Body Image in Isekai Anime

Here’s something we’ve noticed here at Honey’s Anime. With so many isekai released every season, most forget what isekai is really supposed to be. The isekai genre isn’t just about MCs becoming super OP, though that does happen more often than not. No, isekai is about your everyday ordinary person getting whisked away to a new world and getting to experience a new life—good or bad—compared to the one they currently have/had. This is done via summoned as a hero, dying in a “heroic way”, and/or randomly finding an entrance to another world. It’s a simple set up but we’re beginning to notice isekai is doing something rather odd with its MCs.

What is your perfect version of what a hero should look like? Does the hero of your mind have cool hair, perfect abs, and is just all-around cool/handsome? We think most otaku out there see anime heroes in similar styles which is why they are always done in similar styles. Most isekai heroes are trim, well-toned, and physically fit. Yet, when you think about the idea of normal people being set into a new world is that really what we’d look like? Isekai as of late seems to have a strange idea of what the perfect body image is and while it isn’t alarming, it does give us some concerns that maybe isekai is creating the wrong idea of what makes a hero…

Your Body in the Eyes of Isekai

There have been a lot—and we mean a lot—of isekai protagonists and characters that all range in different sizes and shapes. Yet, prominently, the main character is an average-looking male/female who ends up being thrown into a new world and then undergoes some strange revelation that they have absurd abilities. Yet there are several isekai that feature main characters who are of the bigger frame and end up losing all of their weight via either being reborn or gaining new powers and then becoming the so-called perfect specimen.

Rudy from Jobless Reincarnation was a heavy-set male, a more recent MC is Yuuya Tenjou from I Got a Cheat Skill in Another World and Became Unrivaled in The Real World, Too and you have The Fruit of Evolution’s MC Seiichi Hiiragi eating a fruit and becoming super lean. In many ways, we think this creates the wrong illusion that you need to be super trim and sexy to be a hero when we’ve met plenty of IRL heroes and heroines who aren’t the perfect weight but would still kick butt and be perfect if they got thrown into another world. We think isekai needs to realize there is no ideal perfect image for a hero, you can be a short, thin, and/or big hero. What makes a hero is what actions they do and what beliefs they have!

Why Isekai Needs to be More Realistic With Its Character

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Do you readers remember Hajime Nagumo’s classmate in Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest, who literally looked like a hero from Dragon Quest? Kouki Amanogawa is one of Hajime’s ill-fated classmates who was transported to this new world and ends up getting the class of Hero and he sure does look like one. Wearing big knight armor and donning a giant sword, Kouki even talked like a righteous hero and it could be almost comical in some ways. The same can be said of the various characters in The Rising of the Shield Hero who all are caricatures of what it means to be a hero.

This is obviously done on purpose but what we loved about both Arifureta and Shield Hero is the MCs in this series, at first, didn’t look overly imposing or over-the-top heroes from cartoons, they looked like plain dudes just given special abilities and in the case of Hajime, yeah, he looks cool but he endured a lot to get that look so he gets a pass. Isekai needs to stop assuming all heroes need to spout out cool one-liners and act high and mighty, they can be average and not super attractive—like Makoto Misumi from Tsukimichi –Moonlit Fantasy—all while still being tough!

Why We Need Different MCs

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While not really an isekai in the traditional sense but with themes of one, look at Accel World’s main man Haruyuki Arita. He’s short, round, and far from tough looking but when he enters the world of Brain Burst and dons the role of Silver Crow, he’s now able to do some unreal special things. Yet, Haruyuki does have to deal with bullies and others due to his form but as the series progresses, he becomes more comfortable with his shape and realizes that he’s still Silver Crow even without the armor.

This is what we want more of from isekai, we want heroes who are similar to us so we can easily form bonds with them and feel even more immersed in the series! Yes, isekai is meant to remove ourselves from the world we know but wouldn’t it be easier when we can relate to an MC and see ourselves as said MC?

No One to Blame

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We need to make this very clear, no studio, director, or creator is to be blamed for making a character look any specific way. We need to always remember that in the end, anime is always a medium meant as entertainment first and foremost not as a testament to real-world issues or controversies. At the end of the day, anime is meant to be a form of escapism like a good book or a movie, to take your mind away from the real world for just a moment and dive into a new world. That’s why we love isekai, it does that so well by giving us a means of feeling like a character we aren’t and giving us a glimpse of what life could be like if we were magically teleported to a fantasy landscape far removed from our city/country lives.

Final Thoughts

Isekai is a genre that really feels like the ultimate means of escaping the world we live in to join various others in an unreal new world free from our current issues and current problems. That being said, we can’t forget that many people are easily impressionable, and seeing body images played strongly, could cause some to think not having a six-pack means they won’t be a hero either in the anime world or the real world. We think that with the growing amount of isekai out there it would be nice to see some more realistic body images being used for the main characters, not to remind us of ourselves but so we can see someone like us entering a battle and winning with OP skills and powers.

We’ve rambled enough about body images in isekai anime but now we leave the floor open to you readers. What do you think? Should isekai remain the way it is or should it be altered to be a bit more realistic? Comment below with your answers and thoughts! For more thought-provoking articles keep stuck with us different bees here at Honey’s Anime!

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Author: Aaron

Hey everyone I’m Aaron Curbelo or Blade as I’m called by my YouTube Subscribers. I’ve been an anime/manga fan since I was a young kid. In terms of anime I have watched nearly a thousand shows and have read hundreds of manga series. I love writing and honestly was so happy to join Honey’s Anime to get a shot to write articles for such a wonderful site. I’m a firm believer in respect in the anime community being the most important embodiment we should all have. We all love anime and we have varying opinions of series but we should respect one another for those differences! Life is too precious to spend it making needless arguments in a community that should be the shining example of loving an amazing medium. I hope as a writer for Honey’s Anime I can bring you folks some amazing articles to read and enjoy!

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