Isekai is a subcategory of the manga/webtoon world where the story revolves around a character who has migrated to a different world and must learn to survive in the new world. Isekai romance is an up-and-coming genre that has gained popularity in the webcomic world.
As an avid reader of these types of stories, these are my top seven picks for the best isekai romances for anyone interested in the genre. I will explain why I love these stories and why people should read them.
Death is The Only Ending For The Villainess
Penelope Eckart reincarnated as the adopted daughter of Duke Eckart and the villainess of a reverse harem dating sim. The problem is, she entered the game at its hardest difficulty, and no matter what she does, death awaits her at every ending! Before the “real daughter” of Duke Eckart appears, she must choose one of the male leads and reach a happy ending in order to survive. But the two brothers always pick a fight with her over every little thing, as well as a crazy crown prince, whose routes all lead to death. There’s even a magician who’s enamoured with the female lead, and a loyal slave knight! But somehow, the favourability meters of the male leads increase the more she crosses the line with them! (Source: Manga 1st)
Reason: This is one of the most popular and long-standing webtoons with over 70 chapters to be read, as of November 2021. This webtoon has a rich plotline with complicated twists and surprises. When reading this, you will never know what will happen next. The main protagonist, Penelope, is a strong and decisive character, ready to take charge of her own future. If you enjoy reverse harem, slow-burn romances, and a complex magic system, check out this webtoon.
My Life as an Internet Novel
Every novel has the usual cast: a gorgeous heroine, handsome boys vying for her attention, and a homely best friend at the heroine’s side. Dani, an ordinary student and avid reader of internet novels, is all too familiar with these tropes. But she never imagined that one day she’d wake up at the center of one herself! Her new fictional world is complete with a beautiful best friend named Yeoryung, and four impossibly good-looking boys who all happen to be in her class. Dani is determined to stay out of the way and not get involved in the twists and turns of the plot. But is she really just the sidekick -- or is Dani actually the leading lady? Anything is possible in the world of a novel! (Source: TappyToon)
Reason: If historical fantasy is not your favorite genre, check out this webtoon set in the present day. Dani, the protagonist, finds herself stuck inside a romance novel where she is the best friend of the female lead. This webtoon will have you laughing out loud at the characters. It tackles problems of bullying, identity crisis, and social class. This story is for all those people who struggle with feeling like they are not the main character of their life.
I Swear I Won’t Bother You Again
One noblewoman's attempt to rewrite the past--and avoid her descent into villainy. Succumbing to long-simmering jealousy over her younger sister, noblewoman Violette snaps and does something terrible. As she languishes in prison, something unexpected happens: time is rewound, sending her back to the day she first met her sister! Armed with the memories of her disastrous first go-round, Violette is determined to take the script in a different direction this time.
Reason: Usually in an isekai story, the main character often injects themselves into the story to help the plot along. This manga is different because the main character, Violette tries her best to mind her own business which ends up having the opposite effect. If you want an easy and entertaining isekai about a woman who is trying to escape her horrible future, this manga is for you. There are currently three volumes out now, with a fourth coming in September 2022.
The Remarried Empress
Navier Ellie Trovi was an empress perfect in every way -- intelligent, courageous, and socially adept. She was kind to her subjects and devoted to her husband. Navier was perfectly content to live the rest of her days as the wise empress of the Eastern Empire. That is, until her husband brought home a mistress and demanded a divorce. “I accept this divorce…And I request an approval of my remarriage.” In a shocking twist, Navier remarries another emperor and retains her title and childhood dream as empress. But just how did everything unfold? (Source: Line Webtoon)
Reason: If you like a more mature isekai romance, The Remarried Empress is the one for you. This webtoon tackles themes of infidelity, feminism, and social class. It has a rich, complex history and immense world-building. I enjoyed the webtoon because it is a lot darker than typical light-hearted isekai romances. If you are feeling adventurous, check out The Remarried Empress. (It is also free on Line Webtoon!)
Link: Line Webtoon
My Red String of Fate
After getting pulled into a novel, Leann lives her life as a priestess in a temple, while healing people who are tangled up in red strings. The red string is a death flag that slowly ruins the body and brings you closer to death. And other than the main protagonist, Leann is the only one who can see and remove them. But when she heals an injured man on the street, the red string of fate connects the two of them together, and there is no way of removing it! To make matters worse, the man she is connected to happens to be the worst villain in the novel, Abell! Can she escape from him and live a peaceful life without hindering the original story of the novel? (Source: TappyToon)
Reason: The Red String of Fate has a unique world, with magic, mythical creatures, gods, and goddesses. It follows Leann, who finds herself in a new world with the ability to heal people because she can see their red strings. She finds that her red string of fate is also tied to the grim reaper. If you like a webtoon that will keep you hooked, check this one out!
Caught by the Villain
Although she had been a promising practitioner of kendo in the past, due to an accident she was forced to lead a plain life. After Seo Yuri gets into a car accident during a trip back home, she reincarnates into the novel, “The Song of the Moon,” and becomes the elder twin sister of a side character who meets a destructive ending-Selena. Selena hopes to prevent the destruction of her family, however, she is forced to take the place of her runaway brother, Celestine, in the knights’ squadron! Will she be able to avoid the villainous Crown Prince, Ignis, and survive? (Source: ManhuaChill)
Reason: This webtoon has one of the strongest female leads you will ever find. Selena must pretend to be her twin brother and assume the position of a guard for the emperor. She is headstrong and intelligent, who fights her own battles. If you like powerful characters and interesting romance, check this webtoon out.
My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!
Catarina Claes, the young daughter of a noble family, one day bumps her head and regains memories of her past life as an otaku. It is then that she realizes she has been reborn into the world of the otome game Fortune Lover as the game's villainess who, regardless of what route the player took in the original game, is doomed to be either exiled or killed. In order to avoid these routes that lead to doom, Catarina begins taking countermeasures. This, however, ends up having unexpected consequences on her relations with the other characters of the game's world. (Source: Wikipedia)
Reason: I could not complete this list without including the isekai romance that sparked my interest in the genre. This manga is widely popular and has even been adapted into an anime. This manga series is easy-to-read and follows the protagonist from a young age, who has just been reincarnated into the villainess of the book. This manga will make you laugh-out-loud at the way she chooses to avoid being a villainess. Along the way, she captures the attention of the side characters and ends up the hero of her story. This is a finished series so if you want a completed read, check this one out. If you do not want to read, you can also watch the anime that is already out!
Link: Seven Seas Entertainment
Hopefully, this list helps you find a starting point in isekai romances. This is not an exhaustive list of all the stories, but it should be a good start. I hope you enjoy the genre and the stories as much as I do. If you want to talk about these stories or add your own, please leave a comment below!