10 non-animated movies you didn’t realize were Isekai


The isekai subgenre of the anime has been popular for years, featuring anime like Overlord, Sword Art Online, Digimon Adventure, The Rising of Shield Hero, and yes even Sonic x. All of these animes have something in common, which of course is that they follow the isekai base of a character transported and trapped in an unknown world.

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Anime isn’t the only medium where this subgenre is important, however. In fact, there are many non-animated films that have taken this premise and used it as well. So if you like isekai anime, you might want to watch these non-animated isekai movies.


The one movie you might not even have thought of in the past decade or so is, in fact, a big budget isekai movie. Spy Kids 3-D: End of the game honestly can be compared to a live-action version of Sword art online featuring characters from the hit movie series spy on children. It all follows the same rhythms, besides being stuck in a video game world.

That of course puts it in the realm of a live isekai movie. It also apparently has some Biblical similarities, but that’s a story for another article and another day.


Now this is a movie you must be familiar with. The 1995 hit starring the late and great Robin Williams is a classic example of isekai anime on the big screen. However, this time the thing that sucks the main characters inside the mysterious new world is a board game.

Much like other isekai of the “trapped inside a game” genre, the only way to escape Jumanji is to complete the game. The series spawned two recent direct sequels where instead of being trapped in a board game, the characters are trapped in a video game.


In the same way The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland is recognized as one of the earliest examples of media based on an isekai (or trapped in another world). Alice in Wonderland has been adapted countless times into films from the original 1865 novel, but none better known than the 1951 Disney animated classic.

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Of course, following the isekai formula, our main character Alice is transported and trapped in Wonderland. A land where things are linked very differently than in reality.


For those of you who don’t know, isekai isn’t exclusive to a character stuck in a different universe or world. As seen in Dr Pierre, the character may be stuck in the same world but at a different time, which is a completely different world from them. This is the case with the film X-Men: Days of Future Past, in which Wolverine, everyone’s favorite mutant, returns to the past to save the future and in turn finds himself stuck in the past.

There are also more isekai movies that follow this concept of time travel.


Back to the future is probably the most popular isekai movie that you haven’t even recognized as an isekai movie. It follows the same concept of time travel as X-Men: Days of Future Past and Dr Pierre follow, with the main character finding himself trapped in a different time than he belongs to.

And yes, that means that Back to the future is a whole trilogy of isekai films. It’s also a trilogy of isekai movies that you should watch if you haven’t seen it yet.


delighted is one of those isekai that we like to call a reverse-isekai. This means that instead of the normal character being transported to a mystical world that is very different from theirs, a mystical character is transported to a more realistic world, much like the one we live in.

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This 2007 Disney movie features animated characters from your usual Disney fairy tale who are sucked into the real world of New York City and bring all of their cartoon magic with them.


This is probably another isekai movie that you never knew was an isekai. Who would even think of connecting the two in the first place? In any event, Space jam is the story of sports star Michael Jordan retired from basketball when he was recruited to lead a team to save a universe parallel to his own.

The game that will be played to decide the fate of this world is basketball. The team he will lead is a team of cartoon characters. More precisely the Looney Tunes, featuring characters like Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.


While the first two films in the iconic horror film series evil Dead were “Trapped in a Haunted House” movies, the third film in the trilogy, Army of Darkness, is a complete change of pace. The comedy has risen to ten, the action is more focused and this time our hero Ash is thrown into another dimension.

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This dimension is full of medieval warriors locked in all-out war with a demonic, supernatural foe called the deadites.


This is another film that falls into the Sword art online domain of isekai films. Tron and its sequel Tron legacy are two of the most breathtaking films of their time (although the original doesn’t quite hold up today). Both of these films feature a cast of characters transported and trapped inside a video / computer game world, then fight to escape while saving that world.

Tron and Tron legacy are two movies that we strongly recommend you to watch if you love isekai anime and want a truly immersive experience that also takes you to a new world.


The movie you sure don’t want to remember, but we’ll remind you anyway. You all know the classic Mario Brothers story. Two plumber brothers from New York work on a drain (or in the case of the film chasing a kidnapper of an interdimensional princess) and fall through a portal to a new world.

Yeah, the movie was damn bad, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Super Mario Bros. is a live, non-animated isekai movie.

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