Isekai Meikyuu de Harem wo was one of the first isekai light novels to ever exist, and it's pretty much the godfather of isekai as we know today, the WN and LN both came before Mushoku and Re:Zero were published, and many LN authors have cited it as an inspiration for their work. LN fans in Japan even consider it to be a classic among LNs.
And because of this I was curious to read it, and I can see why so many have taken inspiration from it. The story starts in a pretty interesting way, with our MC browsing suicide sites online because of
how horrible his life was, and while surfing the dark web he encounters a mysterious game, and then before starting the game he does everything he can to get the best possible character build using a randomizer option, and I mean that in a really desperate way. When he finally gets that, he desperately starts the game while ignoring the warnings that says that he will never be able to leave the game.
And that's how it starts, a pretty compelling way to start a isekai story, leaving your old shitty life where you had been bullied, abused, and had no friends, to starting life in another world with abilities that make you much stronger than everyone else. This may seem like a cliche, but back when the WN first started, those type of stories weren't as common as they are today, and this is another reason why so many authors were inspired by this series, some people just like to read wish-fulfillment stories like that, and the concept of starting life in another world is really captivating and interesting to some.
Now that I've gone over the premise and the back story, I would like to talk about the actual enjoyment that I had with reading it. One of the first things that I immediately noticed is how much "explanation" there is, the MC just has too many monologues and is always "overthinking" things if you could say that, this kinda took out a little bit of the enjoyment because things happen reaaaally slow. It takes pretty much the whole of volume 1 just for the MC to get his first slave, and while exploring the labyrinth he is always testing everything about his own skills and abilities, I kinda appreciate how much detail the author puts into his character and abilities, but it does feel a bit dragged out at times.
One of my main complaints however would be the art. I was used to light novels having really good art because all of the series I had read so far were relatively more modern series. But this LN has the same artist that worked on Fullmetal Panic and that's a really classic LN series from the 90s. So the art-style is really similar to those you see in classic anime from the 90s and 2000s.
This is even more disappointing because this is supposed to be an ecchi series, but the art really doesn't help it and it feels wrong to call this an ecchi.
And this leads to another complaint that I have, I thought this was supposed to be a really heavy ecchi series, from what I've heard from some manga readers, and MAL even labels it as "erotica", but this is definitely not even close to that. Compared to other ecchi LN series like Shinmai Maou and Masou Gakuen HxH, this series is not ecchi at all. Yes the MC has a harem of sex slaves, but pretty much none of the illustrations show them in a fan-service way, nor are their moments together on the bed even written or described.
So if you are coming to this series expecting an ecchi or fan-service than be prepared to be disappointed because pretty 80% of the LN is just about exploring the labyrinth.
Still it had it's moments and as far as fantasy LN goes it's pretty well written in that part.
I'd say from the 4 volumes that I read so far:
Volume 1 was the best
Volume 2 was decent
Volume 3 was boring
Volume 4 was ok
I heard the manga has better art-style and has more fan-service, so if you are looking for that than better read it instead, but if you strictly in for the fantasy, labyrinth exploring, and world-building, then you would be better off with the LN.
May 16, 2022
Having finally read the last volume nearly one year after it came out, I can finally make a conclusive review on this series that feels I have been following for so long. I came across Shinmai Maou not through the anime but simply because I was curious about it after seeing some of the illustrations online, seriously if you haven't already, check out some of these illustrations, they honestly made me immediately wanna read the novel.
I disagree with the other review here, if you are in for the ecchi definitely pick the LN over the anime, as far as ecchi goes I haven't seen any ... other series that go as far as this one, clearly crossing the line to hentai on later volumes, it gets so ridiculous that the anime had to pretty much censor or cut most of them. And this is one of the things that I liked the most about the series, I know most people don't like when a series is just fan-service and nothing else, but this one does a fine job of balancing both while having some of the best ecchi scenes LNs can offer. I like the progression from vol. 1 to vol. 13, the scenes get more and more lewd as the series progress and by the end of the story it's pretty much a hentai with most scenes being described in detail and with illustrations.
One thing I do agree with the other review is that the final arc of the series was disappointing, the demon realm arc that the anime covered was actually pretty fun and interesting in the LN, much better than how the anime adapted, but the final arc basically throws everything that was build up aside, and introduces a villain that the readers had forget about and frankly didn't care for. The final arc can be best summarized was one really long confusing battle that can be very tiring to read, one of my main problems with this series is how bad some of the writing is, I'm not a very critical reader nor I'm trying to come across as a writing expert, but from the translations that I have seen, it really annoys me how the author has to overly explain things way too much, a character will make a decision and then explain 20 different reasons why that's the best decision possible.
But either way its one of my favorite series and I definitely enjoyed my time with it, the art is great, the storyline can be fun at times, and I pretty much like all the characters, the way their relationship develops over time I feels is really well done and one of the series strong points. As far as ecchi light novels go this is one of the best and definitely worth a read if you are into that sort of thing.
