Top 10 Isekai Anime

Updated on December 3, 2019
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Cheeky Kid has been watching anime and reading manga for as long as he can remember. Doing so takes him to different worlds.

Top 10 Best Isekai Anime
Top 10 Best Isekai Anime

Have you ever desired to live in fantasy worlds, virtual dimensions, or alternate universes? If yes, then we share the same sentiments. Unfortunately, there is a slim chance of that happening. However, I believe that nothing is impossible!

In the meantime, let’s just indulge ourselves in isekai stories where the characters either get transported to foreign worlds or end up trapped in alternate realities. The isekai genre is a booming genre in anime that boasts many titles. Nevertheless, only a few can stand proud in the limelight.

As someone who has watched countless anime shows, I’ve selected the best titles I know from the isekai genre and organized them into a list. This is the result—the list of the top 10 isekai anime.

What Are the Best Isekai Anime Series?

  1. No Game No Life
  2. Re: Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu
  3. KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World
  4. Overlord
  5. Youjo Senki (The Saga of Tanya the Evil)
  6. Log Horizon
  7. Sword Art Online
  8. Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri
  9. Hai to Gensou no Grimgar (Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash)
  10. Hataraku Maou-sama! (The Devil is a Part-Timer!)

What Is Isekai?

Isekai literally translates to "another world" in Japanese. It generally refers to a subgenre of fantasy where the protagonist is transported to or reborn in another world. The settings for these stories are typically in fantasy worlds that are inspired by fantasy role playing games, although this can vary. It was a common trend in the 2010s for isekai anime to be adapted from light novels, which often had their characters trapped in other worlds inspired by fantasy video games.

Early examples of this genre can be seen in Japanese folklore, such as the tale of Urashima Taro, which tells of a fisherman who travels to an undersea kingdom. Western inspirations for the genre include Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Wizard of Oz.

Are You an Avid Spectator of the Isekai Genre in Anime?

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Hataraku Maou-sama! (The Devil is a Part-Timer!)
Hataraku Maou-sama! (The Devil is a Part-Timer!) | Source

10. Hataraku Maou-sama! (The Devil is a Part-Timer!)

  • Release Year: 2013
  • Episodes: 13
  • Studio: White Fox
  • Director: Naoto Hosoda

Starting off this roundup of isekai anime, The Devil is a Part-Timer! offers a unique perspective of the whole "migration from one world to another" theme. This time, Earth is the destination. This show is a reverse isekai where supernatural beings unexpectedly move to Earth and face the reality of living life in the most mundane way possible.

This anime is about a demon king whose quest for domination of his world is thwarted by a hero. While on the brink of defeat, the demon king makes his escape through a portal. The portal takes him to our world, where he is now just a normal person due to the lack of magic in the environment. The humor comes from seeing the mighty villain struggle to adjust to his new life as he takes a job at a fast food restaurant.

Focusing more on comedic situations and comic relief, The Devil is a Part-Timer! superbly excels in delivering gags. Furthermore, it is perfectly watchable thanks to its dainty mixture of resplendent visuals and sounds. As for the characters, they really do justice to their roles. Overall, this is a show that is deliberately fun and always in high spirits. You should check out similar anime if you enjoy this series.

Hai to Gensou no Grimgar (Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash)
Hai to Gensou no Grimgar (Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash) | Source

9. Hai to Gensou no Grimgar (Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash)

  • Release Year: 2016
  • Episodes: 12
  • Studio: A-1 Studios
  • Director: Ryosuke Nakamura

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash is perhaps the most realistic isekai anime on this list. It conveys what would probably happen if regular people were thrust into a fantasy world and had to struggle to survive. The story follows a cast of characters that become rookie soldiers that struggle with even weak monsters.

Haruhiro, along with other young adults, mysteriously wakes up in a fantasy world. All they can remember are their own names, and they have no recollection of how they got there. They soon learn that this new world is a brutal one. They must quickly learn how to survive in this world of monsters as they are pressed into service as soldiers.

Aside from gushing with realism, this show is very pleasing to the eyes. The story, the characters, the sights, and the sounds—everything’s dazzling and expressive! If there’s an anime worthy of being called a magnificent work of art, this is it. If you love this anime, here are some other series worth checking out.

Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri
Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri | Source

8. Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri

  • Release Year: 2015
  • Episodes: 24
  • Studio: A-1 Pictures
  • Director: Takahiko Kyogoku

Gate: Jietai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri (or simply Gate) may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is actually a very impressive series. This anime is very unique as it features a 33-year-old man as a main character, a gate connecting the real world and the fantasy world, light and serious undertones, and various warfare, political, and societal elements. Gate seems to be really complex and difficult to digest, right?

One day, a portal opened up in Tokyo. Monsters and soldiers from a fantasy world launched an invasion, but they were soundly defeated by modern military weaponry. As the invasion force retreated, the Prime Minister decided to make an attempt at establishing diplomatic relations with world beyond the portal. First Lieutenant Youji Itami is put in charge of exploring this fantasy realm that has magic, dragons, and elves.

I strongly believe that Gate rightfully deserves the eighth spot on this list. Why? That’s because it splendidly uses its many unusual quirks as its trenchant weapons. It may seem complicated, but it does manage to simplify everything in a brilliant way. The art, sound, characters, development, and plot in this series are all top-notch! When push comes to shove, Gate truly impresses.

Sword Art Online
Sword Art Online | Source

7. Sword Art Online

  • Release Year: 2012
  • Episodes: 25
  • Studio: A-1 Studios
  • Director: Tomohiko Ito

It is a fact that Sword Art Online is greatly responsible for the rise of the isekai genre. This show is considered to be a pioneer in the genre. Some would say that virtual and gaming worlds cannot be considered as part of the isekai genre. But I beg to differ!

Kirito is one of 10,000 players that gets to try a new game called Sword Art Online. It offers a fully immersive experience where a player can explore a fantasy world as an avatar. However, it is soon discovered that the game is actually a deadly trap made by the developer. The players are all trapped in the game as they have no way of logging out. To make things worse, if they die in the game, they will die in the real world as well. Kirito must find a way to survive this virtual world and rescue the surviving players.

There’s a reason why Sword Art Online is overwhelmingly popular. The clues are in its name. ‘Sword’ stands for action and execution. ‘Art’ represents its stunning visuals and fluid animation. ‘Online’ corresponds to its plot and theme. At this point, I’m just trying to make gaudy representations; but you do get the idea, right? If you still haven’t seen this anime, then I absolutely urge you to do so soon. If you are on the fence with this anime, here is a review you can read.

Log Horizon
Log Horizon | Source

6. Log Horizon

  • Release Year: 2013
  • Episodes: 25
  • Studio: Satelight
  • Director: Shinji Ishihara

Log Horizon may look like a Sword Art Online rip-off at first glace, but surprisingly, that is not the case here. Despite using the "trapped in a VRMMORPG (Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game)" motif, this anime exceeds all expectations!

Log Horizon tells the story of a popular MMORPG that has a world of magic and fantasy. While the game received a new expansion, players that were logged into the server during the update found themselves being transported to the game world as their avatars. The story follows Shiroe and his friends as they adapt to their new reality.

Intelligent, brilliant, and strategical are terms that can describe Log Horizon. This show capitalizes on excitement and can offer the best thrills in the genre. It feels so realistic and relatable, yet it's still surreal and idiosyncratic. No wonder it has very high ratings across anime review sites.

Youjo Senki (Saga of Tanya the Evil)
Youjo Senki (Saga of Tanya the Evil) | Source

5. Youjo Senki (Saga of Tanya the Evil)

  • Release Year: 2017
  • Episodes: 12
  • Studio: NUT
  • Director: Yutaka Uemura

Are you saying that you’ve never heard of The Saga of Tanya the Evil? Don’t worry, I’m not blaming you. This anime seemingly came out of nowhere, but it is easily one of the most unique entries in the genre.

This anime tells the story of an HR manager that is remorseless in his management stye. After his untimely demise, he comes face to face with God. After an argument over his lack of faith and the absurdities of the world, the man is reborn as a young girl in world of magic and warfare. This sorceress, Tanya, has all the memories of her previous life. She welcomes the challenge of bringing her efficient and utilitarian leadership to this chaotic world.

Saga of Tanya the Evil is no ordinary anime show. It has a unique plot that makes it stand out from its contemporaries. The main character is the highlight of this anime. She’s a monster in the form of a little girl. She’s the star, the heroine, and the villain. She goes by the name Tanya Degurechaff—and she’s the Devil of the Rhine! If you don’t want to get on her bad side, then cease all resistance and watch her demonstrate her pluck and audacity.

