Reviewby Rebecca Silverman,
The Other World's Books Depend on the Bean Counter
Seiichiro Kondou is just your average over-worked nearly-thirty-year-old man, dragging himself through an unhealthy work/life balance. One night on his way home from the job, he hears a scream for help and discovers a teenage girl being pulled into a portal to another world. He tries to help her, but ends up tagging along on her summoning. Now stuck in a parallel fantasy realm, Kondou isn't content to just let the state take care of him, and he insists that he be given a job in accounting. But his idea of how to work and the new world's don't agree, and since he's a tagalong to Yua's summoning, it quickly becomes clear that he doesn't have the requisite magic tolerance to survive. Knight Captain Aresh Indolark finds himself coming to the other man's rescue…and somehow can't bring himself to leave Kondou alone. Can Kondou learn to live a healthier lifestyle, or is he doomed to be doted on by a stoic young knight for the rest of his life?
The Other World's Books Depend on the Bean Counter is translated by Emma Schumacher.
The Other World's Books Depend on the Bean Counter is off to a slow start, but it knows it, and that makes all the difference. That also probably means that it's a pretty close adaptation of the source light novels, because the comment about the slow start is made by the original novel's author, who promises that things start moving a bit faster in the second manga volume. This definitely proves true, and it also means that this is a series that's taking pains to establish its premise and its protagonist, and even if the plot isn't galloping along, it's still a good take on both isekai and the fact that sometimes being too good at what you do can turn around and bite you.
It's also a bit like a slightly darker, BL version of The Saint’s Magic Power is Omnipotent. Kondou, the protagonist, is an overworked Japanese accountant. He's proud of what he does, but he's also aware that he's slowly working himself to death and that he has to make a change if he wants to get healthy. On his way home from work one night he hears a girl screaming; when he finds her, she's half-way into a magic circle. When Kondou tries to help her escape, he ends up getting pulled in as well, and suddenly he's the extra baggage a fantasy kingdom wasn't expecting when they summoned themselves a sacred maiden. They're pretty decent about it, really – Kondou is offered enough support that he could just hang out and not work for the rest of his life. But he can't stand that thought, so he asks for a job in the palace's accounting department, and that's where things get awkward.
Kondou is too motivated and good at his job, and that has repercussions for him in an environment where everyone else has a healthy work/life balance and is more interested in keeping the knights happy than in balancing the budget. Among his problems are the fact that he has no magic tolerance, which leads him to overdose on “herbal tonic” (basically energy potions) and then find himself in bed with the stoic knight captain whose eye he caught (not, initially, in a good way). But it also puts him on the outs with Yua, the girl he tried to rescue, because she doesn't want to think analytically about the situation she's been placed in and has imbibed the kool-aid about how much the kingdom needs her – and if their books are anything to judge by, she should definitely be questioning that. His strong work ethic could also get him taken advantage of by the wily prime minister, something that looks set to become the major conflict Kondou faces going forward.
By volume two, however, the focus has shifted to Kondou and Knight Captain Aresh Indolark's relationship. Aresh, having saved Kondou, now feels both honor-bound (since he did have sex with him) and personally invested in the other man's health, and much to Kondou's confusion and dismay, he sets out to figure out what, precisely, is causing his problems. Since Aresh isn't the kind of person others typically say no to, Kondou finds himself being dragged to the doctor for tests and subsequently forced to eat healthy, balanced meals that have the lowest possible number of “magicules,” an airborne form of magic particles that he has no resistance to. Kondou goes along with all of this with moderately ill-grace; he's stuck in the thinking of modern Japan as far as work goes, and he doesn't see himself as being the problem, but rather everyone else who leaves work on time and takes their lunch breaks. Aresh at first doesn't even try to understand his perspective, but by the end of the second volume, he's seeing that while Kondou is too enthusiastic about working, he's perhaps been not invested enough in the minutiae of his job. The implication is that they both need to learn from each other about the best balance for a good life, and that's a lesson Aresh is much more invested in than Kondou right now.
He's also not quite aware of the fact that he's falling for the other man. Kondou's too angry (in a mild way that seems to be all he's really capable of) at his change in circumstances and the fact that no one understands his work ethic to be thinking about romance; he mostly seems to brush off the sex as something that had to happen to save his life from magic poisoning. (The justification is the usual injection of bodily fluids to create antibodies. Trite but effective in this case.) He also accepts that Aresh is going to need to kiss him from time to time for the same reason; Aresh, on the other hand, is starting to find himself increasingly invested in Kondou's treatment and well-being. When Yua tries to heal Kondou, Aresh reacts swiftly and nearly violently; although he justifies it by the fact that Kondou probably can't handle anyone else's magic/magicules in his fragile state, the way he phrases it and his body language scream that he doesn't want anyone else to touch his man. Similarly, when someone accuses Kondou of stalking Yua back in their world (because he followed her screams) and Kondou brushes it off by saying that he's not interested in dating someone younger, Aresh (who is twenty-two to Kondou's thirty) is horrified and begins worrying about the statement immediately. If he hasn't figured it out yet, he's definitely on the cusp of it.
Despite a slower first volume, The Other World's Books Depend on the Bean Counter is a solid, engaging story. While it isn't entirely fair to call it a slightly racier version of The Saint’s Magic Power is Omnipotent, it definitely has moments where it feels like it, and when you pair that with some really attractive art, this has the air of a winner. If you're looking for more grownup isekai or BL isekai, this isn't a series you want to pass over.
Overall : A-
Story : B+
Art : A
+ Very nice art, older protagonist gives this a bit of an edge. Interesting character dynamics and world building.
|discuss this in the forum (3 posts) |
Full encyclopedia details about