One of the best genres in anime is fantasy. It gets more exciting if the characters get transported to another world.
Yep, I'm going to talk about the best Isekai anime series here. But, what is Isekai anyway?
I guess, you already know that. For the sake of those new to the otaku world, let me define it in the simplest way.
Isekai anime is when the characters (main or supporting) find themselves in a different world, an alternate or a parallel one.
The most popular world is a video game or MMORPG. Here, the main protagonist/s has to solve or finish the game in order to get back home.
It may seem preposterous but admit it, Isekai is a popular anime that has molded your fantasy dreams in the past decade.
Well, it did mine. So, let me go back to the list of the top Isekai anime ever created. I hope you enjoy them.
Best Isekai Anime List:
1. Sword Art Online
You could say that Sword Art Online is the pioneer of Isekai at least in the MMORPG Isekai.
This series is the story of Kirito who finds himself trapped in the game SAO after receiving and logging in through the NerveGear tech. Kirito needs to clear the 100 levels and allies with people he knows.
Animation is great in SAO. Also, the series has the best pilot episodes with plot twists you'd want the makers could have developed further.
Each episode is fun, fun, and amazing battle scenes.
As much as I love Sword Art, the main character is a bit lackluster at times. It could be my opinion but others might disagree.
Overall, Sword Art Online is one of the best fantasy anime shows you'd want to watch all over again. In fact, the series has a sequel and has been the basis of other Isekai MMORPG.
2. The Rising of the Shield Hero
Four people are transported to Melromarc, a kingdom plagued with Waves of Catastrophe. Each receives a weapon.
All three are offensive types, except for Naofumi who got a shield.
This is where the journey of the shield hero begins. He must get stronger and needs to get the best team members to fight the enemies.
The concept of the Rising of the Shield Hero is great and unique. Plus, the main character has a great personality.
It's not hard to become cynical given the events he has been through but Naofumi remains kind.
The story lacks something and seems to center on bringing the MC down whenever possible. I couldn't see the balance of good and bad situations.
Still, you can enjoy the Rising of the Shield Hero series. This anime got the Isekai elements. If you want to see the MC gets revenge, you might be disappointed.
3. Log Horizon
In Log Horizon, Elder Tale is a popular MMORPG and Shiroe has been playing it for years. He never encountered a problem until the recent update.
Around 30,000 people are trapped including him. Now, Main Character has to discover what causes the problem.
Together, with other characters, Shiroe must use his knowledge about the game.
Log Horizon is one of the best adventure anime shows I've seen so far. At first, it looks boring but as it progresses you can see the development.
Characters have unique personalities. Backstories are excellently written.
The story seems to focus so much on the virtual world. As if, the characters have forgotten about their real body in the modern world. Some characters seem to have repetitive interactions with others. It's boring.
Overall, Log Horizon is a great Isekai anime. It's about strategy and not mere manipulation of the unknown.
4. I'm Standing on a Million Lives
Three students find themselves in a strange world. There, a Game Master gives them a class with a flip of a coin.
Ironically, the Main Character gets the farmer class while the two became a magician and a warrior. With their new classes, the three need to fight off enemies and finish the quest.
The Isekai anime is pure dumb fun and adventurous. You can see that the art is good and is combined with nice audio music.
But, the story plot is not the same as other isekai shows. Besides, the characters go in and out of the fantasy universe.
The unique acquisition of class is hilarious but could be a disappointment to others. Still, this is a good show if you like pure fun. No serious undertones about finding meaning in real life.
5. Cautious Hero
Gaeabrande is on the brink of destruction. To save it, Ristarte summoned one person and it so happens that this person is Seiya Ryuuguuin.
Seiya is an overpowered main character who can defeat enemies so easily. Despite being OP, this hero seems to be overly cautious, buying unnecessary weapons, potions, and supplies to protect himself.
This attitude could be annoying but it might save Gaeabrande and its citizens from total annihilation.
Despite his cautious nature, Seiya likes to train himself long and hard to ensure victory. The animation and soundtrack are amazing.
Well, the concept is unoriginal but the makers tried their best to make it look like an original Isekai.
Also, the annoying habit of the main protagonist is really something that makes you wonder if it’s really necessary.
6. My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!
Katarina Claes is a character in a video game, Fortune Lover. She reincarnated in this fantastical world not as a heroine but as a VILLAINESS! How unfortunate!
