I first heard of The Fruit of Evolution from negative comments about the anime. I saw so many people saying it was “isekai trash”, so of course I had to check it out. I wasn’t surprised to find I really enjoyed it, though I was surprised to find ratings were actually pretty decent and it did well enough to get a second season. Finding that the new light novel publisher Hanashi Media translated the light novel that started it all, I definitely felt that same need to take a look.
The Fruit of Evolution takes an unfortunate teenager and his entire school to a fantasy world. It’s written by Miku, who is also behind I Got a Cheat Skill in Another World and Became Unrivaled in the Real World, Too, which Yen Press translated. This title is translated by Mittt Liu and with illustrations by u35.
Not Just Fat, but Ugly
The protagonist of The Fruit of Evolution is Seiichi Hiiragi. He’s rather unfortunate. Not only was he cursed with rather bad looks and a lot of weight, but he even smells bad, no matter how much he washes. His bad luck continued, with him losing both of his parents. Attending a rather unusual school where everyone else seems to be an idol or have idol-tier looks, it’s no surprise that he’s bullied. The only positive in his life is that he has a few friends who care about him, even if he doesn’t fully realize it himself.
One day, things change. A mysterious being calling itself ‘God’ suddenly speaks to the entire school, saying it will be transferring them to a fantasy world. As a bonus, they’re even giving everyone skills to survive, with game-like abilities such as seeing their stats and being able to analyze what they see. Telling them to group up before transfer, everyone else gets together to survive.
Seiichi’s luck doesn’t improve here though. His job is ‘Filth of Society’ and his stats are ‘1’ almost across the board, while classmates talk about being a ‘Sage’ or ‘Swordsman’ and having hundreds in their stats. Even before knowing this, his classmates refuse to party up with him, telling him to die.
The Fruit of Evolution has quite a few moments of over-the-top absurdity. It’s mostly a comedy, but the sheer level of uncaringness towards a fellow human being and classmate is another element that’s over-the-top here.
Luckily God does help him out. As the only one in the school without a group, God decides to give him an extra skill – the ability to take everything a monster possesses when it’s killed. A surprisingly overpowered skill.
Level Up Your Power (and Dick Size)
Transported alone to a forest in another world, Seiichi struggles to survive. But on the verge of starvation, he finds something to eat – The Fruit of Evolution. This is when things start to turn around for him.
Managing to kill a ‘Clever Simian’ that attacked him through dumb luck, he learns just how powerful his extra skill is. He finds he can absorb their skills, their stats, and even their knowledge. Gaining the experience and having eaten the fruit of evolution triggers a change in him. He suddenly loses weight and his wounds are healed.
The world is rather game-like in a way. It makes frequent use of stat and ability charts and Seiichi (and others) can see item descriptions. People can compare levels and such to see just where they stand or easily see the rarity of their equipment.
The Fruit of Evolution feels like a more obvious power fantasy than a lot of these light novels. Throughout volume one, he becomes slimmer, and overly powerful. Even his dick grows bigger! It’s the classic story of the underdog becoming better than everyone else, if exaggerated. This isn’t a bad thing by any means – it’s on theme here.
Gorilla for a Wife
While it isn’t revisited until later in volume one, the prologue starts off with a strong impression by having a talking gorilla (or Kaiser Kong) wanting to marry Seiichi. It’s certainly different than most similar titles.
Volume one introduces Saria the Kaiser Kong as a love interest. While Seiichi is understandably not happy, there are some surprisingly nice moments between them. His reaction to the situation and the interactions between them are quite fun to read.
That she can talk at all and the backstory behind it is interesting and helps to explain one of the key mechanics for power growth in this world. While the idea of a gorilla-like love interest might put some people off, the artwork will clue most in that it’s not exactly that.
Having watched the anime, while only Saria is shown in volume one, it seems the theme of unusual love interests continues. Saria does seem to be the one that stands out the most though and I want to see how their relationship evolves, especially after the final events of volume one potentially changing things.
Silly Events. Sometimes Horrid World.
While much of The Fruit of Evolution seems quite silly such as becoming overpowered and having a gorilla ‘wife’, it does feel like there’s more going on in the background than you might expect.
While it only happens a couple of times, it looks in on what’s happening to the other students. Despite them being the ‘lucky ones’, not everything is as good as expected there. We also get to see brief glimpses of history and serious things that have happened in the world. While it’s sometimes used for humor, we can also see corruption, betrayal, slavery, and more go on here.
The background events are interesting enough that I want to see what’s happening away from the protagonist too.
Setting the Scene
Volume one felt like it was primarily the setup. It explained the background, the concept of how Seiichi gains power, and some of the interesting things about the world. In terms of plot events, it’s quite slim with more focus on Seiichi’s evolution, but it gives a good grounding for future volumes. I assume those will focus more on events.
Localization and Writing
With Hanashi Media being quite new, it’s worth noting how they’ve done in terms of localization and writing. I felt that The Fruit of Evolution was translated in quite an easy-to-read and engaging way. Quality seems generally high, with few typos that I noticed.
It throws in a meme here and there, but from context, I’d assume it originally had similar in the original. It even directly references it a few times, by having the writing mention that the character shouldn’t know a meme since they’re from the other world.
Honorifics are retained, with ‘Sheep-san’ and ‘Saria-ojousama’ as examples. I always like to see this personally, though I know opinions are split.
One minor downside is the charts didn’t always seem to break down well onto a page. In one case some text was even cut off.
The art by u35 looks nice, with several color inserts and greyscale images throughout, some of which you can see examples of in this review. It was particularly interesting seeing how they drew Saria’s gorilla form being everything from angry to bashful.
I enjoyed reading volume one of The Fruit of Evolution. It had plenty of funny moments, even if none were laugh-out-loud funny. The absurdity of some of the concepts and enjoying seeing the power gain kept me interested. Between whatever is going on in the background and knowing that this is just the start of their adventure does make me want to find out what’s next. Luckily Hanashi Media has translated the next volume already and there are plenty more to go after too.
THE FRUIT OF EVOLUTION VOL.1 IS RECOMMENDED
Many thanks go to Hanashi Media who provided a review copy of this title.
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A gamer since the days of Amstrad and DOS and someone who has dabbled in a variety of professions. He enjoys a wide variety of genres, but has been focusing on visual novels and virtual reality in recent years. Head Editor of NookGaming. Follow him and the website on @NookSite.