The Handyman Saitou in Another World Manga Packs Lots of Detail into Short Stories
Image via Yen Press

The Handyman Saitou in Another World Manga Packs Lots of Detail into Short Stories

It’s amazing what short-form stories are capable of. The Handyman Saitou in Another World manga is a perfect example. The Kazutomo Ichitomo series Yen Press recently picked up is more a series of self-contained short stories in each volume. So each tale can be anywhere from a single page to around four pages long. They might not even always deal with the main group of adventurers. However, as the first volume shows, it is adept at telling a lot about its characters and world in each one.

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The basic premise of Handyman Saitou in Another World is yet another isekai tale, but with a twist. Saitou used to be a handyman in our world. He ended up reincarnated in a fantasy one. Once there, he ended up encountering and joining a party made up of the warrior Raelza, the mage Morlock, and a healer fairy named Lafanpan. While he doesn’t contribute in actual battles really, his supportive skills prove to be incredibly essential to the group’s wellbeing and general progress. This is because of his practical skills when it comes to fixing things and unlocking doors, as well as occasionally stepping in for other actions like crafting an item for Lafanpan or remembering spells for the elderly Morlock.

What’s amazing is how effective Ichitomo’s work is. The first five stories are a good example. The “story” starts with a single panel. It features Saitou as he opened a door with his locksmith skills and Morlock calling him amazing for it. The single image with minimal text is incredibly effective, especially juxtaposed with the art of Saitou in his workman’s uniform. We immediately see what’s going on and grasp the situation, as well as how effective his practical skills could be in a “might and magic” sort of world. The second shows how much healthier it is for him, as even when he’s not the reason for success, he’s congratulated by the team for his contribution. Conversely, one panel shows a flashback of how different that was compared to his past life. The third, four, and fifth ones offer brief vignettes of Raelza, Morlock, and Lafanpan that manage to convey their strengths and personalities in only a few pages. It’s so satisfying, especially since they all also build on the ones that came before it and contribute to what comes next.

But while the quartet is the main focus and the bulk of the adventures center on them, volume 1 of the Handyman Saitou in Another World manga is just as delightful when other adventurers come up. We’ll see both one shots and recurring shorts with other people who also happen to be exploring and fighting through the world. From an elderly king who was strong enough to defeat, and then basically befriend, a demon king, to a party created specifically for entertainment purposes, it is fantastic. It also gives Ichitomo time to defy expectations. There are many situations in which you think you see what is happening or see an unusual kind of hero, but then something twists to subvert the situation and make it even more fascinating. Even if these side characters only get a few lines, the art, direction, and script conveys this incredible sense of ambiance and tone.

The Handyman Saitou in Another World manga is probably the best isekai series I’ve stumbled into in the last few months, and maybe even years. It handles the concept so well. It’s so effective in both how it conveys information with its art and script. Plus the way in which it also highlights other people in the world means you get a better feel for how things work and a chance to see additional lore or insights that might otherwise be absent in this sort of tale. Plus, due to the brevity of each vignette, it’s easy to either savor it over the course of a week or just devour it all at once.

Volume 1 of the Handyman Saitou in Another World manga is available via Yen Press. Volume 2 will launch on September 19, 2023. The anime adaptation can be streamed on Crunchyroll.


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Jenni Lada
Jenni is Editor-in-Chief at Siliconera and has been playing games since getting access to her parents' Intellivision as a toddler. She continues to play on every possible platform and loves all of the systems she owns. (These include a PS4, Switch, Xbox One, WonderSwan Color and even a Vectrex!) You may have also seen her work at GamerTell, Cheat Code Central, Michibiku and PlayStation LifeStyle.