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We’ve arrived at the midpoint of the 2019 anime season and we now have some time to look back at some of the show we discussed in the isekai genre. There were three anime series that we wrote first impressions about and now that those shows have either ended or entered their long breaks—one in particular won’t be back till possibly the end of the year—we can see if our original thoughts on these shows were solid or if they ended up being just down right horrible. The following shows we aren’t going to review—at least not here—but will instead just reflect if we were too hasty in saying these titles could be great or average. Time to see our past decisions in an article we’ve titled Expectation Vs. Reality: How Isekai Anime in 2019 Faired! Note, these aren’t all the isekai shows that aired but some of the heavy hitters in the genre.
1. Sword Art Online: Alicization Arc (Season 3)
- Genres: Action, Game, Fantasy, Sci-fi, Isekai
- Air Date: October 7 2018
“Where… is this…?”
Once he opens his eyes, Kirito realizes that he has done a full dive into a fantasy-looking virtual world. While he is uncertain about his memories that he had right before he logged in, he begins to roam about looking for a clue.
Finally arriving at the base of a massive black tree called Gigas Cedar, Kirito meets one single young boy. “I’m Eugeo. Nice to meet you Kirito.” Even though this boy is an NPC within this fantasy world, he has the same range and depth of emotions that humans have.
While deepening his friendship with Eugeo, Kirito is searching for a way to logout of this world. All the while, a certain memory begins to slowly return from the depths of his mind. That memory is of Kirito and Eugeo during their childhood, running about hills and fields––––the problem is that this is not a memory that originally existed. Furthermore, in that memory, there was the figure of a young girl with blonde hair together with Kirito and Eugeo.
Her name is Alice.
Her name is something that he must remember at all costs––
What We Got:
Following the events of season 2 of Sword Art Online, all seem relatively quiet for Kirito and his friends. Kirito is now focused on school and his future rather than saving online worlds or those in danger of dying in a virtual landscape. As a side project, Kirito has been assisting Kikuoka with a new virtual project that aims to deliver a new experience of VR existence by inserting real-world souls into a virtual world. Unfortunately, things take a turn for the worst when Kirito and Asuna are attacked by an old enemy and Kirito is stabbed by some unknown poison. When our hero of Aincrad awakens, he finds himself not in the real world anymore but a fantasy themed world that seems more real than even Sword Art Online was! What will happen to Kirito and can he find a way back home?
Our original thoughts with Sword Art Online were quite realistic. Despite Sword Art Online’s huge popularity we’ve always had mixed feelings with the series due in large part to its high number of clichés, reused tricks and often mind-boggling story elements that go one way to another with extreme haste. While not perfect, Sword Art Online: Alicization actually turned out pretty darn good! There were many moments we groaned out loud when Kirito would find a new possible girl to love or when he pulled off his award winning—insert sarcasm here—saving graces out of thin air. Yet, Sword Art Online: Alicization relied a lot less on old tropes and pulled off some new tricks that pleased us here at Honey’s Anime. Eugeo and Kirito’s relationship really stole the show though feeling genuine and honest which hasn’t really been seen in Sword Art Online. With some truly great moments—and some truly sad ones too—Sword Art Online: Alicization was a solid season and we get to see how the second half of it fairs possibly by the end of the year or before.
Sword Art Online: Alicization Arc (Season 3) Official PV
2. Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari
- Genres: Fantasy, Adventure, Isekai
- Air Date: January 9 2019
His dignity, honor, money, objective…
The hero of the shield had lost everything. What awaits him as he rises from the depths of his despair?
What We Got:
Naofumi Iwatani has enjoyed what seemed like a simple—albeit—boring life so far but has few complaints. A world changing event occurs for Naofumi when he picks up a strange book that whisks him away to an unfamiliar land alongside several others. The four strangers learn they have been summoned as heroes each representing a powerful weapon with legendary status. Naofumi at first is taken aback with surprise and glee at this rather strange turn of events but soon learns he is given the worst weapon…the shield. Now as the Shield Hero, Naofumi learns he is unable to attack and soon realizes is considered the weakest of all the heroes! While Naofumi broods on this reality he doesn’t yet realize that life plans on giving him even worse trials as he begins his journey in this foreign place.
When you think of isekai anime you probably go into the same mindset as us and many anime viewers. Isekai has always suffered from tropes that tend to repeat as if on a constant loop you can’t ever stop. Thankfully, Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari has performed a surprising move and has become easily one of the best isekai we’ve seen in some time! Filled with varying emotions and relying less on isekai themes and more on MMORPG concepts, Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari has become the prime example of how to take a reused style and make it your own! Currently, Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari is still going on—currently at episode 17—but we doubt with every fiber of our being that this show will fail to deliver a spectacular season. Our thoughts were pretty spot on with Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari its been good from our first impressions and still is.
Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari Official PV
3. Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken
- Genres: Isekai, Fantasy
- Air Date: October 2 2018
'My life as a slime has begun.'
Before he can realize it, salaryman Satoru Mikami is reincarnated in another world. However, the form he takes on is a slime. He befriends a magical being and freely using the skills he's acquired, the story of a slime who solves various problems begins now.
What We Got:
Satoru Mikami is an almost 40-year-old male who—despite his best attempts—is single still and lives the life of a bachelor. Despite the harsh love life Satoru has, he continued trying his best until an incident changed his life for him. Protect his friend Tamura from a killer, Satoru dies and finds himself drifting in a strange realm. Satoru reawakens not in his original body but in something soft and foreign. Satoru realizes he has been reincarnated and has become a slime monster! At first this new body—or lack of one—scares him but soon he realizes that with his will power and special abilities, Satoru isn’t a normal slime but something much more! Forgoing his old existence, Satoru gets a new name—Rimuru—and readies himself for a new life as a slime!
Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken was another isekai that when we first heard of it our eyes rolled in annoyance. The isekai genre has been done so many different ways now but always ends up becoming the same style of story over and over again. Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken however seems to take pride in the isekai we know and tolerate and runs wild with the genre. Instead of trying so hard to be different, Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken relishes on keeping isekai themes at the fore front of the story but makes it almost laughable as comedy melds perfectly with fantasy. Watching Rimuru parade around beautiful women in a body that is just gel makes us laugh and when he learns some new power by literally absorbing it into his body we smile waiting to see how things will turn out from there. Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken is a fun anime series that from start to finish realizes the problems with the genre and never corrects them but makes light of them instead. We have recommended non-isekai fans Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken and have noticed many actually love the show after the first few episodes! Definitely try it out or read our review, to see if Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken might change your mind on isekai anime.
Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken Official PV
All in all, we are pretty happy that our original thoughts matched up almost perfectly with the reality of these series. It shows that instead of becoming jaded anime viewers, we still can appreciate shows even if they sometimes miss the mark or don’t start off with the best first few episodes. Did you guys and girls find some shows that you initially liked this season turning worse or possibly better as they finished? Comment below to tell us and see if your thoughts aligned with ours! For similar articles to this one and for reviews on these shows be sure to keep stuck to our hive here at Honey’s Anime!