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The Best (and worst) Isekai Light Novels


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saber721



Joined: 21 Jul 2009
Posts: 4
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:17 am Reply with quote
I absolutely love The Faraway Paladin. Its my favorite novel series, ever.
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traitorAIZEN



Joined: 04 Dec 2010
Posts: 66
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:45 am Reply with quote
Nai wa~
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Jonny Mendes



Joined: 17 Oct 2014
Posts: 591
Location: Europe
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:52 am Reply with quote
I read Slave Harem in the Labyrinth of the Other World but i dropped because how boring the story become. Is a like "RPG - The web novel".
The author spends most of the time describing the action inside the Labyrinth, but in a bad way. Is like having someone playing a game writing all the moves he/she made during the game. All interactions outside the Labyrinth is like a side story.

I found later a web novel that also have slaves and sex scenes (full chapters dedicated to the sex scenes, not only 1 or 2 lines) but with a real plot (and this web novel also have lots of "plot").

Basically, MC died in a accident with other classmates and reborn another world that is like a RPG. He have a class that dominates the minds of other people. He is physically weak but his power is one of the most powerful and he enslave a harem of very powerful girls that fight for him and help him save the world, including his idol like classmate.

Is probably the one of the most offensive web novel that you could find, if it was a real story with real persons.
But if you are the kind of person that can look at fantasy books, manga and novels and understand that is only a fantasy story, is very entertaining.

But my answer is:
Worse (Most Boring) Isekai:Slave Harem in the Labyrinth of the Other World
Best Isekai: Arifureta


Last edited by Jonny Mendes on Fri Apr 13, 2018 12:34 pm; edited 6 times in total
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Chrono1000



Joined: 05 Oct 2013
Posts: 691
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:52 am Reply with quote
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.
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zztop



Joined: 28 Aug 2014
Posts: 327
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:59 am Reply with quote
Quote:
The worst isekai stories are simply dry and boring. They read like game logs for a game that doesn't exist and sounds generic anyway.


I find that's a recurring problem for these kinds of stories. Granted the gamification of Japanese webnovel culture has something to do with this, but still. It's like they're so intent on replicating the feelings of playing an RPG game, they forgot how to write a properly flowing story to start with.

Quote:
if you're opposed to reading self-indulgent works that glorify their protagonists,


Self-indulgence is definitely a big motivation for these WN authors.
I recall the afterwords of Arifureta's author, who admitted the entire work was to satisfy his indulgence for OP chuunibyou stories. He's aware its bad chuuni fiction, but he LOVES writing this type of chuuni fiction.

I’m a huge chuuni lover. Enough of one that I wrote an entire novel based on it. Enough of one that I’m going to write an entire second novel about it too.

And I’m not the only chuuni out there. I’m sure all Japanese boys, no, boys all over the world, no, every human alive, has a bit of chuuni hidden somewhere inside them. So, to all of you chuuni lovers who have to hide away because of common sense, or your age, or how embarrassing it is, or how society sees you, if this book has helped unleash your burning soul just a little... then I consider my work complete.


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.


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.)


Last edited by zztop on Fri Apr 13, 2018 12:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
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pwnagemaster



Joined: 09 Dec 2017
Posts: 16
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 12:02 pm Reply with quote
Kinda bummed to see Rising of the Shield Hero under "worst Isekai". I've read about half of what's been released of the manga and really enjoyed it.

Can't really agree that Arifureta's OP protag was satisfying. It would have been nice if it took a little longer for him to go from "commonplace" to "world's strongest" (as stated in the title), instead of "Oh look, I now have a super-OP and previously unmentioned ability. Guess I win now." I thought (and was hoping) it would go the route of "I have a weird and seemingly useless power, but let's see what we can do with it anyways," since that's basically what happened in the big fight early on.

Probably my favorite isekai is "Tensei shitara Ken deshita" or " I was a Sword when I Reincarnated." It's tagged as "Overpowered protag," but I don't think I can agree with that. For one thing, he's a sword, which comes with all kinds of limitations. It's also been stated that there are stronger swords out there. He (or it?) also actually has a personality, unlike a lot of isekai protags.
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zztop



Joined: 28 Aug 2014
Posts: 327
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 12:05 pm Reply with quote
pwnagemaster wrote:

Can't really agree that Arifureta's OP protag was satisfying. It would have been nice if it took a little longer for him to go from "commonplace" to "world's strongest" (as stated in the title), instead of "Oh look, I now have a super-OP and previously unmentioned ability. Guess I win now." I thought (and was hoping) it would go the route of "I have a weird and seemingly useless power, but let's see what we can do with it anyways," since that's basically what happened in the big fight early on.


I suppose the author just wanted to immediately get started on the big chuuni setpieces.
Guy's a super chuuni lover.
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Jonny Mendes



Joined: 17 Oct 2014
Posts: 591
Location: Europe
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 12:11 pm Reply with quote
zztop wrote:

Self-indulgence is definitely a big motivation for these WN authors.
I recall the afterwords of Arifureta's author, who admitted the entire work was to satisfy his indulgence for OP chuunibyou stories. He's aware its bad chuuni fiction, but he LOVES writing this type of chuuni fiction.

I’m a huge chuuni lover. Enough of one that I wrote an entire novel based on it. Enough of one that I’m going to write an entire second novel about it too.

And I’m not the only chuuni out there. I’m sure all Japanese boys, no, boys all over the world, no, every human alive, has a bit of chuuni hidden somewhere inside them. So, to all of you chuuni lovers who have to hide away because of common sense, or your age, or how embarrassing it is, or how society sees you, if this book has helped unleash your burning soul just a little... then I consider my work complete.


