What Is Isekai? The 20 Best Isekai Anime Series of All Time

The isekai anime genre is one of the fastest growing. Here's what you need to know, plus the best isekai anime series worth watching.
What Is Isekai? The 20 Best Isekai Anime Series of All Time

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You may have heard the term "isekai" used to describe several modern anime series. But what does isekai mean? How is it different than, say, "shonen" or "shojo"? What's so special about isekai, and why are many isekai anime series so successful?

Isekai is a category of fantasy or sci-fi anime series and movies that involve characters who are transported to another world—one that's vastly different from the real world.

The actual mechanic of transportation can vary. It could be done through reincarnation, cosmic magic, or advanced technology. But despite how it's done, all isekai animes revolve around the main character(s) surviving and fighting their way back home.

Here are my picks for the best isekai anime series to watch if you want to know what this awesome anime genre is all about!

20. Magic Knight Rayearth

Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Mecha

Originally aired 1994 to 1995

49 episodes (2 seasons)

7.47 on MAL

CLAMP's Magic Knight Rayearth is one of the best anime series to incorporate elements of romance, magic, mecha, fantasy, and isekai into one compelling story.

The series follows the story of three normal teen girls—Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu—who are magically whisked into another world called Cephiro. There, they're tasked with saving the Pillar of Cephiro (Princess Emeraude) from her abductor (Zagato).

While Magic Knight Rayearth is a shojo anime series, it has some shonen vibes fitted into its romance story, including the badass rune gods, power-ups, and cool fight scenes.

19. Fushigi Yugi

Adventure, Fantasy, Historical, Isekai, Romance

Originally aired 1995 to 1996

52 episodes (1 season)

7.61 on MAL

The shojo anime series Fushigi Yugi is a romance-filled isekai anime series that follows the story of Miaka Yuki, who's brought into the story of a mysterious book.

She later finds herself in love with Tamahome (one of the Celestial Warriors), which strikes up a romantic relationship when the latter also feels the same for her.

However, this also sparks a rivalry between Miaka and Yui, her best friend who was also transported with her.

Fushigi Yugi is based on the shojo manga of the same name, which was written and illustrated by Yuu Watase.

18. Inuyasha

Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Isekai, Romance

Originally aired 2000 to 2010

193 episodes (7 seasons)

7.86 on MAL

Aside from being one of the best classic anime series, Inuyasha is one of the best examples of early isekai anime.

It follows the story of Kagome Higurashi, who falls into a mysterious well and ends up being transported to a world ravaged by monsters and yokai and other dangers and threats.

In her new world, she's tasked with protecting the Shikon Jewel from other monsters who want it for their own sinister plans.

Inuyasha, on the other hand, initially wants the Jewel for himself, but later accompanies Kagome in her search for the scattered shards and helps her on her mission.

17. Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid

Comedy, Fantasy, Isekai, Slice of Life

Originally aired 2017 to 2021

25 episodes (2 seasons)

7.96 on MAL

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid is an anime series that revolves around a female dragon Tohru, who was forced to retreat to the human realm after being heavily injured in her last battle.

Tohru is rescued by an office worker Kobayashi, which causes her to live as Kobayashi's personal maid using her human form. Living under the same roof, Tohru learns how to become more human-like (e.g. watching TV) while serving her master Kobayashi.

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid is an example of an isekai anime series where a character from another world is transported to the real world.

16. The Saga of Tanya the Evil

Action, Isekai, Fantasy

Originally aired 2017

12 episodes (1 season)

7.96 on MAL

The Saga of Tanya the Evil is an anime series adapted from a light novel series called Youju Senki written by Carlo Zen.

The protagonist is an elite salaryman of Japan who doesn't believe in God or life after death. He's punished by a mysterious being X—who claims to be a god—and ends up reborn as a little girl who's assigned to the frontlines of a war.

Tanya's fights and adventures throughout this unknown world make him/her a formidable opponent to anyone who crosses his/her path.

15. Re:Creators

Action, Fantasy, Isekai, Mecha, Sci-Fi

Originally aired 2017

22 episodes (1 season)

7.55 on MAL

Re:Creators is a one-season anime series produced and animated by TROYCA. In it, characters from various different manga, anime, and video games are summoned to the real world. These characters are called "Creations."

