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Literature / Re:Monster

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Re:Monster is a Japanese novel series written by Kanekiru Kogitsune. Originally a Web Serial Novel that was released on Shousetsuka ni Narou from 2011 to 2018, it was later published by Alphapolis as a series of Light Novels with illustrations by Yamaada from 2012 to 2017 for nine volumes. A sequel series, Re:Monster: Ankoku Tairiku-hen, began in 2018.

Kanata Tomokui was a powerful human, in his first life, that is. Now that he has died, he finds himself reincarnated into the body of a newborn goblin named Rou. The only things left from his previous life are his memories and the ability to eat anything. By doing so, Rou absorbs the special abilities of his food. Will this ability be enough to allow him to live in this new world where survival is king?

The series has a manga adaptation by Haruyoshi Kobayakawa which began serialization in 2014, and an anime adaptation which began airing in April 2024. The manga is licensed in English by Seven Seas Entertainment.

Re:Monster contains examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: The Nenekaruri knife that Aoi uses to kill Kanata, it cuts through molecules, and also doubles as a stun blade.
  • All Webbed Up: Rou can create spider thread from his fingers after eating a demon spider, and frequently uses the ability to bind opponents.
  • Angry Cheek Puff: Rubellia puffs up her cheeks in jealousy when she learns about Rou's with a Dryad.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • The previous goblin chieftain, who attempts to rape the kidnapped human women behind Rou's back after acknowledging Rou as the new leader. Rou proceeds to torture him for hours on end in front of the rest of the tribe to make an example out of him.
    • The "idiot elf", an elven merchant who tries to strong arm the goblins into helping his village against a human invasion, and then tries to get revenge for his hurt pride when they refuse. At this point Rou eats the elf alive and enslaves the troops the elf had taken from the village for his personal vendetta. When another elf politely asks for help a few days later, Rou's group are happy to accept.
  • Bat Out of Hell: The seven-colored bats that Rou's party comes across early on.
  • Beast Man: Many monster species feature characteristics of pigs (orcs), wolves and dogs (kobolds), lizards (lizardmen, dragonewts), bulls (minotaurs), bats (vampires), and so on, while otherwise being humanoids of varying levels of intelligence.
  • Brain Food: Rou has a higher chance of gaining abilities by eating the brain or heart of a freshly-killed being.
  • Bound and Gagged: Rou regularly uses his spider thread to capture and silence opponents.
  • Boss Battle: Most areas in the world have a unique, particularly powerful monster associated with them, such as the "red king of the mountain" in the forest where the goblin's live or the "jade great eagle" that protects a mountain range Rou and his party pass through.
  • Cannibalism Superpower: Rou gains access to some of the abilities of anything he consumes, and can even make said abilities stronger over time. It's not limited to monsters or humans, either. He even has a chance of improving his sword skills by eating a sword.
  • Carry a Big Stick: Kichi's first weapon is a crude wooden club.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Reconstructed. People and monsters with "mundane" physical training in martial arts and squad tactics generally win against those who rely entirely on their "magical" job classes or abilities.
  • Child by Rape: Goblins use this with captive women as their main means of reproducing, mostly because female goblins have a low fertility rate. By the time Rou meets his human mother, she's an Empty Shell behind any hope of recovery, and he decides the best thing he can do for her is give her a vial of deadly poison so she can choose to commit suicide.
  • The Chosen One: Actually serves as a mechanic of the world. Characters who perform particularly impressive feats become part of a "Psalm", a legendary quest that has wide reaching effects and grants particularly powerful bonuses.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Goblins of both genders are unattractive little monsters at best, but their evolution/ranking-up into hobgoblins tends to make them more human-like; the females' looks in particular tend to improve more than the males'. And then there's Mi's ranking up from hobgoblin to dhampyr...
  • Damage Reduction: The divine blessings that Rou and his compatriots receive sharply reduce the damage they take from certain types of attacks. Rou's [Consumption] ability also allows him to stack the innate resistances the numerous monsters he's eaten have towards things like magic, fire, wind, slashing attacks, and so on.
  • Death Glare: Rou's [Snake Eyes] ability and several others temporarily freeze opponents by making particularly murderous looking eye contact.
  • Deconstruction: The story is told from the perspective of the monsters living in the story and humans tend to be the aggressors. As such, several tropes are deconstructed like always assuming monsters are Always Chaotic Evil Guilt-Free Extermination War. Interestingly, no matter how brutal some of the protagonist's actions are, it's hard to think of him as the bad guy when A) the forest is full of monsters so Nature Is Not Nice is in full effect B) the story focuses on monsters as the main characters who aren't obligated to follow the same rules as humans and C) most of the times, the humans are the ones who start trouble. Remember the human army in the forest at the beginning of the story? They're only there to force the elves to give them an elixir to save their dying queen and the elves refused because the stuff is basically the Panacea. For all the sanctimonious BS the human characters spout, ultimately they're just following Might Makes Right morality and start to cry when there's someone else out their that's stronger and can fight back.
  • Draconic Humanoid: Dragonnewts are monsters that look like humans with extra dragon-esque features like lizard tails and scales.
