Trope Workshop:Alternate Realm Boon

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Protagonists in Isekai fiction frequently receive some manner of special advantage over the inhabitants of the world in which they find themselves. Often it is key to their intended role during their sojourn in that world. It could be (but certainly isn't limited to) any of the following:

  • A specialized skill or class in a world that operates by RPG rules.
  • The unexpected ability to use the setting's Functional Magic. When such characters are not simply more powerful than the locals, they will frequently have more than a rudimentary grasp of the scientific method, math, and physics, and can combine them all into some manner of Post-Modern Magik or Magitek that surpasses (or bypasses) what the setting's greatest practitioners are capable of.
  • A legendary weapon or artifact limited or destined (or both) for use by The Chosen One.
  • Rebirth or reincarnation into some stronger form – often a "monster" or other non-human creature – upon or shortly after arrival.
    • One sub-variety has only the traveller's soul or mind sent into the new world, where it is given an entirely new body complete with special powers or abilities.
  • A flat-out super power such as Super Strength or Invisibility, possibly with a limitation of some sort.
  • Being assigned to or assisted by a supernatural entity that works under RPG rules and which can dispense boons at the command of the character, including, but not limited to, any of the above. A common version that appears mostly in Chinese works is the "system", a Mission Control (either voice-only, hologram-like, or artificial lifeform) assigned by a supernatural organization engaged in the improvement of perceived flaws in other works of fiction or in parallel universes, and which keeps a tally on how well the character uses the boons given. Note that this option often comes with the limitation that, if the character falls short of the system's expectations, it will "terminate the experience of the customer".

How this happens varies wildly by setting – it may be anything from an "entry requirement" automatically imposed upon visitors to the setting by its natural laws or environmental conditions, to a deliberate alteration or augmentation by a deity who likes to mess with travellers coming upon its personal demesne. Regardless, it is likely to be permanent barring extraordinary circumstances, and it is virtually certain to make its recipient stand out in the eyes of the local inhabitants.

While this trope is more common in Eastern works than Western ones (and is frequently seen as an Eastern trope), it is far from rare in the West, as the examples below will demonstrate.

Examples of Alternate Realm Boon include:

Anime and Manga

  • Enforced and downplayed in Arifureta: From Commonplace to World's Strongest, where a group of students with their homeroom teacher is transported to another world, getting combat jobs and magic. Hajime, the bullied main protagonist, gets stuck with only the rare but non-combat job Synergist with the skill "Transmute".
  • The Rising of the Shield Hero has four people from different worlds summoned to a kingdom named Melomarc in a fantasy world filled with monsters and other races besides humans. The four are summoned with one of the Four Legendary Weapons – a sword, a spear, a bow, and a shield – which grant their users different abilities while also having different forms unlocked.
  • Re: Monster has the main character, Tomokui Kanata, reincarnated into a goblin named Rou. He keeps his memorie, and gets the Esper ability "Absorption" (which allows him to eat anything, living or inorganic, no matter how hard or toxic).
  • Wise Man's Grandson‍'‍s main character was a salaryman who is hit by a truck and reincarnated into a fantasy world as Shin Wolford. Shin was found as an orphaned newborn who survived a Demon Beast's attack and was adopted by the Wise Man, Merlin. Shin later recalls vague memories of his modern-day life while also being taught advanced magic, which allows him to combine wizardry with modern science to explosive effects, figuratively and literally.
  • The protagonist of Knight's & Magic, Ernesti Kurata, was a genius programmer and mecha otaku while alive on Earth. He is reincarnated as a boy into a world where magic and Silhouette Knights (mecha powered by magic) exist. He realizes that magic is like computer programming and applies his skills to use high-level magic at an early age by reprogramming his own internal Magic Circuit with subroutines, bringing innovation to the Silhouette Knights.
  • Parodied in Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku o!, where a shut-in NEET, Kazuma Sato, dies from shock after mistaking a tractor for a truck while trying to save a girl. He is offered by the goddess Aqua the opportunity to reincarnate into an RPG-like world under siege by the Demon Lord along with a "cheat" to use in the new world. In a fit of anger, Kazuma chooses Aqua, who has spent the whole time mocking him, as his bonus, but Aqua doesn't give much help due to her drinking problem and choosing party tricks over magic.
  • Konjiki no Word Master has five teenagers summoned to another world and given unique magic and powers, but only four of them are titled as the heroes who are transported to save the kingdom. The fifth is the main character, Hiiro Okamura, who is titled "Innocent Bystander"; he can use the unique Word Magic to draw Kanji on things, applying the meaning of the words as effects on the items.
  • World Strongest Rearguard: Labyrinth Country and Dungeon Seekers has Arihito Atobe reborn as a Seeker in a world called Labyrinth Country. After getting his Seeker's License, he chooses the Rearguard job that allows him to act as support for his party by guarding against damage, increasing their attack, and recovering from injury automatically.
  • Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody has Suzuki Ichiro, a 30-year-old programmer who died from exhaustion and was reincarnated into another world in a younger body. After calling a game window in front of him, he realizes that he was given the name 'Satou' along with the three-use power "Meteor Shower". Satou is attacked by an army of lizardmen, uses up all of his Meteor Showers against the battalion, and levels up to 310.
  • So I'm a Spider, So What? has an entire classroom, including the main girl, mysteriously die from a magical phenomenon but then be reincarnated into another world. She is reborn as a nameless spider monster with her past-life memories. Eventually, it's revealed that people who reincarnate into the other world gets the skill "n%I=W." This ability transfers their earlier life's fortes, memories, and soul. Without it, the person would be an average being with no powers or unable to interact with the System in the new world. It can translate the messages from the Divine Voice and screens into Japanese while also giving a small bonus to how fast skills are acquired and stats increase. It also recovers the person's HP, MP, and SP when they level up.
  • Deconstructed in Re: Zero, where the protagonist, Subaru Natsuki, gains an ability he calls Return By Death after being transported to a fantasy world. He can return to a previous time after dying. Different limitations prevent him from telling anyone about this power. Other than that, he is an average human with no other supernatural abilities.
  • That Time I Got Reincarnated as A Slime‍'‍s protagonist Satoru Minami reincarnates after getting killed by defending his subordinate from getting stabbed... but he reincarnates as a slime, the lowest type of monster possible. Since he died a virgin, however, he gained the Unique Skill of Great Sage along with Predator, and other skills such as immunity from pain and resistance to electricity and heat.
