I like it when isekai stories start with showing some of the life of the protagonist before he/she ends up in another world. Specifically, I like it when they show how their desires and regrets from their original life determine what they want from their otherworld adventures. In the case of our next Light Novel Club title, Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?!, the story shows how Misato’s original life leads to her wish in the next life to be as average as possible.
Before her untimely death in saving a kid from an incoming truck, Misato was a gifted high school girl. She had always been exceptionally talented growing up, able to pick up everything from languages to sports to art like a genius. So why would such a talented girl want to be “average” in her new life? Because as she saw it, her gifts and talents brought her pain. Her extended relatives fought over who should own her as their “heir”, and in school, while she was greatly respected, everyone kept their distance from her, thinking she was too “special” for them to be worthy of being her friend. Misato, for her part, wanted to have friends and hang out with them and talk about boys and all the other things girl friends do, but she unfortunately never had the gift of making friends.
In her mind, being special led to her not being able to fit in. Anyone who grew up seeing gifted kids get bullied (or were one of those gifted kids) can probably understand how she feels. There are many people who feel uncomfortable with those who are more gifted than they are, with some going as far as actively putting them down whatever way they can. Thankfully, Misato didn’t seem to go through that, but she did have to deal with family members who only cared about her for what she could do for them, another problem many gifted children have to deal with.
With all of those issues, one can understand why in her new life, Misato would wish to “God” to be as average as possible, so she can fit in with others and make friends more easily. Of course, this being the kind of story it is, she will come to regret not being more specific in defining “average” (note: the “midrange” is one of the worst definitions of “average” out there)…
Is being gifted worth the difficulties that come from not fitting in? One thing that comes to mind for Christians is Jesus’s parable of the talents, which exhorts us to make use of our gifts rather than “bury” them and pretend they don’t exist. Perhaps the greater lesson here, though, is how we should treat those who are more gifted than us in some way. Instead of putting them down or feeling like they are unapproachable, we should realize that in many ways, gifted people are not that different from us in that they also desire fellowship.
What are your experiences with gifted people? What do you think of Misato’s desire to be average? Let us know in the comments, and remember to join us on July 12th for the Light Novel Club discussion of Didn’t I Say To Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?!, Vol. 1!
It’s not too late to purchase the light novel and join us for the July 12th discussion!