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Nicky and Nick return to this season’s isekai mines and manage to excavate one (1) actually good anime.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the participants in this chatlog are not the views of Anime News Network.
Spoiler Warning for discussion of the series ahead.


Nicky, it’s the start of the new year and the new season, which means we’ve got to pay our taxes. Both the boring regular taxes and the seasonal Isekai Tax that management makes us pay in blood every quarter.


Given that I haven’t had to do one of these in a hot minute, I’m overdue.

We are auditing you here at the Isekai Revenue Service. You’ve got NINE of these suckers to deal with this season.

With a couple of double-length premieres, no less. I might’ve dodged more than a few times, but I don’t want anyone saying I’d never pay the price when it meant being fair. Either way, I’m here and prepared to fight whatever this season throws at us.

With a few dry spells of isekai last year, I was hoping that the trend was cooling down, but I guess the menace was simply dormant, as nine series is quite the eruption. However, quite a few series today are evolving beyond the standard isekai template; there are several aimed towards a female demographic and a few that deviate heavily, but are these changes enough to make any of them good?

Mostly no! Though yes, having the creative vision not just to copy-paste the template of Reincarnated With A Magic Penis In The Land of Catgirl Slave Wives is certainly a boon. Generally speaking, the less identical your series is to the glut of the subgenre, the more likely people are to actually remember you exist. Nobody will even recognize My Instant Death Ability Is Overpowered in about three days.

I just watched this, and I already want to forget it. Anything exciting about this show went out the window when the protagonist woke up from his nap. Some parts of this could be done interestingly, but it’s shoved aside in favor of the most flavorless power fantasy. A whole class gets teleported to another world, but instead of building an ensemble cast, every character besides the heroine is just there to be a dick. Even the main character is kind of a dick but not even in a fun way.

Also, I need to point out, in case those screenshots weren’t clear, that the majority of this premiere takes place inside a Greyhound bus. That has to be one of the worst, least cinematic places to start your fantasy story, short of opening inside a locked porta-potty.

This guy wakes up on the bus with two of his classmates dead in front of him after the rest of the class ditched him and has no other impulse than to bring out his game console. Yet, nothing about the tone indicates that this should be played for horror, and it’s not played up enough to be “darkly funny,” much less interesting.

Folks familiar with the novels claim this is a failure of the adaptation and that the source material says this dude is played much more as a chaotic eldritch being who happens to be shaped like a light novel potato-man. I can’t say whether or not that’s true. Still, here, he most certainly comes off like the same kind of stone-faced sociopath as every other character because, like every other isekai where the whole class gets brought along, this thing tries to speed-run Lord of the Flies to little effect.

Though, unlike the literary classic, the goal of My Instant Death doesn’t seem to be a social commentary on the nature of humanity, but mere juvenile cynicism. It’s also not averse to similar juvenile tactics, as the only thing breaking the main character’s apathy to the whole situation is the light brush of his female classmate’s chest while she clings to him for her life. Even that has too little energy to be designated as “fanservice.”

It’s almost impressive. Anime has been making boob jokes for decades. There are quite literally millions of them out there you could crib from. Yet this show can’t even do that right, because it feels like nobody making this wanted to in the first place.

We’re starting with this one because it’s a pretty good example of what we mean when we think mainstream isekai stories are just the same beats melted down to their barest forms. Even the designs would be indistinguishable if the main character cared to brush his hair and not let those blue stems stick out of his head. Yet, being so lifeless and bland made this one this season’s outlier.

It’s by far the most…traditional? Conventional? Lazy? Whatever the word is, it’s the worst of them. However, that doesn’t mean the ones that are a few degrees more inventive are all that thrilling. Fluffy Paradise mostly avoids last place on the fact that none of its characters have tried to become murderers, rapists, and necrophiliacs all at once.

Fluffy Paradise at least has the appeal of being Gosh Darn Cute. After succumbing to the overwork bug, god reincarnates the young office worker with the power capable of granting her heart’s utmost desire to pet cute and fluffy animals as much as she wants!

I wonder how many of these shows that start with a character dying from overwork are trend-riding versus a desperate cry for help. The more of these we get where the other world is a stand-in for a fantastical afterlife, the more depressing the entire concept becomes. And no, adding big cats to cuddle doesn’t make it any less unsettling.

