In Another World with My Smartphone, Vol. 11

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.

I am somewhat tempted to copy/paste much of my review of Vol. 10, which would work just as well here. Most of this is relatively tolerable Smartphone, and there’s even a bit about 3/4 into the book which was reasonably horrific and well-written. But it wouldn’t be Smartphone without its worst trait ether, and given that fantasy China has basically been totally destroyed, it’s time to go after fantasy Arabia. We have more of Touya meeting up with really obvious villains, fat-shaming them, and killing them. Actually, I tell a lie. The villain is killed by a slave girl. He then returns as a zombie JUST so that Touya can humiliate the man himself. Smartphone has always had a bit of a “is this a parody or not?” aspect to it, and I honestly wish it would lean towards parody more. Even though the character introduction describes Touya as impulsive and dangerous, it’s not what I want to see.

As usual, the book is decided into sections that make it seem more like a short-story collection. Touya and company have another big competition to see who is worthy to become a knight in his kingdom. I appreciated that they weren’t just looking for strong fighters – one weak and feeble guy who has good knowledge of plants passes the test. There’s also a rather thuddingly over the top “racists are not welcome in our group here” sequence, but given where the world is in 2018 I’m OK with racism call-outs being obvious and overbearing. There are a few plot strands dangled that will likely be resolved in a book or two – they’ve found a hidden island that seems to be inhabited by people and giant monsters, making me wonder if we’re going to get Mothra showing up. We definitely get Gamera this time around, as the new Phrase monster is a giant turtle, who sadly is not a friend to all children. Oh, and we get four new gods, three of whom are pointless, and one of whom (the underage lush) is seriously annoying, to both me and Touya.

There’s a new Phrase alien who basically drops by to scout out the area and leaves, but he also manages to hook up with the rogue God that Touya and company have been trying to catch. The result is not pretty, as Sandora (the pseudo-Arabia run on slavery) loses an entire city to some sort of negative emotion virus. Worst of all, it eats their souls, so the people there can’t be reincarnated. It’s a chilling sequence, something that’s a rarity in the otherwise relaxed Smartphone, so it’s worth singling out. Unfortunately, we then get the Sandora plot itself, which I’ve gone on about already, but I will also note that the author’s (and Japanese light novel authors in general) casual attitude towards slavery irritates me, particularly the “well, the criminals can continue to be slaves” part, though at least he has Yumina and company sift out those wrongfully convicted.

Basically, a typical Smartphone volume, for good and ill. I wish it had more scenes of Touya and the girls all staying up after drinking too much coffee and less of Touya mocking fat ugly evil people and then killing them.

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  1. Blackpowderkun says

    I think Sandora is more similar to the Ottoman empire with bit of pieces of isolationist countries, the king did plot to take over the world via slavery, The beast riding knight feels similar to Janissaries.
    I think Touya was thinking in his Racists are not welcomed approach is he wants knights that view every of his citizens equally disregard of race, will respect Lain, Norn, Nicola and the other knights in-order to operate smoothly.

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