AnimeSuki Forums

Register Forum Rules FAQ Members List Social Groups Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Go Back   AnimeSuki Forum > Anime Related Topics > General Anime

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 2016-07-23, 17:13   Link #1
Akuma Kousaka
The Angry Idol Fag Nerd
 
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Uranohoshi
Age: 25
Send a message via AIM to Akuma Kousaka Send a message via Skype™ to Akuma Kousaka
Is this the isekai? Is this just fantasy?

After discussing this subject elsewhere on the Interwebz, I realized I was caught in a landslide of paradoxes

Before continuing, isekai is the term used for stories about travelling to an alternate world. And for simplicity's sake, series with established interplanetary travel (Gundam, Macross, ect.) don't qualify as isekai since the travel element is an ordinary part of the characters' lives and not something extraordinary relative to the characters' native world (Inuyasha, Re:ZERO, ect.)

This sounds like a clear definition of isekai until the details are addressed. What if the character in question is native to the alternate world, but spent enough time away from it to the point where they have no memory of the native world, and the world they're foreign to is what they consider their native world? It's easy to say it depends on the mindset of what they believe is their native world, else Superman wouldn't consider Earth his home. But this lures in the question of whether a character needs to have a mindset for going back to their "original" world (#isekexit) to be an isekai story. If the character decides that the alternate world is now their home, does the story stop being an isekai if mindset is what matters? If so, how far or how early into the story does it need to happen?

There's also the issue of familiarity with audience expectations vs in-universe character expectations. Must the "alternate" world be unfamiliar to its audience, or need it only be unfamiliar to its characters?

If it need only be unfamiliar to its characters, then what about stories where the Waifu from another Laifu™ falls from the sky and becomes part of the "original" world for Mr. Milquetoast? Is her world considered the "alternate" one or the "original" one? It's easy to call this set up a reverse isekai, and say the difference between isekai and reverse isekai is "one of us goes there" vs "one of them comes here," but flip it around: what if the 1st scene in Inuyasha or Re:ZERO was Kagome or Subaru coming to in the "alternate" world"? Are they still isekai? If the Waifu from Another Laifu™ anime started in her world, is it still reverse isekai?

If the "alternate" world must be unfamiliar to its audience, then do these three hypothetical anime still qualify as isekai and reverse isekai? One can make the argument that even if Inuyasha or Re:ZERO started with Kagome or Subaru coming to in the "alternate" world, that perspective is what matters. If Inuyasha's POV character wasn't Kagome, the world she's from would be the "alternate" world; if Re:ZERO's POV character was still Subaru, the "alternate" world would still be the "alternate" world

However, character POV feeds into questions of "nativity" vs "foreigner" in a story's population makeup. "Natives" being characters indigenous to the world and "foreigner" being characters...foreign to the world. Is the qualification for isekai merely one character going to an alternate world, or must that world also have a population of "natives"? For example, Sword Art Online is comprised almost entirely of "foreigners." One could say the lack of "natives" makes it less of an alternate world and more of a, well, vidya gaem. OTOH, if characters need an #isekexit mindset for a story to be isekai, then that describes nearly every character in Sword Art Online. And on the subject of POV, consider a hypothetical anime where the two major characters are a "foreigner" and a "native"; is it still isekai? Is it half an isekai?

I have lots of rambling but zero conclusions. What say you?

WAIFU MIA
WAIFU MIA
The aaanime has a daki set aside for meee
for meee
for meeeeee!
__________________
Honoka~ <3Do you know what's the most important thing about climbing mountains?
It's not about having the courage to challenge it
It's about having the courage to back down

~Nozomi Tōjō
Akuma Kousaka is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2016-07-23, 19:07   Link #2
Marcus H.
オオオオオオオオオオ
 
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: the Philippines
Just putting this here: Grimgar, despite apparently having the "kids whisked away from Japan" scene at the start, is more like a fantasy than isekai. The kids forget everything from their previous world upon arrival, and none of their real-life identity—aside from some cultural stuff I guess—was necessary in the story.

