In Another World with My Smartphone, Vol. 5

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.

First, off, here’s a surprise with this volume of Smartphone: there’s no new love interest. Touya’s list of wives is still stuck at five, and (for anime watchers who were rather startled to see her name on the flashforward) Leen here does nothing except dole out the occasional exposition and pine for the library to be discovered. That does not mean that there’s not a lot going on here: the story is jam-packed as always, though typically it does not appear to follow a specific path so much as meander. Touya sets up his new duchy, adding renovations to the castle (game room with bowling alley and whack-a-mole), gets the major rulers of the area obsessed with mahjong, creates roads, brings in new businesses, and creates a legion of soldiers (including a team of ninjas led by Tsubaki from the Eashen volume). Typical Smartphone stuff, and nothing that would raise an eyebrow. But let’s talk about the religious dictatorship.

This is the first volume to come out after the anime finished, so I expect may grab a few more readers who want to see what happens next. They may be surprised. Not so much by the evil and hypocritical dictatorship – such things are a dime a dozen in manga and light novels, and honestly the fact that the main Cardinal was described as looking exactly like Hitler barely raised an eyebrow. No, what startled me was Touya’s vehement reaction to the attempt to proselytize his nation, which in my opinion really went above and beyond natural “I’m not a fan of organized religion”. Touya’s past on our Earth pre-death has been completely ignored as we’ve gone along, but I do wonder if there was something in his past that led to this. I also suspect the author has an ax to grind. To be fair, Touya does say that he’s fine with people worshiping God in the way that they want – but he’ is very much against organized religion trying to flex its muscle, and says so vehemently. Where this becomes hilarious is that the God of this series – the one who resurrected Touya, which is why he can say “Sure I do” when people ask if he believes in God – comes down from on high to thank Touya for his speech decrying religion, and affirms to the somewhat terrified priestess watching that he really barely watches over the world at all – humans should seek to improve the world themselves, rather than rely on deities. The entire chapter is rather mind-boggling, and I wonder how it will read here in the West.

There is also a certain amount of backstory regarding the Phrase, which is not discovered through hard work and research, but instead given to us in an infodump by Ende, whose sole purpose in this series is to give exposition and look like Kaworu from Evangelion. The series’ faults are all still there – Touya is ridiculously overpowered, and finds out in this book he actually is a demigod; the BL author seems to have driven him into a complete “ew ew ew” rage whenever she’s remotely mentioned, which is irritating; and as I said before, despite the Phrase there seems to be no driving force behind this title beyond “watch what Touya does next”. That said, I’m content to do just that. The fiancees don’t get much to do here, but they all do kick ass in the final story, without Touya’s help, which pleased me. Oh yes, and Touya used his powers at Olga and Lyon’s nuptials for one of the sweetest wedding speeches you will ever see – it may be the highlight of the book. If you hated Smartphone, this won’t change your mind. If you loved Smartphone, unless you’re an Evangelical Christian, this will give you what you want.

Oh, and Touya also invents baseball. Because of course he does.

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  1. I’ll have to read it, but it sounds like the author went to loony land in his author tracts in a way that would have made Ayn Rand or would make Terry Goodkind blush. Never mind, I’ll skip over that part so this doesn’t put me off the series.

  2. I don’t really, as a Christian, mind critiques of my faith very often. But I do dislike basically someone using their platform to insert their philosophy having nothing to do with the story. It SOUNDS like from what you wrote here and what I heard before now of this, that that’s what the author did here.

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