Isekai is a subset of the manga market that first emerged in the 1990s as a niche with some of the most bizarre ideas and notions. But it seems as though there is no getting away from isekai stories in the fantasy genre in the modern world.
Isekai is a genre where the main character comes from a different planet, usually our own, and either passes away or is immediately moved to another world at the end of the story.
Isekai in Anime and Light Novels
The isekai subgenre dominates the anime landscape, with at least 5–6 shows that follow the reincarnation path airing each season. Although some of the most incredible anime to run in recent years have been isekai, such as Re: Zero and Mushoku Tensei, which we shall discuss later, the genre has been tainted by the popular culture.
Isekai or shoujo are the only two genres that are popular with those audiences in the world of light novels. The remaining component of Japanese media is manga. Fortunately, only the very greatest manga are published in the world of manga, and here are some of the best manga you can read.
What Makes a Good Isekai Story?
Isekai’s idea alone makes it a genre film. A good story’s concept sells the entire isekai. If the protagonist’s accomplishments are the main focus of the narrative, the isekai is turned on its head.
Isekai enthusiasts grit their teeth in anticipation of the next release of the best pitches, whether it be an anime, light novel, or manga.
It only makes sense to highlight these anime by the initial hook that hooked viewers on the first read for a list focused on isekai; whether it be being transported as something other than a human or being born as a child in a different world, these are some of the most incredible isekai journeys that will leave you wanting more.
10. Gensou Gourmet
Did you enjoy the idea of giving the food world some life in the shounen title Shokugeki no Souma, often known as Food Wars, for the west? Gensou Gourmet, however, mixes the delectable flavor of food and adds an isekai element to it, taking the high notion of enjoying the best meals to its highest peaks.
This anime is for those looking for a unique take on the isekai genre, not if you’re hoping for an action-packed adventure with powerful dragons and enchanted fairies.
Our main character, Shinichirou, enters another dimension by slipping down some stairs. But it turns out to be a fantastic situation where he ends up.
The main character of our story lives in a fantasy world where there are no humans at all, and he survives by coning people left and right until he meets Bart, the heir to one of the ruling families.
Bart discovers Shinichirou on the streets and offers him food, shelter, and clothing in exchange for some consulting while his mansion is crumbling away, both in terms of riches and fame. And our hero uses his acumen from his prior position as a business consultant to restore Bart to power.
This results in his getting a nice house and a lovely maid who, despite being rude, does her job well. Shinichirou is prepared to explore his greatest interest, cuisine, now that he feels at ease in his home and career in this second life.
He could relish Earth’s finest foods, such as venison, but here he gets to sample more bizarre foods, like a steak made from a dragon’s finger. That’s a genuine thing in this universe, and it’s only a small taste of the fun that awaits, if you’re searching for more of a culinary adventure in your isekai manga.
9. Yakuza Reincarnation
The relatable recluse protagonist who has nothing in the actual world to keep him connected and instead finds pleasure in video games and light novels is a common theme in today’s isekai literature. Due to an accident, he passes away and enters another dimension. He gains superpowers there and defends the world. The last.
Yakuza Reincarnation, however, is anything but that; with a plot that rivals the best isekai, it is one of the funniest and most action-packed series you can discover in the current manga industry.
The Shinjuku dragon is an elderly man today, and the sole reminder of his former glory is the lady tattoo on his back. The dragon is unable to eliminate them as easily as he once could when one of his Yakuza family members betrays him by sending a group of teenage minions.
But when he decides to finish the conflict by leaping into the thicket into the river, he brings the punk with him in memory of the people he helped and who love him. Here, a water goddess literally pushes the man’s heart into the wide river to end his life.
When he awakens, the punk band has transformed into an army of wizards, and a monstrous goblin is attempting to devour him alive. But now that he has arrived in another realm with the youthful body of a young princess running away, nothing can stop him.
This is his/her account of learning what happened to him and attempting to escape this fantastical, magical world.
8. The Rising of the Shield Hero
This fantastic dark fantasy has a message about interacting with others and leading an optimistic life. On the other hand, the main character of our tale is a guy by the name of Naofumi who is called to a royal palace during a prophesy ritual that also transports four other heroes.
