If you are not familiar with the world of anime and read the title, you are surely wondering the following what does isekai mean? It is a subgenre of Japanese fantasy that is very popular in light novels, anime, manga, and video games. It’s basically that country’s equivalent of portal fantasy; that is to say, works, such as The Chronicles of Narnia or The Wizard of Oz, in which the protagonist or protagonists are sent to a fantasy world, usually to save them from some threat. Classic examples of the genre are Magic Knight Rayearth (The magical warriors), The vision of Escaflowne, Fushigi yugi, The twelve kingdoms, Inuyasha and Spirited Away – 97%. A more recent example is the movie Children Who Chase Lost Voicesby Makoto Shinkai.
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Surely you are wondering what does that have to do with taking your own life? What happens is that in modern times this genre has become synonymous with reincarnation. In many modern anime the way to travel to another world is to die. Many of them begin with the protagonist dying and reincarnating in another world where he has a new opportunity in life. In many of these they reincarnate being much more powerful than average people and therefore can have a better life than on Earth. The culprit for the popularity of this commonplace is believed to be the light novel series Jobless Reincarnation: I Will Seriously Try If I Go to Another World. This series is about a man without profession or benefit who, when he is run over, reincarnates in a fantasy world with his memories intact and tries to have a life without regrets.
In these animes the characters do not necessarily reincarnate in the same genus or species (That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime or So I’m a Spider, So What?) nor does he have to be the good guy in the story (The Saga of Tanya the Evil), nor be competent (KonoSuba!) or have an epic adventure (Ascendance of a Bookworm). The reality is that it is such a popular genre that it has had all kinds of variations, but what has remained stable is the idea of reincarnation.
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Just this has caused controversy in Russia. A court in St. Petersburg has decided to temporarily ban some anime that in their opinion irresponsibly show the concept of reincarnation. The forbidden anime are KonoSuba! Y That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime. They were removed from portals that did not put warnings about their content. The legislators of that country consider that this type of anime can promote suicide because:
[Muestran] that after you die you can have a more complete and interesting life free from parental control.
Taking into account that both are just a couple of examples, among dozens of others, it is very possible that other anime of the genre will be withdrawn since they also promote the idea that you can do better if you die and reincarnate in a fantasy world.
It is true that there are anime of this genre whose premise is fundamentally based on the idea that the protagonist will have a fuller and happier life in another world after dying. An example is Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life ?! In that anime the protagonist reincarnates with the intention of having friends, unlike the lonely life she had in Japan. In general, many of these animes seem to be reactions to the sociability problems that some people experience in that country.
That said, KonoSuba! It is not the best example because it is a comic anime where the protagonist reincarnates in a world where all kinds of absurd and perverse things happen to him that I don’t think someone would die for living … Besides, not in all anime of this type the protagonist reincarnates in a peaceful life. On The Saga of Tanya the Evil Y So I’m a Spider, So What? the protagonists reincarnate in unflattering and infernal situations.
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