Isekai Has Lost Its Mind

For as long as media has existed, there has always been one on the top. However, that one on the top rarely lasts all that long. Westerns used to rule American cinema; the genre became so oversaturated and repetitive, that people just collectively quit on it, and now Westerns have all but ceased to exist. Then there were zombie movies. Now, the same is gradually happening to superhero films.

The same thing is happening right now in Japan. For the last ten years, the isekai has reigned supreme. Every season, without fail, we have gotten at least three shows in the genre. And, just like the Western, it’s long reached the point where it’s gotten stale and repetitive.

Only, in an odd, paradoxical way: it hasn’t. Because isekai isn’t dying the same way the Western did. Those films went out quietly, with some measure of dignity, giving way to the next trend. Isekai is clinging to the limelight, refusing to let go and screaming like an insane person!

Back when the genre first exploded, things were fairly simple. Most shows were simple Sword Art Online ripoffs. The characters ended up stuck in a video game and they’d have to survive long enough to get out.

Eventually, the genre ditched the video game aspect and went full fantasy. So much so that it pretty much replaced the fantasy genre entirely in anime. Shows like Re:Zero, Overlord, and Konosuba have led the trends here. Practically every other show is following the trail these three forged.

And now? Now the genre has completely lost its god damn mind!

It started off innocently enough. Here’s an isekai where the main character is reborn as a slime. How about one where they start a pharmacy? This one’s about a bookworm who works to invent books. How about a chibi cross over between shows? This one’s protagonist is the main villain of a video game and they completely change the plot. So on and so forth.

Ignoring the series that are basically clones of isekai already done before – of which there are many – we start to get the ones that are so insane, so ultra-specific, that their mere existence is basically a joke. Here’s one where the main character is a pro wrestler. Now here’s one where the protagonist is basically a real-estate agent put in charge of a kingdom. Here’s one where the main character is the villain of the video game and they decide to seduce the final boss. On and on it goes.

It certainly doesn’t help that their titles are now as long as a paragraph. To whoever started that trend: why? Just… why?

Honestly, at this point, I’m more fascinated then anything else. Genre fatigue usually doesn’t go as weirdly as this. Westerns and zombie flicks just faded until they eventually vanished. Isekai has chosen a far more interesting way.

Most people go out quietly and peacefully on their deathbed. Isekai instead decided to light themselves on fire and dance until the end. When that end will finally be, no one can say. But one thing’s for sure: they’re blazing quite magnificently.

Maybe that’ll be the next big isekai. ‘Reincarned in a World Where I’m Always on Fire.’ You can have that one for free.


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