First of all, what is Isekai? You’ll be surprised to know that the word “Isekai,” in its literal sense, only means “World” in Japanese but in the world of anime, it is a prominent sub-genre of fantasy where the main protagonist of the anime travels or is magically summoned/reincarnated to a completely unfamiliar new world. There are some anime where the main character is a complete NEET and feels disconnected to her his/her actual reality but finds true purpose in the new world.
There are also other shows like ‘Sword Art Online‘ and ‘Overlord‘ where the character ends becoming a part of MMORPG. So why exactly are these characters summoned to a whole a new world? Usually, the main character who is transported has a purpose to fulfill in this new world and possesses skills that are superior to that of a normal being. The protagonist has to then just stomp on everything that comes in his/her way and what usually ensues, is a series of dramatic and humorous cliched events.
The purpose that the character needs to fulfill can either involve saving this new land from dark forces. Or, there are also times when he/she might have died a tragic death in the real world only to be reincarnated to this new world. Some premises also involve random characters getting thrown into a parallel universe only to be experimented upon with some latest technological development. In the end, it does not really matter as the point is to simply plop a random Otaku punk into a new world to create a sense of adventure, pretty much how ‘Harry Potter‘ is exposed to the whole new world of wizardry when he turns 11 or how a Hobbit named Bilbo Baggins lives a peaceful life until one day he is dragged into an adventure of a lifetime by a wizard named Gandalf.
Come to think of it, Isekai is pretty much everywhere and the reason why we enjoy it so much is that it gives us a sense of escape. So that’s the reason why we decided to make a list of the top Isekai anime. Just so you know, we have not ranked these in chronological order as all of them have their own unique charm and liking or disliking them can be very subjective. You can watch several of these best Isekai anime on Netflix, Crunchyroll or Hulu.
12. Digimon Adventures (1999 – 2000)
For most of us, ‘Digimon‘ is pretty much where it all began as it was the first Isekai anime that went viral in the West. The story of the anime is about a bunch of “DigiDestined” kids who are transported to a Digital world where they find strange animal-like creatures known as Digimon. Each of them then gets a Digimon as companions and the kids set out on an adventure of a lifetime that involves saving these cute little monsters from dark forces. ‘Digimon’ is a long-running anime but it is definitely worth your time and will always bring back some pleasant memories for those who got a chance to see it during its initial run.