Watch this anime if you
- wonder how a protagonist could use modern items in a fantasy world
- want a light anime that doesn’t take itself too seriously
- see the role of a merchant and consultant in a fantasy world
Avoid this anime if you
- want an isekai anime with more purpose and direction in the plot
Rougo ni Sonaete Isekai de 8-manmai no Kinka wo Tamemasu (Saving 80,000 Gold in Another World for My Retirement) Review
Rougo ni Sonaete Isekai de 8-manmai no Kinka wo Tamemasu, or Saving 80,000 Gold in Another World for My Retirement is a light isekai, or otherworld fantasy anime, released during the Winter of 2023 season. It’s among several other fantasy anime this season (and in perhaps the past decade) that involves protagonists who somehow end up in a fantasy world.
Since the highly popular anime Sword Art Online (and perhaps Accel World) firmly established the “different world” or “otherworld” isekai genre in 2012, Japanese writers have since explored the seemingly endless opportunities and stories made possible by protagonists who by various means and mechanisms, end up in another (fantasy) world equipped with their memories.
That’s not to say that the genre was invented. Lewis Caroll had Alice exploring Wonderland in 1865, and generations have since enjoyed her adventure. And, of course, who could forget the Pavensie’s adventures in Narnia in the mid-twentieth century.
But where the Japanese have tweaked the formula is through the use of reincarnation as a device, one which Western writers have tended to avoid because of the implications of such a phenomenon on the religious establishment.
The Japanese have no such qualms, as the pervasiveness of its use illustrates. Mitsuha, the protagonist of Rougo ni Sonaete Isekai de 8-manmai no Kinka wo Tamemasu is no different from fellow protagonists in that regard. At eighteen and looking like she’s fourteen, Mitsuha’s university application is rejected. On top of that, she loses her entire family to an accident.
To top off her misfortune, she crashes through a guardrail and plummets to her death, thinking to herself, “I don’t want to die.” It’s this powerful desire to live that finds her waking up in a fantasy world.
And what does Mitsuha decide to do once she awakens in this fantasy world? Join an adventurer’s guild to explore the depths of dangerous dungeons and discover untold riches and powerful artifacts? Learn the magical or martial arts and become the most powerful person in that world? No. Instead, she’s settled on the humble goal of saving enough money to comfortably retire in Japan.
Mitsuha’s ultimate goal should be enough to clue audiences into the type of series they’re getting themselves into. It’s not an anime that takes itself too seriously with protagonists being charged with saving the world or stopping some demon king’s army. In a way, it’s more of a slice of life series in Mitsuha’s goal: how does one earn enough to retire if one has no family support and no university education? A girl’s gotta live, after all.
While Mitsuha isn’t blessed with powerful abilities like top tier magic, expert martial arts, or even an infinite item box, she does have one useful skill: the ability to teleport back and forth between worlds. It’s this ability that allows her to exploit the modern conveniences of the real world and become a merchant/consultant in the fantasy world. Buy low, sell high is a universal truth no matter what world characters find themselves in.
The plot is a series of jobs or consultations that Mitsuha undertakes in order to reach her goal of saving 80,000 gold pieces, which she has calculated to be the amount she needs to retire back home.
To achieve that retirement, she not only has to earn the gold in the fantasy world, but she also has to exchange that otherworldly gold for cold, hard yen. And she does this through a mercenary intermediary who sells the gold for hard cash—no questions asked.
This mercenary group becomes more involved later in the story, and the questions that arise from the items brought back to the real world—some kind of hare, gold, a dragon’s tooth—start to raise some questions that are never addressed before the end of the series.
Rougo ni Sonaete Isekai de 8-manmai no Kinka wo Tamemasu is a light isekai anime that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The characters don’t really question the exotic and fantastic devices that Mitsuha brings in, nor do they accuse her of the witchcraft that early nineteenth century audiences would have done. Along the way to her goal of saving for retirement, she makes some lasting friendships. As they say, it’s not so much the destination as it is the journey, and it’s a lesson that Mitsuha has learned by the end.
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