High School Prodigies Have It Easy Even in Another World!, Vol. 1

By Riku Misora, Sacraneco and Kotaro Yamada. Released in Japan as “Choujin Koukousei-tachi wa Isekai demo Yoyuu de Ikinuku you desu!” by Square Enix, serialization ongoing in the magazine Young Gangan. Released in North America by Yen Press. Translated by Caleb D. Cook.

I’ve talked before about whether we’ve reached isekai critical mass in terms of the sheer number of titles. If you went by message boards and forums, you’d think the trend was long over and that fans were desperate for something else. But from what I understand, sales don’t really support that – in fact, they seem to support the opposite, and it’s “anything but isekai” that is suffering. That said, I certainly understand feeling a little burned out by the variations on a theme. This new title, based on a light novel (unlicensed here in North America) hits a lot of the standard fantasy isekai buttons, and reminds me quite a bit of Realist Hero. But the very title itself implies that there will be a minimal amount of conflict, and warns the reader in advance that these are not your “average harem hero” isekai students – they’re top tier. OP is what they have for morning coffee.

We’re briefly introduced to the titular group in their own element – seven teen geniuses who between them control most of Japan. They also all know each other from school, which is why they’re all together on a plane that has a fateful plane crash. When they wake up, they’re in another world, with magic and dragons and overendowed elf girls like the one on the cover, who is absolutely not one of the teen geniuses, but she’s cute, right? They’re not sure if they can get back, but looking around at the poor farming village and the folks who saved them from the wreckage, they are sure they can do something to repay them by bettering their life. But they’ll have to deal with tributes to the local lord, and bandits, and merchants who control the economy, and (inevitably) slavery. Can they turn things in their favor? Easily.

As you’d expect in a series supposedly starring seven kids, not all of them get focus here. Also unsurprisingly, it’s two of the guys who get the bulk of it in this first volume. Tsukasa is Japan’s prime minister (yes, he’s still in high school) and seems the “sensible yet compassionate bishonen” sort, and is also clearly being romantically paired with the elf girl, as if the “I’ll feed you by mouth” wasn’t obvious enough. There’s also Masato, a genius businessman who’s the perfect person to help the village sell their wares and not knuckle under to gougers. They’re both likeable types, but they’re also very obviously types, not people yet. As for the others, the only other one who makes an impact is Shinobu, the reporter/ninja girl who’s there to be perky (and also punish Masato when he reveals she isn’t a virgin, in a tired gag that is nevertheless the best gag in the book). This is very much a first volume, and we’re waiting for more depth.

I suspect I might have enjoyed this more in prose, but it’s all right. If you’re looking for another isekai with cute girls, this is perfectly serviceable. But like its premise, it promises absolutely nothing to the reader who dislikes overpowered heroes who cruise through everything. That is what these kids are. But they invent mayonnaise, so we’re good.

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