Isekai can involve sci-fi. Change my mind.

Dex-chan lover
Jul 4, 2018
Isekai is a relatively new genre in the otaku community and, so far, we have only seen its fantasy interpretation. As a new genre, I'd argue that its definition has yet to be solid since we have not seen all of its potential. Anyone can just make a sci-fi story one day and call it isekai and only then will people start arguing of wether its genre placement is proper or not. I'm just ahead of the time and arguing about that now.

My first point as pro-scifi would be that @firefish5000 made a thread that shows sci-fi could arguably become isekai (I know that most of the voters disagree but notice that I italicize "arguably".) In that thread, instead of travelling to a parallel world using magic, MC travels to another planet in the same universe using technology and an apology gift from a butterfinger god.

And as @FlashGordan pointed out, time travel can be isekai as well since isekai translates to other world. I think the new definition of isekai should be "Anything that includes a character being suddenly transported into a foreign world, no matter the method, can be classified as isekai" since most stories of the genre possesses that as a key feature in its theme and worldbuilding.

As you can see, this new definition fit all isekai stories that has been made thus far. Killed by Truck-kun into a fantasy world? Isekai. Killed by knife-chan to be born as an OP slime? Isekai. Fictional characters suddenly got torn out of their worlds and into ours? Isekai- well technically reverse-isekai but whatever. Playing a VR game to suddenly get transported into a world with the same mechanics as the game? Isekai. Dying only to be reborn as a spider; a hot spring; a vending machine; a fricking pair of pantsu? Isekai. BUT... having your world accidentally destroyed by a god only to be brought to a different planet with all your futuristic technology still with you (forum thread I linked)? Also isekai.

(Steins;Gate is not an isekai)
And before any of you point it out, no Steins;Gate is not an isekai. As my definition states, traveling to another Worldline is not traveling to a foreign world considering only minute details, relative to the universe and not the plot, is changed - and as a result, it's not foreign so it's not isekai; just regular, old sci-fi.

(How sci-fi isekai includes time travel)
And if anyone doubts the time travel argument, consider the following synopsis:

George was just your ordinary high school student until one day he was killed in an accident while attempting to save his crush from crashing into a truck. His story, however, is still far from over. A millennium into the future, he, along with his classmates, were the first amongst the great number of people still in cryofreeze to be revived by the most advanced of technologies. But oh no - he is suddenly conscripted into the military?

Getting used to this strange new world, he learns that humans are now participating in an intergalactic war against the an alien race who call themselves primorians. This war is over a brand new material which potentially possesses the secret to infinite energy; and ultimately grand control over the universe. The reason George, along with his classmates, are needed in this war is because the primorians have developed a brand new bioweapon which will instantly kill any human it touches but people from his time are immune against it because the humans of the past have not evolved various weaknesses which this dreadful virus conquers so well.

Equipped with the Mecha-10, will he and his friends help bring fort humanity's victory against the primorians and achieve the holy grail of the universe as we know it?

Later in the story, there's some romance, some mecha fighting, some training arcs and eventually some spicy politics and betrayal. Basically your basic space opera stuffs but combined with cliches and themes from isekai because George finds that this technology is far too complicated for its own good and uses knowledge from his time to improve it by making things simpler and more effective. This happens at least twice in every story arc in order to one-up the primorians.

Wouldn't you classify this as isekai? For one, it contains common tropes of sci-fi while also the same cliches you would find in your normal generic isekai. It also drives away from the fact that MC is in a new world since he's so busy handling the problems now, like other fantasy isekais that now exist does.

I don't provide a poll here since I'm challenging all of you to change my mind. Until I surrender, I will assume victory on my part. Fight me using words and logic, I dare you.

(Rules for myself)
After thinking it over, here's a few rules that I set for myself:
1. Every reply that is directed to oppose my original idea must be replied with the intent of opposing that reply.
2. Any reply that is just meant as a comment or what I dismiss as opinion does not have to be responded.
3. Try to keep the values of facts true by avoiding cherrypicking examples as well as not polluting said facts with opinions.
4. Any progress on change of my opinion must be listed below. If at least 50% plus one person consider said opinion change to be major enough that it qualifies as "I have changed my mind", then I will surrender and admit defeat."

Opinion changes:
-Still zero. Try harder.

