Reincarnated as an Apple: This Forbidden Fruit Is Forever Unblemished!, Vol. 1

By Gato and Itsuki Mito. Released in Japan as “Ringo Tensei: Kindan no Kajitsu wa Kyō mo Korokoro to Musō Suru” by HJ Novels. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by piyo.

For the most part, light novels are neither as good or as bad as people say. Most of the books tend to be the kind that entertain you as you’re reading them, but you will forget the very next day. They’re LIGHT novels, shallow entertainment. Occasionally you get a series that rises above the basic level of “keep them interested enough to finish the book” and really takes off. And yes, sometimes a lot of the shallow entertainment books have gotten anime as well. But what happens when you have a book that does not reach the basic quality needed? A book that cannot entertain even while reading it for the first time? A book that desperately makes you wonder why you aren’t moving on to the next in your stack? Well, you get things like Reincarnated as an Apple, which is dire.

A salaryman named (groan) Furutsu is hit by a truck filled with apples and dies. He reads light novels, so knows what happens next. Sure enough, he meets God and gets cool powers. Unlimited growth! Unlimited magic! Cannot be killed! Infinite storage! …oh yes, and he’s an apple. Hanging on a tree. He can’t speak, he’s an apple. He can roll around. After investigating his storage, he finds a young girl inside, who is apparently a staff made from a branch of the World Tree. She… um, can’t leave the storage box. But she and Furutsu can talk to each other! Furutsu ends up in the hands of Fresa, a physically strong, magically weak, and mentally inept wannabe adventurer, who’s just about to take the adventurer’s test, with the help of her guardian. Can she pass with the help of an apple?

Where do I begin? To start with, you’d expect this to be more like Reborn as a Vending Machine, but Furutsu is far more of a normal isekai guy. He can shoot fireballs, kill B-ranked demons, and levels up ridiculously. So basically, he’s a typical modern light novel protagonist… except that three-quarters of the time he and Grida (the staff) are merely watching Fresa’s antics and commenting on them like a Let’s Play video. Because he’s an apple, and she is a staff and also can’t interact with anyone but him. This is very tedious. Especially as even though Furutsu is in italics and Grida is in normal text, it’s still very hard to tell them apart, because all four main characters in this book sound the same, which is like they’re trying to compete in a tsukkomi competition. The series is, for the most part, a broad comedy, but occasionally tries to bring in drama, such as the implications about Fresa’s past, but… she’s such a vapid character that it annoys me more than anything else. And of course it’s a modern light novel, meaning it’s filled with stats and powerups, so you find your eyes glazing over as you hear things like “Spell confirmed. Activating at fifty percent strength”.

If you’re looking for a silly “reincarnated as a random thing” series, read the Vending Machine one. For those who *do* enjoy series about overpowered protagonists with cute girls and lots and lots of gamer chatter… there are *still* so many other better series than this.

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