By Sean Aitchison
Have you ever had a watch list full of new shows to check out? Have you ever completely ignored said watch list in order to rewatch an isekai anime you’ve already seen at least three times? Hey, we get it—sometimes the allure of a show with a fantastical world you already love is more appealing than the risk of starting a new series!
No judgment here. Rewatching your favorite isekai anime series is a great way to find new things to love, share the series with someone who hasn’t seen it, or catch things you missed in previous watch-throughs! It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
So let’s get reincarnated or transported into another world with this list of the five most rewatchable anime in Funimation’s isekai catalog
Sword Art Online
The series follows Kirito, a player of Sword Art Online, an online virtual reality game that sucks players in and traps them there until someone beats the final level—and to make matters worse, when players die in the game, they are killed by their brain-controlled headsets in the real world. Kirito must journey, alongside every other player in the game, to beat the game and free everyone. The setup is a fun and high-stakes video-game twist on isekai right off the bat, and it’s only the beginning of this massive franchise!
Literally, there are a lot more seasons and series that follow the initial storyline of Sword Art Online, with the story diverging into different genres, styles of fighting and endless new online gaming conflicts for Kirito to deal with. Though the follow-up series might make Sword Art Online feel a bit dense or lengthy to serve as a rewatchable favorite, it’s actually the opposite—each series is worth its own rewatch. It helps that they totally work as stand-alones once you know the initial plot. That means going back and checking out Sword Art Online Season 2 or watching any of the movies for a second time make for a great isekai rewatch!
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
Next up, we have a much stranger twist on the isekai genre, That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime. This odd story is a play on the more recent type of isekai, where a teenage boy gets transported into a thinly veiled power fantasy that ends up turning into a harem anime a few episodes in—and yet, it breaks a few expectations of these male-driven isekai.
The main protagonist, Mikami Satoru, is not a teenager, and he certainly doesn’t receive a power fantasy after dying and awaking in this new world. Quite the opposite, in fact. He gets turned into a blind slime-creature named Rimuru, the weakest monster in the world!
The creative formula subversion in That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime serves to draw you in, but what will have you rewatching it over and over is the different types of power that Rimuru gains when he becomes a slime and the way it progresses the plot and builds a unique and fascinating anime world. The interesting ways the plot unfolds and its smart humor make for a great series that works to throw on over and over again (especially when you’re waiting for the next season)!
The Devil is a Part-Timer!
Usually in an isekai, the main character is from the real world and gets transported to a fantasy world of adventure and heroic battles. The Devil is a Part-Timer! is the exact opposite, placing the dark lord Satan, the scourge of a fantasy world, into the normal, mundane world of Tokyo, where he must make a living as a fast food worker until he can find a way back to his domain.
This premise flips the script on the isekai narrative in every way: The protagonist was a villain in the fantasy world, he has less power in this new world, there is no epic sweeping journey he must go on (just the day-to-day mundanities), and he is not worshipped in the new world he finds himself in.
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So how does all this contribute to an isekai that makes for a good rewatch?
Specifically it’s the lack of a sweeping fantasy narrative—which can be fun, but if you need a good comfort isekai that’s just about the comedic setup of the Devil having to serve fast food customers, then The Devil is a Part Timer! has got you covered. Seeing someone with a ton of power lose all of that and have to go through the same job hustle as the rest of us is entertaining every time you rewatch it, making it a great go-to isekai.
Kemono Michi: Rise Up
Very often, isekai depict normal people gaining powers after being transported to a new world, but for Kemono Michi: Rise Up, protagonist Genzo Shibata is far from normal: he’s a pro wrestler known as Animal Mask.
But, that’s not the only trope that Kemono Michi: Rise Up changes from the isekai playbook, as Genzo also outright turns away the destiny thrust upon him in this new world—tasked with being the kingdom’s beast killer, Genzo, an animal lover, refuses and instead seeks to befriend every beast and eventually open up a pet shop.
This layer of wholesome macho added to the isekai formula is a very welcome change that makes this series incredibly satisfying and fulfilling to watch. The series’ short episode count also means it’s great to watch over and over again, a nice subversive isekai with lots of wrestling, cute animals and tons of little details to catch. Seriously, what’s not to love about a big teddy bear of a wrestler who suplexes his way to treating fantasy animals better?!
Last and certainly not least, we have another more recent take on isekai, Overlord. This dark fantasy series follows the tale of Momonga, the leader of the strongest guild in YGGDRASIL, a once popular but now dying MMORPG, who is teleported into the world of the game right as the game’s servers are shut down.
Now living in the body of his skeleton-like avatar named Ainz Ooal Gown, Momonga explores the game world in search of other real-world people stuck in YGGDRASIL with him, using his great game powers, skills and abilities to do so.
There are a few familiar beats here in terms of “stuck in the game world” isekai, but there are also a lot of subtle twists to the narrative that make Overlord smarter, more unique and more interesting than some of its counterparts.
These elements get you into your first watch, but what gets you to rewatch the series over and over is the relatively short episode count per season (which makes it easy to binge) and the intelligent (and often funny) ways that it plays with the concept of video game worlds, where the player is stuck in their avatar’s body.
Specifically, Momonga’s evil-skeleton-wizard-looking avatar makes people think he is a dark overlord, and it makes for a twist that is continuously entertaining isekai anime to watch over and over again.
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