Best Isekai Anime That Will Make You Want To Travel To Another World

By Jonathan Klotz | Published

Within the world of anime, there are countless genres, from slice-of-life and romance to shonen, but one of the most consistently popular is the isekai anime. Isekai is when a character is taken from their world to another; examples of this genre in other media include Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia.

This list doesn’t cover all isekai anime, there are far too many for that, and even within the genre you’ll find shows that are fantasy, romance, and dark tragedies, but these are our favorites.

Digimon Adventure

Seven kids at a summer camp find themselves sent to the Digital World where they quickly bond with the native Digimon and are able to utilize Digivices to Digivolve them to do battle on their journey as the DigiDestined. Released in the wake of Pokemon, Digimon Adventure was initially considered to be a knock-off but ended up spawning its own franchise of spin-offs, toys, and video games.

The Digital World is what makes Digimon Adventure a great isekai anime, taking inspiration from computers with locations named after programs and hardware. Combining digital technology with a fantasy world, each series is greater then the sum of its parts, proving two great concepts work even better when mashed together.

Sword Art Online

Another isekai anime based on a digital world, Sword Art Online is about the first virtual-reality gaming console, the Nervegear, and the titular launch game, which, hours after launch, users find they can’t log out of. In a bid to become a god, creator Akihiko Kayaba made it so users will die if their life hits zero or they remove the Nervegear. The concept of users trapped in virtual reality is common in science fiction, but few media does it as well as Sword Art Online.

A large part of the reason is that by 2012 when the series first launched, MMOs like World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy 14 were incredibly popular (and still are today), so it was the perfect time for a series that both honors and parodies the common tropes of the genre. Unlike other isekai anime as well, Sword Art Online admits the world of Aincrad is fake, and there’s no temptation for any of the protagonists to stay behind….for the most part.


Inuyasha is one of the most popular isekai anime ever made, following Kagome, a modern-day high school student that falls down a well and lands in the Sengoku period of Japan. Meeting up with Inuyasha, a half-demon half-human, the two embark on a quest to recover a shattered jewel. Balancing comedy with grim darkness, the series spawned a recent sequel, Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon, but it can’t compare to the long-running original.

With nearly 200 episodes, Inuyasha is one of the longest-running isekai anime series, with success coming from the amazing cast of characters. Though most of them start out as thin caricatures, particularly Miroku and Sango, by the end of the journey, the audience is well aware of every character’s hopes, dreams, and complete personalities.


Like Sword Art Online, Overlord takes the concept of a player trapped in an MMO as the basis for its story, but this time, it’s immediately much darker. The game, YGGDRASIL, is going to be shut down, and one of the greatest guilds in its history is called to gather at their headquarters, but their leader, Momonga, is soon left alone, waiting for the server to close. Except it doesn’t, and Momonga is stuck as his character, adopting the guild’s name as his own, and now the game appears to have replaced reality.

This time, a MMO-based isekai anime isn’t about leveling up and exploring the digital world for a means to escape and instead, it’s about a very powerful character that has been removed from the moral quandaries found in real life, for example, feeling bad about killing anyone. Worse of all, Satarou Suzuki, the player behind Momonga, is dealing with the loss of his friends, all of which played the game with him, moving on with their lives, an experience everyone can relate to.

The Vision Of Escaflowne

A hit isekai anime from the mid-90s, The Vision of Escaflowne, follows another high school girl, Hitomi, as she finds herself on the planet of Gaea and gets in the middle of a battle between the Zaibach Empire and its neighboring countries. The true nature of Gaea, which appears to be strikingly similar to Earth, is eventually revealed over the course of 26 episodes (and a movie), but the real surprise is how this became a classic anime when the setting appears to be cobbled together out of random other anime concepts.

That’s on purpose, as a mecha anime had been popular for decades in Japan, so original author Shoji Kawamori wanted to take it in a new direction. Medieval kingdoms guarded by giant knight mechs was an immediate hit outside of Japan, where The Vision of Escaflowne was one of the first anime to reach the mainstream in Western countries. Today, it’s animation still holds up, but the soundtrack remains one of the best ever composed for an anime.