Isekai can involve sci-fi. Change my mind.

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Oh wow people are still active here? Okay...


@Shitposter-chan

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.
Nah. I'd say that it's more to adventure.

The key word in my definition is "foreign world" and what I meant by that is more towards a "home". Your example just teleports Japanese high schoolers to another part of home. Yeah, it's outside their comfort zone but it's still Earth, in the present time.

If, let's say, they went back in time to see the dinosaurs using a magic rock (for fantasy) or because aliens (for sci-fi), then it would be an isekai by my definition. But I do admit that this current example is entering a grey area into what is normal sci-fi and what is isekai.


@firefish5000

Hey! I read that manga!!

If not wrong, I remember that MC sort of fade out of existence from the parallel world after a certain point deep into the forest for everyone there but to MC himself, everything feels normal. Although everyone also disappears after beyond said point. I guess you can assume this point to be the division between their worlds.

Also, I didn't fully imply what I meant by "suddenly" and therefore expanded it during a reply to @Drifter right here.

"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

"Walking through a tunnel" can be considered "intuitively short", can't it?


@SushiBentou

First, I'd argue that Kekkai Sensen is fantasy/sci-fi shounen. Or perhaps even reverse-isekai since most of the story takes place in previously New York City featuring characters from another world if you wanna really stretch it. Once again, entering a grey area

Second, I'd argue that Guardians of the Galaxy is not isekai. To be isekai, characters has to be transported into a "foreign world". In the MCU, pretty much the entire universe is a "world" which automatically makes nothing "foreign". In an illustrative sense, to the characters, travelling from Earth to Knowhere is like travelling from your house to your neighbour's house - it's no longer a "foreign world".

That's it, you didn't really oppose my argument so I don't know how else to reply. Although...

It can be
-Scifi
...
I'd advise against using common tropes when defining a genre, as any author can introduce a new twist that breaks classic tropes and still make a great story out of an old genre.
 
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I think anyone disputing that isekai can not also be sci-fi or contain sci-fi elements is not being honest with either the definition/meaning/translation of the genre or not what it actually contains. Isekai means a different or another world. We have isekai were people are reincarnated (and it always amuses me when they just skip child birth and being a baby in that one...), possess people, swap bodies, are teleported, ect. Including, often sadly, literal game mechanics like status screens for no discernable god damn reason.

...So if someone suddenly draws the line and goes full Picard that sci-fi is too far, I'm rather skeptical of their reasoning.

So take Knights and Magic. Mecha otaku gets reincarnated into another world that has mechs giant suits of walking armor that knights use. You can guess what happens from there even if you've never heard of the series before. For what it's worth, this is also an older isekai, among one of the first that also became popular and recognized as isekai. Note that isekai is actually far older than this. Those Who Hunt Elves ("Elf wo Karu Mono-tachi") is old as shit and the manga starting back all the way in 1994 and it's pure isekai through-and-through. It simply wasn't recognized or known as isekai because isekai wasn't a genre yet.

So what if you do the same thing? Mecha otaku gets reincarnated into another world and it's one that is decidedly not earth (not the same history or geography, but similar), but the technology is much, much more advanced? What if, for whatever reason, no one decided to make a walking tank? What if, for whatever reason, our protagonist did so in this setting? What, this suddenly wouldn't be isekai? Why not? Magic is NOT required for isekai - I'm sorry, but it isn't. But even if you disagreed - what if it was a "magitech" society where the lines between "magic" and "technology" were blurred and one in the same? Is that suddenly isekai then? Or is it still a no go?

If it's another world that somehow the character, whether consciousness or his actual self, is transferred or travels there... That's pretty much isekai. If he finds Dungeon Quest or Armored Core on the other side is pretty irrelevant - they're both isekai in that case.

And, yes, "time travel" can easily be isekai. If you don't believe me, read "Me, Her and the Ballistic Weaponry" and tell me it doesn't fit.
 
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@definitionofinsanity

And, yes, "time travel" can easily be isekai. If you don't believe me, read "Me, Her and the Ballistic Weaponry" and tell me it doesn't fit.
Oh my gosh that synopsis sounds awesome and the ratings are pretty good. I'll check that out, thx for talking about it.

Oh and...

I think anyone disputing that isekai can not also be sci-fi or contain sci-fi elements is not being honest with either the definition/meaning/translation of the genre or not what it actually contains.
I'd argue against this as "isekai" has a rather Western connotation towards it.

