Among the class transported to another world, Nagumo Hajime is an ordinary male student who didn't have ambition nor aspiration in life, and thus called "Incompetent" by his classmates.
The class was summoned to become heroes and save a country from destruction. Students of the class were blessed with cheat specifications and cool job class, however, it was not the case with Hajime, with his profession as a "Synergist," and his very mediocre stats.
"Synergist," to put it in another word, was just artisan class. Being the weakest, he then falls to the depth of the abyss when he and his classmates were exploring a dungeon. What did he find in the depth of the abyss, and can he survive?
Should I start this manga? That's the question that always plagues my mind when trying to find something to read while waiting for my beloved stories to be released.
-Moderate Spoilers- (If you don't want a quick plot overview skip down to the pros and cons)
The story starts off with MC-kun along with his class being transported to another world (Isekai, who'd have thought it) where they are to be collectively trained up in order to save the world from other beings. Unfortunately for MC-kun, he is betrayed along his journey and finds himself inside what would be a bottomless dungeon, the story follows his grind
to get out and find out who betrayed him. Sounding pretty good so far for the start-up, looking like a decent isekai lets see how it pans out.
MC-Kun drudges through challenge after challenge with the core idea to survive and be reunited with his allies, during this trip he finds another companion who vows to help him in said quest in exchange for free'ing them from their binds.
They continue on their merry way until they reach the end of the dungeon. This is where the shit hit the fan. Chapter 14.5 quickly wrapped up what should have been 2-4 chapters in only a couple of pages, and from there the entire setting, character design, goals and ideals, just changed. It was really weird when it happened because i re-read that chapter about 3 times not being able to figure out if I'd missed something or it was just poor story telling. From here on it was just your standard bland emotionless MC who finds and saves girls for his harem while one shotting his way to victory.
Interesting start for an Isekai
Difficult and gritty goal set
After chapter 14.5 the entire thing just fell apart
Goal was completely dropped
New sub plot was shoved in
Isekai Death-Pit (Where something that should occur over 2-5 chapters is shoved into 2 pages and explains why the MC deus ex machina'd their way into being either OP or not dead, i.e poor writing)
Will I continue to read it?
No, it started out very well and I was reading it eagerly as it came out, but after chapter 14.5 where the Isekai death-pit standard of time leap followed by over-buffing without explanation it became drool, that paired with the original goal and problems being forgotten like they never happened made it a drop for me. I did read on into the "new" plot but it was a major buzz kill for me.
This story is an exploration of hope and despair, a journey to its extremity for those betrayed. Bewarn, our MC is a total opposite from the typical heroes found in other Manga. He is just an average boy with below average ability. But this is what makes the story an interesting read. How is the author going to narrate a story of a bullied victim, ridiculed and harassed by classmates, a below average boy that's abandoned and friendless, who's buried deep in the pit of doom?
I did find the pacing to be very fast, perhaps too fast.
I don't think enough time was given to develop the character and backstory. Also, the MC not going the vengeance route might not sound logical, but with further thoughts I realize he did found hope in returning home, so it's actually rather appropriate he focus on this positive resolve. In similarity the MC likens more toward Captain America than Spiderman.
Let's see, the enjoyment would be a 7 but if I were to rate it overall, I'd properly give it a 5 or a 6. Why? Read below.....
*Also MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD*
1. Firstly, the MC's going with this whole "betrayal" theme here, although I didn't see anyone actually betraying him. I understand that he hates his classmates but when he's going of tangent that they betrayed him, it doesn't make sense at all. Because of the whole betrayal thing, he's become dark and everything but it all feels so fake, it doesn't have any substance at all(because there's no betrayal). If anything, they were actually
trying to help him.
2. Also, I don't what's going on, but it appears the creators think that either all the readers are kids or either they're targeting them, either way the MC's appearance becomes really annoying. It was cool at first, white hair, black veins on his face but then he got a mechanical arm and suddenly he had one of those detective outfits with a tie tucked into a long coat, SPOILER----and he also had one eye. I mean, what are they going for with this appearance, it's clearly overkill.
3. Bringing the present to their world. What do I mean? Imagine a medieval world with horse drawn carriages, those medieval like buildings, adventure guilds...all that sort of stuff, now imagine our glorious MC fucking riding on a bike through this place. Honestly, I face palmed so hard. He even has guns that operate like railguns, and hammers that fucking shoot missiles and can change their length. Facepalm again.
4. Also, no explanation of his abilities at all. He suddenly starts eating monster meat and gains their powers...what? Does that mean that if the other heros or even the villagers starting eating the meat they gain such powers? Doesn't that mean that MC is basically powerless if that's the case and if it isn't, where's the explanation?
5. Then, any romance at this point feels so weird. The MC, reminds me of some fifty-something cowboy riding off into the dust or something with his current appearance ; imagine if one of his 15 year old classmates started dating him...it feels really weird.
