Touya is accidentally killed and to make up for it god lets him be reborn (or just kind of appear really) in another world. God also levels up all his stats (his words) before sending him as kind of a bonus because Touya wasn’t supposed to die. So now overpowered Touya finds himself in a standard fantasy setting and is soon the centre of a harem of adventuring girls.
In Another World With My Smartphone falls into a very small group of series that are comedies, and not all that good (and not bad enough to be funny because they are bad) but for some reason I really enjoyed watching it. Despite individual episodes making me want to scream in frustration, I would eagerly await the next installment and no matter how terrible the narrative got I was still quite invested in Touya’s next adventure that he would get through without a scratch because he is the overpowered protagonist of this clearly trying to be overly clichéd isekai (in another world/dimension) story.
There’s a few reasons why this show appealed, but let me make it clear that objectively, this show is not particularly good. It works in that the characters are functional and kind of have a narrative purpose in that they go on adventures, but there’s no real end goal in sight over the course of the 12 episodes here, little to no character development (relationship development is not the same thing as character development) because otherwise some of the characters might stop being tropes and become characters. But it isn’t particularly good. It isn’t even particularly good at being a parody of the genre because rather than wanting to be a parody it is more embracing the clichés of isekai stories and shoving them directly under the nose of the audience.
Particular moments of true pain came in this story where a boob grabbing sequence went on far longer than needed, a beach scene that included girls discussing the various things that got stuck between their breasts, the robot girl not wearing pants when we met her, and the slime episode (though that wasn’t as bad as it could have been). There were other jokes and moments that fell kind of flat for me, but mostly I had fun with this show. Even these moments weren’t deal breakers, they were just kind annoying and made me mostly want to close my eyes and wish that they would go away.
So what did I like about the show?
I like Touya as the protagonist. He is as generic and self-insert as they come and has all the hang-ups people complain about with over-powered main characters. He’s also completely oblivious to the harem that almost instantly forms around him (though fortunately the anime deals with that situation in the final episodes in an almost novel manner). Part of the reason I like him is I don’t dislike over-powered main characters in the first place so that wasn’t so much a problem once I got over the lack of any tension in any encounter (even Kirito managed to make it look hard to win some of those fights). But I just found Touya pleasant to spend time with and even though he was a nice, ordinary guy, he didn’t seem like he could be replaced with a plank of wood with the word protagonist written on it. He has personality, even if it is a personality derived from 100’s of other characters in other anime.
Part of the fun is that Touya has already died and when informed of this he’s pretty much, okay so what next. And that’s more or less how he tackles everything. He just kind of gets on and does it. One of my favourite moments from the series came when a King challenged Touya to a duel and Touya used his slip spell on the King essentially ending the battle in an instant (the King of course demanded a rematch). It was hilarious and so much better than characters who toy with their opponent and hold off on using a strong attack and unleash it later. Touya looked at the situation, though about what he wanted (he didn’t want to fight) and dealt with it quickly and efficiently. His actions shoot the plot in the foot a few times, but they make him a delight to follow around provided you find that sort of thing amusing.
I also really enjoy the girls in the harem. While there are definitely fan service moments dumped into this story and some of those (as mentioned earlier) are incredibly cringe worthy, a lot of the time these girls are dealt with respectfully as characters even though they are just tropes. You’ve got the twins where one is shy and the other brash, then the samurai girl who is all about honour, and finally the Princess who manages to talk her father into essentially making Touya her fiance. All pretty standard for this kind of story. However, what isn’t standard is that these girls continue to actually think things through and behave like rational humans despite all being in love with the same character. What makes it better is that all of the girls are strong in their own right, so even though Touya is massively over-powered for the world he is in, the girls aren’t exactly damsel’s in distress, even if occasionally they get pressed into the role momentarily.
The setting and visuals are all pretty standard fantasy. The magic is pretty enough and it would have been nice to see more of that going on. I really enjoyed some of the ways Touya managed to combine magical spells (the programmed slip loop is still my favourite) and I also liked how he blended magic with the capabilities of his smartphone. More of that would have made the title make more sense as the phone becomes fairly gimmicky and seems pushed into scenes sometimes just because he’s supposed to have it.
Kohaku, the summoned white tiger that then kind of transforms into a kitten, is adorable and manages to steal the scenes he is in, but again this is an underused part of the story. Actually, early on there’s a lot of fights with beasts, including a dragon fight, and yet in the second half the story moves more into silly comedy rather than action comedy. Kind of a shame because some of these encounters were really fun.
Basically, I am not arguing that this show is good, but I had a lot of fun watching it. I actually wouldn’t mind rewatching this at some point and I wouldn’t mind more of this story if they ever made a second season. It isn’t great but it is kind of fun to just switch off your brain and watch.
I’d love to know your thoughts on the show.
Thanks for reading.
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