Every faithful manga or light novels fans know the story like the back of their hands: An average high school or college kid, usually a self-proclaimed otaku (nerd) obsessed with manga or video games, died in a sudden accident. When they wake up, they find that they have been transported into a fantasy world. Often they have been turned into a prince, duchess, or the legendary hero; sometimes ordinary traders or farmers. In some unfortunate cases, they started a new life as a sword or even slime.
This fantastic sub-genre known as Isekai (another world) dominated the manga and light new markets in recent years. At the time of writing, out of the Top 100 on Amazon Japan manga, 17 titles were Isekai; on Amazon.com, there was a whopping 37. "The Loner life in another world," "Mushoku Tensei: Unemployed Reincarnation" and "my status Assassin Far Exceeds" are just some classified heroes near the top. Publishers such as Kadokawa and Alphapolis doubled on gender, releasing hundreds of titles Isekai volumes per year.
Isekai has oversaturated markets to the point where fans, publishers and critics are almost sick of it. "Another Isekai? "Is a common remark on sites like Baka-updates, a database that compiles new versions of manga. An editor at a US-based editor said Isekai "is a huge part of new manga coming out. This has been a driving force in the manga and I do not go away ". According to Kim Morrissey, journalist at Anime News Network Isekai "really threatens traditional light new markets. Fewer people are buying other kinds ".
"Popular genre has changed with time," said Yuichiro Takashima, a sales manager at Kodansha comics division. "The panic of horror used to be popular, for example, but now isekai truly masters the day."
While Isekai traces back to the 1970s manga series "Crest of the Royal Family," where the protagonist is transported to ancient Egypt, the origins of the modern genre can be seen in the early 2010s trends based franchises out of the game massively multiplayer virtual reality online role (VRMMO RPG) such as online art sword, which was published in 2013. genre developed rapidly in the 2010s with international success, including Re: zero - Starting life in another world and the rise of the hero Shield, which were then adapted into anime.
The rise of the genre is closely related to messages novel sites that have become popular in the early to mid 2010s, as Shosetsuka or Naro ( "Let's become Novelist"), where users can freely post stories. Stories that become popular on these platforms are spotted by Japanese publishers and transformed into light novels, which are then adapted into manga because it sells better.
Isekai dominate the new site-posting. In 2020, isekai usually comprises the majority of the 100 novels on Shosetsuka ni Naro. Critics say that the appeal of the genre isekai largely from how familiar it is to the generation raised on video games and anime.
"A big part of the appeal comes down to how easy it is to write," says Morrissey. "You throw characters into a world and things get explained to them as they go. the sweet spot of being very familiar to readers hit, but can be twisted enough to not feel like you're reading the same thing every time. "
In the United States and other international markets, where the share of manga readers tend to be fans of Japanese culture, this meta genre deeply immersed in otaku culture is a large part of the manga market.
"These fans are introverts generally so isekai is an extension of that introverted personality," says the editor of the US based .. "Instead of going out and experience the world, they want to go in and create his fantasy world. "
Genre isekai also brought along some very problematic tropes and ideas. explicit misogyny rarely calls, and slavery is often described by slaves who were satisfied with their position. Critics have dissected and analyzed this metaphor for an investigation to depth, and while some argue that there is more nuance and significance of detractors claim, others argue that the problematic isekai is "incel fantasy" and a safe space for sexualization, the male gaze, and even misogynistic rage.
"Despite the glaring disconnect sort of culture, it's really interesting how these books sell well in America," said Morrissey.
While isekai has certainly led the way in recent years, publishers are confident that the manga market as a whole will continue to grow independently. "The magazine sales have declined, but has been more than outweighed by the growth in sales of electronic comics," said Takashima. "(In Japan) the average age of readers has increased, so the sleeve needs to do a better job of competing with other leisure activities for young people."
At least, isekai continues to please his fans, inspiring the culture of writing novels online and offers a new material flow for international fans of Japanese pop culture. online reviews and blogs show that fans love isekai, not figuratively, but the characters, plot twists, and worldbuilding - like other genres in literature. And during isekai continue to sell, it is likely to maintain its presence in the manga market, although how problematic it is, or how tiring it can be felt.
"It is up to capitalism, really," said the American editor. "Publishers must publish books that make money. There's no secret to it. "