Forget planes, trains, or automobiles — in Isekai anime, characters embark on journeys to fantasy worlds via much freakier modes of transportation!
Isekai is a genre where protagonists are whisked away from their ordinary lives into parallel realms brimming with magic and adventure. Maybe they’re summoned as a hero, reborn after death, or just unlucky victims of Truck-kun. However they get there, isekai heroes tend to have a rough start getting their bearings in worlds governed by RPG-style rules or fantastical creatures.
But who can blame isekai fans for craving a break from reality? There’s something irresistible about leaving your regular old life behind to awaken superpowers in a new world. Isekai anime allows viewers to immerse themselves in fresh starts and limitless possibilities. Whether they offer comedy, action, or wish-fulfilment, isekai journeys provide the ultimate escapism by teleporting characters to far, far away lands.
This list of best isekai anime is ranked according to what I think is good; for you, it may be different, and yes, there are many other isekai anime, but I tried my best to include the best in this list.
Best Isekai Anime to Escape Reality:
1. Re: Zero – Starting Life in Another World
Why Watch: Plunges you into a psychological maze where love and loss collide, all while redefining the concept of ‘second chances.
Get ready for a rollercoaster ride with Re: Zero! This fantasy anime offers a unique twist on the ‘respawn’ concept, making it one of the best Isekai anime with OP MC (Overpowered Main Character).
Its main character Subaru thinks he’s lucky when he’s suddenly summoned to a fantasy kingdom. But his excitement quickly turns to terror when he’s attacked and killed — only to respawn where he started like a video game! Subaru now has the power to reverse time upon dying, allowing him endless chances to rewrite fate in this strange new world. But saving the day proves much tougher than a video game as Subaru experiences gruesome deaths that almost drive him insane. Re: Zero will put you through the wringer with intense action and devastating plot twists that yank your heartstrings. You gotta respect Subaru’s perseverance as he struggles over and over to protect those he cares about in a world where death is never the end.
2. The Rising of the Shield Hero
Why Watch: A gripping journey of an underdog rising against all odds, blending emotional depth with action-packed scenes.
The Rising of the Shield Hero is an amazing Isekai anime that will leave you rooting for the underdog. College student Naofumi suddenly finds himself summoned as one of four Legendary Heroes in a magical kingdom. But he’s stuck with just a shield as his weapon while the others get swords and spears. Even worse, false accusations paint Naofumi as a criminal, leaving him scorned and alone. As the only Hero unable to attack, Naofumi faces prejudice and betrayal on his quest. But with the help of the demi-human Raphtalia, he gradually unlocks his shield’s powers and rises to become a true Hero. The Rising of the Shield Hero delivers captivating fantasy action while subverting expectations. You’ll root for Naofumi as he evolves from vilified outcast to a legendary guardian.
3. KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World!
Why Watch: A laugh-out-loud adventure that turns Isekai tropes on their head, delivering both comedy and epic quests.
If you’re in the mood for some laughs, Konosuba is the perfect pick. It’s one of the best Isekai anime that doesn’t take itself too seriously but still delivers on the adventure front.
KonoSuba will crack you up with its motley crew of oddball adventurers. Its protagonist Kazuma dies embarrassingly but gets revived in a fantasy RPG-style world. He expects to find a powerful goddess and magical skills, but instead gets the useless goddess Aqua and quickly loses all his money. To survive, he recruits only the most eccentric partners like Megumin, who can only cast explosions once a day, and Darkness, a masochistic knight who can’t hit anything with her sword. This misfit party bumbles their way through hilarious quests, constantly getting on each other’s nerves while somehow becoming stronger. KonoSuba satirizes the typical fantasy adventure with nonstop fun. Get ready for incompetent heroes and crazy hijinks!
4. Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation
Why Watch: A second chance at life, filled with magic, morality, and maturity.
What would you do with a second chance at life? Mushoku Tensei follows a good-for-nothing otaku who dies in a traffic accident but gets reborn into a fantasy world as Rudeus Greyrat. Starting life as a naughty baby, Rudeus decides to make the most of his reincarnation to become a respected mage. But second chances aren’t easy as Rudeus struggles to learn magic, make friends, and overcome a troubled past that haunts him even in this new world. Mushoku Tensei makes you think about rebirth as Rudeus matures from a shut-in NEET into a fierce mage striving to protect his loved ones. With epic world-building and lovable characters, it’s an isekai tale that proves people can change for the better when given the chance.
5. That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime
Why Watch: A fresh perspective on reincarnation.
After being stabbed by a robber, 37-year-old Tokyo salaryman Satoru Mikami finds himself reborn as a burbling blue slime monster in a medieval fantasy world. Overpowered with unique skills like predator absorption, Satoru adopts the name Rimuru Tempest and explores his odd new existence. He gathers a village of monster pals, helps other fantasy races, and ultimately becomes an influential leader. That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime puts a comedic spin on the reincarnation genre as Rimuru embraces the flexibility of slime life to bring people together, find a nation, and become an unlikely hero.
