Isekai is a subgenre of Japanese light novels, video games, manga, and anime where the protagonist gets transported to or reborn in another world. They’re usually tasked with completing a specific mission during their time in this new world they’ve been forced into. In recent years, isekai’s popularity has skyrocketed, resulting in several more isekai anime adaptations.
It’s safe to say that isekai is the most popular type of anime at the moment. Several isekai anime have gone on to become classics because of the rich storytelling, dynamic characters, and immersive world-building that makes every protagonist’s story seem more realistic.
Updated on January 16th, 2023 by Sage Ashford: The isekai genre has more series now than it ever has before. Though the genre has been quite prolific for several years now, it shows no signs of slowing down. With that in mind, we’ve added a few more great isekai series from both the past and the present, showing there’s still plenty of variety available in this genre.
23 Satan Takes On A New Name & Starts Flipping Burgers In The Devil Is A Part-Timer!
The Devil Is A Part-Timer! is a brilliant blend of comedy and isekai. Rather than the series’ hero getting teleported from the average world into one of mysticism and adventure, Satan is taken out of hell and sent to the real world. He quickly realizes that he had to make ends meet, so he picked up a part-time job at MgRonalds.
He names himself “Sadao Maou” and gets to burger flipping right away. The Devil Is A Part-Timer! appeals to so many fans since the hero doesn’t start out as an average person who obtains godlike powers; Sadao’s story is the exact opposite.
22 Restaurant To Another World Invites Supernatural Beings To Coexist With Humans
Restaurant To Another World is one of the few isekai series that isn’t set in a fantasy world. Instead, the series invites fantastical creatures to take a break from battle to coexist with humans in a quaint restaurant called Nekoya every Saturday. Spirits can come over to the human world, and humans can traverse into the metaphysical.
Restaurant To Another World is an exciting blend of isekai’s classic excitement and the cozy atmosphere of the slice-of-life genre. It’s not a traditional isekai series, but it still involves world-hopping and bringing characters together from vastly different walks of life.
21 Cautious Hero: The Hero Is Overpowered But Overly Cautious’ Title Speaks For Itself
Most isekai protagonists are overpowered warriors who fearlessly charge into battle. Though these heroes are admirable, they’re not the most relatable or realistic. Luckily, Seiya from Cautious Hero: The Hero Is Overpowered But Overly Cautious represents the cowards of the world who only charge into battle whenever they’re absolutely certain they’ll win.
Most people would find it annoying, but given Seiya’s circumstances, it’s actually a realistic response. Ristarte summoned Seiya to her world to help save it from getting wiped out but was disappointed by his attitude. Cautious Hero is so hilarious and lighthearted that it almost feels like an isekai parody, but it’s absolutely worth watching for fans of the genre.
20 Trapped In A Dating Sim Presents A Twist On The Classic Chosen Protagonist
These days, everyone’s used to the idea of the protagonist who gets sent to a video game world. Most isekai anime like that though focus on someone who’s a chosen protagonist. Every character in the series fawns over them, and the series constantly reminds the viewer how important they are.
However, Trapped in a Dating Sim does the exact opposite. In a world where women run most of the world, Leon Bartfort’s only goal is to find a woman who won’t take advantage of him. But since he’s a background “mob” character, his goal isn’t easy. Thanks to his knowledge of the world though, he can stand against the royalty to protect those he cares about. A great comedy series, Trapped in a Dating Sim is an isekai for those who need a better class of protagonist.
19 MAR Combines Battle Shonen Rules With Isekai
MAR, or Marchen Awakens Romance, is from a time before modern isekai, so don’t expect the usual isekai tropes. Instead, the series has more in common with popular shonen anime of the early 2000s like Naruto or even older series like Yu Yu Hakusho. The story is centered around a teenager named Ginta Toramizu, who’s transported to the world of MAR-Heaven. The lighter gravity and magic of this world grant Ginta better vision and even super-strength.
However, before he can celebrate, Ginta quickly learns MAR-Heaven is under attack from a group of enemies known as the Chess Army. Ginta is forced to work with a number of warriors across the land to protect innocents from the Chess Army. MAR is a great series for those looking for a 2000s-era anime, but who still want to enjoy the fantasy of exploring an alternate, unknown world.
18 The Vision Of Escaflowne Has A Compelling Female Protagonist
Isekai anime almost always stars a male hero. There are some exceptions to this rule, but strangely, it doesn’t happen very often. However, The Vision Of Escaflowne stars Hitomi after she gets teleported to a cataclysmic world.
In The Vision of Escaflowne, Hitomi helps Van defeat a giant dragon, getting pulled into the world of Gaea as a reward. Once there, she finds out it’s a war-torn world and that Van is actually a king with a price on his head. There are also flying mechs involved, making Gaea one of the strangest isekai worlds.
17 Princess Connect! Re: Dive Is A Rare Adaptation Of A Mobile Game That Isn’t Just A Cash Grab
It’s rare for an anime adaptation of a mobile game to be anything more than a cash grab by the company, but Princess Connect! Re: Dive proves that there are a few diamonds in the rough in that department. Princess Connect! Re: Dive wholly embraced isekai cliches and told a story where a man falls into an unknown world and turns it around to the point that he doesn’t even matter all that much in the end.
However, Princess Connect! Re: Dive is the epitome of all anime starring cute girls doing cute things. It’s not a revolutionary premise, but Princess Connect! Re: Dive plays into the trope’s cliches and produced an entertaining show because of it.
16 Fushigi Yuugi Is One Of The Forbearers Of Isekai
Fushigi Yuugi started airing in the ’90s, so there are no exciting Truck-Kun moments in the series. However, the deuteragonists are teleported into a book and forced to live inside the story.
Fushigi Yuugi is heavily inspired by ancient China and really amps up its fantasy elements to mix a realistic historical depiction with isekai’s whimsical nature. Fushigi Yuugi is a great blend of shojo and isekai, and it’s one of the earliest of its kind. It’s one of the forbearers to the entire isekai subgenre.
15 Isekai Quartet Is An Isekai-ception
Isekai Quartet combines characters from Overlord, KonoSuba, Tanya The Terrible, Re: Zero, and The Rising Of The Shield Hero into one series where they all attend school together. It’s an amalgamation of some of the genre’s greatest heroes and heroines coming together in the most chaotic way possible.
Isekai Quartet is a campy series that puts each character’s running gags on full blast. It pokes fun at the genre’s most overdone tropes and amps everything up to eleven. It’s one of the best isekai series for veteran fans of the genre.
14 My Next Life As A Villainess Introduces A New Isekai Subgenre
My Next Life As A Villainess is a mouthful of a title, but it’s still worth a watch. The series is the first of the “reincarnated as a villainess” light novels to be adapted into an anime, and it was so well-received it’s caused several others to get an adaptation as well. In the beginning, Katarina Claes is a spoiled little girl who’s a pain to everyone around her. When she hits her head though, she remembers her old life where she played a video game set in the exact world she’s been reincarnated into. There’s just one problem: she’s been reincarnated as the villain!
Katarina spends much of My Next Life As A Villainess trying to avoid all the dangerous story “flags” for the villain, all of which end in exile or worse. Her change in personality though causes her to amass a harem of men and women alike. It’s too bad she’s too worried about dodging flags to realize they’re in love with her. This series is a fluffy, hilarious watch that serves as a perfect break from more serious anime.
13 Grimgar: Fantasy & Ash Follows A Group Of Novices Rather Than Gods
Most isekai series make their heroes overpowered from the jump. The genre is oversaturated with characters trying to live up to Kirito or Ainz, who can defeat virtually anybody. There’s nothing wrong with rooting for an overpowered protagonist. But it’s more realistic to see a character start from zero and gradually work up to one hundred percent of their potential.
Grimgar: Fantasy & Ash is set in an RPG. It stars a group of adventurers who wake up with amnesia and have to adapt to their strange new world. However, it’s vastly different from other isekai series because it shows realistic reactions to the characters’ situations. They were utterly helpless after entering the new world, gradually getting stronger and making it easier for the audience to root for them.
12 Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There Uses An Older Protagonist Rather Than The Standard Teenager
Gate: Thus The JSDF Fought There follows Japan’s Self-Defense Force going to war against an invading kingdom from another world. In addition to forging relationships with the new world’s inhabitants, the JSDF also battles various fantasy world creatures, including a dragon.
Gate does an amazing job of blending both modern-day and fantasy elements, and its use of a much older protagonist received popular reception from fans. In fact, Gate: Thus The JSDF Fought There was so well received that it inspired a collaboration campaign with the real JSDF, which used characters from the anime to bring in new recruits.
11 Sword Art Online Has The Commercial Appeal Most Anime Only Dream Of
Sword Art Online is one of the most popular and commercially successful anime in the Isekai subgenre. Unlike the traditional fantasy world, this anime features protagonist Kirito being transported into a virtual realm. After he and a thousand other players are trapped in a virtual reality MMORPG, they must survive in the new virtual world or risk dying in real life.
