Shokubutsu Mahou Cheat de Nonbiri Ryoushu Seikatsu Hajimemasu

Alt title: Use Cheat Plant Magic and Live Comfortably as a Lord!

Vol: 4+; Ch: 20+
2020 - ?
3.656 out of 5 from 180 votes
Rank #19,606
Shokubutsu Mahou Cheat de Nonbiri Ryoushu Seikatsu Hajimemasu

Elt, who reincarnated in an MMORPG as an aristocrat, was branded as incompetent and was thrown out as a manager of a remote area with zero territories. However, his "plant magic" was the best all-purpose magic for territorial development! As he cultivated by utilizing the magic that produces from crops to buildings and the knowledge of the previous life, the territory increased and became lively.

Source: MU

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Alright, so first of all, this is a silly and low-stakes manga that probably shouldn't be taken too seriously. That said, the silliness is moreso just creating a pleasant atmosphere than cracking jokes or anything more laugh-oriented. And there are some unfunny gags which I think the author must think are actually funny because of how frequently they get reused--like the mud baths or the references to Koshien. The initial set-up feels half-baked. Like, the story has barely explored anything related to Elt's family and, while the "memories of a past life" aspect is said to have contributed to some things, it honestly hasn't contributed to all that much and the manga could've easily functioned just fine if it had Elt learn feir knowledge from a book instead of from game-based experience. The game aspect is just there to allow the author to be lazy with having to come up with explanations for things, but we don't even see Elt going through any sort of existential crisis based on the fact that fe's apparently living within a video game. It's just the author shallowly and unnecessarily jumping onto a trend. The author doesn't really explain whether Elt simply has access to some memories from someone else (as is implied when it's first brought up) or whether the gamer's personality has merged with Elt's or has taken over or what exactly is happening. At some point, it's suggested that Elt's mental age is older than it should be, which would imply that it's not as simple as Elt having access to some of the gamer's memories, but the author never actually explains what's going on. I found myself asking while reading this "have they encountered even a single threat up to this point?" And I guess they have encountered some dungeon-related threats and also the flower archers, but that still feels like a very minimal number of encounters for a story about people building a civilization up from nothing in the middle of some woods where nobody has lived for hundreds of years. Why aren't there more wild animals? Why aren't there more issues with finding safe water sources or with keeping their treehouses alive? It's because this isn't actually a kingdom-building story. Well, it is. It is a kingdom-building story, but told by an author who is clearly uninterested in exploring iissues of city-planning or diplomacy or anything like that on any sort of interesting level. We do get some agricultural stuff and some tourist trap stuff and some marketing stuff, but even those are told in pretty shallow ways where things often just magically work out for them. Dia is annoying. Dia is far too intelligent for just having been born, but also is far too stupid for how intelligent fe clearly is. The author clearly doesn't know how to write a child character, let alone a baby character. Though to be somewhat fair to Dia, I also am annoyed by basically every single other character. It seems clear that the author is prioritizing cutesiness when coming up with these character concepts, but adults acting cutesy and childish often just comes across as annoying (to me). I do think the outfits and some of the broad design choices are pretty cute. But when it comes to some of the specifics within the artwork, I find it more unappealing than good. There can be slight stylistic clashes with things in the backgrounds and the way outlines are done makes things pop in a weird way. Hands are a huge weak point for this artist and they can look hella ugly. I also don't care for the way the mouths will be drawn agape in that kind of generic cute way. [Reviewed at chapter 19]

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