(Edit log)
Edit 1: fixed spelling, grammar, formatting errors
Edit 2: added the rules
Edit 3: added edit log and spoiler text titles
Dec 26, 2018
So, allow me to begin by saying that my response will probably not be what you're looking for, because I am of the mind that isekai, as a genre, can involve science fiction, which means I'm already technically not adhering to the "rules" of the "game." However, for the sake of "clarity of purpose", I would like to respond with a viewpoint that may or may not add some nuance to your position. The tl;dr version of what I'm about to say basically boils down to, "Isekai can involve sci-fi, but not all sci-fi is inherently isekai."

Now then, just to lay some foundation: a quick Google search of the word 'Isekai' gives the translation as "different world." Translations such as "other world" or "new world" can arguably suffice to mean the same thing, but for the purposes of this discussion, let me focus on the word 'different' for a minute. The dictionary definition of 'different' reads as such:

Different: adj., not the same as another or each other; unlike in nature, form, or quality; distinct; separate.

With that in mind, the translation of isekai can be thought to mean "a world that is unlike--in nature, form, or quality--the world that the POV character(s) is/are familiar with; a world that is distinct, or separate, from the world the POV character(s) hail from." Using your own example of Steins;Gate not qualifying for the isekai label, this means that a world has to be sufficiently removed from what our POV character is familiar with to qualify as an isekai story; minute changes or slight differences in the unfolding of the events does not qualify a story as an isekai.

Here's where the nuance will (ideally) become apparent.

You talk about common tropes and clichés of the isekai genre, which is a fairly new label, despite relying on some pretty longstanding literary devices. Well, please correct me if I'm wrong, but one of the common plot elements of an isekai story is the idea that the old world the character hailed from is "gone", to some extent. Either they simply cannot return, or the means to return to their original world are difficult to obtain, unlikely to be available, or are exceedingly rare in supply. The primary point is that this "new world" is their home for the foreseeable future. To that end, I would like to assert the idea that, in order for isekai to have a sci-fi theme, regardless of the technology or methods involved in displacing the MC, they should not easily be able to travel back to their own world.

As an example: say our protagonist happens to stumble onto a teleporter that transports them to another world. They should not be able to simply turn around and step on the same teleporter to go back, nor should they be able to go to another teleporter in a neighboring town or city. The same applies for travel via some kind of spaceship: they should not be able to board another ship and return to their world as though nothing had happened. Now, if the teleporter from the former example requires a prohibitively rare and unstable fuel source to operate, that even the natives of that world consider it extremely unlikely for any ordinary person to make use of one, this becomes a different matter. Same, too, for the spaceship in the latter example: if the ship only made it to the new world via a path that only opens once an eon, or was diverted to the new world due to a one-in-a-million odds event, this does qualify it as an isekai story, because the protagonist cannot easily replicate the journey which took them to this new world in the first place.

Having made this assertion, I would argue that any sort of story where the protagonist enters a teleporter or spaceship and ends up on a new world, whether intentionally or by accident, does not qualify as an isekai unless the character has to experience significant, unusual hardship in order to return. Financial, geographical, or social difficulties being barriers to their return do not count towards this required hardship, as such issues can and do act as barriers to regular progress in our own world; the fact remains that, once they surmount the aforementioned issues, the technology exists to easily transport them back to their world, meaning their journey is not sufficiently extraordinary to prohibit their return. In these kinds of cases, the story would be a science fiction story, but it would not be an isekai--their own world still exists, and can be readily returned to. Isekai demands that the means for travel between worlds be relatively unobtainable in either world, not just one.

My other argument is towards your assertion that time travel counts as isekai. To address my qualms with this statement, let us return to the earlier stated definition of isekai: "different world." Another common trope in isekai-labelled works is that the character or characters involved have traveled to another world altogether; it is a place wholly removed from the world they're familiar with. They are not just a "fish out of water" in this new world: they are a fish out of planetary atmosphere. The near-complete and total alienation of everything they thought of as common knowledge is what often defines an isekai. In most time travel stories, if the setting still remains on the "original world", there will almost inevitably be some facet of knowledge that the characters can latch onto to confirm that they are, in fact, displaced in time but still within their own world. An admittedly loose, but still fitting example comes from the iconic Statue of Liberty scene in Planet of the Apes: our POV character realizes they're not on some foreign world, but merely in a time removed from their own, because they have encountered a fallen remnant of their own world--a remnant that would be seen as highly unlikely to exist on any other world but their own.

