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The Greatest Isekai Anime Of All Time (April 2022)

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  • Posted on 08th Apr, 2022 15:10 PM
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True Isekai fans should make sure they've watched each of these iconic anime from start to finish.

p>Isekai anime tend to be both imaginative and fun with loads of heart. The isekai genre focuses on characters that are transported to other worlds and must find a way to survive while usually completing some kind of mission or quest. The entire premise of the genre allows for action, introspection, personal growth, and fantastic animation.

Many anime that fall into the isekai genre are released every year with some of them going on to be utter classics. The sheer number of anime classics that reside in this genre are too numerous to count. Due to allowing creators to let their imaginations run wild, the isekai genre is fertile land for some of the best storytelling in all anime.

Updated on April 2, 2022 by Mark Sammut: Winter 2022 is at an end, and the season produced its share of memorable isekai anime. While none of Winter's shows are likely to rank among the best isekai anime ever, they were mostly fun and amusing series. Spring 2022 is right around the corner, and the season includes both returning and new shows about people reincarnating in other worlds. Which ones are the most exciting?

20 Grimgar: Ashes And Illusions

Japanese Title Hai to Gensou no Grimgar
Studio A-1 Pictures
Where to Stream Hulu, Funimation

On the surface, Grimgar: Ashes and Illusions seems like any other game-themed isekai anime: teenagers wake up in a strange world constructed on MMO tropes and they must get by. The thing that separates Grimgar from most other shows is that while the world might pull from MMOs, it is not governed by their rules. Minor threats in other anime can be deadly in Grimgar, and death is not something that can be just waved off.

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Grimgar moves at quite a lethargic pace, focusing more on establishing its quite big cast of characters as it (harshly) eases them into its world.

19 Now And Then, Here And There

Japanese Title Ima, Soko ni Iru Boku
Studio AIC
Where to Stream N/A

Released right at the turn of the century, Now and Then, Here and There is the ideal option for anyone who wishes to take a break from isekai power fantasies. An ordinary boy, Shuu meets a mysterious girl, gets whisked away by terrifying monsters to a desolate reality, and then spends roughly the next 13 episodes going through hell.

Now and Then, Here and There is a character-driven anime, and its focus goes beyond just the main characters. The 1999 isekai series does a splendid job exploring its roster of unforgettable personalities, and it accomplishes an incredible amount considering it is a single cour anime.

18 The Rising Of The Shield Hero

Japanese Title Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari
Studio Kinema Citrus
Where to Stream Crunchyroll, VRV, Funimation

The Rising of the Shield Hero's reputation declined as its first season progressed. Naofumi Iwatani is summoned to a fantasy world to serve as its shield hero, only for the protagonist to be falsely accused of a crime and then shunned.

Although far from subtle, The Rising of the Shield Hero's opening few episodes are purposefully infuriating and gripping; they also suggest this is going to be a more mature and darker than normal isekai anime, something the series doesn't fully live up to later down the line. Even though this anime is divisive, those seeking a power fantasy-style show can do much worse than The Rising of the Shield Hero.

The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 2 will debut in Spring 2022.

17 Digimon Adventure

Japanese Title Digimon Adventure
Studio Toei Animation
Where to Stream Hulu, Hoopla

A beloved classic that helped introduce countless children to the exciting world of anime, Digimon Adventure is not commonly cited among isekai shows, perhaps because most people watched it before they were familiar with the term. While the show spends a decent chunk of time in the human world, Digimon Adventure predominantly revolves around the DigiDestined's time in the Digital World.

RELATED: Ways Digimon Became Less Like Pokémon Over Time

Focusing on the original series, Digimon Adventure has aged shockingly well. The anime confidently blends action, drama, humor, and character development to craft an epic journey that continues to be celebrated more than two decades following its end. Digimon Tamers is also fantastic but the main characters spend far less time in the Digital World than Tai and company.

16 Drifters

Japanese Title Drifters
Studio Hoods Drifters Studio
Where to Stream N/A

Bringing together a who’s who of historical figures, Drifters is a bloody and gloriously outlandish isekai series that does wonders with its absurd premise. Essentially, important figures from history are dropped into a fantasy world to duke it out as either Drifters or Ends.

Drifters act as a resistance force against the Ends’ oppressive regime, leading to plenty of awesome moments such as Toyohisa Shimazu facing off against an insane Jeanne d'Arc. Drifters’ short run does somewhat hurt its appeal as the story is far from complete, but the available content is top-notch.

