Isekai manga series are pretty easy to find as the genre has become one of the most popular genres in the world today, even competing with other popular genres such as shonen and shoujo. Nowadays, we can find many different titles related to the isekai genre; but what does isekai really mean?
Well, “isekai” comes from the Japanese words that can translate to “new world” and usually involves titles where characters find themselves in a fantasy world much different from our own world, where they will have to venture out, struggle and survive. Although this is a general idea, titles can differ significantly, providing a pinch of originality to each title.
The thing is, because of the massive fluctuation of isekai manga, it can be a little hard to find good manga titles to read; thus, I decided to come up with this list showcasing the ones I believe are among the better options, especially if you are a beginner of the genre!
Best Isekai Manga Recommendations of 2023
1. That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime by Fuse & Taiki Kawakami
Starting first as a light novel, then a manga series, and lastly, an anime adaptation, I believe That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime is the most popular isekai title you can find, and for a good reason.
This isekai manga focuses on our main character as he is stabbed while trying to save one of his co-workers. After dying, he’s reincarnated in a new world as a slime, a creature with the reputation of being one of the weakest creatures in any fantasy world.
Luckily, he was bestowed with several skills during the reincarnation process, making him a pretty powerful slime. Plus, he finds himself in the same cave as a legendary dragon, Veldora, the storm dragon, who was sealed by a legendary hero.
They become friends, both bestowing a name on one another. Now named Rimuru, the slime ventures out of the cave and into the strange new world and soon finds that the various skills he got when he was reincarnated allow him to acquire the abilities of any creature he consumes, which soon results in him becoming one of the strongest beings in the world.
2. The Rising Of The Shield Hero by Yusagi Aneko & Kyu Aiya
The Rising of the Shield Hero focuses on Naofumi, a simple and untroubled young otaku who visits the library every once in a while. Upon picking a strange book, he’s transported to a different world to be one of the four legendary heroes. He’s now the Shield Hero, but Naofumi quickly notices he’s not as appreciated as the other heroes who wield the Spear, the Sword, and the Bow.
He remains hopeful of the future and does his best to adapt to his circumstances, forming a party with the kingdom’s princess. Things turn sour when the princess herself betrays him, stealing all of his possessions and money while framing him for sexual assault, all for the sake of having him shunned by the whole kingdom, including the other heroes.
Having to face such a crude reality, Naofumi understands that trusting in other people will only cause his downfall. Still, he needs someone to act as his sword since the shield hero can’t use other weapons but shields, making him pretty much an inoffensive warrior.
To achieve his goals and become stronger, he buys a demi-human slave girl named Raphtalia, who acts as his sword. She slowly understands that a gentle and kind person resides inside Naofumi’s tough attitude.
3. Konosuba: God’s Blessing On This Wonderful World by Natsume Akatsuki & Masahito Watari
Konosuba: God’s Blessing On This Wonderful World is a comedy masterpiece and probably the one isekai manga series that has made me laugh the most out of the ones I’ve read. It is also a beginner-friendly manga series, so for anyone who wants to start reading manga, this title is an excellent choice to begin with!
The title follows Kazuma, a NEET who dies in a very degrading way just before being hit by a truck. He’s then summoned to meet a goddess known as Aqua, and she tries to convince him to visit another world and defeat the demon king.
Aqua offers him many things to achieve this goal. Still, after a discussion between the two, Kazuma decides to take Aqua herself to this new world as an act of revenge, as Aqua ridiculed him and laughed at him because of how he died. But what he doesn’t know is that the Goddess Aqua is pretty much useless.
This turn of events results in Kazuma doing his best to survive as an adventurer in a new fantasy world, eventually forming a group with a masochist female knight incapable of hitting anything with her sword and a tiny wizard girl obsessed with using the strongest magic, the explosion magic, even if it results in her passing out.
4. Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation by Rifujin na Magonote & Yuka Fujikawa
Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation, aka Mushoku Tensei: Isekai Ittara Honki Dasu, is often claimed to be the grandfather of the isekai genre, and although it has many predecessors, the reason why it has this title is because of the great job it did at creating one of the best stories, if not the best one, you can find when it comes to isekai.
Sadly, the manga has portrayed but a fraction of the story. Even then, I heavily recommend it if you want to take a different approach to what the isekai category is usually all about.
This particular isekai manga series is about a jobless, miserable man living in modern Japan who dies trying to save a group of high school students from a car accident. He’s reincarnated as a baby named Rudeus Greyrat, the son of a talented swordsman and a magician. In this new life and new opportunity, he swears to do his best, achieve as much as possible, and live a good life.
The good thing about this series is that you can follow Rudeus as he does his best to overcome traumas from his previous life and tries to interact with the new fantasy world and its many wonders, including many unique races and customs. Not to spoil too much, he will also have to deal with an incredible challenge that no one expected would happen and would change his life forever.
5. The Eminence in Shadow by Daisuke Aizawa & Anri Sakano
The Eminence in Shadow involves a pretty comedic premise about a person who has always wanted to be the master puppeteer behind the shadows. Even after being reincarnated in a new world, our main character, Cid Kagenou, still dreams of such an occurrence.
After saving an elf during one of his adventures, Cid goes crazy and talks about a cult known as the Cult of Diabolos, which he has sworn to defeat. Turning the elven girl into the first member of his newly founded organization, the Shadow Garden, he decides to name her Alpha, the first piece of his stratagems.
What Cid doesn’t know is that the cult does actually exist, and unknowingly, he’s influencing many outcomes in the world. And while he doesn’t think that the cult exists, Alpha and the other members of Shadow Garden do believe it exists and work to destroy it. And so, the conversations between Cid and the members of his organization are always amazing, where he is just making things up, but somehow they end up becoming real.
There’s also the fact that Cid was born a very talented individual with enough strength to carry out his eccentric delusions, and this overwhelming strength helps him change the status quo without much effort.
6. How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord by Yukiya Murasaki & Naoto Fukuda
The premise introduces a game world involving an MMORPG title named Cross Reverie. Takuma was one of its hardcore players and created a character he called the Demon Lord Diablo.
Without really knowing how, Takuma is then summoned as his character in the same world by a pair of girls who want to subdue him as their servant. This fails as he is equipped with a ring capable of bouncing magic back to its enemies, making the two girls his slaves instead.
But Takuma suffers from severe social anxiety. He doesn’t know how to interact with other people, so he decides to do what he does best – act as his character and immerse himself in the role of the arrogant but extremely powerful demon lord.
7. So I’m a Spider, So What? by Okina Baba & Asahiro Kakashi
I believe this manga, So I’m a Spider, So What?, is amongst the most interesting ones on this list solely because of its premise and the way it develops it.
It follows a girl who was reincarnated in another world, not as a human, but as a spider. Not only that, but her race is cannibalistic, so even during the beginning of her new life, she’s facing a lot of challenges.
As she does her best to survive and develops many skills to do so, she understands that she’s living in a pretty dangerous place, a location known as The Great Elroe Labyrinth, the biggest dungeon in the entire world and the residence of some of the most dangerous creatures you can find.
8. Welcome to Japan, Ms. Elf! by Suzuki Makishima & Sumio Aono
Kazuhiro Kitase can travel to another world whenever he sleeps. This allows him to experience many adventures in a fantasy world at night while leading a normal life during the day.
In his dreams, he befriends a beautiful elf girl who decides to accompany him on his adventures. Because of some circumstances, they end up facing a legendary dragon and are burned by its breath as a result. Thinking that everything has ended, he wakes up in his room with a cold sweat, worried about his elf friend, just to find her sleeping right next to him.
The manga, Welcome to Japan, Ms. Elf!, also a popular light novel series, combines a wholesome approach to romance and adventure, showcasing a cute elf learning the wonders of Japan, with its technological advances, customs, and delicious food!
