When it comes to the isekai genre, we see plenty of stories from the perspective of the one being transported to or reborn in another world, but what about the existing residents of that world? Well, that’s where The Executioner and Her Way of Life comes in with a fresh take on the concept.
The story follows Menou, an Executioner working for The Faust (the church of this world) who is tasked with killing ‘Otherworlders’. Her world has suffered many disasters thanks to Otherworlders, humans who have been summoned from Japan and gained powerful abilities upon reaching this new world.
Now The Faust have taken it upon themselves to kill any Otherworlders who are summoned before their powers fully manifest. The trouble is the nobles of this world are obsessed with power and see the Otherworlders as a way for them to become stronger than their neighbouring countries.
Before killing her target, Menou first attempts to make them trust her to find out if their power will be any hindrance to the assassination. This gives her the ability to carry out her task without getting into chaotic battles, but it also ends up being a big benefit in her next mission…
Menou’s latest task is to kill a girl called Akari, but while Menou thinks Akari’s power is simply to heal, she quickly discovers that Akari actually has the power to turn back time if she’s fatally wounded. Luckily for Menou, Akari retains no memory of having been killed so Menou can at least pretend to be her friend while working out how to get rid of her once and for all.
Outside of Menou killing one Otherworlder, the majority of the story is taken up by her dealing with Akari. Because of Menou’s assassination attempts failing, she’s invited back to one of the headquarters for The Faust where they’re said to have more powerful magic that can be used to kill Otherworlders.
This means that Menou and Akari will now be travelling together for a short while, which Akari is excited about. Menou has told her that they’re going to The Faust to send her back to Japan, so for now, she doesn’t suspect a thing. Meanwhile, Menou is starting to grow attached to the girl, which may pose problems later when it comes to saying goodbye…
The Executioner and Her Way of Life certainly has an interesting premise with the idea of a world so torn apart from Otherworlders that they need to start killing them upon arrival. I like this spin on the genre and, given how much history there is to unpack (as well as secrets involving The Faust), there is plenty to keep readers invested.
Menou also makes for a compelling protagonist. She’s been through a disaster all of her own which left her orphaned, resulting in her being taken in by the church, but she’s also not weak. She’s very serious by nature but there is a kind personality here, which is brought out by having Akari around. We also get to see her dote on her subordinate Momo plenty, which adds to the depth of her character.
Akari for her part is more stereotypical in terms of being a happy-go-lucky Japanese high-school student who is fascinated by the new world she’s found herself in. However, throughout this book, it’s hinted that there is more to Akari than meets the eye and that ultimately kept me invested in her storyline.
The author behind this series is Mato Sato and although it’s not their first work, it’s the first to make it to the English market. It also won 1st place in the 11th annual GA Bunko, a prize Is It Wrong to Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? also won previously. In the afterword for Volume 1 Sato talks about how they wrote the book for themselves and crammed it full of the things they enjoy and I have to say that worked out well in the end.
I find some of the dialogue rambles on a little too long in places, but otherwise, the quality of the writing is good. I certainly see why it was given an award! It’s also interesting that the series leans into being a Yuri in places, with both Akari and Momo clearly being very attached to Menou, and it will be interesting to see if the author does anything with that in future volumes. The illustrations (handled by nilitsu) certainly lean into the idea of the series being a Girls’ Love of some description, so that element is likely here to stay.
The Executioner and Her Way of Life Volume 1 comes to the West thanks to Yen Press and has been translated by Jenny Mckeon. The translation reads well although I did notice a couple of grammar issues that didn’t get caught. By no means an issue, but worth noting. The series is ongoing in Japan at five volumes and Yen Press have Volume 2 scheduled for release in July. An anime adaptation has also been announced recently.
Overall, The Executioner and Her Way of Life Volume 1 has an interesting premise and a likeable cast. There are quite a few directions the author could take the story, going forward, and I think that will keep readers invested for at least another book or two. Worth a read if you’re looking for a spin on the isekai genre!