Before anything else, disclaimer: featured image not mine. I got it from Skythewood‘s page, at least one of their previous cover photos. They’re an awesome translator group, by the way. So you might wanna go and check them out too.
Anywaay, to y’all readers out there, one tidbit about me is that: I really am a BIIG fan of the ‘isekai’ genre, or anime/manga/light novel with parallel universe plots. They can range from characters trapped in a supposed game to reincarnated to summoned ones on a gamelike-fantasy universe. The first one I watched was Sword Art Online by Reki Kawahara, but it wasn’t until Log Horizon by Mamare Touno (or was it Half Prince by Yu Wo?), followed by No Game No Life of Yū Kamiya, that I became fully immersed and began loving this kinda setting.
Here’s a quick list of my top:
02. No Game, No Life
03. Log Horizon
04. Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken
05. GATE: Jieitai Kano Chi Nite, Kaku Tatakaeri
OHMYGOD, I KNOW THERE ARE A LOT! Like a whooole lot. SAO, Re:Monster, Accel World, Re:Zero, Steins;Gate, the list goes on (and, of course, this does not even include the romance/drama/shoujo/slice of life-centric list like Kenkyo Kenjitsu, or Tashinami just yet and the ones I’ve forgotten as of today). And they are, btw, also strong/interesting in their own way. But, for now, idk… these are the top 5 that first came to mind. Highly biased, of course, just my own preference. So, this time, forgive mee, but Imma go on with my sort-of in-depth review on just these special top 5 I have.
NOTE: I suggest, if you have plans on watching or reading the top 5 mentioned, reallly reallly think twice before you proceed past this point. Idk… it contains mild spoilers and, by reading my subjective opinion of each, might ruin some of your fun when it’s your turn to read/watch ’em. So, yeaah, you can just skip and proceed to the concluding remarks instead. You have been warned.
Now, on to the detailed review~o(≧∇≦o) (more like summary, really XDD)
OVERLORD by Kugane Maruyama
Overlord is originally a light novel written by Kugane Maruyama and illustrated by So-Bin. There’s also an anime adaptation done by Madhouse (until now, I’m still waiting for a possible season 2!) and a manga version under Comp Ace magazine. I’ve read the LN up until Volume 5 only, since finding any material online is really hard ever since it got serialised. I would’ve opted to buy it but, huhuhu, I lack the necessary funds these days.
Anyway, going back to the review, I’m actually quite torn whether to put Overlord as #1 or NGNL. Both are equally amazing works for me! NGNL with the witty characters and development and Overlord with its adventure-themed type and action, plus its uniqueness of having heteromorphs as main characters. lol In the end, Overlord won me over just because.
Again, Overlord is the trap-in-a-game kinda isekai. In the year 2100s, there was this famous DMMO-RPG (Dive Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) called Yggdrasil; but after a decade-worth run, unfortunately, it had to shut down. The story starts when our main character, Suzuki Satoru, ends up trapped instead after refusing to log out of the game until it shuts down. Moreover, the NPCs (Non-Player Character) gained consciousness of their own — their mouths moving, acquiring scent and all other senses and necessities of being alive.
Soo, yeah, Overlord revolves around Satoru, in-game Momonga and then later changed to Ainz, trying to fit in on a world he just trapped himself into, all the while managing the Great Tomb of Nazarick he is ruling over and looking for someone or something that could help him solve the mystery of him being trapped. And, of course, added to this is the devious plan of his underlings spreading the great name of their master and trying to rule the world. All of this unbeknownst to Ainz, of course. XDD \(≧∇≦/)
Anyyywaaay, the anime adaptation is really superb and I have no complaints. I mean, yeah, there were inaccuracies especially at the last part of the anime but… I’m sure Madhouse can work it out around the corner. Or maybe because I’m already anime biased so I don’t really care? XDDD HAHAHAHA Well, I watched the anime first before reading the LN. Hn.. maybe it’s because of that? lol But, really! The anime is love. ( ƅ° ∇°)ƅ
So yeaaah, I really really reallly would’ve loved to see more of the adventures Ainz, aka Momonga, and Nabe would go to. They really shortened out the arcs. Then again, I guess it’s also understandable, considering that feck Japan their anime standard length is now at 12-14 eps per season. Pluuus, yeah, when it first aired, it wasn’t really that famous (I think, at least in my area) aand the novel ain’t that far off yet. Soo… 😐 Still, that didn’t stop me from loving this piece! And to think, when I randomly watched it at first, I thought it would be a lame isekai-kinda story and/ something I won’t be too “in to”. I’m more than pleased with the surprise. :>>
That said, here’s to “DAMN YOU MADHOUSE! GIVE ME A SEASON 2 ALREADY!” XDD Season 1 comprises of Vol. 1-3 of the LN; if this rate keeps up, there should already be enough material for a Season 2 (afaik, LN is already in Vol. 10)! ୧(๑•̀ᗝ•́)૭ :>> GIVE ME A SEASON 2 NOWWWW~! huhuhuhu :3 Mehe~ Still, all love. ❤
PS. Btw, anyone up to making a just-for-fun visual novel plus RPG of this? Hahahaha Incluudee me pleasee. I’ve been trying to do one; but it’s really hard y’know… to program and write EVERYTHING all by yourself. I’m not even a 1/20th of my plan. Pluus… my art is… HAHAHAHAHA I can’t even.