According to your argument, anything that involves "another world" is isekai so does that mean that Steins;Gate is an isekai since Okabe travels across World Lines? I'd say no, that's just fancy time travel.

"Isekai" to Western viewers has lost its true, original meaning. Just like how "shoujo-ai" originally has a more pedophilic theme in Japanese ("little girl" and "love"), while in the Western fandom, it's a name to describe anime GL.
 
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@DANDAN_THE_DANDAN
According to your argument, anything that involves "another world" is isekai so does that mean that Steins;Gate is an isekai since Okabe travels across World Lines? I'd say no, that's just fancy time travel.
But I'd argue that the world lines in Steins;Gate are NOT another world. Just like the TV show Sliders opening intro shows, it's not another world. It's the same world, the same earth... just with a slightly different history (and in Steins:Gate most world lines were relatively recently diverged at that). If Okabe could somehow end up hundreds of years into the future in a nuclear scarred landscape that is no longer earth as we know it anymore, I'd say that I'd be open to that, but when he's just going to alternative histories - and recently diverged ones at that - I can't really consider that being in "another world." It's still the same earth. It's still the same planet, same culture, same civilization, same everything except a few changes in recent history.

I'd argue that if you're not leaving Earth, the chances of you pulling off something that is enough to be "another world" isekai story plummets drastically.

Oh my gosh that synopsis sounds awesome and the ratings are pretty good. I'll check that out, thx for talking about it.
I read up chapter ~23 or so before I finished what had already been translated at that point. It really is - surprisingly - well done. It's written well, the translation is well done and edited, and the story is pretty interesting. Just be known it is slightly slow in pacing at first, but I'd argue that even so the way it's written lets you identify and empathize with what the character is going through. And it helps that the MC is actually someone with common sense and is not a worthless doormat or a sociopathic asshole that is some chuuni self-insert of the author's desires. After several chapters, it really picks up and hits its stride and you just want to more and more. Definitely an underrated WN/LN.

Just like how "shoujo-ai" originally has a more pedophilic theme in Japanese ("little girl" and "love"), while in the Western fandom, it's a name to describe anime GL.
Honestly, I've seen so many different applications of shoujo-ai and yuri definitions, both of which are now common in western usage, that I think very few people are running on the same page. The one I've seen most consistently and makes the most sense is that shoujo-ai is focused on the (usually more serious) more romantic relationship aspects (like that of shoujo manga genre) of girls love instead of the usually-more-innocent yuri which itself can range from very friendly girls with little personal space to two girls bumping uglies like they're demonstrating how to pound mochi. And yet I've also seen shoujo-ai refer to completely non-explicit girls love... which few people seem to have got the memo about that.
 
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I'd argue that Isekai just involves a form of entering another world with your previous memories intake, usually through death and reincarnation. Space Fantasy and Sci-Fi would therefore not be excluded from this. In fact, it could make for a more interesting story than the run-of-the-mill fantasy setting if you manage to spice things up with a science fiction setting where the fundamental rules the Main Character would be familiar with and so would simply expand upon the science or concepts he is familiar with.
 
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I mean, tell me that wouldn't be cool as hell. A japanese guy flying around the multiverse, picking up beastgirls in a...high tech Peel P50!


Side note: this is actually crazy enough to have happened with today's isekai climate. Seriously japan, this actually might work. No, really, I'm shit at writing, but I know a good idea when I see it.
 
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I want an isekai where the main character is having an existential crisis. We see him not accept the new world, but realize slowly everyone he ever knew and loved is gone, every concept he held in a previous life and everything he knew is worthless and he feels isolated and alone unlike anyone else could be. Every piece of art or music he loved, every book he read, every game he played...It's all dust in the wind. He reflects on these memories. He wonders what the meaning of life is in such a plain of existence, what it means to be him and who he is. He realizes that the stereotypical aspects of an isekai aren't what is going to make him happy. Having a harem of woman after you for the sake of it is worthless, as is having a grand adventure for its own purpose. He is the loneliness man in the world because of reasons he can't adequately demonstrate or prove to anyone else. (This would be compounded more if he enters a world where technology is inferior to modern equivalents and must come to terms with the regression in quality of life and standards of living like clean drinking water, readily accessible food supply, etc.) His party members try to consul him but there's no point to it. I can either see it ending one of two ways: either
he has a grand arc where he gains a new lease on life, finding someone he loves and finding a new purpose in his mission and the people of this new world through gradually meeting people from his old world and gaining friends in the new
or
have the story end Brave New World style with the main character committing suicide because he realizes what he has lost in his old life and is unable to accept the new reality and burden thrust upon him. Bonus points if he dies as a martyr to save the world he's landed in.
Either way it's an effective story in theory, exploring the philosophy of Isekai and what it could entail for the purpose of humanity.