15 Ascendance Of A Bookworm

Japanese Title Honzuki no Gekokujou: Shisho ni Naru Tame ni wa Shudan wo Erandeiraremasen
Studio Ajia-Do
Where to Stream Crunchyroll, VRV

There is nothing wrong with escapist fantasy shows; anime serves as a great way to briefly leave behind reality and enjoy a wild adventure free of much in the way of tension. Isekai has proven to be ideal for this format, but there are a couple of shows that go against this structure.

Ascendance of a Bookworm's Urano Motosu is a book lover who finds herself reincarnated in the body of a poor and fragile young girl called Myne in a fantasy world with clear social class division. As she doesn't have access to books, Myne decides to make her own. Ascendance of a Bookworm tackles complicated themes in a refreshingly mature way, while also presenting a likable protagonist driven by a unique desire seldom touched upon in anime.

14 The Twelve Kingdoms

Japanese Title Juuni Kokuki
Studio Studio Pierrot
Where to Stream Crunchyroll, VRV, Tubi, RetroCrush, Peacock, The Roku Channel

Based on the popular novel series by Fuyumi Ono, The Twelve Kingdoms is a phenomenal piece of storytelling. While the novels focus on multiple kingdoms inspired by Chinese Mythology, the anime narrows it down to just the kingdom of Kei.

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This allows for a more in-depth look at the kingdom itself and the main character Yoko Nakajima. Yoko is a very likable protagonist and her challenges are real enough to captivate fans from many diverse backgrounds.

13 The Boy And The Beast

Japanese Title Bakemono no Ko
Studio Studio Chizu
Where to Stream N/A

Directed by Mamoru Hosoda, The Boy and the Beast tells the touching tale of two outcasts who come together and then spend the best part of an hour yelling at each other. Ren, a kid abandoned by his family, follows Kumatetsu, an immature beast, to a secret city called Shibuten that exists beyond the gaze of humanity. Due to their stubborn natures, Ren and Kumatetsu take a long while to warm up to one another, but they also can’t help but strike a special bond.

The Boy and the Beast is a generally gorgeous film that touches upon some interesting themes and has a great protagonist in Ren. The second hour might feel a bit rushed and concludes with a somewhat unsatisfying final act, but the rest of the movie is strong.

12 The Vision Of Escaflowne

Japanese Title Tenkuu no Escaflowne
Studio Sunrise
Where to Stream N/A

Sunrise's The Vision of Escaflowne was awesome when it came out in 1996 and age has done very little to dull its appeal. Hitomi Kanzaki finds herself in a strange world called Gaea that has mecha, immaculate architecture that feels both familiar and alien, and a whole lot of political intrigue. She also meets a prince, Van Fanel, who initially comes across as bratty but eventually proves to be far more nuanced. Hidden depth is a staple of nearly all the main characters.

The Vision of Escaflowne balances multiple genres as it tries to cater to both male and female audiences. The isekai anime offers action, adventure, and romance; more importantly, it juggles these elements incredibly well. The animation, while clearly of its era, is also consistently fantastic.

11 Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation

Japanese Title Mushoku Tensei: Isekai Ittara Honki Dasu
Studio Studio Bind
Where to Stream Funimation, Hulu

Mushoku Tensei aka Jobless Reincarnation is the story of one unnamed 34-year-old homeless man and how he reincarnates in a fantasy world. From the beginning, the show sets itself apart by showing a man at the end of his rope that hopes to do one good thing before his life is over.

RELATED: Winter 2021: Best Anime Of The Season, Ranked

This serious tone hits one very hard and it sets the stage for a surprisingly introspective show. The protagonist manages to get a second chance at life and what he decides to do with it is inspiring. As with a few other Isekai anime, this show is one that will have viewers thinking for quite some time.

10 Saga Of Tanya The Evil

Japanese Title Youjo Senki
Studio Nut
Where to Stream Crunchyroll, VRV

On occasion, an isekai comes along that switches things up by pushing an anti-hero or straight-up villain as the protagonist. While Youjo Senki’s English title paints a picture of a far more sinister main character than the anime actually delivers, Tanya Degurechaff’s detached and cold nature makes for a fascinating watch, especially due to the anime’s grim setting.

When a guy on the verge of death challenges a self-appointed god called Being X, the latter reincarnates the former as a girl in a war-torn world. Using her familiarity with the World Wars, Tanya sets out to survive and prove Being X wrong.

9 Overlord

Japanese Title Overlord
Studio Madhouse
Where to Stream Crunchyroll, VRV, Funimation, Hulu (Season 1), Tubi (Season 1)

One of the most popular and creative isekai series to be released in recent years is Overlord. This epic, funny, heartfelt, and well-animated series places a critical eye on several issues that only anime just brush over. Its focus on what a being of near-limitless power feels and cares about is quite fascinating.

