There are a lot of TV shows out there and in this golden age of TV streaming, the choices have never been greater. So how do you cut through the noise and find the “Best of” for any chosen topic? Well, we’re here to help celebrate and shine a spotlight on some of the latest, greatest and unforgettable shows through the years.
For our ongoing series of articles depicting the best anime, our attention this time turns to isekai. From monster-taming adventures and hilarious fantasies, there’s a good choice to whet your appetite.
Of course, if we’ve missed any of your favorites, feel free to comment below and we’ll get them added on!
Now And Then, Here And There
Now And Then, Here And There is a militaristic sci-fi drama that will leave you reflecting on what you just watched. From its somber soundtrack to its wonderful characters, this anime is an ancient gem that time has forgotten.
This anime doesn’t center around a heroically strong protagonist, though. Our protagonist, Shu, feels more like a victim in this world than its prophesized hero. While he does attempt to bring some hope into situations that feel bleak and gloomy, he’ll end up in circumstances that will tear at his courageous bravado. Yet, it is Shu’s brave persona that keeps the anime engaging and awe-inspiring.
This anime transports Shu to a world full of soul-draining deserts, blood-red skies, and war. Shu is to blame for this world’s demise and suffering. This is because he failed to protect a girl named Lala-Ru, the only one with powers to bring peace to this land. To make amends for his failure, Shu must find Lala-Ru while enduring the horrors of war involving hunger and torture.
Digimon Adventure (1999)
Digimon Adventure is likely to be many people’s first dive into the Isekai sub-genre of anime. Instead of mimicking the style and format of its adversary, Pokémon, Digimon opted for a more fantastical approach with its anime adaptation.
Not only that, but Digimon feels more adult-oriented than Pokémon. It tackles death and religion through sophisticated and twisted means. For instance, Digimon Adventure shows a scene where one of its protagonists is undergoing a crucifixion.
For a children’s show, it flies above many expectations. It manages to tell a solid, self-contained narrative and developed its protagonists wonderfully. Its anime adaptation was on par with Pokémon’s regarding popularity and quality. It went on to spawn many follow-up seasons. Each season centers around a different group of characters, Digimon, and stories.
If you ever wondered what a mature-themed Pokémon anime would be like, I recommend giving Digimon Adventure a shot.
The Vision Of Escaflowne
The Vision of Escaflowne is a wonderful romance and fantasy Isekai anime. The same wonder can’t be said about its development cycle. This series had gone through multiple directors and different cycles of development. It was originally planned to be a thirty-nine-episode series, too.
Nonetheless, the twenty-six episode product we ended up receiving delivered the goods. That’s not to say this anime is a masterpiece, though. The story moves at a slow pace at first. The pacing can be overbearing, making the anime feel like a slog. It’s not until the middle that the story picks up.
This change in pace doesn’t affect the anime, poorly. The Vision of Escaflowne benefits from this speed and manages to wrap things up coherently and completely. The protagonists and side characters receive enough screen time and development, too.
The Vision of Escaflowne’s art quality and animation was marvelous at the time. It doesn’t measure up to the astounding and spectacular works of today, though. Fortunately, it’s not too outdated enough to not warrant a watch from you. If you can withstand its older art and animation quality, you’re in for a stellar treat.
Overlord follows the Isekai anime formula down to the wire. It follows a male gamer getting sucked into a game world full of fantasy and RPG-like aesthetics and culture. Funnily enough, what sets Overlord apart from other Isekai anime is its antagonistic lead character, Momonga.
Overlord takes place during the final hour of Yggdrasil, a popular virtual reality game. Momonga is role-playing as a powerful wizard and leader of the dark guild Ainz Ooal Gown. Momonga wants to play this game one more time before the servers are shut down. Suddenly midnight hits, and the servers shut down.
Momonga’s shocked that he’s still conscious as his avatar inside the game. He panics and asks some nearby players what’s going on. To his dismay, the people he asks aren’t normal people anymore. It is as if they are their own people and worship him as if he is their actual master.
