Magical Explorer: Reborn as a Side Character in a Fantasy Dating Sim, Vol. 1

By Iris and Noboru Kannatuki. Released in Japan as “Magical Explorer – Eroge no Yuujin Kyara ni Tensei Shita Kedo, Game Chishiki Tsukatte Jiyuu ni Ikiru” by Kadokawa Sneaker Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by David Musto.

I will admit that I am not nearly as familiar with the ‘eroge’ genre as our protagonist is in this book. Certainly I’d thought that they all tended to be the same as most visual novels: you pick a route, you make choices, you get a girl, coitus ensues. Magical Explorer tells me that this genre is far broader than I expected. The game that our protagonist suddenly finds himself in (it’s never explained how, and he seems to have no desire to return to Japan) is a fantasy dungeon crawling game, with party balancing, learning new spells and skills, and the like. AND a lot of hot girls that the hero gets it on with. Honestly, given that at one point we’re told that in order to get all the route extras you have to buy five copies of the same game from different stores, I feel happy to be ignorant. That said, what about this book in particular?

Our nameless protagonist suddenly finds himself in the body of Kousuke Takioto, who is… NOT the hero of the dating sim world he finds himself in. He’s the “best friend” side character who is loud, flashy and crass to contrast with the hero’s dull, “insert reader here” qualities. As the hero amasses more and more girls, most players don’t bother to keep Kousuke in their party – why would they? This is an eroge! So he’s in the body of someone doomed to be left behind and ignored? Or… more importantly… he’s in a world where he can use magic powers! Yes, friends, let’s not pretend guys are only interested in sex. Cool powers are also high on the list. After moving in with the headmaster of his new school due to a tragic backstory (which he was entirely unaware of, being it never came up in the game), he decides to get his magic more powerful, explore dungeons, and leave the game plot behind. But will it leave him behind?

Given that our hero’s first thought on being in a porn game is “I wonder how I can level up my magic”, I assume he must have seen the School Days anime and knows the dangers of trying the more obvious “I will bed all the girls” choice. And there is a certain amount of cool magical and fighting content here… that I suspect no one is really reading the book for. No, they’re reading the book for scenes that you’d normally get special CG art for, and we get quite a few of those. Our hero accidentally falls and grabs tits and asses. He walks in on girls getting out of the shower. He manages to level up his magic to the point where he can see through steam and blindfolds to ogle women. And the final scene in the book runs on porn logic, and so is so stupid I hesitate to even bring it up. It’s all here.

This wasn’t bad, per se. It’s very good at giving its readers exactly what they want. If you decided to buy this, you’ll likely enjoy it. If you thought “ew, no”, you’re probably not even reading this review anyway. I think I’m done here, though.

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