What’s it about? After dying young from overwork, Sato Ryota wakes up in a world where everyone has stats and all items are collected through monster drops. Ryota might be locked at level one, but that hardly matters when he gets S-grade item drops.
The summary I’ve just given up there is a poor encapsulation of this show, and for that, I’d like to apologize. Please let me try again.
So Ryota is this dude who got the life drained out of him as a corporate drone in Japan, which sucks. But then he wakes up in a new fantasy land that’s better than reality, cause it’s exactly like a video game. Ryota looks unassuming but he’s actually totes OP, and he manages to sell the massive drops he’s getting for even more massive gains and rent a house for the girl who was nice to him when he first woke up. Then the girl at the bank tries to ask him out but he doesn’t get it. And then after that a different dungeon appears, and he goes there to fight skeletons and get special stat boost items only he can use cause they’re S-grade only. And then he figures he’ll go back to the first dungeon and try the second level to get better items, and some chuds make fun of him for being low level. And a bunny girl is there, and she also rags on him for being low level. And then that night she shows up at the house to declare her love for him. And then they all have dinner.
Hold on a minute, I need to give the author a juice box.
I think y’all get the point. Even by the standards of a Narou light novel, this is Uniquely disjointed—which is almost inexcusably embarrassing given that this is theoretically the third refinement opportunity (from web novel to published book to manga to anime). Vignettes start and stop with no sense of connective tissue. The only characters with anything like an investment-worthy relationship are Ryota and his initial savior Emily, and her main job is to single-handedly provide all the feminine emotional support Ryota didn’t get in his last life.
Despite its now-generic beats, there is a tiny bit of genuine pathos in Ryota relating his backstory, crying about how he never got to enjoy the simple pleasure of a warm meal with another person. Because there’s such a vast, unending sludge of these wish-fulfillment stories, it can be easy to forget that there’s a spark of real anguish and helplessness, a working culture so toxic and seemingly inescapable that the prospect of gambling on death seems a better option. And then Emily started giving a long speech about how one’s hard work is always rewarded, and sometimes the unappreciated just need to go to the next life to earn their reward, and I slammed my cynicism cap right back on.
Emily herself is fine enough, though I was both slightly impressed and unsettled at the number of crossroads she exists at. She’s half Ryota’s height and innocently energetic, like a cute daughter! She prepares his meals and does emotional labor for him, like a wife! She’s super strong! But also like, gosh. Ryota can’t share his special stat upgrades with her. He tried, y’all, but her hand passed right through it! So I guess it’s great that she enjoys cooking so much and Ryota won’t need to be physically saved by her anymore. It’s all very G-rated and I don’t get creep vibes, it’s just weird. But she’s much better developed than the two love confessions that pop up with all the warning of a wild Pokémon battle.
Getting mad at this series would require significantly more thought than was put into its writing, so y’know? I won’t. It’s not actively hateful, the girls have stupid outfits but the camera isn’t leery, and it’s so incompetently structured that I already feel like I’m kicking sand on somebody’s fridge drawing. Now, most fridge drawings don’t have hundreds of thousands in funding and dozens of jobs inflating them, but if any of you figure that grift out give me a call.