My Room Has Become a Dungeon’s Rest Area

Spoiler Alert!

At a mere 30,000 yen per month, you have signed a contract to rent a 2LDK apartment (an apartment with 2 rooms, a bathroom and a common area used as a Living Room, a Dining Room and a Kitchen) in Tachikawa City (立川市, Tachikawa-shi), Tokyo. Does it sound too good to be true? Maybe there are rumors of ghosts in the area? No, but goblins and slimes have been known to appear…wait, hold on…

My Room Has Become a Dungeon’s Rest Area (僕の部屋がダンジョンの休憩所になってしまった件Boku No Heya Ga Danjon no Kyūkeisho Ni Natte Shimatta Ken) is a web novel and manga written by Tougoku Fudou (東国不動). The story is about Toru Suzuki, a 21-year old part-time cook, who discovers that his newly rented apartment becomes connected to a classic fantasy-style dungeon by night via the front door. When this happens, he can still get back to modern-day Tokyo using the balcony. Naturally, Tooru then dreams of becoming a heroic adventurer – the dream of many an otaku (a young person obsessed with certain pop culture at the cost of their social skills).

After gathering a few supplies, Toru braves the dungeon for the first time…only to immediately find a young girl wearing armor sobbing in terror on the floor. He manages to take her back to his apartment, where he introduces the girl to some of the conveniences of the modern world such as the shower, the washing machine and cola. Toru introduces himself as a sage who has taken refuge in the dungeon to live a hermit’s life and the girl introduces herself as Aria “Ria” Eldrax, an adventurer and former knight. They are soon joined by Shizuru, the white slime, and Deeto, a high elf sorceress. Toru gradually learns more about the dungeon and uses its rules and modern technology to level up quickly as an adventurer while Ria, Deeto and Shizuru get to experience what modern-day Japan has to offer.

Characters

Toru Suzuki (鈴木 透, Suzuki Toru), a male 21-year old human who works part-time as a chef at a family restaurant. His hobbies include collecting figurines of female anime characters and female cosplay costumes. After learning how to access his character status screen from Ria, Toru learns that he has two unique traits as an adventurer: no occupation (i.e. fighter, thief, magician) and no maximum level. This means that, given time and opportunity, Toru could become powerful in every way and learn every learnable skill in the dungeon’s fantasy world. Toru also has the passive Language Understanding skill, which allows him to understand the fantasy world’s spoken languages by magically translating words that he hears within his own mind. Curiously, the Japanese language is the language of monsters (i.e. goblins, orcs) in the fantasy world!

Aria “Ria” Eldrax, a female 18-year old human adventurer and former knight. She was the first person from the fantasy world to meet Toru and she is known as “The Nosy Knight” due to being a stickler for the rules, whether they are for good health or etiquette. Ria was the last head of the Eldrax family, a minor noble family that served as knight commanders of the higher-ranked Katja family. The last descendant of the Katja family was the 16-year old Monica Katja, who could not inherit the Katja title of Count due to being a woman (Ria only became head of her family due to having no brothers and the fact that her family had little political power to speak of). Before her marriage to a Duke, Monica gifted Ria with a Katja heirloom weapon – a sword made of pure mythril.

After Monica’s marriage, the Katja family officially came to an end, resulting in Ria losing her status as a knight. Deciding that she could not give up her loyalty to the now-extinct Katja family, Ria decided to become an adventurer to earn money to provide for the orphans still living in the former Katja fiefdom. She joined Klein, a swordsman, and Barney, a mage, to form an adventuring party with them despite the unsavory rumors surrounding the two men. During an excursion into the dangerous, yet lucrative, fifth floor of the dungeon, an encounter with a small horde of goblins left Klein weaponless (Ria allows him to temporarily use her sword), Barney exhausted and Ria poisoned. Partially at Ria’s own naïve insistence and partially due to their own selfishness, Klein and Barney abandon Ria to reach the surface alone, with Klein keeping Ria’s treasured sword. Toru found Ria a short while later…

Shizuru, a genderless, sentient white slime. Toru finds it in the dungeon room just outside his apartment’s front door. The white slime soon develops a genuine liking for Toru, who decides to call it Shizuru. Apparently, white slimes are friendly creatures that often establish relationships with humans and take the form of their masters’ loved ones. However, they were frequently exploited by the more selfish humans, which eventually resulted in the white slimes retreating to places where humans feared to tread, such as dungeons. Because of this, white slimes are generally thought to be extinct. As a white slime, Shizuru can perfectly mimic almost anything by either sight or touch, allowing it to mimic living creatures, clothes and objects. It can also learn quickly and copy the memories of others, allowing Shizuru to perfectly mimic specific people and use their skills by itself. With these abilities, Shizuru was able to perfectly mimic Toru and take his place at work once, having memorized the restaurant’s recipes beforehand.

