It feels like there is a new isekai anime announced every week, transporting some poor, hapless loser into a new world after they’ve been hit by a truck. It is a genre that has grown in popularity over the past several years and has given us some of the best fanservice money can offer — as well as some of the most ridiculously long titles in anime.
We here at Rice Digital love so many isekai shows, but I sat down and picked out some of my favourite shows in the genre because I had some spare time and like causing controversy.
Cautious Hero: The Hero is Overpowered but Overly Cautious
What happens when the hero of an isekai story shows up and refuses to leave the starting area until they have maxed out their stats? You get the ridiculous show that was Cautious Hero. Summoned by a goddess to help liberate a world in danger of being overrun by demons, Seiya is good at almost everything he puts his mind to. The only problem is that he refuses to act until he is absolutely certain of success, something that drives his companion goddess, Ristarte, out of her mind on many occasions.
The formula isn’t a new one, but Cautious Hero has one of the most emotionally satisfying climaxes of any anime I have ever seen. This goofy show had no right to get me crying at the end but it certainly did. Cautious Hero aired in 2019 and is available in both English and Japanese on Funimation.
Kemono Michi: Rise Up
Another isekai from late 2019, Kemono Michi follows a famous professional wrestler who, just before his World Championship match, is transported to a new world of monsters and magic. The beautiful princess who summoned him tasks him with killing the beasts that threaten to overwhelm the world. Genzo rewards her by knocking her out with a German suplex and going on the run.
See, Genzo is an animal lover who dreamed of opening his own pet shop before getting transported to this new world, so he instead sets out to adopt and befriend the beasts that other heroes seek to kill. The show is weird but includes a whole host of catgirls and dogboys to keep you interested even if watching a masked wrestler give belly scritches to three-headed hell hounds isn’t exactly your thing. Kemono Michi: Rise up is also available on Funimation for your viewing pleasure.
Not including Konosuba in a list of isekai would likely get me run out of the Rice Digital Discord server. It is one of the biggest and most popular shows in the subgenre, largely due to its ridiculous cast of characters and the absurdity they find themselves stuck in. Konosuba follows the adventures of Kazuma after his untimely and embarrassing death where he is tasked with defeating the Devil King before he can return home.
He is hindered in this task by his companions, who consist of a powerful but absent-minded goddess, a mage who can cast the most powerful destructive magic but only once per day, and a crusader who likes taking damage for her teammates a bit too much.
Konosuba, like any comedy show, lives and dies by the timing of its jokes and the manic energy the cast deliver their lines with makes sure that it succeeds. The absurdity of the situations they find themselves in is always taken to a new level, but it also only serves to highlight their relationships. There is a reason Konosuba is one of the top isekai shows out there. You can catch the first two seasons on Crunchyroll.
No Game No Life
There are a hundred isekai shows released every season, so for one to stand out it needs great characters. No Game No Life throws a pair of siblings into a world where everything is decided by a series of games and betting on them. Want someone to fall in love with you? Just get them to bet it and, if they lose, the laws of the world dictate that they will. It is a weird set up but it is Shiro and Sora who make the show shine.
That, and the ample fanservice found within, of course.
No Game No Life is always my top show that needs a second season. It is hilarious and fast-paced, with main characters that are both brilliant in their approach to games and idiotic in their approach to everything else. Their lack of social skills and total reliance on each other could be annoying or creepy in another anime but here it is genuinely endearing. You can catch the first season (and the underwhelming, depressing movie) on Netflix.
What are your favourite isekai anime and manga series? Why not pen us a letter for the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page and tell us all about them?
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