Every season we seem to be getting more and more isekai anime. As I continue to explore a range of light novels with the theme of being trapped in another world and pick up these new anime series, it means that this top 5 list is going to be moving around for awhile. Here is the most recent update for the end of 2018 (which was an excellent year for isekai anime giving us some of the best and worst examples the genre has to offer).
I’m almost certain Re:Zero and Overlord will get a plethora of shout outs in the comments but please feel free to share your favourite isekai anime below and what you like about them.
Please Note: There will be spoilers below.
Also The Familiar of Zero which was formally number 5 on the list has moved to an honourable mention.
Number 5: No Game No Life
Formally number 4 on the list, No Game No Life has managed to hang in there but honestly I think this one will eventually drop off the list as rewatching it has made me realise there just isn’t enough going on here (though it is pretty). There’s a massive amount of fan service moments going on in it, but the setting for this one is really interesting. A world where there is no war and literally everything is decided by the outcome of games seems really fascinating, particularly when the participants of the games set and agree to the rules so it isn’t as though you have to be good at one particular game. Shiro and Sora are siblings who play as Blank online in the real world when they get invited to play another game and end up being transported to Disboard. While some people find the predictability of the victor a bit of a let down, I really enjoyed this anime and my only real complaint is the anime ends just as the story seems to really get going.
Number 4: The Devil is a Part Timer
Another one that has slid on the list. This one is kind of the reverse situation to so many other isekai stories. Instead of some normal everyman from earth finding themselves in a magic world, here a hero and a devil find themselves stuck on Earth where magic is pretty hard to come by. While they do find various ways in the end to travel home, for some reason, they never seem to go and Maou finds more and more reasons to stay. This one is funny and if you ever believed that corporate culture was evil you will probably find the devil’s aspirations to take over the world by working his way up the food chain at a knock off McDonald’s hilarious. Again, the story feels unfinished, but it is a fairly entertaining ride.
Number 3: How Not To Summon A Demonlord
Overpowered main character trapped in a world based on a game he was really good at? Yep. How Not To Summon A Demonlord is embracing the cliches and doing a fine job of showing us why the genre works and is just great fun. Admittedly, you do need a fairly high tolerance for fan service with this one and if females being enslaved is going to be a trigger just pass. However this one has a lot of heart, some good laughs, and some very over the top magic and fights. It really is just fun watching with a great cast of characters who will really grow on you over the course of the season.
Number 2: Sword Art Online
Yeah, Sword Art Online isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. This one is also a bit different from others on this list in that it is a game world and not some sort of magic world the characters are in, and they voluntarily entered it even if they didn’t know they couldn’t leave, and by the end of the first arc they aren’t trapped anymore, but I love this show. I’m putting it here. It is great fun and Kirito is awesome. If you like boss fights, some random questing and levelling, and seeing characters getting on with ‘life’ when removed from the real world, this show is great fun.
Number 1: Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash
It is no surprise when I decided to dip my toes into the pool of Light Novels that I started with Grimgar. I loved this anime so much and fell in love with the world and the characters and desperately wanted more. Now that I’m reading the light novels I really want to know why there is no second season of this anime. Certainly it is a much slower pace and not as comedy heavy as some on this list, but I think that is for the better in this case as it provides a darker view of normal guy being transported to a world where he’s suddenly expected to know how to fight and survive. Well worth watching but you may need some tissues mid-season. One major difference in this story is the anime never confirms where the characters came from before they woke up in Grimgar so we know nothing of who they were before they encounter this world.
So that is my list of top 5 isekai anime. Please add your own favourites in the comments below because I would love to know what is on your list.