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


Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4

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
ajr



Joined: 29 Nov 2010
Posts: 462
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2018 7:25 pm Reply with quote
I'll toss in a mention for the Korean light novel Dungeon Defense, which has some of the best prose I've seen in a light novel, even if every member of the cast is a magnificent bastard.

I'm A Spider is notable for relatively successfully navigating some plot-structure elements that trip up a LOT of other isekai stories. The manga version has amazing work by the mangaka with body language.

I think someone mentioned Destruction Flag Otome, which manages to succeed purely on how likable the main character is. Uh, that's applicable on multiple levels, Katarina "Black Hole Bakarina" Claes is a joy to follow.

Then there's Jashin Average ("evil god average"), which is a comedic take on the Dungeon Master trope, lots of fun. I'm kind of surprised we haven't seen more like it.

Regarding whether or not SAO counts as isekai, I'm inclined to include it since it largely functions as a mechanism of transporting the character to a different/foreign setting. After all, technically Alice In Wonderland just takes place in Alice's head as she dreams beneath a tree (admittedly, I haven't read the book itself, but that's how the Disney movie adaptation goes). Time travel, trans-dimensional portals, virtual reality, reincarnation, wardrobes; these are just vehicles for getting the character to the other world, the literary end result is the same. I'm
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Kadmos1



Joined: 08 May 2014
Posts: 13098
Location: In Phoenix but has an 85308 ZIP
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 2:03 am Reply with quote
Two other notable trend about isekai LN are the long titles (OreImo essentially popularized the trend of long LN titles) and harems. With the latter, the slave harem sub-trope has also become somewhat popular.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Nordhmmer



Joined: 11 Feb 2017
Posts: 927
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:12 am 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...


Overlord is not a "trapped in a VRMMO series." Ainz is in a real world,the NPCs have become living,free willed beings.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Nordhmmer



Joined: 11 Feb 2017
Posts: 927
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:31 am Reply with quote
TUSF wrote:
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).


I believe you don't have to argue the point of Overlord being set in a real world.
13 volumes in(come late April/May),and the "New World" is still described to be a real world,it's inhabitants,including those that come from YGGDRASIL,as real beings,most living rather crappy lives.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
R315r4z0r



Joined: 30 Aug 2007
Posts: 717
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:51 am Reply with quote
I honestly wouldn't consider No Game No Life to be a bad power fantasy.

Yeah, the protagonists are extremely OP, but not to the point where they steamroll the plot.

There are power fantasy stories where there just isn't any sort of struggle for the protagonists and it just ends up being boring.

And while the main characters in No Game No Life are generally good at most anything game related, they still end up struggling through the conflicts presented to them. For example, the volume where they are invited into that dating sim-like game so they could awaken the Seiren queen.

And even the times when they just win at everything, they do it in an interesting and entertaining way that isn't ever boring.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Anime
Candidate of Origin



Joined: 23 Oct 2016
Posts: 4
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:00 pm Reply with quote
Mondaiji Tachi Ga Isekai Kara Kuru Sou Desu Yo?/Last Embryo, Youjo Senki, Dungeon Defense(I know it's Korean but it's pretty darn good), Kumo Desu Ga Nani Ka, Konosuba and Re:Zero are easily my favorite Isekai novels from recent years, can't say much about No Game No Life or Shield Hero since I didn't read them yet.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Kalessin



Joined: 15 Aug 2007
Posts: 930
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:20 pm Reply with quote
I've definitely liked some isekai stories, but I confess that I've never been a fan of folks being transported from our world to some fantasy world. It can certainly work, but it's almost always better to just set the story in the fantasy world and not bring the "real" world into it at all. Post-LOTR, fantasy stuff in the West has mostly gone with stories that don't involve the real world, and IMHO it's almost always much better that way. There are definitely light novels that go that way as well, but it does seem like isekai is predominant. And I think that the LN scene is overall worse for it even if some of the isekai novels are quite good.

Now, if all of the authors involved wrote proper fantasy stories instead of isekai, I expect that the quality would be pretty much the same. Some of the more annoying tropes would go away, but it's not like that would fix the writing quality. Frequently, it seems like even the LN writers who come up with solid stories aren't all that great at writing. There are some who do do a really good job, but I get the impression in general that a lot of these LN writers aren't very good. Too often, it seems like it's just fan fiction that got an editing pass to polish it up some and then was published as if it were the real deal. However, some of that may come from the fact that these are light novels rather than epic fantasy novels, and the combination of whatever quirks come with them being written in Japanese and what happens to them in the translation probably doesn't help. But the fact that many of these start as web novels definitely helps underscore the feeling of them being somewhat polished fan fiction - though some of the best ones do start out that way.

Overall, I wish that the isekai trend would die. Having some isekai novels would be fine, but it definitely feels like they've gone way overboard - especially when you get insanity like folks being reincarnated as a vending machine...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
RegisterJustForComment



Joined: 17 Apr 2018
Posts: 61
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 1:32 am Reply with quote
I register just to say that all of this about best, worse, good, or no good isekai is just because of difference of age, trend, taste, personality, and whatever that make every human different.

