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Manga / Uncle from Another World

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Isekai starring an Uncle note 

In the year 2017, thirty-four-year-old Yōsuke Shibazaki has finally awakened from his seventeen-year-long coma, watched by his college-aged nephew Takafumi Takaoka. To his nephew's bafflement, Yōsuke claims to have been transported to another world and begins speaking in what he claims is the language of that world, before even further bewildering him by showing that he has retained the powers he gained upon waking up in Japan.

Once he is out of hospital, however, Yōsuke finds that his powers barely help him deal with the changes on Earth in the intervening seventeen years, ranging between the World Wide Web, the rise of smartphones, Japanese pop culture, and the demise of Sega as a video game console powerhouse. With the help of his nephew, who offers him to live with him, Yōsuke adapts to the much-changed world.

Conversely, Yōsuke shows Takafumi, as well as his childhood friend Sumika Fujimiya, video clips of his many not-so-sweet memories of the world of Granbahamal, what with him being frequently mistaken for a sapient orc on account of his gaunt appearance, even as both Takafumi and Fujimiya bemoan all the opportunities he missed to at least make his life better, in particular reciprocating the affection of three beautiful girls—Elga, an elven swordswoman; Mabel, an ice witch; and Alicia, a priestess.

Uncle from Another World (異世界おじさん, Isekai Ojisan) is an ongoing 2018 manga written and illustrated by Hotondo Shindeiru and published by Kadokawa Shoten under its MF Comics imprint's ComicWalker magazine, with an English release under Yen Press. It also had a crossover with Chain Chronicle in 2020, as well as an anime adaptation directed by Shigeki Kawai under AtelierPontdarc studio for Netflix starting July 2022.

These tropes came from another world:

  • 20 Minutes into the Past: The manga began in 2018 and the anime in 2022, but the story began in 2017. This allowed references to events and slangs from 2017, such as trends on YouTube or events such as the Adpocalypse.
  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: The goblin horde in Ep. 7 is very clearly composed of copy-pasted computer-animated characters. It may have been intentional, since the scene switches right after to an imitation of retro games (specifically Golden Axe), where Uncle tries to defeat them with a special attack and everyone moves in a stiff, barely-animated way. It's the same scene from the opening, but animated in 3D CG instead of pixel sprites.
  • Accidental Proposal: A Running Gag where Uncle offers one of the rarest rings in the fantasy world to certain people in his journey. While they are worth a great deal of money in that world, he is oblivious to the fact that such a gesture is translated to "Will you marry me?"
    • In its own running gag, every time he tells Mabel one of the rings' recipients, that she can live off from money she receives from selling hers, she becomes incredibly defensive.
  • Anti-Magic: Certain monster types in the fantasy world can prevent any kind of spell from being cast against them by exuding an aura so foul that the magical spirits are put out of action. According to Uncle, they stink so much that the spirits "don't wanna work".
  • Arboreal Abode: Mabel lives inside a tree until the villagers tear her tree down and force her to find a job.
  • Arc Number: Seventeen. Uncle was hit by a truck at age 17, spent 17 years in a coma, and returned in the year 2017.
  • Art Shift:
    • The anime utilizes this for presentation. Events on Earth are animated with a coarse minimalist technique, while flashbacks in the fantasy world are shown in a contemporary anime style.
    • One sequence in episode 7 shifts to a style reminiscent of a 16-bit action game as Uncle tries replicating a move from Golden Axe.
  • Asshole Victim: A variant between Mabel and the villagers. Freezing them in place and subjecting them to cold water torture sounds incredibly pretty; however, considering they all treated Uncle poorly and planned to make Mabel a slave, they’re lucky the latter didn’t just snap and offed them.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Episode 1 opens with Takafumi seemingly about to be hit by a truck while crossing the road, but nothing happens and he makes it safety to the hospital to meet his uncle, who's the one who actually had such an accident happen to him.
  • Balanced Harem: In the Granbahamal flashbacks, Uncle has three admirers and each girl has equally slim chances of getting with the guy due to the series' Foregone Conclusion. Since all Uncle wants is to return to his world, no one ever makes romantic progress with him. Elf-san, the first girl, gets the most screentime and is the most overt, but in the end has no better a shot with him than anyone else.
  • Battle Harem: Uncle's harem is formed by an elf swordswoman, a girl with ice powers and a magic priestess. Parodied in that Uncle has absolutely no idea any of them are attracted to him.
  • Bedmate Reveal: A couple of times, Uncle wakes up and discovers Elf-san and/or Mabel snuck into his bed to use him as a body pillow.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: Uncle, Elf-san, Mabel, and Alicia often go separate ways for humorous reasons at the end of every major arc. This is because Status Quo Is God, since Uncle and the Battle Harem are essentially unstoppable so long as they work together.
    • Uncle will sneak out at night and ditch Elf-san as soon as he reaches the next available village.
    • Everyone leaves Mabel behind because she wants to sleep in.
    • Raiga and Edgar always feel inadequate witnessing how powerful Uncle or Elf-san are, and decide to continue training to close the power gap, with a concerned Alicia watching over them.
  • Burn the Witch!: Poor Uncle was nearly burned at the stake just for making a magical urn that could produce water for the village, which was apparently a sacrilegious act according to the local religion.
  • Childhood Friends: Double-subverted. It seems like Takafumi and Fujimiya have this, but looking at Takafumi's memories reveals that she relentlessly bullied him incredibly cruelly. The double-subversion comes in that, like his uncle, he still considered her amazing and a good friend, one he remembered all those years later.
  • Crapsack World: Granbahamal. The world is overrun by monster hordes and politicians refuse to give militaries the resources to stop them. The once powerful Elven Kingdom is now a Vestigial Empire, whose princess desperately searches for Lost Superweapons. Medieval Stasis is an enforced religious creed. God lost interest in the native inhabitants and those He brings from another world to save them. Kaiju scale horrors such as dragons are awakening. Prophecies of The End of the World as We Know It are coming to fruition. The person believed to be The Hero is currently a Fake Ultimate Hero. To top it all off: The Chosen One actually selected by God suffered so much Fantastic Racism, he is more focused on getting back to Earth as soon as possible, than pursing quests to save the planet.
  • Crossover: The first bit of media, released before the anime adaptation, was a video game event with Chain Chronicle.
  • Death Is Not Permanent: The Ancient Flame Dragon and The Wrath of God will resurrect after death. Such entities must be temporarily sealed using a Soul Jar or the Divine Frost Blade after defeat to prevent their return. Uncle also makes a cryptic comment that resurrection for mortal creatures existed on Granbahamal, but clarifies only gods could cast it and he only saw it used once.
  • Deconstruction:
    • The series deconstructs the typical Isekai power fantasy scenario of a friendless, socially awkward Otaku sent to another world who acquires great power in the process: While he gains the power, his slovenly appearance, lack of socialization, and general cluelessness make the experience a nightmare instead.