How isekai approaches death, or the act of displacement caused by one world to the other, is certainly something to consider. While some series treat it as an excuse to have meta-commentary on fantasy tropes, Neema’s cushy upper-crust upbringing contrasts that of a typical office drone, and her deal with god to assess humanity’s character doesn’t immediately come into play when it’s otherwise pretty escapist.

Which isn’t necessarily a good thing. Just because Neema’s Isekai Valhalla reward is to become a Disney princess instead of the strongest guy in an RPG doesn’t mean her life or story is more compelling. The idea that she’s supposed to be judging the human race in this world to determine if a god should wipe them off the existential plane or not is by far the most interesting element. So, of course, it’s ignored for 99% of the first episode.

There are a lot of things about Fluffy Paradise that shouldn’t work, like Neema immediately being super special and having power over animals in a world where sacred animals exist. Still, I also can’t resist wanting to pet a cute critter when I see one on screen.

I may also be a massive hypocrite since I find shameless power fantasies for girls to be more novel, or at least harmless, that I’m willing to forgive a few things that I probably wouldn’t for some of their masculine counterparts.

They at least take on slightly different forms than their older brothers. Neema doesn’t buy any slaves or have to heroically save any women from contrived sexual violence, which is nice. But if the only positives I can give are that it’s not as bad as the worst things I have to watch every season, that’s not a great sign.

Most of the World-building in Fluffy is pretty much as you expect, and the best thing I can say about the characters is that “they seem nice.” It’s the opposite of My Instant Death Ability. It’s not mean-spirited, but the most compelling thing is the potential to see Neema encounter some fantastical floofs. However, I do appreciate the fuzzy, needlefelt, stop-motion ED. So, at least there’s one thing unique about it.

Technically, it’s not the only one that plays itself on fluff appeal, as Sasaki and Peeps kicks off when a tired salary man decides to spice up his life by adopting a Java Sparrow.

Don’t fall for that bird’s charms, Sasaki. It’s a filthy capitalist deep inside.

“Have you tried not being poor?” – this literal bird brain.
I’ll reveal some hidden lore about myself. I owned finches for a good portion of my life, and that’s exactly how they’d sound if they could talk. Little beepers being proud feathery puffballs are just part of their appeal. However, it seems Sasaki’s new pet isn’t a bird at all but merely a regular jerk inside a little bird’s body.

Yep, this show’s swerve of choice is that, instead of being permanently sent to a fantasy world, Sasaki pals up with a reverse-isekai’d wizard who helps him hop between worlds. However, instead of going on adventures or exploring this brand-new dimension he’s gotten access to, Sasaki’s only thought is to make extra money. Now that I write it out like that, it may be more depressing than the overwork trend.

How poisoned has your brain gotta be if finding a new world and learning magic can only be processed by their utility towards a side hustle?
I dug the low-stakes approach. Sasaki may not be a very vibrant character, but I find the way to gradually accept opportunities after living a wholly unambitious life to be interesting. He’s dull and average but different than a Potato-kun as it’s more of a flaw and sometimes played as a bit of dry humor. Plus, this is exactly how I look at my phone while zoning out and eating alone.

However, the low-key stuff is only the first half of the premiere. I’d hesitate to call this much of an isekai because we barely even see Sasaki’s otherworldy transactions. The second half might as well be an entirely different show, and I think it could create a polarizing response.
That’s the problem. This premiere introduces an idea and shows no real interest in exploring it as a narrative. Sasaki meets a down-on-his-luck chef, takes him in, and makes him the manager of his otherworld restaurant entirely through narration. He learns magic in a montage that he also narrates. The whole thing feels like somebody working through a thought experiment rather than crafting a piece of entertainment.

It’s a bit of tell, don’t show, and it’s completely overshadowed after Sasaki gets embroiled in a conflict of secret psychics after he interferes using his magic powers.

One of those things could be interesting if executed correctly, but I’m unsure whether it works when you try to fit them together.

It’s one of those ideas that sounds clever to a writer but is also deceptively complex to pull off. Mashing up two genres sounds like a great way to differentiate yourself from the norm. Still, it turns out that writing two separate, compelling stories is exponentially more demanding than just writing one. So, even with a double-length premiere, this one feels half-baked at best.

I think that’s where only going off of tropes has its problems. You can be as complex or simple as you want, but it doesn’t matter if a show can’t follow up those ideas with good execution. Maybe if it were paced or shown a little differently, it’d work, or maybe things would get more interesting from here, but there are a couple of things that stuck out to me as odd, like Sasaki’s teenage neighbor’s yandere vibes.

