Are you enjoying the latest wave of popularity for anime? Isekai is one of the keywords to ride the crest of the boom, which is a kind of subgenres close to fantasy and science fiction in Japanese pop culture.
In an anime categorized as Isekai, which literally means “a different world” in Japanese, a protagonist follows two common types of fate: Being suddenly transported into a fantasy, parallel or virtual world or reincarnated as someone else into another world. The type of the Isekai transition anime is symbolized as Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World. On the other hand, the Isekai reincarnation anime are typified by Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation.
For you to have magnificent modern anime experiences, I’d like to introduce the best Isekai anime series of all time ranging from the classic fantasy masterpiece to the latest Naro-kei trends.
What is the difference between Isekai and Naro-kei?
Some people tend to mix up Isekai anime with Naro-kei anime, which are close but not the same. Naro-kei is a category of light novels, manga and anime. The light novels published on a user generated novel publishing website Shosetsuka ni Naro and their manga and anime adaptations are called Naro-kei. In the meantime, Isekai is a general genre of light novels and anime that are set in a different world which main characters are sent to from the real world, whether they are released on the Shosetsuka ni Naro platform or any other media. The fast remains that many Isekai series are from Shosetsuka ni Naro.
1. Mushoku Tensei
Mushoku Tensei (無職転生 〜異世界行ったら本気だす〜), which is also known as Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation, has been looked on as one of the best recent Isekai anime series since its first season was released in 2021. Based on the popular light novel series written by Rifujin na Magonote and illustrated by Shirotaka from 2014, the high-quality Isekai anime is realized by Studio Bind. The novel series started on Shosetsuka ni Naro in 2012 and its final light novel volume was released in November, 2022. The first 23 episodes are followed by the second season in 2023.
Mushoku Tensei depicts the life of a talented magician Rudeus Greyrat, who a 34-year-old socially withdrawn NEET is reincarnated as in another world after dying in a car accident in the real world. His new life starts as a baby in the fantasy world and grows up while traveling around the world. In addition to his first magic tutor, he meets a variety of people including an aggrressive noble girl Eris and a powerful warrior Ruijerd. It is interesting that the story is narrated by the protagonist with the memory in the previous life.
Aired: 2013 (Season 1)/2023 (Season 2)
Episodes: 23 (Season 1)/TBA (Season 2)
There are a lot of quality new anime series airing in 2021, and Mushoku Tensei, which is also known as Jobless Reincarna[…]
2. Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World
No one would deny that Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World (Re:ゼロから始める異世界生活) is one of the best anime series categorized as Isekai or fantasy of all time. The Isekai anime mixed with adventure and romantic comedy is based on the light novel series written by Tappei Nagatsuki and illustrated by Shin’ichiro Otsuka since 2014. A Japanese anime studio White Fox completed the first season in 2016 and the second season in 2020 and 2021, which also released anime movies Memory Snow in 2018 and The Frozen Bond in 2019.
Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World tells the story of a 17-year-old truant high schooler Subaru Natsuki, who is suddenly transported to another world in his own skin. He finds out he is given no special ability except Return by Death, which allows him to redo his life just after dying. A silver-hair half-elf girl Emilia appears in front of him, looking for something stolen. Besides the time-travel essence, Re:Zero is also highlighted by various attractive characters and mixture of severe and humorous episodes.
Aired: 2016 (Season 1)/2020, 2021 (Season 2)
Episodes: 25 (Season 1)/25 (Season 2)
Light novels has been seen to be situated at the cutting edge of Japanese pop culture recently since many of them have b[…]
3. No Game No Life
No Game No Life (ノーゲーム・ノーライフ), one of the most popular classic Isekai anime, has the theme of games. It was broadcasted with 12 episodes made by Madhouse in 2014, followed by the anime movie titled No Game No Life: Zero in 2017. Many global fans have expected that the following season of the No Game No Life anime series will be decided in the future since then. The current anime series has been adapted from only a part of the original light novel series written by Yu Kamiya since 2012.