    • Turns out that, in that 'verse, people who come from other worlds are so common, the locals have terms for them depending of their circumstances. Strays are Otherworlders that come to the world by coincidence. Reincarnated are people who have died and reincarnated into the other world like the main character. Summoned are those who are transported to the world by a magic ritual. Otherworlders tend to have at least one Unique Skill based on their mental state, but those with weaker minds gain none.
  • The main character of In Another World with My Smartphone, Touya Mochizuki, is accidentally killed by God and reincarnated into another world. He is granted a body with superhuman abilities and affinities to all seven magical elements. He also gifted a smart phone that charges with magic power and can use Earth's internet.
  • Overlord has the protagonist, Suzuki Satoru, being transported to the New World while still logged on the last seconds of the MMO "Yggdrasil". The man is now his Yggdrasil max-levelled Overlord character with high-class equipment and a plethora of spells, Momonga, along with the guild headquarters and all the loyal NPC subordinates.
  • Isekai Cheat Magician has the two protagonists, Taichi and Rin, who are summoned to the new world and gain magical powers. Taichi is gifted with a massive amount of magic power, which can give him superhuman physical abilities. Rin also has a reservoir of magic power while also showing affinities for earth, wind, fire, and water magic. She does show a lower capability than Taichi but uses her knowledge of physics to enhance her magic.
  • Reincarnated as a Sword has a 30-year old salaryman killed by a driver who was texting while driving reincarnated into a living sword named Master in an RPG fantasy world. He can gain new skills and improved stats by slicing the magic crystals of monsters, while those who wield Master gain his stats and skills. He also has his Mana Conductivity ranked at A, which means his overall power increases by 200% when he is coated with mana.
  • Fushigi Yūgi: Every girl who is summoned into the world inside the book The Universe of the Four Gods is given three wishes -- but they are required to be Selfless Wishes.
  • Played with in Saga of Tanya the Evil: an HR manager dies by being pushed into a train by a former employee where he encounters a god-like being he dubs as Being X. After a conversation on faith in deities that goes south due to the protagonist's staunch atheism, Being X reincarnates him into another world going through a war. He is reborn as a girl named Tanya with a high aptitude for magic in an imperialistic country that is surrounded by hostile neighbors along with magic involved in warfare. Due to her magical talent, she then becomes a candidate for the Empire's Imperial Armed Forces.
  • In The New Gate, Shin managed to defeat the last boss of a VRMMO, The New Gate, a game that trapped people where if they die in the game; they die in reality. Before he could log out, he is forcefully sent through a gate and finds himself in an actual fantasy world similar to the game. Shin then learns the titles he gained after beating the game that gives him various overpowered bonuses.
  • The Ends from Drifters are historical figures from various points in Earth's history that are brought to the fantasy world. They are people who suffered trauma from events in their lives and have become mentally warped and have unique supernatural abilities related to their history.
    • Averted for the titular Drifters, who are normal humans but share the trait of acting on their ideals and goals along with being badass.
  • Tagami Yuseki, from World Customize Creator, is summoned to another world by the Evil God and granted a Divine Art. Divine Arts are superpowers a person received from a god, and the power he receives allows him to customize any objects' attributes where he can even grant powers to them.
  • The Familiar of Zero has the male protagonist, Saito, being summoned, into another world as a familiar for a female mage, Louise. He gains the magical ability to use any weapon with great skill, from a simple broadsword to a fighter aircraft.
  • Played with in Magic Knight Rayearth where the three of the girls are summoned to Cephiro. They have their magic unlocked and are granted them magical armor, but that was done almost as soon as they arrived by a powerful mage.
  • Tensei Shitara Dragon no Tamago Datta - Saikyou Igai Mezasa Nee has the main protagonist reincarnated as a barely unhatched dragon egg with exclusive skills. One skill is "Walking Egg" that gives more experience points from any monster he kills.
  • Parodied in Didn't I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?!: the main character, Misato Kurihara, was a girl prodigy who was isolated due to her talent, that gets killed when she saved a girl from a truck. Her spirit meets with a deity who gives her a chance to reincarnate into a fantasy world with any power she desires. Misato then asks to have average abilities. She is reincarnated as a noble girl named Meine, but to her horror she is is now 6,800 times physically and magically more than the average human due to the god taken in the average of all living creatures in the world.
