Some of the most common complaints about isekai anime have to do with their protagonists: lots of them are male, originally middle-aged, and potentially problematic. But what about female isekai heroes? We've gathered an updated list of the best isekai anime with a female lead that you should watch!
A lot of people wonder why isekai anime is so popular right now. Lots of titles in the fantasy subgenre seem a little repetitive, recycling tired tropes. And yet, they somehow appeal to our need for escapism. Here are a few isekai stories centering on women, to get you started with the subgenre.
Spirited Away might not be the anime you expect to see on this list, but this is how diverse isekai could be if they departed from their current tropes.
In the improbable case that you haven't watched the iconic Ghibli film yet, Spirited Away is the story of Chihiro, a young girl who travels with her parents to their new home.
When the family venture into the spirit realm, Chihiro's parents break its rules and end up transformed into pigs, leaving it up to Chihiro to survive in a world of demons and, eventually, rescue them.
Chihiro is a great heroine children will relate to; she starts off a bit self-centered and helpless, but she shows real bravery, heart, and problem-solving abilities, making her one of the greatest characters on the list.
Related: Spirited Away Ending ExplainedAdvertisement
Before a particular type of isekai formula - in which a character leaves their mundane or miserable life for one that's pure wish-fulfillment - became the norm, there was Inuyasha.
Inuyasha follows Kagome Higurashi, a 15-year-old girl who is dragged by a demon into a well, and from there into the past, in feudal Japan where demons were a common occurrence!
Once there, she meets Inuyasha, a boy who is a half-wolf demon and seems to resent her to her resemblance to a shrine maiden he feels strongly about.
Yet, he and Kagome might have to work together when the Shikon Jewel, a miraculous artifact, is broken, with dire implications for the land.
Ascendance of a Bookworm
For all the book lovers out there, Ascendance of a Bookworm is the ideal show to check out.
When an aspiring librarian dies, she gets her dying wish to read more books, but not in the way she expected. Reincarnated into the body of a 5-year-old girl named Myne, she finds herself in the Medieval times, when books are scarce.
But Myne won't let that deter her; she's going to keep reading books, even if she has to make them herself!
Myne might not possess physical power, but her indomitable spirit and love of books will resonate with all the bookworms!
The Saint's Magic Power Is Omnipotent
The show follows, Sei, a 20-year-old office worker. Unlike the case of most isekai these days, Sei doesn't die, but she is summoned in a magical world, where she's expected to be a saint for its inhabitants.
While this is the last thing Sei wants, she still manages to make a beautiful life for herself, as a potion seller.
But when her potions end up being more advanced than you would expect from someone just spirited away into a new world, Sei thinks she might indeed be a Saint, after all, thus she embarks on a journey that entails danger, magic, and love.Advertisement
So I'm a Spider, So What?
So I'm a Spider, So What? features an odd title, a chaotic timeline, RPG-like mechanics, and, you guessed it - oddly cute spiders!
So I'm a Spider, So What? begins with an explosion that kills an entire classroom of students.
In true isekai fashion, most of the students are reincarnated into fancy lives... not all of them, however. Our main character is an unlucky girl who finds herself in another world, reincarnated as a spider monster, only known as "Kumoko" or Nameless.
But this is not even the worst of it; this fantastic world functions as an RPG or video game, and our main character wastes all her points on useless developments, meaning that she can't defend herself and is constantly in danger.
Kumoko starts defeating monsters to level up, get stronger and eventually get a better life.
Overall, Kumoko isn't the most likable character; she's rather selfish, and occasionally makes dubious choices, but, after everything she goes through, you come to root for her by the end of it.
My Next Life As a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom
Not only is My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom one of the most popular isekai of late - female-led or not, but it's also great for video game fans.
Catarina Claes didn't always live in a video game. But when she regains memories of her previous life, she realizes that she has been reincarnated into one of the games she used to play when alive.
Unfortunately for her, she came back to life as a villainous girl, who gets a bad ending in every route.
Could her extensive inside knowledge of the game and its mechanisms help her reverse her horrible fate, even if this didn't use to be possible in the game?