Every time, she dies. So, Katarina must use all her knowledge of the game and her past self to reverse every impending doom before it happens.
Most Isekai anime shows feature shounen or male main characters. But this one is an otome Isekai where the MC is a female.
The story is quite unique. It’s not every day that you encounter a villain as the main protagonist.
This situation could be confusing for an anime fan. You really don’t know what to feel if you really want to see the villainess die or not.
My Next Life as a Villainess is really something. It’s unique and you better watch it to see how good this anime is.
7. The Devil is a Part-Timer
This series is a reverse Isekai. Instead, the main character is transported to modern-day Japan from another world (the devil's world).
As ironic as it is, the main character is the demon lord. He doesn't have the power to materialize things like he would in his entire world. The MC has to rely on his wits and work as a part-time crew!
The demon lord is a part-timer and the series is a fresh breath of air into the isekai world. Another thing is how the makers portray the "devil" as a helpless young man.
Plus, if you love romance, you’ll definitely enjoy this.
It’s quite unnerving for a character to be powerless and magicless in a little span of time. Still, the story has great development and interesting characters.
8. KonoSuba: God's Blessing on This Wonderful World
Kazuma Satou chooses a new life in another world filled with evil enemies after dying in the most laughable way.
In his new life, he must defeat a Demon king. To do this, Kazuma needs to choose one weapon to aid him.
His mistake? He chose Aqua who is useless in his quest. Not only that, they must pay every expense from food to house rent. So, their misfortunes started.
There is a bit of comedy series, I can give you that. The character designs are awesome. Even the soundtrack when characters have to respawn sounds amazing.
The main character doesn’t have a wholesome image. Kazuma seems to order everyone around and has some inappropriate behavior.
Well, he’s a hikikomori after all and hikikomori doesn’t have the best social attitude. They’re a recluse and being like that is somewhat a disorder.
If you like comedy in Isekai, this might become your favorite.
9. Digimon Adventures
Seven children attend a summer camp only to find the camp place with snow falling. They receive strange devices that transport them to a Digital World.
In this wonderful world, the children find Digimons whom they can train and evolve into powerful monsters. Together, they need to find their way home.
The commendable part of Digimon Adventures is the complexities of characters. Each has a unique personality.
You can see their differences. Yes, the series may look like a Pokemon rip-off, but it’s an entirely different show.
Character designs and art are not great in Digimon. Besides being accused of a Pokemon rip-off, the story plot is cliche.
Honestly, it is a great show. You need to watch it in full to appreciate the story and character development. Despite a cliche backstory, the creators manage to freshen things up.
10. The Ambition of Oda Nobuna
Need a historical refresher in Japan? If yes, this ain't your series, well, sort of, because the historical warlords have become cute girls.
Now, Yoshiharu needs to help Oda Nobuna, the leader of a clan to conquer Japan. His source of battle strategies? The video games he has seen and played.
Everything about this anime is good, from art to sounds, from character to story plots. It’s a historical anime since it uses Japanese history (or loosely based on it).
Like any isekai themed anime, expect to find some cliches. After all, the backstory is based on Nobuna’s Ambition, which is a game that Yoshiharu Sagara had played.
The Ambition of Oda Nobuna is hilariously done with rom-com, harem (on the side), and a bit of historical background. Overall, it is fun to watch and worth including on your playlist.
11. Re: Zero: Starting Life in Another World
Subaru Natsuki suddenly finds himself in a fantasy world. Then, a group of thugs attacks him, leaving him on the brink of dying.
But, Satella rescues him. As a payback, he helps his savior find what she wants to find.
The two find what Satella is looking for. But before they get ahold of the insignia, someone murders them. The creepy part? He’s starting life all over again.
Same situation. Same girl. Same thugs. Could he get out of the loop of time?
It’s like watching a real video game. Isekai protagonists have a respawn spot. The mental torture on the protagonist is both sick literally and a good thing on his part.
Why? Because he remembers why and how he died. This could lead to solving the mystery.
Typically cliched, this series features a boy who is unaware of what’s going on, at least for the first few episodes.
Re: Zero anime is dark but addicting. It’s one of those psychological animes that has depth in the story and characters.
12. How Not to Summon a Demon Lord
The Demon King Diablo is a powerful being in Cross Reverie. Takuma Sakamoto plays this character in a virtual game. One spell summons and teleports him into the game.