    • The Tsundere character is also deconstructed - Uncle straight up cannot tell that Elf-san cares about him. While he makes a lot of missteps on this, it's hard to blame him considering that from his perspective, all she does is mock or nag him, and that the tsundere archetype only became more mainstream after he disappeared from Earth.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Both ways. On the one hand, Uncle initially struggled to make sense about the culture and social norms of Granbahamal. On the other hand, after returning to Earth, he finds that contemporary Japanese culture and trends have already diverged enough from what he's familiar with back in 2000.
  • Equivalent Exchange: Nature Spirits demand recompense for their aid. Usually a few hours of conversation is enough, but extraordinary demands require extraordinary favors. Nature Spirits have different values to humans, so what they desire in return (and the consequences for failing to follow through) can seem unpredictable or unjustified.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: While struggling to come up with a new YouTube video that would generate big views using Uncle's magic, an idea finally hits them when Takafumi stores one of Uncle's daggers through the dimensional portal on his chest... which, taken out of context, looks almost as if Uncle is being "pierced" through the heart. That's the trick they go with.
  • Evolving Credits:
    • Uncle's Battle Harem gets added on the ring in the ED after they get introduced. Episode 2 has Elf and Mabel while Episode 8 adds Alicia.
    • In episode 9, the ED adds both Alicia and Mabel looking at the stars while Uncle appears at the end and Elf smiles.
  • Everyone Can See It: Sumika's crush on Takafumi is so obvious that even Uncle can see it. Conversely, all three of Uncle's love interests are barely subtle about their attraction to him, yet he's the only one who's completely clueless (or rather, uncaring) about the fact.
  • Fantastic Racism: It seems almost everyone in Granbahamal is terrified of orcs. The immediate reaction to seeing one is extermination and double dealing an orc is considered acceptable.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Uncle, having come of age in The '90s by the time he was trapped in another world, is forced to adjust to life in 2017. Though he does get more used to things after a while, he still struggles with culture shock and finding his place in a changing world.
  • Flashback B-Plot: The story alternates between Uncle's isekai adventures and Uncle settling back in Earth.
  • Foregone Conclusion: From the first chapter, we know Uncle escapes the other world and returns to Earth. How he achieved it and what happened to his friends from the other world has yet to be revealed.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Uncle doesn't seem too enthused by modern technology such as smartphones and touch screens, yet his memory recollection spell works almost exactly like a tablet with touch screen capabilities would.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each episode of the anime is titled after a line of dialogue from Uncle.
  • Light Is Not Good: Divine magic is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural.
  • Look Both Ways: Subverted as a Visual Gag, then played straight, in the first episode. The narrator of the series (the nephew of said uncle) was apparently going to get hit by a truck while crossing the street, but was then revealed to have made it safely across. Then it is revealed that the titular uncle got into his predicament because he was hit by a truck while crossing the street 17 years ago.
  • Magical Land: Granbahamal. Earth is one as well, but no one can communicate with Earth's nature spirits except Uncle.
  • The Masquerade: Played with. Takafumi and Uncle make no attempt to hide Uncle's abilities or experiences, outright discussing them in front of others like it's nothing. But no one believes them because it's all so outlandish that it's effectively still kept a secret despite Uncle monetizing his abilities by showing them off on YouTube.
  • Medium-Shift Gag: The opening serves as a shift between the normal anime aesthetic and 16-bit video game designs, as seen here.
  • Memory Jar: One of Uncle's spells allows memories to be displayed. It's how half the show is shown, as all the scenes in Granbahamal are viewed through this.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: Shapeshifting magic causes the subject's mind to gradually become more like the body, risking Loss of Identity. It's supposed to be forbidden magic, used only in the direst of situations, but Uncle is a bit more casual with it.
  • Mood Whiplash: Things can go from hilarious to serious and from silly to dark at a moment's notice. In Chapter 28 there's the moment where Alicia accidentally exposes herself to Uncle, who then proceeds to quickly wipe out his memory of that to preserve her dignity, then this ends up leading to a hilarious conversation in which Alicia discovers she's older than Uncle, and then this leads to a much serious conversation about how precious memories are for Alicia and how this made Uncle feel guilty about erasing some of her memories in their previous encounters.
  • Mundane Utility: After returning to Earth, Uncle uses his vast magic abilities for free long-distance deliveries, special effects in his YouTube videos, free air conditioning in summertime, and getting women's discounts in movie theaters.
  • Nested Story: The story of Uncle's day to day life in the real world after his return from Granbahamal is regularly interspersed with stories he tells of his adventures while in that other world.
  • No Body Left Behind: This is what happens when an individual dies after being transported to the fantasy world. Mr. Shojiro, the original owner of the Purgatory Hotsprings and yet another person transported to the fantasy world, simply vanished into thin air when he passed away from old age, his clothing included.
  • Nosebleed: Subverted. Getting a nosebleed in this series means you've recalled something that was wiped using a memory-erasure spell. Fujimiya points out that people in real life don't actually get nosebleeds from seeing something lewd.
  • Not What It Looks Like: In Chapter 13, Elf walks in on Uncle trying to restrain a berserk Mabel who was mad at him for his earlier Accidental Proposal. She frees Mabel instead of helping him, having misunderstood the scene as Uncle trying to get handsy with another woman right after turning her down.