Great quote.
And yes, this also one of the reasons i like LN so much. I know is bad writing and is like a blockbuster popcorn movie, but is entertaining and bring out the chuuni hidden inside us.
But sometimes we need this so we can deal with real life.
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TUSF



Joined: 11 Oct 2013
Posts: 162
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 12:12 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Mushoku Tensei (“Jobless Reincarnation”) is infamous for being the most self-indulgent of self-indulgent power fantasies,
That's kind of a weird way to describe Mushoku Tensei, considering Rudy is far from the strongest person in the world even at his peak, and is an extremely flawed character from start to finish.
The entire story's premise is basically "work hard, but don't get cocky".
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meiam



Joined: 23 Jun 2013
Posts: 1965
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 12:16 pm Reply with quote
I think Isekai became the butt of jokes because they combine easily marketable (and popular stuff) with low barrier to entry to make a genre that's popular despite it's terrible writing. Power fantasy are popular but generally don't lend themselves to make interesting story (there's no conflict when the main character can easily win everything, and if the main character struggle then it's not a power fantasy anymore). But this is also an advantage, people will go in the story with very low expectation from a storytelling point of view, there just there for the blank slate protagonist being OP, so anybody can write something that will meet those ultra low expectation. This means tons of LN will become popular, and more importantly for anime adaptation, are pretty much assure to find an audience who will enjoy it no matter the quality. This makes it easy to green light an adaptation, since it's guarantee to make a certain profit.

But obviously isekai LN don't have the monopoly over bad story becoming popular, just look at Twillight (Boring MC is so wonderful that mysterious fantastical bing fall hopelessly in love with her) or 50 shades of grey (boring MC is so wonderful that mysterious rich guy fall hopelessly in love with her). The difference is that japan as the anime industry which operate on low budget and can crank out adaption for peanuts. This create a self feeding cycle, LN get adapted to anime, this raise the profile of the orginal work so people will read it and then seek other similar work, this makes other LN isekai popular, which then get adapted, drawing in new viewer, who will then go on to read more isekai, repeating the cycle until saturation (at which point isekai will diversify, often with other topic that can be popular despite bad writing, like Harem). The west can't do that, a live action series is far more expensive to produce than an anime, more than the guarantee revenue from the hardcore who will watch anything no matter the quality.
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MsVitchDa2nd



Joined: 05 Oct 2017
Posts: 47
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 12:36 pm Reply with quote
wait Whaa? Shield Hero worst isekai?'
the light novel is awesome and has a huge fanbase behind it.
and theres an anime coming as well!
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HAL14



Joined: 01 Apr 2018
Posts: 7
Location: Heart of africa
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 12:44 pm Reply with quote
MsVitchDa2nd wrote:
wait Whaa? Shield Hero worst isekai?'
the light novel is awesome and has a huge fanbase behind it.
and theres an anime coming as well!

Sadly that doesn't mean it's good. Not that I dont't love the series, but that for some people: huge fanbase= mainstream= trash.
That's part of why shonen get so much hate when they win competitions. Some people think that niche shows are niche because only a small percentage of people have any taste.
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ultimatehaki



Joined: 27 Oct 2012
Posts: 726
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 1:04 pm Reply with quote
MsVitchDa2nd wrote:
wait Whaa? Shield Hero worst isekai?'
the light novel is awesome and has a huge fanbase behind it.
and there's an anime coming as well!


Although I do get annoyed whenever there's a long explanation when skills are obtained, that's pretty much the only thing wrong with it and not enough to make it the worst IMO, plus there's always the manga which gets rid of that problem all together. Can't wait for the anime!

That Slave harem manga was incredibly boring tho. I don't even wanna touch the LN/WN.
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Sven Viking



Joined: 09 May 2005
Posts: 597
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 1:15 pm Reply with quote
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.
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encrypted12345



Joined: 25 Jan 2012
Posts: 420
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 1:41 pm Reply with quote
Shield Hero has ... enough to be okay. I don't like it, but I can see why fans like it other than it being isekai. It's not completely generic or unlikable. No Game No Life and Knight's and Magic work despite being power fantasies because of how unique the protagonists and the settings are. They are also careful not to take themselves too seriously. I mostly like the latter because I'm a mecha fan, but No Game No Life has wide appeal for a good reason.

saber721 wrote:
I absolutely love The Faraway Paladin. Its my favorite novel series, ever.


It really is great. I can recommend it to people who like high fantasy in general. The magic system and world building is a nice change of pace from the generally overly specific magic systems and low magic settings.

pwnagemaster wrote:
Probably my favorite isekai is "Tensei shitara Ken deshita" or " I was a Sword when I Reincarnated." It's tagged as "Overpowered protag," but I don't think I can agree with that. For one thing, he's a sword, which comes with all kinds of limitations. It's also been stated that there are stronger swords out there. He (or it?) also actually has a personality, unlike a lot of isekai protags.


Self-evolution protagonists generally have the problem of becoming too overpowered, but that series works because Fran is a great secondary protagonist who is far from overpowered and has her own strong desires. I'd say that the protagonist sword himself can be kind of bland by himself, but his relationship with Fran makes him likable and fleshes him out much more than you would expect.

As for my favorite isekai, it's a bit of a toss up between Digimon Adventure, Tensei Shitara Ken Deshita, Knight's and Magic, and Faraway Paladin. If I had to pick one, I'd say the best would be Faraway Paladin from a objective as possible standpoint, but I like them all about equally for different reasons. Digimon Adventure has nostalgia as along with with a great ensemble cast, Tensei Shitara Ken Deshita has two excellent main characters and world building that is surprisingly good, Knight's and Magic has mechs and a main character that loves mechs to an extreme, and Faraway Paladin has great characters, setting, and world building all around.


Last edited by encrypted12345 on Fri Apr 13, 2018 1:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
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