Perhaps surprisingly, I’ve never really considered this question. I know a popular assumption (fair or not) about people who watch anime is that it’s a form of escapism, but I’ve never needed to use it for that. For me, anime is just enjoyable. But I guess it was always inevitable that eventually I’d have to isekai myself into one of them, so here I go.
If I had to guess, I would wager that the picks for this sort of category would fall into just a few categories:
- People who want fantastical powers and abilities
- People who want to be with their waifu/husbando
- People who want to create an ideal life
The first set would likely pick characters who themselves have been isekai’d. They would want to live in a world where they can level up, gain new abilities, and conquer the bad guys. The problem with this pick is, they are sending themselves into a world filled with actual danger. Considering you would be making it your reality, not only are you crossing the line into fiction, but I would also argue that fiction is crossing into reality. When that happens, plot armor is gone and you’re no longer guaranteed to live, much less succeed (with maybe one exception). I’d rather not throw myself into that kind of danger, thank you very much.
The second set are choosing companionship. Loneliness is a powerful motivator, but it isn’t one of mine. While the ideal romantic interest might be tempting, it feels like it could quickly become this odd, one-sided affair (probably because that’s literally how it’s starting). Stalker level amounts of knowledge won’t practically help you form a real relationship, and I can’t see this truly ending well with one exception: you give up who you are completely.
That love interest of yours likely already has an ideal partner (and it isn’t you). You would have to give up who you are and completely transform into this other person in order to make it work. And that kind of defeats the point.
That last category is where I fall. With this, I can search for something in anime that suits me, rather than trying to make myself suit the anime. I want a normal life with a normal job; I don’t need to be a hero or a prince charming. I simply want to create a home for myself doing work I enjoy while surrounded by friends and loved ones. And I have chosen Mitsuya Majime from The Great Passage.
I’ve already reviewed The Great Passage (you can read about it here), so instead I’ll talk about what appeals to me. And it really all boils down to one single word: teamwork (and passion, comradery, security and legacy…OK five words).
I am a man of few desires. A family, a job where I can work on something meaningful, and a few good friends are all I need to build a home. Success doesn’t have to come easily. Really, I just want to have an important goal I can work towards, and a modern Japanese dictionary sounds just like the right mix of challenging and fulfilling. To accomplish creating a new dictionary, it takes a lot of time (for some, a lifetime) and a strong team. And that’s exactly the sort of team that Majime is apart of. I’m more than a little envious of that kind of an environment.
What about you? Which category do you fall in?