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The Best (and worst) Isekai Light Novels


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Thespacemaster



Joined: 03 Mar 2012
Posts: 795
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 5:15 pm Reply with quote
Right now it is a tie between Re:zero and Overlord for my fav isekai as both of them are more of a dark fantasy approach and have complexities far more than your standard isekai series.

The Least was smartphone ,oh god how i wish it was nvr made, it just pure garbage.
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zawa113



Joined: 19 Jan 2008
Posts: 7325
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 5:54 pm Reply with quote
I personally really enjoyed Rising of the Shield Hero. I haven't read the novels, but I have really been enjoying the manga. I could see why going off on tirades about leveling up for pages at a time would be boring in a novel, but thankfully, the manga always keeps it to just a few panels to make sure the audience and main character are on the same page.
I also quite enjoy how no one expects anything from the Shield Hero because they have no idea how completely broken a power it is, which is something that he learns slowly over time. But as a result, no one wants to help him because he's not one of the "cool heroes" and they even go so far as to pin spoiler[false rape accusations against him] to make sure he's screwed over on a social level, too. This also leads to a forcible level cap that none of the other heroes have to worry about when he's not allowed to level up any further for a while, but the other three heroes can. The fact that he overcame this makes him interesting to me. He wasn't just a pure fantasy power trip for me, but someone who actually had to claw his way there. Even at the end of the first arc, he finally gets some support, but he's still seen as the weak link by most people.
Perhaps the novels do have major "explaining the mechanics" problems, but I would definitely suggest the manga for sure.

For me, while I do enjoy Re:Monster and That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, those manga adaptations definitely show a lot more procedural stuff and show the lead as way overpowered, right from the getgo. So I could see those being a bit less interesting overall as a result. Though I do like that the heroes here aren't reincarnated as humans, but as what would be the "monsters" in RPG games. But the Re:Monster lead is so broken that he's able to have an ability to absorb skills from anything he ingests (something a bit similar for Slim, too), which basically seems to amount to "all of the abilities" at the end of the day.

I definitely do really like Re:Zero though. I know a lot of people found Subaru unlikeable off the bat, but I didn't really have any problems with him. I also like how his power of spoiler[save scumming] can really only be used by him and doesn't give him a clear advantage over everyone else (he's clearly NOT the best fighter, for example, not even close). It could also be the story's way of doing what a lot of visual novels do, with having spoiler[the bad endings lead to information to get to a "good ending", which are treated more like save points in this scenario].

For classic isekai, there's always Digimon! At least the first season, that's definitely isekai. the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th seasons involve going to the digital world, but only the 1st and 4th summon the kids there out of the blue and spend most of the series there, which is awesome.

Twelve Kingdoms is also always awesome. I really wish someone would rescue the novels (Seven Seas, perhaps?) since Tokyopop only put out 4, and it was basically all adapted anyway. It's honestly so good that any anime based on her other works has been lackluster for me by comparison.

My manga love though is From Far Away, where regular Japanese girl Noriko is whisked away to another land maybe 6 pages into the manga and we go from there. Despite being a living MacGuffin, she's not really kidnapped and passed around and all passive and stuff. She was a bit passive in the first volume (due to not knowing the language, another rare instance where she doesn't automatically speak the language of this new place), but then decides she's going to be active in her fate and I really like that. And Noriko is just honestly such a wonderful character, optimistic and hopeful and genuinely sweet without being annoying or infuriating. You can see why her allies would want to be around her as a friend. And the way her relationship advances with Izark, the defrosting ice king, is slow and believable and not a case of "instantly in love" (even if you knew they were going to get together from the start). Shame it's out of print though (why must Viz let so many damn good series leave us, just because they are old? I can only hope the Banana Fish anime changes the fates of one of them....)
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non8noninfinite



Joined: 06 May 2015
Posts: 15
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 5:56 pm Reply with quote
Hello, as a female reader of isekai LN, I have to mention some that are targeted at women and some that are easily liked by women.

