A friend of mine indulged me with a challenge to post my Top 4 favorite isekai shows. Indeed, isekai is among my most beloved genre, so it really was a “challenge” to just pick four faves. Even so, I tried my hardest to do so. There are no specific criteria for my picks; I just chose them based on the amount of love I feel for them at the moment. Here are some early apologies for being incredibly biased!
Top 4 – Kenja no Mago
I’m a huge fan of feel-good shows where you can rest assured that nothing bad is gonna happen to the main character and his friends. Kenja no Mago is a good example of that. The protagonist died in the real world and was reincarnated as a baby in another world while retaining his past memories. He was about to die, but a sage-like man found, adopted, and trained him to become strong.
There were a few obstacles, of course. Even though it’s clear that he’s the strongest in his universe, there are still a few threats that come along his way. For the villains, if they can’t defeat them physically, maybe they can do so emotionally and mentally. They targeted towns and small villages, killing numerous people each time. It’s a sad thing. No matter how strong he is, he hasn’t found the right magic to bring back the dead and totally prevent disasters yet. Apparently, even the best and the strongest fall down and feel despair sometimes; they’re natural human emotions, after all. The only difference, however, is after they fall and feel despair, they come back right away to whoop the villains in one fell swoop!
Top 3 – Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody
The main character of this anime is a typical office employee. But working too much took a toll on his body, and he unfortunately died on his seat while taking a break. It seems like his passion and dedication were all for naught, but that’s not the case. Through sheer dumb luck, he found himself alive and strong again in another world. He was back to his younger self, and his stats were off the charts! His knowledge and skills from his previous life, for whatever reason, have been instrumental for him to survive in his new world.
He didn’t want to become overworked again, so he lead a rather easygoing life this time. The exciting adventures are calling for him, though. At one point, he saved a few children from being slaughtered or sold at slavery auctions; in another moment, he battled a whole battalion and accidentally defeated them instantly. His list of allies grew, possibly because he’s naturally charming and kind-hearted, so people just gravitate toward him. Their party grew more powerful with each battle, and their bonds become stronger than ever.
The best part of the anime is its laidback “atmosphere.” Sure there were battles and a few heartbreaking moments (particularly with the backstories of most characters, including the MC), but once all is said and done, they come back to their base and start to talk like a happy family. At the end of each episode, a melancholy yet vibrant ending song plays.
Top 2 – Konosuba
I don’t think anyone in the anime community would say they “hate” this anime. Save for a few exceptions and outliers, of course, everyone just loves the slapstick comedy and overall parody brought by Konosuba. Perhaps I’m a fan of how it broke almost literally all common isekai tropes and turned them into a huge cake of comedy! Kazuma the main character isn’t overpowered like other isekai protagonists; Aqua the Goddess is totally useless unlike other isekai heroines. The addition of Megumin and Darkness, who are just both as quirky (and undeniably incompetent as the other two) was a very much welcome icing to the cake. They made the already hilarious duo all the more funnier!
Many people consider Konosuba one of the funniest anime to ever be created, and I totally agree. This foolish foursome will forever have a place in my heart! It would literally be my favorite isekai if I haven’t seen the next item on the list a few months ago.
Top 1 – Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash
I might be a huge fan of laidback shows, but there’s something in Grimgar that just struck hard in me. It has everything that I don’t like in anime: a perverted character, a very serious tone, a major death, and just that overall feeling of defeat. Even so, the mishmash of everything that I hate created something that I truly love far beyond my expectations. Perhaps it’s because Grimgar found the right balance to overturn the heavy atmosphere and make it more wholesome and heartfelt.
Unlike most isekai shows, Grimgar doesn’t feature an overpowered main character. Actually, the entire party is a bunch of hopeless weaklings that no one wanted to invite to their own group. Even so, they tried their hardest to survive in their own capabilities. They humbled themselves but kept their dignity in tact; so even though they’re weak, they never allowed anyone to belittle the achievements they attained with their own strength. The character development is very gradual; they all grew stronger after a major setback that left them even more incapacitated than when they started. Even though they had very little “power up,” they were able to avenge their fallen comrade to boost up their morale.
What I love about this anime is the lack of a huge goal. In most shows, the protagonist would want to defeat a demon lord or dethrone an evil king. Such villains are pretty much non-existent in this anime. Everyone is literally lost in their own destinies; it’s like walking in a dark night with no shining Northern star to guide you. But there’s nothing wrong with that. If you have friends with you, you’ll never feel the bitter cold because you always have hands to hold and arms to cling on.
You’ll never get any more lost, and you’ll surely reach your unknown destination as long as you keep pushing through. No matter how slow you walk, no matter how many times you take a break, you’ll find yourself in a better place before you even know it.
Do You Agree With My List?
I’m very honored to be invited to do this challenge, too. Special thanks to Roki for tagging me! #