29th Oct2018

‘In Another World With My Smartphone’ Blu-ray Review

by Xenia Grounds

another-world-smartphone-blu

Allow me to share a little of my reviewing history with you guys. My first ever anime review was the first season of Sword Art Online. In that review, I mentioned that every now and then, a show, movie, game or series comes along that divides people. Some will love it while the other side will only see the flaws. I bring this up because this applies to In Another World With My Smartphone which reminds me a lot of Sword Art Online with a little dash of Angel Beats. Unfortunately, it doesn’t remind me of the good parts of those animes.

In Another World With My Smartphone starts with our main protagonist, Touya, finding out from God himself that he’s dead due to a mistake he made so he gives Touya a new life on another world. Hilariously or unrealistically depending on your perspective, Touya takes that news pretty well. The only request Touya has is that he keeps his smartphone to accompany him on his journey wherever that may be. This is a very relaxed show as it doesn’t have the traditional stakes of a fantasy show like the end of the world. There’s no angst and the characters don’t take everything too seriously. That kind of approach admittedly has charm but it doesn’t save the show.

With a premise like this one, the setting should’ve been a lot more exciting as anything goes but it’s a bland fantasy world. It seems like that was the choice because it’ll appeal more to the audience as it’s like a world for an RPG and many anime viewers are also gamers. It’s a medieval world, characters can use magic but the world never really feels alive as you’ve seen it all before if you know the essential fantasy genre tropes but the flaws don’t end there.

The thing that’ll probably divide the audience most lies in its main protagonist, Touya. I already mentioned how he takes being killed by mistake pretty well which is a good indicator for the type of protagonist you’re in for. If you cut out that part, it would be easy to believe that he’s just a guy from an unnamed distant land as he’s never seen in our world. Touya is a bit of a blank slate and seems like he’s doing things because he’s the main character rather than having actual motivation which works given the easy-going tone of the show but it doesn’t excuse him from being uninteresting. It doesn’t help that he’s made practically overpowered from the start coming across like a messiah and seems to be the reason why he develops his own harem. Speaking of the harem, the large female cast in this show is likeable and inoffensive but there’s nothing about them that stands out although I am thankful that they aren’t used largely for fan service like another anime I’ve mentioned in this review.

Another problem with the show is its tone which is all over the place. It transitions from being a comedy or a fantasy action series or a harem so quickly that it could give you whiplash especially in the beginning. Although, it doesn’t really succeed in the comedy department as I never laughed out loud but there are moments where I did chuckle. This is because a lot of the jokes you can see coming from a mile away if you know the basics of harem comedies. They involve our male protagonist in rather precarious situations with the other girls much to his dismay but it’s very hit and miss and it’s usually the latter.

The smartphone should be mentioned considering it’s in the title of the show but it’s treated like an afterthought. It doesn’t really have any importance for much of the series and it would’ve been better if it served as Touya’s only advantage in this world but he’s so overpowered that he doesn’t really need it all that much.

There isn’t much to say about the dub because there’s no remarkable performances but that’s a given since the characters don’t give the voice actors much to work with. Although, going from Yuri!!! On Ice to this will remind you that Josh Grelle can do so much better than Touya. The animation is in the same position as it fits the tone of the series very well but that’s it.

It may come across like I hate this show but I don’t. It’s a harmless watch but depending on your tastes, you’ll forget about In Another World With My Smartphone pretty quickly after you’ve finished. It doesn’t ask you to be on the edge of your seat but encourages you to sit back and relax. If you’re looking for an anime that you can watch in the background, then this will be perfect.

In Another World With My Smartphone is released on Blu-ray today, October 29th, courtesy of Sony.

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