The Summer 2022 Preview Guide
My Isekai Life
How would you rate episode 1 of
My Isekai Life ?
Community score: 3.5
How would you rate episode 2 of
My Isekai Life ?
Community score: 3.6
What is this?
Yūji Sano works at a company that is harsh on its employees. After bringing some overtime work back home, he gets a message on his computer: "You have been summoned to an alternate world." It is a game-like world, complete with status bars and skills. Yūji tames a slime monster and thus becomes a tamer. Then, he suddenly attains a second profession — sage — and awakens magical powers within himself. Yūji's alternate world adventure begins when he follows a slime, that seemingly weakest of all monsters.
How was the first episode?
One of the first tricks a lot of educators learn is to wrap up any criticisms they have for a student into a “compliment sandwich”, where you begin and end your interaction with some sort of positive feedback, no matter how small or irrelevant it might seem, so the actual criticism portion doesn't land with such a sting. So, here's the first slice of Nice Job! Bread that I have for My Isekai Life: The slimes and the goofy-looking wolf that our hero Yuji has befriended are pretty adorable, and the scenes that focused on them were decently bearable. One of the slimes even has a little mustache, and they all make this cute “mwagh!” sound when they're vomiting up supplies and whatnot.
Now that I've done my due diligence, I can dig into the meat of my criticisms for this anime: It's bad. Not in the entertainingly gonzo way, either, or the comically inept way. It's just boring as hell, and it doesn't have a single original bone in its body.
Think of every single tired and unoriginal cliché that could possibly come to mind when an anime has a subtitle like “I Gained a Second Character Class and Became the Strongest Sage in the World!”, and I can almost guarantee you that My Isekai Life plays that cliché as straight as a steel beam. Yuji is so devoid of personality that I expected his all-consuming apathy to be some sort of plot point that people would address, but no. This is just another one of those “comedies” that has come to the mistaken conclusion that having a ludicrously overpowered main character that has absolutely no concern for anything happening around him is somehow enough of a joke to carry an entire series. Oh, and of course he can track his every stat buff and level up with a mystical JRPG menu, which I swear has to be the biggest red flag of all when it comes to telling whether these types of isekai anime are going to be completely creatively bankrupt or not.
The first episode admittedly does put in some work to try and give Yuji's adventure a bit of mystery and atmosphere, but some halfway decent shot compositions and a constant thrum of butt-rock mood music on the soundtrack isn't enough to make up for the fact that this is a story that lacks any meaningful stakes or conflict by design. The second episode is even worse, since a lot of the precious screentime that could have been devoted to more scenes for the wolf and the slime buddies instead gets wasted on introducing even more random side characters to be impressed by Yuji's taming prowess. The peak level of comedy writing in this whole run of episodes is when the two girls that Yuji decides to party up with are baffled by Yuji's utter indifference to having captured a wanted criminal with a bounty on his head. Yes, we are dealing with a show that is convinced that having two characters stare at the screen with a “Whaaaaaaat…..” expression on their faces is all of the payoff we need for an otherwise pointless side adventure.
I could go on with all of the reasons that My Isekai Life failed to make a case for its own existence, like how it's one of those anime that has for some reason decided to go for the “camera lens smeared with Vaseline” aesthetic, but I respect the compliment sandwich too much to deny this crappy anime it's second slice of bread. So, here it goes: The ending theme with all of the slimes singing together is pretty catchy.
There. Sandwich completed.
Well, that was… inoffensive? Perfectly acceptable? Mildly charming, even. I could see My Isekai Life airing on a Saturday morning anime block in the early 00s alongside Monster Rancher and Digimon, despite its approach to isekai being completely unrecognizable from that time period's ilk. It just feels like something aimed at ten-year-olds, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. But also, there are elements that hold it back from being kind of… *shrug*
Like, Yuji's monster friends are really fun! The slimes are adorable and their constant joy and enthusiasm are delightful. There's something inherently funny about sticking accouterments like a handlebar mustache or an eyepatch to a smiling little blue blob. Proud Wolf looks like what would result if Scooby Doo and Moro from Princess Mononoke had a clandestine affair. But Yuji is a nonentity on the same level as the original Persona 3 protagonist. He has no personality to speak of and doesn't even really do anything, since everything just kind of happens to him. He's like a silent protagonist, where all his dialogue could easily be replaced with “...” and nothing would be lost.