Fukushuu wo Chikatta Shironeko wa Ryuuou no Hiza no Ue de Damin wo Musaboru (復讐を誓った白猫は竜王の膝の上で惰眠をむさぼる) - which recently got a manga adaptation by Aki (mangaka had work published by Yen Press). The story is about fresh university student Ruri who got summoned to isekai along with her stalker/childhood friend and some groupies. Things go sour for Ruri as she’s forcefully deported to magic forest. But that was her stroke of luck, she learns she’s a Beloved Child - rare person loved by faries which bring prosperity to land. OP here are faries. Anyway Ruri got a hold of magic bracelet that turns wearer into cat. Mistaken as a cat, she allows Dragon kingdom’s Dragon king and high brass to take her into custody...and things go fun.

My Death Flags Show No Sign of Ending (俺の死亡フラグが留まるところを知らない). This one has a male MC and it’s not really isekai but a fighting strategy game. But the MC possessed a scum character from the game. He cannot talk politely because the true holder of the body is constraining him. But he tries his best in the shadows to achieve the game plot’s best ending while saving his own life in the process. The dilenma MC faces as he acts out the villain while he’s also the hero is truly great.

Seirei Gensouki (精霊幻想記) - this is a gem. The MC reincarnates to isekai into body of another boy who was dying and the two personalities and memories merge. MC is one who tries his hardest for his own personal wishes and acts on his feelings. His effort to become a better man for the girl he loves in his past life and resolve to execute revenge for his parents from this life as well as other traits make him a relatable character. The story is harem-ish, but the true love/pure love theme prevails.

World Teacher (ワールド・ティーチャー -異世界式教育エージェント-) - a senior secret agent, who spent his last few years as new agents’ teacher, dies during a mission and gets reborn. and this time he wants to fulfill his wish from past life to be a full-time teacher loved by his students. However there’s one unfortunate fact that he possess the Non-attribute magic attribute that is thought of as the weakest. The storytelling of the first few volumes much resembles Mushoku Tensei, especially the baby years spent training to enlarge magic capacity. But overall it’s a lovely story even if it has its weak points.

Last thing to note: The fanservice is at acceptable level and amount!
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Mojave



Joined: 07 May 2017
Posts: 178
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 6:35 pm Reply with quote
I did expect to see Rising of the Shield Hero on this list, but I honestly thought it would be under "Best," not "Worst." The world-building is pretty good, but the character development is absolutely fantastic. I do say this as a manga reader though, so I guess it's possible that the way the light novels handle his leveling up could be tedious enough to make one of the best examples of the genre into one of the worst, but I'm still quite doubtful of that. If you're not familiar with the series at all, I would definitely recommend giving it a chance.
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michizure



Joined: 28 Jun 2006
Posts: 146
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 6:52 pm Reply with quote
The problem with overpowered cheats is that they tend to rob the stories of any conflict. If the main character can't fail (Re:Monster, I'm looking at you), what's the point of reading?

Re:Zero succeeds because (a) Return by Death is such an unpleasant cheat on the face of it, (b) Subaru is clearly at the mercy of forces beyond his control, (c) most of the characters that Subaru interacts with have better cheats than his, and (d) Subaru's biggest challenge is constantly overcoming his own personality flaws.

Konosuba succeeds because it's a study in how over-the-top powerful a party can be and yet be borderline incompetent due to the members' personal quirks and interactions.

No one has mentioned Common Sense of a Duke's Daughter or Destruction Flag Otome, where the only cheat the heroine has is having played the otome game she now finds herself in -- as the villainous rival of the game's main character. In the first case, the story starts where the game ends, with the main character using her previous life's skills to avoid house arrest for life and improve her new family's fortunes. In the second, the main character realizes that she's arrived in the prologue to the game and works desperately to avoid the host of Bad Ends she knows are coming.
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einvaust



Joined: 06 Nov 2017
Posts: 8
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:31 pm Reply with quote
1- tensei shitara slime datta ken
Its look like re monster, but more dept on story.and no harem...the story its more building kingdom of monster but got more complicated that there is many another people earth on transferred in that world

2- Manuke na FPS Player ga Isekai e Ochita Baai
A FPS player got stuck on the fantasy world of magic and skill. The characters doesnot have magic but have skill like on fps games. Modern guns vs monster & magic

3-new gates
Another transferred player to games. That he played like overlord but without castle and slaves.

