There is not a doubt in my mind that the isekai genre is totally over-saturated at this point. Every season there are one or more coming out. However, like the Slime anime this season, every once in a while one comes along and proves you can still have a good show in the genre. One such show is Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash, or Hai to Gensou no Grimgar.
Grimgar is a fantasy story where a group of teenagers suddenly awaken in a new world, with no recollection of how they got there. They are informed that they could become volunteer soldiers and fight monsters to make money, which included a nice lump sum to start, or try something else and risk starving. Obviously, they all chose the cash. At this point, the group splits into two parties. Renji, by far the strongest looking of the group, takes all the ones he deems strong enough, and leaves. That leaves the "leftovers": Haru, Manato, Yume, Shihoru, Moguzo, and Ranta.
The story follows this group of leftovers, mostly from Haru's perspective, as they attempt to survive in this new world. They quickly realize that it is difficult to make money, as hunting monsters quite literally means killing another intelligent creature. They also realize that the training they received at their perspective guilds doesn't easily transfer over to reality. Haru and the group must deal with the struggles of just surviving, as well as coming to terms that they have to fight and kill creatures to make money.
Grimgar shows the gritty side of the fantasy world. They don't just go out and hunt mobs to level up. The story focuses on the morality of the situation. For instance, goblins. The group has to steel themselves of the dying cries as the murder an intelligent creature. I love this aspect of the show, since it shows what it'd actually be like if the "fantasy" world was a reality. The enemies don't just burst into bubbles either, they have to cut off the valuable parts of the enemy.
The story also shows their daily life, and the struggle that comes with it. It focuses on their financial situation, or lack thereof. They have to take care of their equipment, wash their clothes daily, and skimp on food since they can't afford it. A day without a kill means a day without money, which is never a good thing. They also have to somehow gather information about monsters and their movements. The show also does a great job about showing the pub scene and how information via word of mouth can prove valuable.
There is also a sense of mortality in the show. You never know when a character will meet their end. Every fight it is 50/50 whether or not someone gets injured, or even worse. You constantly worry about the group, as they try to improve themselves, but also just try to survive the encounters.
As of right now, I'm through book eight of the series. The anime only covered the first two books, and doesn't seem to be continuing any time soon. The one complaint I would have about this series would be the development. The anime does a great job of showing them slowly progress, but the light novel likes to go back and forth. They do good, something bad happens, and they relapse. It's nice for character building, but at some point I just wish the characters would push over the threshold.
If you haven't seen the anime; it's on Funimation. The dub is okay. Major complaint is Ranta's voice actor changes mid-show, which will throw you off.
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