Isekai is an anime genre… that’s not even a genre (according to sites like MAL). So it’s difficult to “narrow down” a specific list of Isekai shows.
So I’ve come up with a list of both old school Isekai. The type of anime that inspired modern-day anime as we know it.
And a list of the latest and greatest Isekai shows that have kept the genre alive and kicking. Especially in 2019!
Let’s get started.
Best List Of Isekai Anime:
1. The Rising Of The Shield Hero
The Rising Of The Shield Hero is still airing in January 2019. So it’s one of the “new” Isekai anime series worth checking out.
The main character: Noafumi is thrown into another world to “save” it from destruction.
Every month there’s a type of calamity that happens, and this “threat” is why the Shield Hero, alongside 3 other warriors are summoned by the king.
Diving into the first episode is similar to an anime like Re:Zero. It’s twice as long as your average first episode, and the main character goes through some harsh life lessons.
Like “who” he’s able to trust, and what it means to live the life of a shield hero. A type of hero who can only defend in a battle.
This is what sets the anime in motion, along with the new and improved version of the main characters ambitions and drive to succeed.
2. Magic Knight Rayearth
If you’re looking for an original Isekai series that gave birth to Isekai as we know it…. Magic Knight Rayearth is one of those anime.
Aired in the early 1990’s, 3 female characters are transported to another world at the top of Tokyo Tower.
Once they arrive, similar to the Rising Of The Shield Hero, the world is in danger. So they turn the 3 girls into the legendary magic knights to make a difference.
It might sound cliche in 2019, but this anime is about as “original” as it gets for Isekai.
3. The Devil Is A Part Timer
This is what I’d call a “reverse Isekai” but not quite. Because the main characters, a devil and an angel, end up being transported to earth.
Satan himself and his followers are forced to live as citizens in a society they don’t understand. While attempting to learn the language, get passports, and work part time as Mc Ronalds.
This a comedy series like no other. With fresh concepts and ideas the Isekai genre has never seen before.
If you’re into supernatural shows and comedy, this is the best blend you’ll ever come across.
The anime deserves all the praise it gets.
4. Log Horizon
Log Horizon is an MMORPG at its core. And unlike SAO, the main characters lives aren’t hanging off the edge of a cliff.
The story is more chilled than that, with the main characters ending up stuck inside a video game called: Elder Tales.
So instead of sitting around doodling, they do something about it and build a new world within Elder Tales. Forming a functioning society for everyone to live peaceful, equal lives.
If you’ve watched Goblin Slayer, imagine a “toned down” version of that anime. Without the sheer violence.
That’s what Log Horizon is like.
5. How Not To Summon A Demon Lord
The demon lord: Diablo (who’s really an awkward teenager) is transported into his favorite video game. He even becomes the same character he’s used to playing in the game.
What separates this Isekai series from others, is the Ecchi elements that isn’t too far off from being “X rated” or close to it.
But it’s not all about fan-service, big boobs and sexual references.
How Not To Summon A Demon Lord is an enjoyable series for its action, designs, comedy and battle scenes.
It’s one of the decent Ecchi anime I’ve been able to bear with, without wanting to bash my head off the wall in disappoint.
6. Kono Subarashii
You know the cliche’s by now – the main character, Kazuma, dies a hilarious (not horrible) death. And is given another chance at life by the Goddess: Aqua
I had a strange experience with this anime.
I watched the subbed version because I couldn’t wait for the dub any longer. And It felt too “forced” for its comedy and entertainment.
But my mind changed after diving into the dub and feeling refreshed after hearing it.
The one stand-out trait of Konosuba is the unique designs of each character (especially Megumin).
If you do watch it, keep that in mind.
The dub and the sub will give you drastically different experiences, depending on what your preferences are.
7. That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime
Tensei Slime has the potential to dominate the Isekai genre for years to come.
The beginning is cliché, sure. Where the main character is transported to another world…. after saving another person’s life and dying.
But once Rimuru wakes up and finds out he’s a slime monster, this is the beginning of what makes Tensei Slime so unique and fresh.
As long as you can get through the first 5-ish episodes, what comes next is why this anime shines as an Isekai series.
And the ratings seem to speak for themselves.
8. Re:Zero – Starting Life In Another World
I avoided Re:Zero until 2018, because I have a habit of ignoring mainstream shows with too much hype behind them.
But I’m glad I got into Re:Zero.
Like Konosuba, the main character dies a boring death. Only to end up in a random world where nothing makes sense.
But the MAIN difference with Re:Zero as an Isekai series, is the sheer violence, psychological tricks, and dark nature of Subaru Natsuki’s journey.
This anime is produced by White Fox, the same studio behind Akame Ga Kill and Jormungand.
So it’s no surprise why it’s so ruthless carrying tons of depth in the story.
9. Outbreak Company
This is the second anime on this list that’s a harem (How Not To Summon A Demon Lord). But you won’t find any nudity or Ecchi with Outbreak Company.