Overlord
Overlord | Source

4. Overlord

  • Release Year: 2015
  • Episodes: 39
  • Studio: Madhouse
  • Director: Naoyuki Ito

Standing tall on the fourth seat of this list is an anime that’s hell bent on ruling them all. Seeing that its title is Overlord, what did you expect?

A gamer, only known as their avatar name of Momonga, is logged into the servers of an MMORPG on its last day of service. However, as the game shuts down, he finds that he is stuck as his avatar in the game and can't log out. As a lich, he forms his own guild in this new world and sets out to conquer it.

Overlord is a dark comedy that never ceases to amaze. It is enigmatic as it is magnificent. It displays satisfying, brutal, and dark world while still evoking laughter every now and then. It presents gratifying, action-packed scenes during the most crucial moments. Overall, Overlord seems to do many things right for an isekai anime. That is why it is so highly praised by many people! If you love this series, here are seven similar anime that are worth taking a look at.

KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World
KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World | Source

3. KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World

  • Release Year: 2016
  • Episodes: 20
  • Studio: Studio Deen
  • Director: Takaomi Kanasaki

Alas, we’ve come upon a masterpiece from the goddess of laughter herself. Okay, I just made that up, but what is clear is that KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World is one of the most hilarious isekai anime.

Kazuma is an anti-social gamer who has a pretty embarrassing death. He meets a goddess named Aqua, who offers him the chance to be reborn in a fantasy world where he must defeat a demon king. Kazuma is given the option of taking one thing with him, so he chooses the goddess herself. The anime follows Kazuma's adventures as he forms a guild with less-than-desirable members.

High on entertainment value and comical hijinks, KonoSuba is surprisingly very precocious. It possesses many video game and fantasy world tropes, which make it look like a generic show. It's anything but generic, and it never disappoints. In fact, it delivers the most laughs out of any anime on this list. Grand, hysterical, lavish, and adventurous—KonoSuba is a comedy gem that should never be missed! Here is a review you can read if you are unsure if this anime is for you.

Re: Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu
Re: Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu | Source

2. Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu

  • Release Year: 2016
  • Episodes: 25
  • Studio: White Fox
  • Director: Masaharu Watanabe

Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu is not just an anime show. It’s an experience! Many agreed that this was one of the best anime of 2016. It could best be described as being a more serious KonoSuba.

Subaru was on his way back from a convenient store when he suddenly found himself in a fantasy world. It is a perilous world that is full of danger, but he finds some help from a half-elf that rescued him. Subaru discovers that he can die and restart at certain points in the world. He learns that he must overcome many threats to avoid repeatedly being killed.

Laughter, sadness, pleasure, despair, victory, loss—these are just some of the things that Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu can offer. Saying that it’s brilliant just doesn’t cut it. However, what I can say is that this show is extremely thrilling and beautiful. Watch it and you’ll never feel the need to take a break. It is a compelling series. Just don't let its lighthearted moments fool you; this series can be quite heartbreaking. Here is a review if you need more convincing.

No Game No Life
No Game No Life | Source

1. No Game No Life

  • Release Year: 2014
  • Episodes: 12
  • Studio: Madhouse
  • Director: Atsuko Ishizuka

Game over, we have a winner.

The best isekai anime out there is none other than No Game No Life.

No Game No Life is the result of the successful fusion of its original and incomparable plot, breathtaking art and visuals, superb music and sounds, genius-level development, and its memorable characters. This show is endlessly stimulating, artistic, exquisite, and stunning. It is actually one of my favorite anime of all time.

No Game No Life tells the story of two siblings who are transported to a world of games. It is a world where violence is banned and all disputes are settled with some type of game. The siblings learn that humans are the lowest ranked among the 16 tribes of this world. As these siblings are game masters, they decide to help the human tribe overcome the others.

If you haven’t experienced the flair and artistic grandeur of No Game No Life, then you should try your best to get your hands on it soon. Take a dive into the world of No Game No Life and experience fantastical adventure at its most refined state! Here are some similar anime if you end up enjoying this one.

Isekai Anime With an OP MC

There is something amusing about an anime series with an overpowered main character. It is always hilarious to see a protagonist go into a new world and essentially dominate their surroundings with some power that can't be beat. These tend to be comedies if this trait is played for laughs. Here are some isekai anime with OP MCs.

  • In Another World with My Smartphone
  • The Rising of the Shield Hero
  • How Not to Summon a Demon Lord
  • That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
  • Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody

Recommended Isekai Drama Anime

Many isekai anime will frequently parody the fantasy RPG elements that are present in them. As a result, many of these series are comedies. The subgenre has become so popular that it has become a frequent target of parody itself with some more recent anime. However, there are some more serious entries in the genre. Here are some isekai drama series you should consider watching.

