The History of the Isekai Anime Genre

Isekai manga, a popular genre in anime and manga, has a rich history dating back to the 1980s. The term “isekai” refers to being transported or reincarnated into another world, usually a fantasy realm filled with magic, mythical creatures, and adventure. In recent years, isekai manga has seen a surge in popularity, with numerous manga and anime adaptations being produced.

“Fushigi Yugi”, serialized in Weekly Shōnen Sunday in 1995, was the first isekai manga to gain widespread popularity. The story features a high school student who gets transported to a parallel world filled with magic and mythical creatures, captivating audiences and inspiring many other creators to try their hand at writing isekai manga.

The early 2000s marked a significant growth in the popularity of the isekai genre, with a multitude of new series being produced. The success of the “.hack//SIGN” manga and anime series, set in a virtual world, played a significant role in driving the popularity of the genre.


In 2009, “Sword Art Online” became a game-changer for the isekai genre. The series follows a group of players who get trapped in a virtual world and must fight their way out, becoming a huge hit and inspiring many other creators to explore the idea of parallel worlds.

Sword Art Online Cover Photo

The growth of otaku culture in Japan also played a key role in the popularity of isekai manga. Otaku refers to fans of anime and manga, and this culture has seen significant growth in recent years. Many isekai manga cater specifically to otaku, with characters and storylines designed to appeal to this demographic.

Over the years, the isekai genre has evolved and expanded to include various sub-genres. For example, some isekai manga focus on reincarnation, with characters being reborn into another world, while others explore parallel worlds with characters traveling between different dimensions.

Although isekai manga has faced criticism in recent years for its formulaic nature and portrayal of female characters, it remains one of the most popular and influential genres in anime and manga. With new series being produced on a regular basis and a devoted fanbase eagerly anticipating each new release, the isekai genre continues to thrive.

For those looking to learn more about the history of isekai manga, now is a great time to dive in and explore this captivating world filled with magic, mythical creatures, and adventure. Whether you’re an avid fan of the genre or just starting to discover it, the rich history of isekai manga is sure to keep you captivated.

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