Home Entertainment The top 10 Isekai anime that you should be binging on right now

The top 10 Isekai anime that you should be binging on right now

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Isekai-anime

Every generation of anime has a trend that explodes in popularity and defines the medium for years to come. Gundam made mecha anime popular, Tenchi Muyo kickstarted a wave of harem shows and Naruto made the Shonen action genre more popular than ever when it first hit the scene. These days, every anime around seems to an Isekai show.

The premise is usually simple enough to follow: A regular Joe from our world, gets stuck in a fantasy world that usually has several video game mechanics attached to it. You’d think that after a few years of studios pumping out shows from this well, that the genre would have run dry by now. You’d be wrong though, because Isekai anime has proven itself to be surprisingly versatile and able to take that idea in wild new directions.

Want to hop in and give it a watch? Well here’s a list of ten great Isekai anime to binge on, with links to Crunchyroll for the official and latest streams.

Sword Art Online

Sword Art Online

It is the future year of…2022, so it’s not that far off. Current virtual reality technology makes the Oculus Rift like a tin can on a string, everybody is going mental for virtual reality massively multiplayer games and the Fortnite of this era is easily Sword Art Online. As long as you have a NerveGear helmet, you’re capable of hopping into a world where you can actually feel what’s going on around you as you embark on adventures with your avatar.

Only problem? After 10 000 players enter the game and a new area, they discover that they’re trapped within the game until they conquer all 100 floors of the Aincrad castle. Anyone who dies in the game or tries to back out by removing their NerveGear helmet, dies for realsies. Who’ll save the day? None other than closed beta legend Kazuto “Kirito” Kirigaya who uses his experience and knowledge of the inner workings of Sword Art Online to forge a path to victory all on his own.

For a while, at least.

The Rising of the Shield Hero

The Rising of the Shield Hero

Isekai anime has a formula that clearly works, but it’s also one that allows for plenty of variety. Take Rising of the Shield Hero, which takes the usual concept of easygoing youth from our world being summoned to a fantasy land that has video game rules, and flips it entirely on its head by making the protagonist a complete jerk.

Not through any fault of his own though! Naofumi Iwatani was having a great day until he got sucked into a parallel universe, joining three other fellas from different universes to become the four cardinal heroes of the land. Equipped with a legendary shield, Naofumi got the short straw in more than one way as the kingdom of Melromarc quickly turned on him when his companion Princess Myne framed him for sexual assault.

Shunned, hated by the kingdom and without a penny to his name, Naofumi has to start his adventure from scratch and without zero support as he built himself back up as a cunning warrior who may be the only hero in the land competent enough to save it from extinction-level events of invading monsters. That, and the show has Raphtalia. Raphtalia is the best.

raphtalia

Lookit dat pout face!

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime

Okay, imagine this: An Isekai show BUT the hero is pretty much your dad. Middle-aged loner Satoru Mikami finds himself HORRIBLY KILLED in a mugging gone wrong, reincarnates and wakes up in another world entirely…as one of the most common cannon fodder creatures in RPG games, a slime. Stuck in a gelatinous body, Satoru quickly finds new friends and allies thanks to his overpowered predator ability and embarks on a quest to save the day and spread wisdom amongst his younger allies.

Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World

ReZERO Starting Life in Another World

Imagine you’re summoned to a fantasy world! Adventure, mystery and you instantly fall in love with the first princess you meet because that’s how life works. Also, you’re immortal. Kind of, because Subaru Natsuki discovers that he can Groundhog Day his way back to previous events in his adventure every time he dies.

And buddy, he dies A LOT. Also, in mostly horrible ways as well while he tries to figure out how to reset his timelines and fix the mistakes that he has made on his path. It’s basically Groundhog Day meets Quantum Leap, but with more magic, kaiju and demonic servant girls who can crush your head like a grapefruit if you get on their bad side.

Saga of Tanya the Evil

Saga of Tanya the Evil

Need an anime with a double dose of irony? Well here ya go: There’s an atheist Japanese manager, who has climbed the ranks of his company so that he can reach the top. Only his ruthlessness results in a fired employee revealing himself to be the equivalent of super-God, and decides to give the unnamed salaryman a dose of karma.

The man awakes in the body of an orphaned girl by the name of Tanya Degurechaff and is faced with a choice: Either he genuinely accepts that the entity who exiled him to a new reality is god and he learns to have some faith, or if he dies an unnatural death he’ll be kicked out of the circle of reincarnation and condemned to hell for the sins that Tanya committed in her previous life. Sounds easy enough, right?

Well, imagine you’re in this scenario and you happen to live in a world that resembles World War 2 with magic warfare. Figuring out that the best way to stay alive and not near a battlefield is to enlist in the Empire Mages Division, climb the ranks once again and use that managerial ruthlessness to land a cushy desk job. Only things don’t go according to plan in this crazy scenario.

KONOSUBA -God’s blessing on this wonderful world!

