Last week I talked about anime characters and hairstyles. This week I would like to discuss isekai stories.
What are isekai stories? Well, either the main character or several characters somehow get transported to another world, via summoning or reincarnation or faulty game settings, etc. The reason is not too important; what’s important is that they are basically stuck in a whole new world with completely different rules. Magic is a staple in said series, for instance.
These kind of stories essentially makes up half of the the Japanese light novel world (the other half would be “fantasy + school life + etc;” there are a few outliners that belong to neither group such as Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru). And since more and more light novels are receiving anime adaptations, the amount, as well as the popularity, of isekai anime have also increased.
Although isekei stories are currently experiencing a period of popularity, they aren’t anything new. For instance, the first season of Zero no Tsukaima aired back in 2006 (and its fourth and final season aired in 2012).
If I were to guess which series paved the way to the “modern” isekai story, however, I would probably say it was Sword Art Online, which aired back in Summer 2012. People either hated it or loved SAO. As a result of the anime adaption, SAO was also number in sales for light novels until recently.
Other popular isekai series include Log Horizon (Fall 2013 and Fall 2014), No Game No Life (Spring 2014), Overlord (Summer 2015), Hai To Gensou No Grimgar (Winter 2016), Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku o! (Winter 2016), and Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu (this season, Spring 2016). Fun fact: it was KonoSuba that knocked SAO off its throne.
I think one of the hits for the upcoming season, Summer 2016, will be the isekai show, Arifureta Shokugyoude Sekai Saikyou. Admittedly, I don’t read too many light novels, but my twin brother, who devours LNs like it was bread, gave me a rough summary. It’s edgy!
However, some dislike the premises of isekai stories, claiming that the main characters will earn strong powers without ever working for it and that they embody wish fulfillment since they inevitably develop a harem. This blog goes into slightly more detail, but he doesn’t go into too much detail since it’s a sensitive topic.
[What do you think? Do you enjoy isekai stories?]
3 thoughts on “Wednesday’s What About: Isekai Stories”
I must admit I love these stories. They have a very nostalgic feel to them. Like Gulliver’s Travels or Alice in Wonderland. The stories are simple but they create rich worlds and develop relatable themes. Obviously some are better done than others but I like seeing new variations o n these stories.
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Now that you mention it, they do remind me of Alice in Wonderland (I haven’t had the pleasure of reading Gulliver’s Travels yet). And I agree, it’s nice seeing how authors can take these stories in different directions.
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