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




When it comes to anime genres, one that has gained immense popularity in recent years is isekai. Isekai, which translates to “another world” in Japanese, refers to a subgenre of anime and manga where the protagonist is transported or reincarnated into a different world. While the concept may seem familiar, the isekai genre has captivated audiences worldwide with its unique storytelling and immersive worlds. In this article, we will delve into the reasons behind the fascination with isekai anime, its rise in popularity, and its impact on the anime industry.

The Rise of Isekai Anime

Isekai anime has been around for decades, with early examples such as “Fushigi Yugi” and “Escaflowne” captivating audiences in the 1990s. However, it wasn’t until the 2010s that the genre truly exploded in popularity. One of the key factors behind this rise is the increasing accessibility of anime through streaming platforms like Crunchyroll and Netflix. These platforms have made it easier for international audiences to discover and consume a wide range of anime, including isekai titles.

Another reason for the rise of isekai anime is its ability to provide escapism and wish fulfillment. Many people find solace in the idea of being transported to a different world, where they can leave behind their mundane lives and embark on exciting adventures. The isekai genre offers a form of escapism that allows viewers to imagine themselves as the protagonist, experiencing a world filled with magic, adventure, and romance.

The Appeal of Isekai Anime

So, what exactly makes isekai anime so appealing to viewers? Let’s explore some of the key factors:

1. Relatable Protagonists

Isekai anime often feature protagonists who are ordinary individuals from our world. These characters are relatable and serve as a vessel for the audience to project themselves into the story. By placing an average person in extraordinary circumstances, isekai anime allows viewers to imagine themselves in the protagonist’s shoes, making the story more engaging and immersive.

2. Exploration of New Worlds

One of the most exciting aspects of isekai anime is the exploration of new worlds. These worlds are often richly detailed and filled with fantastical elements like magic, mythical creatures, and unique cultures. Through the eyes of the protagonist, viewers get to discover these worlds alongside them, experiencing the thrill of exploration and the wonder of encountering the unknown.

3. Power Fantasy

Isekai anime often feature protagonists who possess unique abilities or powers in the new world they are transported to. This power fantasy aspect allows viewers to vicariously experience the thrill of being special and overcoming challenges with their newfound abilities. It taps into the desire for empowerment and the satisfaction of seeing the underdog rise to greatness.

4. Character Development

While isekai anime may initially seem like simple power fantasies, many of them also delve into complex character development. The protagonists often face personal growth and moral dilemmas as they navigate their new worlds. This adds depth to the story and allows viewers to connect with the characters on a deeper level.

The Impact of Isekai Anime

The popularity of isekai anime has had a significant impact on the anime industry as a whole. Here are some of the ways it has influenced the industry:

1. Increased Production

The success of isekai anime has led to an increase in the production of such titles. Studios and producers have recognized the demand for isekai stories and have been quick to capitalize on it. This has resulted in a steady stream of new isekai anime being released each season, catering to the growing fanbase.

2. Diversification of Storytelling

While isekai anime may seem formulaic at first glance, the genre has also pushed the boundaries of storytelling. Creators have experimented with different settings, character dynamics, and plot twists to keep the genre fresh and engaging. This diversification has allowed for a wider range of stories within the isekai genre, appealing to different tastes and preferences.

3. Influence on Other Media

The success of isekai anime has not been limited to the anime industry alone. It has also influenced other forms of media, such as light novels, manga, and video games. Many popular isekai anime are adaptations of light novels or manga, which have gained increased attention and readership due to the anime adaptations. Additionally, the concept of isekai has been incorporated into various video games, further expanding its reach.


Isekai anime has captured the hearts and imaginations of viewers worldwide with its captivating storytelling and immersive worlds. The genre’s rise in popularity can be attributed to factors such as accessibility, escapism, and relatable protagonists. It offers a unique form of entertainment that allows viewers to experience the thrill of exploring new worlds and the satisfaction of witnessing personal growth. The impact of isekai anime can be seen in the increased production of such titles, the diversification of storytelling within the genre, and its influence on other forms of media. As the fascination with isekai continues to grow, it is clear that this subgenre has become a significant part of the anime industry.


Some popular isekai anime titles include “Sword Art Online,” “Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World,” “Overlord,” “The Rising of the Shield Hero,” and “That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime.”

2. Are there any unique twists on the isekai genre?

Yes, there are several unique twists on the isekai genre. For example, “Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World” features a protagonist who can return to a specific point in time upon death, adding a layer of suspense and consequence to the story. “That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime” follows a protagonist who is reincarnated as a slime creature, offering a fresh perspective on the genre.

3. How has the popularity of isekai anime impacted the light novel industry?

The popularity of isekai anime has had a significant impact on the light novel industry. Many successful isekai anime are adaptations of light novels, leading to increased sales and readership for these novels. The success of isekai anime has also encouraged publishers to seek out more isekai light novel titles, resulting in a boom in the genre.

4. Are there any criticisms of the isekai genre?


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