The best Isekai anime for 2023 - Our top picks

A collage of three classic Isekai anime.

A collage of three classic Isekai anime.

Waiting for another world to swallow you up whole? Here's a breakdown of the best Isekai anime for 2023. From forgotten classics to modern-day masterpieces, we've sifted through the bloated anime genre to unearth the true gems. If you've already breezed through this year's offerings, read on to find some new worlds to get call home.

The concept of being transported to another world is nothing new in popular media. Getting to experience the old wonders has existed for hundreds of years. Dating all the way back to ancient Japanese literature with portal fantasies growing in popularity in the west the 1865 release of Alice in Wonderland, it could be argued that the Isekai genre is one of the oldest.

These tales aren’t exactly what we think of when we say Isekai, however. The modern Isekai anime movement exploded in decades ago with titles such as Inuyasha, Digimon, and Spirited Away. The Isekai boom of recent years has barely let us, with the list below consisting of long-lost 90s classics to pivotal titles you may have missed a few years back.

The best Isekai anime for 2023

A group of people are stood, with the person at the front pointing at the camera.
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Credit: The Visions of Escaflowne Wiki
"When the dragon and the girl come close, the image of the future wavers." - Emperor Dornkirk

The Vision of Escaflowne (Tenkū no Esukafurōne)

Regarded as one of the first great Isekai animes to be released before the genre was properly established, The Vision of Escaflowne featured many of the expected tropes of today's shows.

It follows the teenage girl Hitome as she’s sucked into the world of Gaea, a world willed into existence by the inhabitants of Atlantis as it began to sink. Once surrounded by a world governed by divine magic, Hitomi finds her own powers awaken within her, and she joins the war against the evil Zaibach empire.

There’s fantasy, there’s romance, and there’s even mecha. The Vision of Escaflowne is a true 90’s anime experience that's essential viewing for any cultured anime fan.

Two young people stand on top of a smoke stack. The boy is holding a stick, while protecting the girl with light blue hair.
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Credit: The Movie Database
"All the good people of this world are already dead."

Now and Then, Here and There (Ima, Soko ni Iru Boku)

Don’t be fooled by the family-friendly early 2000’s look of this anime, Now and Then, Here and There is a masterclass in balancing different genres in order to tell a heavy story. The narrative follows a young boy named Shuzo "Shu" Matsutani, who is transported to another world as he tries to save a girl from being attacked.

This is not your cutesy, romance-filled anime. The story deals with the horrors of war and everything that comes with it. With such a limited run-time of only 13 episodes, it’s an important story to be told; but do not push yourself to watch it if the content will be too overwhelming. It's a real eye-opener.

A man in fast-food uniform points towards the left.
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Credit: IMDB
"Don't you dare tell me what to do."

The Devil is a Part Timer! (Hataraku Maō-sama!)

We’ve seen plenty of stories about someone being whisked away to a fantastical land of magic and wonder, but what about if one of those ultra-powerful and magic beings got brought to modern-day Japan?

The Devil is a Part-Timer! Follows the Demon Lord Satan himself, after he’s defeated in battle and must flee to our world in order to escape the hero.

Satan gets a part-time job in the fast-food restaurant MgRonalds in order to pay his bills and fit into our society while he figures out what to do next. The plan is going well until the hero Emilia turns up one day to be served.

A young girl in a military uniform stares menacingly at the camera.
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Credit: IMDB
“If you have time for idle chatter, spend it doing all you can to survive.”

Saga of Tanya the Evil (Yōjo Senki)

Tanya Degurechaff is a ruthless, cold-hearted tactical genius who is quickly rising through the ranks of the military on account of her impressive, but scary, performance.

But Tanya is not truly the young girl that she appears to be. Instead, she's the reincarnation of a middle-aged man who has taken on an unknown god in a battle of wits.

The god, which Tanya calls Being X, has challenged them to a near-impossible task. If they can either survive the war or relent and ask the god for help, then they will not be sent to hell.