  • One Cast Member per Cover: Volumes 1-5 each feature a different girl on the cover. Elf is on Volume 1, Mabel on Volume 2, Alicia on Volume 3, Uncle as Elf's double on Volume 4, and Fujimiya on Volume 5. The cycle then restarts with Volume 6.
  • Opaque Lenses: Frequently displayed by Uncle and Takafumi as one of their Shared Family Quirks. Fujimiya also sports these at times, but not to the extent of the other two.
  • Parody Product Placement: Volume 4's special chapter is Uncle enthusiastically promoting the Mega Drive Mini in his own unique way, with the copyright censorship the manga normally uses removed, and a list of credits given at the end.
  • Pass the Popcorn: A non-malicious example: when Takafumi finally gets to witness a proper fantasy battle with Uncle and his friends fighting the empowered Blaze Dragon, he tells Uncle to pause the memory so he can visit the bathroom and prepare some cup ramen before they continue watching it.
  • Power at a Price:
    • Whenever Uncle invokes spirits for powers, they demand something in return. On a hot day, he invoked the spirits of ice to use them as a makeshift air conditioning device, and they demanded a cow’s head or else they would cover the world in ice for 10 years. They settled for a fish's head.
    • When Takafumi temporarily got magic powers from his uncle, he got turned into a dinosaur afterwards. Thankfully it only lasted for a day.
  • The Problem with Fighting Death: Takafumi hates sad endings where people die, but Uncle points out that since everyone dies eventually, it's always a sad ending.
  • Rewind, Replay, Repeat: Uncle's recollection spell inexplicably works like a video player application, complete with pausing, rewinding, track skipping, and a Translation Convention function, all of which are handy when trying to explain the context of his memories to Takafumi and Fujimiya. It even has an Enhance Button!
  • Rhyming Names: A common pattern in Granbahamal, including but not limited to: Mabel Rayveil, Alicia Edelcia, Raiga Straiga, Hargen Regfalgen, and Doldor Rexdor.
  • Secret-Keeper: Takafumi and Fujimiya for Uncle's magical powers.
  • Sequence Breaking: Done unintentionally when Uncle managed to slay the fire dragon without going through Mabel's Side Quest to obtain her Frost Blade, which up until that point was supposedly the only weapon that could defeat the monster. He also does it later with Alicia's party by using a spell to detect and open a door leading directly to the dungeon's treasure room where the Rod Of Salvation is found, but having learned his lesson and not wanting to steal all the credit and wanting to make them less dependent on him, he erases their memories of the room, leaves the rod in the room and helps them complete the dungeon the normal way.
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock: Spend too long in another form, and your mind gradually gets more like the body. It's possible you won't want to turn back, especially if you take the form of a creature that relies on instinct instead of intelligence.
  • Shared Family Quirks: Takafumi resorts to Selective Obliviousness as much as his uncle, in his case going into full-on denial that Fujimiya is genuinely interested in him and not just putting it on to make him feel better about being attracted to her. He also resembles his uncle with their Opaque Lenses and shared penchant for Stunned Silence.
  • Shoot Him, He Has a Wallet!: Upon being assaulted by the first group of adventurers he ran into in Granbahamal, Uncle tried offering them all of his money so they'd let him go. Unfortunately for him, these people have no concept of paper money and believed that he was trying to use an attack spell talisman on them, prompting them to beat him up even more.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The anime's opening contains numerous nods to games released on Sega consoles, including (but not limited to) Shinrei Jusatsushi Taromaru, NiGHTS into Dreams…, Guardian Heroes, Sword of Vermilion, Golden Axe, Street Fighter, and Sonic the Hedgehog.
    • The monster attack on the barrier town is a homage to Attack on Titan.
    • When Uncle discusses his first true love with his nephew, he says that it was actually Sonic and Tails, as he would stop by the toy store every day on his way home from school to watch the title screen and demos of Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
    • Uncle does the Gendo pose and tells how during middle school he watched Evangelion, just like everyone else... but only because SEGA was one of the anime's sponsors.
    • Uncle compares the empty streets of the town during New Year's Eve to the city besieged by aliens in Alien Storm.
    • Uncle moves Fujimiya by talking about his crush Kaede and her sad predicament... but he's actually talking about a video game character, from Alien Soldier to be precise, whose cyborg copy turns into That One Boss Seven Force. His alias "Wolfgunblood" also comes from the name of one of Alien Soldier's bosses.
    • Uncle ends up trapped in a cell and compares the ray of light that gets through a hole in the ceiling to an attack from the Genesis-exclusive game Pulseman. Since that game was made by Game Freak, he also mentions that they went on to create Pokémon.
    • Uncle's life philosophy of never backing down, even in desperate situations, and turning difficulties into points of advantage? It comes from the Puyo Puyo manual and its tactics.
    • Uncle explains his lack of reaction to Elf-san being a princess by pointing out it's not that rare in games, citing Reinhart Valgar and Serena Corsair from Guardian Heroes.
    • Uncle learned about Rengoku from one of Hiei's attacks in YuYu Hakusho: Makyou Touitsusen.
    • When Uncle and Mabel have illusions of themselves distract a group of knights that Mabel is currently working for so that she and Uncle can talk things out, their deception is found out sooner than expected. When they ask how they figured it out since the illusions are still fighting each other, they've shown to have deteriorated over time, with Uncle's illusion now being oversized and fat and swinging his sword in the same way as Shell Shogun in Alien Soldier.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Uncle did bring back phenomenal magic powers from his adventures, but predictably no one on Earth ever believes him when he records himself for YouTube. Most comments say that he's using very high quality special effects.
