Why are there so many stories about isekai today? —Kudasai

Middle SoraNews24 interviewed a veteran manga editor, with more than ten years of work experience, and asked him about the situation recently observed in the manga and light novel industry: «Why are there so many new franchises focusing on the isekai genre, and especially the isekai otome?». This refers to stories where the protagonist is reincarnated within an otome video game (female dating game), very often as the game’s villain.

  • Is there a particular title that started the current boom in the isekai genre?
  • I think the success of “Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken” was a big turning point. The series started as a web novel on the site Shosetsuka ni Narou (“Let’s Become Novelists”), and when it became popular there, it was turned into a manga. There are many reincarnation stories on the site, so much so that some people call the tensei stories “Narou stories”.
  • In the industry, we used to have a lot of time travel stories, or skin (“transportation”) stories, where someone went to another time or place while retaining their original appearance and identity. But the tenes of the stories now in vogue differ in that the protagonist dies in our world and then wakes up in another world as a different person, but with his memories of the real world intact.
  • In tensei stories, when they arrive in the alternate world they have a different appearance and a completely new way of life, right?
  • I think the reason for this is to attract readers who want to become a different person than they are now and rebuild their lives. It is a common feature of isekai stories that the protagonist’s real-world origins and the type of person he or she was before arriving in the alternate world are not treated as very important.
  • Yeah, I noticed you don’t go into much depth about that sort of thing.
  • Usually at the beginning of the first chapter there are only a few short pages about the main character’s life in our world, then he dies and we go to the beginning of the story in an alternate world. Not much is given to what kind of person he was or what kind of education and experience he had in our world. I think all they want to do is establish, as quickly as possible, “Okay, here’s this person… now they’re dead… and now they’re starting a new life.” Sometimes I’m surprised how few stories feel the need for readers to empathize with the main character while he’s still in the real world.
  • What about stories about the reincarnation of villains? I’ve seen a lot of manga aimed at women lately where the main character was a shy person in the real world and I can understand wanting to be reborn as a more powerful person, but why a villain?
  • Good, For a long time, the standard pattern in shojo manga was for the main character to be rewarded at the end for being pure of heart and honest.. But with the advancement of social media, I think messier and more realistic emotions and romances became more visibleand that some people are tired of those pure-hearted main characters.
  • I don’t think there are many people who can live their life as a pure and honest shojo heroine.
  • But instead, a powerful villain can be extremely brave and scold people she doesn’t like. I think that’s something that people find attractive. Stories in which the villain breaks off the engagement are also popular. This may be the result of sympathy with this desire to break free from the man’s control.
  • Oh, now I understand! A rich and powerful villain can do whatever she wants without having to bang around when talking to male characters. He’s basically unstoppable.
  • By the way, there is also a new genre, often aimed at male readers, with some similarities to isekai, called zamaa style.
  • Zamaa style? What is that?
  • It’s from “zamaa miro” [en japonés significa “te lo mereces”]. The protagonist is not reincarnated, but someone who was kicked out of a group of heroes who didn’t consider him good enough. So the protagonist joins another group and achieves success, while things fall apart for the group of heroes he was a part of. It is similar to a revenge story.
  • Have you ever worked as an editor for an isekai manga series?
  • Not specifically about the isekai series, but I participated in its planning. But there’s something about them that… well, to put it bluntly, I was wondering if making an isekai series was a good decision for the future of that manga artist. Even if people read the series, there is no point for the artist if that success cannot be connected to their next series. The isekai series have many similarities to each other, making it difficult for an individual artist to develop a fan base through themselves. Readers usually don’t respond by saying, “I’ll see your other works now.”
  • I guess it’s true that if you can’t tell one series from another in a genre, you probably won’t even remember the artist’s name.
  • But on the other hand, since it’s a popular genre, it’s easier for new artists to get their submissions approved, and artists benefit greatly financially from increased sales because their series belongs to a popular genre. It’s ideal to get readers to become fans of the show and the artist at the same time.
  • Before we wrap up, do you have any isekai recommendations for us manga readers?
  • Of course! “Hamefura: My Next Life as a Criminal: All Roads Lead to Destruction!” (pictured by Nami Hidaka, story by Satoru Yamaguchi) has an interesting story and an interesting cast of characters. And technically it’s a teni story, but “The tricky drinks turned into soy sauce, so I cooked with them [Hazure Poshon ga Shoyu Datta no de Ryori Suru Koto ni Shimashita]” (art by Risuno, story by Fuji Tomato, and character concept by Yuichi Murakami) is another one I really enjoy reading. It has a truly unique concept: a housewife is transported to another world and realizes that her mistaken healing potions are actually soy sauce, so she uses them to cook.

Source: SoraNews24

Leave a Comment