  • How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord has Takuma Sakamoto, the top player in the MMO, Cross Reverie. He is transported into another world by two girl and turned into his in-game character level 150 Diablo. Takuma was supposed to become their slave, but the slavery part gets reflected onto them due to his ring that reflects magic. Diablo brings along his high-level abilities, high-class magic from different elements, and even his high-level equipment.
  • Misumi Makoto, from Tsuki ga Michibiku Isekai Douchuu, is summoned to another world by Tsukiyomi, the Moon Kami, because of his parents' contract to live on Earth. He is granted powers by the Moon Kami, which Makoto calls Realm. The goddess of this other world gives him the ability to understand the language. There is also how lthe lighter gravity of the different world makes him faster and more robust than the inhabitants.
  • In the manhwa Dorothy of Oz, Mara Shin came to Oz when she was a child and came home with a glove with a Z in an O emblem on it. After a few years, she returns to Oz as a teen with her dog, Toto. The glove is actually the magic staff, Thyrsos, which is the same weapon used by the Wizard of Oz. Mara also obtains magic boots from the Witch of the East that transforms her outfit to resemble a witch and gives her magic powers.
  • Monster no Goshujin-sama has an entire class of high school students somehow transported to another world with their own 'cheat abilities'. The main protagonist, Takahiro, didn't seem to have one until meeting a slime revealed that his ability is taming monsters.
  • The Chinese comic Soul Land has the protagonist, Tang San, an assassin trained under the Tang Sect, who commits suicide after learning about the sect's secret knowledge, and knowing he committed a crime is then reincarnated into a world called Soul Land. He later learns that he carries two Spirits when a person would have one (the first Spirit comes in the form of a blade of grass, and the other Spirit is the Clear Sky Hammer, a Legendary Tool Spirit), and that he also is a Spirit Master capable of cultivating Soul Power, which is used to make a Spirit stronger.
  • All the three students and their teacher who are transported to the land of El-Hazard in El-Hazard: The Magnificent World gain a unique ability. The teacher, Mr. Fujisawa, gains Super Strength in proportion to how little alcohol and nicotine he has ingested. Jinnai can communicate with the Bugrom. Nanami effortlessly pierces the illusion powers of the Phantom Tribe. Makoto can activate the Lost Technology of ancient El-Hazard with a touch.
  • Isekai de Saikyou no Tsue ni Tensei shita Ore ga Iyagaru Shoujo wo Muriyari Mahou Shoujo ni P suru!: Niimi Neiji is reincarnated into a magic staff and granted the skill of 'Omnipotence'. The problem is he doesn't know how to use it due to not being taught how to use it correctly. Neiji can still use 'Omnipotence' to some success despite lacking the proper knowledge while being used as a weapon.
  • Gacha wo Mawashite Nakama wo Fuyasu Saikyou no Bishoujo Gundan wo Tsukuriagero has Heihachi Okura transported to a fantasy world with his smart phone with the app Girls Corp installed. That app can call items, food, and even girls to join his party. Girls Corp also has a gacha to get more girls and equipment as long as he has enough magic crystals from hunted monsters.
  • Enforced and played pith in The Death Mage Who Doesn't Want a Fourth Time where the unlucky main character, Hiroto Amamiya and his classmates die after their ship capsizes. Every student are gifted a new life in another world along with extraordinary powers and luck from the god, Rodcorte, except for Hiroto. This misfortune happened due to the god mistaking him for another young man named Hiroto Amemiya, but the deity realizes his mistake and reincarnates Hiroto with higher mana and the exclusive ability to use Death magic... but he still has bad luck.
  • Iori Yagami is given the boon of reading his enemies' command inputs when he's sent to the fantasy world in King of Fantasy, effectively making him an SNK Boss.
  • Kiba‍'‍ main character, Zed, who lived in the mundane world of Calm( where advanced technology is common in its urban sprawl) and was on the run from the police, finds a portal to the magical land of Templer while being attacked by a Tuskan warrior. There he learns that he has one of six Key Spirits, Amir Gaoul, which is the strongest out of the six Spirits. Amir Gaoul has different weapons at his disposal, along with the power over the wind.
  • The titular uncle from Isekai Ojisan, soon after being magically transported to another world is magically given the ability of understand and speak the local language, which also allows him to immediately learn how to use magic due to the magic system only works if you can understand the language. Unfortunately, he was also an otaku of Sega games with No Social Skills and extreme Genre Blindness (due to the world working on modern Isekai tropes while he was more accustomed to his -then contemporary- tropes from 1990s games) on top of being ugly for the local standards (him being confused for an orc and hunted down for it being a running gag), which means that his magic abilities and understanding of the local language are not as helpful for him as it could seem at a first glance.