Gotta wonder why the isekai element had to be there. Was it editorial intervention? If so, why does the editor think it needs to be isekai? Is it a sign that straight fantasy LNs are deemed less profitable than isekai?
__________________
Chat with the Animesuki forum members on Discord! Drop me or RRW a PM for the link!

Summer 2016: New Game!, Kono Bijutsu-bu ni wa Mondai ga Aru! and Amanchu!.
Qualidea Code is possibly on hold due to signs of animation quality degradation.
Autumn 2016: Hibike! Euphonium S2, Stella no Mahou and Girlish Number.


Contact me on Wikia and MyAnimeList.
MyAnimeList Status|| Watching: 37. Completed: 271. Plan to watch: 36.

Marcus H. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2016-07-24, 04:41   Link #3
Honoakari
Lurking Member
 
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
OP: Isekai does not have to be a central aspect of the story (your 'heroine from another world meeting the MC in his world' example). But as long as you've got a story where two or more worlds are confirmed to exist, then that story is isekai. At least in my opinion.

Isekai (異世界) means just that: Different (異) World (世界).

SAO is not isekai because it takes place in the same world.
__________________
---
Honoakari is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2016-07-24, 07:38   Link #4
Cerilla
Senior Member
 
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Indonesia
Age: 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus H. View Post
Just putting this here: Grimgar, despite apparently having the "kids whisked away from Japan" scene at the start, is more like a fantasy than isekai. The kids forget everything from their previous world upon arrival, and none of their real-life identity—aside from some cultural stuff I guess—was necessary in the story.

Gotta wonder why the isekai element had to be there. Was it editorial intervention? If so, why does the editor think it needs to be isekai? Is it a sign that straight fantasy LNs are deemed less profitable than isekai?
It just doesn't covered in the anime. The Isekai element is explored in the later volume of the LNs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Honoakari View Post
OP: Isekai does not have to be a central aspect of the story (your 'heroine from another world meeting the MC in his world' example). But as long as you've got a story where two or more worlds are confirmed to exist, then that story is isekai. At least in my opinion.

Isekai (異世界) means just that: Different (異) World (世界).

SAO is not isekai because it takes place in the same world.
I don't think it is that simple. The term reverse isekai is there for a reason. It imply the direction of 'travel' that is agreed upon in the genre.

Yes, SAO is not Isekai. But I consider "Trapped in MMO" genre (if one want to call it that) as sister genre of Isekai.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Akuma Kousaka View Post
I have lots of rambling but zero conclusions. What say you?
I think here is a few element that Isekai has.
  • The Point-of-View or the MC is someone from our own world, usually otaku/hikki. This is done so the character can be used as audience proxy to look at the different world with our value. When this goes sour, we got "ORETUEEE".
  • The main character goes to the another world almost immediately with the very hard way to go back if not impossible. There is also no element of intent from the MC part to move. There are various way of MC to move. It could be that the MC is dead and reincarnated (ex: Konosuba) or he just got teleported (ex: Re:Zero). The author can play with it, but more often than not it doesn't really matter.
  • The world traveled to have some kind of magic going on. The most popular one are inspired by DnD convention, but not necessarily the case. For example, see Youjo Senki that is pretty much "World War setting, but with magic".

In the end, it is a matter of convention. Even words that is agreed upon in the dictionary often got debated.
__________________
Cerilla is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2016-07-24, 10:13   Link #5
IceHism
Senior Member
 
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
SAO is in the VRMMORPG genre rather than the isekai genre since you know, they actually go back to the real world rather then being stuck in an alternate world and jump around a bunch of other virtual worlds as well. Same with accel world.

I think it's a pretty straightforward definition here.
· MC is usually new to different world and usually comes from our world. This is done so the author doesn't have to build the setting already and can just do so as the character learns it. These make them easy to write since the whole plot device is a convenience. MC pretty much starts as a blank state. No friends, family, etc. You can make isekai stories into non-isekais but it takes more work.

