Sei Takanashi had the life of a typical office worker, dull and stressful, but that all ended when she found herself summoned to the Kingdom of Saluntania in another world. The country is beset by monsters and, in an act of desperation, the mages of this country tried to summon a legendary “Saint” from another world who has the power to dispel miasma and save them.
Only, Sei wasn’t the only person they summoned! Alongside Sei was Aria Misono, a Japanese high schooler, and while some are convinced that Aria is the Saint, other officials aren’t too sure and don’t want to lose Sei just in case! So, after some negotiations, she finds herself living and working in the quiet Research Institute of Medicinal Flora, enjoying the work far more thoroughly than her old office work, and exploring her new magic in the process.
However, whenever Sei looks at her stats, she sees some crazy numbers and she has a hunch that she’s the Saint after all…..
Based on the cover and interior color images, I had assumed that this fluffy isekai story was also going to involve a love triangle between two men Sei meets in her new world but if anything this first volume felt like a rather conventional romance! I’m not complaining, since I often find love triangles a bit tedious, but I am a bit puzzled at this dissonance between the artwork and the text; Sei’s coworker Jude comes off more as a close friend than someone interested in her romantically (if anything it’s their boss Johan who has more shiptease with Sei) while Albert and Sei have chemistry almost immediately. It’s rather cute chemistry too — Sei is still being a bit too self-depreciating (gotta keep the “will they won’t they” tension up somehow!) but the series doesn’t feel like it’s dawdling as of yet on that front.
The story is a bit slow-paced but reads quickly, as over half a year passes in this first volume but none of the events feel stretched out. There’s only one area of this book that I disliked and it’s one detail that I really wish Yuka Tachibana had done differently for several reasons: Sei, like everyone, has an RPG-like stat box that only she can see and from the very beginning is says that she has a crazy high level, is labeled “Saint,” and that her Holy Magic proficiency is maxed out at ∞. Everyone knows that she can see her own stats but nobody thinks to ask her what they are, which isn’t the case for the other Saint candidate Aria, and for the fairly flimsy reason that they don’t want to upset her. Sei was rather tired when she was summoned and not at all happy so her first impression scared essentially every mage and royal official in the room so much that they are trying their hardest not to anger here again, which ends up meaning not pushing her on this one detail which would have otherwise sped up the entire story.
I just wish that Tachibana had handled this detail more gracefully; like if it was unusual for characters to be able to see their own stats in so much detail so nobody would even consider asking Sei to look at hers. It is a bit tedious to read about characters literally leveling up in a world that isn’t a game and I wish that “Editor W” from Kadokawa Books who solicited this title had worked with them more on this part when they plucked the story from “Let’s Be Novelists.”
Sei having scared the crap out of all of the higher ups at her summoning does lead to a funny result however: there are a few “behind the scenes” chapters in this volume where, since everyone is so desperate to not make her mad again (and being truly overly-worried about it), there’s actually quite a bit of maneuvering in the background to make her life easier, like anticipating her wish to work in the Institute and discreetly providing more guards once her powers start to become known instead of having her trailed by guards, etc. It’s a funny idea and without these chapters the fact that everyone is so scared of Sei trying to leave that they’ll do anything to avoid offending her, including directly asking her about her stats, wouldn’t hold water at all (since most officials is quite good at hiding it in their regular interactions with her).
Finally, after reading several light novels that did not have enough illustrations, I am pleased to report that not only did this volume have a sufficient number of illustrations but that Yasuyuki Syuri’s artwork is quite nice as well! It will be a little jarring to see the slightly different designs in the upcoming anime (it seems that Sei will be keeping her glasses longer in the anime than she does here) but that’s simply how adaptations go. I certainly plan on checking out more of the story, possibly through the light novels or possibly just through watching the anime, and am looking forward to more of Sei’s enviable slow life in another world.