Isekai provides escapism from our own reality and daily lives opening our eyes to view and experience new worlds with varying gimmicks that separate one show from another. There is an oversaturation of generic fantasy worlds where the main protagonist is overpowered resulting in your average harem filled with every stereotypical waifu known to man. This inevitably results in the said show being forgotten and thrown into the dumpster alongside its fellow isekai trash clones. Trash aside, when an isekai manages to stand out and break the mold, it makes for an instant classic and fan-favorite.
Before delving deeper, here’s a quick question to be answered.“What is the “mold” for a generic isekai?”. To answer this, if you see genre tags like “overpowered”, “harem”, “fantasy”, and even “ecchi”, then odds are whatever anime you’re looking at is apart of the mold. This isn’t to say the show will be necessarily bad, it just won’t be standing out from the other ten isekai’s that released with it that same season with the same tags… and possibly the same looking protagonist on the show’s cover art…
The wonderful thing about the isekai genre is that it’s filled with great shows. Some of the great being Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World, KonoSuba, Overlord, The Devil is a Part-Timer!, and The Saga of Tanya the Evil. Some bad ones that fit the said “mold” include Isekai Cheat Magician, In Another World With My Smartphone, and the godforsaken Master of Ragnarok & Blesser of Einherjar; along with these, countless other forgettable piles of garbage sit inside the forgotten “average” zone.
Great isekai standout among the rest earning themselves a pedestal to sit upon. Whether it be from KonoSuba’s lovable cast of comedians creating a brilliant parody of the genre due to each protagonist having hilarious quirks that meld perfectly with one another further benefiting the show’s gags. Or maybe taking the protagonist and developing the character, not through flashy godlike powers and however many girls he has in his harem, but instead through real physical and mental struggles that clearly would break the mind of any mere mortal as seen in Re:Zero creating a grounded realism to a magical world. These standout gimmicks each great isekai utilizes results in memorable and entertaining shows that don’t sit by the mold of your average generic isekai.
Ultimately the genre is overflowing with more trash than a garbage dump can contain, but that doesn’t change the fact that the escapism and concept of being in another world is a wonderful thing that millions of otakus adore, including myself. It is thanks to these great shows that the isekai genre gets to flourish like it’s been doing for a majority of the last decade, and hopefully, the genre will continue to prosper as it expands its list of great shows, as well as its list of generic garbage.