  • Now and Then, Here and There
  • The Vision of Escaflowne
  • Drifters
  • Fushigi Yuugi
  • .hack//Sign

Which Is the Best Isekai Series?

Which Isekai Anime Is Your Favorite to Watch?

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Questions & Answers

    Comments

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      • profile image

        No5 

        9 days ago

        Your number 5 on the list suuuuck!

      • profile image

        WhoCares 

        4 weeks ago

        "Ascendance of a bookworm" is better than most isekai here. It's like less cringy Dr. Stone. I find NGNL and SAO unwatchable.

      • profile image

        Ginjo 

        6 weeks ago

        Wow I Don't understand how Slime didn't make the list. It might not be the best show ever but in Isekia world it's definitely top 5.

      • profile image

        Alex 

        6 weeks ago

        I think that: That time I got reincarnated as a slime should be on this list

      • profile image

        Joey Jo 

        5 months ago

        To not include InuYasha in the list is truly a crime.

      • profile image

        aaaasaaaaaaaa 

        6 months ago

        Overlord is overrated

      • profile image

        jiliopoulos 

        6 months ago

        Look, I like Overlord like everybody else, but come on...Its been all down hill since Season 1. Just saying.....Season 2 blew (couple good parts) and Season 3 was a snooze fest.

      • profile image

        M hussain 

        8 months ago

        I think i havent seen any other anime like "DANMACHI"

        i think it would secure 1st position and its 2nd season is ongoing

      • profile image

        Shojo 

        9 months ago

        Where is Voltes V, best anime ever!!

      • profile image

        MileSynergist 

        9 months ago

        Hey these all seem cool but what about these ones:

        "Arifureta: Shoukgyou de Sekai Saikyou" (Arifureta: From Commonplace to World's Strongest)

        "The Rising of the Shield Hero"

        "That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime"

        "In Another World With My Smartphone"

      • profile image

        Fa(fan anime) 

        9 months ago

        Kadokawa is the best publisher, because it publishes re zero, overlord, konosuba, youjo senki(watch isekai quartet

      • profile image

        Loading... 

        9 months ago

        Where’s “That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime”? It is the best Isekai anime and they need to make season 2. Personally I think Reincarnated as a Slime should be number 1 or in the the top 3.

      • profile image

        Jawiduzi 

        10 months ago

        In Another World With My Smartphone, Knights and Magic, The Master of Ragnarok & Blesser of Einherjar, and How Not To Summon a Demon Lord are also some good isekai that aren't on the list.

      • profile image

        bbbb 

        11 months ago

        i'm seeing alot of shit taste here, isekai trash is the new medium. I like how i can't tell if "i feel that SAO was deeply underrated" is satire or not @infamous09

      • profile image

        Bleachgal101 

        11 months ago

        Log horizon is the best like no one knows that one then there is death march like no one likes that one either but there are a lot more

        No game no life is great too but I watched that one years ago ohh and there is another one people don’t often list Kyou kara Maou that’s a great one a bit on the Yaoi side but it isn’t

      • profile image

        Dame 

        13 months ago

        The Rising of the Shield Hero is one of my favorite

      • profile image

        Danime86 

        14 months ago

        You're missing Zero No Tsukaima!

      • profile image

        Alain2580 

        15 months ago

        Watched every single one of em (also in 2019)

      • profile image

        Infamous09 

        15 months ago

        I feel that SAO was deeply underrated.

      • profile image

        ??? 

        15 months ago

        Sonic X is clearly the best isekai anime

      • profile image

        gotherl 

        17 months ago

        We can see he grossly underrated Overlord as the poll results show is even more popular than no game no life. Log Horizon is also very underrated.

      • profile image

        Oachilis 

        17 months ago

        Where is that time i got reincarnated as a slime or goblin slayer it still better than No game no Life

      • profile image

        JhopeMYHope Bangtan 

        18 months ago

        Overlord really is a good anime and I think it deserve the top 3

      • profile image

        adayoldbagel 

        19 months ago

        Great selection!

        This is just about the first time I've agreed with one of these best-of Isekai lists (I've looked at a few lol).

        Thank you for not jumping on the SAO hate train. Not that it's the best anime ever necessarily, but it's criminal to make a list of Isekai anime and not include it.

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