Tag Archives: In Another World with My Smartphone

One of the Important Conditions for a Good Isekai

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With the amount of Isekai anime coming out every season, it’s getting harder and harder to avoid it as a genre. Shows like “Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody” and “The Rising of the Shield Hero,” for however questionable their quality, will always be on people’s radar because, well, its the new Isekai, so maybe it will be good. Still, despite its current oversaturation in anime, the Isekai genre still has one advantage over others: Its potential.

Now, before any of what I am about to say gets lost in language, I am not saying that other anime do not have potential. I do think, however, that the general premise that comes along with what defines an Isekai is one that can be taken in a lot of different ways. It also seems to me that the Isekai anime that most people would agree are bad fail to take advantage of the world that they have set up, either because the story doesn’t engage with these elements in an interesting way or they rely on previous tropes that have become tired.

One good example of this is “In Another World with my Smartphone.” Sure, in the beginning, the setup has a bit of novelty. A kid enters another world that he knows nothing about, with the catch being that he can bring his smartphone and have it work, as well as allowing him to use magic. However, unlike a comedy show like “Konosuba,” none of this is played for laughs, and the main character mainly comes across as overpowered and uninteresting. In this case, the story has failed to engage with the world and its mechanics in an interesting way and has therefore failed to realize its potential.

An example of a good Isekai would be something like Log Horizon. In it, the main character Shiro suddenly appears in a world that is eerily similar to an MMORPG he plays called Elder Tale. He assumes this because the world itself is structured much like the game and because he now has all the abilities of his in-game character, as do all of the other 30,000 players that are trapped in the game-esk world. From there, much of focus of the plot is on figuring out how the world itself works, as well as building up the world’s infrastructure enough to where adventurers can live happily in the hopes of one day escaping back to the real world. Shiro, being a famous player of Elder Tale, becomes a sort of de-facto leader, and starts to build up the political alliances and government infrastructure that makes the world function. In this way, Log Horizon does engage with its world in an interesting way, and actively tries to understand utilize its mechanics, fully realizing its potential.

However, this is not the only condition on which to judge whether or not an Isekai anime is necessarily good. If this were my sole condition on which to judge that, then I would have to admit that Sword Art Online is good, and I am not sure I am quite ready to do that.

It is helpful to think about it in some philosophical terms. In Epistemology, there is a concept known as Necessary and Sufficient Conditions. A Necessary Condition is one that is required for something to be true or for a definition to be met and a Sufficient Condition is one that satisfies a truth or definition completely. In this case, I would argue that engaging with the fantasy world that has been set up in an Isekai story is a Necessary, but not Sufficient Condition for calling that Isekai good.


What do you guys think are the elements of a good Isekai? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you would like to support The Aniwriter or are just feeling generous, consider donating on Ko-fi or using one of my affiliate links below:

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Update: AHO-Girl is the best thing I’ve watched this season. Here’s why.

Unfortunately, the shows I’ve chosen to watch this season have ranged from ok, to mediocre, to outright awful. I can’t really tell if this is because I did little to no research on the shows that I picked up, or if I just have really terrible luck, but I seemed to have gotten the worst of the bunch.

I know this because many of the of the other shows that I happened to not see, either because of lack of legal means to watch or because I just wasn’t aware of it at the time, like Princess Principle, Kakegurui, and Made in Abyss have all had their praises sung from the time they started airing.

Somehow, aside from AHO-girl and Tsuredure Children, I picked up three of the most terrible shows from this season. AHO-girl is the only show I could consider among these to be legitimately good. As I’ve discussed before here, it’s low brow humor is still very widely appealing, and in recent episodes, the jokes have expanded and only gotten funnier.

Meanwhile, the other shows that I’ve watched all suffer from an illness known as terrible. As I’ve discussed before on my blog, Classroom of the Elite and GAMERS! both lack a compelling direction for their narrative. Classroom of the Elite has more recently gotten wrapped in a somewhat unnecessary side plot that focuses on a secret idol named Sakura. She gives a testimony to help the Sudo, the classes’ drop out, avoid being expelled for beating up three upper classmen. This really felt like a departure from what started out as a really interesting and exciting premise.Classroom of the Elite

GAMERS!, which did a complete one eighty in terms of the direction in the first episode, turned into nothing but a somewhat funny, but ultimately mediocre ROM-COM. More recently, it has become a relationship Pentagon that is only as confusing as it is because apparently nobody in the show knows how to deal relationships in a serious way.GAMERS

I also recently have watched parts of In Another World with My Smartphone. While I may do a full review in the future, I can tell you right now that I am not a fan. In an anime landscape that is currently full of Isekai shows, this one really had to do something different to impress. Isekai Wa Smartphone

Not only did it not do something different, but it might possibly have inadvertently created the strongest characters of all time. Touya can use all of the worlds magic, has infinite mana, and can use his phone to increase the power of his magic. It’s like they took Kirito from Sword Art Online and said: “No, this guy needs to be more unbeatable!” I started a running joke between a friend of mine and me that Touya is pretty much the new god of this world and should be treated as such.

AHO-Girl, therefore, stands at the top of the shows I’ve watched during the summer 2017 season. It is a really good comedy and should be praised as such, but most of my picks this season were honestly just garbage, and I’ll probably be dropping most of them soon.