Stories where the main characters get transported to another world (isekai) remain one of the popular trends in light novels, manga, and anime. With the multitude of works available, there are a variety of forms the main characters take in the world they get transported to. They could become younger than they were in their original world (as in I’ve Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level), becoming a creature of the world they’re transported to (as in That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime or So I’m a Spider, So What?), or even becoming inanimate objects (as in Reincarnated as a Sword or Reborn as a Vending Machine, I Now Wander the Dungeon).

With such a variety, of course, there are also works where the main characters become a different gender from what they used to be in their original world. Two of them, Life with an Ordinary Guy Who Reincarnated into a Total Fantasy Knockout (Fantasy Bishoujo Juuniku Ojisan to, or Fabiniku for short) and She Professed Herself Pupil of the Wiseman (Kenja no Deshi wo Nanoru Kenja, or Kendeshi for short) actually gets anime adaptations that aired in the same season, winter 2022. There are still other isekai with gender bender elements aside from those recently adapted titles, though; many of which have not had anime adaptations. This list compiles some examples of those titles, some of which are from light novels that may have manga adaptations, while some others are created as manga. A couple of titles with earlier anime adaptations are also included.

Tensei Shitara Ore ga Heroine de Aitsu ga Yuusha Datta

© Mizunomoto/Overlap

Media: manga by Mizunomoto.

Keito Azumi is an ordinary high school boy who is reincarnated as a beautiful girl in a different world. But he’s not the only one. His best friend is also reincarnated there, but as the hero!

With a beautiful female main character, a powerful hero/best friend, and defeating the demon king as the main goal, Tensei Shitara Ore ga Heroine de Aitsu ga Yuusha Datta is very similar to Fabiniku. The art is decent and it suits my taste better. Unfortunately, this manga almost has no romantic comedy element. (Cakra Bhirawa, Social Media Team)

Samayoeru Tenseishatachi no Relive Game

© Kenji Saitou · Haruto Hino/Fujimi Shobo

Media: manga by Kenji Saito (story) and Haruto Hino (art).

Manatsu Asai’s marriage proposal gets rejected. When he thinks his day can’t get any worse, a knight in a skull helmet tries to kill him! Fortunately, A beautiful woman comes to his rescue. However, when the woman almost gets killed, Asai saves her and gets himself killed in the process. As he dies, he wishes to be reborn in a world where people won’t judge him for taking care of others.

With great art and good action scenes, Samayoeru Tenseishatachi no Relive Game is recommended for those who are looking for a gender bender isekai story. This manga also contains plenty of fanservice, but the main story is where the manga shines. It is an all-around entertaining manga in every aspect. (Cakra Bhirawa, Social Media Team)

Yasei no Last Boss ga Arawareta!

© Firehead/Tsubasa Hazuki · Earth Star Entertainment

Media: novel by Firehead (story) and YahaKo (art); manga by Tsubasa Hazuki.

The main character is a gamer and a top player in the MMORPG X-Gate Online with his bishoujo character, Ruphas. Having conquered all the other players’ countries, he and the other top players arrange a scenario where a group of heroes lead a rebellion that ends with Ruphas’ downfall. After the defeat, the main character received a mysterious message from the game’s goddess character offering him to try a “new role”. Upon accepting the offer, the main character found himself in the body of Ruphas, having been summoned to the world of the game 200 years after her defeat.

Yasei no Last Boss ga Arawareta! is closer to a shoukan (summoned) style isekai rather than a tensei (reincarnation) one. With no understanding of how he gets summoned to this world as his game character, the main character has to perform the identity of the former supreme ruler of the world while trying to figure out what happened to it. Interestingly, there are detailed memories experienced by the main character when meeting Ruphas’ former followers and acquaintances, which accentuates the dualism between the main character and the body he inhabits.(Halimun Muhammad, The Indonesian Anime Times)

Log Horizon

© Mamare Touno · Kazuhiro Hara/Enterbrain

Media: novel by Mamare Touno (story) and Kazuhiro Hara (art); manga by Kazuhiro Hara; anime by Satelight (1st Season) and Studio Deen (2nd and 3rd Season).

Shiroe is one of the 30,000 players who is trapped inside a game called Elder Tale. To find his way home, he tries to investigate what happened to the game world around him. but he can’t do this alone, so he gathers some players he can trust to form a guild called Log Horizon.

Okay, the main character, Shiroe, is not a gender-bent character. But at least one of the members of Log Horizon Guild, Tetra, is one. Tetra was originally a male player who is trapped in his female character avatar. But unlike Akatsuki, another member of Log Horizon who found her way back to her original gender (with an in-game item that can change a character’s gender), Tetra chooses to stay in her female body. The existence of Tetra and an item that can change a character’s gender makes me wonder, maybe there are other gender-bent characters in the story other than Tetra. (Dany Muhammad, The Indonesian Anime Times)

Youjo Senki: The Saga of Tanya the Evil

© Carlo Zen, KADOKAWA

Media: novel by Carlo Zen (story) and Shinobu Shinotsuki (art); manga by Chika Tojo; anime by NUT.

In modern-day Japan, an atheist and ruthless salaryman has been killed by his ex-subordinate. In the afterlife, the man meets the god. The man openly rejected the god’s existence, saying that if the god exists, then the god won’t let the world become such a miserable place. The god is angered by the man’s opinion and reincarnated him as a little girl named Tanya Degurechaff in a militaristic country during an era of war. At first, Tanya only wants to live a peaceful life, but her magic and combat skill mean she’s also a useful asset to the military.

There’s a lot to discuss when it comes to Youjo Senki: The Saga of Tanya the Evil. Many will say this series shows how the capitalistic nature of our world created a cold, ruthless monster that only values human beings through results. Others will say this series discusses about god and religion, which, if we’re put in Tanya’s situation, must feel like an authoritarian leader who is toying with its power.

When we talk about its gender bender aspect, it’s also interesting and, in a sense, scary. There’s an irony in how some higher-ups are reluctant to put Tanya in the warzone because she’s still a child, but still sent her anyway because she shows results. It shows whether it’s in the everyday situation of the modern world or in wartime, sometimes our humanity is erased when we focus too much on performance and results. There are a lot of people who die, but their death is only treated as a statistic that answers “how to get the best result in the most efficient way possible”. (Dany Muhammad, The Indonesian Anime Times)

Yakuza Reincarnation (Ninkyou Tensei -Isekai no Yakuza Hime-)

© Hiroki Miyashita · Takeshi Natsuhara/Shogakukan

Media: manga by Hiroki Miyashita and Takeshi Natsuhara (original concept).

An old-fashioned fashioned yakuza gets betrayed and fell into an ambush by a gang that has been messing with his turf. He is reincarnated as a young princess in a fantasy world who is escaping a plot to get rid of her. But to the surprise of her retainers, with the yakuza’s own sense of chivalry and a mysterious unusual strength, the princess now dares to take on any threat, be they humans, goblins, or even demons, that come to harm her or her subjects.

One of the more recent isekai work that is first created as a manga rather than a novel with manga adaptation. The main character presents a contrast between the cute looks and the rough old man’s attitude that comes from his previous life. The harshness of the world and the main character’s yakuza approach to surviving in this fantasy world are reinforced by the rough linework of Hiroki Miyashita’s art style. Please be advised, though, that the content of this manga can be pretty violent. (Halimun Muhammad, The Indonesian Anime Times)

The list is continued on the second page

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