Rem Galeu and Shera Greenwood want to enslave him, but the ritual backfires. Instead, they become slaves to Takuma. Thus, the three travel together to find how to unbind the spell.
The great thing about this anime? You get to watch the actual progression in the story.
Yes, the plots are sometimes predictable, but they’ve got some twists that’ll make you watch it episodes after episodes.
How Not to Summon a Demon Lord series has too many fanservice and ecchi elements. I know, some would disagree with me and might argue that it’s essential in the story.
But, many Isekai anime shows are so great without any fanservice at all.
Despite having an overpowered protagonist, this series is a must-watch. Plus, the central theme sticks which create a simple yet fun to watch anime.
13. Twelve Kingdoms
Youko Nakajima is nothing but an ordinary girl until one day. A mysterious, handsome man suddenly appears in her classroom, calling her master.
Before she knows it, monsters are trying to kill her. Youko finds herself in another world where 12 kingdoms appear to have ruled the whole place.
The Twelve Kingdoms series describes each government in this world with great detail. You will find the characters and story to be compelling. Every episode has a gripping story and battle to tell.
It seems that the anime ended abruptly. So, don’t expect more from the creators. Yes, expect those cliches plot lines, but the creators have arranged the story in an interesting way.
In conclusion, the 12 Kingdoms series is good with wholesome entertainment. It has strong storytelling with good plots and character developments.
14. Death March to the Parallel World
Ichirou Suzuki is an overworked programmer in his world. He goes to sleep after long hours of no sleep and wakes up to a new world. His name now is Satou.
While he’s a nobody in his real world, Satou is an overpowered character in another world. He could easily wipe his enemies in a flick of his wrists.
The best of this Isekai anime is that you got another series to watch and judge. Although it pales in comparison to Re: Zero, it’s not half bad.
But, the story and character development lack that wow element that you can find in the best Isekai anime shows.
Still, Death March to the Parallel world is a good watch but could be appealing only to certain people.
15. Fushigi Yuugi
Mysterious Play in English is a series about two girls who find themselves in ancient china. A book got them in this Isekai world.
Miyaka and Yui become rivals in this fantasy world when in fact they're friends in their real world. However, unfortunate circumstances have made them enemies.
One has to win and summon the ultimate God, Seiryuu. Who will win the battle?
The Isekai world seems to have an effect on the lives of the two high schoolers. It also has a happy and fairy tale ending.
I find the villainess as a self-absorbed, lacking-in-depth character. Her reasons are lame and she’s quite gullible to the point of being short-sighted of what is really happening.
But, I still recommend watching this classic isekai series. It has all the elements of a great anime to watch.
16. Problem Children Are Coming From Another World, Aren’t They?
Three teenagers are more than the completely average people with average life because they are blessed with powers, which makes their lives boring in the real world.
They can practically do anything. Then, a bunny invites them to Little Garden.
In this place, they can use their abilities to defeat the ultimate boss in the game. Could they make it?
This series has beautiful artwork and well-rounded characters. NO extreme fanservice could ruin the excellency of this anime.
Problem children series is quite an original concept with few minor issues. Plus, some of the jokes sounded lame and repetitive. This repetition decreases the hilarious aspect of a comedy scene.
Overall, this Isekai series is an amusing and strange anime. Again, the characters look badass, saving the world with their God-given gifts.
17. Isekai Quartet
Got a favorite isekai show or maybe four? If you do, Isekai Quartet could be your next favorite.
It’s a mishmash of characters from KonoSuba, Youjo Senki, Overlord, and Re: Zero.
A mysterious red button appears before the most popular characters from these four isekai shows. All four, Tanya, Satou, Ainz Ooal Gown, and the demon sisters are transported to a new world. They must live an ordinary high school life.
Yes, it’s not original, but a genius idea to bring your most favorite isekai characters in one series. Plus, the art is chibi. Aren’t they cute?
Worst part 25 words.
But, don’t expect anything about character development or some sort of unique stories. It’s pure fan art and hilarious antics.
Enjoy yourselves in this cute little show. Watching the characters together with their chibi adorable looks is worth spending a few useless hours. You’ll LOL or maybe ROFL.
18. Outbreak Company
Shinichi Kanou has his dreams come true. As a shut-in otaku, he has a vast knowledge of video games, manga, and anime.
Now, this ordinary-looking boy is sent on a mission: to spread the Otaku culture in another world.