How, then, does this disqualify time travel as an isekai genre? My answer is this: the method of time travel would have to displace our POV character so prohibitively far away from their starting point that they would be unlikely to ever make it there. Let's use George from your synopsis to illustrate my point.

If George is killed in an accident, and then placed into cryofreeze, but still wakes up on Earth, just far into the future, there would most likely still be remnants of his own understanding of the world to prove that he is, in fact, on Earth. Whether it be language, the existence of certain cities, or technologies that are simply evolved forms of what George is familiar with, there would be enough there for George to grasp the concept that he has been resurrected in the far future of his own world. This is because human evolution, to the point where our world becomes completely unrecognizable as "our world" takes an impossibly long time. This is proved by the existence of archaeological relics we have today: we have almost nothing that survives of the world from the time of the dinosaurs beyond the bones of those creatures. Nothing to establish what the planet itself looked and functioned like. However, we do have things from the Biblical period of history, which tells us that, while our world is very far removed from that one, there are still similarities: people still lived in homes that use architectural techniques we still practice today. They used tools that are more primitive, but functionally identical, versions of tools we have today. In order for George to be well and truly displaced into an age that has absolutely no connection to his own, he would have to be flung forward an impossibly long time. Which means the technology that kept him cryofreeze would have to:

1. Still maintain enough operating capacity to function for that long.
2. Remain unharmed and free from tampering long enough to satisfy condition 1.
3. Be in a position and state to be reactivated, thus ending George's cryosleep, to satisfy conditions 1 and 2.

Consider how we treat technology today, even in--or sometimes especially in--military or government projects. Once a technology or method becomes obsolete, we stop using it. We often cease to upgrade it as well, because it eventually becomes more efficient to simply design a new product, as opposed to continually renovating an existing one. This means that whatever powers that exist in this future world would had to have seen enough merit in George's existence, or the existence of the project he found himself in, to preserve and carry him/it forward into that distant future. The likelihood of this is astoundingly low, even by fictional conventions. Any story, however fanciful, has to have some tenuous root in reality in order for audiences to comprehend it.

To close out an already unnecessarily long post, I'll just repeat my tl;dr version of this point: "Isekai can be classified as science fiction, but not all science fiction can be labelled as isekai." Everything I've said here is complete conjecture on my point, partnered with some light research and personal prior knowledge, so if you find fault with anything I've said, or have any corrections to information I've stated as fact, please feel free to say as much. As someone who aspires to be a published author someday, these kinds of topics are incredibly fascinating to me, and I'm more than willing to be wrong if it means learning new and useful information, or obtaining a valid alternative viewpoint. And, if you bothered to actually read all the way to this point, thank you for humoring me.

EDIT: Edited for minor grammar, spelling, and formatting issues.
Apr 23, 2018
I type to much as well, and TL;DRs are getting tiring. I will bold the point of each paragraph instead.

@Sleeper Good argument, but I would like to remind and/or introduce everyone to Saving 80,000 Gold Coins in the Different World for My Old Age. This gold saving loli lives in another world not much unlike ours in the past and has the ability to teleport back to her home world whenever she wants. In other words, it breaks the extremely common troupe that they are trapped(and possibly your definition of different). It is not the only one breaking this troupe either.

I will also argue that this is rightfully marked as an isekai. It does follow several of the common isekai troupes(just not the trapped one).
And it is almost good enough for my argument in another thread that they can be in the same universe. If only the stupid cat had told her how many light-years away from her world she was. The description of the power and imagery of it suggest, at the least, that she is in the same universe.
Also, not sure if this breaks your "must be different" argument. In the beginning, she does have trouble, but after quickly gaining another power, it is as if she had lived there her entire life (the world is similar to ours, minus language and underdeveloped technology).

Again, isekai is just another world. World as in planet by my definition, not universe. And we are different people, and the glass marble in my hand may look and weigh the same as yours, but it is a different one, ie. not the same..

I think the definition of the word is actually well understood, at least by those who know it means another/different world (and if not, tbh, we would need translators to break down into the nitty grity of definitions for us here). The problem is the requirements of the tag. Everyone wants to say the tag requires whatever common toupee the types of anime/manga they follow have in it. If it continues, we will break into fractions. With sides fighting for:
Differing world rules (addition/removal of fantasy elements usually),
Lack of new world knowledge. Normally expected by those who read summoning/reincarnated type manga. ( : ),
Outside/origin world knowledge (stuck in a book/game type people),
Impossible/difficult to return (this one will have the most people. Weather it be bc they cannot, it is difficult, or our MC simply does not want to).