Sword Art Online received mixed criticism regarding its pacing and writing. Still, fans praise it for its stunning animation and jaw-dropping fight scenes. With its international popularity, there is no denying that Sword Art Online is worthy of being considered one of the best isekai anime out there.
10 Inuyasha Is A Classic That Transcends Time
Even though it’s been almost 10 years since Inuyasha’s conclusion, plenty of people still see it as a must-watch for new anime fans. After finding herself transported from present-day Japan to the Feudal Era, high school student Kagome Higurashi meets the half-demon Inuyasha. This leads them to join forces and gather allies to retrieve and protect the sacred Shikon Jewel from the demon Naraku.
In addition to four film adaptations, the second series Inuyasha: The Final Act serves as the anime’s conclusion, and there’s also a sequel series called Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon. Overall, Inuyasha is an iconic isekai series guaranteed to please anime fans from both past and present generations.
9 Saga of Tanya The Evil Is A Rare Anime That Roots For The Antagonist
The Saga of Tanya the Evil follows the story of Tanya Degurechaff. Originally a Japanese salaryman, he is reincarnated into a new world as Tanya by the mysterious Being X. As a child, Tanya decides to enlist in the military. Armed with the knowledge of her past life and innate magical talent, she rises through the ranks in the hopes of one day living a life of luxury.
However, Being X constantly threatens this goal. He frequently puts her in dangerous situations to convert her into a devout follower. With a ruthless nature and strategic cunning, viewers can’t help but support Tanya in her fight against an omnipotent being.
8 Overlord Has One Of The Most Enjoyable Overpowered Characters In Isekai
An isekai series normally consists of a protagonist being summoned into a new world to help save it. However, that is not the case with Overlord. After being mysteriously transported to another world, a gamer transforms into his virtual avatar, the Elder Lich Momonga. He later renames himself Ainz Ooal Gown, the ruler of the Tomb of Nazarick.
With his newfound power and army of loyal followers, Ainz decides to conquer the world. Even though the protagonist is far more powerful than any other character in the series, Overlord is anything but boring. With hilarious character interactions and frequent displays of Ainz’s godlike power, this series is a must-see for any fan of isekai.
7 Knight’s & Magic Combines Isekai Fantasy And Mecha
Sadly for mecha fans, the popularity of the mecha genre has dwindled since the heydays of the ’80s or even the ’90s. However, isekai has experienced such growth they even have their own mecha anime. Knight’s & Magic is about Ernesti Echevalier, an otaku obsessed with giant robots reincarnated into a world with magic and giant robots alike.
Ernesti’s obsession with robots causes him to join the royal military, all for the sake of being allowed to build his own custom robot. Each mini-arc is just about him creating new robots and testing them while on his way to creating his perfect giant robot. Unfortunately, Knight’s & Magic
6 The Rising of the Shield Hero Has Some Of The Best Character Development In Isekai
The Rising of the Shield Hero follows Naofumi Iwatani, one of four heroes summoned to a new world in the hopes of saving it. Unfortunately, as the Shield Hero, he constantly faces discrimination from the people who summoned him. Things only get worse for him after his only companion, Princess Malty, frames him for sexual assault.
As a result, Naofumi becomes a shell of his former self. From a kind, trusting person, he becomes cynical and distrustful of everyone. In addition to its intense fight scenes, The Rising of the Shield Hero is also praised for its character development. Against all odds, Naofumi perseveres against hate and discrimination to prove what it means to be a true hero.
5 KonoSuba’s Humor & Zaniness Can’t Be Topped
KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World focuses on protagonist Kazuma Satou, who gets transported to a new world. Unlike most isekai anime, the series focuses on Kazuma getting into ridiculous yet hilarious situations.
Even though Kazuma’s allies include a goddess, a knight, and a magician, things don’t go as one might expect them to. The magician Megumin is obsessed with explosion magic. Darkness is a creepy masochist. Finally, Aqua is practically useless despite being a goddess. While not as intense as other isekai anime, KonoSuba is by far the funniest.
4 That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime Has One Of The More Likable Protagonists
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime follows the story of Satoru Mikami who, as the title suggests, is reborn as a slime. Following his reincarnation, Mikami renames himself Rimuru Tempest. Thanks to the power of the skill predator, he can absorb the skills and powers of whatever he consumes.
With his newfound abilities, Rimuru quickly evolves into one of the strongest beings in the world. That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is often praised for its cast of memorable characters. Rimuru is especially popular, having been voted as the best anime protagonist of 2019 in the Crunchyroll Anime Awards.