By now, we’re used to isekai anime following a very specific set of guidelines. The protagonist—usually a teenager or young adult—dies and is reincarnated into a different world. From here, the protagonist lives their new life in a world where magic exists and they are usually considered OP in comparison to everyone else. That or our protagonist is teleported to a world far removed from our own and is set on a mission to kill some powered-up demon king or evil enemy. Besides these common themes, the majority of isekai anime also seem to be set in fantasy worlds and we have come to a stark revelation. Maybe there’s a reason for that!
Fantasy… Yeah, it Works!
Right now, there are a multitude of anime that follow the same trend of being reincarnated or transported into a fantasy world and we won’t deny, we thought the theme would eventually get old. However, as we sat down and thought about it, we realized that fantasy world settings make more sense logically than other worlds.
In the world of No Game No Life, our main protagonists Shiro and Sora are teleported from their modern-day world to an almost fairytale-like world where games determine everything from where you live to how you live. Would you really want to be teleported into a world like this? It might be devoid of war and crime–unless you count cheating–but a world like this would just be strange and off-putting. To top that off, many of us don’t have the best luck at gambling games so if we played cards for a brand new home…we’d probably lose. Let us stay in the fantasy world setting, at least here we know some things are similar to our current existence!
Space… Not The Final Frontier
Space has always been a place mankind has dreamed of conquering. We see it in anime where Earthlings–or people like Earthlings–colonize asteroids and planets to make cities and sprawling metropolises but as cool as that idea is…would it work in an isekai setting? Take a spunky teenager and throw him/her into another world that is space-themed. Would they survive or, let alone, want to enjoy this new life? Isekai series have always kept the protagonist in a fantasy setting so they could grow accustomed to changing their lives slowly but comfortably. Sure, our hero from The Rising of the Shield Hero had some issues with this–thanks to him being the loathed Shield Hero–but he was able to get accustomed to eating in inns and sleeping on the road. Would a teenager be able to survive in a space world filled with giant changes and unrealistic ideas not seen in their world? Probably not and we don’t think an isekai anime would be that fun if set in space…just sounds too goofy.
Anime can be very immersive as it captures our attention and makes us relate to the main characters. Series like Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation or That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime might be quite unrealistic but they have MCs whose shoes we can picture ourselves in. Rudeus was bullied into becoming a shut-in and Satoru from Slime died without really getting to live a good life. These characters are relatable and give us viewers the ability to immerse ourselves in their new lives, even when one becomes a bit of a super pervert and the other is a literal slime monster. However, if an isekai was set in a world that is too far removed from what we’re accustomed to…could it still be immersive?
In our real-world history, the medieval period did exist long, long ago and that is what a lot of fantasy isekai are based on. Even if dragons didn’t really exist and there weren’t demon lords roaming about, we had people fighting with swords and trying to survive in harsh landscapes. We can see isekai protagonists like us because we can equally picture their worlds from themes we’ve seen in our own both past and present. Immersion would break horribly if a character was reincarnated in a world we can’t envision being similar to our own. This is why the fantasy setting needs to be done constantly for a good level of immersion that only isekai anime can deliver.
Isekai anime might have a very simple guideline set up most of the time but as we watch more of them, we realize this works best, oddly enough. We want to watch a protagonist live a new life far removed from the challenges we face in our current world and that is only achievable by having them sent into worlds similar to ours but still quite different. Do you readers agree with our logic here or have a different opinion? Comment below to let us know and for more thought-provoking articles keep stuck to our immersive hive here at Honey’s Anime!