Full title Reborn to Master the Blade: From Hero-King to Extraordinary Squire (Eiyū-Ō, Bu o Kiwameru Tame Tensei-Su: Soshite, Sekai Saikyō no Minarai Kishi) story by Hayaken, art by Nagu.
Inglis, the beloved Hero-King of the kingdom of Silvare is on his death bed. So heroic was he to his people he is visited by the Goddess Alistia, a figure who has guided him several times throughout his life and who has come to aid him to the next. She asks him if he has any requests for his next life, and he answers whilst he is glad to have been a king he regrets that his duties as Monarch prevented him from truly excelling as a swordsman in battle which is the whole reason he'd taken up arms as mercenary in the first place, he'd become a king as a by product through heroism.
His final wish? To reborn as someone who could truly master the blade, to which Alista agrees and in the next moment Inglis opens his eyes as the newborn child of the Captain of the Knights many years in the future in a new kingdom called Ymir.... oh, and one other thing he's now a bouncing baby girl. Shocked at first Inglis rolls with the gender change for the most part, more frustrated about being an infant. However Inglis has retained both her name (being named after herself) - though she picks up the nickname Chris - and her divine power that helped her become king in the first place. So Inglis decides to set about becoming a swordmaster just like she planned, however this time she plans to work in the background as a squire to not get distracted by the social obligations that come with knightly duties.
Began as a light novel on the Shōsetsu ni Narō (Let's Be Novelists) website in March 2019. A manga adaptation by Moto Kuromura began on Hobby Japan's Comic Fire website in December 2019, both are being translated by J-Novel Club into English. A two episode mini-anime debuted in November 2020, then in late November 2021 it was announced a full anime series adaptation was in development which began airing on January 10th, 2023.
The Light Novel contains the following tropes:
- Academy of Adventure: After the events of Volume 1, much of the story takes place in and around Chiral's Royal Knight Academy. As a military academy training Rune-holders, teaching them how to make the best use of their magical powers and the powerful Artifact weapons that only they can hold, they oftentimes send out or authorize their students to perform dangerous work such as magicite beast subjugation, guarding traveling merchants, or serving as security details during events.
- Adapt Out: The anime skips over a significant number of the bath scenes that are reoccurring in the Light Novel and manga adaptation.
- Alien Blood: Highlanders transformed into magicite beasts bleed purple. Normal humans have been shown to bleed red or dark red as we do.
- Body Horror:
- Highlanders transformed into magicite beasts through exposure to Prism Powder is not a pretty sight. They become gruesome, horrific humanoid monsters, looking like their organic parts have transformed or become completely grown over with solid crystals, several sections and crystals jutting out in unnatural angles.
- The magicite beast Chimera created after the Rune Eater devours Rambach Sr. is not a pretty sight, being a horrific amalgamation of a magicite beast and a Highlander that is, at least, still whole and lucid enough to laugh constantly.
- Cannibalism Superpower: As the name implies, what makes the Rune Eater so dangerous is that it's a magicite beast that devours anyone with a Rune, absorbing their mana and the powers associated with it, and being able to use it on its own.
- Cool Airship: Flygears are the Knight's transportation of choice, being small, agile airships that can move much faster than other forms of transportation and don't have to face the hassles of uneven terrain. Their primary selling point is that while they need a Rune-holder to charge their engines, anyone else can pilot it afterward, opening up new avenues for Squires to train and support their Knights. Larger versions include the Flygear Carriers, which the Knights also use as mobile bases, and Flygear Battleships, which are the exclusive domain of Highland to maintain their technological edge over Midland. Until the Ironblood Chain Brigade somehow manages to build and arm their own battleship, that is.
- Driven to Suicide: After her Face–Monster Turn, Lady Seilyn attempts to destroy herself than even risk accidentally injuring or killing the orphans she was caring for in near-mindless rage. Inglis manages to stop her, long enough for Iron Mask to non-lethally subdue her.
- Eaten Alive: Rambach Sr.'s gruesome ultimate fate. He tries several times to sic a modified magicite beast, the Rune Eater, on Inglis, and each time she effortlessly blows it away, Rambach teleports it back and starves the Rune Eater of more mana to make it even more desperate to attack Inglis and eat her. It ends up backfiring horrifically when the berserk, delirious, and desperate Rune Eater eats him instead.
- Elemental Powers: The Runes on Knights oftentimes correspond to Artifacts of specific elements. For example, Rafinha has an affinity for Light and that allows her to use her Energy Bow Artifact.
