In Another World with My Smartphone, Vol. 16

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.

It is very telling – and a bit sad – that a chunk of this book is some of the best Smartphone prose I’ve seen in some time, and it’s the part narrated by someone else, with Touya absent. I do worry about the afterword, where the author and editor discussed cutting this bit as it did NOT feature Touya or his fiancees. I get the sense that we’re looking for different things in this series. Rest assured for Touya fans, though – if there are any Touya fans left – that he gets a lot to do here, including finding a lost heir to the throne, battling yet another evil and bonkers leader of a foreign country (this time, thankfully, not also taking out the rest of the country as well), and catching giant fantasy-world tuna. As for getting closer to his fiancees… well, thanks to Sue not knowing the basics, the fiancee horde learn about sex in this book. Perhaps more than they really wanted.

In the Reverse World, there’s a brief Phrase battle, but aside from ominous foreshadowing it’s fairly inconsequential. The main thrust of the book is the survivors of a destroyed kingdom asking Touya to find the missing heir, who disappeared as a newborn infant. The heir turns out to be in the place they’d last expect, and also not particularly invested in returning to help get revenge on those who killed his parents and destroyed their kingdom. Meanwhile, a third kingdom is trying to invade, using its awesome Golems and its mad scientist leader, who does all but scream about how they laughed at him at the academy and is a literal brain in a jar by the end. Touya is his usual callous self in the battle with this guy, but of course we’re made to see that he’s super-duper evil so it’s all good. And of course more jokes about Touya’s genocides. LOL.

Thankfully, the last third of the book is excellent. Touya joins forces with the Guild of Adventurers to start an Adventurer Academy, where they can compete to see who deserves to level up. He also puts an inside person on the job, Sarutobi Homura, last seen as one of “those three ninja girls”. We’d seen her mostly be the loud one who acts least like a traditional ninja, and there’s a bit of that here, but for the most part she actually proves to be quite competent and cool. The other adventurers are very much “I don’t want to work with that guy” sorts, so there’s a lot of struggle, and we see them screw up quite a bit, especially when their “test” mission turns out to be far more dangerous than expected. Everyone gets a chance to be sympathetic, the fights are cool, and Touya and company are there to make sure no one’s really hurt. I would not mind more of these guys.

Unfortunately, In Another World with My Smartphone still stars Touya. But that’s fine, we’re mostly here to wallow in the trash. It’s just nice to get a really good meal once in a while.

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