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Manga / Uncle from Another World

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Isekai starring an Uncle note 
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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.

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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.

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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 slang 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.
  • 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.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In the beginning of the first episode it looks like Takafumi is going to be hit by a truck while crossing the road, but nothing happens and he is walking to the hospital to meet his uncle, who's the one who actually had such an accident happening to him.
  • Balanced Harem: In the Granbahamal flashbacks, Uncle has three admirers and each girl has equal amounts of screen time with him. Since all Uncle wants is to return to his world, no one ever makes romantic progress with him.
  • 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.
  • 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 can seem unpredictable or unjustified.
  • 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.
  • 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 are terrified of orcs. The immediate reaction to seeing one is extermination and double dealing an orc is considered acceptable.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Power at a Price:
    • Whenever Uncle invokes spirits for powers, they demand something in return. On a hot day, he invoked the spirits for ice, and they demanded a cow’s head or else they would cover the world in ice. 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.
  • 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.
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock: Spend too long in another form, and it's possible you won't be able to turn back.
  • 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 to bribe them to 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.
    • 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.
    • In Ep. 6 Uncle is 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.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • 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.
    • A guardian whose job is done 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.
  • 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.)
  • The Team: Uncle, Elf-san, Mabel, Alicia, Raiga, and Edgar are collectively renowned as the Dragon Slayer Party among adventurers.
  • 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 an orc to a freak show, for 3 copper coins. 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.
  • 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 even they attacked him at least once.
  • 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:
    • While stuck in prison, a bunch of cute animals 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.

Icuras cuora. (Erase memory)

Alternative Title(s): Isekai Ojisan

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