Pick of The Geek – Jaryuu Tensei
If you’re a fan of manga and light novels it won’t have passed you by that there has been a huge increase in the “transported to another world” storylines. The success of Re:Zero has lead to a tidal wave of copycat stories trying to cash in on that same idea.
Jaryuu Tensei falls into that bracket but it also manages to stand out from the crowd. The story follows an everyday salaryman who meets an unfortunate end when he is ran over by a couple who were more focused on kissing than the road ahead. He awakens in a new world reincarnated as an overpowered dragon which is seen as evil and comes under constant attack from adventurers who are out to make their name. He starts to go by the name Ja and attempts to live peacefully in an area with a group of slimes who look up to him as their boss. After a few years, he becomes friends with an adventurer who takes her time out from attempting to defeat him to actually discover he’s not evil. The plot progresses to a battle against a local tyrant which the dragon plunders a pill from which can change him back to a human form. The dragon then leaves his slimes behind to undertake a new human life and he picks up new friends and foes along the way.
Jaryuu Tensei is a promising manga which should one day become a big animated series. It certainly has that potential, the plot is interesting and the characters are well drawn. It might seem at times like the reincarnated theme manga trope is just going through every fantasy beast, Tensei shitara slime datta ken is a similar series which pops to mind when reading Jaryuu Tensei, where a salaryman reincarnated as a slime. Who knows, maybe down the line, the series could do a crossover. However, Jaryuu stands apart and while there may be some familiar elements to it, it’s those elements which are successful in other series work well and are often used to move the story in a new direction. An example of this can be seen when Ja in human form, he buys a slave, similar to what happens in rise of the shield hero, however, unlike that plot Ja intends to sell the slave on for a profit. It’s a refreshing take to see a character set out to be a hero have such a trashy personality. Whilst reading I thought it would follow a predictable plot but it’s little things like that which surprise you. Sure, the slave girl ends up being his companion later on but the fact he saw her as a commodity from the off was a shock.
The series is still young after being launched in August 2016 but is well worth the read especially for fans of the fantasy genre.