I Thought It Was a Common Isekai Story: Exploring the Fascination with Isekai Anime


Over the past decade, the popularity of isekai anime has skyrocketed, captivating audiences around the world. Isekai, which translates to “another world” in Japanese, refers to a genre of anime and manga where the protagonist is transported or reincarnated into a parallel universe or fantasy world. While the concept may seem familiar, many viewers are often surprised by the depth and complexity of these stories. In this article, we will delve into the reasons behind the fascination with isekai anime, exploring its origins, unique characteristics, and the impact it has had on the anime industry.

The Origins of Isekai Anime

1. The Early Beginnings:

Isekai anime has its roots in Japanese literature, particularly in the works of authors such as Yoshiki Tanaka and Ryō Mizuno. These authors introduced the concept of transporting characters to other worlds in their novels, which later served as inspiration for anime adaptations.

2. The Influence of Role-Playing Games:

Another significant influence on the development of isekai anime is the popularity of role-playing games (RPGs) in Japan. Games like “Dragon Quest” and “Final Fantasy” allowed players to immerse themselves in fantastical worlds, creating a desire for similar experiences in other forms of media.

The Unique Characteristics of Isekai Anime

1. Fish Out of Water:

One of the key elements that make isekai anime so intriguing is the concept of a protagonist who is transported from their ordinary life into a completely unfamiliar world. This “fish out of water” scenario allows for exploration of the new world’s rules, customs, and cultures, creating a sense of adventure and discovery for both the protagonist and the audience.

2. Power Fantasy:

Isekai anime often features protagonists who possess unique abilities or powers in the new world. This power fantasy aspect allows viewers to vicariously experience the thrill of being exceptionally skilled or gifted, overcoming challenges and adversaries with ease.

3. World-Building:

Isekai anime excels in creating intricate and immersive worlds. From magical kingdoms to post-apocalyptic wastelands, these shows transport viewers to fantastical realms filled with rich lore, diverse landscapes, and fascinating creatures. The attention to detail in world-building is a major draw for fans of the genre.

The Impact of Isekai Anime

1. Increased Popularity:

Isekai anime has gained immense popularity not only in Japan but also internationally. Shows like “Sword Art Online,” “Re:Zero,” and “Overlord” have garnered a dedicated fanbase, leading to increased demand for isekai-themed content.

2. Diversification of Storytelling:

The success of isekai anime has encouraged creators to explore new storytelling techniques and themes within the genre. From comedic parodies like “Konosuba” to darker and more mature narratives like “The Rising of the Shield Hero,” isekai anime has diversified the range of stories available to viewers.

3. Merchandising and Spin-offs:

The popularity of isekai anime has also led to a surge in merchandise and spin-off adaptations. From light novels and manga to video games and merchandise, the isekai genre has become a lucrative market for creators and publishers.


1. Why do viewers find isekai anime so appealing?

Viewers are drawn to isekai anime because it offers an escape from reality and allows them to experience a world filled with magic, adventure, and limitless possibilities. The relatable protagonist’s journey of self-discovery and growth resonates with audiences, while the immersive world-building and power fantasy elements provide a sense of excitement and entertainment.

2. Are there any notable examples of isekai anime that deviate from the traditional tropes?

Yes, there are several examples of isekai anime that subvert or parody the traditional tropes of the genre. “Konosuba” is a comedic isekai anime that satirizes the genre’s conventions, while “The Saga of Tanya the Evil” takes a darker and more morally ambiguous approach to the isekai concept.

3. Has the popularity of isekai anime influenced other forms of media?

Absolutely. The success of isekai anime has influenced the creation of isekai-themed video games, light novels, manga, and even live-action adaptations. The concept of being transported to another world has become a popular trope across various forms of media.

4. Are there any criticisms of the isekai genre?

While isekai anime has a dedicated fanbase, it has also faced criticism for its overuse of certain tropes and lack of originality. Some argue that the genre has become oversaturated, leading to a decline in the quality of storytelling and character development.

5. What does the future hold for isekai anime?

The future of isekai anime looks promising, with new shows continuing to be released and existing franchises expanding their universes. As long as creators continue to innovate and explore new ideas within the genre, isekai anime will likely remain a popular and influential genre in the anime industry.


Isekai anime has captivated audiences worldwide with its immersive worlds, relatable protagonists, and thrilling adventures. The genre’s origins in literature and its influence from role-playing games have contributed to its unique characteristics and widespread appeal. The impact of isekai anime can be seen in its increased popularity, diversification of storytelling, and the expansion of merchandise and spin-offs. While the genre may have its critics, the future of isekai anime looks bright as it continues to evolve and captivate viewers with its enchanting tales of otherworldly adventures.

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