Reincarnated as a Sword Review

Reincarnated as a Sword Review

Reincarnated as a Sword anime series cover art
Reincarnated as a Sword

The First Overpowered Object

Reincarnated as a Sword (Tensei shitara Ken deshita / 転生したら剣でした) is an isekai anime, as you could probably guess. The gimmick of this series, as with most isekai, is right there in the title. The protagonist hasn’t just been reincarnated; he’s been reincarnated as a sword.

Now, as far as I know, this is the first inanimate object isekai anime, airing in 2022. Since then, we’ve also gotten a Vending Machine isekai anime. And, there are plenty of other inanimate object isekai that haven’t received anime yet.

As the first of its kind, TenKen — as it’s also called — doesn’t go too deep into the inanimate object side of things. Sure, the protagonist is a literal sword. But, he has skills that effectively allow him to function as a normal person.

Fran trying to lift Shishou for the first time from the anime series Reincarnated as a Sword
Fran trying to lift Shishou for the first time

In the Vending Machine isekai, Boxxo can’t move on his own and he can’t say whatever he wants. Sure, he has a lot of skills. But, he’s still a literal vending machine, with all the drawbacks that come with that. In TenKen, Shishou (the sword) doesn’t have those same restrictions. He can move on his own and talk via telepathy.

Additionally, Shishou’s skills aren’t limited to things a sword can do. He can learn any skill. Every type of elemental magic? That’s fair game. A skill that steals other skills? Yep. Summoning magic? You betcha! Compare this to Boxxo, who can only use a forcefield and swap his vending machine type.

So, yes, Shishou is a sword. But, being a sword doesn’t limit him in any meaningful way because he’s an overpowered sword. He’s not any different than the protagonists in other power fantasy isekai series. And, that’s a bit disappointing because it means this series isn’t actually all that unique.

Fran and Shishou

Besides Shishou, the other main character is Fran. Fran is a young catgirl from the Black Cat clan. This clan is the lowest of the low and is treated as subhuman, even by the other demi-human clans. The series even starts off with Fran being transported as a slave.

But, despite these lowly origins, Fran has big dreams. She dreams of being the first of the Black Cats to evolve — something everyone else can do. For now, it’s a bit unclear what evolving entails. Will her appearance change if she evolves?

If evolving only means that her stats increase, then how is it any different from leveling up? I don’t remember the series explaining this in much detail. So, we’ll just have to wait and see. And, I guess it’s also important to question whether Fran evolving would be the end of the series.

Fran and Shishou from the anime series Reincarnated as a Sword
Fran and Shishou

What about Shishou? I already discussed him quite a bit. But, something I hadn’t mentioned is that Fran gave him his name. Shishou (師匠 / ししょう) translates to master or teacher. This seems like a strange name, at first. However, from Fran’s perspective, it makes sense. Shishou is the one who teaches her everything.

Remember how I said that Shishou has a bunch of powerful skills? Well, Fran doesn’t have any — at least not on her own. While wielding Shishou, she can use all the skills and magic that he’s capable of using. But, as we see when they get separated, these aren’t her skills.

That’s important to keep in mind. When we see Fran defeating powerful opponents or rising through the adventurer ranks, it’s really Shishou. Without him, she would have died in Episode 1. And, without him, she wouldn’t have achieved anything else she did in the season. He’s the protagonist.

Shishou Makes the Series Worse

I’m going on the record saying that Shishou’s inclusion in TenKen makes the series worse. Yes, I understand that the series is about Shishou — he’s the titular sword and the one who reincarnated. But, I stand by this assertion.

If Shishou was a “regular” (still magic) sword and Fran had his skills for herself, the series would be better. Why? Because Shishou’s not an interesting character. I never felt like him being sentient added anything positive to the series. He may look like a sword, but he’s still a generic isekai protagonist.

Of the two of them, Fran is the good character. She looks cute, acts cute, has a backstory, and has something she’s working towards. Compared to Fran, Shishou is little more than a narrator. He’s bland, has no backstory that we know of, and only exists to help Fran achieve her goal.

Fran showing off her adventurer card from the anime series Reincarnated as a Sword
Fran showing off her adventurer card

Think about how the series would be different without Shishou as a character. We’d miss out on him introducing Fran to things like curry. Though, another character could do that. And, on the other side of things, we’d get more Fran content in general. Overall, I’d call that an improvement.

But, maybe you don’t agree with me. Maybe you like Shishou as a character. If that’s the case, then my next question is, “Why couldn’t a different character take on his role?” Would the series be worse with a different character serving as Fran’s companion?

What Shishou brings to the series isn’t something only he can bring. Again, his skills have nothing to do with the fact that he’s a sword. You could introduce a different character who does the same things. And, they could actually have a larger role to play in the world of the series.

Final Thoughts

I’m going to give Reincarnated as a Sword a 6/10. It’s a fine series. Though, as I’ve just explained, I think Shishou as a character is holding it back. Without him there, I’d give it a 7. But, I also think it’s good enough to make me want to watch more. I will be watching Season 2 when it airs.

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Finally, I’d like to thank Roman and JasonHK for supporting at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about the perks of supporting this blog, check out

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