Also technically Stranger in a Strange Land and
Samurai Jack
are technically Isekai, now that I think about it.
@DANDAN_THE_DANDAN
 
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@Tamerlane Hold up, you can put spoilers within spoilers now?! Sweet!

Also, I don't think a character having an existential crisis at the beginning is effective. To have the readers be in the character's shoes, you need to tell them everything he loved and how that all is pried away from him by an unstoppable force. And to have the intro be the character's daily life for presumable an entire chapters/episode and only be transported at the end with the existential crisis beginning the next chapter/episode is a bad intro since it does not grip the viewers.

The theory itself is good, but the implementation will be very difficult to pull off.
 
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Fair, though I would go about in the same sense that famous existentialist writers went about writing people in these situations like Meursault in The Stranger or Gregor in Kafka's The Metamorphosis.


I would probably do something along the lines of (at least for an opening):

Probably something along those lines as an opener. (Obviously this is just an example, but you get the picture.) I think the implications of Isekai really should be explored more, as its quite dark and could have serious ramifications both psychologically and philosophically. It would be like having your whole understanding of the world ripped out from under you only to awake somewhere else in a different and terrifying environment. @DANDAN_THE_DANDAN
 
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I thought one of the prevailing aspects of isekai was you were transported to a new world with no way back, (or going back was so difficult it was like being stuck there). Hell you can count The lion, The witch and the Wardrobe as isekai if you wanted to. The thing with a sci-fi setting is that if you have the technology to go somewhere you have the technology to come back, I think the entire point of isekai is that you are trapped in another world.
 
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Would "Utawarerumono" series consider as isekai because the in both series the Protagonist are human from past who awaken in the future which is entire;y a new world however it not like the protagonist travel into a parallel world or other world. this still same world but in the future.
 
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@phage83 I haven't read any isekai that really brings out the helplessness one can be when they're trapped in the other world. The closest one i can think of atm is Isekai Mahou wa Okureteru! where the MC tries to create a magic to return back to earth. Most of the others have little to no attachment to earth or they soon forget it (or even never really mention it at all). I really want to read a story that picks up this problem. As many of the isekai story said "This basically a kidnapping". I know some story that even come to hate the country that summons them but that's it. None really brings up said problem well.
 
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You guys should check this out. This guy goes deep into isekai, and he's doing an 8 part series talking all about it rn.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKvXDw0G1tQ
 
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@fagguette101 Finally gotten around to watch the vid. He have a very valid point about the community consensus on what isekai is as a genre is too blurry and as such is directly criticizing large influencers on YouTube for advocating this unclarity wether on purpose or not is very interesting.

Tho I think he's taking this way too seriously.
 
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Honestly, what is and what isn't "isekai" is a bit of skub because the concept of "isekai" itself is very broad and could include a lot of different things, such as the world being reset but a person keeping their memories, or a person being frozen in ice and being sent into the future. It's more about being in a new and unfamiliar world than it is about the secondary tropes associated with it like its ties to JRPG mechanics, fantasy, etc. Really you could get away with a lot under the "isekai" label and it would still qualify.
 
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Am I supposed to change your mind, or point out that easily more than half of them do that so it's kind of boring at this point actually

I guess most authors struggle trying to actually write a story without relying on either straight up sci-fi technology or magic-thats-indistinguishable-from-modern-technology.

The only one I know isn't even technically an Isekai.
 
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Although I don't really care for isekai as a manga or anime genre, it's worth mentioning you actually see identical tropes in a lot of early science and "fantastic" fiction. I've been reading through Clark Ashton Smith's body of work over the past couple of years and this sort of story where an average, unhappy protagonist is warped into a new, dangerous world (and usually has some mysterious alien beauty latch onto him immediately) comes up a lot, and this is late 1920s and early 30s. The cheap magazines where these stories were published targeted a similar demographic to most isekai today, too.
 

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