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The Spring 2022 Manga Guide
Housekeeping Mage From Another World

What's It About? 

Shiori is an average Japanese office worker who was suddenly teleported to another world. Four years later, she's managed to carve out a niche for herself—as a housekeeping mage.

Alec is an A-class adventurer, just returned from a long-term assignment. When his friend Zack, the local Guild Master, tempts him into going on a manticore hunt by promising to bring in a mage with special skills, what Alec finds is the last thing he could have expected.

On the outside, the two couldn't be more different. Yet deep in their hearts, they each yearn for the same thing: a place to belong. In the face of old wounds, their dark pasts, and the everyday challenges any adventurer must overcome, will they find the courage to risk being hurt again?

Housekeeping Mage From Another World is based on the light novel series by You Fuguruma and Nama with English translation by Elanor Sakamoto. The manga is drawn by Akihito Ono and J-Novel Club has released its first volume for $6.99.

Is It Worth Reading?

Jean-Karlo Lemus


Housekeeping Mage From Another World is a pleasant surprise as far as works based off of isekai light novels go. In this twist on the old isekai yarn, thirty-something Shiori is spirited away from Japan (no truck involved) and arrives in the land of Storydia. Tragically, she only has the most basic of magical abilities: her magic power and potential are both limited. However, she's capable of combining her magical powers to... make comfortable campsites for other adventuring parties. What she lacks in combat capabilities, she makes up for in making camping easier for her party, making great teams even better.

The key to this is Shiori herself: while cute and bubbly, she harbors many tragic secrets. Her prior mistreatment at the hands of the party Akatsuki, who left her for dead, is enough to woobify her to anyone, but unlike other isekai protagonists Shiori genuinely misses her home and is heartbroken to think that she can never see Japan again. That her homesickness inspires her to use her magic to re-create the comforts of home in a strange new place is where the real magic in Housekeeping Mage lies. There is a cozy, heart-warming story of the adventurer Alec and his growing affection for Shiori, and it's cute to see him marvel at Shiori's ingenuity, but the real fun is seeing Shiori use fantasy means to re-create freeze-dried foods or rudimentary insecticide. The art is boilerplate fantasy, but immensely charming—a lot like Shiori herself, actually. Maybe Housekeeping Mage isn't the most original of stories, but it stands out from the isekai quagmire. Definitely keep an eye out for it.

Rebecca Silverman


I haven't had a chance to read the light novel this is based on yet, but after this very charming volume of manga, I'm moving it up in my to-read pile. Although there are a lot of elements here that are familiar if you've read, for example, The Extraordinary, the Ordinary, and SOAP! or The Saint’s Magic Power is Omnipotent, the way they're handled gives the piece a little extra “oomph.” Shiori wasn't summoned to her other world, she just sort of fell into it, and that's nearly gotten her killed more than once. After being rescued by Zack, a guy who may be regretting setting himself up as her “big brother,” she eventually settles into using her small amount of magical power to recreate foods and appliances from modern Japan. She calls herself a “housekeeping mage,” and as love interest Alec is starting to suspect, that may be a way for her to hide in plain sight.

The dark underbelly of this story is that her first party took horrible advantage of Shiori before leaving her to die, and now the Guild (which is run by Zack after the previous leader was removed) is extra protective of her. Plenty of guys have crushes on Shiori, but they all respect her fears and her need for some autonomy, so no one's really making any moves. (Plus Zack is scary.) Enter Alec, who in a throwaway line we learn is a prince. Alec was out of town when Shiori arrived and nearly died, so he's technically a latecomer to the game, but he also isn't burdened with the guilt that other guys are – after all, he wasn't there when things went so wrong for her. He's also more willing to spend time with her doing her things; he helps her cook, for example, which as far as we know none of the other men have offered to do. Shiori's a bit less oblivious than, for example, Sei in The Saint’s Magic Power is Omnipotent, and she desperately wants someone to come home to besides her (adorable) slime familiar Rurii. Alec is willing to put in the time to make her feel safe with him, and that's laying the foundation for a very sweet romance.

I also like the way the story is told. We enter with Alec and flash back to what happened to Shiori over the course of the volume, so there's no real sense of infodumping or any of the other storytelling ills the genre is prone to. Add in a cute short story from Rurii's point of view in the end, and this is a really nice read. Even if the light novel isn't as good as its adaptation, I'm looking forward to spending more time with these characters, so the manga is doing its job.



Going into this book, I was not expecting to encounter a story with such a strong amount of sympathy and compassion. We are used to a lot of fantasy stories having these big, grand stakes in order to get us invested in the individual characters driving the narrative, but sometimes all you need to do is highlight how easy it is for people to be taken advantage of in their time of need for us to empathize with the victims and their particular circumstances. Housekeeping Mage starts by introducing us to Shiori from the perspective of who we would usually classify as the capable hero. A mage that was isekai'd to this world without enjoying any of the benefits that we've come to expect from this type of genre, Shiori's kindness was constantly taken advantage of, but the book does a pretty good job of bouncing between her perspective and those that legitimately care about her. It's surprisingly subtle, and brings up the idea that sometimes you can't just help somebody that's in an uncomfortable situation no matter how much you might want to – sometimes you need to trust that they'll be able to handle things on their own, and other times it's just a matter of timing. But there's still this overwhelming sense of compassion and appreciation between everybody to the point where it's honestly kind of infectious. Combine that with some stunning artwork and Housekeeping mage is a must-read if you are at all a fan of the fantasy genre.

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