The plot centers on the Creations—who retain their abilities from their respective media—as they fight to stop the antagonist Altair from destroying the real world. Altair uses whatever (and whoever) she can to gain dominance over the other Creations.

Re:Creators is a fun exploration of how one's acceptance of a certain story is what gives life to it.

14. Re:Zero

Drama, Fantasy, Isekai, Suspense

Originally aired 2016 to 2021

50 episodes (2 seasons)

8.23 on MAL

Re:Zero is an anime series adapted from the Japanese light novel series written by Nagatsuki Teppei and illustrated by Ootsuka Shinichirou.

It's the story of an ordinary high school student, Natsuki Subaru, who's summoned to another world by an unknown being for an unknown reason. He's helpless and only able to survive by his ability to jump back to an unpredictable "save point" whenever he dies.

13. The Devil Is a Part-Timer!

Comedy, Fantasy, Isekai

Originally aired 2013 to 2022

25 episodes (2 seasons)

7.75 on MAL

The Devil Is a Part-Timer! is an anime series based on the Japanese light novel series by Satoshi Wagahara.

The story follows a demon king who was in the middle of a conquest through Ente Isla, but was forced to retreat through a gate that brings him to modern-day Tokyo. He lacks power in the human world, and must learn to coexist with humans and live a normal life.

12. The Rising of the Shield Hero

Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Isekai

Originally aired 2019 to 2022

38 episodes (2 seasons)

7.98 on MAL

The Rising of the Shield Hero is one of the best and most highly recommended anime series in the isekai genre.

The protagonist, Naofumi Iwatani, is summoned to another world to become the Shield Hero and protect the land from calamities. Before that, he was just living his life as an otaku in the real world.

He isn't the only one summoned—there are three others, and he learns that he's the weakest of the four heroes. Trust, betrayal, and greed fill the story, which makes the series intriguing to the end.

11. Arifureta: From Commonplace to World's Strongest

Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Isekai

Originally aired 2019 to 2022

25 episodes (2 seasons)

6.70 on MAL

The anime series Arifureta: From Commonplace to World's Strongest is based on the light novel of the same name, which was written by Ryo Shirakome and illustrated by Takayaki.

In this series, Hajime Nagumo is transported to another world along with his classmates to be heroes. However, he's betrayed by his own comrade during a dungeon raid and falls deeper into the abyss.

After surviving, he vows to return home no matter what—and anyone who stands in his way is his enemy, period. Driven by deep hatred, he grows strong on his own, turning his ordinary Transmutation skill into an overpowered ability.

Now equipped with badass guns, ammunition, and mounts he crafted, along with loyal companions he encounters during his adventures, he searches for a way back home and is willing to kill those who would dare stop him on his way.

10. The Eminence in Shadow

Action, Comedy, Fantasy, Isekai

Originally aired 2022 to 2023

32 episodes (2 seasons)

8.32 on MAL

The Eminence in Shadow follows the story of Minoru Kagenou, a young man who's reincarnated into a new world after dying from an accident during his training.

In this new world of swords and magic, he lives as a vigilante hero-type character, which he always dreamed of being in his past life. He even founded a secret organization called Shadow Garden to fight a made-up enemy group he calls the Cult of Diablos.

However, what he believes to be a fake story in his mind is actually real in this new world. He and his Shadow Garden must overcome the Cult of Diablos, which is the real deal.

9. Campfire Cooking in Another World With My Absurd Skill

Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Isekai

Originally aired 2023

12 episodes (1 season)

7.69 on MAL

Tsuyoshi Mukouda was summoned to a fantasy world to be a hero. However, he resigns from his supposed duty because he believes that his special ability doesn't fit the role of "hero."

Despite being full of monsters and magic, his new world isn't that far from the real world—because his ability (called Online Grocery) allows him to instantly summon ingredients from Japan.

With these ingredients, he can cook out-of-this-world meals of all types of cuisine, and this ability surprisingly allows him to survive the harsh adventures in his newfound world.

Tsuyoshi also forms a familiar contract with Fel, a legendary monster who happens to become a foodie because of him.

8. Uncle From Another World

Comedy, Fantasy, Isekai

Originally aired 2022 to 2023

13 episodes (1 season)

7.84 on MAL

The Netflix anime series Uncle From Another World gave the isekai genre a surprisingly new twist. Normally, victims of the infamous "truck-kun" end up in another world when they're hit, but Yousuke Shibazaki was left comatose for 17 years.

