Isekai is a popular genre choice in Japan that focuses on a protagonist who is transported into another world.
In most cases, you will find that these stories focus on characters who have been transported into a fantasy world after they die.
If you’ve seen any anime recently, you’ll know that new additions to the genre are often regularly being made.
However, while there are many anime adaptations of Isekai light novels, there are fewer recommendations for Isekai manga. That’s not to say they aren’t popular.
In fact, Isekai manga has been getting just as popular as light novels. Here are some of our recommendations if you’re looking for some of the best Isekai manga available.
Re:Zero -Starting Life In Another World-
While most fans are familiar with Re:Zero as a light novel series, the first three arcs of the series have been adapted into different manga series starting in 2014.
All of these manga have different artists, but they’re all written by the original creator Tappei Nagatsuki.
Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World- is illustrated by Daichi Matsuse and Makoto Fugetsu.
If you’ve never read the manga before, you may recognize Re:Zero for its anime, which was highly praised, being nominated for Anime of the Year at the 1st Crunchyroll Anime Awards, and winning at the 2017 Sugoi Japan Awards, and the 2015/16 Newtype Anime Awards.
Re:Zero has been praised for providing a fresh take on the Isekai genre and its characterization.
The series focuses on Subaru Natsuki, a NEET summoned to a fantasy world and almost immediately killed.
However, instead of permanently dying, he can reset when he comes back after dying.
It’s an interesting take, as Subaru is the only one who remembers what happens before he uses his powers.
Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation
Originally written as a light novel series by Rifujin na Magonote, it was adapted for a manga series in May 2014 by Yuka Fujikawa. However, the character designs were done by Sirotaka.
It was published in the monthly manga magazine Monthly Comic Flapper and has since then been collected into 17 volumes.
Since it’s been published, it also has a few spin-off mangas, such as Roxy Gets Serious, which was illustrated by Shoko Iwami and began in 2017.
I’ll Be Serious, Even in 4-Koma, was published from October 2018 to August 2020 with art from Nogiwa Kaede.
In 2021, a manga series illustrated by Kazusa Yoneda titled the Depressed Magician Arc came out as an adaptation of the seventh light novel.
Alongside this, the most recent spin-off is Eris Seriously Sharpen Her Fangs which began in 2022.
Mushoku Tensei follows the story of a 34-year-old NEET who is kicked out following his parents’ deaths and dies, saving a teenager from getting hit by a truck.
In this world, he is reborn in a fantasy world where he teaches himself magic to become successful in his new life.
Ascendance Of A Bookworm
Originally written as a light novel by Miya Kazuki in 2013, it eventually became adapted into a manga starting in 2015. As of 2022, four parts of the manga have been published.
However, unlike other Isekai that are classed as seinen manga, this one follows a shojo storyline. Each of the manga is illustrated by a different artist.
The first two parts were illustrated by Suzuka, with the third part by Ryo Namino. As of 2020, the fourth part of the manga was illustrated by Hikaru Katsuki.
Most people are familiar with Isekai having a male protagonist.
Ascendance of a Bookworm follows Urano Motosu, a book-loving college student who is about to start her job as a librarian before getting crushed to death by her books during an earthquake.
She is then reborn into a world where books are only available to the elites.
To get access to all the books she desires, she needs to grow up from her frail 5-year-old body and become the librarian she always dreamt of being.
The Overlord light novel series was written originally by Kugane Maruyama, with the occasional illustration by so-bin.
It first began in 2010 and was published online via Arcadia before getting picked up for paperback publication.
In 2015, an anime series from Studio Madhouse was adapted, so you may have spied episodes of Overlord available on Crunchyroll.
Overlord’s manga adaptation was first published in November 2014 and is still published regularly in the magazine: Comp Ace.
It was written by Satoshi Oshio and illustrated by Hugin Miyama. As of 2022, there are 17 volumes published in tankobon format.
Set in the year 2126, a video game user named Momonga stays on the game before the servers of YGGDRASIL officially shut down.
He stays on there, but when the servers shut down, he remains on the game and finds that there is no escape.
Momonga goes on a journey to find other users who are trapped here like him and finds his own morals have changed as he no longer has qualms about killing.
He uses his guild’s name as a message to find other users as he finds himself exploring this dark fantasy world.
Konosuba: God’s Blessing On This Wonderful World
Konosuba was initially published as a light novel series online by Natsume Akatsuki in 2012 before shifting to paperback publication in 2013.
Unlike the other series on this list, the light novel series has officially been completed, having finished its run in 2020. However, the manga began publication in 2014 and is still ongoing.
There are currently 15 volumes available in tankobon format. Like the light novel, it’s written by Natsume Akatsuki, and Masahito Watari draws illustrations.
Currently, it is published in the magazine Monthly Dragon Age and targets a shonen demographic.
Since 2016, it has also been adapted into an anime with animation from Studio Deen and Drive.
The story follows Kazuma Sato, a shut-in NEET who dies an embarrassing and untimely death.
After he dies, Kazuma meets Aqua, a water goddess who offers him a chance to be reincarnated in an MMORPG-like world.
Along with Aqua, he and his friends go to fight the Devil King, but not because they particularly want to.
Instead, the Devil King is interfering with his daily life, so they have no choice but to fight him if they want to live a peaceful life.
That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is a light novel series by Fuse that was originally published online before shifting to a paperback format.
Unlike other popular Isekai series, you won’t find That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime following the same elements, with a protagonist who isn’t reborn in a world as a human.
The manga is written by Fuse, with illustrations by Taiki Kawakami. It’s published in Monthly Shonen Sirius and has been published in this magazine since 2015.
Five spin-off mangas have been made:
- That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime: How Monsters Walk
- The Slime Diaries: That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
- That Time I Got Reincarnated (Again!) as a Workaholic Slime
- That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime: Trinity in Tempest
- That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime: Clayman’s Revenge
In the series, Satoru Mikami, a 37-year-old office worker, is suddenly stabbed to death.
Despite being content with his monotonous life, he finds himself reincarnated as a slime in a fantasy world. He has the power to devour anything and mimic its appearance and skills.
Named Rimuru by a sealed dragon, the two merge together, and soon Rimuru and the members of his forest are targeted by those who either want to become friends or foes.
Why Is Isekai So Popular?
Isekai series are always being made, and it’s a series that is popular for a reason. Everyone wants to imagine themselves in another world, and Isekai offers that sense of escapism.
In recent years, the market has become saturated with Isekais as it can be filled with rich world-building and dynamic characters.
As each series varies from comedy to harem and many more, it’s no surprise that Isekai has become as popular as it has.
These series have all been compiled from audience ratings, and you’ll find that the top series is always changing based on newer series being made.
Isekai is, without a doubt, one of the most popular manga genres in the world currently. It’s a form of escapism away from the daily grind, and many readers enjoy the shift into a fantasy world
Many readers can often imagine themselves in a situation where they don’t want to think about work.
The rankings of the best Isekai manga are always changing because so many are made each year.
However, as a general rule, these series that we’ve mentioned are consistently rated highly by their audience, and all of them have been praised.
After all, it’s a popular genre that’s difficult to narrow down.