Reborn as a Vending Machine, I Now Wander the Dungeon – Episode 1

By: Chiaki Hirai July 6, 20230 Comments
Big adorable anime eyes look on in worry

What’s it about? A lover of vending machines is one day ironically killed as he tries to save a vending machine from flying off a truck on a winding mountain pass. He awakens alone in a fantasy land as a vending machine. Teaming up with Lammis and dubbed Boxxo, a vending machine embarks on a dungeon adventure!

I like Japanese vending machines. They really are pretty cool sometimes. There was one in the bigger train station near my grandmother’s house that freshly brewed (instant) coffee for 150 yen and served it in a paper cup. And then there’s a bunch out there that also serve things like toasted ham and cheese sandwiches, cheeseburgers, even ramen. Japanese vending machines have been a cultural phenomenon for decades and one that is constantly under refinement to become flashier, cooler and more interesting to offer the next weird or unique thing, like truffle oils or something. 

So Boxxo being a huge vending machine nerd isn’t necessarily all that weird or out there. I can get this guy. He’s a little extreme for being the world’s biggest vending machine stan and tragically dying trying to save a half ton box while driving a moped, but you know, good for him.

A man plunges off a cliff on his moped hugging a vending machine.
Death by a vending machine, how pointlessly tragic

And moreover, the show’s characters are fun. Boxxo is a loveable guy, the very picture of an attentive and responsive convenience store clerk that Lawson’s corporate managers might envision as the ideal employee. Lammis is spunky and has super strength. The villagers and the guards are all relatively normal and you feel like everyone’s part of a community. 

The production quality isn’t that bad. Nothing looks shoddy and the story boarders seem to know what they’re doing. And there’s no male-gaze oriented fan service. No weird touching, no creepy inner monologue protagonist, no joke sex character breasting boobily for the camera.

There’s nothing bad I can say about this show. It’s just nice.

And yet, once you get past the whole thing about Boxxo being a vending machine, you kinda look around asking if there’s anything else worth talking about… and there really isn’t. 

Two girls sit on the floor of an inn's reception area. One holds the other with a look of deep concern: I'm alive! I'm alive, Munami!

He can’t move, all he can do is sell people drinks and food. The characters around him are fun, but not necessarily doing anything aside from spending their money and screaming about how amazing Pringles are. This feels like what we’d get if DyDo made that McDonald’s recruiting anime for themselves.

Yes, Reborn as a Vending Machine has nothing particularly wrong with it, but there’s also nothing really there beyond its gimmick for now. There’s no clear sight-line to where this is going to go from here, not even a faint hinting of more to come. Boxxo is literally just a sentient vending machine vibing the isekai fantasy village life. 

Boxxo, the vending machine, thinking hard in the abyss, status effects: 3 damage! 5 damage! he is taking damage!: What else is there?!
Pictured: my sanity gradually declining as I try to decide if this show is worth watching or not.

And that’s all well and fine for him, but there needs to be more. There has to be more. This can’t be all there is to it. Not for a full cour of animation.

Because otherwise, this show really is like just sitting outside your local 7-Eleven to people watch for the whole summer.

But okay, if this is the content you really want, let me tell you about Retro Vending Machine in Japan. This guy drives all over Japan visiting old ramen and udon vending machines. Sometimes you can even look inside the machines to see how they work. I’ve been a follower for more than 8 years. Greatest YouTube Channel out there. Won’t let you down.

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