Tanya becomes hellbent on outperforming those around them in order to secure a safe place. But all of this has the unintended consequence of pushing the Empire to become the strongest nation in the history of mankind.

A large skeleton lord, with a large purple cloak, is stood next to a knight in black armour.
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Credit: Doublesama
“Today is the last day Yggdrasil’s servers will run. Why not stay until the end?”

Overlord (Ōbārōdo)

The premise of Overlord is interesting. It deals with the consequences of what happens to the NPCs once a game is shut down.

Momonga is a perfectly average man who spends most of his time playing the game YGGDRASIL, but finds himself teleported into the world as the server is shut off.

Having to deal with his new reality, and sets out to find others who are also trapped inside the new game world. However, Momonga finds himself with more responsibilities than that. His character is a powerful wizard, and a master of the dark guild, Ainz Ooal Gown.

While other shows deal with surviving in a new world, Overlord twists that into something much larger. Ainz is torn between his status as the guild master and his inexperience in actually ruling. His guild wants to take over the world and have him as the new ruler, but they aren’t the only powerful group going for that title.

The series is a lively fantasy world set around MMORPG tropes and mechanics that makes for a very fun watch.

A boy and a girl are sat on a branch of a blossoming cherry tree.
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"There was no place for me, so I had to make one for myself, and then I realized, I had a place, but I was the only one in it. I didn't know any other way to live."


Kagome Higurashi, a young girl in modern-day Tokyo, falls down the well of her family's shrine and finds herself teleported back to feudal-era Japan. Hunted by demons, she finds a half-demon boy in the forest named Inuyasha. Despite them not initially getting on, he protects her and saves her from the unique threats of his time.

However, during one of these fights, the Shikon Jewel that Kagome was carrying is shattered and scattered across the world. She decides to team up with Inuyasha in order to find the pieces of the jewel before they can fall into the hands of the demons. A long and fondly-remembered journey ensues.

A group of five people are stood together; an assassin, a ranger, a knight, a princess and a paladin.
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Credit: Twinfinite
"Being strong on your own is meaningless."

Log Horizon (Rogu Horaizun)

Log Horizon is the story of Shiroe, an awkward man who's one of 30,000 people teleported into the world of the popular MMOPRG Elder Tale. However, he doesn’t panic as much as you’d expect. Why? Because he's a master strategist and knows the game well.

While stranded in the familiar fantasy realm, he teams up with his old friend, Naotsugu, as well as the assassin Akatsuki as they set off to explore their new reality.

The story begins by introducing the standard rules familiar with game-themed Isekai, but this series refuses to simply be limited by them. Shiroe is not the stereotypical overpowered protagonist, instead, he uses his wits to control the battlefield and manipulate his surroundings in a way that gives him an advantage, despite his weaker strength.

It's this aspect of the anime that makes it a modern classic as one of the first of the new Isekai boom of the 2010s. Rather than being filled to the brim with fights you know the main characters will win, you're constantly pondering how they could possibly win instead.

A whole bunch of people
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Credit: Okatukart News
“I guess, as long as I have life, all I can do is fight with all my might.”

Re:Zero - Starting Life in Another World (Ri:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu)

No Isekai list would be complete without talking about Re:Zero. It starts with Subaru Natsuki, a shut-in who went to the shops only to find himself teleported to a fantasy world. It's as basic a premise as you can get, but it's characters have cemented themselves as cult classics over the years.

There, he finds and befriends Emilia before they're suddenly murdered by a group of thugs. However, Subaru finds himself respawning before the attack and, after a few failed attempts, manages to successfully help Emilia and escape.

The young half-elf is no normal girl, however. She is set to become the next queen of the Kingdom of Lugunica and accepts Subaru as one of her butlers. He uses his powers to protect her and help her achieve her dreams, but he is never allowed to tell anyone about his ability to revive himself.

If you're looking for more anime to watch, why not check out our list on the best new anime of 2022? For something easy to stream, we have the best anime on Netflix or, if you're in the mood for some shonen shows, we even have the best anime like Demon Slayer all lined up.

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