The only difference? He goes to the Eldant Empire, a fantasy world where dragons, elves, and dwarves are the ordinary residents.
Who wouldn’t want this kind of mission? With the Japanese government backing up his missionary efforts, Shinichi is more than willing to complete the mission.
The pacing of the story is pretty good. There is the right level of character development. The sound is amazing and the art is pretty excellent.
However, the last few episodes seem to cram everything up. It’s like the series rushed to finish the story. There’s so much happening anime fans get dizzy following the details.
Still, this Isekai is a nice watch. It’s funny and unique enough.
19. Isekai Cheat Magicians
Two high school students get transported by a mysterious light to a fantasy world.
However, it turns out that they are the strongest kind of magic users: thus the title Isekai Cheat Magicians.
Now, Taichi and Rin must discover what is the mysterious light that brought them here in a new fantasy world.
Now, let me point out the best part of this series. The art is good and the characters are likable. However, the whole story has a lot of issues.
The main characters are overpowered without even any explanations on how they have that kind of power. They simply do.
In short, there’s not enough development in the story. Isekai Cheat Magician lacks enough creativity to make it to the sensitive tastes and high standards of most anime fans. Plus, it’s more of a harem anime Isekai.
Should you watch this? It depends on you. Many have left bad reviews for this anime because that’s what they feel it is. If you want to watch, keep an open mind.
20. No Game No Life
Sora and Shiro are NEET siblings. They are legendary gamers with the IGN Black. Then, these two shut-ins receive a challenging email.
Before knowing it, the siblings are transported to Disboard where Tet, the God in this other world, puts the citizens into never-ending battles of games.
With their knowledge in playing virtual chess, Sora and Shiro must unite all sixteen races and conquer Tet.
If you like chess, you’ll definitely appreciate this Isekai. The siblings are pure geniuses.
The worst part of this series is the colors used. It’s purplish and reddish all around. The colors are so sickeningly vivid I’m not sure if I want to watch it or just listen to the sounds.
No Game No Life is not for everybody, but it’s a great series to add to your watch list. I just hope they’ve balanced the colors.
21. Arifureta: From Commonplace to World's Strongest
A class of high school students gets transported to a fantasy world where evils lurk in every corner. All except Hajime receive impressive magical and offensive abilities.
The 17-year old Hajime has an inferior transmutation ability.
In one of their quests, a classmate betrays him. The poor young man fell into the deepest part of the labyrinth. Fortunately, Hajime survives and how has to battle his way out.
The development of the main character from a weak person to the strongest is evident. The struggles and right conflict are there.
However, I find that some parts are lacking in depth. This isekai anime needs a bit more tweaking to be considered one of the best.
Overall, it’s a good watch, but some might disagree. I read a lot of negative reviews but when I watch the series, it’s likable and worth your time. There’s an appeal to it that calls to specific anime fans of the Isekai genre.
22. Princess Connect
Princess Connect is the anime adaptation of a mobile game. In this series, Yuuki finds himself in Astraea and he doesn’t remember anything.
With the help of Kokkoro, this amnesiac young man must navigate this new world. Along the way, the two meet Pecorine and Karyl. The four become friends and decide to organize a guild.
Using their skills and knowledge, the members vow to help Yuuki regain his memory.
Like Konosuba, this Isekai anime has a great art style and color combination. The story development is quite good. The comedy is at the right level of fun.
The only bad thing about this is the cliche backstory. Not a surprise. It’s typical Isekai after all.
Yep, you should watch this. The story is light and the characters are likable. If you like comedy and fantasy rolled into one, this is your next playlist.
23. The Familiar of Zero
Louise has a major problem. She can’t magic correctly. Most of the time, this young mage’s summoning ritual ends in a disaster until she summoned Saito Hiraga.
This young Japanese boy becomes familiar of Louise.
At first, everyone treats Saito as a slave. But, everything changes when a mark appears in the familiar’s hand. Everyone believes it is the mark of a powerful man name Gandalfr.
And this begins the adventurous life of Saito and Louie as they discover secrets
The anime series has amazing art and good sounds. Episodal pacing seems okay and is balanced.
However, at some point, the character development seems to lag behind. It’s like watching a kid’s animation about magic and they’re just there for the sake of the show.
When you watch the series, you keep saying that scene could have done better. Or, Saito or Louise could have done differently.
