Zero no Tsukaima, one of the classic "isekai" titles

Another World[1] (異世界, Isekai) is a theme present in Japanese anime, manga and other media. It usually has to do with the main character being transported to another world, hence the name. Other worlds regard to parallel fictional universes or virtual worlds, unbeknownst to the protagonist of others around him/her.

Characteristics[edit | edit source]

The theme can be characterized as wish fulfilment, with the person being transported often being a NEET, hikikomori, gamer, or just a regular human. In the new fantasy world, they are able to succeed through their comparatively unimportant-in-real-life genre knowledge or other skills. In some cases like Isekai wa Smartphone to Tomo ni, their power can range from tremendous magical abilities surpassing anyone else, to relatively weak, as in Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World, where the protagonist does not gain any special power beyond the ability to survive death in a type of temporal loop.

In general, the "isekai" protagonist is usually regarded as the "chosen hero". But some titles subvert the theme such as Drifters, where people entering the other world are historical generals and other warriors who are more brutal than the world's inhabitants themselves. Titles like Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken, the protagonist starts off as non-human as a weak blob. Some stories involve people being reincarnated as unusual inanimate objects, like a magical onsen.

History[edit | edit source]

In earlier times, the genre started with titles like El-Hazard and Fushigi Yūgi, in which the protagonists retained their original appearance upon entering a different world. Later titles such as Yōjo Senki inverse the genre where the protagonist dies and reincarnates in a different world, such as Knight's & Magic, with the latter retaining their memories and interests from their previous life.

The .hack franchise was one of the first to present Virtual Reality as a parallel concept of isekai, with Sword Art Online following in its footsteps.

Genre Variations[edit | edit source]

Summoning Reincarnation Translocation Virtual Reality Others
El-Hazard Tensei shitara Ken deshita Isekai wa Smartphone to Tomo ni Sword Art Online Gate - Thus the JSDF Fought There!
Fushigi Yūgi Isekai Yakkyoku Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! Gundam Build Divers Outbreak Company
Dog Days Knight's & Magic Restaurant to Another World Accel World No Game No Life
Mashin Hero Wataru Yōjo Senki Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World Log Horizon Hyakuren no Haō to Seiyaku no Valkyria
Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari Legend (TAKANO Masaharu) Isekai Izakaya "Nobu" Overlord Hataraku Maou-sama!
Isekai Maō to Shōkan Shōjo no Dorei Majutsu Exterminator Saving 80, 000 Gold Coins in the Different World for My Old Age Arafoo Kenja no Isekai Seikatsu Nikki Isekai Quartet
Tensei Kenja no Isekai Raifu ~Daini no Shokugyo wo Ete, Sekai Saikyou ni Narimashita~ Kamitachi ni Hirowareta Otoko Magi Craft Meister Manuke na FPS Player ga Isekai e Ochita Baai
Seijo no Maryoku wa Bannou desu Tensei Ouji wa Daraketai Maou-sama, Retry! Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody
Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari Isekai Nonbiri Nouka
Isekai Cheat Magician
Zero no Tsukaima Yondome wa Iyana Shi Zokusei Majutsushi
Arifureta Shokugyou de Sekai Saikyou Kenja no Mago Caturikun

References[edit | edit source]

[1] - Interesting mangas from isekai genre (PL - Polish)

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