The Mythical Hero’s Otherworld Chronicles, Vol. 1

By Tatematsuri and Ruria Miyuki. Released in Japan as “Shinwa Densetsu no Eiyū Isekai Tan” by Overlap Bunko. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by James Whittaker.

Sometimes you just want to get serious. Isekai titles have been around for a while now, and we’re used to seeing pastiches, parodies, and satires of the genre. Plus, of course, they’re often written like RPG games, so the writer does not have to worry about pesky things like plot or setting. But suppose you *are* a writer who likes those things? Suppose worldbuilding is your jam? And suppose that you really do take the isekai premise seriously? Well, you’d probably end up with something close to this book. The Mythical Hero’s Otherworld Chronicles is not entirely humorless (sadly, the humor is entirely the “grrr, I am jealous of our princess having no boundaries around you” sort of humor), but for the most part it’s hear to earnestly tell a story of what happens when a hero has to return to the land that he saved a thousand years later to save it again.

Three years ago, a young man named Hiro was found in his bed injured, covered in dirt, and with his hair grown long overnight. Doctors were baffled… as was Hiro, who could not remember anything. He has recently been having dreams, though, dreams where he’s a powerful swordsman in another world. No prizes for guessing that’s what happened three years ago. But then it happens again, and he ends up back in that world, now one thousand years in the future. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have any memories of his previous time there, nor does he seem to have any special powers. Fortunately, he does run across a young princess, 6th in line for the throne, who is on her way to political exile and who seems to take an instant liking to him. Is this really the same world that Hiro saved before? And can he regain his memories in time to do it again?

If you enjoyed Altina the Sword Princess but wished that Regis was an incredibly OP warrior who saved the day through battle instead of strategy, you’d have something of an idea of how this book runs. It’s a very testosterone-driven book, and it did not escape my notice that while there are two powerful young women in the book, both of them need saving by the hero. I’m hoping that’s not a habit. (There’s also an implied sex scene, but you can easily ignore that.) Liz, the princess, has absolutely no boundaries around Hiro at all, to a baffling degree – I get that she takes a shine to him immediately, but it verges on the ridiculous. And her rivals, the other princes in the throne war, seem to all come from the Sword Art Online school of “all villains must be as evil as possible, no grey areas whatsoever”, so we get them literally laying on a pile of captured nude women. As I said, testosterone driven book.

Despite this, the prose is well written, the battles are exciting, and the story makes sense. If you’re looking for a power fantasy and you’re a teenage boy, this is perfect for you. I may read another volume.

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