I really quite enjoy stories where protagonists are whisked off to far off worlds to go on adventures. That said, even I find the saminess of some of the anime worlds a little tedious sometimes. However that doesn’t stop there from being some fun and entertaining entries into the isekai sub-genre and 2019 gave us a bumper crop of possibilities. Not all of them were good mind you, but there were more than enough anime to choose from.
Please note, the nominees and winning choice are entirely my own opinion and are not based on any rigid criteria. Feel free to nominate your own winners for the categories in the comments. Help other readers find some awesome anime from 2019 to watch.
Best Isekai Anime of 2019
Part of me would like to do the reverse in this category. Rather than looking at the best, look at those titles that just missed the point and despite fitting well within the genre were just terrible to watch. For me, Demon Lord Retry fits squarely in that list though it wouldn’t be alone for mis-fires in isekai during 2019. Fortunately, there were plenty of fun titles for those who like a bit of otherworldly fun. Therefore I narrowed down my nominees for the best isekai of 2019 to the following:
Ascendance of a Bookworm
Kenja no Mago
The Rising of the Shield Hero
And the winner is…
This was a very tight race in the end between Cautious Hero and Kenja no Mago, both of which I really just enjoyed. Neither was perfect of course, filled with the usual tropes and silliness of associated with the genre at this point, but they both gave decent characters and narrative. I’ll get on to why Cautious Hero won in a moment but let’s look at the others on the short list first.
The Rising of the Shield Hero was an anime I’d actually read the source for prior to watching. Reading the source you can read quickly through the slower parts of the story but watching it in anime form you are kind of stuck with a lot of down time where it feels like they aren’t getting anywhere fast. I found the anime watchable but not overly noteworthy as a result. Ascendance of a Bookworm took a long time to grow on me and the story isn’t finished yet though I will admit that I can see now why it was being defended early on by those who read the source. It does get better as it goes. Finally, Kemono Michi was a bit of silly fun each week but the jokes get repetitive and the characters can’t quite overcome that. Which brings us back to why Cautious Hero wins for me.
I loved the protagonist, Seiya, from the start with his deadpan delivery of lines and his outright refusal to rush out and die. Instead he was all about careful and thorough preparation prior to battle. That gimmick carried the first half and while the middle episodes were a little less engaging, the ending of Cautious Hero more than made up for it. I was very satisfied with the end of the season and that is a rarity in the isekai genre as so many of them rely on ongoing stories that usually never get fully made into anime leaving us with a ‘read the source’ conclusion.
Alright, from the dozens and dozens of possibilities, which isekai anime tickled your fancy in 2019 and why? I’d love to know and I’m sure anyone looking for a new isekai to watch would be interested as well.