A manga by Kenji Saito & Parabora
Goodbye! I’m Being Reincarnated! Vol. 1 does a good job of being the antithesis of some of the Isekai genre’s worst aspects, while still playing around with the clichés. I wouldn’t say it’s a parody, but a willful subversion would be more honest. For those unaware, this often maligned genre, “Isekai”, involves media that all basically have the same plot – a person, or group of people, is transported to some fantasy world including a virtual world, a fantasy world, or similar. Most of the story is them learning the rules of the new world along with the reader. Think The Neverending Story – that is technically Isekai. After the popular anime Sword Art Online hit the airwaves the better part of a decade ago, similar manga and anime productions have jumped on the bandwagon and made piles of derivative content.
“High-school teen Yuya Kamigasaki lives a perfectly average life, when he isn’t dropping in uninvited on his big-breasted friend next door. One day, a magical circle appears in his room, revealing Angelia, a princess from another world who offers to “reincarnate” him into the greatest hero that ever lived. This would-be hero’s life is about to get a lot less boring and a whole lot more dangerous!”
Isekai is one of those fad genres that has started to become reviled to a degree (much in the same way “moe” was). There are too many books with largely the same plot, and I feel like the bubble will burst soon. Some of these books even seem to be having an arms race as to who can carry the banner for most ridiculous title around, including some doozies like “Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks?“, “My Entire Class Was Summoned To Another World Except For Me“, and “The Former Top 1’S Sub-Character Training Diary: A Dedicated Player Is Currently Conquering Another World!“.
With my takedown of the genre above one would think I hated this book, but honestly it was a refreshing take on everything, and as a result I enjoyed it. I’m not saying I LOVED it or anything, but it was decent.
First and foremost, unless it happens much later, nobody is transported anywhere in at least the first two volumes of this. A gorgeous princess named Angelia has appeared in order to get Yuya to come with her to her magical world named The Kingdom of Phatulia. Phatulia is at war with an army of terrible demons, and they desperately need a hero to save them. It appears Yuya has a set of skills that make him some sort of “chosen one” and will reincarnate as this legendary hero if he agrees. The problem is that in order to do this he must die in order to be “re-incarnated” to Phatulia, and Angelia (the princess) will get this done by any means necessary. Maniacally brandishing automatic rifles and huge swords, she will stop at nothing to kill him.
Fortunately for Yuya, the demons of the magical world don’t exactly want him there, so a rival princess named Luciel Von Darkbreed has been brought over to protect him. if she can keep him safe, he will never be re-incarnated and will stay on earth living somewhat of a typical life. As you can imagine, the book almost devolves into an all out war between the two sides with Yuya stuck in the middle. By making the “innocent” princess character basically the villain, by way of being “chaotic good” is pretty funny, and pokes fun at all the comics that have a submissive princess character the hero needs to protect. The reader is led to believe that is where the story is going, only to reveal that Angelia comes across as completely insane.
I won’t go out on a limb and say this is a great comic – it’s borderline “ecchi” at times, and is a bit too derivative of this genre to really excel at being much more than a comedy manga. If anything I read this with a slight smile and an acknowledgement that I would like to read more. Would I recommend it? Probably not. That said, I appreciate the attempt at subverting all of the standard clichés involved with Isekai, and having the self-awareness to actually do something different with the story. If you don’t mind scantily clad female characters, and want a good chuckle, Goodbye! I’m Being Reincarnated! Vol. 1 is worth a look. I will definitely read more.