Forum - View topic
The Best (and worst) Isekai Light Novels


Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next

Note: this is the discussion thread for this article

Anime News Network Forum Index -> Site-related -> Talkback
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Blatch



Joined: 26 Sep 2013
Posts: 334
Location: Northeast U.S.
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 1:45 pm Reply with quote
zztop wrote:
Knights certainly isn't great literature, but (for me at least)it worked because the author knew exactly what they wanted to write about and knew how to keep it Fun. Plus there's at least some progressive escalation in relation to mecha and adventure (from improving existing designs, to creating brand new tech and fighting off wannabe conquerors.)


What I thought was interesting about Knights & Magic (via the anime) was just how wholesome the story ended up being. There were no major moments of fanservice nor much female ogling in general. On top of that, a lot of the character development stemmed from Ernesti interacting with the other people in the kingdom and helping them solve their shortcomings, which is a really good way to do things. I didn't love the show, but it got major points with me due to all that.

And hey, at least all the steel on those robots are cold and hard.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Yazu13



Joined: 19 Jul 2017
Posts: 129
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 1:57 pm Reply with quote
ReZero desperately needs a continuation. I just watched it recently and I can't believe they haven't announced a sequel. It was easily the strongest isekai-style story I've ever seen and I need to know what happens next.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Shiroi Hane
Encyclopedia Editor


Joined: 25 Oct 2003
Posts: 7498
Location: Wales
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 2:00 pm Reply with quote
My current absolute favourite is Tensei Shitara Ken Deshita, followed by Death March and Kumo. I also recently started reading Cloudy Eyed Lilliane because it had adorable cover art and, while slow (I think it’s taken 100 WN-sized chapters for the main character to be potty trained) it is endearing (at least when she isn’t spoiler[manipulating her kemonomimi maids by stroking them to orgasm] - which is creepy as heck when you remember she was a 30-year-old huh originally). I also need to get back into Re:Zero (I stalled when it approached my least favourite part of the anime)

“you can safely assume that your reader has played Dragon Quest or some other fantasy JRPG”
Nowadays you get the really circlic trope of Isekai web novel leads being into Isekai web novels. There’s at least one where the guy was literally reading one at the time he was Isekai’d. I hate it (“oh great, this is just like in my favourite web novels, let me try appraising something” skips a lot if formulaic exposition, but is still lazy and meta), although it’s getting to the point where it would be unrealistic if a modern day teenager wasn’t already aware of the trope when it happened to them...

“Whenever the protagonist leveled up or obtained a new “skill”, the narrative would get constantly interrupted with notifications”
Ironically, this is one of the things I like about those books, and the first volume of Arifureta. I think it’s the obsessive collector in me, as I spend ages in games trying to unlock all the skills, reveal the whole map and get one of each of the rare items...

“it takes ages for any sex to happen because the protagonist spends every chapter level-grinding in a dungeon”
See, sex slaves is a huge turn off but now I’m starting to get intrigued.... I got a volume of Skill Taker for the skill collecting potential and I’m glad I found out how bad it is before getting any more.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger ICQ Number My Anime My Manga
HannoX



Joined: 30 Apr 2012
Posts: 161
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 2:42 pm Reply with quote
How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord I found quite boring and poorly written and didn't finish it.

The two best isekai LNs I've read are So I'm a Spider, so What? (#1 & #2) and Didn't I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life? The latter is the best written LN I've read with an interesting "magic" system that is adequately explained without crushingly boring details. Sure, the female protagonist is OP, but she doesn't want to be and tries to hide it, but fails at that more than once. It also has some pretty good humor in it once in a while, especially in the short side stories at the end.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Zomb1e13



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
Posts: 38
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 2:57 pm Reply with quote
traitorAIZEN wrote:
Nai wa~


Kumoko is the best.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Shay Guy



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
Posts: 1327
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 3:13 pm Reply with quote
"Oh hey, a post from the Frog on the 'best' isekai light novels. Lemme guess... wait, not one mention of SAO? Wow."

