The isekai has 5 years to live, they say

The isekai has 5 years to live, they say

The isekai and boys' love genres are currently at the top of the manga and light novel market, with hit franchises such as "Sasaki and Miyano," "Overlord," "That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime" and "KonoSuba: God's Blessings on this Wonderful World" amassing millions of devoted followers. According to Akira Kanai, editor of "Vinland Saga", the popularity of these two trends will not decrease anytime soon.

In manga and anime, the term isekai refers to a fantasy genre in which an unfortunate character is reborn into a new world with a new body, new abilities, or both. On the other hand, boys' love, a genre aimed mainly at female audiences, focuses on romantic relationships between beautiful young people.

The isekai has 5 years to live, they say

In a recent interview with Manga Passion, a German news site focused primarily on Japanese media, Kanai discussed how these genres will continue to be mainstream trends in the coming years. "In the general context of seinen magazines, I believe that the trend of isekai stories will continue among male readers for the next five years. For female readers, the boys' love trend will continue for another five years," Kanai said. For him, this is largely due to the audience's desire for escapism, a desire he considers unhealthy if overexploited.

Akira Kanai has worked as an editor in Kodansha's manga department for more than 30 years and, since 2015, has been the Editor-in-Chief of Monthly Afternoon, a monthly manga magazine that focuses predominantly on seinen audiences, i.e. stories aimed primarily at adult men. Over the years, the Monthly Afternoon has won praise for its mature, adult-oriented stories, such as "Skip & Loafer" and "The Darwin Incident," in addition to "Vinland Saga."

Kanai notes that many elements differentiate seinen from shojo (manga aimed at girls and young women) and shonen (manga aimed at young boys and men), especially in how the latter genres address issues of right and wrong. According to Kanai, shonen heroes are typically ideal young men who bravely stand up to evildoers, but often present overly simplistic notions of right and wrong.

Isekai stories often follow similar narrative patterns, with main protagonists who have few realistic flaws and face grandiose threats. Similarly, boys' love stories can portray idyllic romantic situations that lack many of the practical difficulties of real relationships. Kanai warns that while these types of stories are ideal for escapism, they can be harmful if consumed in excess. "It's like drugs or fast food. These works sell well and become great successes because they stimulate the libido of readers, and that is perfectly fine. But, if you consume it all day, every day, then you probably stop thinking, and that's harmful in the long run," he said.

The isekai has 5 years to live, they say

So far, Kanai's predictions about the anime and manga industry seem to be accurate, as 2024 has already seen the release of boys' love titles such as "Tadaima, Okaeri," Studio DEEN's latest addition to its extensive Boys' Love anime lineup. In addition, this year will see the debut of several new and returning isekai anime, including "Arifureta: From Commonplace to World's Strongest," "Re:Zero: Starting Life in Another World," "Quality Assurance in Another World," and "No Longer Allowed in Another World," among others.

While Kanai acknowledges the current state of the market, he believes that the quality of Monthly Afternoon's content benefits from avoiding such trends. "If possible, at Monthly Afternoon we would like to address works that show that we must face reality, as much as we would like to avoid it," he concluded.

Source: Manga Passion