Isekai is one of the most popular genres in anime and manga and Japanese video games. Here we present you our top 6 favorite series in the Isekai genre, which will take you straight to another world.
What exactly is Isekai?
The Japanese word “Isekai” (異世界) translated into German means “other world” or “other world” and thus describes the genre very aptly. Usually, the protagonist or protagonists in an Isekai enter a strange or virtual parallel world through, for example, a magical portal, a machine or death.
The character who comes from our modern world often becomes a kind of “chosen one” who is supposed to free the new world from evil. However, many series already play with this trope and intentionally turn the main character into an insignificant supporting character, a good-for-nothing or even the villain.
With the “Reverse Isekai” there is also a sub-genre that shows the situation exactly reversed: a person who comes from a magical world and now has to try to cope with our current earth.
After his death, 16-year-old Kazuma Satou is supposed to start a life of adventure in a magical world in “KonoSuba”, but neither he nor his new companions are cut out for such a life. For this reason, he actually only wants to build up a life that is as normal as possible in the new world – but the henchmen of the demon king and his comrades-in-arms keep preventing this.
“The Vision of Escaflowne” is a true classic and skillfully combines fantasy, mecha and romance in one Isekai story. In a fight against an earth dragon, Van Fanel is transported from his world to ours. After defeating the dragon while rescuing 15-year-old runner Hitomi Kanzaki, she is accidentally transported to his world Gaia by a flash of light. However, Hitomi quickly proves to be a useful companion: her hobby of reading tarot cards becomes a skill for predicting the future in Gaia.
While people have always liked to lump Pokémon and Digimon together, the latter anime has a completely different set-up and a much stronger story focus. Usually in the Digimon series, a group of young people from our world get into the so-called Digi world. A video game-like world inhabited by monster-like intelligent beings.
“Uncle From Another World” is both isekai and reverse isekai. Although originally from our world, 34-year-old Yōsuke Shibazaki spends 17 years in a magical world after an accident in a coma. When he wakes up, he knows magic but has absolutely no idea what to do with his life. And even if he was a hero in the other world, he behaved anything but heroic there, too.
“InuYasha” is the most famous work by Japanese comic artist Rumiko Takahashi (“Ranma ½”, “Urusei Yatsura”) in this country and a fantastic Isekai. Although it is somewhat controversial whether Inuyasha can really be counted as part of the Isekai genre. The protagonist Kagome Higurashi actually only travels from the late 20th century to the Sengoku period (15th-16th centuries). But even if Kagome’s present resembles our modern world, the past is filled with magic, ghosts and demons. Among other things, the eponymous half-demon Inuyasha, who tries to stop the evil demon Naraku.
“Re:Zero” is not for the faint of heart – but one of the most recommendable Isekai anime of recent years. One day Subaru Natsuki suddenly finds himself in the kingdom of Lugnica and quickly realizes that the rules of this magical world are similar to a video game. When he dies, he awakens to a point in time in the past – but only he can remember the events leading up to his death. That doesn’t sound bad at first, but the thing also has its catches: He can’t determine at what point in time he is reset, depending on the type of death, dying can be damn painful and every death also leaves psychological scars.