REVIEW: ‘Heterogenia Linguistico,’ Volume 1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Heterogenia Linguistico Volume 1 - But Why Tho?Have you ever wondered about the cultures of werewolves? Do you desire to know the inner thoughts of a slime? Is communication with all manners of lizardfolk central to your being? Well, then Heterogenia Linguistico Volume 1 is for you.

Heterogenia Linguistico Volume 1 is a brand new fantasy series by mangaka Salt Seno. Yen Press is handling the localization with beautiful, larger-sized matte volumes. Amanda Haley is handling translation for the series with lettering by personal favorite Abigail Blackman.

Heterogenia Linguistico Volume 1 follows novice linguist Hakaba as he journeys into the Netherworld in place of his recently injured mentor. The Netherworld is actually home to many races and species, all of which have been labeled “monsters.” However, the name isn’t quite accurate, as Hakaba soon finds out. Instead of fright, he finds kindness and familiarity as he engages with those who live there, even if things get a bit hairy—or scaly or slimy—from time to time.

Hakaba sets off for a year of exploration, living among the Netherworld’s monsters only to realize that the monsters are just like him. This is reinforced with the introduction of his guide, half-werewolf Susuki, who’s just the cutest kiddo in all of manga.

It’s interesting to view the lives of the supernatural beings of the Netherworld from a human point of view. It’s also humbling, even though these creatures are a myth. Still, myth or not, all the denizens of the Netherworld directly mirror our own society. For example, the werewolves shown in the initial chapter seem gruff but actually have a wide range of emotions. It’s just that Hakaba can’t understand them clearly. 

When these misunderstandings come up, Hakaba doesn’t just brute force his way through. Instead, he often takes a moment to think and consider how to engage differently. He doesn’t lean on how humans do things but instead considers the different cultural and racial differences in the creatures he encounters. In fact, the series is quite aware when it comes to race. A lot of Hakaba’s lessons come from him having to confront his own assumptions and humanness. 

While Heterogenia Linguistico Volume 1 is an excellent first volume. One thing that stood out to me was the lettering. Y’all, Blackman’s lettering is simply sublime. I can’t find all the words I need to express the depth of my emotions because Abigail Blackman stole them from me with her simply fantastic work. When paired with Haley’s superb translation, readers will find that Heterogenia Linguistico Volume 1 is a delightful, readable, and likable first volume. Hakaba’s characterization shines through without fail, as does Salt Seno’s work in general.

Additionally, the cover and volume overall give off big Delicious in Dungeon energy, which like… yes. Yes, yes, yes! Delicious in Dungeon, for readers who haven’t read it, is a series that involved plunging into the depths of a labyrinth riddled with monsters that the party also eats. I found myself happily comparing these two series a lot during my read of Heterogenia Linguistico Volume 1. I think fans who read Heterogenia Linguistico Volume 1 will probably feel right at home with Delicious in Dungeon and vice-versa

There’s a whole lot of heart in this volume, along with the natural humor that results from people from very different backgrounds trying to understand one another. I never thought I’d get the chance to read a monster anthropology diary, but that’s what Heterogenia Linguistico Volume 1 is. It’s well-executed, charming, and intensely relatable. 

As I said, fans of Delicious in Dungeon will most likely really be charmed by this series. I also think fans of Sleepy Princess in Demon Castle will feel at home here as well. In fact, Hakaba’s antics frequently reminded me of Princess Syalis’ own in the demon keep. Additionally, fans of linguistics, history, and anthropology will find a pleasant story that delves into loads of RPG-esque beasties with kindness and understanding.

Heterogenia Linguistico Volume 1 released on October 27, 2020. It is available physically and digital from various stores.

Heterogenia Linguistico Volume 1
5

TL;DR

As I said, fans of Delicious in Dungeon will most likely really be charmed by this series. I also think fans of Sleepy Princess in Demon Castle will feel at home here as well. In fact, Hakaba’s antics frequently reminded me of Princess Syalis’ own in the demon keep. Additionally, fans of linguistics, history, and anthropology will find a pleasant story that delves into loads of RPG-esque beasties with kindness and understanding.