There's some really appealing design work too! The characters' costumes are cute and way more practical than is typical for this kind of series, although Yuji's coat has an impractical strap around the upper arms that I kept expecting to get in the way every time he lifted his arms. I especially loved the shift toward a sketchy, realistic, kind of rotoscoped look at Yuji's flashbacks to his pre-isekai life, which really emphasized the difference between the two worlds and how he moved from something more “real” to a fantasy game world. But the startlingly limited animation also contributes to the early 00s feeling. Everything moves kind of choppily, with tons of stills, recycled frames, and other obvious shortcuts. It's probably not going to be a dealbreaker for anyone, and it's definitely not a production disaster, but it's subpar for the year 2022.
My Isekai Life isn't going to rattle any cages or revolutionize any worlds. I doubt it'll win over any isekai skeptics, either. But if you're a preteen, or looking for an isekai to safely watch with a preteen free from fan service or other uncomfortable themes, this might be the right series for you.
Like some of the other reviewers, I enjoyed the first episode of My Isekai Life far more than I did the second. The first episode throws us right into the story, with a lot of great show-not-tell to catch us up on what's going on. In this world, monster tamers are thought to be quite weak while our protagonist, Yuji, is anything but—and it's clear to see why this is. Yuji is able to use his army of slimes not only as an information-gathering network but as mobile launch platforms for all of his spells. This means that every slime is a glass cannon of sorts—low on defense but with magic far beyond what any low-level monster should have. This makes Yuji more of a battlefield commander than a fighter in his own right, and one that has to be careful with each move as any mistake could easily prove to be the end of one of his squishy friends. Adding to this, his inordinate number of magical spells and the crazy things he can do with various combinations make each battle a puzzle that Yuji needs to solve. It's a different way of making an overpowered character—and one that adds real dramatic stakes right from the start.
The second episode, on the other hand, brings things more into cliché isekai territory. We get the typical two female romance interests that are awed by his power and a villain that is very obviously evil from the moment that he appears on screen. Likewise, Yuji's backstory upon arriving in the fantasy world is one of the most milquetoast I have ever seen: He woke up, met a slime, read some books, and became the greatest magic user in the world.
That said, I do enjoy the flashbacks to his past life and how they impact how he acts in this one. Yuji knows he is overpowered. And he knows from his days as an office worker what it means to be the most talented person in a group—everyone else relies on you at best and exploits you at worst. It's a good explanation of his secretive nature and why he flees the town he saves in the first episode. It's not that he fears recognition as much as it is that he doesn't want to be given all the crap jobs just because he's capable. It's a relatable stance to anyone who's ever had a corporate job, and it makes him seem a lot more human than many isekai characters.
Still, I'm on the fence about continuing this one. Perhaps I'll give it one more episode in the hopes that it will be more like the first than the second and decide from there.
Is it me, or are these isekai shows running out of titles? I'm not exactly fond of overlong titles like Unlocking Console Commands In Another World To Sequence Break The Final Boss And Marry The Demon Lord but c'mon, is “My Isekai Life” what we've been reduced to? It's especially weird because despite having such a bland title, this premiere actually has a fair bit going for it, at least compared to its otherworld peers.
First and foremost, there's some really good direction here – at least in the first episode of this double-length premiere. Along with some solid action animation, there's just a keen eye for mood-building throughout the first episode. There's strategic use of silence and stillness to build atmosphere, strong storyboarding all around, and it allows an otherwise simple story about our protagonist almost single-handedly wiping out an army of monsters to feel gripping immediately. It's perhaps a little too ambitious, as you can see the director's ideas straining against the production constraints, but that effort made this introduction far more engaging than it would have been with more pedestrian direction. And I know that's the case because episode two backslides into a workmanlike presentation that saps all that energy away, and leaves the show feeling much more like any other isekai title spat out to fill a quota.
