With my current light novel fixation and the majority of these being isekai stories I decided to look at some of my favourite isekai anime. Now this list started with just being set in another world and then clearly made a distinction of stories where someone starts in one world and crosses to another (which ruled out huge numbers straight away and that was probably a good thing). The other self-imposed rule I made was that there needed to be some element of being stuck in the new world, which unfortunately took GATE out of my list so it is going in the honourable mentions.
As always, this list is my opinion and my favourites, feel free to add yours in the comments below. I’m certain there will be some Re:Zero fans out there.
Please Note: There will be spoilers below.
Number 5: The Familiar of Zero
I don’t really know why I like this over the top, harem comedy anime, particularly with the initial interactions between Louise (the titular Zero) and Saito (ordinary guy from Earth who gets summoned as Louise’s familiar during a high school magic exam gone wrong). She literally treats him like a dog or a slave at first and it isn’t great (and there is some highly excessive fan service throughout), however somewhere along the line an actual story begins to develop and the world Saito has been summoned to ends up being quite interesting. All and all, by the end of the first season of this I was pretty hooked even if it is incredibly bad at times.
Number 4: No Game No Life
Again, this one has some appalling fan service moments going on in it, but once again the world itself 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 3: The Devil is a Part Timer
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 2: Sword Art Online
Yes, I like Sword Art Online. 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.
Thanks for reading.
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