Top 10 Isekai Manga [Best Recommendations]

Great fiction stories have a way of making the audience feel as if they have travelled to another world, metaphorically speaking. Isekai manga, however, literally has being transported to a parallel world as its major plot device. The genre has exploded in recent years, with web novels, light novels, anime and manga all flooding the market.

Fans have been quick to voraciously eat up new titles, which further encourages the trend to flourish. Seeing a character, not unlike readers themselves, put into a situation directly out of one’s wildest fantasies ups the immersion. We explore the top 10 Isekai manga that portray characters spirited away to other worlds.

10. Knight's & Magic

  • Mangaka: Amazake-no, Hisago
  • Genre: Mecha, Action, Fantasy
  • Volumes: 2
  • Published Date: 2016 – Ongoing

Reincarnated after his death, a mech otaku finds himself in a world where magical robot Silhouette Knights are the pinnacle of warfare. Now, Ernesti “Eru” Echevalier sets himself on a path to becoming a Knight Runner, one who pilots these machines, with his previous skills as a programmer aiding him in understanding magic. His cute, androgynous looks belying his maturity and prowess, Eru and his allies explore the world of magic as he proves himself in the trials of becoming the mech pilot he always dreamed to be.

If you’re going to die and be reincarnated, then having your lifelong fantasy come true like Eru is really the best way. Using his experience as a proficient coder gives him a powerful edge in manipulating magic, much to the astonishment of everyone around him. He’s so overwhelmed by his excitement that he rarely lets getting mistaken for a mere cute little kid bring him down. The manga has a light novel series that is at 7 volumes and going, as well as an anime scheduled for Summer 2017.


9. Kenja no Mago

  • Mangaka: Yoshioka, Tsuyoshi
  • Genre: Comedy, Action, Fantasy
  • Volumes: 3
  • Published Date: 2016 – Ongoing

After his untimely death in an accident in his previous world, newly reincarnated Shin Wolford is raised from a newborn by adoptive grandfather Merlin. Merlin, who is known as the heroic “Sage” demon slayer, quickly discovers Shin’s amazing prowess for magic. Merlin begins to train Shin to further his powers, but he quickly surpasses him and begins to grow restless. In the hopes that he will discover his own path in life, Merlin brings the sheltered Shin to the outside world and enrolls him in a prestigious magical academy.

Due to a sheltered upbringing, Shin knows nothing about the outside world. Most of the situations he finds himself in are because he has been used to performing magic at a level that is unheard of in this world, to the astonishment of those around him. Very quickly, he discovers that the skills he uses and items he creates could change the fate of the world. The manga repeatedly makes fun of his embarrassment at being lauded as a messiah for doing what he considers mundane. He also believes that magicians suffer from a case of “chuunibyou” given that their incantations are so lengthy, while his are silent. Although there are some serious moments, the way Shin interacts with his classmates is usually comical, making it a more casual Isekai manga to read.


8. Tsuki ga Michibiku Isekai Douchuu

  • Mangaka: Azumi, Kei
  • Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
  • Volumes: 2
  • Published Date: 2015 – Ongoing

Due to an agreement between his parents and a fickle goddess, high school student Misumi Makoto is sent to another world to fulfill a contract. She, however, finds him “hideous” according to her standards of beauty, and quickly banishes him to a region of the world designated for monsters. A benevolent god, Tsukiyomi, grants Makoto his power in order to survive and prosper in the harsh environment. There, Misumi encounters strong allies and foes on his journey to explore the world and make sense of his being there.

Misumi has a pretty rough start for a protagonist of an Isekai manga. It’s one thing to be sent to another world, but to be constantly insulted upon being brought there is another thing! He, however, is strong enough both physically and emotionally to deal with the strife in this new world. Very quickly, others discover just how overpowered he is and come to respect and follow him. The protagonist quickly turns a bad situation into a great opportunity in this Isekai manga.


7. Arifureta Shokugyou de Sekai Saikyou

  • Mangaka: Hakumai, Ryou
  • Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Action
  • Volumes: 1
  • Published Date: 2016 – Ongoing

Nagumo Hajime was ridiculed by his classmates for being weak and unmotivated. When his entire classroom was summoned as heroes to save a fantasy world, little changed in the pecking order as his abilities were judged to be mediocre at best. At the first sign of trouble, Nagumo was betrayed and left to die in a perilous dungeon. Now, abandoned to die, he struggles to survive, and in the process becomes something unrecognizable from what he once was.

