It seems like a new-ish trend for manga these days is Isekai for women, or Isekai that focus less on powerful heroes and more on everyday life. And I have to say that as an avid reader of slice-of-life manga, I do approve! In my journey to get back into manga, I recently picked up this volume from Bookwalker: The Savior’s Book Cafe Story in Another World. From the description on the site, it seemed like a very chill and sweet book about an older woman who rejects being an isekai heroine in favor of setting up a cozy bookstore. Definitely up my alley, as an avid reader and book nerd myself, this felt like something I can just slide into and get comfy reading. I was entirely right about my assumptions, and I’d like to now recommend this series to you!
The Savior’s Book Cafe Story in Another World follows a 30-year-old woman named Tsukina who gets selected randomly by God to be transported to another world and become an all-powerful Savior. Not one for adventure, she decided to make a deal with God and open a bookstore cafe instead, intending to hide her Savior status in favor of living a quiet, cozy life. When the head of the King’s Knights starts to become a regular at her cafe, things start to get a little more complicated in her quiet life.
I love the art in this manga. Reiko Sakurada has a great style that reflects the comfy vibe of the manga. I love the character design for Tsukina and the knights. She’s got the typical soft, girl-next-door vibes of what you’d think of when you picture a bookworm. Her soft features play into her soft personality and match well with the love interest. The panel and page designs are simple and straight-forward, highlighting the important moments well like character first-appearances and showcasing the world’s landscapes or action within a scene.
I would say the one weakness that Sakurada has is for action scenes, though you don’t see much of them in volume one, so I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. Luckily there’s not many in the series, but the few are supposed to be important moments, but I got hung-up on the art. I don’t think Sakurada is great at dynamic and high-action scenes. There just isn’t enough focus on movement or positioning of the characters to make the scenes work well enough for me to love them. Sakurada is definitely stronger on the quieter more static scenes within the cafe or the emotional scenes between the main characters. I think if they were better in this area, this manga would have been amazing.
I love the character of Tsukina and how she defies the typical isekai model of an overpowered hero transported to a new world and becomes famous. She openly defies God and tries to settle into a cozy life, to make the best of a situation where she cannot return to Japan. She’s not keen on fighting or becoming a hero that stands on the front lines, but she unwittingly falls into a support role through her high level of protective and healing magic. Her support of the head of the King’s Knights, IL (writing in all caps so the letters are discernable), helps tangentially to project the kingdom and its people.
We see this the strongest through the contrast between Tsukina and the other Savior that wound up in this Kingdom. The other Savior becomes a sort-of foil character for Tsukina, showing the readers and her what could go wrong if she doesn’t get involved. Her selfishness contrasts well with Tsukina’s supportive nature, and in a way is a commentary on the nature of maturity since the other Savior is a teenager only worried about her looks and comfort. Perhaps the author was trying, through this series, to make some kind of a commentary about what our priorities are when it comes to growing up and how they change. It makes sense considering how God talks about the other heroes he/they summoned, mainly that they’re all teenagers eager for adventure and wished for powerful weapons and skills. Whereas Tsukina took the time to consider everything she might need to live a comfortable life and build something for herself in this new world.
The romance between Tsukina and IL is sweet with a semi-slow build-up. Even though she’s a 30-year-old woman, she comes at love with a very innocent nature. It winds up being a very shojo-manga love story with innocent touches and longing looks and plenty of blushing. Tsukina and IL are a well-matched pair, with their love of books and caring natures. There are some really sweet scenes, but I think the manga could use some more intensity to their relationship or the action going on around them. I think I would have liked a little more tension or suspense to help draw out their romance and make it stick more. But if you want a fluffy love story, this is a good manga for that.
Let me know what you think in the comments below. I’ve read the second volume already, and am eagerly awaiting the third.
~~Thanks for Reading!~~
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