What is Isekai?
Isekai is a popular genre in Japanese media in which a person, in some way or form, travels to a different world, often magical.
What are the requirements for something to be considered isekai?
The main character(s) end up in a different world. That’s it. They might travel there through a portal or summoning, be reborn (usually the age they were in their original world), or have their soul transported to a new vessel, that isn’t necessarily human, just to name a few examples.
Does being trapped in a video game count as isekai?
Personally, I’d say it counts, but the line can be really hazy. If the NPCs have a will of their own, I would count it, if they don’t, it’s not really a different world to me. But others may take it as being in another world.
Does Isekai have to be Japanese to count as isekai?
Okay, this is a really good question. It really depends from person to person. By basic definition, Alice in Wonderland and Narnia both count as isekai, but not if you decide that it’s only Japanese. But what about Japanese inspired media? If you remove the “has to be Japanese” they can count, if not they don’t. “Has to be Japanese-ish” is a really questionable requirement, but if you choose that, that’s on you.
Titles in chronological order
I’ve put this in chronological order based on year then alphabetical (with the titles in their original language), rather than alphabetical because people seem to have trouble understanding that isekai isn’t a new genre in any way. The “rules” for isekai do vary over time, but the basics remain.
This list is a continuous work in progress. If you notice titles missing, poke me on Twitter. I’ll add things as I can. Also, I haven’t read/watched/played all these titles, do let me know if some of them don’t count.
This list includes
- Being reborn into a different world
- Being transferred to a different world
- Getting stuck into a fictional world
- Novels/light novels
- Non-Japanese titles
It doesn’t include
- Sequel season (“season 2”, “part 2”, “2”, something to distinguish season A from B, etc)
- 18+ titles
It’s colour coded, to make it easier for everyone.
Light Novel (Series)
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865)
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950)
The Chrestomanci Chronicles (1977)
Fushigi Yuugi (1992)
Magic Knight Rayearth (1993)
Magic Knight Rayearth (1994)
Fushigi Yuugi (1995)
His Dark Material trilogy (1995)
The Vision of Escaflowne (1996)
Deep Secret (1997)
Spririted Away (2001)
The Merlin Conspiracy (2003)
Harukanaru Toki no Naka de (2004)
Kyou Kara Maoh (2004)
Sword Art Online (2009)
Dog Days (2011)
Log Horizon (2012)
Log Horizon (2013)
No Game No Life (2014)
Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! (2016)
Re:Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu (2016)
Isekai wa Smartphone to Tomo ni (2017)
Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku (2018)
Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu (2018)
Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken (2018)
Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari (2019)
This is currently just a small collection. It’ll get bigger with time.