I Was a Sword When I Reincarnated (LN)


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When I noticed it, I was in a different world.

I had become a sword… what, I don’t get it! The place I woke up was a great plain crowded with monsters. I fly in search of a partner (women only) to be equipped with. Magic stone? I get the skills I absorb? This has become fun! Hyahha, give me magic stones! Yes, that was a joke. But I’ll take a magic stone.

This is how I became a sword and went to another world, a story of an ordinary minor character otaku.

Associated Names
One entry per line
Reincarnated as a Sword (LN)
Tensei Shitara Ken Deshita
Related Series
I Was a Sword When I Reincarnated (WN) (Web Novel)
I Reincarnated Into a Vending Machine (2)
Dragon Life (1)
Evil God Average (1)
Goblin Kingdom (1)
Grimoire x Reverse ~Reincarnated Demon Romance Tale~ (1)
I’m a Dullahan, Looking for My Head (1)
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8 Reviews sorted by

BadassPanda34 rated it
March 13, 2020
Status: v5c5
This is mostly copy-pasted from my review in the WN thread. If you are to read one of them, read the LN; it's only 2 or 3 volumes off the current state of WN translation, and the translation quality has dipped noticeably since the past WN translator. dropped the series following it's licensing. Regarding the quality of Seven Seas' translation; it's good. No noticeable errors, and the vibrancy us is still captured in good quality. Most volumes are the same, although Vol. 3 and only Vol. 3 was almost entirely... more>> new material.

Onto the real review:

The state of isekai is, frankly, a garbage fire. Everywhere you turn you bump into either a) a power trip fantasy with absolutely no tension with violence and edge for its own sake, b) an misogynistic oversexualizing fantasy featuring 1 male lead and multiple cardboard cutout women with 0-dimensional development, or c) both at once.

In this hellfire landscape, TenKen is a beautiful breath of fresh air. It is not incredibly original, drawing heavily from standardized Japanified Tolkein tropes, and playing very much into the conventions of the modern isekai genre. However, the story uses the tropes in a respectable manner, and while omnipresent, they don't detract from the quality of the story itself.

Speaking of which, the story itself is a fusion between slice-of-life and traditional shounen. Something slightly different it brings to the table is the protagonist design; while the eponymous sword is our perspective character, the actually active character responsible for driving the plot forward is the secondary protagonist, Fran, the girl who appears on the cover. That isn't to say that our point-of-view character is not compelling; he asserts at the end of vol. 1 that

"I actually felt more alive in those five days than I ever had in my previous life... It'd only been five days, but I didn't even want to think of leaving Fran alone. If someone offered to send me back to earth, I would reject it.

This particular scene illustrated in the manga is authentically well-crafted emotional storytelling, which is impressive coming from a genre as campy as light-novel isekai.

The relationship between these two characters is very much paternal-filial, and in a good way. (Not like some of these incredibly creepy semi-pedophilic grooming stories. As a side note to authors, if you ever describe the relationship between two characters as father-daughter, you are disallowed from ever making it romantic.) One important point to note is that their relationship, despite being generationally divided, is very much equal. Our protagonist states early that

"I saved her from s*avery and she saved me from the magical forest."

They aren't a lopsided duo where the man solves every problem, but actual partners.

Primarily, though, this story is fun and enjoyable in a healthy way; it is simply a fun ride to watch two lovable protagonist stumble their way through a traditional fantasy world. You won't find melodrama or romance (which is good because the secondary protagonist is a 12-yr-old girl), and the overarching narrative is minimal at best. Crucially, there are no toxic polygamous relationships, as the male protagonist is an inanimate object with no s*x drive.

Furthermore, despite being slice-of-life, there are real moments of tension. Though our duo grows at a tremendous rate, they are never the most powerful group in the world. One thing the story establishes very well is that there is always a bigger fish; after every victory, and every defeat, we meet another character even stronger. And there are defeats, too; this is important, because it demonstrates that despite being the protagonist, they can still lose. They have plot armour protecting their lives, like literally every story in existence, but they lose a lot, or at least don't quite win, compared to most genre isekai.

All in all, I would highly recommend reading this; it is an infusion of fun into our dreary times. <<less
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Sanatoga rated it
November 8, 2018
Status: v1c2 part2
This light novel is no better than the web novel on which it is based.

The storyline is (from what I've seen) identical to the original, complete with all of the original's pacing and sequencing issues.

