Saturday, March 24, 2018

How did isekai become harem-infested?

For me, isekai works' best parts were the MC actively trying to find a way to return to his world while using his knowledge to survive the strange world. They felt like a real adventure.
In most isekai anime recently, the MC are simply overpowered characters effortlessly attracting girls who either don't try or don't want to return to his home world. For most parts, their home worlds are irrelevant. To me, they don't feel like thrilling adventures anymore, but some boring escapist fantasy. How?






There's been a pattern with these, mate.

Guess the next trend is imouto isekai mecha battle harem

We are so close to greatness




>boring escapist fantasy
Isn't that the whole point?

>boring escapist fantasy
I think OP's problem is with the boring part. Too many isekai in the modern mold have zero stakes and basically zero narrative momentum. Not very adventurous without intrigue, obstacles, real emotional struggles, interesting character dynamics/interactions, etc. The issue isn't the power fantasy or escapism, but what the shows do with the premise: like the author masturbating over their gary stu character, instead of telling an interesting story that people can relate to their own situation that people can learn from.

Tales about entering fantasy worlds are ancient. But until relatively recently, they used to be innovative and reliant on a spirit of magic. Even in something as recent as Avatar, James Cameron may have nicked the story from Pocahontas but his real focus was on creating a fascinating world (just like he didn't care too much about the love story in Titanic and just wanted to show the ship).
With modern isekai it gets really problematic, because they no longer try to connect with our human sense of fascination, but rather base themselves on other works from the same genre. They have become thoroughly "meta". You always find the same architecture, naming, creatures, and whatsnot. Even in a comparatively interesting show like Re:Zero the universe is largely pure cliche. Just look at the non-human races in the cities. It's like they averaged those from every MMORPG ever.
This is also what Miyazaki criticised when he said that the anime industry was "full of otaku" who only base their works on other fiction rather than observing real people.
Now we have all these issues that accumulated that way, as well as targeted pandering towards the audience - faceless insert protagonists, always the same style of comedy, characters (especially the girls) combined from a small set of stereotypes, always the same harem themes.

>full of otaku" who only base their works on other fiction rather than observing real people.
It's even worse: they all base their works on the same fiction, most isekai are just variations of Dragon Quest
I would be ok with it if isekai at least copied different things: what about an isekai in a bioshock-like world? or a Matrix world? Or an Alice In Wonderland type setting? or Borderlands? Or a Blade Runner world?
I understand copying better stories, but at least they could copy different stories
the most original isekai setting is saga of tanya the evil and it's just world war 1


it's easy to write and it sells
writing a gary stu is easy, writing a real plot is hard
the real question is why do japanese people seem to like gary stues so much? I get power fantasy and wish fullfillment, but seriously? if marvel and DC started making only comics where the hero always wins and never has any trouble fighting villains, would they sell better?

I'll never understand it. I mean Kirito is their most popular male character on that newtype ranking that gets posted here. Maybe it's just a difference between East and West? I know I will drop a show so fast if the MC is a gary stu.

I think every nerd culture has this. Maybe people with various degrees of Asperger-syndrome try to be perfect in life so they're uncomfortable with their flaws, so they tend to not like if the hero has flaws or sometimes do the wrong thing.


Isekais date back a long way to Alice in Wonderland. There were a lot of shoujo-centric isekais in the 90s as well as Now and Then, Here and There.
It was the LN introduction that made them haremy and fantasyish

this used to not be true. Older Isekai works (this genre is very old in anime, it just wasnt common back then) tend to drop the protagonist in legitimately dangerous environments and give them no abilities leaving them pretty much helpless.




Pandering and bad writing are more profitable. Same reason there were so many high school battle harem series.

Man are high school battle anime a huge turn off for me... It's the reason I struggle to go back to bnha




I am stuck trying to figure out what you mean. The last big isekai that have gained a lot of praise aren't harem-infested....

He probably means death march and smartphone.

Those are the only two recent ones I can think of. We've had Youjo Senki, Grimgar, Overlord, Re:Zero, KonoSuba, No Game No Life, Log Horizon, and Drifters that aren't harem anime. There are probably a few others I'm forgetting but it feels like to me that most of the recent isekai anime don't have a harem.

NGNL is borderline. Sora ends up surrounded by hot girls.

What makes a harem is when there are three or more girls all looking for a romantic relationship with the MC. In NGNL only Steph sees Sora that way. If we counted it as a harem stuff like Neon Genesis Evangelion would also be one.




Because most of their viewership comes from single virgins who are dissatisfied with their lives and wants to escape into characters who fulfill their longings. Its also one of the reasons why most isekais have self-insert protagonists. And before you downvote me remember that I have nothing against this community, what I'm speaking is the cold, hard truth.

TBH it's not just "single virgins". Most "young (heterosexual) males" like to shut their brain every once in a while, and imagine how fun it would be to live in a fantasy world with OP powers while being surrounded by a harem of cute girls. And by young I mean from puberty to at least mid 20s.
Source: am a 24 y.o. male in a relationship but I still like my dumb isekai harem every once in a while.
Though I wish there where more non-harem isekai... On that note I recommend anyone reading this and searching for said "non-harem isekai" to try reading Tensei Shitara Ken Deshita. It's a novel but it's a nice isekai without any love interest. Because the MC is a sword. Sounds weird but I love it!





I think sao inspired it.










Source〈https://www.reddit.com/r/anime/comments/84tpdy/how_did_isekai_become_hareminfested/〉





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