Kano Shinichi is an Otaku from Japan. Who’s eventually transported to another world to fill this new world with Otaku culture.
This element is what separates this Isekai series from any other you’ll watch.
It’s not a personal favorite, but it’s a decent series you shouldn’t miss if you want something different.
10. Sword Art Online
You knew I had to mention SAO eventually. Sword Art Online is the MOST successful Isekai of all time, after all.
In the first season it’s all about the death survival game. 100’s of players die needlessly.
Some die because of greed. Others because of arrogance. While others is out of fear and not having the strength to keep on living.
The 2nd season changes this. Taking a different approach all together.
No anime does it like SAO. So it’s no surprise why I recommend it.
11. In Another World With My Smartphone
Like Konosuba – the main character: Mochizuki Touya dies and appears before a god.
The joke is – after being reborn into a new world, Mochizuki is allowed to keep his smartphone. Which gets upgraded with a “Google Maps” system of the entire world.
Not to mention God gives Touya his phone number to call him whenever he needs something.
This is a harem/adventure series like How Not To Summon A Demon Lord, but for the most part – fan-service isn’t shoved down your throat. And it’s more entertaining than it is bearable.
12. Restaurant To Another World
If you love the anime Food Wars, then you can think of this as “a supernatural” version with Isekai elements.
In this anime, dragons, demons, monsters and creatures travel from their world to the world where restaurants exist.
They have one purpose in mind: and that’s to eat the best, most delicious food these restaurants have to offer.
Some visitors even take some of the food back home with them, to share with others in their “home” world.
Just like Magic Knight Rayearth, Inuyasha is an absolute classic in the Isekai genre.
It’s easily one of the more famous anime shows on the planet, never mind a famous Isekai.
Kagome Higurashi slips into a well that takes her to another world, 500 years into the past (Sengoku period of Japan).
And that’s where the sweet romance, action, comedy and demons come into play.
It’s a well-rounded series that most fans should have no problem getting into.
14. The Twelve Kingdoms
The Twelve Kingdoms is about Yoko Nakijima. A weak, naive and clueless young girl… who ends up becoming the king of another world by accident.
What I enjoyed most about The Twelve Kingdoms is the transformation of the main character.
The moment she becomes king and takes on responsibility, Yoko becomes a new person incomparable to her past-self.
And the storytelling in this anime is one of its strongest points.
Keep that in mind if you’re expecting tons of action, because there’s isn’t much.
15. GATE: Thus the JSDF Fought There!
And then there’s GATE. An anime cantered on Japan, the military, and a mysterious gate that opens up.
Connecting Japan to another world.
Yoji Itami is a soldier who takes the lead in “creating peace” between both worlds to minimize violence and bloodshed.
But the story turns out to be more brutal and bloody than the intent suggests.
You can expect “harem” and “Loli” characters in this series.
16. Didn’t I Say To Make My Abilities Average
Released in late 2019 by Project No.9, this an Isekai series with a familiar trope: an overpowered main character.
She wished for average abilities, but that “average” is a lot higher than expected in the world the MC is now part of. And so she’s unusually strong.
Other than the fact that Adele (the MC) has a goal to be completely average, the anime doesn’t have a specific plot.
Most episodes are adventure based with battles, comedy, and a few episodes that get a little dark as it digs into a character’s past.
It’s like a female Isekai version of One Punch Man I guess.
17. My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!
My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! is a 2020 Isekai anime series.
Katarina, the main character is born into the world of a game she used to play. And ends up being unlucky because of it.
Knowing the rules of the game and how things will play out, she does everything she can to avoid setting off “death” flags and what not.
This anime is received well and is better than most would expect.
18. Cautious Hero
Cautious Hero is a legit Isekai that changes things up a bit. And tries not to follow the usual cliches and plot.
The main character: Seiya is a literal cautious hero who takes preparation to a new level of insanity.
Even if he’s strong enough to crush an enemy, he’ll overtrain to the point where there’s no room for failure. Even if an opponent gets “lucky” or something out the blue happens.
This is the main theme that stands out in Cautious Hero and makes this Isekai more comedic and sometimes unpredictable.
Plus Seiya is a man who’s all about gender equality, just like Kazuma and Touma.
19. The Ambition Of Oda Nobuna
The Ambition Of Oda Nobuna is an underrated Isekai series, and one people don’t think of.
It’s made by one of the best anime studios: Madhouse.
The main character Yoshiharu is transported to the era where Nobunaga (a real Japanese historic legend) united Japan. And changed the country going forward.
Here though the male historic figures in real life are changed into female characters for the most part.
So it’s not just an Isekai, but a realistic military series that documents the events of Nobunaga’s ambitions in Japanese history.
- Spirited Away.
- No Game No Life.
- Youjo Senki.
- Knights & Magic.
- Wise mans Grandchild.
- Isekai Quartlet.
- The Saga of Tanya the Evil.
Featured image source: Re:Zero Wallpaper