Isekai continues to gain popularity year after year. Defined as when a character travels to another world, isekai is often believed to be solely about a man trapped in another world where he has immense power and tons of women like him. But that’s not the only thing isekai can be. Sometimes it may be about traveling into a video game world that feels like real life, and sometimes it involves a part of life rather than direct action.
Due to the myriad of different ways people can do isekai, it has resulted in the “genre” having no shortage of anime each season. Last year, more than a dozen different series were released under the isekai banner, and many of them were released to varying levels of acclaim.
10 Overlooked: Mairimashita! Iruma-kun introduces a character who sells himself to a demon
Not all isekai are about being sent to a fantasy world or playing a realistic game. This series followed Iruma Suzuki, who lived a terrible life working for his parents, who didn’t care about him at all. They cared so little that they sold him to a demon for money.
But instead of the demon having unfortunate plans for him, all he wants is to have a grandson to spoil. He sends Iruma to a demon school, where he has to pretend to be a demon so that he is not killed by everyone there.
9 Too popular: my next life as a villain is a reverse harem Isekai
A rare case of an isekai where the protagonist has a reverse harem, My Next Life As A Villainess stars a young woman who is reincarnated as Catarina Claes. Catarina is a villain from the otome game Fortune Lover, who unfortunately does not have a happy ending in the game, as the main character remembers.
Wanting nothing more than to live a decent life, Catarina begins trying to figure out how to avoid endings. This series became hugely popular thanks to having one of the most likable characters in anime.
8 Overlooked: The Eighth Son? Are you kidding me? Features an adult reincarnated as a child
The 8th Son involved a twenty-five-year-old man who was suddenly reincarnated in another world when he was six years old. Initially believing that he was the son of royalty, he soon discovers that his family is practically ruined, with everything for the eldest son while he is the youngest.
However, thanks to his ability to read, Wendelin manages to learn that he is a magician with incredible talents, which gives him the opportunity to have a better life than anyone could have hoped for.
7 Too popular: Re: Zero – Starting life in another world – Features a character who can come back to life
Studio White Fox had another hit on their hands with Re: ZERO, a story about the main character Subaru Natsuki who has no specific special powers other than one: the ability to come back to life after death and remember exactly what happened.
The compelling plot and world construction, combined with an incredibly nice waifu, make for this show. The announcement of the second season was a big deal, although not surprising given the popularity of the show.
6 Overlooked: Infinite Dendrogram Explores Morality in the Virtual World
In Infinite Dendrogram, Reiji Mukudori has started playing his first full immersion virtual reality MMO in the world. The selling point of the game is that it is meant to feel as real as possible … even the characters in the game. Although they are still in just one game, when the characters are indistinguishable from real people, how does that change everyone’s behavior?
Reiji struggles with exactly this question while working with Nemesis, the partner who is meant to help him in the game.
5 Too popular: BOFURI: I don’t want to get hurt, so I will maximize my defense characteristics with a character with an absurd defense level
Kaede Honjou begins playing New World Online at her friend’s urging. When creating her Maple character, Kaede chooses to maximize a single stat to avoid getting hurt. Still, she becomes a powerful fighter thanks to having such an absurd level of defense, without anything being able to damage her thanks to the configuration.
This series became a huge hit because everyone loved watching Maple and her friend Sally get into as many mischief as possible. BOFURI has a more relaxed vibe than most isekai, which further contributed to its popularity.
4 Overlooked: By the Grace of the Gods he explores the journey to become his own person
Abused as a salaryman in his old life, Ryouma Takebayashi is taken to a new world. In this world, he becomes a master monster tamer, tames hundreds of slimes, and lives his own life in solitude … until a royal family invites him to their home.
Realizing all of his incredible talents, they encourage Ryoma to start enjoying the world more and becoming his own person.
3 Too popular: Ascendance of a Bookworm season 2 places a bookworm in a prepress world
Easily one of the most hyped anime of the past year, Ascendance of a Bookworm is about Myne, a young girl reincarnated in a fantasy world. All she wants to do is become a librarian, but she wakes up in a world before the printing press existed, which makes books rare and expensive.
This series draws attention for its approach to life in the fantasy world, as Myne is not trying to become the most powerful warrior, she simply wants to enjoy learning.
two Overlooked – I’m standing at 1,000,000 lives with characters who must work together to get back home
I’m Standing On One Million Lives starts out as another isekai with a nervous protagonist, but manages to overcome it. All the characters are given strange tasks by a being known as the Game Master, forced to work together in order to return to their own world. TO
All the characters gradually learn more about themselves and others as they enhance the surprisingly weak powers that have been given to them, all for a chance to survive in this new world.
1 Too popular: Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld Part 2 comes from one of the most popular Isekai of all time
Sword Art Online is by far the most popular isekai series ever created. War of the Underworld Part 2 ends the Alicization portion of Sword Art Online, with Kirito and Alice working together to defeat the Dark Territory army. Admittedly these days Sword Art Online isn’t as big as it was when it first debuted, but the series is still mega popular.
How many other series managed to adapt a third of a franchise in three full seasons just to make sure everything was adapted correctly? And A-1 Pictures delivered some of the most engaging animation of all seasons, creating a truly beautiful world that fans can drool over until the release of the new movie.
NEXT: Isekai Anime: 5 Common Tropes (And Why They Work So Well)
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