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Instead of Becoming the Hero, I’ve Reincarnated as a Billionaire volume 1 review

Is Instead of Becoming the Hero, I’ve Reincarnated as a Billionaire volume 1 worth reading?

A top light novel author attempts to do the impossible

Instead of Becoming the Hero, I’ve Reincarnated as a Billionaire Cover
Release Date
March 13, 2021
Story
Oniisanbomber
Art
Gamadon Buri

Isekai is the most overdone trope in the history of anime, manga, and light novels. Every possible permutation seems to have been done. Isekai main characters have been reincarnated as popular heroes, unwanted heroes, side characters, slimes, spiders, swords, and even vending machines. They’ve rescued worlds, repaired economies, and even saved for their retirement. There is literally nothing an isekai character can do that hasn’t already been done. Or is there?  Oniisanbomber, the author behind the acclaimed Light Novel series “I Fell in Love With a Soapland Girl!”, has decided to take this challenge by creating a typical isekai hero putting him in a unique situation. There are no demon lords to defeat or worlds to save; there are only babies to make. But is Instead of Becoming the Hero, I’ve Reincarnated as a Billionaire volume 1 worth reading?

Instead of Becoming the Hero

Keiji - Reincarnated as a Billionaire volume 1 worth reading

Keiji Yamamoto 

An overworked salaryman turned isekai hero(?). 

Lumi - Reincarnated as a Billionaire volume 1 worth reading

Illuminati Associate Agent #666 (aka Lumi) 

A half-elf, half succubus who only has one thing on her mind. 

Reincarnated as a Billionaire’ story 

Summoned - Reincarnated as a Billionaire

The story begins as most isekai stories do, with the protagonist dying in the real world. In Keiji’s case, he is pushed in front of a train. However, Keiji doesn’t have much time to ponder death as he soon finds himself in the basement of a mansion, with an elderly man and woman looking over him.

The man is Rosmund von Lichtenstein, the owner and CEO of General Magic, the most powerful corporation in the country and one of the richest companies in the world. Unable to produce children of his own, he’s brought Keiji to this world to become his heir. But what about being a hero? Keiji asks. What about defeating the demon lord?

This is when Keiji learns that there is no need for a hero. The demon lord has been defeated and imprisoned. The world is at peace. General Magic is so powerful; it essentially runs the country. Keiji is puzzled. What exactly is there for him to do?

Every universe needs rules

Rosmund explains that Keiji is to run General Magic as its CEO since Rosamund is retiring. Then, he lays down some tasks that Keiji must meet.

  1. He has to be married within one year, and his wife must legitimately love him. No marriages of convenience allowed
  2. He must have children within two years
  3. He must never give ownership of General Magic to anyone else

If he fails to meet these tasks, he will be sent back to Japan, to the moment before he was summoned. In other words, he’ll be sent back to the moment just before he was hit by a train. Failure means certain death. With that, Rosmund and his wife Violet take off for a long-anticipated vacation, leaving him in the care of Tania, Rosmund’s former personal assistant. Now, the clock is ticking. Keiji has a year to find a wife. There’s just one problem: he’s never actually been with a woman.

Enter the Illuminati 

Keiji spends the first few days of his new life asking out every woman in his vicinity. The massive mansion in which he lives is full of maids, and he approaches all of them. Keiji could hardly be blamed; his life is on the line, after all. But all of them turn him down.

Then, suddenly, the answer to all his problems walks through his door.
She’s a beautiful half-elf, half-succubus, with a pretty face, nice curves, and an ample chest. She introduces herself as “Illuminati Associate Agent #666” (Lumi for short), and slaps a marriage contract down onto his desk. I’ll be your wife, she tells him. Sign this paper, and we can start making children right now.

It sounds too good to be true, so Keiji carefully reads the whole contract, including the fine print, which states that Illuminati International will take ownership of General Magic if he signs the contract. In other words, Lumi is trying to steal the company. Losing the company means death, which puts him right back at square one. What is he going to do?

Reincarnated as a Billionaire volume 1 spoilers

Instead of Becoming the Hero, I’ve Reincarnated as a Billionaire volume 1 spoilers

Keiji tries to kick her out, but Lumi collapses to the floor, as stiff as a statue. It turns out that she had walked the entire way from a foreign country to his house and is entirely out of energy. Reluctantly, he feeds her and then gives her a place to stay when he discovers that she has nowhere else to go. Lumi then quickly makes it her mission to try and win Keiji’s heart.

Other characters make their appearance as well. There is the empress, who shares some unique similarities with Keiji. And there is also the Demon Lord, who isn’t as defeated as once thought. This book opens, as many light novels do, with a cluster of colour pages. One of those color images is a girl, holding a man against her ample bosom. That girl is the demon lord. But the guy? Is that Keiji? Is it someone else? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

Writing 

The writing is top-notch. The prose is as clear and as gripping as it is in “Soapland Girl”, but it’s much more lighthearted. It feels as if the author deliberately tried to pack as much humour as possible into this story as a response to the “Soapland Girl” books, which at times can get very bleak.

Art 

The art is well done. There isn’t an overwhelming amount of images, but what is there is helpful. You get to see Keiji, Lumi, the Empress, and others more than once, which helps fix their images into your mind. Beautiful art is more of a bonus than a requirement in light novels, but this book still ticks that box.

Is “Instead of Becoming the Hero, I’ve Reincarnated as a Billionaire volume 1” worth reading?  

Yes, although if you’re a fan of Oniisanbomber’s other work, you need to manage your expectations. This book isn’t as good as the Soapland Girl series. It may eventually get there, but the story is still in its world-building stage right now. Characters are introduced, and the rules of the world are set and developed. The tone is different, and it’s much more lighthearted than the often depressing world of the Soapland books. I think this series has potential, but that potential will only be met if the author realizes who the best character is in the story.

The first book is all about the protagonist, Keiji. But Keiji is a bland isekai hero, the kind you’ve seen dozens of times if you’re into isekai at all. It seems like three new isekai are released every month that feature an overworked salaryman as its main character. So Keiji is nothing special, even if he is reincarnated as a billionaire. Keiji may be the main character, but he is not the best character, and the fact that he is handed the keys to the kingdom as soon as he is reincarnated makes it tough to root for him.

Who’s the best?

The best character is Lumi, and it goes beyond her looks. She has a tragic backstory and a hard lot in life, but she has a dogged determination that is admirable. She comes off like a thief at first, but as the book goes on, you learn more and more why she acts the way she does and eventually come to her side. It feels at times that the author is setting up a bit of a harem plot, but that feels like a mistake. The spotlight needs to be on Lumi, and if it is, this series will be worth reading for a long time to come.

You can pick up the physical and digital copies  Instead of Becoming the Hero, I’ve Reincarnated as a Billionaire volume 1 from Amazon.

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