Whether as escapism or just as something more fanciful than high school slice-of-life anime, fantasy can be just what we need! Isekai anime are still quite popular and you’re sure to find something new every season. Fall 2020 was no exception with fanciful lands both new and old! Witches, monsters, and even bears fought for our attention to be in our top 5 best fantasy anime of fall 2020!
5. Maoujou de Oyasumi (Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle)
The formidable demon lord has kidnapped the beloved human princess Syalis to demoralize his enemies and force them to surrender. However, he never anticipated the lengths Princess Syalis would go to for a good night’s sleep! It’s understandable a kidnapped girl would find it hard to sleep but no one anticipated her literally cutting off parts of demons or stuffing them into bags for a make-shift club. As terrifying as she is awake, she’s an absolute angel when she’s sleeping which makes it hard for the demon lord to find the resolve to punish her. There are so many different demons with their unique features that the princess craftily exploits for her own gain. Sleepy Princess manages to be both incredibly out there and somehow quite relatable as we remember desperate measures we’ve taken to ensure sleep!
4. Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear
Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear sounds like so many MMO-based isekai before it and yet manages to stand out. Not for its special Kuma Costume the main character Yuna can’t remove, but for how seriously it’s written into the show. Outlandish character reactions are replaced with confusion and anger at being forced to witness such a weird get-up. Even Yuna very seriously contemplates the limitations, powers, and reception of her armor. It is for sure overpowered which is funny because seeing a tough punk getting taken out with a ‘Kuma Punch’ is just great. But the true treasure is seeing Yuna’s determined face and hearing her tired sigh as another man berates her for her appearance in such dangerous settings.
3. Majo no Tabitabi (Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina)
Wandering Witch has many small stories within a larger narrative of Elaina trying to gain experience and see the world. The magic in the show is so beautifully illustrated that it’s like watching moving artwork. Elaina comes across many strange characters, spells, and lands as she moves from one unknown city to the next. The first few episodes of the show seemed to mount in depressing themes but thankfully, other episodes are sillier and more light-hearted. If you have a desire to see worlds outside of your own without getting too sucked into any one place, this is a great anime to watch.
2. Hanyou no Yashahime: Sengoku Otogizoushi (Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon)
A highly anticipated anime due to the success of its predecessor Inuyasha, Yashahime provides something for new and old fans alike. The nostalgia can be a double-edged sword as old characters are teased yet somehow missing from their children’s lives. New viewers won’t be missing much as Setsuna’s memory loss and Towa’s growing up in the current era before returning to the past put us on about the same page as them. Moroha is the most at home amongst this demon-filled world but her light-heartedness and confidence take some of the edge off the anime in a welcome way. These three competent half-demons face the danger and uncertainty of their world with unshakable resolve that makes you want to keep watching!
1. Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka III (Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? III)
Despite it being season 3, Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Expands on its original story well yet stays true to what longtime fans look for. Bell has drawn many people to his side with his abilities and his kindness, including a monster from the Dungeon named Wiene who can talk. Formerly, monsters vs. people was the most straight forward concept in the show as familias’ and gods’ relationships with each other were sometimes fleeting or misleading. As more of the dungeon gets explored, previously unknown possibilities come to light. It’s one of the more serious fantasies on our list with a fleshed-out world that will truly make you feel like you’re somewhere else.
We love new themes and concepts even when the fantasy genre itself is old. There’s something wonderful about a tried-and-true story with fresh characters or elements that show you a previously undiscovered world. Especially these days, it’s easy to find ourselves fantasizing over how things might be different. Let us know in the comments which fantasy world you’d most like to be in!