No Game No Life focuses on gaming-addicted socially-isolated step-siblings: A 18-year-old highly-intelligent boy Sora and a 11-year-old bullied girl Shiro. They are transported to a different world just after beating a god Tet in an online chess game. In the Isekai world, 16 races are ranked based on the power of games, and they fight against the other races in varying extraordinary games.
The popular game-themed isekai anime series, mixed with comedy, science fiction and moe, has a large number of fans acro[…]
4. KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World!
KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World! (この素晴らしい世界に祝福を！) has attracted fans of both Isekai and comedy since the first season of the anime series was broadcasted in 2016. Unlike the first and second seasons made by Studio Deen, the third season is produced by Drive, which is also in charge of a spin-off series KonoSuba: An Explosion on This Wonderful World! in 2023. There is also an anime movie titled KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World! Legend of Crimson released in 2019.
KonoSuba centers on a high school boy Kazuma Sato, who is reincarnated into another world by a goddess Aqua after dying in an accident. At the same time, Aqua accidentally ends up being sent to the role-playing game world with him. In addition to the ordinary but unbelievably lucky boy and the unintelligent archpriest, a 14-year-old archwizard Megumin and a 18-year-old crusader Darkness accompany their adventure.
Aired: 2016 (Season 1)/2017 (Season 2)/TBA (Season 3)
Episodes: 10 (Season 1)/10 (Season 2)/TBA (Season 3)
Who are looking forward to the new season of KonoSuba: God's Blessing on This Wonderful World? It has been just announce[…]
5. That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
As a representative recent Isekai, Naro-kei anime, That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime (転生したらスライムだった件), which is also known TenSura, has been watched by both kids and adults all over the world since its first season was released in 2018. Based on a light novel series that was started on Shosetsuka ni Naro by Fuse, a Japanese anime studio Eight Bit made the first season in 2018-2019 and the second season and a spin-off Slime Diaries: That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime in 2021. They were followed by That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime the Movie: Scarlet Bond in November 2022.
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime follows a 37-year-old company employee Satoru Mikami, who is reincarnated as a Slime in another world after being killed by a phantom assault. Despite the weakest monster, he is given a special name Rimuru Tempest by a highest-ranked dragon Veldora. With one of the ultimate skills Predation, he grows much stronger during the adventure.
Aired: 2018-2019 (Season 1)/2021 (Season 2)
Episodes: 25 (Season 1)/26 (Season 2)
Who chooses Rimuru Tempest as the most favorite anime character these days? That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, the[…]
6. Sword Art Online
Sword Art Online (ソードアート・オンライン) is one of the most famous anime series categorized as fantasy, adventure and Isekai. It is adapted from a long-run light novel series written by Reki Kawahara and illustrated by abec since 2009. A renowned anime studio A-1 Pictures first released Sword Art Online in 2012 and the second season Sword Art Online II in 2014. They were followed by the third season Sword Art Online: Alicization in 2018-2019 and the fourth season Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld in 2019-2020. The second title of the light novel series Sword Art Online Progressive has been made into anime movie adaptations since 2021.
Sword Art Online casts a spotlight on a strong swordsman Kirito and a female warrior Asuna, set in a virtual gaming world. The grand story begins when a 14-year-old boy Kazuto Kirigaya, who is later known as Kirito in the virtual world, began playing the world’s first virtual reality massively multiplayer online role-playing game Sword Art Online with a high-tech NerveGear. Kirito is trapped in the game with Asuna and other players with the logout function accidentally removed. though variety of cutting-edge games, they meet lots of unique characters to beat the games.
Aired: 2012 (Season 1)/2014 (Season 2)/2018-2019 (Season 3)/2019-2020 (Season 4)
Episodes: 25 (Season 1)/24 (Season 2)/24 (Season 3)/23 (Season 4)
Sword Art Online (ソードアート・オンライン), one of the most popular anime among both domestic and international fans, has become a […]
7. Uncle from Another World
Uncle from Another World (異世界おじさん) is a unique Isekai anime that has been popular among lots of light novel and anime fans for its interesting plot. Made by Atelier Pontdarc, it was released in July 2022. The funny Isekai anime series is adapted from Hotondoshindeiru’s manga that started on ComicWalker in 2018 and has been serialized on Web Comic Apanda since 2021. The production of the television anime series was on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it re-started from November.