Or is that not technically considered isekai nowadays? I suppose it is different from even the later VRMMO titles on Narou like Only Sense Online.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
AiddonValentine



Joined: 07 Aug 2006
Posts: 1959
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 3:24 pm Reply with quote
It's really interesting to analyze the current wave of isekai. As Kim says, the genre is nothing new as a whole with stuff as far back as Alice in Wonderland, DC Comics had stuff like Warlord in the 70s, and with anime and manga there was Escaflowne, The Twelve Kingdoms, and the recently re-licensed Aura Battler Dunbine. However, a lot of those works also made sure to make the protagonist relatable, but also vulnerable. They were a fantasy, but not a power fantasy. Characters like Youko Nakajima, Hitomi Kanzaki, and Sho Zama were meant as audience surrogates to help acclimate the viewers to these new, fantastical worlds and grew over time.

Too many of the new wave of isekai stories just copy the surface, but forget to bring in the depth and complexity. They have the spectacle, but leave behind the substance. As such not only do the protagonists come off as arrogant, but it leaves a lot of the world to the wayside, basically making it a backdrop for misguided escapism. The thing is overpowers protagonists have worked. My favorite character of all time is Vampire Hunter D and he's ridiculously overpowered. The difference is that D is never meant to be relatable and because of his air of mystery he's not wish fulfillment either. Too many isekai authors want to have their cake and eat it, which is why a lot of those stories tend to be flavors of the month at best and then are forgotten quickly.

With the genre not going away anytime soon at least people are using it to use deconstruction, added depth, and just getting away from the shallower elements of it.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
MrHatandClogs



Joined: 09 Nov 2010
Posts: 282
Location: Between two ferns!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 3:28 pm Reply with quote
My favs right now are definitely Arifureta and The Faraway Paldin. Re:zero is good as well as Konosuba. And I know it doesn't really count, but I'm really digging Infinite Dendrogram as well.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Jonny Mendes



Joined: 17 Oct 2014
Posts: 984
Location: Europe
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 3:37 pm Reply with quote
Shay Guy wrote:
"Oh hey, a post from the Frog on the 'best' isekai light novels. Lemme guess... wait, not one mention of SAO? Wow."

Or is that not technically considered isekai nowadays? I suppose it is different from even the later VRMMO titles on Narou like Only Sense Online.


Quote:
Isekai :Usually referring to Japanese stories (anime, manga, light novels or web novels) which involve the main character being transported into another world via either reincarnation, summoning, or a god transmigrating them.


Technically SAO don't happen in "another world" but in the "real world". Just that inside of different games here the real body are in the real world. Some part of the story also happen in the "real world"
So there are many people that don't consider SAO a full Isekai.


Last edited by Jonny Mendes on Fri Apr 13, 2018 3:39 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
danpmss



Joined: 30 May 2015
Posts: 602
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 3:38 pm Reply with quote
Does Overlord count as isekai at this point? It kinda started just like one, but then, besides some RPG elements here and there, it became a full blown "political" dark fantasy with epic battles.

Youjo Senki (same editor btw) is along those lines, but in a completely different perspective too.

Should we start classifying High Isekai and Low Isekai? Laughing
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Princess_Irene
ANN Reviewer


Joined: 16 Dec 2008
Posts: 2256
Location: The castle beyond the Goblin City
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 4:20 pm Reply with quote
danpmss wrote:
Does Overlord count as isekai at this point?


That's kind of a tough one, because it really does feel like it made a change over at some point...but if you're going to be technical, it's not. I think it's really interesting how closely linked isekai and VRMMO/trapped in a VRMMO series are, with titles like Overlord and Log Horizon coming the closest (that I can think of) to straddling the line. Although that line is arguably something of a plot point in Infinite Dendrogram...

I have to admit, I also really enjoy The Rising of the Shield Hero, even though I'm not a huge fan of huge amounts of RPG-style updates in the text. I think that's because Naofumi is the only one of the heroes who spoiler[never played a game like the world he's in, so he succeeds by NOT acting like he's in a game.] It's an interesting twist.