Look, even in novel community there's a lot of people who pros and cons about isekai and non-isekai. Even in the pros isekai, there's a lot who think full action or story with truly profesional and experienced writing is better and other are just trash, of course there's also people who enjoy SoL story without something too much important plot, like there's people who like adult oriented story and also who hate it so much. It's all about personal taste. And even personal taste can change in just one or two season. Like someone say, people hate it when the all popular already get too much popular and then the hater appear. You can count the people who say they hate SAO when the anime first airing, but now there's too much to count the haters who became a hater just because.

When isekai novel first booming, there's only good or bad writing and not about good or bad story. Only after there's too much, people start complaining. Of course with their own different taste.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
stevek504



Joined: 29 Apr 2007
Posts: 215
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:17 am Reply with quote
I must say that in general I like them. I would really like to see more of In Another World With My Smartphone and Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody. I could even agree that there is too much of this coming out now and I would like to see something else.

Until that happens though, I do go back an re-watch episodes of these shows many times. Many of the other shows that have been mentioned get re-watches from me as well.

For me, the overall direction the market is going is somewhat different from what I have liked in the past. I am purchasing less and I struggle to find something to watch each season. If Amazon had not released its anime from the paywall I would have had a rough time finding enough to interest me this last time around. The next few months may be rough for me - so I will continue to re-watch these shows and hope for more.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
trilaan



Joined: 17 Jan 2009
Posts: 946
Location: Texas
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:56 am Reply with quote
My current favorite Isekai novels are So I'm A Spider, So What and That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime. I never thought I would get such a kick out of reading about a character leveling up but I absolutely love waiting and watching it happen for our favorite teenage girl-turned spider monster. That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime slightly higher on my list because it provides some of my all-time favorite story beats as I am an UNREPENTENT lover of alternate world, transformation/shapeshifting and gender bending(which So I'm A Spider, So What also delivers, but doesn't focus on.)

I need to get my hands on The Faraway Paladin soon.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Shiroi Hane
Encyclopedia Editor


Joined: 25 Oct 2003
Posts: 7498
Location: Wales
PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2018 11:03 am Reply with quote
magvis wrote:
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.

What you’re doing there is comparing light novels with web novels. While a good translator/editor can do a lot to make prose flow a lot better in English than your average fan translation (or barely edited machine translation), Death March in particular had a lot of work done in polishing the published novel in Japan (I actually went and read the web novel specifically due to the author’s comments in the afterwords. And because I was impatient).
Outright removing content isn’t general a good thing (and would get called out immediately in angry threads on Reddit), although I wouldn’t have minded some of the repetitive stuff in the Index LNs being trimmed down and really wish the Japanese editors for Mahouka had given it a few more passes with the red ink.
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
linkhuesitos15



Joined: 26 Jun 2018
Posts: 87
PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2018 5:38 pm Reply with quote
Sven Viking wrote:
Not sure about the spider LNs, but what there is in manga form is actually very good. Unique situations, relatable protagonist/decision-making, and satisfying levelups without heading into overpowered territory so far. The protagonist steadily gains power but for now the author still periodically sets up seemingly-insurmountable obstacles for her to overcome.


The manga is based on the LN and follows perfectly Kumo's story but ignore all the side chapters, they're necessary for the overall plot later (After LN volume 3) if you want to know all the story up to this point search the LN and read the "S chapters" and Interludes. The side chapters are an enormous part of the plot.
Note:
The WN has 532 chapters of which only 325 are from Kumo's point of view, the others are side chapters.
Read only the side stories from the LN because they're different from the WN
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Sven Viking



Joined: 09 May 2005
Posts: 914
PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2018 6:34 pm Reply with quote
Thanks, will check that out.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Dark Lord Satan



Joined: 01 Mar 2013
Posts: 2
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2018 12:13 pm Reply with quote
Used to think isekai is a great concept back when anime like Escaflowne, Curious Play and Kyo Kara Maoh used to be shown on TV. I did read the LNs for Kyo Kara Maoh much later and while the story was good, the whole BL setting regarding the engagement was pretty much shit, the series would have appealed to a wider audience if the bad BL elements didn't creep in - either make Yuri gay to begin with or break the engagement for goodness' sake (I'm not a fujoshi) Rolling Eyes

Right now I just tend to stay away from it; majority of the recent ones I picked up (both anime and LNs) were almost the same old game based isekai. Then again I recently watched Juuni Kokuki and it was amazing, Re: Zero, despite all the complains from salty shippers was pretty good too. I hope they write more isekai where the protagonist doesn't get any major "cheats" and actually struggles to get by in the other world. As a matter of fact I came across this post searching for good isekai Anime smile
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
Page 4 of 4

 


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group