By Patora Fuyuhara and Eiji Usatsuka. Released in Japan as “Isekai wa Smartphone to Tomo ni” by Hobby Japan. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Andrew Hodgson.
Sometimes I wonder if the author of this series is even aware of the disquieting implications of what he writes. At times it looks like he is. The start of this volume has Touya discovering, at last, the Library of Babylon, with its ridiculous number of ancient scripts. Leen, who is over the moon about this, proposes to Touya on the spot. Touya is rather nonplussed by this, as is the reader, because in the last seven volumes we’ve seen nothing that puts Leen on the same level as the other girls in love with Touya. Indeed, later on the rest of the fiancees confront her and express doubts as well. It’s nice to see the author realized he didn’t really do enough foreshadowing. Sadly, the entire situation is resolved in about three paragraphs, after which she’s given a pass. So maybe the author is not as aware as I’d like.
That said, Leen is now a fiancee, which means she gets the main bonus of Touya turning into a raging villain whenever anyone threatens to rape her, something which happens a lot more in this series than I’d like. Again, because Touya is so bland of a protagonist, the fact that he’s casually cursing evil mooks with curses that are brutally horrific gives the reader a giant sense of disconnect. We also get more examples of his ridiculous power here, though that’s downplayed by the occasional bout of stupidity he has, like “oh, right, I really should give my kingdom laws”, or “maybe I shouldn’t have gone off somewhere with my new fiancee and not told any of the others.” (This also allows Leen to be blushy and embarrassed, which honestly seems grotesquely out of character for her.)
The plot, as with most Smartphone books, is divided into three. First we get the discovery of the library and its bookaholic maintainer, as well as Leen’s proposal. Next, young dragons are attacking cities, and it’s up to Touya and company to teach them a lesson. Finally, there’s a new dungeon that’s been discovered, leading Touya to do some dungeon crawling, something he really hasn’t done in his series, as opposed to most isekai titles like this. This leads to the discovery of a slaver ring, which Touya needs to break up. Oh, and we also have the Storehouse and its dojikko maintainer. Side stories include Leen needing to get permission from the fairies to get married, which mostly involves her upset kohai, as well as Regina Babylon, who does a lot in this series despite being dead, tricking Touya and company into playing an embarrassing real-life board game, which is mostly an excuse for fanservice. It also allows Touya to briefly have a libido, something he only seems to gain in these side stories.
Again, Isekai Smartphone is one of those series you’ll enjoy if you’ve enjoyed previous volumes, and after briefly making me think it would turn it up a notch has settled back down into “not good but entertaining”. Which is fine, I like being entertained, but don’t think I don’t notice the major characterization issues on display here.