How Isekai Became About Much More Than Swords & Sorcery

Over the past several years, the isekai genre has become a strong staple within anime. It seems like every season features a new title with a protagonist sent into a world they either need to rescue or try to escape from. The best-known of these series is probably Sword Art Online, with the franchise receiving multiple movies and spinoffs. SAO also brought an influx of titles trying to bank on the isekai genre's success, but lately animation companies, light novel authors and mangakas are attempting to put a fascinating new spin on this trend.

Main Writing In Ascendance Of A Bookworm Anime

The most common trope in isekai is a character being put into a world full of magic and fighting, as opposed to their homeworld which is usually as mundane as our reality. Many times, the transition from one world to another is a result of being run over by Truck-kun, or getting trapped in a video game because of some malicious plan from the company or an individual who's found a way to take control. Other times, the protagonist is summoned or accidentally falls through a portal into a new world, where they are the "chosen one" meant to defeat a looming evil that threatens the peace. It gets quite repetitive after a while.

This is why creators are putting a new spin on these tropes by having the protagonists simply go with the flow and try to live their lives in their new situations. One of the more interesting titles borne from this recent trend is Ascendance of a Bookworm, which has its protagonist reincarnated as a five-year-old after being crushed by a pile of books. To her horror, books are only for the elite in her new world and are thus hard to come by for the average person. With the memories of her past life fully ingrained in her mind, she sets out to learn about business and create a bookmaking company so she can once again enjoy the books she loved in her previous life.

Another title attempting to deconstruct isekai is Restaurant to Another World, set in a small restaurant in Tokyo. While it may seem like an unassuming location in a mundane world, on Saturdays it opens up and creates doorways to other worlds full of mythical creatures and magic. The inhabitants of these worlds are able to come into Nekoya to enjoy the food they offer, meaning they are the ones who go into a new world. Instead of someone going from the mundane to the magical, it's reversed. A large cast of characters is introduced over time, each with their own connections to the restaurant and, eventually, each other.

Kuro Aletta owner Restaurant To Another World

When a particular genre becomes popular within a fandom, it's eventually going to run out its welcome. A certain plot device or setting becomes a major hit, and others decide to try and make a cash grab while the going is hot. Eventually, the genre becomes so overrun with similar titles that fans become bored. That's why it's important to try new things -- even if they don't always stick -- rather than repeatedly copy what's already been done.

Thankfully, some anime and manga creators are branching out and creating titles that fit into the isekai genre, while remaining distinct from its biggest franchises. Not every series has to have grand fights and complex plots trying to send a deep, meaningful message, and it's nice to have stories that allow readers and viewers to watch characters eat delicious food or try to make books. There's plenty of room for these types of anime alongside the magic powers and epic battles.

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