Deeto Macaron, a female 221-year old high elf sorceress. She is a powerful adventurer who prefers to work alone. While she is something of a tease, Deeto also gets irritated rather easily. She is also a worldly, knowledgeable person and easily deduced that Toru is not the sage that he claimed to be. Still, she stays with Toru as a friend, for it was he who helped her fight off a giant centipede that almost killed her in the dungeon. Deeto also told Toru about the Dungeon Master, the ruler of the dungeon who lives in its deepest level. If Toru were to become the new Dungeon Master, then he would become virtually immortal (he’d be ageless but not invulnerable).

Personal Thoughts

I have read 18 chapters of the manga so far but there isn’t much plot development aside from Toru’s current goal of level grinding in order to gain enough power to survive the dungeon just outside his apartment! In the meantime, he also has to keep living his life in modern-day Tokyo while living with three people from a fantasy world. It’s more of a “slice of life” story. What makes this story interesting is that it demonstrates how important rest and recovery is when you are fighting for your very life inside a dungeon where everything is trying to kill you. When Toru first met Ria, she was on the verge of death, poisoned and unable to move while not knowing what horrible fate may befall her, including being attacked by goblins or worse. Can you imagine being tied up on the floor, helpless and dying, while knowing that everything around you is just waiting for the right moment to kill you? Not a pleasant idea, right?

Rest is something we all take for granted, seeing it as something that we use to take away the stress of daily life. Every day, we all do things that we don’t particularly want to do such as attending school, doing homework, doing jobs to earn money, taking care of children and ensuring that our homes are clean and supplied. But many people underestimate just how stress could really affect one’s health, physical and mental, if enough of it is built up over time. While doing tasks for others is important for our lives, the thing to do sometimes is take a step back and enjoy some of the little things life has to offer like eating a delicious meal, reading a book or playing a video game. Talking to someone you trust about your problems can help you feel a little better even if it doesn’t actually solve the problems.

The way modern appliances and food are shown throughout the story also serves as a reminder to us about how good life can be for people living in the modern world. In today’s world, we all feel the constant social pressure to succeed in life but if we didn’t live in today’s world, what would we have instead? Can you imagine what it’s like to hand-wash your clothes, fetching water from a well or even going without a proper sewer system? That’s just a hint of what life is like in the medieval-style world that most fantasy stories take place in. It’s really easy to forget such things when it’s part of everyday life. That’s why I am grateful every day for the easier life our technology has given us!

Moral

There are times when rest is needed before moving on.

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.

Ascendance of a Bookworm

Spoiler Alert!

You have always loved books of all kinds: history, literature, art, science, mathematics, geography, religion, foreign language and others. Over the course of your life, you’ve collected countless books and you feel happy with the treasure of humanity’s knowledge accumulated around you.

One day, there is a sudden earthquake and an avalanche of books collapses on top of you. As you feel yourself slipping away, you wish for only one thing: to continue reading all kinds of books in your next life.

In what feels like an eternity of darkness, you hear the fading voice of a little girl calling for help. You open your eyes…and find yourself in bed.

Looking around, you find yourself in a dusty room with rundown wooden walls. You look down on your body and are shocked to see it is that of a little girl.

A woman with green hair comes in and says something to you…what did she say? Memories not your own overwhelm your mind and you realize that the woman is your…mother? No! That can’t be right! Ahh! If only you had something to read, you’d feel better!

Later, a girl, whom you know as your older sister Tuuli, comes to see how you are doing.

You ask her for a book to read, only for her to reply, “A book? What’s a book?” Huh? How is this possible? You decide to look around the house for a book, searching the boxes, bags, corners, and shelves, but you couldn’t find a single written word at all…

Ascendance of a Bookworm: I’ll do anything to become a librarian! (本好きの下剋上 ~司書になるためには手段を選んでいられません~ Honzuki no Gekokujō: Shisho ni Naru Tame niwa Shudan o Erandeiraremasen) is a light novel series, manga and anime written by Miya Kazuki (香月美夜 Kazuki Miya).

Born in a medieval-era fantasy world (specifically the city of Ehrenfest) where books are scarce, expensive and available only to aristocrats, the little girl Myne, retaining her memories as a modern-day bookworm, decides to write and print her own books so that she can read again. At the same time, she has live with the limits of her frail body and near-constant fevers. With help from her friend Lutz, Myne makes several attempts to create alternatives for books, such as papyrus, clay tablets and wooden slates, only for each of them to fail. At the same time, she introduces several modern-day items to her new world, such as homemade shampoo, decorative hairpins, pancakes and consommé soup.

Myne and Lutz eventually meet the local merchant Benno, who had taken an interest to the girl rumored to have produced innovative, and potentially profitable, items. Myne uses this opportunity to propose a deal with Benno: in exchange for taking her and Lutz in as apprentice merchants and funding, Benno would get a share of the profits from the sale of Myne’s revolutionary, plant-based paper (at this time, only expensive animal-skin parchment was being produced).