Anyway, the whole series is okayish. Enjoyment is there since it has some comedy moments. There’s a chance of romance, too, between the two protagonists if you like rom-com of some sort.
24. Knights & Magic
It's about mecha otaku based on light novels with the same title. Tsubasa Kurata died in an accident but is reborn in a new world called the Fremmevilla Kingdom.
This time, the young man grows up in a wealthy household.
In this kingdom, people fight demons with Silhouette Knights. Thus, Tsubasa enrolls in an academy that trains people to pilot the mechas.
He dreams of building his own mech knights, which puts him in a compromising situation.
It’s really rare to see mecha anime nowadays since the Gundam days. So, seeing Knights and Magic features mecha combined with the isekai theme? It’s a wonderful addition.
The art, especially the mecha Knights, is superbly done. However, the story development is rather concentrated on the main character’s development.
I get it. The story is about Tsubasa fulfilling his dreams. But the concentration in a single character makes and will turn the whole story into boring and flat.
Regardless, this anime is worth watching if you like mecha that much.
A mysterious gate suddenly appears in the bustling city of Japan. Then, monsters and warriors come attacking. Fortunately, Youji Itami witnesses the incident and tries his best to save lives as many as he can.
Later, this brave soldier is tasked to explore the other world beyond the gate. Together with the other members of the Japan Self-Defense Forces, they must learn about this place and if necessary, conquer the enemies.
Otherwise, war will end the world as they know it.
Now, let’s see the good aspects of this anime Isekai. The art is good. Technical aspects are one of the best. This story focuses on economics, philosophical, and political issues.
For some, these could be a great story background but others might not appreciate them. Anyway, Gate is still one of the best shows because of its consistent focus on character development.
It tries its best to stick to realistic human reactions with regards to the appearance of a fictional world.
26. In Another World With My Smartphone
Touya Mochizuki dies because of a lightning bolt. This is because God made a mistake. As recompense, the main character is given another chance to live in a magical world and a wish.
Of course, Touya is more than happy and wishes to keep his smartphone when he is reincarnated in another world. So, the title goes.
The story is cliche as it gets while the art is kind of good for an Isekai anime. However, it is filled with an imbalance in power and development. Yes, I know, it’s a fantasy world.
But, many anime shows manage to create a unique selling point for their story. This series failed to do this. Plus, this features an overpowered main character.
Anyway, if you’re into Isekai and adventure (oh and harem, too), you might enjoy this. Just don’t expect dramatic flairs on story arcs. You won’t get those. In short, limit your expectations.
27. Magic Knight Rayearth
Three pretty girls hear the pleas for help of a woman while they were having their field trip. In a blinding light, they find themselves in a mysterious world and a Master Mage Clef greets them.
Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu are now the newest heroines of the land Cephiro. Before it’s too late, they must restore balance in the land and rescue Princess Emeraude.
Magic Knight Rayearth is a classic series and one of the best isekai shows in its time. The story and character development are commendable.
The song is one of the most popular ones and the rhythm is still good to listen to, too.
Of course, the art isn’t as good as the other isekai anime nowadays. But, it has the isekai elements that you’d want to watch in an anime.
I think you should watch the series to be the judge.
Which Isekai is the best?
The best Isekai anime should have character development, a story that matches the scenes, and a bit of humor. Fanservice or ecchi elements should be kept at a minimum, which should be the case for all anime.
What is the number 1 Isekai anime?
I’d choose Re: Zero. The backstory is good. That mental torture of remembering his past life and memory is excruciating to watch. At the same time, it’s exciting to know how the main protagonist can break the loop.
What is the best Isekai anime in 2020?
I think you should try the Isekai Quartet if you’re just looking for pure fun. It’s a comedic (even parodic) combination of four to five popular Isekai shows.
Or, if you like series with depth and plot twists, try binge-watching My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!
Why I didn’t recommend SAO? Because I think you already know the series. It’s the most popular but many good anime shows are out there waiting for a chance.
An anime deserves an objective eye, so there you go.
Are there any good Isekai anime?
Yes, definitely! Just look around and you’ll find something to watch. If you like classics, you can try the Vision of Escaflowne, Cautious Hero, Shield Hero, How Not to Summon a Demon Lord, or Magic Knight Rayearth.
I know there are anime with isekai themes that is so bad you regret watching. But, don’t lose hope.
Happy watching! Leave comments or share this with your friends, especially those who are new to the Isekai world.