In Another World with My Smartphone, Vol. 21

By Patora Fuyuhara and Eiji Usatsuka. Released in Japan as “Isekai wa Smartphone to Tomo ni” by HJ Novels. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Andrew Hodgson.

This is not the final volume of In Another World with My Smartphone – the 22nd volume is out in Japan, and no doubt there are limitless numbers of stories that could be told about Touya and company in the upcoming years. But I had decided a while back that this, the volume where Touya marries his wives and they go on their honeymoon – would be my final volume of the series. I definitely had a lot of fun with the early books, but as the series has gone on I’ve been exposed to a few too many of the author’s awful choices and toxic characterization. Fortunately, this is an excellent volume to end with, featuring a minimum of poor taste (though the girl who gets aroused by good deeds becoming a teacher reminds us it’s still there) and a nice victory lap for Touya and his companions, showing them finally tying the knot, having their first times (except for too-young Sue), and bopping around Earth. Yes, Touya’s honeymoon is back in Japan.

As noted, the first half of the book deals with Touya and company preparing for the wedding. As you can imagine, this features the brief cameos of three-quarters of the regular cast, which has ballooned out so much that I barely remembered which one was which. Most of the wedding day jitters are on Touya’s end – his relationship with his spouses that are of age may go all the way this time around (offscreen), but it’s very on point that even during his actual wedding he kisses each of them on the cheek. This is one shy boy. And I mean that literally for the second half of the book, where God allows Touya and company to go to Japan… but since he’s dead there, he goes in disguise as a five-year-old boy. This, as you might imagine, leads to some wacky hijinx. He also drops in on his parents, who have a newly born daughter, in a dream and reassures them as best he can that he’s happy “in the afterlife”.

His parents take this better than you’d expect, as it turns out God has been sending Touya’s adventures as dreams to his parents and his best friend from school – who is now drawing it as a manga. I’d say this beggars belief, but hey, Smartphone. It was amusing to find out that it was not power that went to Touya’s head – he’s always seemed to be a bit sociopathic, and we see him dealing with delinquents before he was killed in much the same way he dealt with bandits in his new world. But really, most of this book is watching the wives shop. And shop. And shop. Oh, and go to the zoo. They get piles of food, they get accessories, they see zebras and hippos, they even go to a school festival and watch a high school production of Beauty and the Beast. It’s a full, rich two weeks.

And in the end, they go back home and life goes on. In the meantime, if, like me, you have been looking for an excuse to not read Smartphone anymore, this is an excellent one, as it could easily also service as a final volume, and leaves few to no loose ends that might niggle at you. Thanks, Smartphone. You drove me crazy, but you were never boring… OK, that’s not, true, you were boring a lot. But I’ll see you off with a smile.

In Another World with My Smartphone, Vol. 20

By Patora Fuyuhara and Eiji Usatsuka. Released in Japan as “Isekai wa Smartphone to Tomo ni” by HJ Novels. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Andrew Hodgson.

I’d said before that I plan to read this series until the wedding/honeymoon and then drop it. Perhaps the author heard me, and also knows I was planning to do the same thing with Irregular at Magic High School and didn’t make it, because this volume seems to be filled with my least favorite things. Now, to be fair, Touya does not commit genocide, but that’s only as he’s starting to run out of countries, even with the addition of an entire new map thanks to the Reverse Universe and Touya’s own crashing together. No, instead we get a roundup of all the niggling little Smartphone things that get under my skin. Inappropriate sexual humor, gay rape as comedy, ‘henpecked guy’ as comedy., etc. The joy of seeing the J-Novel Heart line start, and other women-oriented light novels and isekais catch hold over here, is that it will mean fewer series like this. And it started so well, too…

Now that the Phrase and Evil God have been dealt with once and for all, it’s finally time to prepare for the wedding of Touya to his brides. Of course, nothing there is going to go smoothly. Touya is forced to intervene between two countries who are always at war, and essentially solves the problem by turning the two kings into The Defiant Ones. Back in “heaven”, there’s a war among the various gods as to who gets to attend Touya’s wedding, and he gains a “grandmother”, the God of Space and Time. Turns out Touya’s quite popular. Then he has a new crisis when a princess shows up asking to be another one of his brides… but she may be a fake. For this particular crisis, Touya is told to stay home and let his fiancees handle things. That said, the problem turns out to be more of the same: ancient tech gone wrong and a villain so evil it’s amazing you don;t see him kicking puppies.

