shun is the personification of a classic isekai hero. Although he means well, he tends to take his ideals too far, such as charging head-long into battle without a plan or sparing the lives of villains for the sake of holding the higher moral ground.

From left to right: Julius (Shun’s older brother), Sue (Shun’s younger half-sister), Shun, Katia (a Duke’s daughter and a reincarnated Japanese male student), Filimøs

Filimøs Harrifenas, the young daughter of the Elf Village leader and the reincarnation of Kanami Okazaki (岡崎 香奈美, Okazaki Kanami), the former homeroom teacher of Shiro’s class. Eccentric, pragmatic and responsible, Oka-chan (as she was known to her students) tried to be more like a friend to her students by adopting a quirky persona in class and understanding their interests. Reborn with the Student List skill which gives basic information about her students’ current lives, Filimøs is now determined to find as many of her former students as possible and has already brought many of them to the Elf Village.

No one knows what “D”‘s motive is…or if she has one at all!

“D”, a mysterious, powerful deity and one of the world’s Administrators. Whimsical, playful and somewhat sadistic, she desires only amusement, regardless of whether or not anyone suffers. While “D” claims to be the evil goddess of the netherworld, her drive to be such is murky at best. After watching Shiro fight and survive for several years, the deity reveals herself to the spider and confesses that she had posed as one of Shiro’s classmates, Wakaba Hiiro (若葉 姫色, Hiiro Wakaba), on a lark. Apparently, a Hero and a Demon King had sacrificed themselves to cast a powerful spell that traversed dimensions with the goal of eliminating “D”! When the entire class died, “D” collected their souls for reincarnation on the world from which the magic that killed them originated. Ever keeping her motives hidden, “D” likely knows better than anyone else about the ills plaguing the world.

The world above and around the Labyrinth. The Kingdom of Analeit (Shun’s kingdom) is on the Daztrudia Continent.

Personal Thoughts

This story begins with the protagonist’s struggle to survive in a very hostile environment where one misstep could cost her new life. It’s a combination of the basic “survival of the fittest” philosophy and the level-building of a character in an RPG through continuous monster fighting. Shiro’s combination of her abilities as a spider and human ingenuity allowed her to gradually build her power with the help of the world’s System. By keeping her vulnerabilities in mind, using appropriate Skills and utilizing various traps and tactics, she grew into an experienced, decisive fighter. Eventually, Shiro gained enough power to fight the Labyrinth’s most powerful monster such as the Earth Dragon Araba and her “mother”, the Queen Taratect.

Ariel, the current Demon King

After reaching the surface, Shiro eventually makes contact with her former classmates and learns that the world they are on is on the verge of collapse. The problem is largely because a goddess is absolutely determined to save as many lives as possible, regardless of the cost to herself and the planet itself! The reason why the demons have fought the humans for a long time was because they wanted to save the world regardless of the goddess’ desires. Having fought tooth and nail for her own survival, Shiro feels that idealism and morality have become obstacles for what’s really important – saving the world. Unfortunately, this belief makes her look like an evil villain in the eyes of the world’s more upstanding people, including her former classmate Shun.

This is an example of how ideal solutions don’t always work in reality, which is often rather cruel. In terms of human belief, Shiro represents practicality (doing what’s necessary for long-term reasons, doing unsavory acts for survival) while Shun represents idealism (doing selfless acts to avoid giving in to base, violent instinct and for the sake of a higher ideal of happiness). Both philosophies have their points and their flaws and we’d all love to live life where no one gets hurt, but reality often gives us a cruel choice: survive or die.

Moral

There are times when we don’t have the luxury of idealism, because life often gives us a simple choice: survive or die.

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 smartphone 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 *cough*…die…”

“Jen?”

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

“Jenny? Jenny!”

So slee…py…

*cough*

Sleepy…thir…sty…

“Jenny! Where are you?!”

Mom…Dad…

You open your eyes…

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 smartphone, 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 to 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 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 as 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 them 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.