The most popular Isekai Anime that isn’t actually Isekai

The most popular Isekai Anime that isn’t actually Isekai

Isekai is one of the fastest growing subgenres in anime today, but in some cases a series can be accidentally mislabeled as isekai.


Isekai is one of the fastest growing subgenres in anime today, but as with many popular genres in any medium, sometimes viewers can accidentally mislabel a series under the wrong category.


One of the most famous examples of this is Sword art online, which features characters interacting with a virtual world but never transporting them to an actual, existing physical world. As such, it is not actually an isekai anime despite being often labeled as such. Here are three more series that are often mislabeled as “isekai” — and why fans sometimes mistake them for one.

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.hack//Sign Stars a character who cannot log out of an MMORPG

Tsukasa from .hack//SIGN.

As Sword art online, .hack//Sign features a character who gets trapped in the virtual world. However, there is a twist that sets it well apart SAO and other MMORPG anime. Only the protagonist is trapped in the game world; everyone else can log in and out whenever they want.

People tend to mislabel this series as an isekai for the same reasons as Sword art onlinebut .hack//Sign likewise only features characters interacting with a virtual world. Towards the end of the series, Tsukasa is finally able to log out and return to a normal life in the real world.

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Dr. Stone resets the modern world – but it’s not an isekai

Senku ishigami Dr. Stone

After a mysterious event causes the entire human race (and one race of sparrows) to become petrified, the world seemingly ends. However, humans are slowly waking up again, and a special genius, the protagonist Senku Ishigami, is doing everything he can to bring humanity’s progress back up to speed.

Dr. Stone is often mistaken for an isekai because Senku and his friends appear to have been whisked away to another world as they acclimate to prehistoric times, interacting with the people who grew up in this new world without knowing the comforts of modern lifestyles. But Senku and his friends are never transported out of Japan and the Earth as they know it is still very much the same – even if they don’t have access to the internet for now.

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Reki Kawahara’s Accel World, like SAO, is not an Isekai

Haru Kuroyukihime and their avatars in Accel World

As Sword art onlinemost of Accel Worldthe plot revolves around a popular online game. Unlike SAO, but none of the characters find themselves trapped in the game and able to log in and out as they wish. From this it should be clear enough that Accel World is not an isekai; However, its ties to creator Reki Kawahara’s more popular works have led to assumptions that it follows a similar story.

Although the game world blends into the real world, no one is ever transported into it – or any other world for that matter. This may change in the future as Accel World light novels remain ongoing, but that is highly unlikely.

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