With no other choice, Momonga accepts his fate and plans to take control of this new world. However, he vows to find out what caused this to transpire and hopes more “real world” people are in the same predicament.
This fantastical outing will take Momonga on a wild and hilarious endeavour. His interactions with the supporting characters are full of humor and lightheartedness. Although Overlord doesn’t offer anything ground-breaking with its premise, the characters make this show a worthwhile watch.
KonoSuba: God’s Blessing On This Wonderful World!
This show is the anime’s answer to Looney Tunes (to some degree). It’s full of charm, hilarity, and everlasting entertainment. KonoSuba: God’s Blessing On This Wonderful World offers incredible characters, a beautifully engrossing fantasy world, and non-stop jokes, gags, and slapstick to keep you at the edge of your seat.
While it pushes its comedic dialogue and visual humor at the forefront, Konosuba sprinkles in a few complex and emotionally-driven segments that will grab your attention. Be warned that there are some jokes and visual gags that lean toward the sensual side. However, if you can look past its drops of raunchy humor, you’ll have a fun-filled time.
Our tale revolves around a mischievous boy named Kazuma Satou. He ends up ascending into the afterlife and meeting an obnoxious goddess named Aqua. She informs him of his pathetic demise and offered him two options regarding his future livelihood. The first choice involves him ascending to heaven. The second option involves Kazuma being teleported to an RPG-like fantasy world.
Kazuma chooses option two because he’s a hardcore gamer. Aqua tells Kazuma that his mission is to slay the Demon King, and he can take one item with him. Shockingly, Kazuma selects Aqua as his item, leading to them getting transferred to this fantasy realm. Unfortunately, Kazuma will have a hard time adjusting to life in this world when he finds out Aqua is a useless goddess.
That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime
Life can be a pain to get through with how the world is today. Even if you were to teleport to some fantasy land, there are sure to be laws that will prohibit you from enjoying your time. While these statements bode well for our protagonist, Satoru Mikami, he’ll discover that living life as a slime may not be that terrible.
That Time I Got Reincarnated Into A Slime is another fun and hilarious Isekai anime with a long title. Satoru is a wonderful protagonist who’ll endure many highs but suffers from his world’s many lows. The people he’ll meet along the way vary in personality, strength, and status. This anime unanimously brings everything together and lands a satisfying wallop!
After being murdered by a random criminal in his universe, Satoru wakes up as a blob in a fantasy world. Despite feeling uncomfortable, Satoru discovers he can consume, mimic, and adopt anything he wants. He meets a sealed monster named Veldora and helps her escape. Veldora grants Satoru a new body after he promises to befriend her.
Unfortunately, Satoru’s body doesn’t resemble a man’s but a mere child’s. Veldora grants Satoru his new name, “Rimura Tempest,” and her divine protection. That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime follows Rimura’s daily endeavours inside this fantasy land that will bring him joy and stress.
The 90’s era of animation was home to many beloved classics like Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z, and Pokémon. Inuyasha is a timeless Isekai anime with a simple premise and likable characters. Along with some action and a dash of comedy, this is an anime everyone can enjoy.
Our story follows Kagome Higurashi, who transports 500 years into the past when violence was the norm in Japan. When she arrives, Kagome is bewildered by her surroundings and gets into a fight with a demon. This physical exchange leads to a wish-granting jewel shattering into many pieces.
Aiming to make amends, Kagome enlists the help of a half-canine and human hybrid named Inuyasha and several others. Together, they embark on a mission to gather Jewel’s multiple shards before evildoers can utilize its power for catastrophic purposes.
From Kagome to Inuyasha, everyone has a remarkable personality and plays a vital role. The anime does a phenomenal job building upon Inuyasha and Kagome’s companionship, and viewers will enjoy seeing them work together. This anime delivers a stellar adventurous atmosphere that echos fun-filled emotions of other adventure-themed shows.
If you’re looking for another fetch-quest-oriented show with a stellar cast, check out Inuyasha.
The Devil Is A Part-Timer!