But thanks to that surprisingly strong introduction, it's a lot easier to spot the parts of this show that have some charm, among all the typical isekai baggage it's hauling around. Yuji isn't much for personality, but it's made up for by his gaggle of goofy monster friends – I love his doofy-looking wolf companion, and the slimes all look like jellified Hidamari Sketch characters. And while he's yet another person isekai'd out of a horrible office job, I like how his experiences from his past life genuinely inform the way he interacts with other people. Working in a toxic environment where doing well just meant an ever-increasing burden left some scares, so now he tries to keep everything close to the chest. It's not much, but it's some nuggets of characterization that can't be taken for granted in this subgenre, and I could see Yuji becoming a relatable character once he's got more characters to bounce off of.
The show also smartly drops us into Yuji's life once he's already established his Tamer-Sage powers and gaggle of monster pals. Outside of a short flashback there's minimal time spent sifting through menu screens or having our hero scratch his head at being in a fantasy world. Instead we're dropped right into the action, which leads into a genuinely interesting conflict with an apparent doomsday cult, and hints that the ever-corrupt JRPG Church is up to no good as well. Instead of spending multiple episodes explaining Yuji's powers to us, we're given just enough to understand his deal, then actually get to the plot. That might confuse somebody who's never seen any other isekai story from the last six years, but as somebody who has to sit through a lot of these, I'm very thankful for the show getting to the actual story rather than faffing around with the obligatory game tutorial.
Altogether it may sound like I'm damning My Isekai Life with faint praise, but I really do appreciate a lot of the touches and tweaks it applies to this well-worn formula. It's not perfect, and with that second episode I doubt it'll ever regain the energy of that premiere, but in a season looking positively barren, I'll take “above average” over nothing.
From the author who brought you The Strongest Sage With the Weakest Crest comes another bland power fantasy, this time with bonus popular things like “slimes” and “isekai'd away because of overwork in a black company.” Yes, it's a thrill a minute in these two episodes adapting Shinkoshoto's light novels of the same name, by which I mean I was consistently distracted by virtually anything happening in the room while also trying to decide why “slime isekai” truly took off as a genre. (I settled on Dragon Quest as the answer, incidentally.)
So yes, this is, in many ways, an unremarkable premier for a played-out plotline. Office worker Yuji somehow went from being at work to lying on the ground in a forest, and he's apparently either tired enough or pop-culture savvy enough to be utterly unphased by the game stat window that's floating in front of his face. He's also already tamed a slime, who, for reasons perhaps best not pondered, immediately leads Yuji to an abandoned library in the woods and powers him up. But oh no, tamers as a class aren't respected by people for no good reason, and so Yuji has to prove himself to different Guild branches while being as badass as possible with no discernable emotions about anything.
That said, I do like the approach this is taking to adapting the source material. While I can't speak to the light novels, the manga (which Square Enix is releasing in English) is much more straightforward in its arrangement of the plot, opening with Yuji first arriving in generic fantasyland. The anime, on the other hand, gives us flashbacks while moving Yuji's adventures forward, and that works much better; by the end of these two episodes we still don't know how he ended up taming Proud Wolf or befriending a dryad, and doling that information out feels like a good move. I also very much like how a totally different art style is used for Yuji's life in Japan; it not only gets the point across, but also takes a bit of the sting out of the dryad's inexplicable horns or how dippy Proud Wolf's character design is.
Mostly, however, this feels bland and harmless. Or maybe that should be “toothless,” because the evil cult just doesn't feel like a real threat to Yuji's super awesomeness. But the ending theme is cute, I'm unreasonably entertained by a slime with a mustache, and being dull isn't really a crime. Just don't go into this expecting to be blown away.
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