They will be fighting collectively for multiples of these points, sharing the same belief for one, but disagree on another. I can provide at least 2 isekai manga that depict and break each of these beliefs. Only 2 things are required in the end, a world of origin (for our MC. No one ever labels it when it is a side or support character, from memory), and another world where the (some/most?) of the story takes place. This is the only thing that holds up in all the isekai manga I read. It is a tag, not a proper genre after all.

@Sleeper You did make some great points, and I am still editing my life away here (adding in examples supporting the idea of and debunking each troupe). My argument probably derails it further than yours, since I am literally fighting in my mind with about 7 people, each with their own idea of what is required for isekai. One of them has one I am having a terribly hard time finding anything that explicitly debunks....
Dex-chan lover
Jul 4, 2018
@Sleeper Abiding by the rules that I set for myself, I will only respond to the parts where I feel you are opposing my new definition of isekai which allows for sci-fi, while breaking it down to make it easier for me to reply to.

I would like to assert the idea that, in order for isekai to have a sci-fi theme, regardless of the technology or methods involved in displacing the MC, they should not easily be able to travel back to their own world.
I argue that your current definition is wrong. Basically, firefish5000 already said it all so here's some more examples:
Here, it shows that the "isekai" aspect is that the new house MC resides in has a portal that is connected to a parallel world.
(Since you also give Western examples,) In Alice in Wonderland she is able to return home and it is still arguable considered fantasy isekai.

I'm not sure what to quote in this but you basically mentioned about "where is the line that divides sci-fi isekai from regular sci-fi?" and you attempted to answer this question using the definition quoted above that we now debunked.
My definition of "Anything that includes a character being suddenly transported into a foreign world, no matter the method, can be classified as isekai" should suffice.

1. MC must be suddenly transported. We can assume that this is done by a single action or short chain of events such as: dying and transported, walking into a portal, etc; and not through multiple, intuitively long series of actions such as: using a spaceship to travel to another planet, etc.
2. Into a foreign world. This omits the sci-fi themes that features but not exclusively includes:
-Using a teleporter to instantly move to a chosen location,
-Time travel paradoxes where something plot-relevant but not universally-dramatic changes,
-Traveling to the past where its history is already recorded (this implies that non-recorded history is foreign and thus classifiable as isekai)
-Traveling to a predictable or predicted future (this implies that if said future has been predicted using a plot device or sufficiently foreshadow as it is not meant to be the introduction of the story, those are not isekai as it is no longer foreign) (it also implies that MC would have to time travel to a distant future where it is no longer predictable by modern day predictions) (and once again it implies that transportation must occur at the introduction of the story as any good isekai would usually do and omits the possibility that transportation during the middle or the ending would be isekai)

I just read your reply below. It's okay and you can argue against me once again if you want to.


Everyone wants to say the tag requires whatever common toupee the types of anime/manga they follow have in it. If it continues, we will break into fractions. With sides fighting for:
[1]Differing world rules (fantasy elements usually),
[2]Lack of new world knowledge (fantasy summoning/reincarnated people),
[3]Outside/origin world knowledge (stuck in a book/game type people),
[4]Impossible/difficult to return (this one will have the most people. Weather it be bc they cannot, it is difficult, or our MC simply does not want to).
I believe that my definition is flexible enough to cover most of these tropes.

"Anything that includes a character being suddenly transported into a foreign world, no matter the method, can be classified as isekai"
1, 2, and 3 all fit under the "foreign world"
4 is a little bit different. Instead of arguing that my definition fits it, I would argue that 4 is not necessary.

Both you and I have debunked @Sleeper's definition with incriminating examples. I think that said definition and your number four are in fact the same, seeing as to how both features the MC being unable to return to their world. By default, your 4 has been debunked.

