By Yusura Kankitsu and Ruria Miyuki. Released in Japan as “Rettōgan no Tensei Majutsushi: Shiitagerareta Moto Yūsha wa Mirai no Sekai o Yoyū de Ikinuku” by Dash x Bunko. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Gierrlon Dunn.
I have been reading Japanese media for a long time now, so I’m very used to the self-deprecation that many authors use when they’re talking to the reader. “Thank you so much for reading this wretched series of mine” is a dime a dozen in Afterwords, usually with a shower of thanks for the publisher, editor, and artist who worked on the book. Unfortunately, there’s a problem when you do that. The work has to actually be good, so that we can smile and say “Aw, it’s fine, take pride in your work, it was good!”. But when you do the “oh no, my mediocre prose” afterword and the reader thinks “actually, I think you’re praising it a bit too much”, that’s not good. That’s not self-deprecation, it’s trying to deflect honest criticism. So, let me honestly criticize this book: it’s generic and terrible, aside from one scene towards the beginning when it leapt past terrible and into appalling.
We begin with the most half-assed “banished from the hero’s party” I’ve ever seen, as the leader of the party tells our overpowered mage that since he’s so terrifying, he should go live by himself on an island somewhere. Abel, not wanting to do this and fairly disgusted with the world he’s in now that regards his amber eyes as scary, decides instead to reincarnate himself two hundred years in the future, when hopefully the world is less prejudiced towards his OP self. When he’s reborn, as a child, he finds that the opposite has happened: magic has declined, and amber eyes (which required years of training to get to be the terrifying things they are) is now a sign of no magic power and those who have them are abused and belittled. What to do?
Let me get the worst part out of the way. Abel is quickly joined by Lilith, the daughter of the Demon Lord that he slew long ago, who he also rescued. She’s been waiting for him to reincarnate, and is now buxom and hot. They bathe together, since she says he’s just a child. He… and I was wondering if I even read this right… gets out of the tub to prove to her he’s a man and sleeps with her. We’re never told HOW old he is when he wakes up, but “child” is used. What the hell? Fortunately, the rest of the book is content to merely be the “standard fantasy” the author says was his goal in writing this series. There’s a bratty noble who very quickly becomes our hero’s best pal/puppy (well, he acts like one). There’s an arrogant redhead who uses a sword and fire magic, which I think is legally required in all fantasy. And there’s our hero, who is ludicrously overpowered compared to everyone else in the land, and he proceeds to show this off while showing as little emotion as possible.
I’ve tried to avoid series in this vein lately, and this volume reminds me exactly why I’m doing that. Garbage.