In Another World With My Smartphone, Vol. 3

By Patora Fuyuhara and Eiji Usatsuka. Released in Japan as “Isekai wa Smartphone to Tomo ni” by Hobby Japan. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Andrew Hodgson.

The author and reader are clearly settling in for the long haul here in this third volume of Smartphone. ON the author’s end, he’s become aware that he wants to tell a long, convoluted (if ridiculous) story, so is starting to add more key backstory and introduce characters who may not obviously influence the plot right away. Indeed, he goes a bit too far in the other direction – the new possible villain or possible ally, Kaworu… um, sorry, Ende… is casually introduced, implied to be important to both the past and present of this world, and then just goes away for the rest of the book. I’m all for foreshadowing, but again, Smartphone guy is keeping it real and making it as thuddingly obvious as possible. Fortunately, the rest of Smartphone is also the same as always, which means totally ridiculous and compulsively readable.

On the cover, as you can see, we have Sakura from Sakura Taisen… erm, Yae, whose country we visit at the start of the book. This allows Touya to singlehandedly put down a war with nothing but a few swipes from his phone – even finding out some of his foes are undead and can’t be killed by his normal go-to means is only a prelude to him trying something even more ludicrous and over the top, which works a charm, of course. He also manages to take out another “Monarch”, this one being a twofer combo of Gamera and a giant snake. Naturally, they soon become adorable plushie versions of themselves, as Touya owns them so hard the entire harem thinks he’s being too cruel. He gains access to a floating Garden of Babylon, complete with a gynoid servant who is easily the nest addition in the book. Touya’s main harem are all just as pure as he is, so a deadpan robot girl who constantly makes sexual innuendo and comes on to him was desperately needed. Unlike the stupid extra story from the last book, I don’t mind Cesca at all because both her dialogue and Touya’s reactions to same are entirely in character.

Speaking of the harem, I admit to being rather surprised at how fast things are advancing on that front. Clearly the author has realized that a) there’s no point in dragging out the ‘will they confess?’ any longer given that they’re all too pure to go any further than kissing anyway, and b) given this is a world where it’s OK to take up to 20 wives provided you can in fact be rich enough to support 20 wives, ‘who is best girl?’ is mostly irrelevant anyway. I was impressed with Linze for taking the advantage on the kissing front, showing off that she may be shy most of the time but is secretly the bolder of the twins. I was a bit less thrilled with Yumina basically already admitting that Sue, her little girl cousin, will also be part of the harem once she grows up, but I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised. I was also amused that he asked advice from God (remember this all started with God?) on how to deal with this, and gets a pep talk not only from the main God but also the God of Love, who judging by the illustration and behavior, is Marielle from Log Horizon.

One of the themes of this book is that Touya completely does not realize how ridiculously OP and amazing he is, because he tends to think of it as “I did very little to achieve this, therefore it wasn’t all that great”. Combine that with him not realizing why the girls all like him, and he’s very much harem protagonist material. That said, it’s the rare harem novel that actually takes the hero aside and literally has two gods telling him he’s being foolish and to try being a bit more selfish once in a while. That brings me to my last shuddering realization about this series: I can’t in good conscience call it bad anymore. Yes, it is terminally ridiculous (the scene where our hero builds an entire hot spring for the hotel he used to stay in in approximately five minutes may set a new record for laughable), and the lead is such a ridiculously overpowered twink that anyone who takes isekai seriously will be grinding their teeth, but by god, it’s fun.

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  1. Concerned says

    This really has nothing to do with Smartphone, but I just wanted to say that I wouldn’t consider deciding to ignore the Magical Girl Raising Project because of secondhand information from others to be the best way forward. A series should at the very least have its first volume judged on its own merits.

    Particularly as you appear to have come to this conclusion based on a tumblr post that makes frankly ludicrous assertions like “it’s punishing girls for having power fantasies”, especially since in MGRP even boys can be magical girls and plus all the grimdark is being caused by a certain someone being an asshole and not some kind of fundamental law of the universe. It feels like whoever write that post didn’t even watch the anime all the way through.

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