I conclude that 1, 2, and 3 has been covered by my definition and number 4 is completely unnecessary towards classifying wether a work is isekai or not.
Dec 26, 2018
First off, @firefish5000, thank you for introducing me to 80,000 Gold Coins (abbreviated for, well, brevity); I had actually never heard of this series before, but it actually looks rather interesting. I definitely plan to give it a look. That said, you've made a solid point, as @DANDAN_THE_DANDAN said: it seems my fundamental understanding of the definition of Isekai was a bit too segmented and rigid. While I acknowledge that tropes often make up what people consider to be a genre or thematic tool, they are not the only defining factor. If I'm to take the word 'isekai' at face value, then the only factor that's important to its definition is that the story take place in another world because, as you've said, it is the one defining feature that every single isekai story has in common.

Secondly, my apologies for derailing the original intent of this thread somewhat. I'm sure DANDAN is already on the path to getting it back on track (and I look forward to reading the completed response), but still, wanted to acknowledge that I may have deviated more than was necessary.
Dex-chan lover
Jan 22, 2018
Firstly. El Hazard, Escaflowne, The Twelve Kindoms and other classics would like to have a chat with you about isekai being a new genre. The genre isn't new at all, just the more recent tropes that have been applied to it - most notably the (overused IMO) trappings of video game RPGS.

Now, I think you need to narrow the argument a bit for anyone to have a chance. If each is applied with the broadest strokes, its near impossible to argue that Isekai, SciFi and other world cannot overlap. Stargate is technically an isekai though I still consider it to be scifi.

Tougher still is how to separate the two when the other world is more advanced than our own. In fact I think this makes a counter argument impossible unless the scope of the argument is reduced. I would argue against say - being stranded on an alien planet as an isekai.

I agree with Sleeper that the separation of worlds is important. I will go a step further and reject "planet" being equivalent to "world" when it comes to deciding the genre. Yes the two are sometimes used interchangeably but I think the theme of isekai involves going to a whole other world rather than planet. Now if there is a twist and the planet turns out to be one in our universe that's fair game. It just needs to seem completely separate from the beginning.

Trying to decide isekai based on the usual tropes can work but it can also be troublesome because your better writers will defy those tropes and use new and different elements to create their story.

So that brings us to the best argument against allowing sci fi setups like your example of a guy from our time being resurrected in the future. We have to draw the line somewhere and the best place to draw it is at the setting being another world/ universe.

edit: I somehow missed two posts above this one including the one where Sleeper comes to the same conclusion. I must have opened this tab hours ago.
Apr 23, 2018
@Drifter I guess I need an explanation on how a different planet and different world do not mean the same thing. I cannot give a concrete example against a parallel universe requirement, at least not atm. But I can give a few more that connect the worlds (always active portals), and that have the 2 worlds being roughly identical.

Takarakuji de 40-oku Atattandakedo Isekai ni Ijuu Suru: Farmer series. Worlds connected by a portal/hallway like in Narnia. Or, who knows, maybe his basement or backyard is just that big. Main difference between MC's home world and theirs is how advanced society is, and how much nutrition plants/soil/people have and need. These two worlds are physically connected by the portal hall which may break separation of worlds, depending on how you look at it (I mean, I think being teleported/warped to a world within telescope range is more than disconnected enough. we have a hard enough time getting to the moon and Mars).
Boku no Heya ga Dungeon no Kyuukeijo ni Natteshimatta Ken: MC's house is connected to a dungeon. His primary hobby is collecting girls from the dungeon and trapping them in his house.

The only 2 ways I can define world are "planet" and view/experiences. Like a noble lives in a different world than a commoner (can sekai refer to that too? I think it does). If it has to be the viewpoint/experiences... well, a whole lot more things need the tag. I could also go with story world, but... the story will always be in same story world as itself.

Also @Sleeper, if you like the Gold loli, you should try her sister's series as well, Potion danomi de Ikinobimasu!(aka, Potion loli).
Dex-chan lover
Jul 4, 2018
@firefish5000 Wait, are you debating on my side or against me? ._.


The genre isn't new at all, just the more recent tropes that have been applied to it
First of all, I think you're misunderstanding something. Isekai is a new genre in the otaku community. Those "old classics" have previously been labeled as fantasy before the isekai genre existed however now that it does turns out to fit them much better. This labelling can only be done wothin the otaku community because the western community does not have isekai as a genre.

Now that that misunderstanding is out of the way...

"Anything that includes a character being suddenly transported into a foreign world, no matter the method, can be classified as isekai" is my official, new definition of isekai that allows sci-fi.

