Isekaiis easily the most overdone genre in manga and light novels. Every possible permutation has been done before. Characters have died and been reborn as powerful heroes, near-useless slimes, swords, and even vending machines. Some have used might and magic to bring peace to the kingdom, while others used their understanding of modern economics to create change. Others just saved for their retirement. And on and on, into infinity. So how do you stand out in an ocean of sameness? Well, let’s find out in our Loner Life in Another World volume 1 review!
The solution in Kaiten Book‘s Loner Life in Another World is to create a hero with a huge amount of near-useless skills. From that not so advantageous point, we then have him turn that heap of trash into treasure. And the result is pretty entertaining. So let’s find out who are the players.
An average high school student. It just so happens his introverted tendencies prove surprisingly useful in the new world.
The God of the new world. Perhaps not as impressive as he should be.
The model student/natural leader who is a staple of high school manga.
These boys have unwittingly been training for an Isekai event their whole lives.
A group of troublemakers who only have one thing on their minds, girls.
Air-headed girls who aren’t much use in a fight, or anything for that matter.
Your standard Isekai story?
Haruka and his classmates are having lunch in their classroom when a magic summoning circle appears. Having read more than a few light novels, our hero immediately realizes what’s going on and decides he wants nothing to do with it. Despite Haruka escaping the classroom, he is still pulled into a strange world. Coming face to face with the God of this world. After a long and confusing conversation, Haruka gets to choose his beginning skills as he is reincarnated in a D&D style universe.
However, since his classmates got all the good jobs and skills before he arrived, he’s left with awful leftovers like cane mastery and corporate proactiveness“, with Generic Villager A the only available outfit. Appalled by his available choices, he pesters God, until he gives him all of his crappy skills in desperation.
Haruka now has dozens of seemingly useless skills at his disposal. And with the choices set, God sends him into the middle of a forest to fend for himself. Just before he starts on his journey, he learns two things:
Haruka has the loner personality trait, which means he can never join a party.
He has the servitude skill, which enables him to enslave monsters. You know, to make up for the whole “can’t be in a party” thing.
Haruka is pretty much doomed to a life of loneliness. What’s he going to do?
Loner Life in Another World volume 1 spoilers
Haruka’s going to focus on survival, and that means finding food and shelter. Soon he finds a cave and slowly begins to renovate it into a livable space. Harvesting mushrooms for food, and getting into scraps with goblins. Slowly but surely, his seemingly useless skills and items prove themselves valuable. Contact lenses – one of the few things not snatched up by his classmates – give him the ability to see the names, levels, and effects of plants and monsters; his cane mastery ability enables him to fight monsters. His other skills help to make his life in the wild livable, which is good, as he has no intention of interacting with anyone else.
However, it isn’t long, before others find him. The first group he stumbles across is the delinquents. They still look like troublemakers, so he avoids them. The second group he sees is the nerds, who tell him a long sob story about how they all pulled together as a group at first, but eventually fell apart and fought amongst themselves until being ejected. The third group he meets are the bimbos, followed shortly by the Class Rep. This is when things start to get really interesting, but you’ll have to read the book to learn why.
Artin another world
The art is good, but not great. The characters are expressive and nicely drawn, but they all fall into high school and Isekaistereotypes. Haruka has the same look and mop of dark hair as Naofumi from Rise of the Shield Hero and countless other Isekaiprotagonists; the class rep has the long, straight hair and stern-but-caring look that all class reps in manga seem to have; the bimbos all look like gals. It’s nice but familiar.
Most of the story takes place in a forest, so it’s too soon to tell how good the environments will be. Hopefully the artist gets to flex their muscles a bit more with drawing different environments in the next volume.
Is Loner Life in Another World volume 1 worth reading?
Yes, even if (like me) you’re tired of Isekai. Loner Life in Another World volume 1 offers some interesting twists, genuine laughs, and a healthy dose of self-awareness. It’s a fun read, and leaves enough questions unanswered to make you look forward to the next volume.