6. No Game, No Life
Why Watch: A cerebral joyride through a fantastical world where intellect and strategy reign supreme.
No Game No Life follows genius NEET siblings Sora and Shiro as they get whisked into a fantasy world where games decide everything. These whiz-kid gamers set their sights on conquering the discordant realm of Disboard and uniting all sixteen races. They’ll need to outsmart magical foes and demi-human races through outrageous bets, wagers, and death-defying competitions to do so. With dazzling visuals and clever twists, No Game No Life turns each arc into an epic, high-stakes adventure game. If you love adrenaline-filled showdowns mixed with laugh-out-loud comedy, join Sora and Shiro as they attempt to climb to the top of the gaming food chain!
Why Watch: A dark, immersive world where the villain takes the throne, challenging your notions of right and wrong.
What would you do if you suddenly became an all-powerful wizard ruling over a legion of fanatical minions? That dilemma faces salaryman Momonga when he transforms into his gaming avatar in the real-world version of the online game Yggdrasil. Stuck inhabiting the skeleton mage Overlord, Momonga embraces villainy and conquers this strange new realm. With the aid of his devoted NPC underlings, he begins scheming to become the supreme ruler. Overlord subverts the typical trapped-in-a-game premise by exploring dark themes of power, loyalty, and moral greyness. If you love morally ambiguous anti-heroes, impressive world-building, and some delightfully sinister humour, join the great tomb of Nazarick on their quest for domination!
8. Grimgar: Ashes and Illusions
Why Watch: A raw, emotional journey that delves into the psychological toll of survival in a fantastical world.
Look no further than Grimgar: Ashes and Illusions for a poignant take on the trapped-in-a-game genre. When a group of strangers find themselves in a mystical RPG-like world with no memories, they have to join together as volunteer soldiers to survive. Their battles are brutally realistic, and the group struggles to earn money and food while coping with the psychological toll of killing. There are no overpowered skills or easy wins here. Bittersweet and contemplative, Grimgar reflects on the ordinary human bonds that form in extraordinary circumstances. The hand-painted watercolour visuals and melancholy score complement the grounded, slice-of-life take on the challenges of battle, loss, growth, and finding meaning in a strange new world.
9. Campfire Cooking In Another World With My Absurd Skill
Why Watch: Culinary arts meet magical realism in a delicious blend of adventure and skill mastery.
Salaryman Tsuyoshi Mukouda gets accidentally summoned as a hero to the Kingdom of Reijseger. Still, he manages to talk his way out of fighting when they deem his useless “Online Supermarket” skill worthless in combat. However, this power proves invaluable as Mukouda uses it to purchase cheap Japanese food and cooking tools, considered luxurious rarities in this world. As Mukouda whips up mouthwatering cuisines, he catches the eye of the legendary wolf Fenrir. Unable to resist the delicious dishes, Fenrir swiftly becomes Mukouda’s familiar. Together they travel the world, earning their way as adventurers and merchants while enjoying delicious meals. With his cooking skills and Fenrir, Mukouda makes the most of his odd predicament in this new world.
10. Sword Art Online
Why Watch: A virtual world with real-world stakes.
Get ready for high-stakes virtual reality action in Sword Art Online! Kirito and thousands of other players put on their NerveGear headsets in 2022 to play the hot new MMORPG. But they quickly realize it’s a dangerous trap when the game’s creator imprisons them inside. Their only escape is to clear all 100 floors of Aincrad or die trying. Talk about motivation! As players band together in guilds and parties to overcome deadly boss battles, many perish both in-game and real life. Kirito befriends other survivors like Asuna as they struggle through each perilous floor. With its blazing-fast combat, soaring stakes, and threats extending beyond logout, Sword Art Online keeps you clinging to the edge of your seat, wondering if anyone will survive this virtual nightmare. I put this anime at the end of the list because it’s not completely isekai. Still, as the people get stuck in the game, they begin their new life by living there, so it can be considered an isekai anime.
While each isekai anime provides its own twist, they satisfy our desire to be whisked away to a fantasy world. Despite difficult beginnings, isekai heroes adapt to gain powers and allies. The fish-out-of-water narrative lets us vicariously experience starting fresh in a new realm. These series blend action, humour, and drama within creative settings filled with endless potential. For viewers weary of reality, isekai represents the ultimate escape. We can lose ourselves in an alternate universe and imagine rising from zero to Hero. So if you’re seeking thrilling adventures, captivating magic systems, and unlikely heroes, it’s time to dive down the isekai rabbit hole. A new world awaits you just through the screen!