While his body lies in a vegetative state in the hospital, his soul travels to another world, where he starts his otherworldly adventures. And after he wakes up from his coma, he brings the abilities he learned in the fantasy world into the real world!

Uncle From Another World might take place in the real world, but Yousuke narrates his story from the fantasy world to his nephew, who's fascinated with the crazy tales told by his uncle.

7. Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation

Drama, Ecchi, Fantasy, Isekai

Originally aired 2021 to 2023

36 episodes (2 seasons)

8.38 on MAL

Like most isekai'd protagonists, the main character in the series Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation ends up reincarnated in another world—of swords and magic—when he dies.

In this new world, he's born as the son of a mage and a warrior from the Greyrats. But he retains his memories, allowing him to quickly adapt to this new world and begin a fresh, new, better life.

But things are never easy in a fantasy world, right? So, instead of living a better life, he ends up being caught in the middle of a twisted world of swords and sorcery from a very young age.

6. Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-Kun

Comedy, Fantasy, Isekai, School

Originally aired 2019 to 2023

65 episodes (3 seasons)

7.75 on MAL

Iruma is a young child who's sold by his parents to a demon. That demon, named Sullivan, brings Iruma to another realm and adopts him as his grandson. There, Iruma lives in a mansion, makes friends who support him, and thrives.

Yet despite all of this, it's not enough for him to live happily ever after. Demons who eat humans are there with him, and some of them know who he really is. While this series doesn't have many fight scenes, there's plenty of comedy and action to enjoy.

5. Overlord

Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Isekai

Originally aired 2015 to 2022

52 episodes (4 seasons)

7.91 on MAL

Overlord is an anime series about a guild master, Momonga, who ends up stuck inside a game after the servers shut down.

Unable to log out or contact the real world, he explores the realm and lives as the almighty Ainz Ooal Gown, taking his new name from the guild he once belonged to.

He rules the land and keeps peace and order by boasting his strength to enemies who dare to invade his lands and harm his people.

4. Sword Art Online

Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Isekai, Romance

Originally aired 2012

25 episodes (1 season)

7.20 on MAL

Sword Art Online takes place in a virtual reality world—one that can have real-life effects on the real world. The game Sword Art Online uses a VR headset that stimulates the user's senses, allowing them to feel what happens in the game.

The protagonist Kirito ends up trapped in the game along with many others, and the only way out is to beat the boss. But if anyone in the game dies, they also die in the real world.

3. Log Horizon

Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Isekai

Originally aired 2013 to 2021

62 episodes (3 seasons)

7.92 on MAL

Log Horizon is an anime series with an almost identical plot to the aforementioned Sword Art Online.

However, there are some key differences between the two, making one better than the other in certain aspects depending on what you're looking for. One such aspect? Romance.

Log Horizon follows the story of Shiro and other virtual gamers who are trapped in a game called Elder Tale after a strange update.

Now that they're stuck living in the world that was never meant to be a permanent residence, they need to find their way out—if there is any—while surviving whatever the game throws at them.

2. Restaurant to Another World

Fantasy, Isekai, Slice of Life

Originally aired 2017 to 2021

24 episodes (2 seasons)

7.39 on MAL

If you want a fun, lighthearted isekai anime series without full-blown action scenes, Restaurant to Another World is the one for you.

Sure, it involves dragons, monsters, swordsmen, and mages, but the central premise revolves around a magical restaurant that opens its doors to an otherworldly dimension every Saturday.

Restaurant to Another World is based on the light novel series written by Junpei Inuzuka and illustrated by Katsumi Enami.

Another series with an very similar premise is Isekai Izakaya, but instead of opening on a certain day of the week, their pub is always open to otherworldly patrons.

1. That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime

Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Isekai

Originally aired 2018 to 2021

48 episodes (2 seasons)

8.14 on MAL

Upon his untimely death, one office man's soul is transported to a fantasy world where monsters and other creatures coexist with a community of humans.

When he arrives in this fantasy realm, he's reincarnated as a slime, the lowest form of monster in this unfamiliar world.

Even so, he also acquires a set of powerful abilities that make him the most formidable character in the series. For example, with his Predator ability, he absorbs the attributes and abilities of whatever he consumes, whether it's a monster or an item.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime features action-packed scenes that are perfectly balanced with comedy and drama, making it one of the shining examples of isekai anime done well.