We dive into fantasy anime—and fantasy in general—to escape from our everyday life. Stories of magic, far-off places, and strange creatures provide a respite from the modern world. But sometimes, a series can surprise you. And a show that has all the earmarks of a faraway land hits shockingly close to home.
Here’s a trio of new series that, despite their otherworldly setting, strike a familiar chord with us. Which ones have you seen? And which ones will you be trying out?
KamiKatsu: Working for God in a Godless World
Due to its repeated delays, spring fantasy anime KamiKatsu: Working for God in a Godless World is spilling over into the summer season. This strange offering is an isekai with… unique attributes. From its interesting artistic choices (see above) to its bizarre story arcs, KamiKatsu is absolutely ridiculous. But we can’t look away… especially since this world looks increasingly familiar, and for many reasons.
After being sacrificed by his cultist dad, Yukito wishes to be reborn in a world with no gods. He’s whisked away by Mitama, the god of his family’s cult, to just such a world. But in the absence of deities, a corrupt government has taken over. Yukito then invents religion, tying it to comfortable and attractive civilization to power Mitama up with followers. But the reasons for modernity expand beyond Mitama manifesting electricity and cars, as we find in a mid-season twist.
YOHANE THE PARHELION -SUNSHINE in the MIRROR-
The Love Live! franchise is leaping into the fantasy anime ring. But despite what the original art pieces may have conveyed, YOHANE THE PARHELION -SUNSHINE in the MIRROR- exists in a world shockingly similar to our own. There’s magic, there are talking animals, and there are outfits that would make great D&D character inspo. But the world of the show is more AU than high fantasy.
When we first encounter Yohane, she’s in a big city—skyscrapers, payphones, and cars—chasing her idol dreams. When she returns home, things settle into a more Ghibli worldbuilding style. It’s an interesting mix of inspirations. But where will it lead? We’ll have to keep watching and see what this alternate world holds for the girls of Aqours.
Level 1 Demon Lord & One Room Hero
When you talk about fantasy anime, heroes, and demon lords, the most modern thing you expect to see is a high-schooler who’s been isekai’d over. But in the case of Level 1 Demon Lord & One Room Hero, humanity has evolved. And these fantasy humans have evolved pretty much exactly as we have… to the point that Max, the hero turned shut-in, is almost indistinguishable from a modern real-world dude.
In the decade since the Demon Lord was defeated, the human kingdom has advanced considerably. Now, all of Max’s recent shame lives on the fantasy Internet, housed on fantasy YouTube. Fortunately, the Demon Lord is so intent on whipping his former rival back into shape that he’s willing to play babysitter for a bit.
Want something more hands-on? These mobile games are based on your favorite anime!