2020 ended—thankfully—and with it, we leave behind a year of…annoyance and also a year of some amazing anime. The isekai genre in general had an amazing year with a slew of amazing titles like Re: Zero Season 2 and Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld 2nd Season. However, we here at Honey’s Anime would love to focus on several more isekai that truly were the best of the year. These series will make you wish you’d transport to another world or at the very least, get to visit for an interesting experience. It’s time to see which isekai took our top 5 spots in 2020!
5. 100-man no Inochi no Ue ni Ore wa Tatteiru (I’m Standing on a Million Lives)
Isekai are notorious for throwing young students into death filled games in order to survive various monsters and overcome overwhelming trials! I’m Standing on a Million Lives does the same but adds a new challenge for our three summoned heroes. Not only must they do battle against nightmarish monsters but also protect their world from a possible otherworldly invading force!
I’m Standing on a Million Lives isn’t the most original isekai in the grand scheme of things but it does just enough differently to warrant some attention. We loved the darker themes in it and liked how the cast weren’t your typical isekai heroes/heroines. I’m Standing on a Million lives deserves a bit of love and isekai fans should give it a try as it was one of the better isekai of 2020!
4. Hachinan tte, Sore wa Nai deshou! (The 8th son? Are you Kidding me?)
How many of us desire a change in our lives? The beauty of the isekai genre is we otaku get to see an anime normal soul be reborn into a stronger body and usually given OP skills. The 8th Son? Are You Kidding me? changes the formula we’re akin to but in a silly and intriguing way.
The 8th Son main man Shingo Ichinomiya wakes up in a new world very different than his busy company-man life. Now inhabiting the body of Wendelin Von Benno Baumeister, Shingo must take his new pauper-like existence from unfortunate soul to rich and powerful like he did in his previous life. The 8th son fuses action/fantasy quite well and gives us a magical isekai that was a highlight of 2020. The 8th Son didn’t get a lot of love in the anime community but we here at Honey’s Anime think it was a solid isekai that deserves a chance!
3. Kami-tachi ni Hirowareta Otoko (By the Grace of the Gods)
In most adventure games we’re taught that slimes are our enemies and must be bashed in to level us up and give us much-needed entry-level experience. By the Grace of Gods took that gaming/anime trope and flipped it upside down to create a cute isekai that many didn’t even hear of in 2020!
By the Grace of the Gods focuses on Ryouma Takebayashi, who has been resurrected from a horrible past life and given a peaceful existence taking care of slime monsters. However, Ryouma must remove himself from his new peaceful life to go on a grand adventure when he brings aid to several soldiers who beg for his assistance on their mission. By the Grace of the Gods was a fun slice of life anime that had a nice hodgepodge of themes to try and distance itself from the usual isekai ideals. We honestly enjoyed this wonderful isekai and think those who need a break from more aggressive isekai will no doubt want to watch By the Grace of the Gods!
2. Itai no wa Iya nano de Bougyoryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu. (BOFURI: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, so I’ll Max Out My Defense)
What stats in MMOs do you care about? Are you a die-hard warrior who maxes out his/her strength stat or do you prefer the sneaky approach and increase your agility stat? The world of MMOs allows for the player to live their lives vicariously through an avatar that they can mold and make into their ultimate warriors. In the case of Maple, who only has New World Online, she wants to enjoy this new VRMMO without any feeling of danger and thus she pumps her stat points into vitality to become a literal tank that takes almost no damage but can barely do much more than stand still and be a shield.
BOFURI isn’t trying to be another reincarnated and/or resurrection-focused story like most isekai anime but we loved the fun theme, colorful animation, and silly take on MMOs. BOFURI’s cast of cute anime girls is a plus but we really enjoyed Maple and her struggle to make a literal tank-like character come across as a vital teammate who could save any bad situation. BOFURI needs to be watched by all isekai fans and if you somehow missed out on it, check it out on Crunchyroll when you can!
1. Otome Game no Hametsu Flag shika Nai Akuyaku Reijou ni Tensei shiteshimatta…(My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!)
The biggest problem with isekai—at least most of the time—is that the stories can be quite predictable and mal-oriented. Rarely do we step into the shoes of a woman who has died and been reincarnated into a new world. That trope is shattered most recently in So I’m a Spider, So What? but before that, we had in 2020 a fun isekai that didn’t get enough love despite being one of the better series of last year!
My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! focuses on a girl who met an untimely demise and was reincarnated inside a game she used to love. Unfortunately, this poor girl has found herself as the game’s main antagonist Katarina Claes and now must use her knowledge of the game to avoid meeting yet another death!
My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! walks a nice line between dramatic comedy and romance to really make for a fun isekai that was overshadowed by the dozen other isekai that released in 2020. If you want an otome-like isekai—which is definitely a unique idea—then you’re going to want to check out this hidden gem of 2020.
2021 already has shown that the isekai genre hasn’t stopped gaining popularity and there are already a plethora of new shows like So I’m a Spider, So What? and Jobless Reincarnation which are shaping up to be solid series.
Are you enjoying any new isekai? and, which ones did you like from 2020? Let us hear from you amazing readers in the comments below! For even more top 5 lists and other anime-themed articles, keep stuck to our isekai loving hive here at Honey’s Anime!