Sometimes it feels like every other new anime, manga or light novel released is an isekai that follows the same equation. A loner gets killed and is reborn in another medieval-type fantasy world where they are either overpowered human or not human at all. The protagonist then goes on a journey and gets the attention of the opposite sex while building a group of adventurers, mainly of different fantasy races like elves or beast girls. I’m not criticizing these tropes because there are some amazing isekais that follow these tropes, but it is hard to deny there are a ton of isekais that do what I just described. For this list, the factors taken into account for rating are originality, story and entertainment value.
7.) So I'm a Spider, So what?
Log Horizon is a video game-centered isekai that starts when players of the MMORPG game Elder Tales cannot log out. The main character, Shiroe, has to navigate his new reality along with his friend Naotsugu to save the video game city of Akihabara. Log Horizon is good due to the amazing characters, and how well it stays true to actual MMORPGs. The best way to describe this to compare it to another amazing isekai, Sword Art Online. While Sword Art Online is more about fighting and battles, Log Horizon focuses on world building and social evolution. When characters die, they are reborn at a certain location and the players of the game act like real people. Like in real video games, teamwork is emphasized rather than the classic single overpowered shonen protagonist solving all of the issues. Log Horizon does not take itself too seriously and out of all the various video game isekais, this one stays most accurate to what video games are actually like.
This is probably one of the most popular currently running isekais and one of this winter simulcast’s highlights. Re: Zero starts out with our main character, Subaru, trying to visit a corner store but ends up getting sent to a fantasy world where he gets promptly beaten up by some robbers. Subaru is then helped by half-elf Emilia and he soon finds out that he has the power to be reborn again. Along the way Subaru meets Oni twins Rem and Ram who help him in his journey. The world building in Re:Zero is really good at making you feel like there are a lot of places to visit. The graphics are beautiful and the character designs are steller. Subaru’s powers are unique, along with the villains. Overall, Re:Zero is well written and worth a watch if you love the fantasy genre.
Unlike some of the picks on this list, The Rising of Shield Hero contains some darker themes. The Rising of Shield Hero starts out with four normal men getting sent to the disaster ravaged land of Melromarc to destroy the monsters that come out of the dimensional rifts called Waves. Each of the four men who are brought to the world are given one weapon: a sword, a shield, a bow, and a spear. The main character, Naofumi, is given a shield, which causes him to get ridiculed due to shields being perceived as demonic and associated with demi-humans. Naofumi then finds a princess to join his guild and teach him how the world works but then the princess falsely accuses Naofumi of assaulting her. Darker than most isekais, The Rising of Shield Hero delves into themes of discrimination. Characters such as Raphtailia are discriminated against for reasons out of their control. This anime presents its moralistic message well, along with building up a wonderful story that keeps you on your feet.
It’s hard to talk about isekais without including what is likely to be the funniest isekai on this list, Konosuba. Konosuba starts out when the main character, Kazuma, is killed by a heart attack when he thinks he is going to get hit by a truck trying to save someone, but it turns out the truck is actually a slow moving tractor. After he dies, he meets the useless goddess, Aqua, who offers to give him any ability or power around him for his new life in a medieval fantasy world. His wish ends up being that Aqua is forced to join him in this new world. What makes this anime great is Kazuma’s squad. Aqua is a goddess that acts like a spoiled child who is over confident in her abilities and demands people worship her. Darkness is a warrior and masochist who enjoys getting beaten up a little too much. And Meguim is a pyromaniac who refuses to learn anything but one explosion magic spell. The main squad’s money-making schemes often land them in hilarious situations.
Probably the most well-known isekai on the list isone you would be hard pressed to find an anime fan who dislikes this masterpiece. Spirited Away is the story of a young girl named Chihiro who has to navigate a fantasy world full of spirits and gods when her parents are turned into pigs. Along the way, Chihiro meets many wonderful characters and learns a couple of life lessons. The pure creativity and wholesomeness of this movie is memorable and cements its place in the heart of it’s watchers. Due to that, Spirited Away has earned the top spot on this list.
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