I’m Really Not the Demon God’s Lackey (or is he?)

I recently came across a video on YouTube which briefly detailed the events of the first two chapters of a manga. It amused and intrigued me, and so I poked around the internet a bit to find an online – but probably unofficial – copy of it, translated into English. There were, when I read it, just over seventy chapters available, but they were so brief and entertaining that I read it all within a few days, and I am closely following the release of future chapters in eager anticipation. There are a few technical issues here and there – some long panels are clearly meant to be horizontal, not vertical, and sometimes the translated dialogue is iffy – but I would not at all mind finding a proper copy, and I really would not mind seeing it translated into an anime.

In short, I was instantly hooked by I’m Really Not the Demon God’s Lackey, and it has satisfied me so well that all I want is more.

The story centers on one Mr. Lin Jie, a native of Earth who actually managed to isekai himself on purpose. A young man who loves books to no end, he made a deal with an otherworldly entity so he could obtain all of them, all the books in the entire world. As part of the deal, he left our world and went to another one, wherein he set up shop in the great, techno-magical city of Nokin, allowing his customers to browse, borrow, or buy any book they want, which, as he is able to refresh his shelves and access every book on Earth, makes for the largest of all libraries within a humble little book shop. At the same time, as he engages his customers in conversation, he fancies himself as something of a life coach and soul-healer. And it is true, every customer who enters his shop leaves in greater spirits than they had before.

There’s just one thing: he, his shop, and his books are all much more than he realizes. Every conversation he has is conducted in such a way that the conversation he thinks he’s having is very different for the other party, and yet he manages to say exactly the thing that they most need to hear. And when he hands someone a book, it is a very different book than the one he is seeing. He is handing out books of potent mystical knowledge, such that the world around him is sent into upheaval, all without ever realizing what he is doing.

To his customers, he is not just a friendly bookseller, he must surely be some being far greater than they, omnipotent and omniscient!

I may never be able to stop laughing about how this humble bookseller manages to become what basically amounts to an accidental demon lord. Without ever knowing about it, he turns society on its head, gaining the friendship, the loyalty, and the undying, religious devotion of werewolves, elves, black mages, knights, and more. With fear and respect is he referred to in the great halls of power as this entity of unknowable knowledge and supreme power, when all he’s trying to do is sell books.

I love it!

There’s a certain visceral appeal for me, personally, as one who believes in the power of words, of books, to transform our society and enrich our souls. Seeing that made manifest in magical format, as various characters obtain grimoires of forbidden secrets and maddening knowledge, and seeing it work through them, to give them a new lease on life, well, it makes my day!

And when it leaves the bookshop, the story shows us the powerful effects which Mr. Lin and his otherworldly patron are having. It doesn’t waste time spoon-feeding explanations to us, it shows us what is going on, with just the right amount of explanation provided for us to know what we are looking at. A multitude of threads flow throughout an interesting, intricate world, and the audience is able to easily comprehend what is happening via the perspectives of a cast that is wide, varied, and lovable. A multitude of factions either align or collide in epic struggles of cosmic significance, making for thrilling action, subtle intrigue, and awesome displays of power. Bonds of comradeship are forged, old wounds and scars heal, hard lessons are learned after overconfident mistakes are made, and tears are shed in the wake of tragedy.

All this springing from how various important characters are reborn in the shelter of a humble book shop.

Oh, and there are a number of fantastic potential couples in the making, which I hope we get to see! 🙂 There are a quite a few strong, alluring women in this story, alongside formidable, masculine men. 😉

So, I enjoy the characters and the plot immensely, the world-building seems to be both intricate and fleshed out, the visuals are generally fantastic, there are powerful themes at work… I am reminded of the self-description of The Princess Bride, involving, fighting, chases, escapes, giants, torture, revenge, true love, miracles, and such. 🙂

(of course I may be a tad more obsessed with the lovely ladies than the manly men…)

Fair warning, this is another one of those stories which is not intended for little children. It hasn’t gotten too bad, as of yet – for relative definition of “too bad” – but there is blood and gore, disturbing and grotesque sights to see, and perhaps a little more sex appeal than is strictly necessary, but I find that it dances on a fine line where none of these is pushed too hard. They’re present, but, for the most part, they add to the story, rather than distract from it.

All in all, I am immensely looking forward to how this story progresses, where it goes, and how it eventually ends. It is my understanding that the manga is based on a text, some sort of online serialized story, which the English translation I have been reading seems to be about a quarter of the way through. However, this may be simply the result of a similar translation, but the text format actually struck me as fairly shabby. It’s probably a lot better in its original language, but I am happy enough to await the translated manga.

Rating: thus far, I give it 9 stars out of 10.

Grade: solid A.

This entry was posted in Anime and Cartoons, Books, Tuesday Review and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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