Loner Life in Another World

Spoiler Alert!

You’re a loner, plain and simple.

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

Just like now.

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

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

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

*sigh*

Why are there so many nutjobs in this class?

Hmm?

Where’s this glow coming…from…?

Magic circles?!

That’s amaz…NO, WAIT! IT ISN’T!

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

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

There’s only one thing left…

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

Made it! The attic should be safe…

No! That light!

Ngh!

Where…? What?

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

He suddenly spots you.

Did this guy have lunch yet?

The old man shouts, “I didn’t!”

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

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

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

Hmm? Could it be…?

The god cries, “Could it be what?!”

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

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

He gives a deep sigh.

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

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

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

Alright, let’s see…

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

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

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

Is this seriously all there is?!

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

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

A moment later, he suddenly perks up.

All? What is he…

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

Farewell?!

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

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

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

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

Haruka leads the girls out of the forest

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

Using his new Truth and Lie Skill, Haruka vanquishes Tanaka

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

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

Main Characters

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

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

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

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

Omui, the current home of the students

Personal Thoughts

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

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

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

Haruka can now defeat the powerful Goblin Emperors!

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

Moral

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

Uproar from Reincarnation on Another World

Spoiler Alert!

“It’s so sweeeet!”, everyone says.

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

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

You proudly place your hands on your hips.

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

And this is just the beginning!

You want to make lots of money!

So much you’ll drown in it!

Money! Money! MONEY! MONEY!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

Hmm?

Oh, right!

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

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

“Leave it to us, Lord Baldr!”

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

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

“Still making money, Selina?” you ask.

“More or less.”

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

You place it on a table and open it.

“Try this.”

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

YES!

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

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

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

“Whad’ya mean?”

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

“What’s ma cut?”

“How does 10% sound?”

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

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

Rrgh!

Ah ha!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How far will Baldr Cornelius’ meteoric rise go?

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

Main Characters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Personal Thoughts

“How will this benefit me?”

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

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

Deals happen all the time, not just in stories

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

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

Moral

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

Beware the Villainess!

Spoiler Alert!

Disgusting. Absolutely disgusting.

The man fooling around over there is your fiancé, Prince Ian Basilios.

In the novel The Man I Love, he supposedly hated you, the villainess Melissa Podebrat, despite being officially engaged to you. Before falling in love with the main heroine Yuri Elizabeth, Ian flirted with countless ladies and indulged himself in debauchery.

The lady giggles.

“Heehee! Are you teasing me? You’re such a beast, Ian!”

“If it’s you, who could resist becoming a beast?”

Are his eyes rotten or something?! You’re standing in front of them and he can’t see you?

And those cheesy lines! Did he get them from reading trashy romance novels?!

The young woman finally looks up at you.

OF ALL THE…would a maid dress THIS well?!

“Just ignore her,” says Ian. “First, let’s take this off…”

You shiver. Is he a devil or something?

Ian is the one who sent you a summons to come to the palace and he’s the one making out with another woman when you arrived. From what you recall from Melissa’s original memories, he’s already done this several times already!

He’s nothing but…a dog. A dog who doesn’t deserve mercy.

“Is your highness…trash?”, you ask aloud.

So, the prince finally deigns to look at you!

Shock is written all over his face. Apparently, Melissa always had catfights with the ladies whenever she catches them with Ian, who just stood back and did nothing.

Well, you’re not that Melissa anymore!

“Have you…gone crazy?”, says Ian hesitantly.

“ME?! CRAZY?!”, you scream. “YOU’RE THE ONE WHO INVITED ME HERE TO WATCH A CHEATING REALITY SHOW!! Considering that I didn’t smash an ashtray onto your head the moment I saw this, I’d say I’m very sane.”

Honestly! How did Melissa fall so passionately for this guy?

A moment later, Ian replies, “I know that you’ve always behaved badly, but I never thought you’d say such cruel words to me!”

“You seemed so good at kissing just now, so why don’t you make out with the floor? That would be a hit!”

Ian stumbles a bit.

He clenches his fists at his sides.

A moment later, he raises his head…

This…JERK. He has the nerve to cheat on his fiancée and he caves in after one rebuke?

“Fine!”, you say firmly. “Since you obviously despise me, what’s the point in marrying me? Let’s break up!”

“Y-You…YOU CAN’T!”

Huh? What is he thinking?!

Beware the Villainess! (그 악녀를 조심하세요!, Geu Agnyeoleul Josimhaseyo!) is a web novel, light novel series and web comic written by Mulberry Flavor Screw Bar (뽕따맛 스크류바, Ppongttamas Seukeulyuba).