That’s where the show reveals that even with its twists, it’s still following the established formula. Sasaki doesn’t have all the powers of an Otakubermensch like most isekai protagonists. However, he’s still positioned to live a power fantasy, including romantic interest from teenage girls for no apparent reason. I don’t know what this girl’s damage is, but if this guy is her romantic ideal, she needs to read some Natsume Ono manga or something. There are far better older men to be crushing on.

It seemed more horrific to me, but yeah, again, it’s all about that execution. I think being able to play with risks has to have a good pay-off. I felt the same about Villainess Level 99: I May Be the Hidden Boss but I’m Not the Demon Lord, which tries to pretend it’s a subversion, but lost me after showing its real hand. I know it’s right there in the title, but is it bad that I would wholeheartedly enjoy a straightforward otome-style fantasy series over another villainess story?

I think we’ve hit the saturation point on villainess stories, too. No story idea can survive being constantly iterated upon every single season. At this point, I’d rather watch a straight-up, no-frills show about a blank-faced girl dating a bunch of handsome guys over watching the hundredth version of this premise, especially when our villainess is also just another overpowered protagonist with maxed-out stats.

Even when girls do it, reducing all your world-building to “it’s just like my video games” isn’t exciting. It’s not even the first series to do the whole “I grinded too hard at the beginning of the game, and now I’m overpowered” trope, and I’m not sure how the rest of our cast is supposed to play into the story of checks notes Yumiellia Dolkness.

Maybe part of it is that the villainess trope is alien to me as we never got most of the games they’re supposedly based on, and very few adaptions of real otome games in general!
I don’t even know whether they were all that common before this trend began. The problem with newbie authors constantly borrowing the same ideas from one another is that more and more of the original inspiration gets lost. At some point, the idea of a game character becoming self-aware and using that knowledge to change their story had a grain of creativity. But that’s been lost like a degraded JPG over the years of Narou regurgitation. So now the thought of a regular-ass dating sim story is provocative enough that the first episode pretends to be one for half its runtime. They even made a fake opening for it and everything!

If you look closely, you can even see the pixels like it’s sprite art. A few other cute nods got me to chuckle, but I found the delivery around Yumelia’s character to be pretty flat. We don’t even get to see how she dies! Her Truck-kun moment is completely sped over. The most endearing thing about her is the fact that she has a blurred-out Shadowbringers poster in her room, and I want to know whether she stans The Crystal Exarch or Emet-Selch because that might be the closest thing I have to a high fantasy otome game with complex RPG mechanics in the real world.

Unfortunately, Yumiella herself is a black hole of charisma, and the central joke isn’t funny enough to build a whole show on anyway. Also, I can’t get over casting Fairouz Ai, an actress with a ton of range and personality to her voice, and making her do this monotone deadpan shtick.

Why would you do this? Look at your life. Look at your choices.

I feel like her being an overly serious loner has the potential for her to form genuine relationships in this timeline, given how pointed she is about avoiding the game’s cast. Still, I only say that because there are characters that haven’t been introduced yet in the opening, and it would be a waste otherwise.

Yeah, it turns out that when you spend half your first episode pretending to be a different show, you can’t also flesh out your actual lead or premise. In that regard, it’s a bit like Sasaki and Peeps. It’s a clever idea that it’s not skilled enough to pull off properly. It’s like watching an oversugared toddler try to do a backflip.
It’s enough to make you want to escape from Narou adaptations entirely. Just for some fresh air. Like, hey, it turns out villainess stories know no borders. Just like doctors. Or something. Doctor Elise.

Yes, that transition was mangled, but that’s why we have a world-class surgeon to operate on it.
I think out of all the otome-esque isekai I was forced to watch this round, I liked this one the best. I was impressed by Elise’s character and her overall dedication to her Hippocratic Oath. While we don’t know much about her previous life, I felt like we got to spend a ton of time getting to know Elise. The fact that her handwriting is completely chicken scratch is stereotypical of many doctors.

