Reincarnated As the Last of My Kind, Vol. 1

By Kiri Komori and Yamigo. Released in Japan as “Tensei Shitara Zetsumetsu Sunzen no Kishou Shuzokudeshita” on the Shōsetsuka ni Narō website. Released in North America by Cross Infinite World. Translated by Roman Lempert.

As I was reading this book, I kept getting an odd feeling, and I wondered what it was. The premise was simple enough – indeed, we’ve seen it before, as it’s very Mushoku Tensei if that were a slow life title. The heroine is sweet, remembering some details of her past in Japan when she needs to, but also allowed to at times be the cute little girl we see on the cover. The overpowered nature of the title is actually pretty tolerable, and this was startling given how many times the main character gets called a genius (don’t make it a drinking game). Then I realized about 3/4 of the way through what the issue was: this book gets to the end of Vol. 1, and we have a LOT of questions unresolved, including the main one about Tina’s origins. It’s the first of a long-running series. And that’s weird given it’s put out by Cross Infinite World, whose idea of “a huge long-runner” is about three books.

The cover is a bit of a fakeout, as I was absolutely expecting this young girl to be raised by the multi-tailed wolf on the cover, and that does not happen. After getting something of a 1978 Superman movie sendoff from her parents (who are about to die tragically), she ends up, after a series of terrifying moments, adopted by Marcus, an ex-soldier who lost his arm in the war and is headed back to his parents’ inn in the country. Naming her Tinaris, or Tina for short, they proceed to have a relatively sedate life, despite the passing of first Marcus’ mother and this his father, and the occasional eccentric guests at their inn, who usually get drawn into what Tina is doing. Because, well, Tina is odd. The fact that she’s very smart for her age we’d normally put down to the reincarnation memories, but it isn’t just that. She has an ability for alchemy and potions that’s off the scale–at five years old! And then there’s her pointy ears. She’s not an elf… but she’s clearly not human either.

The book’s world building is more complex than I expected, and can get very dark. Tina starts the book as a baby, and is immediately found by Bandits, who suggest assaulting her. Marcus has lost an arm, and his prosthetic isn’t great. A colleague of his lost half her face in a potion accident. And there’s an ongoing annoying running gag of everyone asking Tina about romance, despite the fact that at the end of the book she’s still only six years old. (That said, I’m pretty sure this last part is meant to be irritating, judging by Tina’s reaction to it all). That said… the book is still pleasant overall. Marcus is a good dad, occasionally hapless but not bumbling. Tina’s POV is well-balanced, as I said above, between the “woman from Japan” part of her and Tina herself, and she really does have a talent for alchemy and magic, and FAR more mana than humans. There’s an undercurrent of racism towards non-human races from another country, and slavery pops up (though thankfully no one ends up buying a slave). It’s… well, look at that, I started describing it and it got dark again.

There is sweet and fun stuff here, most of which I didn’t mention. The series, though, is clearly not remotely done, so don’t expect the classic done-in-one CIW story. This is in it for a longer haul. I’ll read the next one.

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