When it comes to the fantasy genre, the cast having access to social media is certainly not something that readily comes to mind. And yet this is a growing theme lately with series like In Another World With My Smartphone and the new series If the RPG World Had Social Media, which I’m here to review today. Does it make good use of the idea? Let’s find out!
Our story follows a sixteen-year-old boy who is also the Hero of this world (he goes unnamed, so we’ll call him Hero from here on out) who’s tasked with defeating the Demon Lord who has abducted the Princess of the kingdom. The problem is that Hero is a shut-in who can only communicate through text messages!
To start with, Hero texts the Princess to check in on her and she’s quick to tell him that she does not need to be rescued since her life with the Demon Lord is even better than at home! To top it off, she considers the Demon Lord an incredibly handsome man and has no desire to return to the kingdom.
Hero then texts the Demon Lord demanding to know what’s going on and they reveal that the princess is mistaken about their gender! Things escalate from there and Hero asks Demon Lord to marry him, but before she agrees, he’ll have to make it to her castle.
Hero sets off to the castle under the pretext of rescuing the Princess (largely so his mother and the King will let him go), but he quickly discovers that even Level 1 enemies are too powerful for him to defeat. After reviving at the castle a bunch of times, Hero is about ready to give up on his journey. That is, until Demon Lord sends one of her Demon Generals along to give him a helping hand…
As the synopsis may have suggested so far, If the RPG World Had Social Media doesn’t take itself all that seriously. It’s an adventure filled with misunderstandings and entertaining antics with very little at stake. But that’s fine because the core concept of the Hero being a shut-in who only communicates through his phone just wouldn’t work in a more serious storyline.
I also appreciate the twist that the Demon Lord is female and the Princess has no desire to return home. It’s not the most original story by any means, but it’s still different enough to stand out and, if nothing else, the cast is charming enough where you’ll be rooting for that happy ending.
The series is based on a light novel by author Yusuke Nitta and neither they nor mangaka Sato Kamegoya was sure how well the plot would translate into manga according to their Afterwords. Since so much of it takes place over text messages there is a lot of dialogue, so quite a bit of space ends up being taken up by text boxes, but despite this, I think the manga we’ve gotten in the end makes a fun read.
Kamegoya manages to strike a nice balance between cluttered panels and a focus on what’s on around Hero. Given the artists’ tendency to use quite small panels, I was surprised by how well the artwork holds up, despite the amount of text and speech bubbles present. I also appreciate how expressive all the characters are, even during scenes where we’re only seeing small snippets of their facial expressions while they text back and forth.
If the RPG World Had Social Media Volume 1 comes to the West thanks to Yen Press and has been translated by Luke Hutton. The translation reads well and Hutton does a good job of leaning into some text speak, while not being overly obnoxious about it like some translations can be. There are some translation notes toward the end of the book too, which help clear up any obscure references (although there aren’t many). The series is complete in Japan with Volume 2, which Yen currently have scheduled for an English release in January 2022. They are also publishing the original light novel in September.
Overall, If the RPG World Had Social Media Volume 1 has an entertaining concept coupled with a cast of quirky characters. It’s certainly not going to be for everyone, but I’m sure it will successfully find and delight its target audience. If you’re looking for something a bit different (and lighter) in the fantasy world, then this is for you!