Otaku USA Magazine
Three Ways to Kick off an Isekai Adventure (That You Should Not Try)

Isekai series

Isekai series are super popular right now, and it’s no surprise. Who wouldn’t want to leave school and work behind, start a new life as a daring hero, and marry a cute elf/catperson/demon? Even when the circumstances aren’t the best, or a wish is misheard, or you have to work your way up from the bottom, it’s still something.

Of course, getting there is the big issue. Some heroes get randomly teleported or find a convenient doorway they can use at their leisure. But more often than not, you’re looking at a one-way trip… or at least, a very unpleasant or unlikely one. Here are just a few ways that one can get their isekai life going… but we recommend not doing any of these.


Play Too Many Video Games

Ainz Ooal Gown of Overlord

We all need a break sometimes. Sometimes, we need a long break. And if you want to play Borderlands 3 for six hours straight, we’re the last ones who’ll stop you. But there’s a line. After too long you may wear yourself out, forget to eat, or just destroy your social life. Longer than that, and you may get the full isekai treatment.

Just ask Momonga of Overlord, who’s now a big (albeit powerful) skeleton-man because he wasn’t about to log out of his favorite game. Or game designer Ichiro of Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody, who ends up in the world of the game he works on after spending too much time working over the weekend. The good news? Gamers who get isekai‘d tend to maintain their stats.


Get Randomly Summoned as a Hero

The Rising of the Shield Hero

You’d think it would be kind of flattering to be a prophesied isekai hero, right? To appear from another dimension and be lauded as the savior of the land, given access to all the greatest weapons available, and fight for justice? Well, sure, but there’s a lot of expectation riding on that. And if you don’t live up to it, you might be in a world of hurt (which is a bummer if you don’t even know what you’re expected to do or how to do it).

Naofumi in The Rising of the Shield Hero learned that the hard way, getting pulled into another world with a trio of fighters from the first category and very little else. Granted he’s doing a lot better than he was when he started, but his early days as one of the Cardinal Heroes show that a mix of expectations and resources can take the shine off that pretty quickly. Unless you really are equipped from the get-go, it’s not going to be a hot start.



Didn't I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?

Again, we don’t recommend doing any of these if you can help it. But yes, this is probably the #1 isekai hero generator.

From Konosuba to Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life? to That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, Truck-kun sends person after person to fantasy afterlives. Sometimes, if you’ve been sufficiently heroic, you’ll get to make a wish on your way there. And sometimes — actually a lot of the time — it will go completely wrong. But look on the bright side: a lot of people have come a long way after their run-ins with Mack trucks.

If you’re looking to get away from it all, it might be easier to just pop on some tunes and plan a stay-cation… or think of some other isekai story starters that are a little less fraught with peril?

Kara Dennison

Kara Dennison is a writer, editor, and presenter with bylines at Crunchyroll, Sci-Fi Magazine, Sartorial Geek, and many others. Beyond the world of anime, she's a writer for Doctor Who expanded universe series including Iris Wildthyme and the City of the Saved, as well as an editor for the critically-acclaimed Black Archive series.