I wasn’t as wowed, but it has more potential than Lady Dolkness. Having Elise get double-isekai’d back into her own previous life is an idea rife for an exploration of regret and change, like a more dramatic spin on last season’s Tearmoon Empire. However, this opener mostly focuses on telling how Elise is the greatest doctor ever to live.
I think part of what stood out to me was that we got a character who not only got reverse isekai’d, but we see her have powerful and traumatic feelings about how she died. As stated earlier, many of these series treat death so much as an entryway or a trope that they take the whole thing a bit too casually. Elise’s death is tinged with grief and intrigue. From an audience perspective, It’s obvious she’s been set up, but this guilt follows her into the normal world and motivates her.

Honestly, the part about a potential setup in her past life is the element I like the least. Stories like this carry much more weight when the person involved does have a lot to answer for. Yet, through episode one, we have no real clue what Elise did in her previous go-around that brought about her execution.

What crimes!? Be specific!
It feels like the story is too skittish to make Elise potentially unlikable. Hence, it skirts around whatever she did before and focuses on her new life as a combination of Mother Teresa and Gregory House.
We don’t get a strong sense of Elise’s character BEFORE she died the first time, but I still like how informed we are of her feelings and that both these lives mattered to her in some way. It’s an emotional approach in a land of gimmicks. Even if she was super bratty in her past life, getting her feelings upfront is a good way of drawing the audience.

It’s also novel that Elise gets taken out by a plane crash instead of a truck. I guess her options were either getting sent back to her past life or winding up on a new season of LOST.

As Truck-kun has only appeared once so far, I’m starting to worry that he will have to seek new employment. However, it didn’t always used to be that way. There used to be times when being summoned didn’t always involve dying and being dead. Sometimes, you end up in the other world chasing after the girl next door and crash the entire wedding ceremony to save the kingdom, like in Tales of Wedding Rings.

Much like Elise came from the world of Korean novels, Wedding Rings hails from the land of manga, specifically from the same creator as Dusk maiden of Amnesia. So, while it’s still an indulgent power fantasy about an average dude lucking into powers and otherworldly booty, it’s at least got more solid storytelling fundamentals than so much of the web novel fodder.

Its influences are also a bit different. While it’s an isekai, the romance being the central hook makes it feel closer to some older fantasy series than anything after the light novel boom. Hime’s appearance and importance in Satou’s life make her more akin to a magical girlfriend story.

Also, while there are plenty of bad manga out there, starting life as a professional product being produced with access to an editor and coming from a veteran creator gives the whole thing a more substantial feeling to it. Just the way Satou goes to the other world is much more effective than the typical Narou move of sudden death or inexplicable teleportation. Our hero actively chooses to leave his world behind to pursue the girl he’s in love with, which colors his motivation and reaction to everything that comes after. It’s an act of character agency that drives the plot forward! Like an actual god damn story!

Though Satou is still pretty much a Potato-kun, I felt his relationship with Hime was charming. Some of the leering over Hime bothered me, but at least they’re close. The way they’re both really into each other and hesitating to take the next step is charming. Having Hime, or Princess Krystal, come off as a more headstrong gyaru sets her apart from more demure princess characters.

I’m not saying this show is groundbreaking or anything. It’s very trashy and, by all appearances, will be about the dude collecting women so he can gain a full fist of magic rings and deliver a Five Finger Wife Punch to the bad guys.

I’m emphasizing how low the competition has set the bar. It exemplifies that even indulgent power fantasies take skill to execute correctly.

The harem aspect is the downer for me because I was sure the set-up here would be sidelined in favor of bringing more wives, and the only thing I dislike as much as isekai is harem anime. That’s part of why it’s funny that even something I typically wouldn’t like won me more just because it had some groundwork, like a romance with chemistry.

Plus, they have the good humor to let Hime see the Ring King’s royal scepter and crown jewels. I would never call it an equal opportunity, but at least the show isn’t so terrified of putting off the intended straight-dude audience that they won’t even let the lead guy be naked in front of his literal wife.

That moment did get me a laugh. It follows a lot of standards, but at the very least, I applaud the balls on Tales of Wedding Rings. The delivery has more cajones than many of its ilk.

Of course, there are still some further outliers this season, and even roping them in with the rest of these titles feels awkward. While we were planning out what to watch for this column, we had to wait for the first episode of The Weakest Tamer Began a Journey to Pick Up Trash to figure out if it was an isekai show.

Answer: It is, but only kind of. Weakest Tamer was unexpectedly the most chill show. The world-building isn’t super distinct, but it’s got solid vibes as we watch little lost child Ivy struggle all by herself, running from hunters and making friends with baby slime. The isekai aspect is only ever presented as phantom counsel from Ivy’s head and never completely privy to the audience.

