In Another World with My Smartphone, Vol. 4

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.

Our little smartphone novel has grown up to a degree, and it’s something I view with very mixed feelings. Sure, we still have the occasional plotline that is just “Touya and friends lackadaisically do relaxing things’, but I can’t really call this a pure and innocent isekai anymore. It’s reached puberty and is trying to act up. Oh, rest assured, there’s no actual sex or anything. That would require losing an audience that the author is not prepared to lose. But Touya just seems a bit more cynical in his dealings with things, and he’s thinking about women a lot more than he did (though not quite to the extent of that short story in Vol. 2). On the bright side, the villains all still clearly delineate themselves into ‘evil’ and ‘SUPER evil’, so we don’t risk sympathizing with them at all then Touya destroys them. Rest assured, that will never change.

Yes, that’s right, there’s a new girl on the cover, and a new addition to the harem, though I’m amused that Touya describes his four fiancees as his “core team”. Lu is a princess of a neighboring kingdom, and personality-wise is very shy and blushy, similar to Shinobu from Love Hina. As we meet her, her kingdom is on the verge of a military takeover, with the general of the kingdom deposing the emperor and taking power with the help of a summoned demon adn some artifacts that make him almost invincible. That said, Touya barely reacts to this challenge, figuring out fairly quickly how to deal with him, though I’m not sure it’s a method he’ll ever use again. As a result the emperor is back on the throne, and Touya gets a very willing Lu as a reward, though he once again pleads for everyone to wait till he turns 18. (Yumina and Lu’s fathers plotting to use Touya politically is one of the best parts of the book, as Touya is always at his best when thrown off from his usual blandness.)

Elsewhere, Touya rescues a group of slaves and frees them up to become employees of the bookstore/cafe he creates, which ends up turning into a far-too-long joke about all the women in the entire kingdom being fujoshi (this was OK), and Touya thinking “no homo no homo!” about 865 times (this was not). We also resolve the ‘surely she’s a long lost noble’ plotline involving Renne, the runaway girl Touya took in as a maid in an earlier volume. Surprise! She’s a noble whose now-dead mother ran away from her family to marry an adventurer. This is also not as funny as the author would like, relying on a lot of jokes about Renne’s aunt Carol being a Christmas Cake. Oh yes, and the obnoxious nobles in Yumina’s own kingdom show up again, this time with a murder plot that will attempt to implicate Touya so that they can have their son marry and rape Yumina, possibly not in that order. When Touya hears about this, his response is… impressive, if a bit shocking. It seems out of character given he’s so mild-mannered, but given the circumstances I can’t blame him. Oh yes, and he’s awarded his own (tiny) kingdom, and builds a castle to go with it.

Overall this was a highly variable volume of Smartphone, which can’t simply rely on pure charm anymore and is therefore trying to decide what to do next. It works best when not crawling through the drudgery of anime cliches like “she’s angry people think she’s old” or “everything thinks he’s gay”. I’m still interested in the series, but honestly, I would not blame those who were having light, breezy fun with it for stopping here.

Also, he names his attack griffons John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Because of course he does.

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  1. Great review. I had mostly the same reaction to the difference in tone I think it has potential if it keeps up the crazy-awesomeness and all. One other critique I had was that I am tired of the (it’s done everywhere but Japan is especially bad at this) notion that fat = ugly and sometimes evil and petite = goodness and purity. That’s absolute crap.

    • Sean Gaffney says

      Yeah, I’m reading Big Sister Chuunibyou 5 right now, which has similar issues. I’ll likely bring it up in the review.

  2. Federico John says

    I think the Regulus General is probably the first sympathetic villain in this series, The way he was describe he was a man that joined the army with nothing on him but the love for the empire, and was angry because the Emperor stopped the war putting his work to waste

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