Isekai is a subgenre of Japanese light novels, video games, and manga where the protagonist ends up being transported or reborn into another world. In recent years, the popularity and frequency of this subgenre has increased, resulting in quite a few isekai anime adaptations.

On the one hand, not all these series end up being as successful as one would hope them to be. On the other hand, there are those that not only meet the audience’s expectations but completely surpasses them. In this list, we will look at some of the best and most popular isekai anime ever created.

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10 Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There!

The main premise of Gate: Thus The JSDF Fought There follows Japan’s Self-Defense Force going to war against an invading kingdom from another world. In addition to forging relationships with the inhabitants of the new world, the JSDF also battle a variety of fantasy world creatures, including a dragon.

The series does an amazing job at blending both modern-day and fantasy elements, and its use of a much older protagonist received popular reception from fans. In fact, the anime was so well received that it inspired a collaboration campaign with the real JSDF, which used characters from the anime to bring in new recruits.

9 Sword Art Online

Sword Art Online is one of the most popular and commercially successful anime in the isekai subgenre. Unlike the traditional fantasy world, this anime features protagonist Kirito being transported into a virtual one. After he and a thousand other players are trapped in a virtual reality MMORPG, they must survive in the new virtual world or risk dying in real life.

On one hand, the series has received mixed criticism regarding its pacing and writing. On the other hand, fans have praised it for its stunning animation, as well as its jaw-dropping fight scenes. With its international popularity, there is no denying that Sword Art Online is worthy of being on this list.

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8 Inuyasha

Even though it’s been almost 10 years since the end of Inuyasha, there are plenty of people that still see it as one of the classics. After finding herself transported from present-day Japan to the Feudal Era, high school student Kagome Higurashi meets the half-demon Inuyasha. This leads them to join forces and gather allies to retrieve and protect the sacred Shikon Jewel from the demon Naraku.

In addition to four film adaptations, there is also the sequel series Inuyasha: The Final Act which serves as the anime’s conclusion. Overall, Inuyasha is an ideal isekai series guaranteed to please anime fans from both past and present generations.

7 Saga of Tanya the Evil

The Saga of Tanya the Evil follows the story of Tanya Degurechaff. Originally a Japanese salaryman, he is reincarnated into a new world as Tanya by God or Being X. As a child, Tanya decides to enlist in the military. Armed with the knowledge of her past life and innate magical talent, she rises through the ranks in the hopes of one day living a life of luxury.

However, Being X constantly threatens this goal. He frequently puts her in dangerous situations with the objective of turning her into a devout follower. With a ruthless nature and strategic cunning, viewers can’t help but support Tanya in her fight against an omnipotent being.

6 Overlord

An isekai series normally consists of a protagonist being summoned into a new world to help save it. However, that is not the case with Overlord. After being mysteriously transported to another world, a gamer finds himself transformed into his virtual avatar, the Elder Lich Momonga. He later renames himself Ainz Ooal Gown, the ruler of the Tomb of Nazarick.

With his newfound power and army of loyal followers, he decides to conquer the world. Even though the protagonist is far more powerful than any other character in the series, Overlord is anything but boring. With hilarious character interactions and frequent displays of Ainz's godlike power, this series is a must-see for any fan of isekai.

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5 The Rising of the Shield Hero

Rising of the Shield Hero follows Naofumi Iwatani, one of four heroes summoned to a new world in the hopes of saving it. Unfortunately, as the Shield Hero, he constantly faces discrimination from the people who summoned him. Things only get worse for him after his only companion, Princess Malty, frames him for sexual assault.

As a result, he becomes a shell of his former self. From a kind, trusting person, he becomes cynical and distrustful of everyone. In addition to its intense fight scenes, this anime is also praised for its character development. Against all odds, Naofumi perseveres against hate and discrimination to prove what it means to be a true hero.

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4 KonoSuba: God's Blessing on This Wonderful World

KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World focuses on protagonist Kazuma Satou, who gets transported to a new world. Unlike most isekai anime, the premise of the series focuses on Kazuma getting into ridiculous, yet hilarious situations. Even though his allies include a goddess, a knight, and a magician, things don't go as one might expect them to. The magician Megumin is obsessed with explosion magic, the knight Darkness is a creepy masochist, and finally, there is Aqua, who, despite being a goddess, is practically useless. While not as intense as other isekai anime, KonoSuba is by far the funniest.

3 The Time I got Reincarnated as a Slime

The Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime follows the story of Satoru Mikami who, as the title suggests, is reborn as a slime. Following his reincarnation, Mikami renames himself as Rimuru Tempest. Thanks to the power of the skill predator, he can absorb the skills and powers of whatever he consumes.

With his newfound abilities, he quickly evolves into one of the strongest beings in the world. The series is often praised for its cast of memorable characters. Rimuru is especially popular, having been voted as the best anime protagonist of 2019 in the Crunchyroll Anime Awards. With a second season scheduled for 2020, fans cannot wait to see more of Rimuru and his friends.

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2 No Game, No Life

No Game No Life is a series about NEET siblings Sora and his stepsister, Shiro. Under the alias of Blank, the two siblings are undefeated champions in the world of gamers. As a result, a god transports them into a new world where every outcome is decided by playing games.

Considered one of the top five anime of 2014, this series offers a unique twist to the traditional isekai anime. Fans praise the series for its concept of using games as battles, the series' breathtaking animation, and the character dynamic between Sora and Shiro. Overall, this series is guaranteed to appeal to not just anime fans, but to gamers as well.

1 Re:Zer0 - Starting Life in Another World

No list about isekai anime would be complete without including Re:Zero - Starting Life in Another World. The series follows protagonist Natsuki Subaru, who finds himself transported to a fantasy world cursed with a terrifying power. Known as "Return by Death"," this power resurrects Subaru and reverses time up to a certain moment.

Starting off with a light-hearted atmosphere, it quickly turns dark as Subaru finds himself dying in several brutal ways. Each resurrection gives him a new chance to protect those close to him. With its mesmerizing animation by White Fox, powerful storytelling, and cast of likable characters like Emilia and Rem, Re: Zero is often considered one the best isekai series of all time.

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