J-Novel Club have been publishing the light novel series In Another World with My Smartphone since 2017, and in its 22-volume run (so far) it’s gained itself a bit of a cult following. Of course, a series as long-running as this has also been treated to a manga adaptation, which I’m here to take a look at today!
One day, protagonist Touya Mochizuki is killed by a strike of lightning. In heaven, Touya meets God who apologises for accidentally killing our hero and promises to reincarnate him in another world with some boosts to his physical and magical abilities to make his new life more comfortable. God also asks Touya if he has any particular requests, to which he asks if he can bring his smartphone. God agrees on the condition that Touya does not interact with anyone from his past life.
Transported to a fantasy world, Touya makes his way to the town of Refret where he soon finds an inn to stay at. While out exploring the town, he meets twin sisters Elze and Rinze Shlhoueska who are arguing with some thugs. Touya steps in to lend a hand – and afterwards, the girls ask if he wants to join their party and take on quests at the adventurers’ guild. Now with a solid goal, Touya’s new life begins in earnest!
On the whole, In Another World with My Smartphone Volume 1 is your run-of-the-mill isekai adventure. Touya goes around fighting monsters, making friends with a variety of pretty girls (a third joins his group by the end of the volume!) and spends his days peacefully. This makes the book a relaxing read, which is nice but I do wish there was a bit more drama sometimes.
Back when the light novel series began in English, the slice of life/isekai market was still steadily growing and Smartphone became something of a pioneer of the genre. Now, however, we’re overrun by series like this and In Another World with My Smartphone doesn’t do anything particularly interesting to stand out among the competition. Even in this first volume, Touya doesn’t make any notable use of his smartphone (which is supposed to be the selling point) beyond using it as a map to help him get around.
So if you’re a newcomer to the franchise, this might not stand out to you, but if you’re familiar with the light novels or anime then you’ll enjoy seeing the cast come to life in a new medium. The mangaka behind this adaptation is Soto who has quite a few works to their name in Japanese already. The artwork for In Another World with My Smartphone is clean with cute character designs and although backgrounds are very empty on the whole, we still get a clear idea of what’s happening from scene to scene. There aren’t many action scenes in this volume, but when they do happen, Soto conveys them well and makes use of larger panels to emphasise the combat.
How much you enjoy this manga will come down to what you want out of it. If you’re hoping for an expansion on the original story, then it certainly doesn’t offer that. The manga’s storytelling is very by the books and doesn’t stray even slightly from the source material. However, if you just want to see Touya’s adventures unfold as a manga, then this is a perfectly fine way of doing that.
In Another World with My Smartphone Volume 1 comes to the West thanks to Yen Press and has been translated by Alexander Keller-Nelson. The translation reads fine but because of the change in both publisher and translator, a few of the character names and terminology differ from the light novel and anime translation. If you’re someone familiar with the series, then this will no doubt cause some confusion and it did take me a while to get used to Rinze not being Linze as she is in the other media. I also wouldn’t be surprised if things differ even more in volumes to come, which would be a shame.
The series is ongoing in Japan at 9 volumes and Yen Press currently have Volume 2 scheduled for a release in June.
Overall, In Another World with My Smartphone is nothing special in this crowded market and won’t appeal to the majority of new readers. However, if you’ve found yourself attached to the cast thanks to other elements of the franchise, then this manga is certainly worth a look.