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Top 10 Isekai

Top 10 Isekai

-Written by: Kelly C

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.

10. The Saga of Tanya the Evil 
The Saga of Tanya the Evil is a historical themed isekai about a man who challenged the mysterious Being-X and ended up getting reincarnated as a young girl named Tanya Degurechaff. As a child soldier, Tanya became notorious for her amazing battle planning and fighting skills, which earned her the nickname of the "Devil of the Rhine”. This anime gets it’s spot on the list due to the amazing battle scenes and providing an interesting perspective though an anti-hero main character.

Tanya, the main character of the series. (The Saga of Tanya the Evil)

9. Overlord
Overlord is a video game isekai similar to Sword Art Online and Log Horizon. The main character, Momonga aka Ainz Ooal Gown, gets stuck in a video game and now lives in the video game world. Now that Ainz is stuck in this new world with his loyal guild, he sets off to take control of the video game world to find others that have also been stuck in the game. Overlord is unique in that it covers the perspective of a villain who is trying to take over the world rather than the hero which is the perspective most isekai take.

Ainz and his hopelessly love-struck contemporary Albedo. (Overlord)

8. The Devil is a Part Timer
The Devil is a Part Timer is a reverse isekai. Instead of living in the fantasy world where they were born, the main characters, Satan, half/angel Emi, and Satan’s assistant Shiro, are thrust into the real world where they lose most of their powers and prestige and have to take normal jobs such as working in fast-food, office work, Shiro even becomes a housewife. The main characters have some issues adapting to the new world, but find many things they enjoy such as fast food and video games. This anime goes the opposite direction of most isekais where the protagonists are considered more successful in their new world. Instead the main characters are considered average and unremarkable which causes trouble for their oversized egos, considering they were god-like in their previous lives.

One the left is Satan working at MgRonald. On the right Emi appears horrified that the police think she is dating Satan. (The Devil is a Part Timer)

7.) So I'm a Spider, So what?
When I first saw the title of this book, I felt like it was challenging me with the tone of its title which means it’s probably going to be funny; and funny it is. While an isekai main character becoming overpowered is a common concept, Kumoko, the main character, is reincarnated as a spider who has to work to become overpowered. So I’m A Spider, So What? starts out when Kumoko’s whole class is killed and they all reincarnate in the same world as different beings that start out as more powerful and more human-like than Kumoko. Throughout the light novel and manga, Kumoko’s tone is that of a slightly drunk bar patron humorously telling you their life story. She is very casual and gives her opinions. So I'm A Spider, So What? does play on the RPG/video game style level up trope quite a bit, but in this case, that trope works well as Kumoko has to do gross things to level up.

Kumoko as a spider. (So I'm a Spider, So what?)

6.) That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime plays on all of the classic isekai tropes I mentioned in the intro. This anime starts out when an average 37 year old is killed protecting someone and gets reincarnated in a medieval-type fantasy world as a slime named Rimuru. In this world, slimes aren't overpowered but Rimuru has an ability called predator where he can take the abilities of those he consumes. This gives Rimuru the ability to become overpowered and Rimuru does. Rimuru not only is overpowered, but becomes the leader of his own kingdom and amasses a posse of demons. He is living the anime fantasy life, which was far greater than his previous life. What makes this isekai good is that they made Rimuru relatable and kind. He wants to help others and make his kingdom a place where everyone belongs.

On the left is Rimuru in his human form and on the right is Rimuru in his slime form. (That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime)

5.) Log Horizon

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.

The main cast of Log Horizon. (Log Horizon)

4.) Re: Zero Starting Life in Another World

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. 

On the left is Subaru and Emilia, on the right are very popular twins Ram and Rem. ( Re: Zero Starting Life in Another World)

3.) The Rising of Shield Hero

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.

Raphtailia, Naofumi, and Filo. (The Rising of Shield Hero)

2.) Konosuba

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.

Aqua, Megumin, Kazuma, and Darkness. (Konosuba)

1.) Spirited Away

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.

On the left is No Face offering Chihiro some gold coins and on the right is Chihiro with Haku. (Spirited Away)

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