Arifureta is based on a web novel series with a very dark theme. The few allies Nagumo had in class are separated from him, and he has to embrace his lone wolf nature to overcome dangerous beasts and traps laid out in the dungeon. Through his tenacious nature, he surpasses his limits and trudges on. While the manga is slower, as it is faithful to the adaptation, the content is drawn with the utmost detail. Readers seeking a more exciting action read with fewer, but more impactful plot details sprinkled in, will enjoy this series.


6. The King of Darkness Another World Story: Slave Magic (Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu)

  • Mangaka: Murasaki, Yukiya
  • Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Ecchi
  • Volumes: 4
  • Published Date: 2015 – Ongoing

Called the “Demon King” by other players in the MMORPG Cross Reverie due to his skill in the game, Sakamoto Takuma suddenly finds himself summoned into its world. There he finds two girls, an elf named Shera, and the cat-eared Rem, fighting over who will be the slave master of their newly summoned beast. Their level being much lower than his allows for the magic to be reflected, and the two are made into his slaves instead. Now, Sakamoto must keep up appearances as a demon lord with two slaves in this realistic game world.

While his character was indeed a powerful demon lord in the game, he himself is a normal person. He finds himself roleplaying to maintain appearances, with his internal monologue often cringing or screaming due to his situations. Demons are, after all, a frightening existence in this world, so his ownership of the two girls is met with misunderstandings. The two are trying to figure out how to break the spell, while he himself is trying to figure out what brought him there. A lot of the manga deals with the ecchi entanglements he gets into with them, as well as fights caused by him being the demon lord. If you want to see a main character putting on their best poker face in an awkward situation, this series is a good read.


5. Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody (Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku)

  • Mangaka: Ainana, Hiro
  • Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Harem
  • Volumes: 4
  • Published Date: 2014 – Ongoing

Suzuki Ichirou is a programmer currently working himself to death code crunching on a popular game called War Worlds. He suddenly finds himself transported into the game, and is thrust into a life or death situation. He manages to use his knowledge of the game to kill a vast number of powerful enemies at once, instantly raising his stats to become one of the most powerful beings in this game world come to life. Upon exploring various aspects of the world’s culture, he seeks to right social injustice, all while uncovering the reason for his being there and a way to return.

Suzuki is a very pragmatic character who seeks to solve things based on his knowledge of how the game works from his time developing it. He also finds that his attributes affect his real life body and consciousness, versus just being numbers in a menu. As he attempts to stay under the radar based on his high level stats, he quickly becomes the associate of several female characters. A harem develops around him, and he finds himself being a caretaker for outcasts as well as using his wits to understand the world. If you want to see a character who thinks his way out of situations, but isn’t averse to fighting his way through enemies, Death March is a good manga for that. An anime adaptation is also currently being planned, so now is the perfect chance to check this series out.


4. Overlord

  • Mangaka: Maruyama, Kugane
  • Genre: Action, Game, Fantasy
  • Volumes: 7
  • Published Date: 2014 – Ongoing

Main character Momonga is logged into his long-time favorite MMORPG, Yggdrasil Online. The game has reached its end, and he decides to spend its last few hours reminiscing in his guild’s castle about their many accomplishments within the game. As the clock ticks past the time the game should have shut down, Momonga realizes that not only is he still his character, but the world is more real than the game itself. Surrounded by a host of NPC subordinates and minions turned real, Momonga must go from average gamer to Overlord in this fantasy world come to life.

Whereas other stories have shown us characters traveling to game worlds and becoming a hero, Overlord has a refreshing spin on this trope. Momonga is a Lich King, a skeleton boss that lords over a horde of demonic spawn. While he is not overly malicious, he is by no means altruistic. The actions he takes always seek to benefit himself and his Ainz Ooal Gown guild. Not being bound by the restrictions of being a hero lends to an exciting story as we witness Momonga’s search for answers and world conquest. This manga has an ongoing light novel series at 11 volumes and the anime adaptation has a 2nd season scheduled. It’s definitely an exciting series that warrants your attention.


3. Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation (Mushoku Tensei: Isekai Ittara Honki Dasu)

  • Mangaka: Rifujin na Magonote
  • Genre: Action, Fantasy, Harem
  • Volumes: 6
  • Published Date: 2014 – Ongoing

Abandoned by his family, who is tired of him sponging off them, the main character dies attempting to make something of his worthless life by saving a girl about to be run over. After his death, he is then reincarnated into another world, and is surprised to discover it is filled with magic. Now as the young child, Rudeus Greyrat, he sets upon a path to become a mage and make the most of his new life while avoiding the mistakes of his past.

Mushoku Tensei follows Rudeus’ beginning from childhood as he makes crucial choices in his life. He often surprises characters with his maturity and understanding, the benefits of his previous life’s knowledge. As he ages slowly throughout the story, his powers grow and new plot elements open up. Originally based on a now completed web novel, the manga series follows closely. Readers seeking to see how a character searches for their own redemption will enjoy seeing how a more mature person tries to affect their world starting as a child in this Isekai manga.


2. Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- Chapter 1: A Day in the Capital (Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu: Dai-1 Shou - Outo no Ichinichi-hen)

  • Mangaka: Nagatsuki, Tappei
  • Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Romance
  • Volumes: 2
  • Published Date: 2014 – 2015

Natsuki Subaru was your average gaming recluse, until he was transported to another world on his way home from a convenience store trip. Thrust into a world full of animal people, beast drawn carriages, and magic, his lack of awareness makes him a prime target for thugs. Rescued by the mysterious beauty, Emilia, he becomes indebted to her, and seeks to assist her in reclaiming an item stolen from her. Unfortunately, the two of them are murdered in the pursuit, thus ending Subaru’s story… Or so he thought. He discovers that death allows him to repeat previous events, and now he seeks to change his and Emilia’s fate.

Re:ZERO is an incredibly popular series, with a two cour anime series and 12 volumes of a light novel series on shelves. Even though there are only two manga volumes, this is only the initial chapter in the story. There are two sequel manga that continue the series, the last of which is still ongoing. Due to Subaru’s strange power, events rarely unfold as expected. Death follows him at every turn, and the crime and mystery vibe mixed in with romance and fantasy is a welcome freshness from the genre.


1. The Rising of the Shield Hero: The Manga Companion (Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari)

  • Mangaka: Aneko, Yusagi
  • Genre: Fantasy, Seinen, Drama
  • Volumes: 8
  • Published Date: 2014 – Ongoing

Iwatani Naofumi is summoned to become the Shield Hero, one of four heroes called forth to save the world from destruction. A shield being a defensive weapon, he is ridiculed as being weak and cowardly without being given a fair chance. On his 3rd day in the world, he is framed and betrayed in a shocking turn of events. Labeled an outcast by the kingdom and shunned by his fellow heroes, Naofumi is left alone in an unfamiliar world. His only choice for survival is to grind alone to increase his powers, until he purchases the slave beast girl Raphtalia to aid him. Set upon a dark, lonely journey, Naofumi quests alone with the hatred of an entire world upon him, even though it desperately requires his help.

The summoned hero theme is a common trend in Isekai manga, but the way Shield Hero explores it is unique and exciting. Naofumi goes from the typical hopeful and eager manga protagonist to a dark, pessimistic, and tortured individual. He is shaped by the resentment he is met with in this world, and only a handful of allies will even assist him. His power grows, and his true purpose reveals itself slowly over time. With a completed web novel and 17 volumes of its ongoing light novel, this popular series provides an unorthodox look at the dark side of human nature in a fantasy setting.


Final Thoughts

Being sent to another world can sometimes be either a blessing or a curse. The heroes we identify with being transplanted from normal, mundane lives to extraordinary ones provide an exciting spice to manga storytelling. Do you have any favorite Isekai manga? Do you hate something on this list or think another manga belongs here? Let us know in the comments, we’d love to read them!

Hercule SSJ

Writer

Author: Hercule SSJ

What happens when you give a Crunchyroll trial to a former Toonami kid who hasn't watched anime since Cowboy Bebop got dubbed? You get Hercule SSJ. Thanks to that, he's spent the last two years catching up on dozens of shows and manga he's neglected over the years. Has probably watched 60% of all harem ecchi in existence. Currently seeking series to fill the void left by Konosuba and One-Punch Man. Accepts NisiOisiN quotes as payment.

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