Let’s be real — isekai may come and go, but in the long run it’s here to stay. While one season may have fewer titles in the ever-growing genre, anime fans just really love stories about people traveling to other worlds. (Whether or not they have to die to do it is still at least somewhat up in the air.) When something flies this high for this long, though, it’s bound to get a bit samey.
Not so for these winter titles, however. All three of them feature protagonists traveling to another world. But in each case, they’ve managed to flip the script a bit. From day-tripping to a lucky spare to the rare double isekai, these shows are finding new ways to cross dimensions.
Sasaki and Peeps — Other-World Commuting
One of the big hooks of isekai as a genre is the doubled-edged nature of the other-world travel. Is it a blessing or a curse to find oneself in a fantasy world? Does our hero want to go home or start life anew? Can our hero go home? This is, however, not the concern of office worker Sasaki in Sasaki and Peeps. He can freely travel between his world and the world from which his new friend Peeps hails, and uses this power for business.
In fairness, Sasaki isn’t the first to do this. (We see you, Saving 80,000 Gold in Another World for My Retirement.) But it is much rarer to end up in this situation. However, this new winter anime shows that having the best of both worlds comes with its own stressors.
The Wrong Way to Use Healing Magic — Justice for the Tagalong
Usato of The Wrong Way to Use Healing Magic is one of a special breed: the extra surprise isekai traveler. Consider Aira in The Saint’s Magic Power Is Omnipotent, for instance. Being the accidental extra can be rough, especially if you can’t get home and don’t even have any good magic into the bargain. But just because Usato was an unintentional get, that doesn’t mean he’s not superpowered.
While classmates Suzune and Kazuki may be the “real” heroes, Usato has powerful green magic: healing magic. And before the first episode is even done, he’s been whisked away for some special training that frightens even the kingdom’s best and brightest. He has a hard road ahead, but light novel readers know it’s an impressive one.
Doctor Elise — The Double Isekai
One reincarnation not enough for you? Try two! Doctor Elise: The Royal Lady with the Lamp turns the genre on its head with a heroine who’s re-reincarnated. Master surgeon Aoi Takamoto is doing her most to save lives — partly because in her past life she was a wicked princess named Elise. But when Aoi dies, she finds herself back in her old life, ten years before her death! Better still, she has all the medical know-how of her other life.
With shades of Tearmoon Empire and that special redemptive vibe of certain isekai, Doctor Elise is a convoluted take on the genre, but an intriguing one. Newcomers and manhwa fans alike are taking to the series after just one episode, so our hopes are high for this sweet new series.
Need more magic? Say hello to this season’s miraculous anime pets!