A young woman plummets off a cliff toward certain doom, screaming that she doesn’t want to die. Repeatedly. It seems to work because in the next scene, she wakes up in the middle of a field of grass! Shaking off her confusion, Mitsuha searches her memory for advice from her big brother about what to do in this kind of situation. He was a massive otaku with a penchant for knives and self-defense, so he should know. With painstaking deliberateness, Mitsuha concludes that neither is she dead, nor is she sleeping, so she starts walking. And walking. On the first day, she sees a rabbit; on the second, a deer; and on the third day, she meets a little girl and collapses at her feet due to hunger and exhaustion. So begins Mitsuha’s new life in another world! Wait, no. That’s not right. Turns out, she’s not been reincarnated after all, but rather her passionate cry for life ripped a chunk of godhood off a divine Good Luck Cat and granted her the ability to…world-hop! Now Mitsuha can travel back and forth between earth and this other world at will. What would her big brother do with such a power, she wonders? Oh, of course! Import-export in order to up a massive profit in gold so that she can retire young. Perfect!
If I remember correctly, this light novel series is one of the first world-hopping isekai, where the protagonist can actually travel back and forth. It’s a nice little twist on the genre, if only because truck-kun is getting a bit old now and according to labor laws, it’ll be time for him to retire soon. But not before having taken out Mitsuha’s entire family first, which it seems like he did. Ah, truck-kun. But there is one other interesting feature to this otherwise straightforward tale, and that is the, dare I say, realistic way in which Mitsuha responds to her situation. And I don’t just mean the quest for profit. Rather, she thinks through each new scenario, pondering the information available through her five senses, applying the Teachings of Big Brother, and then taking action. She doesn’t immediately jump into “Yay, a second chance at life, now I will do all the things I never did the first time around!” mode, nor does she simply slot into a new society, because, turns out, she can’t actually understand the local language (bonus points for realism; other worlds obviously all speak English, not Japanese). Her careful thought process makes for a change from the usual knee-jerk reactions we get from isekai protagonists. That said, it can drag a little. The music score does a great job though of injecting some added emotion into the episode, striking a surprisingly ominous or melancholy tone by times. The ED montage is the most interesting and dynamic part of the episode though, with a hectic teaser of all that Mitsuha will presumably be undertaking in the coming episodes. (Looks like she’s going to become a gun runner? And is that a yakuza boss over there?!) If the coming episodes follow more in the vein of the ED than the understandably expository setup in the episode itself, then this could be a decent take on a pretty crowded genre. Time, and the next episode or two, will tell!
The Isekai is Short, Walk On Girl.
Saving 80,000 Gold in Another World for my Retirement is streaming on Crunchyroll.
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