  • Dumb Muscle: Kichi plays this role when partied with Rou.
  • Elemental Crafting: One of the unique job classes, [Job:Spirit Blacksmith], revolves around crafting weapons and other items using stones imbued with elemental powers like fire, water, wind, earth, and so on.
  • Evolution Powerup: How the [Rank Up] system works. Upon reaching level one hundred of that stage, a monster class can evolve into a new form. This is repeated each time the monster reaches one hundred again. Most monsters spend their entire lives as the class they were born into, but Rou's special ability, intelligence, and ambition leads him to constantly defeat increasingly tougher enemies, and within four months of being born, he's already evolved from goblin to hobgoblin to ogre to apostle lord.
  • Explosive Breeder: Goblins only take 20-40 days to be born and another 20-40 to become fully functioning "adults", and can mate with multiple other species. Rou's generation alone had several dozen members born from about half a dozen human women.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Rou's esper ability [Consumption] allows him to eat pretty much anything, including weapons, poisons, random rocks, and so on, that would kill most other monsters.
  • Evolving Weapon:
    • Rou's artificial arm, Airgeatlamh, grows stronger by absorbing various materials, and also grows in power whenever Rou ranks up.
    • Kobolds and some other monsters have "organic" weapons that are created from their bodies and grow as they do.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Rou ends up recruiting several humans and elves.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The fantasy world's Kirika Empire has a quite a few similarities to The Roman Empire of the real world.
  • First-Episode Resurrection: The first chapter involves Kanata Tomokui, a human in a sci-fi world of Psychic Powers and aliens, being murdered and finding himself reborn as an goblin in a High Fantasy Alternate Universe.
  • Gratuitous Latin: The goblin community/mercenary corps led by Rou is named "Parabellum", which comes from the Latin phrase "Si vis pacem, para bellum" (If you want peace, prepare for war).
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: Rou and the other goblins generally act out of a need for survival or self-defense, but aren't above brutally torturing or making sex slaves out of their enemies. Most of their opponents are also generally only out to protect their friends, family, and/or countrymen, but are so used to goblins being a bunch of low-intelligence Always Chaotic Evil monsters that it usually doesn't occur to them they could work things out civilly.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Rou's first children, Auro and Argento, are half-ogre and half-human. This is actually really rare in-universe, as a human mating with a demihuman usually results in offspring that are one race or the other, not a blend of the two. As hybrids can level up their jobs like a human and also self-evolve like a demihuman, they have impressive potential, but because they can exceed both of their parents, they're often regarded with fear and Fantastic Racism from both races, which leads to a traumatic upbringing, which makes them mentally unstable and dangerous, which reinforces the stereotype that hybrids are dangerous. Rou resolves to give his children a proper upbringing and nurture their potential.
  • High Fantasy: Re:Monster takes place in an Eastern RPG-esque world filled with monsters, magic, feudal kingdoms, elves, beastmen, adventurers and so on.
  • Horn Attack: Horned rabbits are known to impale young goblins.
  • Horned Humanoid: The "Lord" class of monster generally look like humans with odd skin colors and 2 or more horns coming out of their forehead. Ogres are similar, but quite a bit bigger.
  • Humans Are Average: Most adventurers can take on the equivalent of a level 200-300 monsters with only level 50-100 in one job class. However, the majority end up being not much of a match for level 300+ monsters, like lords, vampires and giants.
  • Improvised Weapon: Rou takes the horn of an appropriately named horned rabbit, to use as his weapon of choice during his first month as a goblin.
  • I Know Your True Name: As it turns out, sorcerers can do some very nasty things to you if they learn the "true name" you gain after several class ups. This is why Rou's group decides to continue using the silly "monster species + given name" naming convention.
  • Legendary Weapon: The most powerful weapons tend to be this.
  • Long-Range Fighter: As a hobgoblin, Mi fights with long range weapons almost exclusively.
  • Mi'raj: The prey of Rou's first hunt on Day 4 is a Horn Rabbit, a brown rabbit with a 20 cm long horn on its head. He share the meat with Kichi, but keeps the horn to himself as a sharp and durable stabbing weapon. It proves useful the next day against bigger Horn Rabbits, of which he also confiscates the horns. On Day 92, the higher ranked Blade Rabbits are encountered, which rather than a horn has a blade on its head. It also has a collar of blades. Relative to the other monsters near the Kuuderun Great Forest, they remain easy prey. On Day 153, the final rank known as Vorpal Bunnies are encountered. These red-furred critters have the same blades as Blade Rabbits and also a blade on their tail. Because they can move in absolute silence and attack with both sides of their body, they are much more troublesome than the previous ranks, but still not too dangerous for what else dwells in the Jadar Mountains.
  • Mon: The Goblin Tribe begins recruiting multiple local horse, bear and wolf monsters as familiars after Rou gains the monster tamer job class.
  • Monstrous Humanoid: Many of the more powerful types of monsters look like humans with animal features, strange skin colors, gigantism, jewels embedded in their body, demonic horns, or additional limbs.
