Reborn as a Vending Machine, I Now Wander the Dungeon Volume 1 Review

When it comes to the isekai genre, there’s a wide range of strange reincarnation stories, with average Japanese salarymen being reborn as some strange inanimate object in a fantasy world such as Reincarnated as a Sword or Reincarnated as an Apple. But perhaps the strangest concept so far is Reborn as a Vending Machine, I Now Wander the Dungeon. Ahead of its anime debut in the Summer season, I’ve decided to check out Volume 1 of this manga adaptation. 

Our story begins in Japan, with an average salaryman who loves vending machines. He loves them so much that he dies in an accident trying to protect one from harm! The next thing he knows, our unnamed protagonist wakes up beside a lake in a colourful fantasy setting but he quickly realises he can’t move and when he tries to talk he hears the familiar phrases of a vending machine. Yes, our protagonist has been reborn as the very thing he loved most in Japan – a vending machine. 

Of course, being next to a lake isn’t great for business, so to begin with all our protagonist can do is check over his stats and stock himself with food and drink (there’s an automated system for all this, which he can spend points on to install new skills and stock). Eventually, he’s attacked by monsters and then promptly saved by a girl called Lammis who is starving after her party abandoned her and left her for dead. 

After spending a day recovering her strength, Lammis names our protagonist Boxxo and invites him to join her at the nearby Clearflow Lake settlement. With nothing better to do and little chance of meeting new people by the lake, Boxxo readily agrees. Once established in the settlement, he has plenty of visitors and can cheerfully serve them food and drinks while being looked after by Lammis, who takes it upon herself to polish him every single day. 

Reborn as a Vending Machine Reveals Trailer, Premiere Date & More!

While vending machines aren’t typically found in this world (which is a stereotypical fantasy setting with swords and magic), the residents at Clearflow Lake quickly see the value in Boxxo being able to endlessly supply food and drinks. It’s not long before they’re inviting him and Lammis on missions so they can avoid having to pack and guard so many provisions. With Lammis by his side, Boxxo is well-protected and it’s not long before he learns some useful skills to defeat monsters all by himself… 

Reborn as a Vending Machine, I Now Wander the Dungeon Volume 1 doesn’t feel like it gets very far in its first outing as is perhaps typical of manga that adapt light novels. But, we do spend a lot of time getting to know Boxxo and Lammis, while also showing the two take part in battle which is more than enough to get the reader invested. The idea of a vending machine popping up in a fantasy world is not quite as novel as it would have been back when the source material was written in 2016-2017, but it’s still fun to watch Boxxo’s antics all the same.

Boxxo isn’t overpowered and the fact he can’t wander around nor communicate outside of set phrases like ‘thank you’ and ‘come again’, means Lammis’ existence is pivotal to making the series work. In terms of personality, she’s more generic than Boxxo. She’s ditsy while being quite powerful and unaware of just how powerful she truly is, leading to plenty of mishaps. She’s likeable all the same, but don’t be surprised when someone tries to take advantage of her or you find her faceplanting the ground on occasion. 

In terms of artwork, this adaptation has been handled by Kunieda who also worked on the first Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? manga adaptation. The art is polished with plenty of detail and it’s easy to follow scenes from panel to panel. The battles look impressive too, capturing the momentum of every attack. It’s the kind of series where even if you’ve read the light novels before, I’d recommend picking up the manga if you like the premise, given the quality of it. It’s certainly a great entry point for newbies like me too. 

Reborn as a Vending Machine, I Now Wander the Dungeon Volume 1 comes to the West thanks to Yen Press and has been translated by Alice Prowse with lettering by Chiho Christie. The translation reads well with no issues to note. Having not read the original light novel I’m not sure if names and terminology have stayed consistent between the two, but given that Yen Press published both, I can’t imagine there’ll be any problems there. 

The manga is still ongoing in Japan although it only began in 2021 and chapters being monthly means it has only just reached two volumes as of March. Because of this, Volume 2 isn’t yet scheduled for an English release and I imagine might not be until closer to the end of the year. However, Yen Press does release simulpub chapters of the series which can be purchased through most e-book retailers. As mentioned earlier, all three of the original light novels are available through Yen Press and Crunchyroll will be streaming the anime adaptation as part of the Summer season, so if you like the series, there’s plenty of it! 

Overall Reborn as a Vending Machine, I Now Wander the Dungeon Volume 1 gets off to an interesting start. It may not stand out in this crowded genre, but if you’re into the trope of your average human becoming an inanimate object in another world, you’ll have fun with this one. And even if you’re an existing fan of the series, it’s well worth checking out the manga, thanks to the high quality of artist Kunieda’s work. 

Digg deep!


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