By Shelley Pallis.
Belying his humdrum title, Hitsuji Gamei’s caller The Magic successful This Other World is Too Far Behind kicks disconnected with an archetypal and breathtaking double-bluff. Using the connection of fairy tales, helium chronicles the emergence to powerfulness of Felmenia Stingray, a nobleman’s girl who masters galore magical arts astatine a young age, and adjacent tames the untameable “white flame” – the astir almighty of spells. She is inactive successful her teens erstwhile called upon to signifier a enactment to decision the predatory Demon Lord, and hence wholly unprepared erstwhile 1 of her would-be wizards tells her to piss disconnected and conscionable fto him spell home.
Ah. There it is. But, adjacent then, it is not rather the “And past abruptly helium was whisked distant to different planet” nonsense of truthful galore light novels. For our leader Suimei is simply a modern-day Japanese antheral transplanted to different world, that overmuch is true, but helium has been experimenting with the occult for implicit a decade. This, astatine least, means that helium accepts the abrupt quality of a teleportation ellipse successful the thoroughfare with a akin motion to galore different airy caller hero. In fact, helium is not adjacent “our hero”. He is idiosyncratic else’s hero’s reluctant sidekick who refuses to play along, arsenic if 1 of the hobbits astatine Rivendell said that the Fellowship could unrecorded without him, and that helium would overmuch alternatively spell buying successful Isengard.
If Middle America gets annoyed astir Harry Potter (actually, travel to deliberation of it, isn’t everybody expected to beryllium annoyed astir Harry Potter now?), they volition flip the proverbial array implicit if they ever perceive of Magic successful This Other World, which takes it arsenic fixed from the commencement that a trio of teenagers should fiddle with achromatic magic for a spot to guarantee that they are invited connected a quest successful a phantasy world. And erstwhile they get there, it volition crook retired that their Earth-born magic is truthful overmuch amended than the crappy cantrips that walk for sorcery successful this world.
Most airy novels are cynical – don’t get maine started. But there’s being cynical astir the readers’ intelligence, and past there’s being cynical astir the rules of “fantasyland”, and it’s the second benignant that I bask the astir – stories similar Sexiled and Infinite Dendrogram that situation our expectations regarding each pulp fictions. The Magic successful This Other World has a interaction of El Hazard astir it, practically billing itself not arsenic the communicative of the Great Hero, Reiji, summoned to prevention a faraway world, but of his truly annoyed person Suimei, who truly needs to spell backmost to Earth. As noted by Jeannette Ng on this precise blog, Japanese portal fantasies wherever the protagonists really privation to permission are somewhat rare.
As Reiji and Girl-Next-Door Mizuki, his chap Earth people, are whisked on the stereotypical stages of a quest narrative, Suimei sullenly tags along, becoming an progressively bitter and snappy chorus from the side-lines, commenting connected however rubbish this each is. It is astir arsenic if a novelist with existent acquisition and endowment has invited himself on to 1 of the astir generic and naff D&D fanfics, and is turning perpetually to the scholar to snicker astir however unspeakable it is.
Of course, for this to work, helium and his readers request to person ne'er heard of Bored of the Rings oregon The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, and a slew of different things earlier the light-novel improvement acceptable the boundaries of acquisition truthful parochially narrow, but from the precise archetypal pages of The Magic successful This Other World, I warmed to Gamei’s quirky deconstruction of the genre’s threadbare tropes. In particular, helium points retired that the gee-whiz enthusiasm with which truthful galore protagonists greet their small travel to magicland successful airy novels alternatively obscures the broader reality: that they person efficaciously been kidnapped and turned into kid soldiers successful idiosyncratic else’s war. Suimei objects to being human-trafficked conscionable to decision immoderate notional Demon Lord, and helium turns the aerial impressively bluish erstwhile it turns retired that his kidnappers don’t really cognize however to get him location again anyway. In that regard, helium is thing of an off-beat inheritor of different large dissenting fantasist, the aggravated Michael Moorcock who wrote Wizardry and Wild Romance.
The Magic successful This Other World is Too Far Behind is published by J-Novel Club and disposable successful the UK from Anime Limited.