10 amazing Isekai anime that didn’t have to be an Isekai

Isekai anime are so popular that at least two fantastic new worlds for characters to reincarnate crop up with each anime season. In fact, the subgenre is so prevalent that anime that don’t need the isekai tropes incorporate them anyway.

RELATED: 10 Basic Mistakes The Isekai Protagonists Keep Making

For one reason or another, animes that don’t need to be isekai stories impose themselves on the constraints of the niche. This either results in cartoons with too many ideas or drawings confused as to the story they are even trying to tell.


ten Girls Bravo could have been any other Harem anime

Yukinari runs away from her suitors in Girls Bravo

good job girls is best known as a nostalgic harem anime, and most people forget that this is actually an isekai. The story begins when Kirie Kojima kicked Yukinari Sasaki in his tub and, instead of drowning, he woke up in Seiren. Aside from the fact that Seiren’s population is 90% female, this is basically just modern Earth.

If not for its summary, the pre-Sword art online isekai good job girls would never be confused with an isekai. In fact, his only isekai tropes are fan-laden harem hijinks, and Yukinari is romantically undecided with his childhood friend, Kirie. Why the anime needed Seiren to be an alien planet is an enigma, when a normal high school would have been enough.

9 Battle Girls: Time Paradox could have been the feudal answer to strike down witches

Oda Nobunaga presents her party in Battle Girls Time Paradox

Fan service aside, Fighting Girls: The Paradox of Time is essentially an educational show for children: After awkwardly going to a local shrine, Yoshino Hide accidentally found herself in the Sengoku era in Japan which, coincidentally, was the subject of an exam she was praying to pass. The only difference is that this alternative Japan has no men, and all of its historical figures are now women.

Even taking into account that Yoshino is the alternate Japanese version of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, this anime’s isekai framing device is useless. Otherwise for the isekai bit, Battle girls would have worked perfectly as a fanservice-centric historical narrative, much like Hit the Witches: a non isekai fantasy from WWII where war ace pilots are now magical girls.

8 The pharmacy in the otherworldly store didn’t need an Isekai story

Reiji and his team welcome their customers to a pharmacy from another world

For the best or for the worst, Pharmacy in another world is one of the more laid back and relaxed isekai anime. It all started when normal employee Reiji Kirio found himself randomly in a fantasy world, where he decided to run a pharmacy. None of this is shown in the pilot episode, which started with Reiji already running the pharmacy.

Say that Pharmacy in another world does not need its plot isekai to put it mildly; Reiji rarely thinks about his past life, and it has little or no impact on his daily pharmaceutical work and that of his staff. Compare that to Restaurant in another world, where the titular establishment of the dimension leap can only exist in an isekai framework.

7 Rise of a bookworm didn’t need Isekai to profess his love of books

Myne opens a book in the ascent of a bookworm

Unlike most of the isekai protagonists, introverted librarian Urano Motosu’s only dream was to read books forever. After dying in an earthquake, she was lucky enough to see her dream come true when she woke up in another world. The problem is, not only was Urano born as Myne, a five-year-old girl, but the world she is in has no libraries.

RELATED: 15 Isekai Manga That Are Better Than You Expected

Specifically, the educational materials are reserved for the elite, so Myne has taken it upon herself to bring books to the masses. Myne’s understanding of the joys of reading and the societal benefits of literacy doesn’t need an isekai slant to convey and would have worked perfectly in a classic fantasy or alternate story anime. For reference see Violet Evergarden.

6 Didn’t I say to make my abilities average in the next life ?! I didn’t need Isekai to parody overpowered heroes

Adele and her friends strike a pose in Didn't I say to make my abilities average in the next life

Didn’t I say to make my abilities average in the next life ?! is another stab at overpowered heroes, but with an isekai twist. After she died saving a child from an accident, outperforming Kurihara Misato was rewarded with a second life as a normal girl in a fantasy world. The problem is, she’s “average” by cosmic standards, which means she’s a demigod.

