Isekai, which translates to “other world” or “different world”, is a genre of anime that centers around portaling from one world into another. Isekai anime plots revolve around protagonists being transported into a fantasy, virtual, or alternate universe, where they have to blend in and — in most cases — survive. It has become one of the leading tropes in anime and each year, several new isekai anime films and television series are released.
Giving fans the opportunity to immerse themselves into different worlds, isekai anime television shows and movies come in a range of genres, from comedy, to romance, to psychological thrillers and horrors. While the most common trope remains a protagonist’s attempt to make it out of a virtual reality alive, newer releases have followed a variety of different plots, and maintaining the exciting fantasy elements.
Here are 10 anime in the isekai subgenre you’ve got to watch!
Sword Art Online
Sword Art Online is one of the most popular isekai anime to ever exist. The storyline revolves around a virtual reality multiplayer game that gains the innocent attention of the masses, that is until it becomes a death trap. If a player logs out from the game, they die in reality and occurrences in the virtual begin to mimic real life. The series follows two players, Kirito and Asuna, as they navigate through the highly immersive game in an attempt to beat the system and make it out without dying. There are three seasons of addictive viewing available to watch, with the third season split into two parts. There’s also a spin-off series, titled Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online, and two films out.
The Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
One of the more recent Isekai anime on the list, this unique story follows Satoru Mikami, a simple middle-aged man who ends up murdered in the real world, and has his soul transported into an alternate one where he is reincarnated as slime. Thankfully, he acquires new powers that help him absorb others’ appearance and abilities. He is reincarnated as a slime but lucky for him, he can absorb new skills which give him a massive variety of abilities. He adopts the name Rimuru, and uses his newfound powers to build a protective community for the weak.
The Rising of the Shield Hero
This 2019 dark fantasy anime centers on Naofumi Iwatani, an otaku who is mysteriously transported into another world. There, he and three other heroes tasked with defeating the powers wreaking havoc on that world. Unfortunately, he is the Shield Hero (the weakest and most despised), and when he is eventually betrayed by those around him, he is compelled to embark on the quest of victory alone.
Saga of Tanya the Evil
Misanthropic salaryman, Kousuke Toriumi gets murdered by a begrudged subordinate, and moments before his passing, insults Being X, a supreme godlike entity. As punishment, his soul is transported to a world of magical war, and into the body of a nine year old female child soldier named Tanya Degurechaff. It’s a satirical story with just 12 high octane and addictive episodes to binge through.
A nameless 34-year-old man dies in a car accident and is transported into a fantasy world where he is reincarnated into the body of a baby. He decides to abandon his old life and start afresh in the new world and goes by the name Rudeus Greyrat. While receiving help from friends, and with a brand new skill set of magical abilities, Rudeus endeavors to overcome his past failures and approach life differently. It’s a 24 episode tale of redemption and courage, and one of the most endearing isekai anime series out there.
While waiting for his favorite MMORPG “Yggdrasil” to shut down permanently, series lead Momonga decides to log in once more to relive the game’ glory days. Things begin to go awry as the game fails to shut down, and the powerful wizard and his guild find themselves stuck. With no option but to keep playing, he begins a new life inside the virtual universe.
Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World
Subaru Natsuki is just an ordinary guy who finds himself dragged off into another world while on a convenience store run. After arriving, he quickly befriends a half-elf girl, Emilia who is being targeted by ruthless assassins. The pair are later murdered, but a few seconds later, Subaru realizes he has turned back time. With his new ability to transport back to the past through death, he and his new companion must find out who summoned him into the new world, and why Emilia is wanted dead.
No Game No Life
The story follows shut-in gamer siblings Sora and Shiro. They meet Tet, a mysterious god that challenges them to a game of chess and pulls them into a world called Disboard, where games decide the fate of everything. In this new world where high-stake decisions are in the hands of seemingly harmless games, the siblings find new reasons to keep playing and defeat Tet, so they may unite the races of Disboard and become gods of this new world.
When 17 year old Sudou Kaname is invited to play Darwin’s Game, he bites off more than he can chew when he realizes the game pits people against each other in a real life deathmatch for points and ranks which can be cashed-in in the real world. Kaname fights to survive so he can pass through all the stages of the game without being killed by other players.
The Devil is a Part-Timer!
An intriguing twist to the usual tropes of isekai anime, The Devil is a Part-Timer centers around the devil being transported into the human world. Trapped without any of his powers, he must find ways to survive. He eventually becomes a part-timer at a fast-food restaurant, while trying to regain his powers and return to his former glory in hell. This hilarious series became a hit after it was released in 2013, and at just 13 episodes, provides enough fun and character development to make it whole.