Our hero has nothing, unlike all the other heroes, who all have knowledge of a world like this, fantastic weaponry to begin their adventure, as well as people who are willing to follow them and aid them in their quest into another realm.
He has a shield as his primary weapon and has little experience with MMORPGs because he is more of a reader than a gamer. He starts out alone, but one woman steps forward, feels sorry for him, and becomes friendly with him.
But as luck would have it, even if she treats him well in the beginning, as soon as he goes to sleep, the woman Mien accuses him of assault, robbing him of his hero fund and causing his absence to be reported across the kingdom, making it impossible for anyone to assist him.
Despite his initial optimism towards his travel, he now finds it unpleasant to struggle to defend the lives of the inhabitants of this other world.
Naofumi’s journey to save these individuals from their imminent death while learning to value and love those around him is the central theme of the novel.
7. That Time I was Reincarnated as a Slime
That Time I Was Reincarnated as a Slime, which has grown to be one of the most popular isekai anime of all time, is a joyride from beginning to end.
Minami Satoru, a college graduate working for a construction company, is introduced in the opening of the story. But his younger brother was the only thing that bothered him. After inheriting the entire family fortune, his younger brother was cooler and more in style than our hero Satoru, and he even had a fiancée.
A man can rush down the street brandishing a kitchen knife in his hand one fine day as his younger brother was introducing his fiancée to his senpai. Satoru received the punch while pushing his younger sibling to the side. He just had one hope while he was bleeding to death: that after he passed away, his computer would be destroyed.
Satoru considers his condition as he is about to pass away, while a computer program running in his head keeps recording the talk and converting it into skills.
He discovers upon regaining awareness that he has been transferred to a different universe and has been resurrected as a slime. Rimuru is currently attempting to survive in this planet while leading his new life as a slime, with a chatty dragon and one of the world’s hardest dungeons in front of him.
Overlord is the manga for you if you’re seeking for a novel that examines all the subtleties of playing an MMORPG.
In the closing moments of the 10-year-old game Yggdrasil, every member of the greatest guild logged on at once.
However, as the other players started to leave, Momonga made the decision to stay until the servers crashed out of respect for the game, which he had spent a lot of time adoring for all of its faultless qualities.
Momonga finally opened his eyes, though, as it appeared that the server was down. His new existence is ideal: he has skeletal hands, an NPC butler who takes care of all his needs, a gorgeous consort at his disposal, and a dungeon that is 10 levels deep.
He also has a powerful staff in his hands and a kingdom to control on top of all that. But that’s not all; the fun in Overlord really starts when you realize that Momonga has developed a cast of characters in addition to Ainz, whom he may control at any time and who all have quests to realize their full potential.
The idea of a powerful protagonist is elevated to a new degree of amusement in Overlord.
5. Ascendance of a Bookworm
One of the best worldbuilding efforts ever made by an anime is this. Anyone who like fantasy will fit right in in this realm.
This story’s idea promises a nice time for those who prefer their fantasies to be leisurely and in-depth, highlighting how children are raised and the values that different individuals have depending on the work that they do in this world.
Our main character, a young woman, has just realized her lifelong dream of becoming a librarian when, in a surprising turn of events, a tall stack of books falls on her. She makes one more request before passing away: she wants to be reborn in a world where she can read books.
However, in an ironic turn of events, she awakens in the body of a 5-year-old and in a world without the printing press, where books are expensive because they must be manually written and where paper and ink are precious commodities, making books a true luxury.
And lo and behold, our protagonist was born into a family that is so underprivileged that they constantly had to worry about finding food and a place to live.
As a result, our girl sets off on a mission to create her book, which requires her to create the paper and ink necessary for it. This long but worthwhile adventure teaches us important lessons about things that we often take for granted in the digital age.
4. Re: Zero
One of the darkest mangas I’ve ever read in my life is this one. Although the premise may appear straightforward at first, the concept is executed to the utmost level.
Subaru, our main character, is a hermit who stays inside his flat to play video games and only leaves to get food. And once he emerged from his hiding place to get some chips, he discovered himself in a bustling market full of shoppers on a sunny day.
He is happy at the abrupt change in the mood and has an upbeat view of the world around him, even though he briefly wonders what happened to everything around him and his home.
