Isekai has a reputation for being a male-dominated genre. Whenever there are parodies of it, they always feature a male loser getting hit by a truck before arriving in another world full of magic and love. However, these parodies do the genre a disservice, as there are many fantastic isekai series that see ambitious women arrive in weird and fantastical worlds. This is especially true in manhwa, where many writers create gripping and memorable female leads for their isekai series.
With rise of platforms like Webtoon, Tapas and Tappytoon helping to bring manhwa to more people than ever, isekai fans in search of a little more variety have plenty to sink their teeth into. From Villainess isekai to court intrigue to comedy, these isekai all have exceptional female leads that make them worth reading.
This Villainess Wants a Divorce! - Tapas
One of the best examples of the genre is This Villainess Wants a Divorce! First launched in 2018, this series was illustrated by AhBin and written by Nokki and follows a young girl who gets involved in an accident. When she wakes, she learns she has been reincarnated as the villain of a trashy fantasy novel. The downside is that the girl knows that the story ends with Canaria, the villain, being executed by her husband.
To avoid this, the young woman plans to use her cunning and wits to change the book's ending so she can survive. However, her heart and feelings for the lead quickly complicate the situation. But, through it all, the protagonist's cunning, especially her ability to manipulate social situations, always shines through. This series is available via Tapas, making it extremely easy to jump into this popular series.
Caught By The Villain -Tappytoon
However, for readers looking for a physically strong heroine who's good with a weapon, then Cha SoHee and Chara's Caught By The Villain is for you. Eunha is a fencing champion who gets sucked into a fantasy novel, taking the role of Selena Evan, the daughter of a legendary swordsman. Eunha knows that unless she can avoid Prince Ignus, her character is doomed to meet a terrible fate.
But, when Selena's twin brother runs off before his military conscription, Eunha quickly disguises herself as a man and takes his place. But when Prince Ingus notices her sword skills, Eunha finds herself in danger. Eunha's sword skills and general drive to survive the story make her a gripping protagonist who's easy to root for, especially as her attempts to escape Ignus get more intricate and clever. This series is available via Tappytoon.
Beware The Villainess! - Tapas
Tapas hosts a particularly unique isekai manhwa, Bbongdda Mask and Pureunkanna's Beware The Villainess! Like many isekai series, this story follows a regular girl who gets sucked into a fantasy world and takes on the role of the villainess, Melissa Foddebrat. However, rather than redeeming the villain, the student decides to enjoy her new villainous life, rejoicing in all of the power and luxury it brings. In fact, she only changes the plot to make her life even more enjoyable.
This series is pure power fantasy. The heroine's utter determination to enjoy herself by any means possible while relishing in her evil power is a breath of fresh air in the genre. This all comes together to tell a hilarious and gripping story of evil decadence.
Villains Are Destined to Die - Tapas
Beginning life as a light novel by Gwongyeoeul, the excellent Villains Are Destined to Die combines romance, comedy and action into one enjoyable package. When Cha Siyeon dies, she ends up reincarnated in the reverse harem game she was playing. Unfortunately for her, she's taken the role of Penelope Eckhart, the villainess. Even worse, the game is stuck on the hardest possible mode, and even one wrong step can end in death. However, Cha thinks she can make it work by using her guile and game knowledge to stack the deck in her favor.
Cha is a strong but surprisingly grounded character. Her drive to overcome life's issues both in the game and in the real world is relatable to anyone who has had to grind to succeed. And, her mastery of game mechanics is a unique power that lets the writers set up a lot of fascinating and gripping gambits. The series is available via Tapas, and it's perfect for anyone who wants a unique twist on the isekai genre.
A Wicked Tale of Cinderella's Stepmom - Tapas
Combining fairytales and isekai is surprisingly rare. However, Tapas' A Wicked Tale of Cinderella's Stepmom shows just how fun this fusion is. It follows a woman reincarnated into the Cinderella story, but as the Wicked Stepmother rather than the princess. However, rather than let the story play out as expected, this new stepmother goes out of her way to try and get everyone a happy ending. The heroine's emotional intelligence is her strength, and seeing her try to undo the effects of the previous stepmother's cruelty is powerful, especially as it forces her to confront the cycles of abuse that can quickly form within a family.
The isekai genre is changing and growing with every passing month, especially in the manhwa sphere. More and more series are taking the male-dominated genre and giving it new twists with strong, relatable and memorable women in the lead. As these titles show, the genre is bigger and more varied than ever, andit's certain that more titles will come along in the future and totally change the game and give us even more heroines to adore.