Follow her journey to find out!
In the Land of Leadale
In the Land of Leadale is another isekai anime in which the main character ends up in a game.
The show follows a girl named Keina, who is on life support after being involved in an accident. Keina finds solace in an RPG game that takes her to the fictional world of Leadale.
When a power outage shuts down her life support, killing her, she wakes up in Leadale, in the body of her avatar.
Now a half-elf named Cayna, the protagonist is excited to explore her favorite world - at least until she realizes it isn't quite the land she remembered. 200 years have passed in Leadale since her last login, and Leadale is now facing the aftermath of devastating wars.
If you want a slow-life, wholesome anime without much of a plot, and if you mind a main character on the overpowered side - in an anime that unapologetically borrows from RPG aesthetics - this one's for you!Advertisement
I've Been Killing Slimes For 300 Years And Maxed Out My Level
I've Been Killing Slimes For 300 Years And Maxed Out My Level follows modern isekai tropes in having a long title you can't say seriously, not to mention RPG elements.
Azusa Aizawa is an overworked woman who passes away from exhaustion but gets a second chance.
Now immortal, Azusa spends her days in solitude, protecting her village, tending to her garden, and killings slimes.
As the weakest RPG enemies, slimes give minimal experience points - though not when you keep killing them for 300 years.
After three centuries, Azusa has reached the maximum possible level, a fact she's desperately trying to hide in order to protect her quiet, long life.
But as more and more people seek her out for aid or for battle, she comes to realize that life is better with friends!
Vision Of Escaflowne
Isekai isn't a new phenomenon - the idea of being transported into another world, through reincarnation or otherwise, has been around for a long time.
Vision Of Escaflowne wasn't created around tropes. One might even argue that it created the tropes.
15-year-old Hitomi Kanzaki lives an ordinary life until, one night a boy Van Fanel appears from the sky along with a dragon.
After other misadventures, Hitomi finds herself transported to the world of Gaea, a mysterious land where the Earth hangs in the sky.
In Gaea, Hitomi finds out that Van is a prince of the Kingdom of Fanelia, which soon falls under attack by the empire of Zaibach.
But this isn't a mediavalist-only work; during a battle, Van boards his family's ancient Escaflowne -a mecha - but still fails to protect his land, so he and Hitomi are on the run fighting against the evil forces of Zaibach along the way.
Have you ever wished you could inhabit the world of your favorite book? Fushigi Yuugi features this concept with a vengeance.
Miaka Yuuki and Yui Hongo are two friends who spend time in the library when a strange old book sucks them into its world, in ancient China.
But what will happen when Yui is returned to her own world, but Miaka is not?
Miaka turns out to be the foretold priestess of the kingdom's protector god Suzaku, and sets on an extraordinary journey with the help of Takahome, a young man who helped her.
Meanwhile, all Yui can do is keep reading the book, knowing that its mysterious heroine is her own friend.Advertisement
The Great Jahy Shall Not Be Defeated
The Great Jahy Shall Not Be Defeated is a reverse isekai, featuring a formerly strong member of the demon realm, now trapped in our world, and in a child-sized body.
In a whole new world, Jahy is broke and barely able to survive every day. She might be working part-time only, but trying to return to the demon realm is a full-time job - especially when you also have bills to pay.
Right now, reverse isekai are not as popular as their more magical counterparts, but seeing beings for whom our own world is foreign helps us see it with new eyes.
The Twelve Kingdoms
If you're looking for more isekai from one or two decades ago, The Twelve Kingdoms is an interesting choice to pursue.
Main character Youko Nakajima, has never asked for an extraordinary life, although she does have trouble fitting in due to her red hair.
One day, a handsome man named Keiki who claims to be from another world comes to her class intending to swear allegiance to her.
Before Youko can make sense of the meeting, they're both attacked by evil creatures known as youma.
As Keiki and Youko flee to another world, Youko's' classmates Ikuya Asano and Yuka Sugimoto, are also caught up in the isekai adventure but separated from her and forced to fend for themselves!