Welcome to my post on isekai manga recommendations.
Soooo, what better way to top off my post on ‘What is Isekai Manga?’ than a post recommending isekai manga?（=´∇｀=）
Related post: What is Isekai Manga?
Like I mentioned in my last post, due to the overuse of the isekai trope in manga, light novels, and in anime I’ve not been following isekai releases as closely as I did previously. However, I’ve read enough in the past when the genre was at the height of its popularity so I can give a pretty comprehensive list even though I haven’t been following the latest titles.
You may see some familiar anime adaptations in this list and that is to be expected. Most isekai manga are based of the light novel of the same name so it is no surprise that the anime and manga will run co-currently.
With this in mind, I do suggest reading all THREE of the series’ mediums (anime, manga, and light novel) to get a 360 degree feel of the story proper. So in a sense, this list is also suggesting titles that can be read and watched, so your welcome in advance ∩(︶▽︶)∩ you have some anime recommendations to watch as well.
So sit back and relax while I list of my 5 isekai manga (and anime) recommendations.
The Saga of Tanya the Evil (Youjo Senki)
Let’s start off this list with a series where how the protagonist ends up in the other world has little effect on his actions in the present.
An unnamed atheist, a Japanese salaryman who was murdered by a disgruntled ex-colleague fired due to poor performance at work meets an entity (whom the man calls ‘being X’) who has the ability to stop time. Dismayed by the man’s lack of faith, the entity punishes him by making him reincarnate in the body of an orphaned girl, Tanya Degurechaff, in a world similar to WWI or WWII Europe where besides guns and weapons of war, there is magic involved. Being X also stipulates that if Tanya does not die a normal death or does not develop faith in Him, her soul will never reincarnate and be sent straight to the depths of hell. Tanya is having none of this not-reincarnating nonsense so she decides to rise through the ranks of the military so that she will be as far away from the battlefield as possible. With her analytical mind gained from her previous life, Tanya will not let anyone stand in the way of her goals, even going so far as killing them to ensure that.
I enjoyed this series very much because the isekai element wasn’t as blatant as other series. Very rarely does Tanya talk about how she ended up in this WW1/WW2-esque world simply because she doesn’t believe in such things. It’s honestly one of the more interesting premises in an isekai series albeit a little too vague at times.
However, there is no denying that Youjo Senki is anything but a walk in the park isekai. It’s exciting to read not just because of the action sequences and psychological breakdowns of some characters but also because of the amount of scheming that goes on in Tanya’s head. For a little girl, she’s pretty terrifying especially when we as the reader know that a grown man is inside that little girl’s body, living her life like is was his own.
In all, Youjo Senki is a pretty non-mainstream isekai that can break some of the conundrum that recent isekai series have been putting out lately.
Ever wonder what it would be like to have major historical figures in military history gather at the same place?
Drifters tell the story Shimazu Toyohisa who disappeared at the Battle of Sekigahara and ended up in another world full of elves, dragons, giants, dwarfs, and the like. He is not the only person from Earth there, however, as he finds himself surrounded by warriors from all ages, from the great Hannibal Barca to Yamaguchi Tamon. This world is at war with another group of warriors from history, The Ends, who wish to destroy everything in their path. Toyohisa and the other warriors who are not part of The Ends must work with the native population in order to survive in this strange world.
This series is an incredibly exciting one, full of action and adventure. We have our favourite figures from history duking it out with other figures from history (The Ends) in addition to fighting dragons and giants. As of now, the reason why these ‘heroes’ were summoned to this world is still kind of a mystery that is yet to be revealed but I can say that the dynamics in the current storyline is engaging enough that this plot hole isn’t too much of a concern for now…at least for me.
In addition, this series has decided to go back to the original shounen protagonist trope — OP fighter and a glutton. In the context of this series, the trope suits the atmosphere well as a great fighter like Toyohisa is an invaluable resource to those he is serving and especially if the ones you are serving are infamous strategists.