· usually, the MC normalizes their situation and doesn't really find a way to get out until the very very end.
IceHism is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2016-07-25, 09:20   Link #6
SPARTAN 119
Unleashing the Homu-Rage
 
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Ahh yes, the isekai discussion. It terms of isekai vs fantasy, I would consider isekai to be a fantasy sub-genre which has, for better or worse, gained considerable popularity in Japan. It has existed since at least 1994 with Those Who Hunt Elves (1997 anime), but seems to have gained popularity after the success of Zero no Tsukaima (2004 LN, 2006 anime).

Below are what I see as the common hallmarks of the isekai genre:

1. As Akuma mentioned, transportation of a normal, often teenage, protagonist to another world from typically modern-day Earth, almost invariably Japan, usually by means of a magic portal. Almost always, there is a single person transported, and the rest of the world never finds out about it. This is of course, subverted in GATE, which centers around an inter-world war and the interactions between Earth and another world as a whole.

2. The world is almost always in some way reminiscent of a fantasy RPG video game, but is not actually inside a video game (that is the related "trapped in an MMORPG" trope). The world tends to be at a medieval technology level, and magic is usually common.

3. The protagonist has some advantage over the people of the alternate world, either some sort of mysterious magic power which is beyond what is typical of the series, or through the use of modern weapons or other technology. Subverted in Grimgar, where the protagonists have no magic powers beyond that typical of the setting, no modern weapons, or even any knowledge of their past on Earth.

Common Subversions and variations of the trope:
Note that some subversions may be so drastic as to push it into another genre:

Interactions between Earth and the fantasy world as a whole, as seen in GATE and Outbreak Company.

Protagonists have no advantage over "other-worlders", i.e. Grimgar.

Other world is NOT a medieval fantasy. Very rare, and may push it outside of traditional isekai genre. Example that comes to mind is the is the post apocalyptic world of pre-"isekai bubble" 2000 anime Now and Then, Here and There.

Reverse isekai: A character from a fantasy world comes to Earth, i.e. The Devil is A Part-Timer.

Trapped in an MMORPG: i.e. .hack, SAO. Really its own genre, and truly more sci-fi with a facade of fantasy.

The other world is a changed, or even unrecognizable Earth: Ambition of Oda Nobuna (alternate Sengoku period where most major players were born as women, and Toyotomi Hideyoshi is killed in battle, replaced by a Japanese high school student) and possible Now and Then, Here and There (other world may be a post-apocalyptic and/or parallel universe Earth). Also, Utawarerumono follows this plotline, though it is only revealed at the very end.
SPARTAN 119 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2016-07-25, 11:06   Link #7
Tenzen12
Senior Member
 
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cerilla View Post
It just doesn't covered in the anime. The Isekai element is explored in the later volume of the LNs.

I don't think it is that simple. The term reverse isekai is there for a reason. It imply the direction of 'travel' that is agreed upon in the genre.

Yes, SAO is not Isekai. But I consider "Trapped in MMO" genre (if one want to call it that) as sister genre of Isekai.



I think here is a few element that Isekai has.
  • The Point-of-View or the MC is someone from our own world, usually otaku/hikki. This is done so the character can be used as audience proxy to look at the different world with our value. When this goes sour, we got "ORETUEEE".
  • The main character goes to the another world almost immediately with the very hard way to go back if not impossible. There is also no element of intent from the MC part to move. There are various way of MC to move. It could be that the MC is dead and reincarnated (ex: Konosuba) or he just got teleported (ex: Re:Zero). The author can play with it, but more often than not it doesn't really matter.
  • The world traveled to have some kind of magic going on. The most popular one are inspired by DnD convention, but not necessarily the case. For example, see Youjo Senki that is pretty much "World War setting, but with magic".

In the end, it is a matter of convention. Even words that is agreed upon in the dictionary often got debated.
I wouldn't put tensei and isekai in same genre though, sure it's related but it contains lot of different tropes and narrative. Of course Konosuba is later. Defining difference imho is that in isekai protagonist is foreign in unknown word, while in Tensei second world is their true home . And thus why isekai can't be applied well.
__________________
"I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it" (Charles R. Swindoll)
Tenzen12 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 16:29.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
We use Silk.