Isekai a.k.a. Another World web & light novels have saturated the market so thoroughly that some companies are actively discouraging up and coming authors in making them. Especially with how simple the formula has become i.e. (Another Fantasy World) + (Current Year Protagonist) + ( X ) = PROFIT. So as we reach "peak" Isekai, I felt like I had to check out this piece of trash, where the ( X ) = Smartphone.
And to my surprise, In Another World With My Smartphone is actually pretty good. Incredibly generic and as lighthearted as an "Iyashikei", yet it still kept me interested through these +100 chapters.
Starting this Fantasy, Harem, Adventure series with low expectations, the story kicks off with our seemingly generic protagonist (Touya Mochizuki), being killed and subsequently resurrected into another world, by a god of sorts. Since this god does feel a tad responsible for accidentally killing him, god decides to give Touya's new character a "slight" buff, but I guess like most game devs, god has over-tuned him to the point where now he is basically a Demigod of this world. But until Touya can unleash death and destruction upon the land, he must first utilize the one thing god allowed him to bring to this fantasy world... His Smartphone. That and his maxed out stats in "seduction", to unknowingly acquire a harem.
One way to describe the story is that there is an amazing amounts of world building, with no real direction. As Touya stumbles upon incidents, events & coincidences and just goes with the flow. Easily solving any issues with his god-like power. Which honestly should make this story and its protagonist bland and uninteresting. Yet I still found this story fun to read, as each event (large or small) flows from one to the next and affects one another. Plus certain developments do in fact lead to an overarching narrative. But most of all I enjoyed seeing how the mere presence of a being like Touya affects such a world, like with the introduction various forms of entertainment. It's during this downtime, in between major events that the characters are allowed to thrive.
Main characters like Touya are what anyone would think of when asked to picture an over-powered, dark-haired, male protagonists, who's amazingly dense he when it comes to his romantic encounters. Honestly I get sick of seeing such dull characters, plaguing the harem genre and failing to experience much in the form of romantic or character development. Because what is even left to gain, once one is gifted with so much and so easily? However Touya goes from someone with no goals, no personality and without a care in the world; to someone with musical interests, a sadistic personality, genuine romantic attachments and thus a stake in this world.
Part of the "stake" being the harem, who are an interesting bunch of clichés. Almost something for everyone (no kuudere though). But just like the protagonist, they gradually become less bland, as they also develop various interests, hangups and special traits. Although there is one major issue I had and it also affects the harem. There are just so many characters. Far too many to remember. The last I checked there are about 150 named characters and at least a third of them are important.
So here we have another Isekai Power-fantasy; featuring one the most overpowered anime, manga or light novel main character in existence. And yet the story manages to give this protagonist something to struggle with, something to fear. All while he improves his territory and dabbles in diplomacy, whilst the scope of the world constantly expands. A fantasy world that borrows more than is necessary from our world and is immensely full of fantasy tropes. Nevertheless if all you care about is the harem, then at least here you have one of the best harem stories that achieves the true harem-ending. None of that ambiguous BS.