9. The Saga Of Tanya The Evil by Carlo Zen & Chika Toujou
What I love about The Saga of Tanya The Evil is the way it combines magic with traditional warfare, very similar to that of our world, alongside its unique main protagonist who only makes everything more interesting.
The premise is pretty simple – an atheist salaryman is pushed to his death in a train station and reincarnated by God himself as an orphan girl named Tanya Degurechaff in a world filled with war and violence. God also claims that if she dies from unnatural causes, she will be sent to hell as a result.
The main objective of said God, however, is to show his authority over Tanya, as she has the chance to get immense power by praying. Tanya mockingly calls him “Being X” to deny his existence and joins the army to achieve her goal of leading a peaceful life and avoiding an eternity of suffering.
The problem is that she resides in an empire that is enemies with almost all other nations, having to engage in an endless battle for peace and conquest while showing no mercy.
10. Trapped in a Dating Sim: The World of Otome Games is Tough for Mobs by Yomu Mishima & Jun Shiosato
If you like a series that takes an unconventional approach to the genre, this isekai manga series named Trapped in a Dating Sim is one that I would recommend, mainly because of its main character, a ruthless, greedy man who will do everything he can to become successful and wealthy.
The plot revolves around a man who reincarnates in a game world of a dating simulator for girls from his previous world. Since he has played it because of his little sister, he pretty much knows the plot and the horrible way men are treated in this world. He thus decides to take advantage of his memories to become as strong as he can, getting his hands on Luxion, the AI of a mighty battleship from an ancient civilization.
The thing is that, by doing so, he alters the whole plot of the game, including the progress of the main character of the story, Olivia. Even then, he takes it upon himself to get involved with a wide range of characters, including Olivia, the main character, and Angelica, who is supposed to be the antagonist.
11. My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! by Satoru Yamaguchi & Nami Hidaka
There’s a certain appeal with the “villainess” trope since it tends to involve a peculiar approach to the isekai genre, which can be a breath of fresh air for most people. And that’s exactly what My Next Life as a Villainess manga series is about!
Catarina Claes, the daughter of a noble family, was a hardcore otaku in her previous life. When she recovers her previous life’s memories, she notices that she’s living in the world of an otome game she used to play.
The thing is that Catarina Claes, the person she is now, was the villainess of the story! And in most outcomes, she always ends up in misery. To avoid that, she does her best to challenge her fate and lead a happy, successful life, even if it means twisting the otome game as she knows it.
12. The Faraway Paladin by Kanata Yanagino & Mutsumi Okuhashi
The thing I am fond of about The Faraway Paladin is its world-building. The series is not scared to talk about and introduce races, folklore, customs, and tales, creating a world that is easy to grasp and understand, with the main character as the adventurer showing us everything.
The story’s main character, Will, is an orphan adopted by three undead: a skeleton warrior, a mummy priestess, and a wizard ghost.
At first, he leads a peaceful life as the three undead educate him, but as the story progresses, many situations unfold, with him wondering why he is the only human in the world. But Will also has a secret himself; he’s a reincarnated person with memories and all his knowledge of his previous life.
Will eventually learns the secret behind his world as the three undead tell the story of three legendary heroes who once fought in a vicious war against the strongest demon king the world has ever witnessed, the infamous High King.
13. The Devil Is a Part-Timer! by Satoshi Wagahara & Akio Hiragi
Primarily focusing on comedy, we could say that this title is the opposite of a normal isekai manga. The Devil is a Part-Timer! revolves around a demon lord who teleports to our world, loses all his magical powers, and becomes a part-timer at MgRonald’s.
Of course, the series’ appeal is that it introduces many comedic characters that regularly deal with absurd but realistic situations. For instance, we have the demon lord, Sadao Maou, and his most trustable general, Shiro, who constantly struggle to survive with only Sadao’s income as a part-timer. So, they often have to be creative with their situation.
We also have Emi, who was the hero who fought against Sadao in his previous world and the sole reason he escaped to ours. She is trying to hunt down Sadao, but loses her powers during the teleportation incident, just like Sadao himself, and will constantly try to make his life harder out of pure spite.
14. Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear by Kumanano & Sergei
Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear is a series that enters not only the category of isekai but also comedy as well as iyashikei, a category that entails series meant to be calm and heartwarming, all to provide its readers with peace of mind and wholesome vibes.
It mainly revolves around a young NEET girl who managed to secure enough income as a stock trader to lead a comfortable life while she plays the MMORPG known as World Fantasy Online.
The game’s administrator, however, appears to be a god and decides to transport her to it with a cute bear suit. And sadly, without it, she’s nothing but a powerless girl, yet she decides to enjoy her second life as much as possible since she doesn’t seem to have a reason to return to her original world.
15. Reincarnated as a Sword by Yuu Tanaka & Tomoo Maruyama
Our unknown protagonist dies after being involved in a car accident and reincarnates in a fantasy world as a legendary sword. Although he has memories of his past life, he doesn’t remember his name. Thus, he slowly but steadily accepts his fate and waits for his rightful owner.
One day, a caravan transporting enslaved people is attacked by a giant bear with two heads. While escaping, a young girl of the cat tribe finds the sword, and they decide to work together to win against the monster. After everything is done, Fran, the cat girl, and the sword, whom she decides to call her teacher, embark together on an adventure to enjoy the marvels the world has to offer.
This isekai manga series, Reincarnated as a Sword, is a pretty unique read, as the main character is not a living creature but a sword!
16. Tales Of Wedding Rings by Maybe
Tales of Wedding Rings is not just an isekai manga but also a harem manga series. It slowly introduces its character thanks to its premise, with each character having their own background and struggles. It involves romance, fantasy, action, and a considerable level of ecchi. The drawing is excellent, too!
The story starts with Satou and the first female lead, Hime, whom he loves. They have been childhood friends for more than ten years, but now that they are grown-ups and Hime has become a beautiful and popular girl, Satou is intimidated by the idea of confessing his love for her.
Satou, however, decides to muster his courage to confess on the anniversary of the day they met, but things don’t go as he expected.
Hime’s grandfather opens a portal to what seems like a fantasy world, and, scared of losing Hime forever, he follows her. Willing to do anything for her, he decides to get involved in the tale of the five wedding rings and travel to marry the five bearers of the ring, including Hime herself.
17. How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom by Dozeumaru & Satoshi Ueda
If you like titles that focus on a different aspect of the isekai genre, such as developing a ruined kingdom, How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom is definitely for you. It tackles many aspects of society, including politics, economics, architecture, cuisine, social standards, and war.
In a complex world facing a demon invasion, a ruined kingdom known as Elfrieden suffers from incredible social and economic struggles. To solve these issues, the kingdom opts for a radical approach and summons a hero from another world, with Kazuma being the unlucky person to be summoned.
He, however, seems to be a competent person when it comes to solving the kingdom’s struggles, so the king of Elfrieden hands over his crown to him and decides to arrange a marriage between him and his daughter, Liscia Elfrieden. The problem is Kazuma never wanted to be king in the first place!
18. Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest by Ryou Shirakome & RoGa
Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest is one of those edgy titles that many people like, and although I do enjoy it, it might not be the most original isekai manga series on the list.
The premise involves an entire class of students who are all teleported to another world to become the heroes of a kingdom. Sadly, the main character, Hajime, becomes a simple alchemist, whereas everyone else receives other extraordinary abilities. In an effort to turn all students into capable fighters, Nagumo is betrayed by one of his bullies and is cursed to roam the deepest part of the dungeon.
He is willing to do his best to survive, even eating monster meat that is usually toxic to humans. Eventually, he finds himself in front of a small girl trapped in a crystal, whom he saves, revealing that she’s Yue, a 300-hundred-years old royal vampire girl. With her help, Hajime decides to become as strong as he can to face the gods that decided his fate from the very beginning.