In the clichéd story of The Man I Love, the main heroine is Yuri Elizabeth, a commoner born with tremendous magical talent. After being adopted by Baron Elizabeth, she is pursued by four handsome men: Ian Basilios (Crown Prince of the Basilios Empire), Jake Podebrat (sniper to the Basilios royal family), Jack Forton (champion of the Forton werewolf clan) and Peacock Melody (owner of the Peacock Company). The villainess of this particular story is Duchess Melissa Podebrat, Ian’s fiancée and Jake’s older sister.

Under their charming faces, the four suitors are shallow narcissists

The Man I Love is the favorite novel of a certain Korean college student. After she dies in a car accident and awakens as Melissa in the novel’s setting, she gradually learns, to her utter disappointment, that Yuri’s four potential suitors are all narcissists in their own ways. When Melissa tries to annul her engagement to the womanizing Ian, the Prince instead plans to officially announce their wedding at a royal ball. Disgusted, Melissa takes in a dirty, tongueless but handsome stranger, Nine, from the streets and has him act as her partner for the ball. Afterwards, the Podebrat mansion is threatened when the antisocial Jake and the brash Jack fight until Melissa angrily talks them down. After quickly learning swordsmanship for a month and acquiring a magic sword, Melissa is able to humble Jack in a duel. The reason why Jack came to the mansion was because he was after Nine, now revealed to be a werewolf banished from the Forton clan.

Melissa can now give Jack Forton the thrashing he deserves

Injured during her duel with Jack, Melissa goes with Nine and her maid Yona to the Elizabeth mansion in order to meet and get help from Yuri herself. After saving Yuri from bandits and being asleep for four days straight, Melissa learns that the twisted fourth suitor, Peacock, is harassing Yuri from the Elizabeth mansion’s front yard. To send him away, Melissa defeats Peacock in a quiz duel. Thankful to Melissa, Yuri gives her a medicine to restore Nine’s fangs and tongue.

As a rabbit, Jake becomes the prey for the first time in his life!

Melissa decides to teach each of the four narcissistic suitors a lesson. At a summer festival, she beats Ian at every game stall and threatens his position as Crown Prince. At a royal hunting competition, Melissa transforms Jake into a rabbit (with help from Yuri) and hunts him, giving him an idea of how Yuri feels when she is stalked by him. When Yuri is kidnapped by Migen, Nine’s sadistic twin brother, Melissa and her friends save her. Afterwards, she intimidates Migen (and Jack!) into peaceful compliance.

Unbeknownst to Melissa, someone is not happy that the story is being derailed…

Main Characters

Melissa Podebrat, the eldest daughter of the Podebrat family and a former Korean college student. Independent-minded, quick-tempered, responsible, sardonic and stubborn, she is fiercely determined to not let anyone dictate her life. Hilariously, Melissa has trouble keeping a straight face when she is angry, disgusted or fantasizing about hurting those she dislikes. While she prefers to live a quiet, carefree life, she is also very loyal to her friends and will hurt those who threaten them. To keep her sullen brother Jake at a distance, Melissa retains a dog, Liev, and a horse, Black Devil. She is a talented swordswoman but is almost unable to use magic. Melissa also carries a powerful magic sword that once belonged to the Basilios royal family.

If she’s angry, she’ll LET YOU KNOW!

Yuri Elizabeth, the adopted daughter of the Elizabeth family. Bright, energetic and wise, this beautiful wizard sees Melissa her only real friend. She also considers Nine her rival for Melissa’s attention. Yuri has apparently lived the events of The Man I Love countless times under the watch of a mysterious entity who ensures that she follows the “script”. Frustrated with her narcissistic “suitors” and the endless cycle of clichés, Yuri is invigorated by Melissa’s defiance of fate and quietly defies her overseer.

Someone wants to make sure that the story never changes

Nine Forton, Melissa’s personal butler and a werewolf. Gentle, polite, shy and studious, he is completely loyal to and in love with Melissa. As a child, Nine was constantly bullied by his brother Migen and the rest of the Forton clan for his utter lack of talent in fighting and sorcery. Years later, Nine saved the life of a girl who wandered into the clan’s forest. For this, the clan had his fangs and his tongue cut out and banished him. Meant to die a beggar in The Man I Love, Nine was spared this cruel fate when he was taken in by Melissa, who eventually got Yuri to restore his fangs and his tongue. Like all Forton werewolves, Nine can take on the form of a wolf.