I debunked pretty much all your argument while simultaneously making mine stronger by expanding my definition to make it more concrete:

"Suddenly transported"
-A single action done on/by the MC to be transported
-A series of intuitively short series of actions done on/by the MC to be transported

-A "world" that MC has either no previous knowledge of or cannot be predicted using common sense by the readers; but imagination is fair game.

-A home.
--"Previous world" can be defined as "a comfortable place to live for the MC"
--"Foreign world" can be defined as "a place where MC is out of their elements"

NOTE: common tropes are not the defining characteristics to determine an isekai because it is both false and my definition does not support tropes as a standard of defining.

- - - - -​

Okay, here's the actual argument, allow me to debunk your debunking.

Stargate is technically an isekai though I still consider it to be scifi.
I don't know what Stargate is so I did a quick google search and read its synopsis. Yes, under my new definition, it can be classified as sci-fi isekai. But do keep in mind that, in the Western community, it is still labeled as sci-fi since they do not have the isekai genre.

If each is applied with the broadest strokes, its near impossible to argue that Isekai, SciFi and other world cannot overlap.
Why must you assume that? Well first,

"With the broadest strokes," is simply false because my definition is actually incredibely selective when it comes to deciding wether a story is isekai or not and, at the same time, allows for incredible flexibility in its meaning, just as I showed @Sleeper.

"Cannot overlap." what do you mean by that? Of course they can overlap. I mean, horror comedy exists doesn't it? And so does a variety of other genre combinations. Genres can mix as long as their story is good.

In fact I think this makes a counter argument impossible unless the scope of the argument is reduced.
That's why I wanted all of you to debate against me, that's how confident I am with my new definition.

I will go a step further and reject "planet" being equivalent to "world" when it comes to deciding the genre.
I will go a step even further and claim that "world" is loose enough such that "universe", "planet", and "vastly different passages of time" can all be described as "world".

I use "world" as in "home" where "original world"stands for "a comfortable place to the MC" and "foreign, new world"describes "a place where the MC is out of their element".

I would argue against say - being stranded on an alien planet as an isekai.
It depends.

My definition states that the main character must be suddenly transported. I expanded this further while discussing with @Sleeper that:
1. MC is transported through a single action (sleeping, walking into a portal, etc)
2. MC is transported through a short, successive series of actions that are intuitively short and easy to digest (dying and ressurected in a parallel world, time travel far into the past where people still used magic, etc)

I also state that the new world must be foreign which I am going to expand further here:
1. If to the MC it is foreign, it is isekai.
2. If to the MC it is not foreign, it is not isekai.

What is "foreign"? In this context, it is a new "world" that MC has no previous knowledge of.

If a plot device tells the MC of a new universe before they actually got transported, it is not isekai because MC already know of the universe.
If MC crashes into a new planet that, in the cannon of the universe, is already recognized as an uninhabited, unexpplored world, it is not isekai because MC already knows that a planet exists.

With the two expansions above me combined in my definition, I believe that it is sufficient to cover sci-fi as isekai as well as seperate normal sci-fi from sci-fi isekai.

Trying to decide isekai based on the usual tropes can work but it can also be troublesome because your better writers will defy those tropes and use new and different elements to create their story.
That is why I use flexible words as my new definition of isekai rather than commonly-used tropes since I already saw that from a mile away.

If you read my previous replies, I and @firefish5000 debunked the "trapped in a new world" trope as a standard for defining isekai since it is too loose and does not encompass all the already-existing isekai, wether it be in the otaku community or western using expansions from my definition as well as examples debunking it, respectively.

We have to draw the line somewhere and the best place to draw it is at the setting being another world/ universe.
I have. "Foreign world".
Feb 11, 2018
@DANDAN_THE_DANDAN I was trying to decide whether I agree with this idea or not... and then I happened to come across this line on Wikipedia:

The genre became so popular that in 2016, a Japanese short story contest banned any isekai entries. The publisher Kadokawa banned isekai stories as well in their own anime-style novel contest in 2017.

lol ?

I wonder if the Time Odyssey series by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter can be considered isekai.

In the first book, it's the year 2037, and these three people in a UN peacekeeper helicopter get hit by an rocket-powered grenade, and then suddenly the sun jumps like halfway across they sky and they crash to the ground. They find out that they've crashed near Jamrud Fort, manned by British soldiers from 1885.