This novel way to go about it gives away how vestigial the whole bit is. You could eschew past life stuff altogether, and nothing would be lost. Ivy’s personality would be the same, and the audience wouldn’t have to hear half of a conversation represented by a bell chime for the entire premiere. Just make a god damn fantasy story at that point.

But then we don’t get to be told that the slimes are cute. The voice in your head is correct, child. They are cute.

Meh, I’ve seen cuter.

However, free from internal monologue, this makes Ivy much more of a character, and most of the story is shown rather than told. We see exactly how this sad child lives, traveling and scavenging whatever she can find, and wondering how she will tough it out and survive.

Which, if anything, makes the past life part less useful. Ivy’s story is most engaging when she’s effectively on her own, so the creator either makes her past life memories useless and begs the question of why they’re there, or else detracts from the conflict by having it offer useful advice and insight. Again, why not just get rid of this?

There are a few other instances of world-building where I did roll my eyes as they were too close to video games, like the whole explanation of talents being ranked by a star like a stat sheet. I always felt the video game trappings were a shortcut to making something original, and the isekai tropes feel the same. It’s like your friend who knows he is a talented writer but only ever writes fanfiction.

It’s frustrating because there’s a solid cour here; even some basic editing could make it shine. However, there’s little reason to do that when the original was successful enough within the circle of Narou readers to get adapted in the first place. So, first draft it is!

Despite its typical LN mouthful title leading me to assume that this would be one of the more generic offerings, the presentation for The Weakest Tamer is the most on-point of any of these shows today, IMO. The colors are super lush and vibrant, and overall, it is an immersive experience. I guess that means I shouldn’t judge an isekai by its title anymore, huh?

I think that’s still a safe bet. A title is part of a story’s identity as much as anything else, and having a bad one is still a flaw. Find a better naming convention than The Blankest Blank Does Blank in Another Blank. Set yourself apart.

That much can be said for Ishura, which I wouldn’t have even known was an isekai if I wasn’t doing this, and who could blame me when it takes the cake for being the least isekai isekai. It might as well be called the Dark Souls of isekai.
The premiere straight-up has a character listing off notable cool boss fights in their world in a cadence that’s remarkably close to the opening cut scene from Elden Ring. Don’t be surprised if The Loathsome Dung Eater eventually shows up.

It also gets super dark super fast. We don’t even start with the main character but a different character who might as well live her life at yuri magic school until sci-fi robots take over and rip her not-gf limb from limb in front of her.

It’s certainly a novel approach (if you haven’t seen The Executioner and Her Way of Life), but I wasn’t really into it. The concept of a bunch of crazy overpowered isekai protagonists all wreaking havoc on a fantasy world is honestly cool, as is the conceit that our female lead is trying to murder the primary Potato-kun via the boss rush. Yet we go from that character’s salad days to watching her girlfriend get turned into salsa in under 60 seconds.

When I saw all the blood splatter on that robot, I said to myself, “Ah, I don’t like this” because it was not scary. It was cold and painful. Ishura‘s action is very good. I want to like the little gremlin tracksuit man with a sword, who is practically introduced as the actual villain here, but the lack of warmth or detail for anything left me with more to be desired.

It could probably be a great show with some tweaks – though I’m also not wild about the production values, despite the premiere’s sky-high ambitions with its action. What we have right now feels like a rush job, slapping characters together gracelessly so we can get to the hook by the episode’s end. Yuno and Soujiro’s banter is weak, and the reasoning for why she decides he needs to be killed is shaky at best.

It’s raw and lacks a lot of finesse. I consider Tamer’s production more polished, as the slow movements required greater attention to detail. However, spectacle alone can only carry you so far. So what’s the formula for an actual good isekai show, then?
Tell me, Nicky, is it Big Woman?!

Now we have the most divergent offering of the whole line-up: the SSR Ultra Rare isekai that’s good in its own right. Will wonders never cease?

Our final show, The Wrong Way to Use Healing Magic, is the right way to do isekai. It’s not about throwing in a bunch of buzzwords; I wouldn’t even say it’s that subversive, but it’s, foremost, pretty entertaining. Our three characters were walking home from school and having a nice chat when all of a sudden, they’re sucked in, and it’s a pretty big deal. The only character that gets jazzed about it is the girl, who is super chuuni in a way that’s played off humorously because, as you know, receiving a drop of good humor feels like an oasis in this dry isekai world.