Nine blushes easily when his mistress gets close

Yona Whitefall, Melissa’s maid and the daughter of a fallen marquis. Clever, cynical, greedy, quiet and unflappable, she calmly weathers her mistress’ bad attitude and temper. Despite this, there is almost nothing Yona won’t do for money and she has gone along with Melissa’s zany schemes for very hefty raises! Having had a noble education, Yona is knowledgeable in the ways of the Imperial aristocracy.

Personal Thoughts

Thrust into a clichéd story dominated by narcissists and male chauvinism, the quick-tempered Melissa refuses to follow the role of a submissive lady dictated to her by her family and her peers. Instead, she takes a stand for her right to live her life as she pleases and will not hesitate to make her point aggressively if she has to. Melissa has no desire for meaningless love and will not tolerate unjust treatment for any reason. She has the strength to move forward and back herself up without help from others. In doing so, she also becomes a source of inspiration to others similarly dissatisfied with their lives.

Swear words aside, this is Melissa’s motto in life!

This story reminds me of how those with narcissistic partners have to learn to stand up for themselves. Narcissists are people who desire to be seen as perfect in society, but their fragile egos and lack of empathy for others make them terrifying to those close to them. In private, narcissists are control freaks who see no one as their equal and become enraged when they are criticized for any reason, justly or otherwise. Since narcissists are unlikely to relate to others, the best way to deal with them is to ignore them and not depend on them.

Partners of narcissists often have to learn how to be strong and independent so that they won’t be at the mercy of said narcissists. This usually involves getting the ability to make money for themselves, since money is a favorite tool of narcissists to control others. It’s difficult to get out of the shadows of narcissists who would love to see the world revolve around them, but the rewards are very likely to be worth it. Former victims might even find strength and talents within them that they never knew about before!

Moral

The life you have belongs only to you.

Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest

Spoiler Alert!

You feel your body ache all over as you get to your feet.

The dim light from the cavern’s white crystals barely pierce the darkness.

The last thing you remember is falling into a dark, bottomless chasm in the Great Orcus Labyrinth. You were using your Transmute Skill to delay a horde of rampaging monsters on a stone bridge while your classmates got to safety. When you tried to follow them, a blast of magic knocked you into the shadowy chasm below as the bridge collapsed.

You must be somewhere deep in the Labyrinth where no one has ventured before.

Anyway, you should try to find some stairs to get back up…

A rabbit…?

It turns around. Its eyes are hideous.

Without warning, it does a forward backflip in the air. Instinctively, you dodge left and the wall behind you is inflicted with a deep fissure, as though a massive sword cut it!

Did the rabbit do that?

You have no chance against it!

You back away slowly as the rabbit advances on you, then it seems to glance away.

What’s it looking…at…

?!

With a swipe of its huge paw, the monstrous bear mauls the rabbit to pieces. It then begins to chew and lap up what’s left of the rabbit.

An even bigger predator! And you’re the prey! It’s like a jungle down here!

You’d better get away while it’s busy!

The growls behind you get louder as you run.

Hmm?

Your left side feels a bit lighter for some reason.

What hap…

AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!

Your ARM! YOUR AAARRRM!!

Fighting tears, you swivel around as you cradle the stump your left arm was. It HURTS! HURTS!

You see your dismembered, bloody arm on the floor in front of you.

The bear shuffles to your arm, picks it up and devours it.

No, no, no, no…why is this…happen…ing?

Why…how…must get…away…

You press your back against the cavern wall as the bear eyes you hungrily.

Wait, that’s it!

Despite the dizziness, pain and terror filling your mind, you use Transmute to dig yourself into the wall.

Transmute, transmute, transmute, transmute, transmute!

Away, away, away, away, away!

Mustn’t stop! Mustn’t stop! Mustn’t stop!!

So…tired…dying?…

Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest (ありふれた職業で世界最強, Arifureta Shokugyō de Sekai Saikyō) is a web novel, light novel series, manga and anime written by Ryo Shirakome (白米 良, Shirakome Ryō).

One day, an entire class of Japanese high school students suddenly find themselves transported to the fantasy world of Tortus. Among these students is the shy otaku Hajime Nagumo, who was long bullied for his friendly relationship with Kaori Shirasaki, the class’ most popular girl. While all of his classmates receive powerful abilities, Hajime receives only the Transmute Skill, which uses basic alchemical magic to analyze and manipulate solid matter. During an expedition in the Great Orcus Labyrinth, he is betrayed when one of his classmates attacks him with a blast of magic that causes him to fall into the unexplored depths of the Labyrinth.

