If you’re at all following the anime airing this season then you’ve no doubt already heard of Redo of Healer, a light novel series written by Rui Tsukiyo. While the books aren’t currently available in English, today I’m here to check out one of the author’s other series which has just started being released by Yen Press – The World’s Finest Assassin Gets Reincarnated in Another World as an Aristocrat. Does it offer an entertaining read? Let’s find out!
The story follows Lugh Tuatha Dé who was formally the greatest assassin on Earth. However, on the way back from a successful job, the plane he’s on is hijacked and blown to pieces, killing our protagonist. Afterwards, he awakens to find himself face-to-face with a goddess who gives him two choices: be reborn on Earth with none of his memories or retain his memories and be sent to a fantasy world to kill a hero.
The goddess informs Lugh that this hero will defeat the Demon King plaguing the world, but afterwards cause humanity to suffer even more than they were suffering before. In order to save them, the hero must be killed after defeating the Demon King and to give him the best chances of accomplishing this, he’ll be born into the Tuatha Dé family, who are renowned assassins in this world.
Ultimately our protagonist agrees and is then reborn as Lugh, with his memories intact and powerful skills at his disposal. With the knowledge of his past life as an assassin and the teachings of his new family, Lugh becomes an almost unstoppable force – but will it be enough to accomplish the mission he’s been given?
Although Volume 1 of The World’s Finest Assassin is almost 300 pages long, the majority of it is spent setting up Lugh’s life. The series has been adapted from a web novel format and is therefore made up of short chapters (of which there are 25 in this book!) and these focus on different parts of Lugh’s life as he grows up. Usually, it’s things like his training with his father or meeting his retainers (we even see him become a merchant under another identity), it’s not until closer to the end of the book where we’ve settled into following his day-to-day life.
I both do and don’t like this approach. On the one hand, we’re given plenty of time to get to know Lugh, but on the other, it feels like the more interesting elements of the story won’t come into things until Volume 2. We don’t even get to see his assassination skills put to use until the end of this book!
However, having said that, I like the premise enough where I can forgive the slow beginnings. I especially appreciate that Lugh asked the goddess if he still had to kill the hero if he could avoid him becoming crazy, to which the goddess told him if he could achieve peace another way, that was fine.
This gives author Rui Tsukyo plenty of different ways the story could go. For example, the hero could be evil from the get-go or he could be friends with Lugh. He could even go down the road of evil, despite being friends with Lugh. Having so many possibilities gets me very excited about the future of the story.
Unfortunately, while I love the premise of the series, there are some problematic elements in the writing. These all spring from the female characters Tarte and Maha, Lugh’s retainers. Both of the girls are saved by Lugh one way or another and that’s fine, it’s basically a staple of isekai, but then Lugh makes comments about how he’s ‘conditioning’ the girls to like him. There’s an undertone of manipulation which is sure to make some readers uncomfortable and the worst thing is the series didn’t even need it. The girls are obviously grateful for being saved by Lugh, so they would have stuck by him regardless. He doesn’t need to treat them differently or mould them into what he wants.
I must admit that because Tsukyo also writes Redo of Healer, I was worried about how the female cast would be treated. This series is nothing like that, but I do think female readers will feel put off by how they’re handled. Neither Tarte nor Maha are bad characters on the whole, but while Lugh is deliberately trying to be what they want, you just can’t help but wonder if they wouldn’t be so attached to him if things were different. It doesn’t help that Maha was rescued from people who were about to sell her off as a prostitute for a night, either…
As previously mentioned, the series comes to the West thanks to Yen Press and has been translated by Luke Hutton. The translation reads well with no issues to note. The series has illustrations by Reia, which are suitably eye-catching, even if largely depicting the female cast. The series is on-going in Japan at 5 volumes and Volume 2 of the series is scheduled for an English release in April.
Overall, The World’s Finest Assassin Gets Reincarnated in Another World as an Aristocrat Volume 1 has an interesting premise, but has some troubling undertones that will put some readers off. If you can look past the issues, then this is a fairly original take on the usual isekai tropes, but it’s not for everyone.