Film

  • In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy Gale lands in Oz when the house that she crashed on the Wicked Witch of the East and her Ruby Slippers appears on Dorothy's feet. One can take the pair of shoes when the wearer dies, and cannot be touched except by the owner lest they get shocked. Later in the movie, Glinda reveals the slippers can be used to take the wearer anywhere by clicking the heels three times while wishing to where they want to go.

Literature

  • In John Carter of Mars, the titular character travels to Mars by having his soul teleport through space and gains a new body on Mars. Due to the lower gravity, he gains superhuman agility and strength.
  • Everworld, where the teens can bring modern technology and knowledge to Everworld. These items give them advantages such as trading a recipe for gunpowder or using conventional weaponry. The teenager protagonists also have the unusual attribute that they don't go crazy, unlike most others who go to Everworld.
  • In The Scum Villain Self-saving System, the protagonist Shen Yuan died while cursing the web novel he was reading, Proud Immortal Demon Way, because of its plot-hole filled narrative and terrible ending. He is then transmigrated into Shen Quinquiu, the antagonist of the aforementioned web novel, and acquired all of the latter's cultivation powers. He also has access to the titular system, where he can earn and use points to improve the plot of the story.
  • In the Chinese web novel Release That Witch! and its web manhua adaptation, the protagonist is a civil engineer that dies after overworking himself and becomes transmigrated into the body of Roland, a prince in a medieval fantasy world. Due to his past knowledge, Roland brings innovation and upgrade the available technology by incorporating "Witches" (who are women prosecuted for their magical powers) into his plans.
  • In the Chinese Romance web novel, Transmigrator Meets Reincarnator, the heroine is transmigrated into the world of a novel set in an ancient dynasty and finds herself married to a man from a powerful family that was wronged by the character she is now inhabiting. She was an entrepreneur and amateur chef that finds herself in a more primitive world where her cooking and entrepreneurial skills win the people over with her delicious (modern) dishes thus allowing her to create a profitable business, along with navigating her path through knowledge of the novel to avoid any possible pitfalls.
  • In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Dorothy Gale is sent to Oz thanks to a tornado and farmhouse falling on the Wicked Wick of the East. She is given the Sliver Shoes as a gift by the Munchkins. Later, Glinda reveals that the shoes can take the user anywhere when the heels are clicked three times. They are implied to have other powers besides magical transportation. She also briefly gains ownership of a magic cap that commands the Flying Monkeys.
  • Reborn as a Vending Machine, I Now Wander the Dungeon has the main character reincarnated into a living vending machine in a fantasy world, where he needs assistance being moved. He can give out items as long as he is inserted with money. He can also use the profit from any products sold for upgrades from a broader selection to functions not included in ordinary vending machines.
  • In The Sleeping Dragon, the first book of Joel Rosenberg's The Guardians of the Flame series, the story has a group of gamers playing a Dungeons & Dragons-like game and is sent into the world of the game's setting. They become their characters' classes and also have access to their skills by a game master who was more than he seemed.

Oral Tradition, Folklore, Myths and Legends

Video Games

  • In Fantastic Boyfriends: Legends of Midearth, a young man is summoned to another world through a phone app. He then learns that he is the legendary hero that is the only one that can wield the sword that is the only weapon that can defeat the Demon Lord.
  • Tokyo Afternoon Summoners takes place in an alternate Tokyo where people from 23 different worlds are summoned due to an app and are called Transients. Each Transient has a Role and is summoned with a Sacred Artifact that gives a Rule to their respective wielder. A Rule is a power that correlates to the Role of a Transient. An example would be a person assigned the Role of Fighter, and their Rule is Infinity.
  • From Persona 3 onwards, most of the cast have powers that only work in the alternative realms of the Dark Hour/Midnight Channel/Metaverse. Those worlds can bleed into our own, but typically those powers only work when one is fully within the alternate realms, not our reality. There are exceptions, but those tend to be people who have the rare ability to manifest at will in both realms, which the playable cast usually cannot do.
  • In Magi-Nation, Tony falls through a chasm into another world called the Moonlands with a crystal that holds a horned bear-like creature named Furok, actually an organism called a Dream Creature. Tony is then found by a man named Orwin, who acts as a guardian for the region, and trains Tony as a Magi due to summoning a Dream Creature through pure Animite which was thought impossible.

