FEATURE: Saving 80,000 Gold in Another World for My Retirement — The Isekai That Should Definitely Be On Your Watchlist
It’s safe to say Isekai is one of those genres that seems to have half a dozen new shows every season. Keeping up with every new entry in the genre can get a little overwhelming, even for the die-hard fans of anime starring Truck-kun’s latest victims. Don’t worry. I get it. I’m right there with you. So much anime, so little time!
But if there’s one Isekai you absolutely need to see, it’s Saving 80,000 Gold in Another World for My Retirement.
Not Your Typical Isekai
Isekai can vary widely. Sometimes our beloved main characters are stuck in a video game that needs to be beaten in order to be freed. Other times the literal devil finds themself in our world, working in a fast food establishment. Or maybe it’s a perfectly constructed, gut-bustingly funny deconstruction of the genre.
There are definitely staples of the genre, though: Truck-kun sends an unsuspecting victim to another world, a proliferation of magic, capricious gods and (eventually) a little world-saving.
Saving 80,000 Gold in Another World for My Retirement turns much of this completely on its head, morphing even the more familiar aspects of the genre into something new, something special.
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Unlike many of her isekaied brethren, main character Mitsuha Yamano doesn’t meet an early end at Truck-kun’s front bumper, nor does she immediately fall on the bad side of a magical being with an empire or phenomenal cosmic powers. Instead, Mitsuha finds herself in another world after falling off a cliff with exceptionally weak guardrails. The catch? Well, there isn’t one. The accident isn’t fatal, leaving Mitsuha with the ability to travel from our world to another one whenever she wants.
So what is she going to do in this fascinating new world ripe for exploring? Just enough work to make a nice chunk of change to retire with, of course!
The Get Rich Quick Scheme
Mitsuha is far from the first anime protagonist with a penchant for acquiring cash, but worrying about her 401k in a world with kings, monsters and all sorts of places to explore certainly puts her in the minority of her treasure-hungry brethren. It doesn’t take long for Mitsuha to begin making plans to open a shop selling cheap, convenience store items alongside handy modern items sure to catch the eye of locals.
Comedy abounds as Mitsuha tries her hand at being a merchant in another world. She’s a little vague on the finer details of being a proper shopkeeper — Pro Tip: signs above the front door telling people there’s a shop are generally helpful — but she’s got spirit and energy to spare. Introducing a medieval-ish society to all sorts of modern conveniences, like tents, lighters and costume jewelry seems to be the answer to how to live a comfortable life.
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Saving 80,000 Gold in Another World for My Retirement is a slice-of-life Isekai with comedic vibes that’ll have you smiling right from the get-go. Mishaps and misunderstandings abound as modernity and a less technologically advanced society clash to hilarious ends. But it’s also much, much more than that. This isn’t just a humorous look at a get-rich-quick scheme. It’s an anime that explores the intense loneliness and grief after losing the rest of your immediate family.
Grief and Loneliness
Not long before the start of the anime, Misuha lost her entire family in a sudden accident. With her mother, father and older brother now gone, she is all alone. She has a soft spot for families, tending to watch their happy banter and interjecting more when she’s spoken to than offering up dialogue on her own.
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The littlest things always speak the loudest when loneliness and grief are at play. Except, perhaps, the images of Mitsuha’s brother. Tsuyoshi Yamano acts as a sort of inner voice as Mitsuha muses internally on her situation, goals and those around her. He gives Mitsuha advice, converses with her and provides various explanations.
It is this, the subconscious voice of her older brother, which so perfectly shows us the transition Mitsuha goes through, from being lost and alone to having purpose and drive.
Grief, loneliness and loss are pervasive. They change our lives; they change us. It can be difficult to narrow down exactly when these feelings begin to fade. Grief and loneliness have a way of becoming familiar. We get comfortable with them, sometimes forgetting that we’re sad and other times trudging forward simply because there’s no other choice, refusing or maybe unable to allow ourselves the space to properly break down and build ourselves anew.
Mitsuha is a perfect portrayal of this. She moves forward because she must. She needs to make money to live and eventually retire. New faces come into her life, many of whom become much more permanent fixtures than Mitsuha first surmises. Friends are made. Comedic mishaps arise. Simple business transactions lead to being included in mercenary company cookouts. Minor nobles open their hearts and homes to Mitsuha, who becomes something of an adoptive daughter.
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Change is slight at first, easy to miss, especially when living through it yourself. Mitsuha begins selling services in addition to goods. With her world-hopping abilities and the modern-day goods and appliances she has access to, selling problem-solving services for all manner of issues and occasions is not only sensical but a very financially sound decision.
Yet, Mitsuha doesn’t always rake in the cash with these endeavors. Her shop has to remain closed, for one, as it’s a one-woman operation. And while the king may be able to pay out the nose for her services, a regular family whose restaurant has fallen on hard times certainly can’t meet the same standard.
Finding Your Place In the World
Amid starting a shop of her own, Mitsuha begins to change. Suddenly, she’s no longer alone, trudging through school day after school day because she has no other choice. People rely on her, looking to her for everything from useful goods to pleasant company to a powerful woman who can call down lightning from the sky.
The strange new land stops being strange and new, simply becoming home. It’s where the von Bozes are, who are only too happy to act as second parents. It’s where Princess Sabine is, who quickly becomes something of a little sister. The townspeople aren’t merely customers (or guinea pigs for new products) anymore. Each has a name and a face, likes and dislikes. They’re Mitsuha’s friends and neighbors.
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After being listless and alone for so long, Mitsuha finally finds home, a found family and friends. Internal monologues with her deceased brother lessen. Mitsuha asks for his help, guidance and opinion less and less frequently until, suddenly, his role has shifted. Instead of giving Mitsuha brotherly advice, he begins playing a sort of narrator role for us, the viewer.
When things get tough, when danger comes calling, Mitsuha is finally ready to make one hell of a stand. The woman who had understandable goals that tended toward comedic outcomes grows into a strong, self-confident woman willing to throw all common-sense Isekai rules out the window in order to protect those she loves, the people who have changed her life.
Saving 80,000 Gold in Another World for My Retirement is an anime with an entertaining premise, an attention-grabbing and less-conventional use of another world and is a wonderful comedy with slice-of-life vibes. But it’s also more than the sum of those parts. It’s a realistic look at living alongside grief and resignation that can’t be easily assuaged.
Mitsuha is a fun, entertaining character, but she’s also someone who represents the struggles we all go through, the natural push and pull of grief, of finding our place in a world that isn’t always fair or kind. She’s proof that even when it’s easy to feel like we’re doomed to perpetual loneliness, we can not only flourish but rise to the call of heroism.
What Isekai have you been watching lately? What did you think of Saving 80,000 Gold in Another World for My Retirement? Let me know in the comments below.
Watch Saving 80,000 Gold in Another World for My Retirement on Crunchyroll!