Uncle from Another World is narrated by a 19-year-old boy Takafumi Takaoka, following his 34-year-old uncle. The uncle has told that he had had an adventure in a fantasy world Granbahamal since he came out of a come for about 17 years. Takafumi is told the eccentric story about his uncle’s past experience during the coma and finds out it is filled with funny and thrilling scenes. The Isekai anime proceeds in the real world but consists of lots of his interesting reminiscences.
8. The Rising of the Shield Hero
The Rising of the Shield Hero (盾の勇者の成り上がり) is a unique Isekai anime series that focuses on a disadvantaged protagonist ever after being transported to another world while most Isekai anime concentrate on main characters who are granted extraordinary physical or magic abilities. It started with its first 25 episodes made by Kinema Citrus in 2019, followed by the second and third season created by a different studio DR Movie. The Rising of the Shield Hero is adapted from the same-titled light novel has been published on Shosetsuka ni Naro since 2012.
There are four heroes to save a parallel world: the Shield Hero, the Spear Hero, the Sword Hero and the Bow Hero. One day, a Japanese university schooler Naofumi Iwatani is sent to the different world as the Shield Hero. Unlike three other heroes, he survives the severe world with a lot of disadvantages: For instance, his main weapon is the shield specialized for defense. During the journey, he meets a raccoon demi-human Raphtalia and a bird girl Filo.
Aired: 2019 (Season 1)/2022 (Season 2)/TBA (Season 3)
Episodes: 25 (Season 1)/13 (Season 2)/TBA (Season 3)
The Rising of the Shield Hero has entertained a great number of fans of light novels, manga and anime lately, overcoming[…]
9. In Another World with My Smartphone
In Another World with My Smartphone (異世界はスマートフォンとともに。) is a representative Isekai Naro-kei anime series released in 2017. It is adapted from Patora Fuyuhara’s light novel series that began its serialization in 2013 on Shosetsuka ni Naro. The first season of the anime series consisting of 12 episodes was made by Production Reed, followed by the second season by J.C.Staff in 2023.
In Another World with My Smartphone revolves around a 15-year-old high school boy Touya Mochizuki, who is killed by God’s mistake and is reincarnated in another world. At the same time, he is given a smartphone in the fantasy world with exceeding powers to control all seven magical elements and use unlimited magic. During his adventure, a diverse range of heroines appear in front of him, which is why the anime is also classified into harem.
Aired: 2017 (Season 1)/2023 (Season 2)
Episodes: 12 (Season 1)/TBA (Season 2)
10. Isekai Quartet
Isn’t it a dreamy idea that Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World, Overlord, KonoSuba and The Saga of Tanya the Evil gather together in the same anime? Isekai Quartet (異世界かるてっと) is a comedy crossover between the popular Isekai anime adapted from light novel series, collecting approximately 10-minute episodes. After 12 episodes in the first season in 2019, the second season came with another 12 episodes adding Isekai anime newcomers The Rising of the Shield Hero and Cautious Hero: The Hero Is Overpowered but Overly Cautious in 2020.
Isekai Quartet introduces the familiar characters from the famous Isekai anime as mini-style figures unlike the original anime series. The story begins when a mysterious button suddenly shows up in each of the Isekai worlds, and the main characters from the anime are sent to the same universe. All of them are forced to live as high school students or teachers. Can you believe Subaru and Kazuma have a fight with Ainz and Tanya? The funny Isekai episodes will definitely please fans of those anime series.
Aired: 2019 (Season 1)/2020 (Season 2)
Episodes: 12 (Season 1)/12 (Season 2)
More new Isekai anime series are released every season, and this best Isekai anime list will be updated as needed. Enjoy the recent anime trend with those fantastic series!
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