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May 14, 2022
When I saw that this LN was getting an anime adaptation, I immediately had to pick it up to see why this of all light novels that are there, got picked up for an anime adaptation and a western physical release. There are many popular light novel series that never got an anime or a western release, but somehow this series that very few people know gets one, I'm honestly still trying to understand why.
I feel like I'm the only person who would actually read over 70 chapters of this, because quite frankly why would anyone else, it's targeted towards teens, but teens definitely ... wouldn't wanna read this, it clearly isn't targeted towards children since some of the content isn't entirely appropriate, so I have to question what demographic the author was trying to reach here.
But I'm surprised honestly, after reading the first few chapters I understood why its such an unknown series, because its really boring, there's no real drama or even fan-service for that matter, it's the most basic fantasy slice of life that someone could come up with, but still, it grew on me as it went on.
I feel one of the strongest aspect is the characters, Reiji is definitely very likeble and doesn't come off as pathetic or a wimp, Mina with her initial gag of being a ghost is really funny, and she is more mature and less childish then her counterpart Noela, who is my favorite character, the way the author writes her dialogue is really funny and something many people missed on the anime because the subtitles didn't do a good job. The rest of the cast is also filled with with different personalities, and they are all pretty likeble characters.
The plot if you can call that, is really simple, basically every chapter there's a new problem and Reiji uses his medicine making skill to make something that will solve it, there's definitely some variation, and not every chapter is the same, but they basically all follow the same formula.
The art, like pretty much 90% of LNs out there, is really good, something the anime missed because the art on the LN is really pretty.
I don't think its for everyone, it took some time for me to actually really like it, it's a very basic isekai story carried mostly by the characters and their interaction, its something written to be a chill read where you can just relax while reading it, so don't expect anything in the realm of romance, magic, or battles because this got none of that.
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Aug 29, 2021
So do you like isekai with harem tropes and a powerful MC in a world of swords and sorcery? Well then this one is for you, written by the same author of Redo of Healer, this isekai clearly takes inspiration from Mushoku Tensei, as it's initial chapters are very similar with some nearly identical aspects.
We follow our MC Lugh Tuatha Dé, who on his previous life was the world's greatest assassin, until one day his own allies turn on him and kill him, betrayed by his own people Lugh reflects on his own life and how he spent it being tool to a organization ... just to be disposed by them, he wishes that he could redo his life, a life where he would work only for himself. And upon this Lugh gets summoned by a goddess who grants him his wish, but in turn he has to help her with a job, and this job is to assassinate a powerful hero, who will save the world by killing the demon lord but later will turn rogue and will be source of much destruction, pain and suffering.
So as for the things I like: It has a very strong premise, which I think are some very clever ideas, the first few chapters are really good, it's very similar to Mushoku tensei and we have this detailed world building involving the magic system that is really clever and honestly surprised me a lot, I also like how instead of a loser self insert op character we have an experienced dude that in his previous life had no compassion, he is not afraid of using his skills to manipulate the people around him, and despite being very powerful we see he growing his powers throughout each volume, there are battles he can't win and enemies he cannot defeat, he is overall just a very smart character that doesn't do many things that seem out of character or stupid. And the art was overall really good, its way superior then most manga art I've seen (as LN art should be).
For the things I didn't like would've been some of the pacing, things happen either really fast or really slow, it's not so much a inconvenience because the content is still interesting, and the author does he improve his writing with each volume, in volume 1 specifically we spend a lot of time setting up this whole second identity "Merchant life" thing, which is useful for the story but I feel like it wasted too much time there, outside that not much to complain, light novels are supposed to be easy to read and this one is. I'm not expecting the next Shakespeare here.
The characters are all pretty standard isekai characters, all the girl's fall in love with the MC but there is genuine reasons for that. But what interested me the most was the dark tone it had when explaining the backstory of one of the characters, I guess I should've expected that given the author. Some romance appears later on and is developed naturally, it's not really something that feels forced, I genuine like the relationship and chemistry the characters have.
The side characters all have their unique aspects, but I expect the story to develop them more in the future.
The battles that happen on this LN are interesting to say the least, I liked the battle between kid Lugh and his father when they were training, but the final battle of volume 1 was rather disappointing, it does show a new spell that is super powerful and amazing, however it ends very fast and they barely do any fighting, Lugh just talks to his opponent and AHA! I have outsmarted you this whole time. The final battle from the second volume was actually my favorite, Lugh goes all out but its not enough and it shows that even for him there are enemies he can't defeat. And on volume 3 he legit pulls up a railgun and destroys his enemy.
I have only read 3 volumes so far, and I can say it gets better with each volume, volume 3 specially had some great character development and world-building as well as introducing new characters and mysteries, I'm honestly surprised by this LN and really recommend it if you like isekai stories but is genuinely bored of all the self-insert op main character stories out there.
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