  • Moral Myopia: Rou looks down on the previous generation of goblins kidnapping women and using violence to force them into sex slavery. However, Rou himself has no problem using drugs to do the exact same thing to prisoners of war from his mercenary activities.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Undead Black Knights have 8 arms, each equipped with a different weapon. Rou also gains 4 arms after several evolutions into successively more powerful monster classes.
  • Nurture over Nature: Rou's goblin generation are noted to be a less selfish version of their race. Treating each other as True Companions rather than a group following a strong individual to be able to loot and pillage, their mentality is "Help the weak, serve the strong." Rou speculates that this is due to his influence.
  • "Not If They Enjoyed It" Rationalization: Whenever Rou captures a hostile woman and plans to rape her, he lessens the blow by using an aphrodisiac that makes her lust for him, and later the girls themselves choose to stay with him. This is, of course, still rape but from what we see of the women who are victims of the more uncivilized forest creatures, well.....what Rou does is still bad but at least he doesn't leave his women broken shells with dead eyes that want to end it all. Rou is more about coercion where the other monsters who mate with humans basically just turn them into Real Dolls.
  • Official Couple: Rou and Mi, to the point Mi gets a title called "Formal Wife of the Overlord", while the rest of Rou's harem only gets "Consort of the Overlord" titles.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: The noble elf that tried to recruit Rou and the goblins into the elf fighting forces is called "Idiot Elf" by Rou. An appropriate nickname given his Too Dumb to Live revenge plot after Rou refuses his forced conscription.
  • Poisonous Person: Rou gains the ability to secrete poison from his body after eating a night viper.
  • Power Makes Your Hair Grow: Many members of the Goblin Tribe get longer and longer hair as they evolve. For instance, Rou starts bald, then gets short hair after his first evolution, then shoulder length hair after the second, then waist length hair after the third.
  • Reincarnation: Rou was once a man named Kanata Tomokui who lived a sci-fi future, before being murdered one night and finding himself reborn as a goblin in a High Fantasy world. As it turns out, one of the fantasy world's major deities likes copying the souls of beings from alternate realities into their world as "Otherworlders", giving them new bodies and enhanced abilities.
  • Royal Harem: Rou, leader of the goblins, eventually ends up in 6-way shared relationship with Mi and the five humans he rescued.
  • RPG Mechanics 'Verse: The world functions somewhat like a video game, with character levels, job classes, items that can be examined for text box descriptions, and so on.
  • Screw You, Elves!: An arrogant Elven noble orders Rou and his goblins to join the elves against an invading human kingdom. When Rou declines, the noble tries to launch a sneak attack on the goblins days later, only for Rou to kill him and enslave the soldiers he took away from the elves' defense effort. Subverted later with the elven leader nicknamed "Papa Elf", who is quite polite and reasonable in his dealings with Rou, even taking into account that Rou rescued his daughter from invading humans.
  • Skill Point Reset: Kanata used his [Consumption] ability to collect all sorts of new skills, but after dying and being reincarnated as Rou, he lost everything except [Consumption].
  • Stupid Evil: Lampshaded. The elf noble, after threatening Ogre Rou, when Rou outright (politely) refused to be his pawn against the human armies, and seeing Rou utterly stomp him and his squad, sparing them only on the promise that they would never return, promptly returns with the express purpose of exterminating Rou and his entire goblin tribe (as well as Rou's human lovers). And then, after his strongest officer tries, and fails to ambush an already horribly enraged Rou, he has the audacity to insult and provoke Rou further, despite seeing Rou easily evade, kill, and eat that officer. It was only because the rest of the elves immediately surrendered and pleaded that they were forced to come along that they were captured and not killed and eaten on the spot as well.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Under Rou's leadership, the Goblin Community is actually thriving, to the point that many of Rou's age-mates survived whereas in a normal situation, a lot of them would've died due to their inherit weakness and stupidity. Unfortunately, this also causes Rou to worry about overpopulation causing a problem for the forest's ecosystem which in turn would cause the humans and elves to see them as threats and attack them.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Both the Asshole Victims above; the former hobgoblin chieftain by taking some of his old underlings to try and go rape the captive human women in the dead of night, disobeying a direct order from Rou, who became the new chieftain by beating said former chieftain and the Idiot Elf by constantly boasting about killing Rou without any way of backing it up.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: A problem that Rou notices is that human warriors tend to simply level up their [Jobs] and don't do any form of basic training meaning while their attacks have some bite to them, they don't know how to follow through leaving themselves wide open.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: The Crimson Bear is one of the first enemies Rou struggles against, as he and his fellow goblins were warned never to venture into its territory since it's so feared. With its immense strength, durability, and fire breath, it takes all of Rou's aquired abilities at the time to finally take it down.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Most humans underestimate Rou and the other goblins, as it never occurs to them a monster could be The Chosen One of another story.
  • Yandere: Aoi stalked Kanata, even to other planets. She then killed him in his previous world.
  • Your Head A-Splode: The "Giant King" Rou tests his long range rifle prototype on loses his entire head after being hit by the rifle's ability enhanced projectile.