First Impressions: In Another World With My Smartphone

God made a mistake. (Well, not the Christian God, but the character God in this show.) He dropped some lightning and accidentally killed an ordinary high school boy, Touya Mochizuki, before his time. To make it up to him, God arranges for him to be reincarnated in a magical fantasy world, and even agrees to let him take his smartphone with him. He can’t contact anyone from his original world, but he has access to all of the original world’s information on the Internet, as well as maps for his new world. Not only that, but God even gives Touya increased combat skills and proficiency in all seven of the fantasy world’s magic types, when being able to use even three types is considered rare. The only problem is that Touya has no money and can’t read the world’s writing (he can listen and talk just fine though), but that quickly gets solved as a passing merchant buys his “unusual clothes” (read: high school uniform) and he saves a pair of sisters from some thugs, who then form a party with him and teach him to read. And that smartphone, while not the best combat device, works well for introducing a “new” dessert (read: ice cream) to a café. Life is good for Touya, and it’s probably only going to get better.

isekai smartphone touya elze linze
That’ll be very helpful for Pokémon Go.

The isekai sub-genre of ordinary people getting transported into fantasy worlds is, at its core, a wish-fulfillment story. The recent popularity of shows like Konosuba and Re:ZERO that have parodied and deconstructed the genre mercilessly shows how the genre has gotten a bit too popular–and thus, too stale–for many viewers, which is why a show like In Another World With My Smartphone (Japanese title: Isekai wa Smartphone to Tomo ni.), which plays the genre extra-straight, will probably only really appeal to the genre’s core fans. Not only does it return to the genre’s wish-fulfillment roots, but it completely devotes itself to that aspect, as shown by how the main character Gets All The Powers and will inevitably Get All The Girls. It does suffer a bit for it, too, as the guy has pretty much no personality or drive at all, making him perfect for an audience surrogate character but a failure as any sort of an interesting protagonist. The girls are likely going to have to carry the show, so it’s a good thing that the two we meet so far, Elze and Linze, are nice enough. It’s pretty fitting that the show ends with everyone making vanilla ice cream, because this is basically the vanilla ice cream of anime: it’s plain, it seems boring compared to the more fanciful flavors, and ordering it at an ice cream store seems just a bit of a waste… and yet, sometimes you just want that nice, familiar “classic” ice cream flavor. And it seems this show is out to provide just that. Personally, I’ve always been interested in how fantasy stories approach the wish-fulfillment aspect of the genre, so I’ll be continuing with the show to observe that aspect more.

In Another World With My Smartphone can be streamed on Crunchyroll.

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