The isekai genre's explosive popularity has given rise to diverse subgenres, including reverse isekai. Regardless of its variant, an isekai anime typically embraces a set of unmistakable tropes. Even though they have been used multiple times, fans never stop loving them.
From overpowered protagonists to enchanting realms, these elements have become beloved fixtures for fans. It's not uncommon for them to indulge in trope bingo, eagerly counting how many are present in new titles.
10 Childhood Arc
A staple in isekai stories is the childhood arc, where protagonists, usually reincarnated into a new world, struggle with their child bodies and adult minds. Often portrayed as child prodigies, they diligently pursue newfound aspirations.
This phase, typically spanning a few episodes, showcases their adaptation into a new world and family. Some series, though, like Parallel World Pharmacy, extend this arc, delving deeper into the characters' growth.
9 Fantasy World
The world protagonists are often reincarnated or transported into is that of a fantasy one. While sometimes it may incorporate some sci-fi or mecha elements, it is usually a medieval fantasy setting.
These worlds teem with diverse races, from orcs, elves, to dwarves. Dragons and monsters often roam its landscapes, adding an air of danger to the characters; extraordinary adventures.
8 Food Arc
The food arc is a humorous hallmark of isekai, where protagonists will easily forget past lives' relationships, yet be unable to forget their flavors. Most of the time, the new worlds do not have good food at all, or it is too westernized for the Japanese characters.
One of the first steps of the characters is to acquire basic Japanese food like white rice or condiments such as soy sauce or mayonnaise. For some reason, many isekai anime focus entire episodes on the introduction of mayo to the fantasy world as something groundbreaking. Thanks to the hilariousness of the trope, fans have come to love and anticipate it.
7 Samurai Follower
The trope of a samurai follower is a recurring theme in anime, often emerging within harem stories. These loyal companions, typically kimono-wearing, long-haired girls, infuse Japanese cultural aesthetics.
Similarly, the early acquisition of a slave follower mirrors the protagonists' cautiousness towards others.These characters, plus the occasional beast girl are often seen as parts of either harems or newfound families.
6 Long Titles
Isekai anime titles have morphed into a running joke among fans. The reason behind this trend is the increase in the genre's popularity; creators want to make it easier recognize the plot and style of the series.
The longer and more absurd the title, the likelier it is to thrive. This distinctive trend not only amuses fans but also plays an integral role in communicating the essence of these fantasy tales.
5 Modern Technology
As the setting of isekai anime is usually medieval European style, the technology level is of that time. It is not uncommon for the protagonists to be oddly familiar with modern blueprints, from catapults to sewage systems, and introduce them to the new world.
In other anime, main characters possess unique abilities that allow them to transport modern objects, bridging the gap between worlds. Examples like Saving 80 000 Gold In Another World for My Retirement showcase the heroine hopping between worlds and selling modern objects.
4 Reborn As Something Unusual
The isekai landscape has evolved from typical royal or noble reincarnations to surreal fantasy ones. Protagonists now take on the appearance of monsters or even inanimate objects.
There are cases, where the main leads get reborn in the bodies of slimes or spiders, and strive to get humanoid forms. Then, there are times they are reincarnated as vending machines or even onsens.
3 Creating A Harem/ Found Family
Harems and found families are common in isekai anime as protagonists' modern way of thinking or extraordinary abilities gather companions around them. Sometimes they are born in worlds where polygamy is allowed, or other times, the main character may be too dense to understand others feelings.
The appeal of found families is also gaining rapid popularity, as fans love seeing the protagonists lead happy lives and make special bonds of their own. Take for example, Am I Actually The Strongest?, where the main lead is abandoned as a baby, but finds a great family later on.
2 Video Game Mechanics
In many isekai anime, characters posses status windows, levels, and skills in a similar manner seen in video games. It is usually a church or the guild that measure the protagonists' progress.
Whether personal or shared, these systems provide a great way to measure growth. This fusion of gaming concepts with narrative worlds not only resonates with fans of both genres but also enhances the immersion; it makes it easier to follow the characters' development.
1 Overpowered Protagonists
Overpowered protagonists is a trope used in almost all isekai anime, yet fans do not get enough of it. Whether bestowed through divine favor, reincarnation, or hard-earned progression, these characters wield cheat-like abilities.
Their power origins span from godly gifts to grinding battles and near-death awakenings, offering diverse narrative routes. Sometimes the anime gives creative executions, such as the one seen in That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, where the protagonist can steal other creatures' abilities.