Also being trapped within a game that is shut down, while not being an entirely new concept, is an intriguing take on the stranger in a strange land trope that many isekai utilize. If the show keeps up its current quality then it is only a matter of time before it becomes a classic isekai anime.

8 KonoSuba: God's Blessing On This Wonderful World!

Japanese Title Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!
Studio Studio Deen
Where to Stream Crunchyroll, VRV, HBO Max

Isekai is a concept rather than a genre; therefore, it includes thrillers, character pieces, historical dramas, and potentially even horror. Naturally, there are plenty of isekai comedies, and none arguably do it better than KonoSuba. Often coming across as a parody of isekai tropes, the show follows Kazuma, a teenager who dies in ridiculous fashion but is given a second chance by (a not so graceful) goddess named Aqua. When asked to pick a single thing to take with him into the new world, Kazuma goes with Aqua, a decision he comes to occasionally regret in the future.

As Kazuma puts together a gang of misfits, KonoSuba embarks on a string of irreverent misadventures that often produce big laughs.

7 That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime

Japanese Title Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken
Studio 8bit
Where to Stream Crunchyroll, VRV, Funimation

This show somehow manages to follow many isekai tropes while at the same time either breaking or improving them. That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime manages to rise above its simple premise to craft some of the most engaging characters in not just isekai but anime in general.

RELATED: Best Shows From The Spring 2021 Anime Season, Ranked

In just two seasons the show has managed to earn its spot in anime history and it is more than well deserved. One of the show's strongest points is its characters and how they have evolved as the show has gone on.

6 Inuyasha

Japanese Title InuYasha
Studio Sunrise
Where to Stream Hulu (167 Episodes), Crunchyroll (54 Episodes), VRV (54 Episodes), Funimation (54 Episodes), Netflix (54 Episodes)

Rumiko Takahashi is a combining action, romance, horror, suspense, and fantasy to keep millions of fans hooked on her works. She is the mastermind behind such classics as Ranma ½ and Maison Ikkoku, both of which are some of the best manga of all time.

Another of her creations is Inuyasha, the epic tale of romance and action that managed to maintain a high quality of storytelling for over a decade. This series defines what a great isekai show should be while setting the standard of quality for the entire genre. If one wants to start delving into the world of isekai then Inuyasha is the place to start.

5 Sword Art Online

Japanese Title Sword Art Online
Studio A-1 Pictures
Where to Stream Crunchyroll, VRV, Funimation, Netflix, Hulu (Season 1), HIDIVE (Alicization)

Arguably the most well know isekai series at the moment, Sword Art Online resides at legendary status for many anime fans. The rich and interesting world of this series seems to grow more and more with each subsequent year.

First premiering in 2012, the first season is fantastic and is fun no matter how many times one rewatches it. The world of Sword Art Online is immensely captivating and can easily draw one in. Between games, movies, books, and light novels one can delve deep into this world.

4 No Game No Life

Japanese Title No Game No Life
Studio Madhouse
Where to Stream Crunchyroll, Hulu, HIDIVE (Including Movie)

For some reason shows that delve into the psychology of Hikikomori or shut-ins always tend to be fascinating. In the case of No Game No Life, the two main protagonists are both Hikikomoris that also happen to be master gamers. After being challenged to a game of chess by the god Tet and winning they are thrust into a fantasy world of Disboard.

In Disboard no one can hurt each other and all disputes must be settled with games. Not only does that present an interesting picture of conflict but how the main protagonists interact with this world is very interesting. By focusing on character this show manages to rise above many other isekai anime with its intelligent writing.

3 The Devil Is A Part-Timer!

Japanese Title Hataraku Maou-sama!
Studio White Fox
Where to Stream Crunchyroll, Hulu, Funimation, VRV, Tubi

Who could have guessed that a show about the Devil working at a Mcdonald's parody would be so much fun? By creating such fun and engaging characters, The Devil Is a Part-Timer! has risen to the top of many isekai anime fans' favorite lists.

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Not only is the show well animated but its humor is top-notch with many moments that will be sure to have viewers laughing their heads off. While the anime currently only has one season, another is on the way and if it's even half as good as the first then it'll be a ton of fun.

2 Re: Zero - Starting Life In Another World

Japanese Title Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu
Studio White Fox
Where to Stream Crunchyroll, VRV, HBO Max, Funimation (12 Episodes)

Quite possibly the best isekai anime to focus on a down-and-out regular guy, Re: Zero- Starting Life In Another World is a classic. Many of the classic isekai tropes are on display in this series but they are transcended by the overall quality of the show.

The character of Subaru is likable and funny while the rest of the cast is equally engaging. The first season in particular managed to set itself apart from all the other Isekai anime that was released at the time within just a handful of episodes.