The prose itself is... different, but not actually better than the web novel. And not distinct from it in any interesting way.

Just read the web novel.
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Pixeldrum rated it
January 6, 2022
Status: v1
I Was a Sword When I Reincarnated does not understand what showing, and not telling means. There is just no attention to worldbuilding, attention to detail, and pacing.

The entire damn novel is basically an event log for the main character, since every single damn interaction is so mundane and explained in the least amount of words possible. First of all, why bother putting in so many fight scenes, strategies, and interactions when all you're going to say is that "oh I killed him with XX ability, " and sometimes, if... more>> the novel is ambitious, it'll throw in a "this is a hard fight, so three hours later I finally kill him."

I don't really care about level progression if all of the damn fights are going to be the same exact outcome, with trivial obstacles that are explained away with a "yeah it just took a longer time, but with perseverance, I did it!" Take notes from something like Kumo, Desu ga nani ka. Extremely similar scenarios. The main characters both transmigrate to foreign objects, and try to survive in a fantasy world. The difference? First of all, the monologuing in Kumo Desu ga nani ka actually builds her character to the point where you actually understand her personality, and it gives it a certain charm. Second of all, not all fights are highlighted in Kumo Desu ga nani ka, but when they are, they are detailed, they go exactly how Kumo barely survives, escapes, or kills the enemy, and there's a sense of rewarding, or a sense of relief when she does so since all of the scenes are explained in detail.

This novel just loves to describe EVERYTHING, but with the most minimal amount of descriptors possible, and you really don't get to know the protagonist's personality very well, other than the things that he tells you outright since his monologuing does not show much character at all, and he's not put in many unique or difference scenarios: he's just bulldozing through everything.

But wait, there's more. The wish-fufillment is insane. He conveniently gets a cute former cat-girl going through her adolescence that also worships him with full conviction. Of course, she goes from a complete stranger to worshipping in mere pages, and what did you expect? Their bonding and relationship progresses off screen, and it's just a given that they became really close and extremely compatible.

This novel really should just focus on the parts that need to be focused on. Rather than writing everything that happens, I much would have rather the first volume just start off with the girl pulling the sword out of the ground, and the subsequence closing the distance/relationship, with a much higher emphasis on what the girl is like, rather than just have her be a convenient user for the MC, especially when she's basically the only other main character.

Of course, there's so many tropes that were used that I lost count. I get it. It's an Isekai, but over-saturation of tropes cheapens the story, and there needs to be a lot of finesse in dealing with them.

Overall, an uninspired OP MC wish-fufillment isekai. <<less
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Seregosa rated it
January 16, 2023
Status: v11
After reading an entire 11 volumes from the official translation, I can only say that this novel flatters itself more in manga or anime format. While I prefer the more brutal and composed cat girl and main character to the more cutesy and slightly fragile version in the manga and anime (because I don't like pushovers or overreactions), at least that format brings with it more jokes, more eye candy that'll make you smile and so on. The light novel really doesn't have much going for it, read some of... more>> the WN and it's essentially the same.

We have the protagonist, the everyday japanese guy turned into a sword, then we have the cat girl, a s*ave with ridiculous energy but of equally ridiculous lack of words and love for eating. The protagonist feels pretty empty, his motivations lacking and his love for the cat girl to be overdone, he's acting more like a typical "haha, so funny because he's overprotective" type of parent character, while he loves her deeply there's no carnal desires involved since he basically doesn't possess those anymore, at most he thinks she's incredibly cute and has some vestiges from his human personality. Overall, I don't feel impressed with him.

The cat girl is similarly empty. She's a character of very few words, speaking about 1-4 words on average every "sentence", usually just responding with "hm". Her whole motivation is evolution, which becomes a desire for her race to recover after that, kinda, but it somehow feels like the track is lost after the evolution. After that it just becomes yet another adventuring around to become even stronger story, with no particular goal in mind. She's quite boring due to her one track mind. She's highly aggressive towards people who annoy her, being something of a battle maniac, she's s*upidly obsessed with the sword who she named "teacher" (kinda lost its charm after a short while) and she rarely shows any real emotion except for that and her gluttony. She eats food 24/7, a good chunk of every volume is just writing about her eating curry or picking up food from every single place along every street she walks, and no, I'm not exaggerating, she does eat every waking minute. Her actual motivation is just food, adventuring and becoming stronger is just a guise to get more food, at least that's the vibe we're getting. If she's not eating, she's either sleeping, saying "hm" to various people or fighting someone that should be out of her league. Sigh, you're bound to get tired of having to read about her eating dozens of times each volume and several times each chapter. Maybe it's kinda cute with a little girl that is occasionally shown to be a glutton, but saying how she shoves down 50 plates of food regularly and does nothing but eat makes you question how big her sh*ts must be or why she fails to gain any weight whatsoever because her calorie intake is clearly 100 times that of what she uses even if she fights regularly.

