In a recent interview with Real Sound, Nakamura Usagi, the author of the light novel Gokudo-kun Manyuuki, expressed her concerns about the current state of the isekai genre in light novels. She argued that the widespread trend of isekai stories focusing on a protagonist who gains incredible power and forms a harem has become repetitive and lacks originality. However, her comments have sparked a debate on whether the issue lies in the genre’s saturation or the lack of creativity among authors.
When asked about the uniformity of the current light novel landscape, Usagi recalled her experience as a judge for an adult-oriented male novel competition. She noticed that the entries seemed like they were all written by the same person. She believes a similar trend is happening with light novels, particularly in the isekai genre. The formula for isekai stories seems so overused that it often appears as if they’re all written by a single individual, with only character changes to differentiate them.
Usagi’s comments have generated various reactions in online forums. Some argue that the issue is not the isekai or harem tropes themselves, but rather the power fantasy that permeates the genre. They believe that while a “Mary Sue” character can be well-written, most instances result in bland, uninteresting stories with no character growth or development.
Others counter that the oversaturation of the isekai genre will resolve itself over time, as audiences eventually grow tired of the same formula and shift their attention to something new. They also point out that authors have always drawn inspiration from what they’ve seen and read, so the idea of creating something entirely unique may not be as prevalent or possible as Usagi suggests.
Some commenters have highlighted that the tendency to imitate popular trends is not exclusive to the isekai genre or even literature. Examples include the anime and video game industries, where franchises like Fist of the North Star, Mobile Suit Gundam, Sailor Moon, and Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure have been imitated and adapted for years. This observation suggests that the problem may not be with the isekai genre specifically, but rather the broader cultural phenomenon of mimicking successful works.
Conversely, the popularity of the isekai genre, especially in anime, shows no signs of decline. In fact, 1 out of every five anime released on Crunchyroll in 2021 belonged to the isekai genre, indicating its continued growth and appeal.
Nakamura Usagi is the author of the light novel series Gokudou-kun Manyuuki, which was published from 1991 to 1999, spanning 13 volumes. This series later received an anime adaptation, further cementing its success.
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