Also, add my vote to The Faraway Paladin as best isekai series. Hell, I'd call it my ultimate favorite fantasy series currently being published.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
jr240483



Joined: 24 Dec 2005
Posts: 4161
Location: New York City,New York,USA
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 4:21 pm Reply with quote
Chrono1000 wrote:
No Game, No Life is a great series with a well made story though it is heavy on the fanservice. The Rising of the Shield Hero is a good series though when the anime gets released it will be controversial since spoiler[the first betrayal in the series is the Shield Hero getting falsely accused of rape in order to destroy his reputation.] As for Death March it was rather average though the anime was a flawed adaptation which skipped over a lot of details.


which is one of the clear signs that the series is basically a glorified ad promo to get viewers to read the light novels.

sure its not perfect as say RE Life, but it does have its moments, and at least the MC isn't an uber shy girl phobic necromancer which have been the staple point for a lot of harem light novel adaptations not named highschool dxd , shinmai mao no testament and kyokai senjou no horizon. also the later chapters do get better, but would i recomend it? no. but is it worth a weekend rental? it depends on whether or not your a fan of the ecchi/harem genre.

Quote:
Personally, I don't mind cheat stories as long as they're not presented in a boring way, but I'm not going to pretend that something like Knight's & Magic or No Game No Life is great literature.


i would not say that. sure both series have their short comings , but their a hell of a lot better than rising of the shield hero and sex slaves which are definitely gutter trash!

besides, in the later volumes both series get better. especially knights and magic when it comes to ernie's interaction with other people that are not kid , addy , and members of the silver phoenix order, and especially people that ARE NOT MASSIVE ROBOT JUNKIES LIKE HIM which is saying quite a lot from considering how he was in the beginning before the western grand storm arc!

though i am more surprised that record of lodoss war and Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari arent on this list. especially lodoss considering that if magic knight rayearth is considered one, then the lodoss war light novels should too.

as for isekai no seikishi monogatari , its definitely one, though some people tend not to consider web novels as actual isekai LNs!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
TUSF



Joined: 11 Oct 2013
Posts: 191
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 4:30 pm Reply with quote
Princess_Irene wrote:
danpmss wrote:
Does Overlord count as isekai at this point?


That's kind of a tough one, because it really does feel like it made a change over at some point...but if you're going to be technical, it's not. I think it's really interesting how closely linked isekai and VRMMO/trapped in a VRMMO series are, with titles like Overlord and Log Horizon coming the closest (that I can think of) to straddling the line. Although that line is arguably something of a plot point in Infinite Dendrogram...
I'd argue this "technicality" makes a very arbitrary distinction. In both Log Horizon and Overlord, the "game" is practically a real world that acts like a game, as opposed to a game world acting like reality (such as SAO or Dendrogram).
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
magvis



Joined: 15 Feb 2005
Posts: 47
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 4:40 pm Reply with quote
I must agree with the author that most of them are, to be kind, poorly written. Having read some in both Japanese and the official English language versions, I have to give the translators/editors in the US incredible praise.
For example: Death March to a Parallel World Rhapsody is actually an enjoyable read in English. They've deleted almost all of the garbage about leveling up and such.
The same goes for Didn't I Say to Make My Abilities Average. The original is painful to read. The one volume out in the US in English is entertaining. In fact, at the end I laughed for a full 30 seconds, and snickered off and on for another two hours.
My recommendation is, whenever possible, read the licensed versions rather than the crappy fan-translated versions. (I'm assuming that almost nobody reads them in Japanese.) Buying them at full price is nearly prohibitive, but used copies are often available at half price or less.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
FireChick



Joined: 26 Mar 2006
Posts: 1990
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 4:57 pm Reply with quote
Personally, my favorite isekai anime are Digimon, Escaflowne (Anyone remember that show?), Magic Knight Rayearth (One that DOESN'T have harem elements?! What a concept!!), and a few others I can't remember off the top of my head.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Reply to topic    Anime News Network Forum Index -> Site-related -> Talkback All times are GMT - 5 Hours
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Page 2 of 4

 


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group