NO GAME NO LIFE by Yū Kamiya
No Game No Life comes from a light novel by Yū Kamiya. I’m not sure if there’s already a manga adaptation of this; but, yeah, there’s an animated one still under Madhouse. Like Overlord, since this is serialised, finding a copy online is near impossible. So, if you plan on pirating the LN of this, good luck with that. Seriously though, it would’ve been better if you buy your own copy of it. I mean, you’d greatly help the author and everyone behind this amazing series if you do that. XDD As stated, I’m broke af, but I’m saving for the day I’d be able to completely buy the full copies of NGNL and Overlord.
Anywaay, the review, yes.
To start of, NGNL is really a unique kind of isekai. As compared to others with reincarnated plots or ones where they are forcibly trapped in a game, in NGNL meanwhile… the main characters themselves chose to move and be trapped in the fantasy world of Disboard! It follows two NEET siblings, Sora and Shiro, who are so bored af of the real world; so when the God of Games of another world, Tet, offered them the chance to switch and cross over, the two did not hesitate to do so and accept. Thus, begins their adventure in another fantasy universe.
To begin with, the Blank siblings (Blank since in every online game they’re in, they don’t put a name in and just leave it as, well, blank) were already formidable in their own right in every game they’ve joined. Yes, undefeatable, you could say. And it’s refreshing, to say the least, that in this isekai plot, rather than solving mysteries of why they’re trapped and reincarnations and all, instead, the protagonists have another definite goal of playing games, gathering all the pieces of the Disboard (patterned after chess, where each ‘life piece’ is a species of the universe) and having fun while trying to challenge and defeat Tet. xDD
Anyway, there’s also a bit of romance (…?) in NGNL, just a tiny bit though (orz… idk really, it’s not ‘legit’ romance but mostly just harem; and if you argue that indeed this is legit romance, well, let’s just say that I absolutely refuse, due to various reasons, to label this under romance so I’m trying my hardest to ignore any romantic implications in the anime XDD). But, yeah, like I said, unfortunately, I cannot deny the harem taking place here, plus the possibility of an incestuous relationship (I mean, they’re not related but still).
But, really, those things aside, NGNL is a fantastic anime that you surely should NEVER ever miss. Sora and Shiro are a greaat teaam, with one super street smart and the other excelling in logic. And if the anime is already amazing as it is, I have big hopes for its LN version. Mehehehe~ Anyway, just watch it! You won’t regret it. :>>
PS. Alsooo, this one really really deserves an S2 tooo! DAAAAMN WHYYY NO SEASON 2 YEET?!
LOG HORIZON by Mamare Touno
Log Horizon is a Japanese novel written by Mamare Touno and given a two-season anime adaptations (of around 25 episodes each~!) by studios Satelight and Studio Deen. It’s, you guessed right, serialised as well so good luck finding a free online LN of this. XDD
Now, ditching the technicalities, on to the review~! o(≧∇≦o) XDD huehue
To start off, Log Horizon is like Sword Art Online in that players are trapped in the MMORPG universe of Elder Tale; however, unlike SAO and like Overlord, players have no idea why and how they’re trapped. Moreover, like Overlord, magic gets completely integrated and more, and NPCs start to gain consciousness of their own.