Web Comics

  • The webtoon I am the Sorcerer King has the protagonist, Lee Sunghoon, awaken to his past memories and magic due to being the reincarnation of The Great Sorcerer, Kurataurus, who is from another world. This event happened when he was attacked by a monster and become one of the Awakened, which connects him to the Akasha system. The Awakened are people who gain a superpower and become connected to the Akasha System, along with being tasked to fight monsters that come from portals.
  • Initially averted in My Wife is the Demon Queen where Xiang Ye is summoned to another world due to a ring he bought from a street vendor. He was summoned as the husband of the Demon Queen, Isabella Osa. Soon, it is shown that he can't wield Boundary Force, which means he can't use magic or other arts related to Boundary Force. Subverted later, where he learns of the art of Forging, which uses magic stones embedded into a pen and brings to life any drawing made using it. Xiang Ye uses his talent with drawing and his knowledge of technology and science to bring innovation to the craft.
  • In the webcomic Goddess Creation System, the main character, Xiaxi, was a bullied female otaku who who commits suicide after she is doxxed online and revealed to be nothing like the goddess-like MMO player character she was famous as. Xiaxi then awakens in a fantasy world that resembles ancient China with the titular system that gives her missions to make powerful men fall in love with her. The system also assists Xiaxi with other functions as an entire dimension for exercise, miraculous beauty products, and accesses to any knowledge she needs to learn. Eventually, after having earn the love of the local Emperor, the system opens her to the rest of the fantasy world, which includes western-like kingdoms and supernatural entities to "romance".
  • In the web manhua Cheating Men Must Die, Su Luxia, the main character, is a shrewish woman from a futuristic world whose job is being a quick reincarnator that takes over 'secondary female characters' who have been wronged. Su Luxia posses these women's bodies while getting revenge on those who have wrong them while also fulfilling their last wishes, being assisted on these endeavours by a system that usually adopts the form of a bamboo rat that can give her various items for her mission. It's eventually revealed that Su Luxia used to be a secondary female character herself before being extracted from her original world and recruited by the organization she now works for.

Western Animation

  • In Dungeons and Dragons, a group of teenagers are gifted with magical equipment and character classes by the Dungeon Master to survive in this fantasy realm. Volger, the Big Bad of the series, wishes to use their equipment to bolster his magic powers.
  • In Magi-Nation, Tony Jones is transported to the Moonlands in hopes of summoning the Final Dreamer. He was summoned with a ring passed down from his grandfather which actually contains the Animite for the Dream Creature, Furok.
  • Averted in Amphibia where three Earth girls, Anne, Sasha, and Marcy were transported into the titular land through a magic music box. They are normal humans that don't gain anything special or bring much that helps in them having advantages.
  • Averted in The Owl House where a teenage girl named Luz finds a portal to a magical dimension called the Demon Realm. Magic is abundant in this realm, but humans lack the sac of magic that Witches are born with that allows the use of magic.Later subverted, when Luz uses her phone to reveal a glyph in a Spell Circle. By copying these glyphs, she can create a Spell Circle, thus can use magic in a way a human can.
  • In Captain N: The Game Master, Kevin Keen is summoned from the real world to Videoland by the Ultimate Warp Zone. He is the legendary Game Master known as Captain N that serves as a warrior to defend the Videoland. Kevin is helped by his knloedge about Nintendo video games along with the Power Pad and the NES Zapper he obtains.

Other Media