- Equippable Ally: Hieral Menaces are weapons from Highland capable of transforming into humanoid forms and wielding weapons of their own. Examples include Eris, who fights with dual blades, and Ripple, who fights with two revolvers.
- Exact Words: An arrogant 3rd year Knight-cadet, Silva, tells Inglis and the rest of the 1st year students that they're "not to lay a hand on" the magicite beasts that the Hieral Menace Ripple is unintentionally summoning. Inglis proceeds to use her feet to kick them around (not using her hands), while Rafinha shoots them with her bow (because she's using her hands to touch her bow, the arrows are what touch the monsters), and Liselotte and Leone hit them with their spear and sword respectively (because they were using their hands to "swing (their weapons) around" and happens to catch the beasts in the arc).
- Face–Monster Turn: Because of the scheming of the Ironblood Chain Brigade, Lady Seilyn is turned into a Magic Stone Beast despite all the unquestionable good she has done as the ruler of a town, adopting and caring for orphans, forgiving the defection of the knights she had earlier banished, and working against the imperialistic scheming of the other Highlanders.
- Fantastic Racism: A good portion of the conflict of the story is between the Highlanders, the residents of floating islands and the sole source of the magical Artifacts and other technology that allows fighting the magicite beasts, and the Midlanders, everyone that lives on ground level such as the humans. The Highlanders have for many generations constantly abused and taken advantage of Midlanders, extorting them through their control of their technology for large sums of raw resources. They also constantly mistreat Midlanders through enslaving them, murdering them for insults or simply getting in their way, and even manipulating them into being entire towns worth of Living Batteries without their knowledge or consent. This has, unsurprisingly, engendered much mistrust and outright hostility from Midlanders, primarily with the Ironblood Chain Brigade, a paramilitary organization built from the victims and victim's families of these abuses who have vowed to destroy Highland and Highlanders no matter what the cost.
- Not helping things is how Highlanders exacerbate class differences among Midlanders. Rich merchants have been known to pay exorbitant fees in order to join the Highlanders such as Rahl, incentivizing Midlanders to abuse, betray, and exploit their fellow Midlanders in order to escape to a literally higher position than they could have ever gotten naturally.
- Fantasy Gun Control: Guns exist, both anti-personnel magic rifles and magical ship guns. We barely see any of them, period, and if they're used, they're just rifles used exclusively by the extremely rare Special-class Rune holders or being used by Hieral Menaces, such as Ripple. This is because Highland strictly controls the flow of Artifacts and other related technologies down into Midland, where most of the story takes place.
- Floating Continent: As the name implies, the Highlanders live separate on floating landmasses powered by their exclusive use of ancient and powerful magics. The end of Volume 1 reveals that they are not above stealing land from other people, discreetly or forcefully taking over territories like what would have happened to Nova under Lady Seilyn's control.
- Foreshadowing: 5-year-old Rafinha tries to raise a wooden training sword and fails miserably. Later, when she gets her Rune, she ends up gaining an affinity for an Energy Bow Artifact and usually fights at a distance than getting close to her enemies.
- For Want of a Nail: If Rafael hadn't been too busy to escort Lord Shiony during his inspection in Ymir as originally planned, Leon and Eris would not have had to substitute for him and Leon would not have had the opportunity to poison Rahl with Prism Powder and be outed as a traitor to the Ironblood Chain Brigade, setting to motion a series of catastrophic events that have massive repercussions even 3 years later.
- Healing Factor: The key factor that makes magicite beasts impossible for normal people to beat is their ability to regenerate from damage and severe trauma. Only Knights with Runes and Artifacts are able to cause significant damage at a fast enough rate to overpower the healing of magicite beasts, and the best that their squires can do is run interference, support their Knights however they can, and weaken the magicite beasts until the Knights can finish it off.
- It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: Through a mix of both the practical realities of Rune-holders, the threat of magicite beasts, and the religion and culture that arose from them.
- Rafael's having a Special-class Rune dooms him to being a hero who will save the country, no matter the cost. In the opening of Volume 1/Episode 1, an 8-year-old Rafael laments that he cannot join the knights in fending off magicite beasts as he's too valuable to lose before he comes into his full potential. 15 years later, he's still largely stuck with enormous political pressures from the Midlanders who desire his power and the influence that affords them and the Highlanders who see him as either a threat to their technological dominance or perhaps a very useful new slave, if they could convince Midland to give him up.