4-exterminator
Bug & pest exterminator got transfer to world of fantasy. Trying survive with his knowledge as pest exterminator
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Lynn Len



Joined: 13 Apr 2018
Posts: 1
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 9:31 pm Reply with quote
[quote="TUSF"]
Quote:
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".


Mushoku Tensei is one of my personal favorites if you ask me, that has my vote for sure.

My worst one will have to be RE:zero
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Daerian



Joined: 04 Dec 2011
Posts: 106
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 9:54 pm Reply with quote
Did I miss anything, or didn't anyone here nor in the article even mention Saga of Tanya the Evil?

Because I think this is one of the best isekais there is, especially with its very interesting take on "rage against the heavens", which is thoroughly explored, and world style.
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#861208



Joined: 07 Oct 2016
Posts: 423
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:46 pm Reply with quote
.... no one remembers Kyo Kara Maoh?

Really? Come on...
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the green death



Joined: 28 Jul 2015
Posts: 120
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:59 pm Reply with quote
I finished Shield Hero 9 recently and have to say, though I found the early volumes fun for the character stuff 4 out of 5 of the last volumes have had very little character work and are often huge fights and my interest in the series has really cooled as a result. I own 10 so I’ll read it but I don’t know after that...
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Hiroki not Takuya



Joined: 17 Apr 2012
Posts: 1824
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:29 am Reply with quote
Daerian wrote:
Did I miss anything, or didn't anyone here nor in the article even mention Saga of Tanya the Evil? Because I think this is one of the best isekais there is, especially with its very interesting take on "rage against the heavens", which is thoroughly explored, and world style.
Thank you, I loved Tanya too! And thank you Kim for not using the article as an excuse to bash on Death March and Isekai Smartphone.
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fuuma_monou



Joined: 26 Dec 2005
Posts: 1674
Location: Quezon City, Philippines
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:54 am Reply with quote
#861208 wrote:
.... no one remembers Kyo Kara Maoh?

Really? Come on...


Isn't the anime based on a manga rather than a light novel?
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musouka



Joined: 09 Sep 2003
Posts: 629
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2018 9:53 am Reply with quote
fuuma_monou wrote:
#861208 wrote:
.... no one remembers Kyo Kara Maoh?

Really? Come on...


Isn't the anime based on a manga rather than a light novel?


The Kyou Kara Maou anime was based off the series of light novels with the same premise. They’re also among my favorite light novels, and it’s a pity the author got blocked and they remain unfinished.
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Pierrot.





PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:37 am Reply with quote
Arifureta is one of the worst isekai story I've read. It unashamedly rips off one of the most iconic moments from Tokyo Ghoul.
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SaitoHajime101



Joined: 31 Mar 2013
Posts: 261
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2018 7:20 pm Reply with quote
Jonny Mendes wrote:
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.


This, right here, should be applied to anything in this world. We all realize that our opinions on the matter of what is good or bad is just that, opinions, but they shouldn't stop anyone from enjoying what they like.

Doesn't matter what you involve yourself in, if you like it, have fun with it. The author admits to writing a bad story because he enjoys that type of story. Nothing wrong with that at all. If it is bad with no enjoyment, people just won't buy it. Clearly this author did something right with the LN for it to become popular enough. Its like the whole debate around SAO. SAO may have been a poorly written isekai stories, but clearly something is being done right for there to be an audience and not just forgotten in the sea of isekai light novels.

I do enjoy SAO, FYI. Cool
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