KONOSUBA -God's blessing on this wonderful world!

Kazuma Sato may be a nerd who lives all day in a dank room playing video games, but he’s also a crafty shut-in. When his untimely death results in him meeting a goddess by the name of Aqua and being offered a chance at reincarnation in a fantasy MMORPG world with an overpowered item of his choosing, Kazuma decides that Aqua herself should accompany him.

After all, what’s better than having a goddess by your side in a fantasy world? The only problem here is that Aqua is a bit on the ditzy side and causes more trouble than she actually solves. With an explosion-addicted magician by the name of Meumin and a warrior who has read way too much Fifty Shades of Grey (his handle of Darkness is fitting), Kazuma needs to slay the Devil King if he ever wants to find any peace in his new life and return Aqua to gates of eternity.

Which is easier said than done when the Devil King’s generals keep bumping into you.

Restaurant to Another World

Restaurant to Another World

Dinner and a show? At The Western Restaurant Nekoya, you’ll get that and more with this quaint little eatery that offers traditional cuisine, western food and a Saturday-only doorway to a fantasy realm. That little secret has made this restaurant a darling with regulars, as they visit every Saturday for a day to meet up and hang out with elves and dragons. It’s basically Cheers crossed with Lord of the Rings.

Overlord

Overlord

Who’s to say that what happens inside of a video game isn’t as real as what happens in real life? Overlord is that scenario, as it centres on an incredible MMORPG finally calling it a day after 12 years and trapping one of its last remaining members inside of its wall. Unable to find a way out of the Yggdrasil game, a player known only as Momonga needs to uncover the hidden mysteries of Yggdrasil if he ever wishes to escape.

What makes it stand out from the pack though? Momonga himself isn’t a brave hero in a video game, but rather one of the more reviled and hated villains of the world who happens to be an Elder Lich king. Forced to play the role for real this time, the salaryman behind Momonga has no choice but to be the villain that every hero wishes to stop, even if he is, in reality, a socially awkward outcast.

Great characters and a fantastic premise just proves that being bad has never felt so good, even if Momonga has no idea that he’s accidentally taking over the world in his pursuit of freedom.

No Game No Life

No Game No Life

Okay, this one is weird even by anime standards, so I’m just going to bullet point this anime’s plot:

  • Two siblings, Sora and Shiro
  • Unbeaten in an online game called Blank
  • One day, they beat an actual god by the name of Tet at chess and jokingly accept his offer to be transported to a proper fantasy world
  • Inside the world, they discover that the Ten Pledges spell prevents anyone from inflicting phsyical harm on to another citizen
  • All differences have to be resolved by gambling in games whose rules are enforced by magic
  • Players can cheat to win, but the rules will only kick in if said cheating is acknowledged and outed by the opponent
  • To escape, Sora and Shiro have to defeat numerous races and species to be crowned humanity’s representative, so that they can challenge Tet once again to a game

So it’s an anime about a game within a game that changes frequently. Basically, it’s kind of brilliant.

Log Horizon

Log Horizon

Elder Tale is the hottest game in town, it’s on expansion number twelve and millions of players are still invested in it. Well, until the Homesteading the Noosphere expansion manages to transport thousands of players to a fantasy land and trap them there. On the bright side, every player is still flexing their muscle as their in-game avatar, with the series focusing on a player by the name of Shiroe.

There’s plenty of danger out there, but the adventure ahead is more than worth it in a series that feels like a more mature take on the genre and features a more charismatic protagonist relying on cunning to save the day instead of brute forcing his way to a solution. Combined with the heavy political themes running throughout the saga, and you have the equivalent of the love child of Game of Thrones and the classic Dungeons ‘n Dragons anime series.

Last Updated: June 14, 2019

38 Comments

  1. Saga of Tanya the Evil is next on my watch list.

    That time I got reincarnated as a slime is simply amazing. Easily my top show on this list. I’m also really enjoying Rising of the Shield Hero. Re:ZERO I found enjoyable for a while, then in the middle I found myself really hating the protagonist, and at the end it was enjoyable again. A weird mix but worth the watch.

    Reply

    • Dutch Matrix

      June 14, 2019 at 16:26

      That time I got reincarnated as a slime sounds like something I would watch, had I watched Anime at all.
      These plots sounds so amazing and then you get to watch the show and the over exaggeration of everything just gets to me.
      TOO MUCH!!!

      Reply

      • Pariah

        June 14, 2019 at 16:26

        But it’s KAWAII!!

        Reply

        • Dutch Matrix

          June 14, 2019 at 16:27

          Does it look like I do Kawai???

          Reply

          • Pariah

            June 14, 2019 at 16:27

            … Yeeeees? Maybe?

          • Dutch Matrix

            June 14, 2019 at 16:27

            I don’t think so.

          • Pariah

            June 14, 2019 at 16:27

            Heh. Unrelated note: adding a single comma after the “think” in that sentence changes everything.

            Anyway. KAWAII is fun. But I guess homicidal clowns have a different idea of a good time?