Subaru is shown examining his surroundings in the first few chapters. The plot twist, however, occurs when Subaru passes away after spending a day with a girl he likes. Here, we learn that Subaru has been brought back to life exactly as he left it.
This starts an adventure where Subaru learns why he has this power and becomes involved in the king’s coronation of the realm.
The narrative examines the profound and torturous extent to which we, as human beings, are willing to go in order to protect those we love. The only caveat is that anyone planning to watch this program should be aware of the trigger warnings because it is clear that this is not a program for those who are having difficulties in their own life.
3. No Game No Life
With numerous allusions to board games, vintage console games, and even smartphone gacha games, this is one for the gamers.
Although the first season of the series has already been released, there have been no updates on the status of the second season, which has been one of the programs for which fans have asked the most for an anime adaptation.
The narrative centers on a brother and sister who live as recluses and spend their days playing video games. The opening page transports us to an MMORPG where only 8 players are able to defeat an army of 1200 gamers.
The 1200 players are all defeated in the following panel. Urban legends are described in the manga as being among the most boring things because there are so many theories put up to explain them, yet the truth is always the easiest to understand.
Only two siblings, Sora and Shiro, were in charge of all eight participants. As we observe how ridiculous their lifestyle is, they get a message from an unidentified source who provides a link and inquires about their position in the universe.
They are then taken to a realm of board games where all they have to do is win the game after they defeat him at chess.
This begins a journey in which our protagonists grow through the games they play, discover the outside world, and transform into responsible individuals using the ease of gaming.
2. Moonled Journey Across Another World
On this list, this reincarnation tale is the funniest. Misumi Makoto, a kid of people from another world, is where it all begins. So one day as he is about to fall asleep, he wanders to a plane and encounters Tsukuyomi, the god of the moon.
The deity explains to Makoto that his parents are from another world and that they chose to give something valuable from the real world as their tax, which is why Makoto is in this circumstance.
When pressed further, he learns that one of his younger sisters would be made to enter this other world if he refused to attend. He is apprehensive, but ultimately decides to go because his parents have asked him to.
The god offers to speak with Makoto’s parents during their conversation, but instead only leaves them with two letters.
I did, however, find it hilarious when Makoto is ready to beg the god for a favor and the god recognizes what it is right away, then tells Makoto that his books and hard drive have been deleted.
The other goddess, who Makoto encounters later, makes it obvious that she has already selected her hero and is not in need of Makoto.
In addition, the goddess chastises Makoto, calling him the most repulsive person she has ever encountered.
She gives him the ability to communicate with every creature as a joke, but not with any people. This results in a humorous story that subverts isekai and fantasy and generally feels like fun.
1. Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation
If you want to discover a setting where all of your fancy wishes might come true, this is our recommendation for the best isekai manga you should read right now.
This is the tale of a 34-year-old NEET who, after starting a new life in a fantastical setting, decides to turn things around. Even after his father’s funeral has just ended, the NEET is on his computer when the story begins.
Since their father wasn’t living with them longer, his siblings thought it was wasteful to keep him in the house since he wasn’t doing anything. The only thing on his mind as he waits to be ejected is how much he would appreciate the opportunity to start over and change his life into something amazing.
He sees a young child about to be struck by a truck as he wanders the streets, but he pushes him aside and is killed in an accident.
Fortunately for him, he finds himself in the arms of a stunning woman as soon as he opens his eyes. He reaches out to her but discovers that his hands are little, like those of a young child.
He transforms into a young youngster who is observing his surroundings in a matter of pages. Rudy, a little child who has the brains of a 34-year-old video game nerd and is attempting to become the most powerful person in the world, is the protagonist of this novel as it develops.
The interesting fantasy subgenre known as isekai is a veritable black hole in the Japanese market. We sincerely hope that at least one of these suggestions inspired you to learn more about manga and anime.
- Isekai in Anime and Light Novels
- What Makes a Good Isekai Story?
- 10. Gensou Gourmet
- 9. Yakuza Reincarnation
- 8. The Rising of the Shield Hero
- 7. That Time I was Reincarnated as a Slime
- 6. Overlord
- 5. Ascendance of a Bookworm
- 4. Re: Zero
- 3. No Game No Life
- 2. Moonled Journey Across Another World
- 1. Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation