Saitou was a handyman in his old world, modern-day Japan, and now he puts his skills to the test with his party of fellow adventurers. Now in a fantastical world filled with wizards, fairies, monsters, knights, and more, Saitou is just the man for the job when a lock needs to be picked on a dungeon door or a treasure chest.
Handyman Saitou in Another World, Vol. 1 is an isekai, a genre of manga in which the protagonist is transported or reborn in a different world. Our main character, Saitou, starts the manga already settled into his new world working alongside a group of three other adventurers, the powerful wizard Morlock, who tends to forget how to cast his spells due to his advanced age, the warrior Raelza, who acts masculine but has a sweet side to her, and the fairy healer Lafanpan, who charges even her teammates for healing (unless it’s a matter of life or death). Each chapter focuses on the group’s various adventures, while periodically dropping clues about Saitou’s past life as well as the background of the other group members. Side story chapters introduce additional characters as well who inhabit the fantasy world as well.
Even though this is the first volume, the reader is thrown into the mechanics of the fantasy world Saitou now lives in with little explanation other than the introductions of Saitou’s team members. The series presumes the reader is familiar with the isekai genre and is able to keep up as Saitou’s story is revealed through subtle and brief flashbacks. In addition, the story presumes that the reader is a least somewhat aware of gaming tropes and terms, particularly role playing games.
Despite the potential reader confusion, the characters are fun and are the main incentive to continue reading. Saitou, seemingly considered unimportant in his old world, finds a home with his team. Each team member is humorous and charming in their own right as more is revealed about them. Seeing how Saitou uses not only his handyman skills to be useful to the team but also his caring and helpful nature to support them (for example, he has memorized Morlock’s spells so he can recite them to the forgetful wizard during battle) is endearing.
Ichitomo’s art is well suited to the fantasy setting. It’s almost like a love letter to role-playing games. Everything from the characters to their armor and equipment to the monsters is highly detailed. The action flows well between panels and while some scenes cater to fanservice, each character is fully realized and conveys genuine emotion.
The manga is currently being translated into English. Though it has a publisher rating of Teen, the manga contains some lewd humor and derogatory insults, as well as on panel sexual intercourse, though it is not explicitly drawn. There is also some fantasy violence as characters are fighting monsters on their quests, though nothing too graphic. Due to some of these elements, Handyman Saitou in Another World, Vol. 01 may be suited for a more mature audience such as older teens and adults.
Handyman Saitou in Another World Vol. 1
By Kazutomo Ichitomo
Yen Press, 2023
Publisher Age Rating: T
NFNT Age Recommendation: Adult (18+), Older Teen (16-18)