Several months later, Myne and Lutz produce prototype paper as samples and gain Benno’s approval, prompting him to help the two children register temporarily as merchants at the Merchants’ Guild so that they may legally sell their new product. The guild leader Gustav approves the registration on the promise that Myne would prepare a hairpin for his granddaughter, Frieda, to wear at her baptism ceremony. While talking with Frieda, Myne learns that they both have the Devouring, an incurable disease caused by the excess mana in their bodies. Fevers caused by the Devouring will gradually kill the victim…

Main Characters

Myne, the 5-year old daughter of Gunther, a soldier, and Effa, a seamstress, born in the city of Ehrenfest. In her previous life, Myne was Urano Motosu (本須 麗乃 Motosu Urano), a Japanese college graduate and a newly-hired librarian who loved books and reading, resulting in Myne displaying maturity and intelligence unheard of for her background. Having a frail little body and plagued with constant fevers, Myne finds even simple physical tasks such as long-distance walking to be challenging and tiring. She has a rare, incurable condition called the “Devouring” which is caused by the excessive mana (magic energy) in her body that manifests as frequent fevers which occur whenever she is depressed or stressed. Despite her disabilities, Myne is determined to become the first librarian of her new world.

Tuuli, Myne’s older sister by two years. At the time Urano reincarnates as Myne, Tuuli is preparing to follow in her mother’s footsteps as a seamstress and for her baptism, which every child in Ehrenfest undergoes at the city’s temple when they become 7 years old. Myne makes a hairpin with flowers woven from thread for Tuuli to wear. This hairpin would later be the talk of the merchants and nobles alike as they try to find and buy their own, eventually catching Benno’s interest.

Lutz, the son of a carpenter and the youngest of four brothers. He is the best friend of Myne, who is the same age as him. He accompanies and supports Myne as she pursues her dreams, helping her with physical tasks such as digging up clay, gathering plants for paper production and carrying equipment (or even her!). Lutz’s dream is to become a merchant, despite the opposition he faces from his parents. He eventually suspects that Myne is no longer her old self and is actually someone else, but continues to be her friend nonetheless.

Otto, a soldier of Ehrenfest and a subordinate of Gunther, Myne’s father. Before becoming a soldier, Otto was a traveling merchant who eventually earned enough money to settle down and purchase citizenship in Ehrenfest in order to marry his wife, Corinna. After Myne helps him to finish the annual city guard accounting reports, Otto teaches Myne to read and write in the language used by Ehrenfest.

Benno, a merchant and the proprietor of the Gilberta Company. He is also Corinna’s older brother and Otto’s brother-in-law. Impressed with Myne’s intellect and innovation, he takes her and Lutz as apprentices in exchange for the rights to part of the profits from Myne’s product ideas. Benno provides the two children with the capital, equipment and a workshop to enable them to produce paper, which could provide a cheaper alternative to the parchment currently being widely used. Despite being somewhat ambitious, Benno grows to care for the children (Myne in particular), teaching them about currency, merchant protocols and how to use negotiation and secrecy as tools to gain benefits in trade.

Frieda, the granddaughter of Gustav, the head of the Merchants’ Guild. Like her grandfather, Frieda enjoys making money and can be rather ruthless in negotiation, believing in earning as much money as possible, whenever possible. Like Myne, she has the Devouring. With her family’s money and connections, Frieda has access to magic items that can temporarily alleviate her growing fevers.

Personal Thoughts

The title of this story is somewhat misleading, since it has little to do with reading by itself. The main focus of this story is about determination, the value of knowledge and, later, the skill of negotiation. Myne gradually uses her modern-day knowledge to introduce a variety of items and methods previously unknown in her current world, which incidentally makes her a valuable asset to others. As a result, Myne finds herself using negotiation and persuasion to not only gain the resources she needs to read books, but also to protect herself against those who would take advantage of her, in order to compensate for her poor health.

Like many heroes in literature, Myne is determined achieve her goals in life despite the challenges before her. The hindrances caused by her poor health and condition make her tasks even more difficult, but she refuses to let that stop her. Myne doesn’t always remember that she has a disease that frequently leaves her bedridden and could potentially kill her, which sometimes gives her problems whenever she finds herself fascinated with books and reading. In a way, she reminds me of Helen Keller, who was able to learn how to read and write and earn a university degree despite being blind-deaf.

Like other isekai heroes, Myne has introduced modern-day items and ideas to fantasy world, particularly the concept of mass-produced books. It’s like how the invention of the first printing press led to books, early newspapers and notices becoming easier to produce and thus cheaper, which in turn led to the spread of knowledge to all walks of life, not just the wealthy. We live in an age where information is easy to send out to others, particularly through the Internet, email, blogs and so forth. It’s likely that we have taken knowledge for granted so that we often fail to realize just how important and special education is for our lives.

Moral

While it is good to work towards your dreams, it is also important to take reality into consideration. Knowledge by itself is no alternative to practical experience.