Isekai isn’t even an official genre, and yet it’s gotten so big and fat over the years. To the point of it, in some aspects, getting lazy with its writing.
That’s another story though.
What I wanna get into is the definition of Isekai and what it actually means. As opposed to what people WANT it to mean with mental gymnastics.
A lot of this debating and arguing stems from:
- Toxic fans
And westerners (not all) trying to flip definitions and tell the very countries who created the definition what it’s supposed to mean.
It’s nuts to me, but it’s a common occurrence that goes well beyond
So what is Isekai?
Isekai is so popular nowadays that you have the youngest fans who know what it looks like, but not what it means.
It’s basically where the main protagonist is transported to another world, dimension, etc. With cliché stories taking place after the protagonist dies in “the real world”.
They’re then reborn as a different character, creature, etc. And usually have benefits, powers, privileges they couldn’t have hoped to have in real life.
But that’s not always how the egg decides to boil.
The simple definition of Isekai
Isekai, which is a Japanese word, translates to “another world”. That’s the SIMPLE definition of what it means.
In fact that’s the ONLY definition for Isekai. “Another world” is where the definition starts and where the definition ends.
Anything or anyone trying to explain that away or make it more complicated are only fooling themselves.
That’s the joke really.
It’s so simple that people are driven to make it more complicated, because the simplicity of Isekai’s definition leaves fans in disbelief.
That’s how people react to “simple” solutions by making it more complex in real life as well. So it’s a human trait I guess.
Types of Isekai
Transported to a brand new world
So many Isekai
They basically “hire” the protagonist to bring Japan’s Otaku culture to their own fantasy world.
Shield Hero is like this as well. Naofumi Iwatani, the MC, isn’t dead. Just transported to another world and given a mission while there.
Magic Knight Rayearth, an influential, old school Isekai does this as well.
In most other
It’s part of the reason why the cliché of “Truck-Kun” exists (being killed by a truck).
MMORPG + Virtual Reality
An obvious example of this would be Log Horizon. An
The main and support characters in this world are trapped in their favorite game called Elder Tales. And so they decide to make peace with the facts.
They then create their own society within this world and despite them being inside a game, it’s realistic.
And better yet: it’s “another world”.
Because of this there are some fans in the west who try to single out
Remember the definition? Another world.
As long as this simple condition is met, and the MAJORITY of their time is spent in this other world, it’s an Isekai.
I’ll get into concrete examples in a minute.
Most other Isekai
anime that started certain trends
.hack is an
It’s the first
Even with its dedicated fan base, it remains an underground classic more than anything else.
So big, that the Isekai genre wasn’t “cool” until
VR Isekai is all thanks to
Magic Knight Rayearth is another
All 3 main characters are transported to another world called Cephiro from Tokyo Tower.
Once there, they’re given the task of saving the world from destruction, with the power of what they call magic knights.
Years after its release we see this type of Isekai with
Before that there was Aura Battler Dunbine (1980’s) and a few others.
Same is true for Restaurant To Another World.
anime, according to the JAPANESE
Believe it or not, but even
That proves the point even more of the simple definition “another world” being the bare minimum for Isekai.
Taken from Wikipedia:
“The role-playing adventure game Moon: Remix RPG Adventure (1997), and the Digimon Adventure (1999 debut) and .hack (2002 debut) franchises, were some of the first works to present the concept of isekai as a virtual world, with
Sword Art Online(2002 debut) following in their footsteps.”
This is mentioned in the Modern Japanese media section of Isekai on Wikipedia. With real references and links.
Top 15 Isekai in 2017, according to JAPANESE fans
Goboiano, a fairly sized
They took the details from Goo Ranking, an official Japanese site.
Here’s the list:
- Spirited Away (2001)
- Pop in Q (2016)
Sword Art Online(2012 debut)
- Magic Knight Rayearth (1994–1997)
- Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World (2016 debut)
- The Twelve Kingdoms (2002–2003)
- Konosuba (2016–2017)
- World Trigger (2014 debut)
- Kyo Kara Maoh! (2004–2009)
- Gate (2015–2016)
- No Game No Life (2014)
- The Boy and the Beast (2015)
- Log Horizon (2013 debut)
- Restaurant to Another World (2017)
- Drifters (2016–2017)
If you pay attention to the list, #3 is
As we clearly see, the particular argument of
“Another world” is what Isekai translates to, and these top 15
That’s the reality of the situation, and shouldn’t be an argument in the first place.
THAT is what the real definition of Isekai is. And the misconceptions fans make outside of Japan.
The motherland of
Share your thoughts.