- Inglis herself is wise to this trope as she knows how being known as the chosen one elevates you to unfavorable limelight and positions.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Silva, a 3rd year Knight-cadet with a top-class Special Rune, is skeptical to outright hostile to the idea of Rune-less, Artifact-less Squires joining in a protection detail that involves taking down magicite beasts that can spontaneously come from nowhere inside the Academy's walls. While the story paints it as him being bigoted and discriminating against the Rune-less, were it not for Inglis's absurd power and intentionally hidden capabilities, she would be helpless against magicite beasts, only able to weaken or distract them until a Knight can come by to finish them off.
- Kissing Cousins: With the exception of Inglis herself, due to being a man in a previous life and being attracted to women, everyone is in favor of her marrying her first cousin, Rafael. Rafinha is especially supportive of this as it will let her and Inglis be together forever without complications or anyone getting between them. Even their fathers are in favor of this potential union. If anyone can get Rafael to tie the knot, it would be Inglis.
- Logical Weakness: Rahl's magic activates when an opponent looks directly at him, upon which their movements are slowed. It's thwarted by either not looking directly at Rahl, as Rafael tried to limited success until he accidentally ran into a wall, or simply fighting him with your eyes closed, as Inglis did to beat him.
- Magic Knight: In the world setting people can do various things by wielding aether (which is the building blocks of mana) to supplement their fighting style or restrict the movements of their opponents and more. Inglis rose to be a "half-God King" in his past life, Chris has the aptitude again in her second. This technique has largely been lost in the present day, with only a select few Midlanders being blessed with "Runes" of various intensities, and even then, they can only use Artifacts of also varying strengths to fight magicite beasts.
- Magitek: For however much the study and knowledge of magic and Aether disappeared between Inglis's death as the Hero King and her subsequent reincarnation as the Squire Inglis, technology has advanced leaps and bounds. Though most of it is controlled by Highland, the world now has rifles and guns, airships (of "small plane," "aircraft carrier," and "battleship" sizes), and engines that can make and sustain a Floating Continent, all explicitly powered by mana from Rune-holders.
- Oh, Crap!: Principal Miriela of the Knight Academy offers 1 month's worth of free food from the school dining hall for any student that manages to avoid getting thrown out of a circle by her 3 magic golems. Immediately at the start of the first round, Inglis intentionally throws out the golems, so the entire freshman year class of Knights and Squires both now technically qualify for 1 month's worth of free food. Miriela attempts to claim this was a demonstration, and redoes the exercise... upon which Inglis knocks them the golems out again, and makes all the freshmen qualify for free meals at the dining hall once more. Panicked at both having her exercise sabotaged in ways that she couldn't have expected and dreading just how much money the school is going to lose by giving out free meals in the dining hall (especially because of Inglis and Rafinha), and the other students calling Miriela out for claiming this was another trial run and didn't count Miriela decides to take Inglis aside and makes her promise not to Curbstomp Battle her golems in exchange for 3 months of free meals, exclusively for her.
- Personality Powers: The elemental affinity of a Rune oftentimes reflects its holder. For example, Rafinha has a Light element Rune and is optimistic, innocent, and has extremely strong moral values.
- Pride: When they first pilot Flygears Lahti such a natural he even surpasses Inglis. She then immediately begins using her power to zip around even faster. Turns out despite how casual she act about such thing's she actually can't stand the idea she isn't automatically the best at something.
- Schizo Tech: Justified. Midland is largely stuck in the European Middle Ages, where primary fighting forces are large numbers of sword-and-spear wielding soldiers, backup up by archers using bows and arrows, and the occasional mage casting spells if you're so lucky. Despite the presence of Rune-holders and explicitly magical Artifacts, they often take the form of low-tech weapons with a gimmick, such as Rafael's Artifact being a sword that lets him shoot fiery slashes but it's useless without the years of mundane swordsmanship skills he'd accumulated beforehand. Meanwhile, thanks to its strict control of technology trade as a way to oppress Midland and maintain their dominance, Highland has the likes of spells that can make a Floating Continent, giant floating battleships complete with gun batteries that can raze entire cities, and smaller versions in the Flygears, swift small troop transports which the Chiral Knight Academy had been explicitly been lent for the purpose of magicite beast subjugation.
- Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: To help emphasize how utterly vile the Highlanders are as a society, Midlanders are oftentimes enslaved and abused by them without remorse. They even go so far as to steal sovereign territory secretly, and whatever residents happened to be on there once the landmass takes flight and becomes de facto Highlander territory is then enslaved, driven away, or outright killed.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Goddess Alistia is the divine being that granted Inglis her Chosen One status in her first life as the Warrior King and continues to shower her with that same divine power and more after granting Inglis her second life as a Squire born under a noble house. Though she is pivotal to Inglis's initial achievements and how she continues to be extraordinary today, she never makes much of an appearance past Episode 1/the start of Volume 1.
- Spell My Name with an S: Alongside the usual problems of trying to transliterate names in Japanese to English and other languages, many character's names can be written several different ways and still be accurate or accurate enough localizations. "Inglis" can be "Ingris," her nickname "Gris" can also be pronounced as "Chris," "Rafinha" could be "Lafinha" and "Rani" could be "Lani" instead, Principal "Miriela" can be "Miliera" instead... the list goes on.
- Starter Villain: Rahl, son of a traveling merchant, serves as this for Inglis. He is initially introduced as the first magic-using human that Inglis has ever found since she was reborn, and is quickly shown to be a haughty, arrogant cheater who relishes in beating down the knights and mocking them while boasting about his superiority as a rich merchant's son. At age 5, Inglis humiliates him in a practice sparring match, seeing through his trickery and literally fighting him with her eyes closed. 7 years later, when Inglis is 12, Rahl becomes an antagonist again, being used to introduce the Fantastic Racism in the world when it is revealed that he has bought his way into the position of a Highlander, and wastes no time abusing his newfound diplomatic immunity by murdering and sexually abusing the Midlanders he was once part of. Once he is transformed into a Magic Stone Beast by the Ironblood Chain Brigade, he also becomes the first one that Inglis faces and slays.
- Step into the Blinding Fight: When she's 5 years old, Inglis quickly deduces that Rahl, a traveling merchant's son, is using a magical spell that slows down the reaction times of anyone that is looking at him, making them easy fodder to destroy during a "fair" sparring exercise. Inglis's brother, Rafael, manages to at least push back against him by taking Inglis's advice to strike without looking at Rahl, but ultimately fails when he accidentally runs into the training ground wall. Inglis could have easily deactivated Rahl's spell with her power over Aether, leagues more advanced than the mana-manipulation he uses... but instead choose to just close her eyes and fight him that way, as it would be more entertaining.
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Lady Seilyn of Nova is the story's first introduction into the philosophical and factional differences in Highland, namely those that seek to abuse and dominate the Midlanders as an inferior society to be enslaved and extorted, and those like Seilyn that want to care for and seek mutual growth with the Midlanders. Her rule of the town is benevolent, she is much loved by its residents, she feeds and houses the orphans, and even when her former soldiers try to kill her, she chooses to pardon them, instead. She ends up being poisoned and transformed into a magicite beast by one of her servants, a spy for the Ironblood Chain Brigade that's so consumed by her hatred of Highlanders than even a saint like Lady Seilyn is not spared their wrath. Fortunately, when everyone is able to Take a Third Option, she only gets transformed again into a shrunken fairy-like being called Lyn for short.
- Weapon Specialization: By virtue of the rarity and variability in Runes and Runeholders, and the expense and limited numbers that Midlander countries can acquire Artifacts to give to these Runeholders, all of the cast tend to specialize in one type of weapon, as it's almost impossible for them to acquire and use another with nearly the same level of familiarity and convenience.
- Inglis specializes in swords, specifically, longswords that she uses either with one-handed or two-handed grips without the use of shields. As a result of her insane strength and lacking the access to weapons that are durable enough to survive being used by her, she uses Spontaneous Weapon Creation to make ice swords—not that these last very long.
- Rafinha uses her Energy Bow to fight from a distance, taking down enemies that Inglis either distracts or can't immediately cut down.
- Leone uses a large two-handed blade, the first one she has being able to transform in size and length to increase her reach or the devastation of her swings.
- Eris uses two short blades simultaneously, combined with acrobatic strikes and incredible speed.
- World of Action Girls: At least by the time that Inglis is reborn as a girl, gender is no object when it comes to being a Knight or otherwise being a powerful fighter. Most of the main cast are Action Girls, with Inglis being the most prominent among them, some of Inglis's most prominent opponents are also Action Girls, and some of the most prominent and important students and staff of the Knight Academy are female, such as Principal Miriela and the Hieral Menaces like Eris and Ripple.