Every volume is pretty much identical in flow, which ends up very dull and predictable. It starts out light and happy, going around eating food or something. Then some bullsh*t happens in the background everywhere she goes, like, literally every village she visits something will happen, usually being a prelude to a bigger plot, like assassins, being attacked or similar crap. Then she will, undoubtedly, fight something, usually something "evil" like a corrupt noble, undead, fiend, whatever. This is done for the sake of the "innocent" and for no other reason than that it bothers her, so she happily risks her life for strangers and by poking her nose where it doesn't belong. Then she ends up almost dying several times while fighting some big guy towards the last few chapters and we round it off with some happy moments where people usually shower her with praise or she eats more curry.

The world building and skills also leaves much to be desired, it's like a typical rpg system only more s*upid and senseless. We don't actually get much in the way of specifics explained to us and it just feels like the skills are there just as a plot device and nothing else. Kinda dull.

Sadly, the novel only gets less readable and more dull as time goes on. Because the story is extremely predictable and so are all the characters, being either super nice guys or super evil guys. The author doesn't change things up and just keeps repeating the same thing over and over, fran eats curry, sleeps, fights, the sword teacher showers her with love and food. The kitty girl never really talks and almost everything is from the sword's perspective. It gets old after 2-3 volumes and after that you realize it's just a broken record that jumps back to the previous track all the time.

The worst part of this novel is how it just doesn't promise any potentially interesting developments to its readers. Let's say that her goal is to become a god instead of merely evolving, that'd be kinda interesting. Maybe teacher's goal would be to become the strongest sword and capable of turning into a human whenever he wants to. Perhaps fran would age a few years after a few volumes and their relationship would gradually develop more into romantic love and the love between parent/child, coupled with his ability to turn human temporarily or at least use his doppelgangers. I mean, something! Give us something to look forward to, some potential juicy developments we can follow as she grows mentally and maybe starts talking more. But no, it's painfully clear nothing will ever change and the only changes are those the author claim happens simply by saying it, like "she has become stronger mentally and physically" but not actually showing any real growth.

Meanwhile, there's nothing particularly offensive about this novel either. It's simply pretty bland. It's readable as a time waster but I wouldn't call it a good read nor would I really recommend it. Try to find something more fun to read. Try the manga or anime instead, especially the manga. It wastes less time, is a bit more funny, the cat girl is more lovable and overall it feels more energetic. Not awesome either, but at least far better than the novel. Sometimes I really wonder how stuff like this can become so popular when the writing is so clearly subpar. <<less
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hevensdragon rated it
January 29, 2019
Status: v2c2 part2
ive read both this and all of the WL till it was discontinued. As the LN is no were near as far will only compare events up till as far as the LN goes but will mention some WL events that will have to change. I notice three changes of note between WL and LN. One is mild but the other two will have effects... more>>

the first and mild one. After useing skill taker and taking the lie detection ability and the courtly etiquette abilities in the WL Fran uses the etiquette abillity and tells a lie to the barron to taunt him. in the LN she just silently takes them and lets him go. This may have slight effects as the guildmaster probably noted it in the WL. This leades too the second change. When the guildmaster pays them cores to take the quest to pover there abilty, and clear him of being accused of being a lolicon. In the WL master used appraisal and they specifically grabbed the rarest cores from the ones on the table. this busted them on being able to appraise. And the event even came up again later. In the LN appraisal didn’t work so the obviously didn’t get found out. The third was a knew event that wasnt in the WL. Master had a dream about becoming a sword. Several new details were given that were never so much as hinted in the WL. Likebefore he was merged with the sword it had angel based designs on the hilt, instead of wolf based. As the wolf bases was always one of the biggest details of the sword in the WL and so far all those details have held up in the LN they are a big deal. Now what do these differences meen? A few things. One fran and master are being more taktfull about secrets and already avoided two slip ups in front of the guildmaster. And two while the WL gave a few hints about masters origins it never realy got to it story wise, the story really was all about fran. But to add foreshadowing so early that may be very different in the LN


now this is on a different note. The WL is no longer bing translated, it gets far yes but it is dropped do to the LN being licensed. It will take the LN quite a wile to catch up but I would advise sticking to it at this point unless you are ok with a story just stoping... in the middle of a major battle at that. <<less
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FishCream rated it
April 6, 2022
Status: v3c3
This novel has some wholesome banter with a cute cat girl and that's really everything it has going for it.