If you ever worked in the fast-food business, you’re sure to walk away from the job with an interesting array of tales to tell. Unfortunately, most of those stories pale in comparison to the nonsensical and wacky scenarios our characters in The Devil Is A Part-Timer universe are involved in.
Our story takes place amidst a battle between the Demon Lord Satan and a noble land called Ente Isla. Although Satan’s confident that he’ll prevail, Ente Isla’s noble hero Emilia thwarts his efforts. This forces Satan to escape through a dimension portal that accidentally lands him in the human world. He finds himself strange in modern-day Tokyo and vows to seek vengeance.
Unfortunately, Satan realizes that his powers have been removed, leaving him stranded in this mortal-ridden world as a human. This forces Satan to dawn the alias Sadao Maou and work for a fast-food restaurant called MgRonald’s. Although he misses his life as a demonic warlord, Sadao plans to conquer this world by climbing the corporate ladder one burger at a time.
As you can expect, The Devil Is A Part-Timer is an anime full of non-stop hilarity and charm. You’ll enjoy seeing Sadao suffer from handling mundane tasks like cleaning restrooms and taking people’s orders. His hardships will resonate with anyone that had to endure the trials that stemmed from customer service. Sadao’s not the only character to look out for in this anime.
The other characters offer a similar degree of charm and excitement. Their interactions with Sadao will make you laugh and cheer. This is a wonderful anime to watch if you need a good giggle in your life.
Re: Zero – Starting Life In Another World
Going from a lighthearted comedy to a series rooted in turmoil and stress, we find ourselves a Re: Zero – Starting Life In Another World. While there are some lighthearted elements sprinkled throughout Re: Zero, the anime feels more tense and mysterious.
With its thought-provoking storyline and well-written characters, it’s sure to keep you engaged. This anime follows Subaru, who finds himself dropped into a fantasy world after departing from a convenience store one night. As soon as Subaru lands, he’s attacked by random gang members. Thankfully, he’s saved from a ninja-like girl named Satella.
Subaru offers to help Satella retrieve some devices she’s been looking for and tracks their location. Despite all going accordingly, Subaru and Satella are ambushed by a dark force and are murdered. Strangely enough, Subaru awakens back at the spot where he landed and encounters the same turn of events. Therefore, our anime follows Subaru’s supernatural life inside this fantasy world.
Re: Zero delivers a trippy time-altering experience. It touches upon mature topics regarding death, despair, stress, and low self-esteem. The plot gradually escalates and everything receives a satisfying explanation. The characters in the anime are well-written and harbor realistic reactions and opinions about the corruption that engulfs their universe.
If you’re looking for an intense and slightly philosophical Isekai anime to add to your watchlist, Re: Zero should be one of them.
While most of the anime on this list have human beings transferring to a fantasy world, Re: Creators offers something familiar yet different for the anime medium. Re: Creators is the equivalent of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as it brings its in-universe anime, manga, and gaming characters into the real world.
Our tale follows Souta Mizushino, an aspiring light novel author who adores watching anime for inspiration. One day, he finds himself teleported into a fight scene of one of his favorite anime series. He watches the battle unfold and is immediately transported back to the real world alongside this anime’s heroic female, Selesia Yupitilia.
Suddenly, other characters from different worlds start transporting to the real world. They each have different strengths, backstories, and occupations. However, the most noteworthy of these is a militaristic-themed female who knows more about the real world than the others. With the help of Selesisa and a librarian NPC named Meteora, Souta plans to uncover the meaning behind this strange phenomenon.
This anime does a fine job at building up your anticipation for each episode. Every character, whether real or fictional, has an intriguing backstory and a great personality. This anime feels like a love letter to anime fans who’ve dreamed of seeing beloved anime and manga characters crossover like The Justice League and Avengers.
Many characters feel like homages to popular anime characters like Madoka from Madoka Magica to Saber from the Fate series. As one can expect, this series features a plethora of well-animated fight scenes accompanied by an adrenaline-pumping soundtrack. If you’re looking for a unique Isekai anime that handles its premise carefully, check out Re: Creators.
So, there we have it, our picks for the best anime through the years about isekai!
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!