1 Log Horizon

Japanese Title Log Horizon
Studio Satelight & Studio Deen
Where to Stream Funimation, Crunchyroll, VRV (Season 1 & 2)

Starting off as just another MMORPG-based isekai, Log Horizon quickly set itself apart with its massively intelligent writing. Unlike some other shows, once the main characters are transported into the world of Elder Tale they set about forming the kind of world they have always dreamed of.

This show is smart and well-paced, using action to its maximum potential by not relying on it as a crutch during slower moments. None of the challenges of forming a new society and ensuring a peaceful existence are brushed over. Log Horizon is one of the most intelligent and interesting Isekai of all time, even with a slower pace one will not be bored. There are currently two seasons out with a third on the way.

Best Winter 2022 Isekai Anime

It is too early to say whether any of the Winter 2022 releases will ultimately rank among the best isekai anime of all time. That said, the current season has its share of memorable anime that fans of the subgenre should track down.

World Of Leadale

Japanese Title Leadale no Daichi nite
Studio Maho Film
Where to Stream Crunchyroll, VRV

For the most part, isekai leans heavily into action territory, delivering stories about epic battles between good and evil. However, there are exceptions, and World of Leadale serves as a prime example of one. Due to falling ill, Keina ends her life bedridden, with a virtual reality MMO acting as her only escape. Once she passes away, Keina wakes up in the game's fantasy world, albeit hundreds of years in the future.

Although not completely devoid of flashes of tension, World of Leadale maintains a relaxing, almost slice of life tone for the majority of its episodes. Ultimately, this anime is about Keina, or Cayna as she is known in Leadale, embracing her new life.

Life With An Ordinary Guy Who Reincarnated Into A Total Fantasy Knockout

Japanese Title Fantasy Bishoujo Juniku Ojisan to
Studio OLM Team Yoshioka
Where to Stream Crunchyroll, VRV

Along with winning the Winter 2022 award for the most "anime" title, Life with an Ordinary Guy Who Reincarnated into a Total Fantasy Knockout is one of the season's better comedies. Two male friends are reincarnated in a fantasy world by a goddess, who also turns one of the guys into a woman. Oh, and they are also attracted to each other through magic. In order to break the spell, they must take down the demon king.

RELATED: Best Gender Bender Anime, Ranked

Life with an Ordinary Guy Who Reincarnated into a Total Fantasy Knockout mines its principal joke of the pair's unwanted attraction towards each other for all it's worth; while things can get repetitive, the anime is consistently amusing. The series also improves once a few new characters join the fray.

Exciting Isekai Anime Coming Out In Spring 2022

The Winter 2022 anime season is almost at a close, but fans do not have to wait long for their to be something new to watch. Unsurprisingly, Spring 2022 is packed to the brim with isekai anime, including new seasons of The Rising of Shield Hero and Ascendance of a Bookworm. When it comes to new shows, it can be difficult to tell which ones are worth following; nevertheless, these two upcoming anime stand out.

Skeleton Knight In Another World

Japanese Title Gaikotsu Kishi-sama, Tadaima Isekai e Odekakechuu
Studio Studio Kai, HORNETS
Where to Stream Crunchyroll

Skeleton Knight in Another World's premise does not hold much in the way of surprises: a gamer gets stuck in an MMO as his overpowered character. As the title suggests, the catch is that the protagonist has the form of a skeleton, although Arc has far nobler ambitions than Overlord's Ains. So far, so ordinary; however, Skeleton Knight in Another World's light novels are entertaining reads, blending action with comedy to create an enjoyable overall experience.

RELATED: Light Novels That Are Getting Anime Adaptations In 2022

If the anime sticks close to the source material, the story should focus more on smaller quests rather than big world-saving escapades, at least during its earlier parts. Studio Kai and Hornets have some solid fantasy anime under their belts, and there is hopefully room for Skeleton Knight in Another World to join them.

Trapped In A Dating Sim: The World Of Otome Games Is Tough For Mobs

Japanese Title Otome Game Sekai wa Mob ni Kibishii Sekai desu
Studio ENGI
Where to Stream Crunchyroll

A common criticism of isekai is that too many stories default to the generic fantasy medieval setting found in many MMOs. Consequently, a change of scenery can help a show differentiate itself from its contemporaries, something Trapped in a Dating Sim attempts to accomplish. Leon finds himself in an otome sim that discriminates by class and gender, so he sets out to secure his place in the world by using his knowledge of the game and through the assistance of an AI.

Trapped in a Dating Sim has a solid, driven protagonist who is not presented as a self-insert, at least not in the light novels. The source material's first couple of volumes are particularly strong and could serve as inspiration for some great anime episodes or multiple seasons.

MORE: Isekai Anime To Watch Now That Re: Zero Season 2 Is Done

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