The Spring 2019 Manga Guide
What's It About?Before she was tutor to the hero of Mushouku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation, young Roxy was an isolated child in her remote demon village. The only member of her race who can't communicate telepathically, Roxy's life is difficult until a traveling human magician comes to town.
Suddenly Roxy has someone to talk to, and the world opens up before her. The magician teaches her magic, but before Roxy can ask to accompany her on her travels, she leaves the village. Three years later, now teenage Roxy sets out to find her teacher and discover the world for herself, starting by joining a party of adventurers in the nearest city.
Is It Worth Reading?
Roxy Gets Serious is a spin-off of the Mushouku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation light novel series (see our light novel section for more), based around a relatively minor character in the first volume – Roxy, the magic tutor for protagonist Rudy. Or rather, I assumed she was a minor character based on the novel, but this manga volume seems to imply that she's going to be more important later in Rudy's life, and honestly, that's something I would rather have discovered by reading the books instead of having it revealed in the spin-off manga. Not that it's any kind of massive spoiler-filled work, but I was moderately annoyed by a few things that came up related to Roxy's later life. If you're of a similar mindset, you may want to hold off on this if you're planning to read Seven Seas' release of the novels. (Or if you've been following their release of the manga version; I haven't kept up with it, but I assume it's closer to where this series intersects with it.)
In any event, apart from a fondness for upskirt shots and one kind of weird quest to pick up a lady's crotchless panties from Ye Olde Underwear Shoppe, Roxy Gets Serious is a harmless little fantasy title. Roxy isn't hugely developed as a character, which feels like the biggest issue here, especially because with the preview image for volume two, we really do need to care about her as a person for what's about to happen. Instead she feels like a sort of blank-slate fantasy mage heroine – she's practical, skilled, and would prefer you didn't talk down to her, thank you very much. None of this detracts from her adventures once she meets up with Hawkendale and joins his party, but it also isn't much in the way of distinguishing characteristics. Apart from her early isolation as the lone member of her race unable to communicate telepathically, there isn't much about her that really stands out. This may be because the story assumes you already have a grasp of who Roxy is from the main series, but if you're more interested in a straight fantasy piece than an isekai tale and so only read this spin-off (which seems perfectly feasible from this volume), it's going to be a bit of an issue.
On the whole, this is basically harmless with some random fanservice thrown in for fun. It isn't great shakes, but if you're invested in the world of the original series, it's decently entertaining.
It's weird how compulsively readable Mushoku Tensei: Roxy is for how little I enjoyed it. It's a light novel spin-off through and through; overly complex worldbuilding is given the greatest focus, there's a lot of gross, leer-y, unearned fanservice (most of which I believe is for underaged characters), and it doesn't have much in the way of thematic goals beyond 'hey, this is a cool world you can inhabit'. It's not the stuff great stories are made of, and yet I read it one sitting.
But I won't deny Roxy its minor points of resonance. I think Roxy's greatest strength is that it's a spinoff of the main series, unshackled from a lot of traditional isekai trappings (the focus here is on the backstory of a periphery character and not the otaku-reincarnated-in-a-fantasy-world schmuck). This means that it can explore and more thoroughly develop its interesting points of worldbuilding (the telepathic village Roxy is born into is actually quite unique and decently developed as far as fantasy societies go) and couch its characterization in more engaging ideas than, like, climbing through the ranks of society by being the best ever. Roxy isn't a complicated character by any means, but her attachment to magic as something she can actually excel at (she was born unable to communicate telepathically, meaning she basically can't make friends or be a part of her society) does work as parallel to how people really do overcome alienation and purposelessness.
That's not to say it's totally devoid of those clichés, however. The second half of the volume is entirely made up of JRPG questing as Roxy joins her motley adventuring party of quirky characters. There's earning coin and advancing in the guild ranks and doing small time tasks transitioning to epic adventuring…it's the standard for a reason, and for as boring is it can be sometimes it can also be enjoyable enough.
MT: Roxy is pulp. Sometimes, pulp is entertaining and engaging and you can knock it out in an afternoon. If you do reflect on it, it's to think 'oh hey, that was kind of dumb, huh?' or alternatively 'oh hey, that was kind of gross, huh?'. But normally after finishing the experience flies right to the back of your mind to be forgotten, like the rest of your day. And yeah, it can be fun, but is it substantial? Will I remember much about it in a week? Not really. And that's where I am with MT: Roxy.
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