• remind me tomorrow
  • remind me next week
  • never remind me
Subscribe to the ANN Newsletter • Wake up every Sunday to a curated list of ANN's most interesting posts of the week. read more


by Rebecca Silverman,

So What's Wrong with Getting Reborn as a Goblin?

GN 1

So What's Wrong with Getting Reborn as a Goblin? GN 1

It would be hard to say that Akira Yagami was living his best life, but it still wasn't one that he wanted to end at the ungentle hands of Truck-kun. After working late helping out a younger coworker, Akira is killed when he runs out into traffic to save a child from a runaway truck. As he's dying, he thinks about the things he wishes he could have done differently. The next thing he knows, he's opening his eyes in a different world, surrounded by goblins. He quickly figures out that he, too, is a goblin with some extraordinary gifts. Can Akira fulfill his dreams in this new world and new body?

So What's Wrong with Getting Reborn as a Goblin is translated by Caleb Cook and lettered by Carolina Hernandez.


If you are familiar with Nazuna Miki's other works, you may have an inkling of where this title is headed. Many of their previous titles have the word “harem” in them prominently, and while this one does not, it could very quickly take on that particular aspect. That the writer does not immediately take advantage of their own plot's lore to do this; therefore, it feels like they aren't trying to take the easy way out. The goblins in this story are not the goblins we see more typically in fantasy manga; one of their chief defining factors is that they have a lifespan of only seven days, making reproduction a major priority for them in order to sustain the species. They're less killer bees and more mayflies, and it would have been very simple for the story to focus on an unnaturally long-lived goblin, making himself the father of all goblins.

Alongside their short lives, goblins (and probably all species) are born with some unique ability, which can be passed on to the goblin of their choosing at their death. Based on his sorrow at his first life ending so quickly and abruptly, Akira has been reborn with the unique power of an octogenarian. This guarantees him an eighty-year lifespan, unlike his fellow goblins. Because this means he has been present at the deaths of so many of his fellows, he has amassed an impressive collection of special abilities. He also ends up disproving the general wisdom that a power can only be passed on to another of your same species when he stumbles upon a dying demon in the forest; this demon turns out to be the Archfiend, and he is so intrigued and impressed by Akira that he offers up his unique skill to the one person present at his deathbed. Since this skill allows anyone who attempts and fails to kill its bearer to be placed under their thrall, Akira does not have to rely on the goblin ladies for any harem aspects that may appear. Since he is not attracted sexually to the goblin women (to him, they look like chibi mascots), the author has come up with a decent workaround that still allows him to collect all the ladies.

Although this is very much a present component of this volume, it clearly isn't the be-all and end-all either. The primary drive of this book is Akira figuring out his new life and world. Despite his new adorable form, he still thinks very much like a twenty-nine-year-old Japanese man, allowing him to quickly rise in the political ranks of the goblins to become their de facto ambassador to the outside world. The way that humans see goblins rapidly becomes a factor; goblins are decidedly viewed as a lesser race, and it is even revealed that humans have in the past kept goblins as pets. While Akira is uncomfortable with this notion, the more significant issue is that his presence and intelligence make the humans suspicious of a group they always regarded as basically cute and stupid. This is something that Akira himself has not quite figured out yet, and it stands to be the primary driving force of the story going forward. It raises the question of how Akira will use the power he acquired from the Archfiend; it would be all too easy to defeat enough people with his myriad of skills and declare himself ruler of the world.

Watching him try to sort through the race relations that govern his new life is this volume's most interesting part of the story. He quickly gains the trust of a young human woman from the nearest town, and that he does so without having to use the Archfiend's power is an excellent sign. Whether or not he can, with her help, convince the nobleman who rules the nearby town that it is better to work together than to be at each other's throats will very likely determine the course of the story. This feels like it gives So What's Wrong with Getting Reborn as a Goblin? a bit of an edge that it might not otherwise have because it is still, in many ways, a very boilerplate isekai story: regular guy reborn as overpowered in a fantasy world with the ability to get all the girls is definitely something we've seen many times before. But there are enough differences in the fantasy world-building that make this enjoyable, even if you are burned out on the basic framework. The goblins are interesting in their function within the fantasy realm.

It also certainly helps that they're adorable. They have slightly unsettlingly long arms, but their character designs look ready-made for plush toys, and if the rest of the art doesn't quite live up to the goblins, well, it makes up for it with detailed backgrounds and a general pleasing aspect. Neither art nor story lingers too long on any one point, and even Akira's drastically increased sex drive due to his new species is handled as just another bit of world-building rather than a significant horned-up plot point. Simply put, this book works better than its title and genre might lead you to believe and is worth checking out.

Disclosure: Kadokawa World Entertainment (KWE), a wholly owned subsidiary of Kadokawa Corporation, is the majority owner of Anime News Network, LLC. Yen Press, BookWalker Global, and J-Novel Club are subsidiaries of KWE.
Overall : B
Story : B
Art : B+

+ Adorable goblin designs, interesting fantasy world building. Feels just different enough from its boilerplate brethren.
Still pretty typical of the genre, search bar element to reincarnation feels unnecessary.

discuss this in the forum (1 post) |
bookmark/share with: short url
Add this manga to
Production Info:
Story: Nazuna Miki
Art: Tsukasa Araki
Licensed by: Yen Press

Full encyclopedia details about
So What's Wrong with Getting Reborn as a Goblin? (manga)

Review homepage / archives