6. The breakdown scene before he becomes his current self doesn't make sense at all. Like with the whole betrayal thing, no substance at all. It goes something like this " I don't wanna die...I don't wanna die...I wanna die...I want to go home...I'm going to kill everyone who stands in my way" He just gets up suddenly like that and starts talking, personally, this made absolutely no sense. If it was coupled with actual betrayal then it probably would.
Besides that, I have no other problems. I quite like the other characters, the art and the plot.
FOREWORD: This review contains minor spoilers for Arifureta by comparing it to other similar Isekai series.
What do you get when you cross Tate no Yuusha, No Game No Life, and enough edge to cut yourself by simply looking at it the wrong way? You get Arifureta's plot.
Do you remember that one kid who, when first introduced to Dungeons and Dragons, came up with this insanely edgy character with an entire graphic novel for a backstory that had badass prosthetic limbs and absurd weapons/tools at their disposal right from the start of the campaign? That's Arifureta's main character.
Ever read a fan-fiction novel written by a bored
high schooler with an overactive imagination and ceaseless libido? That's what Arifureta's writing feels like.
And yet, despite all of this I actually find myself enjoying Arifureta. It can't claim the title of "King of Trash" - that already belongs to No Game No Life - but I'd gladly give it an honorable mention as the "Baron of Trash".
Premise - Clusterduck
Arifureta's premise is pretty unoriginal. It takes inspiration from a lot of really well-renowned Isekai series starting with the "useless hero" of Tate no Yuusha and follows a similar revenge plot line. At least, at first. After a while it slowly meshes into something that feels like No Game No Life - but much, much edgier.
Pacing - Fast
I dislike the pacing of Arifureta - it feels a little too fast at times. It misses out on a lot of potential character and world building by skimming through things and skipping over details. In some cases I don't mind it, but Arifureta does it a little too much for me.
Mood - Clusterduck x2
In the first volume, Arifureta felt incredibly gritty and gruesome. I really enjoyed it for that. After that, it lightened up a la No Game No Life and seemed to stop taking itself so seriously, which is a bit of a shame.
Overall - Meh
If I were to rate the story based on the first volume alone, I'd give it a solid praise. The first volume was exhilarating to read. Everything after that... while it's not bad, the sudden shift of tone completely killed my original expectations for the series, which is unfortunate.
Style - Gritty
The art style of Arifureta is definitely worth some praise. It's highly detailed, fluid, and very pretty to look at. The character style is quite standard, but the line work is exceptionally detailed at times.
Fanservice - Yes, but not overly done
It actually takes some time before the more risque stuff shows up with a certain character, and beyond them it's actually pretty laid back most of the time - which really surprised me.
Overall - Wow
I'll just cut to the chase - the art in Arifureta is pretty awesome, especially in volume 1. The panels are highly detailed and very highly stylized with lots of lines and contrast. It's a step above the quality I've come to expect from most manga. Quite simply, it's beautiful.
Personalities - Passable
If you did a side by side comparison with No Game No Life's Sora and Shira and replaced social anxiety with pure edginess, you'd get the main duo in Arifureta. Their sidekick is also somewhat reminiscent of Steph at times. The side characters of Arifureta are little more than empty tropes in most cases, which is a shame. All in all, it's passable, but nothing to praise.
Depth - lol.
Yeah, no. If you're looking for deep, well-developed characters you're in the wrong place.
Growth - *crickets*
I guess if you consider the main character getting edgier as time goes on, sure? Otherwise, nope. Maybe this will change later on though. Or maybe not, I'm not getting my hopes up.
Overall - Meh
I don't actually dislike any of the main characters in Arifureta, and that's probably because they are mirror images of the characters we all know and love from other Isekai series. They're fun, albeit really edgy, and I don't find them detracting too much from my enjoyment of the manga. Just don't expect anything deep or original.
In the end, and as I've continually repeated throughout my review, it's a bit of a shame. Arifureta had the potential to be something truly great and started off extremely strong. While I don't hate the direction it's taking, it could have been so much more.
"What? After all that," you might be saying, "they give it an overall score of 7?!"
Yeah, I do. Because Arifureta, despite having many faults, is fun. I enjoy Tate no Yuusha, I enjoy No Game No Life, and so a series that combines the better elements of both is something I enjoy as well. It may not be deep, it may not be all that unique as a whole, but I can forgive all of that because it is fun to read.
If you go in expecting a grittier Tate no Yuusha, prepare to be disappointed. If you go in expecting an edgier No Game No Life, then you'll probably enjoy Arifureta. Thus, I crown Arifureta the "Baron of Trash". Just as garbage as the trash it takes after, but just as fun as well.
I will cautiously recommend Arifureta given that you can look past the many issues that plague it and just enjoy it at face value. If you do, it's a fun read with really good art. But goodness is it ever EDGY.