So this one is, obviously, another mystery game-turned-reality isekai. What kept it apart from Overlord is that, aside from the fact that our protagonists are humans, it emphasises on adventuring as guilds, building a liveable community in-game together and the presence of MMORPG elements like the console and seeing the stats of fellow players; plus, the fact of course that playerssss (emphasis on ‘s’) are all in this together in solving the mystery behind the trapping… as opposed to Overlord where Ainz is still in search of a fellow player.
Anyway, Log Horizon follows around a lot of protagonists, but mainly on and around a specific person called Shiroe, dubbed as the evil strategist megane (aka haraguro megane). XDDD o(≧∇≦o) o(≧∇≦o) Basically, he is this awesome smartass guy who made a name for himself even long loong way before, when Elder Tale was at its peak, and was even part of the infamous Debauchery Tea Party (he is their strategist, actually) which completed a lot of impossible tasks and raids before. Now, with them trapped in-game and the impending chaos because of the lawlessness of their newfound universe, it was all thanks to Shiroe and his strategic thinking that made their town safe and liveable.
Basically, Log Horizon is the name of the guild Shiroe finally made, as far as I can remember, in reminiscent of the in-game sunrise (or was it sunset) that the first three members saw (i.e. Naotsugu, Shiroe and Akatsuki) while on a mission to retrieve Serara. They were the first one to see that kind of scene ever since the apocalypse. Soo… it’s kinda like a special thing, a memory of the horizon… orz, something like that. I’m not quite sure. I remembered hearing something like that explained by Shiroe but, like I said, I’m not so sure. huehuehue It’s been a while since I rewatched the anime, see, so… gomen minna. o(´д｀o) o(´д｀o) Hmmm… I might rewatch later tho. fufufufu
That aside though, Log Horizon is basically a slice of life, adventure-action fantasy detailing the lives of people trapped in the game and the things they must do to survive. There’s just one thing lacking in this series though… CAN ANYONE, SOMEONE PLEASE GIVE ME A DEBAUCHERY TEAM PARTY FLASHBACK KINDA SPIN-OFF OR SOMETHING OF THIS SERIES?! MYGED, I’D LOVE TO SEE ONE PLEASE! o(≧∇≦o) o(≧∇≦o) o(≧∇≦o) o(≧∇≦o)
Ohwellz, huhuhuhu. I’m actually not sure if they incorporated one in the second season. I haven’t finished the second season yet (Am still around ep 6… or was it 7? Well, it was because I was watching it while it was still updating. And when I finally realised to let it finish first before continuing, I kinda, sort of, forgot to get back to it instead? 😄 :P). And while they’re slowly revealing Debauchery Team members one after another, who turned out to be logged in during the apocalypse, STILL! I WANT AN EXCLUSIVE DEBAUCHERY SPIN-OFF SEASON BACK WHEN ELDER TALE WAS AT ITS PEAK! Who’s with me on this? Let’s sign a petition! muhuhuhuhu~ :>> :3
And, well, here. This ain’t exactly a trailer (I mean, it’s the OP of season1 dayum) but… well, I guess it’s passable enough as a trailer as well…? #LivingInADatabase wew HAHAHAHA Such accuracy, much wow.
TENSEI SHITARA SLIME DATTA KEN by Fuse
Tensei is another amazing light novel and web novel work, this time by Fuse-sensei.
Note: Btw, difference between web and light novels is, afaik, editors. Light novels are official Japanese publications or books; meanwhile, web is… from the name itself, just a (possibly unedited) work published online.
That said, one good news of Tensei: IT CAN BE ACCESSED FOR FREE ONLINE! The web novel at least. HAHAHA There are a bunch of translators out there too, for y’all who can’t read Japanese. (Idk if there really is none of the LN you can find online but… well, I suggest against it. Besides, the web novel is awesome already so… yeah, for me who can’t buy the LN, it’s already good enough~( ƅ° ∇°)ƅ )
Anyywaaay, Tensei is a reincarnation type this time (well, duh, because tensei literally means reincarnation XDD). It revolved around a guy named Satoru who was transported to another fantasy world as a slime, after being stabbed by a robber when he saved and pushed away the fianceé of a friend (If you can understand Japanese, tensei shitara slime datta ken actually means “If you are reincarnated as a slime” or, in official translations, says “Regarding reincarnated as a slime” XDD 😐 Sooo, yeah, there ya go).
