Handyman Saito is the anime equivalent of a Mark Twain novel

Handyman Saito has an everyday craftsman isekai’d in a medieval world, with the plot bearing some resemblance to a Mark Twain novel of all things.

Isekai as a genre has had all sorts of reincarnations, many of which expertly use the genre to maximum effect. An overlooked element of isekai, however, is how advantageous the reincarnates should logically be in their new, many times medieval, world. An upcoming series is finally using that narrative element, thereby resembling a Mark Twain book to an ironic degree.

The handyman Saito in another world takes a handyman to a medieval fantasy world, with his mundane modern day skills quickly becoming invaluable in his new environment. Such a plot is not too far from the plot of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s court. Here’s how one of the newest isekai anime of 2023 looks like a short story by one of America’s greatest authors.

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The handyman Saito takes the skills of the craftsmen to another world

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Based on Kazutomo Ichitomo’s manga of the same name, The handyman Saito in another world follows the new life of a once-normal Japanese handyman. Her despondency at the lot in his life sees him smitten with the familiar ‘Truck-kun’, sending him to a new world filled with magic and fantasy. Though he was just a rather humble handyman in his previous life, Saito discovers that his skills and knowledge could be very useful in this new reality. His work with metal and tools makes him invaluable to the party he attends when it comes to repairing armor and weapons and picking locks.

This is an element of isekai that is very rarely used in the anime, manga or light novels they adapt. The heroes of isekai stories remember their past and all the knowledge they have previously acquired. Therefore, even if they weren’t immediately skilled with swords or magic, their wisdom and know-how would surely give them an edge in a world still stuck many times in the dark ages of technology. If anything, they would be seen as wielding a form of magic, regardless of how real said witchcraft was. Such was the plot of a satirical novel by Mark Twain that took an 1800s American newspaper and turned it into a contemporary of King Arthur.

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A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court was an all-American Isekai novel

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Much earlier The handyman Saito in another world or any isekai anime for that matter, genre could be found in non-japanese novels. An underrated example of this is A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s court — a humorous novel by famed writer Mark Twain. The book’s story involves Hank Morgan, an engineer from the late 1800s, who is transported to the time of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Retaining his knowledge of history and the basic common facts of his time, Morgan uses them to make himself a wizard with wisdom far beyond that of Merlin. His unique form of “magic” is lauded across the land, with the man who once possessed a rather specific set of abilities becoming quite a god in his new time period.

The similarities between this book and Handyman Saito they are quite evident; both feature a skilled craftsman from the “present day” who is sent back to a time of medieval magic. There, both protagonists’ knowledge enables them to succeed far beyond the scope of their new societies, making them hot commodities among even the most accomplished warriors and wizards. This demonstrates that isekai-like trappings aren’t exclusive to anime and manga, let alone those produced in recent decades. With such a vast history, it’s no surprise that isekai as a genre won’t stop, especially since Mark Twain himself contributed to it at one point.

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