When Hajime awakens, he almost immediately loses his left arm to a huge Claw Bear. After digging himself underground to hide, he accidentally finds a Divinity Stone, a crystal that secretes a liquid that could heal any injury. Badly injured and starving, the delirious Hajime is consumed with despair and rage as he vows to survive by any means necessary. After recovering, he hunts the Labyrinth’s monsters, eats their flesh and swiftly grows in power. Eventually, he kills the Claw Bear that ate his arm.

For the first time in three centuries, a prisoner has a visitor

Later, Hajime discovers and frees an imprisoned vampire girl he names Yue. The pair eventually fight their way to the lowest level of the Labyrinth, where they discover the mansion of the Labyrinth’s creator, Oscar Orcus. A magical recording left by Oscar tells Hajime the darkest secret of Tortus: the god overseeing the world, Eiht, is the god of humans and demons alike and is a cruel, malicious manipulator who plays everyone’s lives against each other for his own twisted amusement. Inheriting Oscar’s Creation Ancient Magic as a reward for conquering the Labyrinth, Hajime gets the idea to find and conquer more Labyrinths in order to acquire their stored Ancient Magics and use them to return home.

The final monster of the Great Orcus Labyrinth

During their travels, Hajime and Yue are joined by the rabbit girl Shea and the dragonborn princess Tio. At the request of an adventurers’ guild, Hajime eventually returns to the Great Orcus Labyrinth and defends his classmates from a powerful demon. Immensely relieved and now aware of her feelings for Hajime, Kaori decides to join his team in their quest to find a way home.

Meanwhile, the god Eiht takes steps to eliminate a particularly vexing problem…

In front row, from left to right: Myu (mermaid child), Yue, Hajime; in back row, from left to right: Kaori, Shea, Tio

Main Characters

Hajime Nagumo (南雲 ハジメ, Nagumo Hajime), a 17-year old Synergist and a former high school student. Betrayed by a classmate and forced to survive alone in a labyrinth filled with hostile monsters, the once-gentle teenager is now cynical, pragmatic, stubborn and unsympathetic. Hajime has no mercy for those who get in the way of his goals, especially his wish to return to Japan, and will happily destroy anything that gets in his way. Despite this, he cares deeply for those who have earned his trust and is willing to do whatever he can for them within reason.

If you’re his enemy, you’re dead.

As a result of devouring many monsters in the Great Orcus Labyrinth, Hajime has gained many Skills and is now far stronger and faster than any human at the cost of being no longer human. A gifted engineer and inventor, he has used Creation Ancient Magic to craft an artificial left arm, modern-day vehicles and many weapons such as various firearms, grenades, Shea’s warhammer and a katana for one of his classmates. An expert fighter and marksman, Hajime prefers to dual wield two revolvers, Donner and Schlag, in battle, but he can use different firearms or even fight unarmed if the situation calls for it.

Yue, a vampire Divine Priestess and a one-time Queen of the Avatari Kingdom. Childish, graceful, quiet and somewhat sadistic, she is utterly loyal to and in love with Hajime. Yue is actually a name given to her by Hajime, but she has accepted it in order to put her old identity behind her. A powerful magician, Yue can use a wide variety of combat magic such as fire, ice and lightning spells.

Hajime and his team defend a town from a legion of monsters and undead

Shea Haulia, a rabbit girl Diviner and the daughter of the Haulia Tribe’s chieftain. Courageous, friendly, optimistic and somewhat selfish, she has grown in confidence and strength since joining Hajime’s team. Shea is in love with Hajime and aggressively pursues him. After training with Hajime and Yue, Shea is now a skilled fighter, particularly when using her custom-made warhammer, Drucken. As a Diviner, she can foresee vague moments in the future.

A former pacifist, Shea can now shatter a golem’s arms with her hammer!

Tio Klarus, a 563-year old dragonborn Guardian and princess. Determined, honest, kind and wise, she has become hopelessly masochistic and perverted as a result of Hajime defeating her in battle by roughly shoving a metal rod up her anus! While Tio is generally upstanding, her newly discovered fetishes often overtake her. Like all members of her race, she can transform into a winged dragon. Like Yue, Tio is a powerful, experienced magician.

Kaori Shirasaki (白崎 香織, Shirasaki Kaori), a 17-year old Priestess and a former high school student. Caring, gentle, kind and responsible, she was, and still is, the most popular girl of her class. Kaori has held a crush on Hajime since middle school, but only realized this when she saw him fall seemingly to his death. Since then, she resolved to be more assertive and determined, even after learning about Hajime’s new ruthless attitude and joining his team. As a Priestess, Kaori can use powerful healing magic and spells that enhance the abilities of others.