They later find out that they're on some kind of patchwork Earth with slices from various time periods throughout Earth's history, from two million years ago up to the 21st century. There are noticeable gaps of a few centimetres in the ground at the boundaries between these slices because the location of the tectonic plates don't exactly match up. The only remaining traces of industrial civilization left on Earth are this British fort from 1885, Russian astronauts in a Soyuz space capsule from 2037 who had been orbiting overhead at the moment of the Discontinuity (that's what they call it now), and 19th-century Chicago. Though they later find out that the army of Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan's Mongol Empire of the 13th century are also here.

Since they don't think this is really Earth anymore, they start calling the patchwork planet "Mir" (for the Russian word мир, meaning both "peace" and "world").

And after that, a lot more shit happens, and also they find out that it was aliens. Very, very, advanced aliens, with incomprehensible thought processes. The woman from the UN helicopter manages to get back to Earth through some black magic fuckery/communication with these aliens, but no one else does. Meanwhile, back on Earth, these mysterious aliens have started trying to destroy humanity in increasingly more dickish moves. And meanwhile on Mir, the people back there find out from astronomical observations that they're in a temporary pocket universe that will Big Rip itself in a few centuries.

(Aaaaand, Arthur C. Clarke died before they wrote the fourth book, and so now the series is left on a very cliffhangery note.)
Dex-chan lover
Jul 4, 2018
@ununseti Wait, they banned isekai cause it's too popular? XD wow

And Time Odyssey seems super interesting, but I'm not gonna blue balls myself with an unfinished series so no way am I getting into it.

As for the isekai bit, I guess it's isekai cause the characters were suddenly transported by getting their helicopter shot then arrived in a foreign world called Mir.

@421cookies I guess I'm Natsuki then
Dex-chan lover
Jan 22, 2018
Its a fun way to discuss anime. Though Dandan, I had hoped to get you to narrow your definition a bit. As is, you are playing on easy mode so to speak with an argument akin to saying action can involve romance or fantasy can involve mystery. You have to give people a fighting chance if you want opponents.

The argument you are making is unassailable so I am instead going after the definition that supports it. I'm doing so on the grounds of what makes a genre definition useful. The definition of "foreign world" can be so broadly applied that it ceases to be useful in separating a story from others even if conveys important information about the story itself.

I don't think I would be against such a definition of isekai being used as a sub genre but that puts us back at the statement that Isekai can involve SciFi. That really cant be argued against and, dangit, I'm here to argue.

I support a definition in which the "other world" in isekai is truly a different universe that cannot be traveled to through space. The main character or characters reach this other world through supernatural means usually either reincarnation after death or magical summoning. The way back is also through supernatural means. As illustrated by the two (rather fun) manga FireFish linked to being able to travel to and from this other world does not exempt a story from the genre. Gate is another well known isekai story with a functional connection between the worlds.

This defining of isekai uses only one of the several definitions of world in the dictionary but I think it is a better representation of the current body of work we call isekai and more useful in separating such work from others.

At this point I think I should make it clear that I am having fun. Thank you for creating this thread and I apologize for not following the rules.

Edit: I love FireFish's description of Boku No Heya...
Dex-chan lover
Jul 4, 2018
@Drifter Well, I admit that I'm kinda playing on easy mode like this but the purpose of the thread is to convince people to change their definition of isekai by making them realize that their argument cannot defeat mine...

At first, I thought that this is gonna be hard for me since it's one versus all but now I realize that I'm purposefully making things easy for me. If you got any idea on how to make this a challenge for myself, please do say it.

You mentioned that I should narrow my definition buuut I don't know how...
Dex-chan lover
Jan 22, 2018
Its tough coming up with an argument you are willing to defend but others will be willing to contest.

You might have gotten more people you had said "I define isekai as a foreign world" That's a bit easier to challenge. If I were to start such a debate, I could use my own separate universe argument. I believe in my position but I'm not 100% sure of it.

Someone could argue that isekai has become too broad as a genre or even that isekai is a terrible trend in manga. It can be something completely different too.

I think you are on to something though. A change my mind challenge could be some good forums fun whenever someone comes up with one.
Aug 8, 2018

If you mean an Isekai involving space battleships and the expanse of space, no. There's no point putting an Isekai protagonist into the millenia of space travel, that's redundant, it's the far future, all ridiculous garbage is already possibly explained as "THE FUTURE"

If you just mean plain Sci Fi like Wormholes, Computers etc, there's actually a few examples I know of. Depends on your definition of Sci Fi btw, I discount SINGLE USE SUMMONS because that would mean ALL ISEKAIS ARE SCIFI.

