The summary of Even Given the Worthless “Appraiser” Class, I’m Actually the Strongest Vol. 1 promises the reader an adventurous and heartwarming coming of ‘power’ story that all manga fans know and love. But the debut novel falls short of this promise and is mediocre and disappointing.
Written by Ibarakino, with art by Morohoshi Fuji and character design by Yu Hitaki, Even Given the Worthless “Appraiser” Class, I’m Actually the Strongest Vol. 1 debuted this November. The general storyline seems quite interesting: in a world where people are assigned classes from birth, we follow Ein, whose Appraiser class is the lowest of the low. However, despite his lowly stature, he becomes a mighty hero that defies all the odds and saves the day. It’s a familiar and well-loved storyline that we often see, and for a good reason. We all love to watch an underdog become the unique hero he was meant to be, and those who initially mistreated him get what they deserve.
But though this storyline seems to read the same, it’s quite the opposite. Ein’s ability isn’t special, nor does he find a unique way to use it. His Appraiser ability allows him to discover monster levels and valuable parts, but that’s the extent of it. Only after encountering Yuri, the spirit of the World Tree, and her guardian Ursula, do they give him special abilities instead. One of these adapts his Appraiser ability to be more powerful, thus giving him the advantage that makes him different.
I have issues with Ein’s ability and his advantage for many reasons. Firstly, I have difficulty believing the Appraiser’s ability isn’t worthwhile. Ein can determine which monster parts can not only make the most money but can also make tools and weapons as well. How is that not a valuable skill? Suppose we’ve learned anything from other stories such as The Rising of the Shield Hero, recognizing the value of items. It’s a huge advantage to know that kind of detail. Without Ein’s ability, no one would quickly understand what to collect during adventuring. Even the manga explains that adventurers would otherwise have to take the whole corpse with them to have it valued with magical items. Ein’s ability also seems like a great advantage to merchants as an excellent skill to have. But despite the unique value of the ability, it’s written as low-class, and Ein is treated like trash.
Even overlooking these flaws in the ability system, I still expected Ein to discover somehow that he could use his ability to his advantage and become the hero the summary promised. Unfortunately, I was sorely disappointed when the “key to becoming a hero” was just Yuri and Ursula magically enhancing his ability. While he does earn it semi-noble, it was still disappointing to find that Ein only becomes memorable because of them rather than his determination or strength.
On top of this, he trains for weeks with this new ability. While I traditionally find a story worthwhile, Ein’s training drags on for too long. The training is such a massive part of the book. I found myself scrolling through idly, just trying to see where the story picks up again. I had to scroll through 80 pages of just Ein training, with maybe five pages of helpful information about his new ability. When we finally finish the training and move forward with the story, the volume concludes, and we have to wait until the next one to see what happens.
However, the tedious training arc isn’t the only problem with the writing. Character development is sorely lacking, with absolutely no background on Ein, Yuri, or Ursula that makes readers connect with them. I found myself not caring if Ein lived or died and completely confused about why Yuri or Ursula did. The violence within the story also seems a little unnecessary. Although it added to Ein’s self-deprecation initially, it didn’t need to be so heavy after he met the two women.
The only saving grace that this volume could have had would be excellent artwork. Unfortunately, even the artwork struggled to draw me in. While some scenes are well-drawn, and the characters are relatively detailed, there were many moments where I had no idea what was going on. Many pages and scenes are drawn with heavy lines and too much noise, making them incomprehensible and honestly pointless. In addition, I feel like the artist used Emilia from Re:Zero: Starting Life in Another World as a reference for the design of Yuri, and the similarity between them is off-putting and feels disingenuous.
Although I had high hopes for Even Given the Worthless “Appraiser” Class, I’m Actually the Strongest. I was unfortunately left feeling disappointed. Despite this, I’m still eager to see if the second volume can raise the storyline from ‘worthless’ to ‘worthwhile.’ If only I could appraise the book beforehand.
Even Given the Worthless “Appraiser” Class, I’m Actually the Strongest Vol 1 is a Mediocre Debut
A Mediocre Debut
Despite having potential, Even Given the Worthless "Appraiser" Class, I'm Actually the Strongest Vol. 1 is a disappointing and misleading narrative. The storyline, characters, and even artwork are an unfortunate miss in this debut novel.