The capital of the Heiligh Kingdom

Personal Thoughts

Broken by horrific betrayal and the desperate need to survive on his own, Hajime is a determined, pragmatic antihero. In fact, he reminds me of Wolverine from Marvel Comics’ X-Men and the Man with No Name portrayed by Clint Eastwood! Despite this, Hajime becomes a beloved, all-powerful hero in his story and eventually gains a harem of beautiful women. His worldliness, his iron determination and his awareness of others are what make him a hero. Even with his cynical attitude, Hajime doesn’t act on his resentments or force anyone to share his beliefs.

Having conquered the Great Orcus Labyrinth, Hajime has earned the right to use the workshop of its builder.

By contrast, a few of Hajime’s classmates have become deluded, entitled and self-centered during their time on Tortus. Hoping to gain the power to achieve their selfish desires, these teenagers made dark pacts with demons in exchange for power, betraying their friends and becoming unrepentant criminals themselves. Another classmate, Kouki Amanogawa, means well and does his best to be a hero, but he is proud and self-righteous to the point that he tries to impose his moral standards on everyone and he shows mercy to malicious people who don’t deserve it. An ace student who excelled at everything in school, the naïve Kouki is flabbergasted when his black-and-white beliefs don’t work in the real world and when he sees Hajime, someone he looked down on, succeed where he failed.

This story is a fantasy example of youths suddenly thrust into a harsh reality in which they have to learn how to survive. The rules we learn in the relatively sheltered environment of our schools and homes must be tempered in a world where people are more likely to take advantage of us. While it is possible for us to adapt and even prosper, it is also possible for us to become corrupt and ruthless. It’s especially dangerous to believe that life is a game in which we are the heroes while no one else matters.

Moral

Life isn’t a game in which only you matter. Be considerate of others.

1st Anniversary of Isekai Eye

Greetings and Happy New Year, everyone!

It’s been a year since I started this blog about isekai stories. Occasionally, I also wrote posts about any anime or manga that I found interesting. I honestly never thought I’d have the drive to keep writing in this blog and I don’t regret it! In fact, my only regret is not starting it sooner!

2020 was likely a rough year for all of us. Not only are we in danger of becoming infected by the COVID-19 pandemic, but we also have to deal with the ramifications of long-term quarantines. However, we must remember to do what is necessary to survive this. We can endure hardships and we can adjust our lifestyles, but we cannot replace lives. Many have died because of COVID-19, so it’s up to us to ensure things do not get worse for the sake of our loved ones. Hopefully, 2021 will bring happier and healthier prospects for all of us!

One thing I consider universal for all fiction is that they reflect us and are inspired by us. Within each story, to various degrees, is a lesson that we can all take to heart to improve our lives. All characters, whether hero, villain or otherwise, give shape to these realities and are also reflections of traits found in all of us. Motives such as curiosity, ambition, hope, greed, love, vengeance and the simple desire for a quiet life are natural instincts found in all humans.

The Golden-Haired Elementalist is the story of a young rebel’s journey to become a powerful wizard in her own way.

As for Isekai Eye, my current most popular post is about The Golden-Haired Elementalist. I’m not quite sure why this post got several hundred views so far, with most of them in December 2020 alone! Over the past year, only one comment has been posted for the entire blog! I would appreciate more comments and likes for my posts so that I could have a better idea of your opinions.

Why do I write about isekai stories? I feel that, in a way, they relate to readers a bit more personally. Most of the main protagonists of these stories are people you would pass by every day in the streets, even if they’re mostly from Japan or Korea! Students, office workers, soldiers and professionals of various stripes could suddenly find themselves in another world where they get the chance to shine as individuals and perhaps build a more fulfilling life for themselves. We can feel for them because I think all of us want at least some recognition from others for our abilities and accomplishments!

In The Duchess’ 50 Tea Recipes, a former doormat gains the confidence to be her own person

In regards to this, I believe that The Duchess’ 50 Tea Recipes is the most inspiring story I’ve read so far. On Earth, a corporate accountant struggled to retain everyone’s favor by doing whatever they wanted, no matter how unreasonable. On another world, a timid, weak-willed noblewoman was the laughingstock of a haughty aristocracy. When the accountant finds herself in the noblewoman’s body, she stands up for herself and her lifelong passion for tea. Despite many challenges and those who try to discredit her, she perseveres, builds loving relationships and accomplishes her dreams. This story is an example of why self-esteem and self-love are keys to a better life.

I have learned many things from reading isekai stories and will continue to do so. There’s always more out there and I would love to share what I’ve learned with you. I’ll also improve some of the posts already sent out, if I have time.

Thank you for reading and have a happy, healthy new year!