With the recent launch of Mangamo and Square Enix branching out to create a new publishing arm, it seems as if new manga publishers are popping up all over the place. One of the latest to dip their toes into the market is Kaiten Books, who have kicked off their efforts with the release of Loner Life in Another World Volume 1. Today I’m here to find out if this new title is a worthy isekai manga!
The story follows protagonist Haruka, who is peacefully living out his high school years. One day his entire class is transported to a fantasy world, but during the summoning, Haruka tries to escape and is separated from everyone he knows. Thankfully, the god of the new world he’s being transported to is willing to offer Haruka every special skill left over by his classmates to make up for being summoned after the others.
At first, Haruka is upset by the lacklustre skills left over. The only equipment he can have is ‘generic villager A’, the only weapon he can wield is a cane, and his only job titles are Shut-in, Neet, and Loner. Even so, with everything leftover combined, Haruka begins to think he might have an okay life in this new world.
The only drawback is that his Loner title means Haruka will never be able to party up with anyone else, but instead, he can contract underlings into indentured servitude, so at least he won’t be forever alone? So begins a young boy’s life in a whole new world!
This manga series is based on an ongoing light novel (written by Shoji Goji) but unlike a lot of manga adaptations, this one doesn’t feel like anything is missing. Haruka’s adventures are short and to the point. Each chapter has a solid combination of jokes, action and comfy slice-of-life antics which leave them feeling whole.
As the story goes on Haruka begins to grow stronger and more accomplished in using the skills he has been given. He’s not over-powered by any means but he can hold his own against the goblins and other monsters that call the forest he lives in home. It’s not long after our protagonist starts getting comfortable that he suddenly finds himself running into some of his classmates and this results in him lending a hand to his old group of nerd friends (as he puts it).
Haruka is a likeable character who is brought to life wonderfully by mangaka Bibi. He’s the kind of protagonist who is both laid-back but serious when the situation demands it. His facial expressions are varied and he’s fun to watch as he interacts with the world around him. He’s not smug or arrogant like a lot of characters in these types of series, nor is he overly handsome and charming either. He’s a very ordinary teenager, but that works in his favour here.
Characters aside, I became extremely fond of Bibi’s artwork straight away. There is always a lot going on from panel to panel, but never enough to distract the reader. It’s a very pleasant reading experience with a fun sense of style. Bibi often draws smaller panels to emphasize certain actions or scenes, so there aren’t many full-page spreads like I’m particularly fond of, but I think the style the mangaka has chosen works well. It certainly leans into the fun atmosphere the story offers.
As previously mentioned, Loner Life in Another World Volume 1 has been brought to the West thanks to new publisher Kaiten Books and is currently only available digitally (with a paperback release on the way!). The manga has been translated by Andrew Hodgson and the dialogue reads well, although I was slightly taken aback by Haruka’s tendency to call a particular set of girls ‘bimbos’. This could also be present in the original Japanese version, but I do wonder if it’s a translation choice and if so, it’s not one I find myself all that fond of.
Loner Life in Another World offers an entertaining new isekai adventure that will win the hearts of many. If you’re looking for something not too serious with a healthy dose of action and comedy antics then you need to look no further than this.
Read a free extract at Kaiten Books website here