It’s really funnny by the way, at least for me. And the adventure was cool tooo~ Rimuru, the slime, is damn OP. I mean, feeeck, his entire kingdom is! Yes, the slime has a demon kingdom. XDD And noooot jusst anyy demon kingdom, daaamn, each of his officials are OP in their own right. Makes you feel like Re:Monster’s just one hella babiess compared to this. And, well, yeaaah~ it amazes me in a way; because though they were described OP, it never bore me… partly because it’s fun to see the characters grow so much from this to that…? Idk, or maybeee I just reaally tend to gravitate towards OP characters. lol
Anywaaay, I’m really happy Tensei now has a manga adaptation. Now, all I’m waiting for is an anime version! XDD Who’s with me on this?! PETITIOOON EVERYONE! MADHOUSE?! MADHOUSE, PLEASE! HAHAHAHA
Note: You can read the translated novel here. Alsooo, please please don’t forget to thank the translators to show them how much you appreciate their work. And, of course, to encourage them to keep it up. 😉 fufufufu~ Anywaay, just don’t forget to be grateful alwaays, people.
GATE by Takumi Yanai
Ho-ho! Elf + Lolita goddess = ❤
So, ahem, GATE. GATE is actually originally a novel by Takumi Yanai, thouugh I haven’t really read it. I just watched the animeee and it was awesome! To the point where I spent an entire weekend just watching/rewatching its S1 despite having one hella math exam on that week. XDD Yess, it’s not really something to be proud of but! I do am proud of zis series. There are two seasons out now, of 12 episodes each, btw. Sooo, if you’re looking for something to binge watch, include this one on your list. fufufufufu
GATE is also unique in a waaay thaat, unlike other parallel universe plots, this one has a legit accessible gate towards the other world. And interaction between nations on both universe is underway, i.e. the fantasy world and our current modern world.
It started out when that other world invaded modern Japan and, duuuh, comparing their old technology to that of ours, of course there’s no doubt which side would win (despite ‘us’ being the one ‘colonised’). Anyway, in the process, the other-world army did leave an open portal connecting theirs to ours. Aand, of course, humans being humans, Japan sent their own JSDF (some kindaa Japanese self-defense force) to investigate/explore/establish trade with them.
One such JSDF soldier is our main protagonist, Itami, who rose to fame when, with his wits and quick act, was able to save a loot of people during the first attack of those other-world creatures/people. Sooo, yeaaah, he was sent beyond the gate, had his own team and was able to meet key people on the other side, that being the elf Luna, the sorceress Lelei and, fufufufufu, that lolita goddess Rory. Other more prominent people include the princess Piña and her rose knights.
GATE is mostly slice-of-life and adventure. Hmm… there are action, of course, and comedy! Lol that running gag of Itami with his subordinate Shino. HAHAHAHA Well, I do understand her. I meaan, who would expect that Itami was actually this and that?! I’d say she embodies/personifies some of ze viewer’s reactions really well. XDD The atmosphere ain’t heavy, so it’s a fun one to watch without ze stress and all, makes you somewhat appreciate our modern technology or something, that with the reactions of the other-world people upon seeing our civilisation. lol lol
Anywaaay, without further ado, here’s to GATE’s epic S1 opening (I meaan, well, I love the song).
Reaaaally, there are a lot of isekai-themed plots. But like I said, these five are the only ones so far that I can say I loovee so much with absolute certainty. Orzz… maybe you can say they are my five top 1s, while the rest are on 2nd or 3rd? HAHAHAHA
Anywaaay, for easy access for y’all, other action/adventure parallel universe manga/anime/novel includes: 1/2 Prince, Accel World, Btoom (somewhat, you’ll know if you search ;>> fufufufu), Fenglin Tianxia (webtoon), Hai to Gensou no Grimgar, Isekai de Kuro, KonoSuba, Kyōsogiga, Mirai Nikki (slightly psychological/suspense tho~ lol XDD), Mondaiji, Outbreak Company, Re:Monster, Re:Zero, SAO, Shiro no Koukoku, Steins;Gate, World Trigger (it’s loong now, btw, so a really good one to binge). Of course, not all of them are the reincarnation/transfer to another world-type. But still, the existence of parallel universe is real. huehuehue
That said, that’s all for now, folks.
Note: Wanna ask more or discuss your own favourite action/adventure parallel-themed manga/anime/novel? Comment them below. I’d love to hear your thoughts. :>