19. By the Grace of the Gods by Roy & Ranran
Ryouma, the main character of By The Grace of the Gods, is a lonesome man who dies of exhaustion after dedicating his life to his job. With no friends and without achieving anything he believes was fulfilling, three gods decide to give him another opportunity to make friends and become the happy person he couldn’t become in his previous life.
To ensure he does not struggle as much, he’s given many abilities and talents, which, in addition to his knowledge and memories of his past life, he will use to lead a comfortable life.
But as he does his best to live independently from others, he involves himself with a group of people, including Eliaria, who will become his first friend and the person he will aid on many occasions, finally gaining many friends and a family in the process.
20. The Wrong Way to Use Healing Magic by Kurokata & Reki Kugayama
Like many other isekai manga series, the plot of The Wrong Way to Use Healing Magic revolves around the main character’s progress. It can be a little bit simplistic, however, and doesn’t really provide a very complex premise.
Even then, it’s a good read for those who enjoy the isekai genre, especially since it allows for a unique approach to healing magic and the usual definition of a healer.
A group of friends is summoned to another world, and our main character seems to be the one that takes the role of a healer. After being pretty much kidnapped by a female knight infamous for her relentless training, the main character understands the true value behind his magic – healing his fatigue after the harsh training to keep on training, all for the sake of becoming even stronger!
21. Tsukimichi: Moonlit Fantasy by Kei Azumi & Kotora Kino
One particular aspect of many isekai manga series is the focus on the power fantasy trope, where most main characters are much stronger than their enemies. Although Tsukimichi: Moonlit Fantasy also follows this trope, it does it in an exciting and compelling way by introducing many more characters to the story.
The main protagonist, Makoto, is summoned to another world to work as a hero for the goddess, all because of a pact his parents made years ago. The goddess, however, is very fixated on the idea of beauty. Since Makoto is not what you would call the most attractive person, she dumps him in a wasteland without the ability to speak the human language.
There, Makoto saves an orc being chased by monsters and decides to help her tribe deal with another tribe that has been extorting them. In the process, he breaks the shrine of a legendary dragon, whom he manages to defeat and make a pact with, turning her into a beautiful woman whom he names Tomoe.
After that, he decides to lead a peaceful life without involving himself in too many troubles and to do that, he will need money, so he decides to become a merchant with the help of his new ally.
22. A Veterinarian in Another World by Choco Aozora & hu-ko
As the name implies, this one is about a veterinarian living in another world. The thing is that the primary job of said veterinarian, Kazami Shingo, will involve a lot more than just healing animals since he is tasked with making the land wealthier.
This series, A Veterinarian in Another World, takes an approach to several aspects of society and shares some similarities to “How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom,” involving language barriers, the introduction of magic, food, religion, and even common sense, with Kazami having to do his best to develop the medicine and agriculture of the world.
23. Kenja no Mago (Wiseman’s Grandchild) by Tsuyoshi Yoshioka & Ogata Shunsuke
The plot of Kenja no Mago revolves around the adopted child of the man known as Merlin, the Great Sage. This child would be named Shin, and Merlin would teach him everything he knows. With Shin being very talented at magic, he absorbs all of Merlin’s teachings like a sponge, eventually surpassing his adoptive grandfather.
The thing is, Shin manages to do many things thanks to being reincarnated and having memories of his previous life, which allows him to take a very unique and unknown approach to magic. However, he has no experience with the outside world, as he’s only ever known Merlin and his friends.
This isekai manga involves romance, adventure, and of course, the main character’s progress as he struggles to integrate himself into the world, mainly because Merlin completely forgot to teach him common sense.
If you read the synopsis of these titles, you’ll understand that isekai titles share many similarities. For instance, one strong point of this genre is that most main characters remember their previous life, using their experience and memories to their advantage.
What makes a difference is a fascinating and original premise and approach, so I tried to recapitulate the ones I found the most interesting! Sadly, you have to keep in mind that most isekai manga series are still work in progress, so don’t expect to be able to binge-read everything while looking forward to a clear conclusion to their plots.
Also Read: Best Isekai Anime in 2023