          • Dutch Matrix

            June 14, 2019 at 16:27

          • Dutch Matrix

            June 14, 2019 at 16:27

            Is Crunchyroll a paid for service?

          • Pariah

            June 14, 2019 at 16:27

            You can use it for free, but there’s a delay on release for some ongoing shows, and some others are premium only.

            You’re welcome to try it out and get a feel for it without paying a cent though.

          • Dutch Matrix

            June 14, 2019 at 16:47

            “Heh. Unrelated note: adding a single comma after the “think” in that sentence changes everything.”
            Funny.

          • Jacques Van Zyl

            June 14, 2019 at 16:27

            There’s always Corpse Party…?

    • Yahtzee

      June 14, 2019 at 18:55

      You are going to enjoy Saga of Tanya the Evil, and as a bonus it has the coolest intro music ever (Jingo Jungle)

      Reply

  2. Dutch Matrix

    June 14, 2019 at 16:26

    Are there any anime shows about an evil clown that stalks a town and kills a lot of children?

    Reply

  3. Original Heretic

    June 14, 2019 at 16:27

    I actually really miss anime…

    Been so long since I’ve sat down and watched any shows at all.

    Reply

    • Jacques Van Zyl

      June 14, 2019 at 16:27

      Last one I recall watching was Love Hina, and that was a good long time ago.

      Reply

      • Original Heretic

        June 14, 2019 at 16:27

        Jeez man, I last watched when One Piece was at about episode 540.

        Oh wait, I did watch One Punch Man. Apart from that…nothing. Time is such a bastard. Trying to do too much. Need to do so much….

        Reply

        • Jacques Van Zyl

          June 14, 2019 at 16:47

          Heard good things about both One Punch man and One Piece but never got around to either.

          Reply

          • Guz

            June 14, 2019 at 16:47

            ONE PUUUUNNNCHHHH!!!!! watch it it’s awesome

          • Jacques Van Zyl

            June 14, 2019 at 16:48

            Having today found out CrunchyRoll is essentially free, I plan to do some catching up soon as I get home.

          • Guz

            June 14, 2019 at 16:48

            Good man xD

          • Original Heretic

            June 14, 2019 at 16:48

            One Piece is absolutely amazing. But starting it now is extremely daunting. I think it’s nearly 800 episodes in. Hands down the BEST pirate story I’ve ever watched.

            One Punch Man, try get to that one. It is seriously awesome and there’s only 11 episodes. Easy to get through in a single day. And with season 2 coming soon, now is the time to watch it!
            Even my one mate that isn’t all that into anime loved it.

          • Jacques Van Zyl

            June 14, 2019 at 16:51

            One Piece seems like that time I tried getting into Naruto. Nope.

            Will for sure do One Punch this weekend then!

  4. Kromas

    June 14, 2019 at 17:06

    You forgot Isekai Cortet!

    Reply

  5. SagatatiaRZA

    June 14, 2019 at 17:08

    Came here to see who the weeb reporter is for CH, stayed to read and now I’m downloading some of these as we speak. Touché, Darryn.

    Reply

    • The D

      June 14, 2019 at 19:10

      MY WORK HERE IS DONE!

      Reply

  6. SagatatiaRZA

    June 14, 2019 at 17:20

    Also for those who haven’t watched Sword Art Online, for the love of God don’t watch the second arc. The show ended at episode 15 in my head and that’s the way it will stay.

    Reply

    • GooseZA

      June 18, 2019 at 09:56

      Agreed.

      Reply

  7. Yahtzee

    June 14, 2019 at 18:55

    The amount of isekai anime in 2018 was crazy. Some really good and then some really REALLY kek.

    Reply

  8. Yahtzee

    June 14, 2019 at 18:56

    All really good anime, apart from the newest Overlord that kinda fell flat on it’s face for me personally.

    Reply

  9. Llama In The Rift

    June 14, 2019 at 17:07

    Black Clover has picked up some momentum and is a fun watch..Love’d Overlord..still waiting on the next season and Slime needs a new season.

    Mob Psyco 100 is also a cool show if you like the creators of One punch…like One punch but with psychics

    Reply

    • Pariah

      June 14, 2019 at 17:36

      Black Clover is really good. Doesn’t fit into the Isekai genre, but 100% am enjoying it. My Hero Academia as well. Can’t wait for the next season.

      Reply

    • Pariah

      June 14, 2019 at 17:36

      Black Clover is really good. Doesn’t fit into the Isekai genre, but 100% am enjoying it. My Hero Academia as well. Can’t wait for the next season.

      Reply

  10. JustAnAccForAWeeb

    May 12, 2020 at 04:51

    There was just one on the list which I haven’t seen before.

    Its called Saga of Tanya the Evil.

    The others I’ve already watched twice at least.

    Edit: I’ve seen a bit of Saga of Tanya the Evil and its just not my style of anime but at least I tried it out..

    Reply

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