Anime Review: In Another World With My Smartphone

By Drew Hurley 12.01.2019

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In Another World With My Smartphone (UK Rating: PG)

When the series opens, Toya is chilling out with God, with God sincerely apologising. It turns out that God was messing around with lightning bolts and accidentally killed Toya. To make up for it, He's going to reincarnate him, but not in his own world… in a fantasy one. To further make up for it, He's giving Toya a major power-up, letting him keep his smartphone and sending him to a fantasy world filled with swords and sorcery, and as God says, "All that kind of stuff." Yes, it's another Isekai, one of the most prevalent genres of anime out there. With the type of story so popular at the moment, the quality is often hit-and-miss. Will this one join Konosuba and Overlord or join the mountains of Isekai trash that grows each and every season? Coming courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, this full series collection contains all 12 episodes and is available now.

After initially arriving in the world, Touya lucks into some cash by having a merchant buy his clothes off him for a considerable amount of cash, giving him some bank to get started. Then, after meeting up with a pair of young, beautiful, twin lady adventurers, it seems this could be a slow tale of him learning to read, starting to take on the most basic of quests, and finding his life here… but, of course, that doesn't happen. Isekai series are all based on a simple power fantasy - being able to enter another world, especially a fantasy world, with special powers, to have a real-life version of becoming the protagonist of an RPG. In Another World With My Smartphone swings heavily to the overpowered protagonist. Touya arrives with his stats set to maximum and just happens to become the most powerful magic user in the world.

Individuals in this world have the potential to cast magic, should they have an affinity for it. The most skilled have an affinity for between one and three elements from the seven. Some have a unique special spell from the strange seventh element known as null. Touya just happens to have an affinity for every single element. If that wasn't overpowered enough, he is also able to cast any and all null spell, just by hearing about it. He's practically a god in this world. He also happens to stumble upon a coat, which nullifies damage from magic that he has an affinity for, with the double-edged sword that he would take double damage from magic he doesn't have an affinity for, of which… there are none...


 
One of his companions says it best: "When someone is that all-powerful, it's just exasperating." A character so overpowered is just generally not interesting to watch. There's no risk. There's no tension. It's just dull. Touya travels across the world with his newfound companions, overcoming every conveniently placed plot that falls into his lap. Saving Nobles and Royals with no difficulty and growing his harem along the way. With each of the ladies only group crushing on him while he remains oblivious, including having a princess become betrothed to him and joining him on his travels after he saves her father. As is obvious, In Another World With My Smartphone has harem elements, but it isn't ecchi by any stretch of the imagination. Across the entire season there are a handful of scenes of the girls in slight states of undress. Until the obligatory beach episode… The world is as bland as the characters; there are the usual demi-humans, which basically consist of Elves and Kemonomimi (literally Animal Ears for the uninformed; girls with usually just a pair of animal ears and a tail).

The art and animation are as uninspired as the story. The adaptation comes from Production Reed and it feels like it had nothing to say with this series. It has put out a few decent series, but little that really stands out. The team is known best for the classic Vampire Hunter D from 1985, and Azumanga Daioh from 2002. The character designs are utterly forgettable and fall into age-old tropes. Touya gets an edgy long coat, while his face and hair are generic anime protagonist looks through and through. The girls in his party are generic samurai girl, a duo of purple-haired fantasy twins, blonde loli princess, and a gothic loli queen of the fairies who is actually 600 years old. The animations are worse… with the few action scenes looking particularly terrible.

This release comes with both the original Japanese dub and a new English dub. Considering the series is a relatively minor release, the English voice cast is surprisingly impressive, with serious veterans such as Josh Grelle, Chris Sabat, and Monica Riel in attendance. The Japanese is not quite as star-studded, although it does include the superb Akasaki Chinatsu (Nakiri Alice from Shokugeki no Soma). On the bonus feature front, there is the usual textless opening and closing and a brief animation collection, along with an audio commentary of Episode 8 and a video commentary of Episode 2 with the English cast.

3/10
Rated 3 out of 10

Bad

Some anime fans tend to think of Isekai as a four-letter word these days, but that isn't necessarily always the case. There are some fantastic shows out there, but sadly In Another World With My Smartphone isn't one of them. There's no hook, no twist, nothing to keep the viewer interested. The quality across the board is low, from the presentation, to the characters, to the narrative - all just poor.

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