Kurihara is reborn as Adele von Ascham, the daughter of a noble family who inherits a power that is only steps away from that of an ancient dragon. Adele’s struggle to live an ordinary life and foster true friendships despite her royal status is already perfect for comedy and drama, which makes her past life as Kurihara redundant.

5 The Rising of the Shield Hero didn’t need Isekai to deconstruct the fantasy anime

Naofumi wields her shield in The Rising Of The Shield Hero

Rise of the Shield Hero is notable among isekai fans not only for its thematic cynicism, but also for the brutality of its openness. To enter a new world, Naofumi Iwatani did not die horribly or tragically; he has just opened a book. Before Naofumi knew it, he was now the prophesied Shield Hero with the designated powers of his title.

Even though Naofumi’s goal is essentially to kill time before he can return to his world, the real goal of the anime is for him to erase his name from heinous accusations and harness his deceptively useless powers. If Naofumi’s contemporary origins had been suppressed, her story would still have worked well as an edgy, deconstructive fantasy, much like Goblin Slayer.

4 Bleach should have focused more on her supernatural worlds

Ichigo and his friends in bleach

From the old Big Three of Shonen Jump, Bleach is notably the only isekai, and it would have been better if it was a shonen fantasy like its contemporaries. Bleach followed Ichigo Kurosaki’s time as a substitute Shinigami, or someone who kept the peace between the living world and Soul Society. The problem is, his particular duty hasn’t been highlighted much.

RELATED: Bleach: 5 Hotheaded Soul Reapers In The Series (& 5 Who Keep Their Cool)

Instead of, Bleach focused on Ichigo’s impact on Soul Society culture and conflict, the war with Hueco Mundo and other realms like Hell. The inclusions of the modern city of Karakura seemed more reluctant than anything else, and Ichigo’s story would have been closer had he been a living Shinigami and defending Soul Society from the start.

3 This time I reincarnated as a slime, it could have been the origin story of the demon lord

Rimuru Tempest rule the monsters back when I reincarnated in slime

After succumbing to a random act of violence, the ordinary employee, though dissatisfied, Satoru Mikami woke up in another world in the form of a slobber. His new life as the weakest monster in the world didn’t last long, as he eventually became Rimuru Tempest: King of the Monsters and Federation leader Jura Tempest, a sanctuary for monsters like him.

As an outsider story with a bit of nation-building, This time I reincarnated in slime hardly needed his isekai attributes. Satoru’s old life has almost nothing to do with his time as Rimuru, especially when he diplomatically united the monster factions dispersed and refined his power level to its highest potential.

2 Overlord would have worked best as a simple character study of a villain

Ainz and his subjects welcome a guest in Overlord

In his heart, Suzerain is a villainous origin story for evil mastermind Ainz Ooal Gown, the future conqueror of the New World. Prior to that, Ainz was the mundane employee Suzuki Satoru, who woke up as his character in the game YGGDRASIL after falling asleep while playing him. That said, Ainz’s actual origins are unnecessary.

It doesn’t help is that Suzuki had no attachment to its old life, which begs the question why Suzerain introduced an isekai plotting device if this was to be resolved so quickly. Ainz’s arc as an immortal supervillain torn between unlimited power and reconnecting with his humanity would lose nothing if his isekai story is abandoned.

1 Tanya the Evil saga hardly disturbed by its Isekai implications

Tanya watches Mary Sioux in Tanya the Evil saga

The Evil Tanya Saga is without a doubt one of the most (un) famous isekai anime, even if it doesn’t really look like a real isekai story. Beyond the first episode, the life of the unnamed employee before becoming Tanya does not take into account any of the anime’s later conflicts. In fact, the isekai scenario looks more like an excuse for what happened next.

Strange as it is, Tanya being a sociopathic military child prodigy with a grudge against God is perfectly acceptable by the anime’s inflated standards; his story as a grown man is unnecessary and needlessly frightening. Additionally, Tanya was hardly taken aback by her reincarnation, pointing out how unnecessary the isekai element of her story is.

NEXT: Sword Art Online: 10 Undeniable Ways This Anime Influenced The Isekai Genre

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