That’s the thing. Healing Magic doesn’t reinvent the wheel or turn the concept or subgenre on its head. It succeeds by having a solid sense of humor and a good knack for character writing. There are a million ways the setup of Usato being a literal hanger-on to the “real” heroes could have turned out meanspirited or angsty. Instead, everyone involved treats him empathetically, like they’re actual people rather than plot devices.

I joked on Twitter about how this moment felt like a couple trying to pick him up for a threesome, but it’s genuinely striking how rare it is to see characters just be personable. There’s no weird hatred for the “popular” kids, and neither secretly hides some vindictive or nasty side. Before they hit the fantasy world, it feels like Usato is making some unexpected friends, which carries over once they’re all summoned into Fantasyville.

They’re very normal kids in a way that’s human and likable! I can see them forming a good party. This reflects well on how the show views the “support roles.” Occasionally, being the healer is seen as weak or even degrading, as the healer is often “not the main character” and regulated to the back of the party. It can also be seen as a feminine role, and therefore, it can sometimes be emasculating to care for others. However, all those things ignore the teamwork required in any good JRPG party comp. This is also dispelled by having downright the most badass skate rock OP.

There are way, way too many isekai and isekai-adjacent shows that contrive a scenario where an essential part of any RPG party is seen as worthless – see this season’s The Strongest Tank’s Labyrinth Raids – so I’m glad there’s none of that here. Usato’s role is emphasized as important and folds perfectly into his desire to help his new friends out. It’s simple, but I have to appreciate how it makes him feel good-natured without being boring. It helps that he has his own personal Genkai to whip him into shape.

You think being a healer is weak stuff for babies? No, being a healer is the equivalent of being a battle medic. Your job is to keep your sword-flinging idiots alive while also NOT DYING because your greatest defenses are to either dodge or treat yourself like a regenerating zombie. Nobody gets to die on your watch. I’m a healer main by the way, and this is the first show with the healer gimmick that feels catered towards me.

Also, by episode 2, Usato gets ripped as hell.

A big part is that Usato’s mentor, Rose, acts like a coach/drill sergeant. Having him go through endurance training and slapping the lactic acid out of him with a good ole healer’s touch. Who cares if you feel pain and can always heal yourself back together? Muscles are built when your body breaks down and repairs itself, so healing magic is another way to speed up that process.

It’s a clever cheat that works because Usato gets Mr. Miyagi’d into it, while also building a rapport with Rose and developing as a character. Getting beefier is still partly a power fantasy, but with that fantasy comes a sense of responsibility and duty that Usato isn’t quite confident enough to face yet.

I respect Usato’s grit to put up with his army regiment, while the meanest thing he can think of is, “I’m going to write in my journal about this.” His idea of revenge is to “try harder”; he never contemplates quitting or running away even though he technically was the one who was unintentionally isekai’d.

Who’d have thought that making an earnest hero who has to build up his ability and skill would make for an engaging story? It turns out that when you have creative goals outside of “make the hero the strongest” and “hit trending on Narou,” you can make something that’s pretty fun.

Also, making the grizzled mentor a big lady in a lab coat does things. Honestly, a protagonist is only as good as the supporting cast. Everything about Rose is over-the-top, but she seems to know what she’s doing. I don’t normally like the asshole coach archetype, but in a fantasy world where one encounter can be life or death, it makes sense that the most important thing would be survival. Everyone else in the party can be rezzed as long as your healer is alive.

She’s a perfect foil to Usato, always demanding more of him than he thinks he’s capable of, while assured that he can do it with the right push. They make a good team, and the rest of the cast works well, too. That’s a hell of a lot more than I can say for any other show we talked about here.

Most of it feels pretty straightforward. It’s not uncommon with stuff you’d find in other stories, but it’s just done in a way that’s confident while having fun, and that’s the best I can say about anything. I don’t need to puzzle out what combination of words makes the best premise; I need it to feel inviting. It’s not about gimmicks—subversion, cuteness, or action. Just have a smidge of confidence in whatever story you want to tell.

It proves that the ultimate problem with the incessant isekai deluge isn’t the premise itself but a trend of uninspired execution. You can make a good isekai story, but that requires being willing and able to make a good story at all. So please, everyone involved in making these things, please be a little more picky about what you choose to adapt. Because 1 out of 9 is a terrible hit rate.

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