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

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

Reborn as a Vending Machine, I Now Wander the Dungeon anime series cover art
Reborn as a Vending Machine, I Now Wander the Dungeon

The Age of Inanimate Object Isekai

Reborn as a Vending Machine, I Now Wander the Dungeon (Jidou Hanbaiki ni Umarekawatta Ore wa Meikyuu wo Samayou / 自動販売機に生まれ変わった俺は迷宮を彷徨う) is just another isekai anime. And, like every other isekai anime, it has a twist.

Can you guess the twist from the title? The protagonist is reborn as a vending machine.

Now, when you read that, you likely have one of two immediate reactions. Either you think that sounds dumb (like me). Or, you think it sounds awesome and funny.

Unfortunately, if you think it sounds dumb, you might have to get used to isekai like this for a bit. My prediction is that we’re going to be entering an age of inanimate object isekai. So, what other series are like Reborn as a Vending Machine? What’s good about this new age of isekai? And what’s bad about it?

Lammis standing in front of Boxxo from the anime series Reborn as a Vending Machine, I Now Wander the Dungeon
Lammis standing in front of Boxxo

The first thing I want to point out is that this is not the first inanimate object isekai anime. Last year Reincarnated as a Sword aired. And, as far as I know, that’s the only other inanimate object isekai with an anime, so far.

But, something good that could come of this new age is that we might get more silly isekai. For example, there’s I Was Reincarnated as a Hot Spring in an Alternate World, and I’m Way Too Effective. Yes, it’s an isekai about reincarnating as a literal hot spring. That needs an anime.

The bad part about more isekai anime like this, however, is that they don’t have mass appeal. Because of the dumb twist, far fewer people watch these isekai than isekai that are actually bad. You know, like In Another World With My Smartphone bad. These won’t be the next KonoSuba or Mushoku Tensei.

Vending Machines Can Do Everything

For the most part, Reborn as a Vending Machine sticks to its twist. Boxxo, the vending machine, can do anything a vending machine can do. But, to make the series more interesting, the definition of a vending machine is a bit stretched.

Boxxo’s normal form looks like your typical vending machine. And in this form, he can swap out the items he sells. But, he can also transform into other, specialized vending machine types. For example, he can become a helium dispenser that fills balloons.

Basically, anything you put money into and receive something from in exchange counts.

So, in the end, Boxxo can provide a wide variety of services. Though, for the most part, he requires others to use the items he dispenses. That’s the drawback that balances Boxxo’s otherwise overpowered ability to summon anything.

Lammis buying items from Boxxo from the anime series Reborn as a Vending Machine, I Now Wander the Dungeon
Lammis buying items from Boxxo

My issue is that Boxxo also has other abilities that have nothing to do with being a vending machine. He can create a forcefield to protect himself and his allies. And, he can even launch objects out of the forcefield, giving him a way to attack directly. That kind of eliminates his reliance on others.

I get that Boxxo is the main character. But, giving him the ability to do basically anything kind of defeats the purpose of the twist, doesn’t it? Shouldn’t the twist of being a vending machine limit the main character’s power? Though, I could say the same thing about the twist in TenSura, and we saw how that ended up.

Oh, and the fact that Boxxo can do so many things takes a bit away from the other characters. Boxxo is the solution to every problem he and his allies find themselves in. None of the other characters have interesting abilities or anything.

More Useful as a Vending Machine?

Reborn as a Vending Machine was a better anime than I expected it would be. That doesn’t mean it’s good. But, I assumed it would be pretty bad, and it’s not. With that said, there was only one thing about it I genuinely liked.

At one point in the series, Boxxo learns that there might be a way for him to return to being a human. He can’t go back to his old world because he died there. But, he may be able to shed his vending machine body in this world.

That on its own isn’t groundbreaking. However, what I liked about this series is Boxxo’s internal conflict. Does he actually want to become human again?

Being a vending machine obviously isn’t ideal for most people. Even a self-proclaimed vending machine otaku like Boxxo admits this. But, how would becoming a human change his life?

Pell, Suco, Mikene, and Short from the anime series Reborn as a Vending Machine, I Now Wander the Dungeon
Pell, Suco, Mikene, and Short

What makes Boxxo special right now is his magic vending machine body. He’s useful in almost every situation and brings joy to people with his wares. If he becomes a human, he loses all that. He’ll no longer be the useful comrade he is right now.

At least, that’s a concern Boxxo has. I’m pretty confident that his friends wouldn’t abandon him if he became human again. All it would mean is that he’s just as normal as the rest of them. And we can be sure Lammis definitely wouldn’t leave Boxxo.

But, what we know about the situation isn’t what matters. What matters is how Boxxo understands his situation. And as long as he’s worried that everyone will abandon him if he’s not “useful” to them, he’ll remain as a vending machine.

It’s a more interesting version of, “I don’t want to go back to my old life.”

Final Thoughts

I ended up giving Reborn as a Vending Machine, Now I Wander the Dungeon a 5/10. It’s not good or bad, just average. And, based on its average score on MyAnimeList, it looks like a lot of people agree with that. I actually expected it to have a higher rating than it does.

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2 Replies to “Reborn as a Vending Machine, I Now Wander the Dungeon Review”

  1. I like Boxxo’s inner conflict too. And it’s nice to see that all the time he spent geeking over vending machines in his past life hasn’t gone to waste. It’s vital knowledge now.

    1. All that knowledge about vending machines couldn’t save him from being crushed by one in his original world.

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