Nope, that would be stupid.
Sword ArtOnline season 1 (AND ONLY season 1) is a Sci Fi anime about using a Virtual Reality computer world as a prison to force players into an Isekai where you can die just like in Real LIfe. The ultimate goal is to reach the top and defeat the final boss.
The subversion is that the Maou, aka the final boss is discovered and the final few episodes deal with the consequences and death resulting from this discovery
Unfortunately, the Sword Art Online proceeded to Milking the Franchise after season 1 . . . . . . so it's no longer that great.

Log Horizon (Season 1 again . . . ) is about what happens when you dump a bunch of player with their infinite re spawn mechanics into a game world. The problem is that there are actual living breathing people there because this game world is an ACTUAL REAL WORLD and the players were unnaturally forced into it, having major affects on the surrounding kingdoms and people living there. The main characters spends substantial amounts of time trying to circumvent the physical GAMEY rules of physics the world has just to live there and the unpleasant implications of their situation. (If you can't die, you can be made to suffer for eternity for example. Oh and Slavery can be a thing with no government, etc.)

Manuke Na FPS player is basically a player who plays a futuristic FPS being dumped into an Isekai with futuristic FPS weapons and bodyarmor.

And. . . . .

Gate Jietaia story about Japan being exposed to a magical wormhole and how Japan sends it's army into an Isekai. . . . .
It literally says Isekai, does this count as Sci Fi? Does sending an entire army into a world full of dragons and magic count as Sci Fi?

The thing is, most Isekais are actually SUBVERSIONS of a subgenre of the classic Hero and Demon King genre. Usually setup as subversion of classic NES game like Final Fantasy.

Sci Fi usually involves the exposure of individuals to unique and alien worlds and alternate universe as well as different time periods, much like how Isekais expose heroes to alternate universes and worlds. Where does Sci Fi end and Isekais begin then?
An Isekai world can be made to be an alternate world in whatever real time period you want it based on, or it can be a future mad max world where the future has devolved into medieval fighting or desolate deserts with people ray guns blasting each other.

Sci Fi usually focuses on setting up the situation and the world building itself, most Isekais usually focus on the powers they receive in relation to a classic Maou Yuusha Setup. Thus, when we get Sci Fi Isekais, its usually has something to do with the Real world's computer games reality melding or the main point is not the heroes but how the two worlds react to one another, which is more a Sci Fi thing, not an Isekai unique thing.

Sekai Maou for instance, is a subversion of Hero and Demon Kin stories, but is not an isekai.
And turns into Sci Fi Around Chap 48-49

Another example as shown below. This one shows that even if the setting becomes Maou Yuusha, Hero Demon King, Sci fi dictates the setting up of the world and situation itself takes precedence.

(Maou Yuusha Chapter)

(The Sequel Sci Fi one)

(The manga it is from)
Jan 6, 2019
Do you think Isekai even requires that the MC leave their home planet? You could totally create stories highly similar to Isekai by, say, throwing a bunch of Japanese highschoolers into an unexplored section of South American jungle.
Apr 23, 2018
@DANDAN_THE_DANDAN I do not remember if I ever tried to counter your "suddenly transported" part. But I remember bringing up the farm, so let me reiterate it to you.

Takarakuji de 40 oku Atatta ndakedo Isekai ni Ijuu Suru - Portal to another world. Very long walk through a hall/portal to another world. Not sure if it is a slow or instantaneous change honestly. You could easily argue that the hall is cut in half, one half being in his world, the other half the isekai, in which case it would be instantaneous.
Jan 17, 2018
For me isekai is more a step out of characters standard current reality to a new one.

It can be
-Time travel (I restrict this to fantasy style world)

- Reality in real life being altered is a grey area. e.g. Kekkai Sensen

Fantasy isekai is just the most popular. There are many non-isekai fantasy that are the same style.
90% of them are in my follows list :D

Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari is basically scifi with fantasy feel. I'd like at least one real scifi isekai though.

Yes, in effect Stargate and even Star Trek are isekai but not by definition because they are supposed to fit in current characters reality. The Time Machine (movie) falls into the same while Guardians of the Galaxy(movie) is by definition isekai but still a grey area.

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