So if you’re looking for a series that will keep you on the edge of your seat, give Drifters a shot.
That Time I Got Reincarnated Into A Slime (Tensei Shitara Suraimu Datta Ken)
Y’all know this was coming o(〃＾▽＾〃)o
With an anime adaptation that is insanely popular, how could I not mention this series?
Mikami Satoru, an average office worker, finds himself dead after being stabbed to death by a slasher. He suddenly finds himself reincarnated as a slime with an ability called predator which can devour other creatures and absorb their abilities. He makes friends with some dragon called Veldora so the slime, now known as Rimuru Tempest decides to help Veldora free his seal and so begins the adventures of the slime.
This is one of the rare isekai series where the protagonist finds himself reincarnated into a different species altogether. It’s a pretty interesting premise to go by since our slime buddy here has to readjust to life as a slime.
Although our slime friend looks useless, he is pretty intelligent and dare I say, charming o(^◇^)o The plot is just a simple one but the characters make it so worthwhile, it’s a series that fans should give a try if given the chance to.
The Rising of the Shield Hero (Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari)
Yet another series that is insanely popular and very much beloved by the fans.
Iwatani Naofumi is a university student who was summoned into a world where he and other young men of parallel worlds are chosen to be heroes to fight these monsters called Waves. He is given a shield as his only equipement while the other dudes got weapons and while the other dudes got a pretty good start to their heroing. Naofumi is framed by the kingdom’s princess for sexual assault and is shunned by the people. Now a jaded and mistrustful person, Naofumi must now train as a hero while saving the people who now hate him in the process.
I must say, for an isekai that looks cliche, it is anything but. We have a hero that is more human than we think, for one unlucky event caused Naofumi to turn from an easygoing person to one that couldn’t be bothered to help you unless you could prove your worth to him. As much as we wouldn’t like to admit, who wouldn’t have this attitude after something like that?
Being a hero is no joke, especially when you and your fellow heroes would rather fight each other than save the people they were meant to save. Again, it’s a very human thing and the series spends a lot of time looking at this human side of fantasy, world-saving, questing stuff that we find in the games we play and the fantasy anime we read.
Shield Hero is a very emotionally in-depth series about human nature and while it can grate on people’s nerves, this is what it would be like if regular people from our world suddenly became world-savers, with no prior experience in combat and tactics whatsoever.
Accomplishments of the Duke’s Daughter (Koushaku Reijou no Tashinami)
For all the girls out there, what about being reincarnated into your favourite otome game?
Otome game = a dating sim specifically targeted at the female audience
Our nameless protagonist, an office lady gets hit by a truck on her way home and wakes up in the otome game she had been playing before her passing as the villain, Iris. In her new body, she manages to avoid the fate of getting sent to a nunnery and decides to change her ‘character’ for the better using the knowledge that she has from her previous life.
As someone who does play otome games, this title was pretty enticing and upon reading it, it did bring to light a few things I never noticed while playing the games myself.
The villains in these kinds of games are more or less pretty sad people who just want to be happy so it’s not surprising that we become a little sympathetic to them…or least I am once I started reading this manga. It’s amazing how people can change just by thinking a little more before you blurt out things you will regret.
As of now, this series is more focused on Iris making her feif better for the inhabitants and it’s really nice to see a reformed villain do her best to improve the lives of others which is something we don’t expect from a villain at all!
Unlike all the titles I’ve listed on this list, this one doesn’t have an anime adaptation so you can only read the manga and light novel as of now.
So that sums up my list of isekai manga recommendations. Although not all of them have anime adaptations, I think reading the manga will just as entertaining. Some of these are pretty popular so if you are new to the genre, it’s highly recommended that you start with the series on this list so that you’ll have something to talk to your anime/manga-loving friends about since this genre is trending right now.
If you have anything to say about my suggestions, feels free to comment down below, I’d love to hear it 🙂