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5 Isekai Light Novels You Should Read in 2022

Isekai is a Japanese word that means “another world”. It is a subgenre of Japanese light novels revolving around an average person being transported to or trapped in another world. The protagonist usually still remembers their former life when reincarnated in the new world, such as in Konosuba. It may also be a situation where a formerly virtual world of the game turns into a real one, such as in Log Horizon, or the protagonist becomes stuck in the virtual world with no way to “log out” without actual death, such as Sword Art Online.

Sword Art Online

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In the year 2022, gamers rejoice as Sword Art Online - a VRMMORPG (Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) like no other – debuts, allowing players to take full advantage of the ultimate in gaming technology: NerveGear, a system that enables the user to immerse themselves in a wholly realistic gaming experience. But when the game goes live, the joy of the players quickly turns to horror as they discover that, for all its unique features, SAO is missing one of the most basic functions of any MMORPG - a log-out button. Now trapped in the virtual world of Aincrad, their bodies are held captive by NerveGear in the real world. The users are issued a chilling ultimatum: conquer all one hundred floors of Aincrad, the floating castle, the setting for the game, to regain your freedom. But in the warped world of SAO, 'game over' means certain death - both virtual and real...

A solo player named Kirito, who had the luck of the draw to play the beta version of Sword Art Online, was among the 10,000 players trapped inside the game. The only way for them to escape is by clearing all the floors of Aincrad.

There are currently 15 volumes of Sword Art Online officially translated into English by Yen Press and an anime adaption by A1 Pictures.

Log Horizon

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Thirty thousand Japanese gamers awake one day to discover that the fantasy world of Elder Tales, an MMORPG that was formerly their collective hobby, has become their cold hard reality. Severed from their everyday lives, they confront a new horizon filled with ravenous monsters, flavourless food, and the inability to die! Amid the chaos, veteran gamer Shiroe gathers his friends, the guardian Naotsugu and the assassin Akatsuki. Together, they embark on an adventure to change the world as they know it!

Shiroe must learn to live in this new world, leading others and negotiating with the NPC "natives" to bring stability to the virtual city of Akihabara. A tale of fantasy, adventure, and politics,Log Horizon explores gaming elements through the eyes of a master strategist who attempts to make the best of a puzzling situation.

There are currently 11 volumes of Log Horizon officially translated into English by Yen Press and an anime adaptation by NHK.

KonoSuba: God's Blessing on This Wonderful World!

5-isekai-light-novels-you-should-try

After dying a laughable and pathetic death on his way back home, high school student and recluse Kazuma Satou finds himself sitting before a beautiful but obnoxious goddess named Aqua. She provides him with two options: continue on to heaven or be reincarnated in a real fantasy world! Choosing to start a new life, Kazuma is quickly tasked with defeating a Demon King who is terrorizing villages. But before he goes, he can choose one item of any kind to aid him in his quest, and the future hero selects Aqua. But Kazuma has made a grave mistake—Aqua is completely useless!

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With Aqua unable to return to the afterlife until the Devil King is defeated, the two form a party and recruit two other members; an explosion-obsessed magician named Megumin and a masochistic crusader named Darkness. Due to the party's dysfunctional abilities, Kazuma quickly gives up on the idea of defeating the Devil King and tries to live a luxurious lifestyle, only to find the circumstances of his daily life are forcing him and his party to encounter and battle the Devil King's generals.

There are currently six volumes of Konosuba officially translated into English by Yen Press and an anime adaptation of the series.


No Game No Life

5-isekai-light-novels-you-should-try

No Game No Life is a comedy that follows Sora and Shiro, a brother and sister who are loser shut-ins by normal standards, and the online gamer duo behind the legendary username “Blank”. In the world of gaming, this genius pair reigns supreme, their invincible avatar so famous that it's the stuff of urban legend. So when a young boy calling himself God summons the siblings to a fantastic alternate world where war is forbidden and all conflicts, even those involving national borders, are decided by the outcome of high-stack games.

Sora and Shiro believe they have pretty much hit the jackpot but then they soon learn that in this world, humanity is corned and outnumbered by other species and only survives within the confines of one city.

There are currently nine volumes officially translated by Yen Press and an anime adaptation of the series.

How Not To Summon A Demon Lord

5-isekai-light-novels-you-should-try

When playing the MMORPG Cross Reverie, Sakamoto Takuma was a legendary unbeaten player called the Demon King by the other players. However, one day he gets summoned to another world with his appearance in the game. But despite his powers, his awkwardness keeps getting in the way, so he decides to pretend to be a Demon Lord and soon finds himself with a pair of slaves: a well-endowed elf and a catgirl. Together, they struggle with everything from interpersonal relationships to diabolical beast battles!

There are currently five volumes officially translated into English by J-Novel! Club, as well as a presently airing anime adaptation of the series.

© 2018 Deniz Burunlu

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