What They Say:
Touya Mochizuki is killed. To make it up to him, God grants Touya a second chance at life in a fantastic new world. Adventure, fame, fortune, and a harem of cute girls await him across this otherworldly realm. But despite being a magical and physical prodigy, balancing the affections of his companions with his day-to-day activities is one challenge he’s definitely not prepared for!
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo while the English language dub gets the 5.1 boost, both of which are encoded using the Dolby TrueHD lossless codec. The series has a decent mix of dialogue and action though it leans more toward dialogue and some comical moments with the magic that aren’t exactly action to work itself out. The bigger action moments themselves are pretty good as we get sword fights, magic in the mix, and even some dragons to deal with. It’s not exactly like a big action series in how it works the forward soundstage for something rich and detailed but it’s solid and well-presented. The 5.1 mix basically takes all of this and bumps it up a little bit so that it’s a little more expanded but not terribly so. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout with no dropouts or distortions to be had on either language track.
Originally airing in 2017, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The twelve episodes are spread across two discs with nine on the first and three on the second. Animated by Production Reed, the show has a simpler look to it overall as it’s not a highly detailed one and the layering isn’t going for a rich real world look. But what we get looks very good with clean colors that remain solid throughout and some really nicely done moments of vibrancy that lets it stand out well. The busier scenes hold up well with no breakup to be had and there’s some good fluidity where it needs it the most. This isn’t a budget show when you get down to it but it’s one that works a simpler approach in how it looks. The encoding is solid throughout and fans of the show will like the high-definition presentation and how good the show does look with color definition in particular.
The packaging for this limited edition release is nicely done with what it includes and how it packages it. We get a slim heavy chipboard box that holds the thick Blu-ray case itself as well as the square bound booklet that’s included. The set also has a spacer box shrink wrapped with it that has artwork on both sides in grayscale of the cast where inside it holds the phone charm. It’s a lot of packaging for a small bonus item but there aren’t a lot of easy avenues in a packaging design like this to include it. The chipboard case is nicely done with bright colors and widgets against a white background while the center foreground has the main cast together with cute expressions. The back cover one goes for a full box visual with everyone taking a selfie together that’s cute even if the perspective feels a bit off. Within the box we get the case that uses the back cover artwork as its primary cover while the back cover has a standard approach with the summary, some cute material of the younger girls, and a few shots from the show. No show related inserts are included but more artwork is included with the reversible cover. The really nice bonus included in the set is the 40-page square bound booklet that uses some really slick paper and features character breakdowns for the most cast, some visuals, and some Japanese home video release images. It’s something that a fan would definitely want in going after this set.
The menu design for this release is cutely done as we get a number of good clips playing throughout it with a range of characters, focused heavily on the girls of course, where the bright colors and appealing designs set the tone well. It’s also helped that the lengthy logo is along the top and has a really bright white and pink design that you can’t not look at while the navigation block along the bottom left uses the same plus adds in some black and grey blocks. It’s all quick and easy to use and looks good as a main menu since it doesn’t take up a ton of space while also function very well as a pop-up menu during playback.
The extras for this release have some of the familiar pieces where we get the clean opening and closing sequences but we also get a nice and always welcome look at the eyecatches in a gallery. On the English language side, the eighth episode gets an audio commentary from the cast while the second episode steps up nicely with a video commentary with some of them that lets us get a nice experience as they talk about the show.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the light novel series of the same name written by Patora Fuyuhara and illustrated by Eiji Usatsuka, In Another World With My Smartphone is a twelve episode anime series that aired in the summer 2017 season. The original light novel series is up to fourteen volumes since beginning in 2015, which means they pretty much write themselves, and have been picked up by J-Novel Club for release. The anime was one that had both Crunchyroll and Funimation bringing it out during its broadcast with a sub and dub so it got some solid exposure and provided more of the isekai material to viewers while also hitting up some other familiar aspects to this particular subgenre.
The show is one that starts off oddly as we’re introduced to fifteen-year-old Touya as he’s sitting talking with God as Youta was accidentally killed by him. To make amends, he’ll bring him back to life but he can’t put him back into the world he was in, so he ends up in a fantasy world with all his past life experience and knowledge. He also gets a special bonus from God because it was God’s screw up in the form of keeping his smartphone with him that will be charged by magic, as it’s a world of magic. While he cannot call or text people from the other world, he can use it for lots of information to be read from there (like keeping up on favorite web novels) while also using it to integrate his magic within this world. Naturally, Touya is extra gifted in that of the six gems and style of magic that can be used here based on the elements plus light and dark, he can use them all whereas most can use one or two at best. He’s also able to use Null magic which is kind of a catch-all.
Touya basically gets to live out your standard wish fulfillment here. He’s able to make friends quickly in the twins Elze and Linze who fill him in on magic and that leads to him getting caught up in a few situations that allows him to save the duke’s life. That in turn eventually has him saving the king and his little harem grows as he gets engaged with the kings twelve-year-old daughter Yumina (with a two-year waiting period for him to adjust to the idea, his being from a land far away). He also gets friendly with Yae, who comes from a Japanese-like country called Eashen that Touya is believed to be from, and she’s basically right out of the Sakura Wars show and lots of other familiar games. Naturally, this is all standard harem stuff but it’s also got an easy “solve” as the king points out to him that polyngy is the norm here so he can have multiple wives.
Wiiiiish fulfillment achievement unlocked.
While God chimes in with a call every now and then as he’s enjoying watching Touya, what we essentially get is a huge disruptor let loose into the world. Touya’s knowledge allows him to create all sorts of things and use his magic in ways that others had never thought of before to give him advantages in fights, both offense and defense. It plays out well since it’s not actually going to seriously address this but when you get a scene where Touya is building bicycles through his magic that are pretty much exact replicas, that changes everything in how this world will function. He also introduces shogi and some other things along the way, all of which makes surmounting various challenges easy but at the same time feels like it’s about to set off a real “arms race” of sorts with those that use magic and can now start seeing new possibilities.
The series works things pretty well as the kind of fantasy adventure that you’d think it would be, which means mild an inoffensive politics for the most part, light adventure that doesn’t look deep at the kind of dangers and loss that would happen when an entire village is burned to the ground, and things getting a little more serious toward the end but not going into overdrive since that’s really not its style. It does, thankfully, avoid going into the route of playing with sports and culture festival and having Touya bring in a lot of cultural Japanese elements to his everyday life. It’s really very generic in this regard in that you could imagine him coming from most cultures and adapting to this, just with a background in reading light novels and the like. It’s cute, silly, and works a light touch with everything and that makes it easily accessible – but also a show that you never really connect with on a deeper level.
In Another World With My Smartphone is a cute show. It’s part of the numerous isekai shows that have been coming out for several years now so some of your enjoyment will depend on how you feel about those kinds of shows. What we do get here keeps things simple and fun and it works well if you simply take it as it is and not try to ascribe anything larger to it because there’s nothing deeper here. It’s silly and light and plays to the kinds of things fans want in the genre while delivering them in spades. It’s nicely animated but won’t stand out much yet it has some amusing quirks that lets it work better than it should, mostly because of the whole phone thing. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the show but it kept me entertained for a few hours and comes in a really nicely produced package with some fun extras that bigger fans than I will enjoy a great deal.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Episode 8 Commentary, Episode 2 Video Commentary, Eyecatch Gallery, Clean Opening & Closing Songs
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: A-
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: July 3rd, 2018
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.