    • Uncle brought back priceless jewelry from Granbahamal, but they were too rare to be measured by Earth's values and so the jewelry was given a value of 50 yen.
    • When an object with a guardian is claimed by someone else, said guardian isn't needed anymore, as Mabel discovers.
    • During one of her initial meetings with Uncle, Alicia does a Sword Plant while giving an introductory speech. Edgar and Raiga immediately chew her out for smashing the tip of their new sword against a solid surface.
    • While Uncle is shown to be very knowledgeable about gaming and manga, befitting his being an otaku, this doesn't extend to conventions and tropes that became more mainstream after The '90s. This could be seen in how he mistakes what comes across to modern audiences as tsundere behavior for simply being a jerk.
    • Uncle's constant fixation on finding a way back home over almost every other priority both made him considerably less inclined towards trying to form relationships with the locals and made it much more difficult for him to fit in outside of the bare necessities.
  • Take That!:
    • A mild one to Kochi Kame. One of the first things Uncle wants to do after coming back to Japan after 17 years is to read some manga, being the geek he is. He wants to read Kochikame because "it's always the same story" so he doesn't have to worry about culture shock. (However, the manga ended in 2016 and Takafumi quickly informs Uncle about that.)
    • There's also a mild jab at the video game console wars. Takafumi is genuinely bewildered with how Uncle takes the rivalry between Nintendo and Sega so seriously, especially when the "war" between them ultimately didn't matter in the wider picture of Japan's gaming scene.
  • The Team: Uncle, Elf-san, Mabel, Alicia, Raiga, and Edgar are collectively renowned as the Dragon Slayer Party among adventurers.
  • There's No Place Like Home: Despite losing fifteen years on Earth and being loaded with a bunch emotional of baggage, Uncle considers being back home a significant upgrade over Granbahamal. It helps that he has an easier time forming relationships in the real world and gets to keep his isekai powers.
  • Translation Convention: The native language of Granbahamal is incomprehensible to people from Earth and vice versa, with Uncle's ability to communicate with them (and by extension, Takafumi and Fujimiya being able to understand them) being given to him by the gods, which is translated into modern Japanese. These same gods also inexplicably spoke an entirely different dialect altogether that's rendered as Mandarin Chinese in Uncle's flashback sequence.
  • Trapped in Another World: This is an isekai, though a darker version than usual and deconstructed on several occasions. The titular Uncle himself was trapped in fantasy land for seventeen years. If Mabel is to be believed, however, Uncle was not the first or only human to have had this happen to them, since the progenitor of her clan was also from Japan and his projection in Chapter 14/Episode 5 clearly looked like a samurai clad in armor, and the Purgatory Hotsprings in the mountains was established by an old man whom Uncle instantly recognizes to be Japanese, given the language on the signage.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Uncle's isekai was pretty much this: he started off with being sold as a talking orc to a freak show for 3 copper coins, or 1/40th of the value of an used scrubbing cloth. He only survived by awakening his spirit powers, but being powerful often just led to him being treated like a more dangerous monster. Imagine seventeen years of similar treatment.
  • Tribal Carry: Upon his arrival to Granbahamal, Uncle was beaten senseless by three men who mistook him for an orc. When they realized he could speak human language, they tied him on a pole by his wrists and feet and carried away to sell him to a freak show.
  • Undying Loyalty: Elf-san, Mabel, Alicia, Raiga, and Edgar were saved by Uncle. Once he befriends them, any will fight to aid and defend him... even when the problem is technically Uncle's fault.
  • Virtual YouTuber: When Takafumi catches Uncle trying to use shapeshifting magic to goad Fujimiya into discussing her crush, he immediately suggests recording a Let's Play with Uncle still using Elf's form. Uncle is blissfully unaware of what's happening until he checks on the video they recorded later, with Takafumi passing off his magic as a VTuber avatar. To Uncle's dismay, he finds out that said video has earned well over 200,000 views, far more than the rest of his content, even though he forgot to set up the camera to record his gameplay. He undoes his transformation in a fit of anger after a commenter says Uncle's beloved Sega Saturn is "unnecessary" for the video, thinking about how "soft" Otaku youth has become.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: Because Uncle has already returned, his adventures are told through a spell that views memories.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Takafumi and Fujimiya are obviously attracted to each other, but a Relationship Upgrade isn't happening anytime soon because Takafumi thinks it would be wrong to date his childhood friend no matter how obvious she's trying to make she wants that badly.
  • World of Jerkass: Uncle spent 17 years in a fantasy world full of jerks who would beat him up just because he's ugly like an orc by that world's standards. He did make a few allies, but most of them started out hostile, too.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Things do improve for Uncle. But when things go well, it's only a matter of time before things get wrong. Examples include:
    • After escaping imprisonment from a freak show, a bunch of cute animals he liberated surrounded him... but as they were starving, they attacked him, and he ended up killing them all, and eating them (he was starving too).
    • In the aftermath of a giant battle, when he was vouched for by his friends who fought with him, he ended up thrown back in prison. He only got out by bribing them with his exorbitant wealth.

Icuras cuora. (Erase memory)

Alternative Title(s): Isekai Ojisan


Uncle from Another World

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