The plot progression is insanely slow due to the MCs constantly being caught in side quests. Every single character (with some exceptions for the MCs) have the exact same personality of either: good guy, bad guy or bystander. Each character is also always immediately identified into one of the three at first glance. Despite collecting an insane amount of potentially interesting skills they only really use the same old repertoire they... more>> got in the beginning for every fight, but with higher numbers this time! They never actually investigate or play with new skills.

All of this might still work out somehow with enough of the cute catgirl banter but the very worst part about it in my opinion is all the filler "bad guy shouting" and useless inner musing questions we already have the obvious answers to. They both make the banter and flow of any given situation messy and frustrating and just about ruins the only good thing about this novel. <<less
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metalslug710 rated it
March 28, 2022
Status: --
This work is very good, I highly recommend it.

Her style is pure adventure, taking One Piece as an example, where the protagonists travel from island to island, and each one has great challenges, Ken Deshita is basically the same style, the two MCs travel from city to city, with great challenges each, and the plot is being worked on as they adventure.

Both the MC (sword) and the FMC (user) are charismatic, the FMC is that type of character who speaks little, but who manages to win you over, having moments... more>> that are cute, merciless, responsible, childish, etc... we'll see her go through a lot, and grow a lot as the work progresses. She will guide the story forward, in fact, we can even consider her the true protagonist, because she is the one who will interact with that world, decide the actions they will take, and so on. The MC is exactly what he is, a sword, he will serve more as a moral support, adviser, friend, father, and obviously in fights as it is her weapon.

The interaction of the two is really good to see, due to the circumstances, the MC means a lot to FMC, the friendship and parental relationship between the two is perceptive. The more the work goes on, the more it captivates you, it got to the point that I rooted for FMC as if it were my own daughter lol.

Speaking of fights, as I remember, the vast majority are very complicated fights, despite the MC being a very strong sword, and the FMC evolving very quickly in terms of combat power, practically every fight you feel tension and excitement. Although the two MCs are strong, the enemies are equally, or even stronger than them, so there is no need to worry about overpower, you can be sure that the MCs will suffer a lot in 90% of the fights.

For those who want to know a little more about the plot, using One Piece again as an example, where Luffy and the crew are after the big goal, here again it's the same style. The FMC has a goal that it wants to achieve, and they will go after that goal, in the meantime they will have other plots, such as the mysteries behind the MC, antagonists, and so on. Who likes this style of One Piece, and works of pure adventure in general, Ken Deshita is a full plate.

I believe that's all I have to say, the work is gigantic, and even though I've read more than 600 chapters (WN), I still don't see it near the end. For those who like a good adventure, a great work with a good story to follow, in addition to a well-built world, which the author makes a point of never forgetting characters or things he had previously presented, you can go without fear, because it is one of the best works of the genre.

PS: For me the best (づ ̄ 3 ̄) づ <<less
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DeadOpossum rated it
January 31, 2021
Status: --
This is a story about a Japanese guy who was reincarnated as a rare type of creature "intelligent weapon" into a typical fantasy world with game-like magic. The sword was picked up by a 12yo cat girl who became a hero and started her journey to increase her own strength.

Every volume she comes to a new city, makes friends, beats bad guys, and continues her travel.

All plots are typical fantasy plots you find in any other similar book. Example: deal with s*ave traders, deal with mad scientists who are poisoning... more>> slums, tournament arc, dungeon subjugation, etc.

This is not an original masterpiece that will leave you in ave, but a solid work that manages to keep your interest. "What happens next?" Is the question I had often and it made me keep flipping pages. I had fun.

As of now (Jan 2021) web novel version translation is ahead of LN. The end of volume 7 is chapter 261 of LN. <<less
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