If you were to ask me which character I least wanted to see become a regular, the unicorn from the last volume would likely be tops on the list. And yet, here he is, used as the “comedy” punishment for the villain, and it’s just as funny as it was last time, which is to say not at all. The start of the book also get very bad very fast, as Touya has to deal with the captured Luna, whose mind has been possessed so long that it’s hard to break her of her pain-loving ways. That said, Touya’s solution was fairly obvious, and I could ALMOST have accepted it as sort of fanservice comedy… if he didn’t then take her to a goddamn elementary school. Fuck. That. In between is the usual Smartphone stuff, but fortunately nothing else that stood out as monstrously awful like those two. It’s typical Smartphone. And it was nice seeing the fiancees show off how they’re now just as OP as Touya. (Could have done without the “ranking”, though, even if Touya insists it’s not him.

So next volume is the wedding and honeymoon, and barring a cliffhanger that is REALLY good, it will be the end of the line for me. This volume is recommended if, like me, you can’t seem to let go of this thing.

In Another World with My Smartphone, Vol. 19

By Patora Fuyuhara and Eiji Usatsuka. Released in Japan as “Isekai wa Smartphone to Tomo ni” by HJ Novels. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Andrew Hodgson.

It’s never a good sign when people keep asking why you’re still reading that series as you tweet about it, but that’s what’s been happening for me with this Smartphone, which seems to have worn out its welcome for everyone but the most hardcore of fans. It’s not a bad question, why do I read it? Especially given the beginning of the book, a reprehensible pile of crap that involves getting a unicorn horn, slutshaming the entire female cast while ALSO having them insist they’re all virgins, and finally ending with a “ha ha, he was gangraped by men and now he’s gay” joke. I recommend just skipping the whole chapter. After this, thankfully, it does improve, and indeed it feels like the author may have been told to wrap this up soon, as we’re resolving one of the remaining storylines, as everyone in the world, including Touya and his fiancees, battle the wicked god and the wicked Phrase that has allied with it.

The fiancees are getting a bit impatient, wanting to actually get married, but Touya has decided not to do that till the whole “evil from another world coming and killing people and destroying their souls” thing is dealt with. The first half of the book involves preparations for this, including the aforementioned horrible scene. They slowly purify the world with the help of a “puretree” (no worries, fans, this tree is a virgin too) and, unexpectedly, help from Luna Trieste, the Himiko Toga of Smartphone, who thankfully gets locked away for the rest of the book. The second half of the book is the battle against the Mutant Phrases, evil normal Phrases, the evil NEET god, and Yula, the Phrase who set this ball rolling in the first place. Even more unfortunately, Touya gets sealed off in a pocket dimension away from the battle. Can our heroes win without their OP husband-to-be?

Credit where credit is due, the plan that Touya has to counteract this sort of attack is very clever indeed, and I was impressed. It also helps that he tells Yula about the plan with a line that is so cheesy you cannot help but laugh out loud. I like this series when it’s being big dumb. That said, surrounding it is a lot of the same old same old. There are mecha battles, there are guns being fired, there are near misses… and, in the end, Touya does actually save the day. I mean, it’s his series. Aside from the battles, which do take up a good 2/3 of the book, we get Touya becoming more comfortable with being a god (which is why his initial attacks didn’t work well – he was too attached to humanity) and getting more comfortable with actual love and affection (he’s snuggling his fiancees without even turning red!).

So in the end, this is another volume of In Another World with My Smartphone. It has crappy and offensive rape jokes, but on the bright side, Touya doesn’t commit genocide here. If you’re reading it, keep going, you know what you’re getting. If you haven’t read the series but you’re thinking of reading it, Christ, no.