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) one 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 to and/or destined 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 subvariety has only the traveler's soul or mind sent on to the new world, where it is given an entirely new body complete with special powers or abilities.
- A flat-out super power like Super Strength or Invisibility.
- 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. 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 travelers coming upon its personal demesne. Regardless, it is likely to be permanent barring extraordinary circumstances, and it is virtually certain to make its recipient(s) 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.
- 1 Advertising
- 2 Anime and Manga
- 3 Comic Books
- 4 Fan Works
- 5 Film
- 6 Literature
- 7 Live-Action TV
- 8 Music
- 9 New Media
- 10 Newspaper Comics
- 11 Oral Tradition, Folklore, Myths and Legends
- 12 Pinball
- 13 Podcasts
- 14 Professional Wrestling
- 15 Puppet Shows
- 16 Radio
- 17 Recorded and Stand Up Comedy
- 18 Tabletop Games
- 19 Theatre
- 20 Video Games
- 21 Visual Novels
- 22 Web Animation
- 23 Web Comics
- 24 Web Original
- 25 Western Animation
- 26 Other Media
- 27 Real Life
- Enforced and downplayed in Arifureta: From Commonplace to World's Strongest, where a class of students and their teacher are transported to another world where they get jobs and magic. One base skill they all have in common is Language Comprehension that allows the summoned people to understand any language. Hajime, the main protagonist, gets stuck with the rare job of Synergist, a non-combat one with the skill, Transmute, that allows him to alter materials into whatever shape he desires. Hajime is considered the weakest out of the class due to his lack of prowess in combat and no skills that can be used offensively.
- The Rising of the Shield Hero has four people from different worlds summoned with one of the Four Legendary Weapons. The Four Legendary Weapon comes in the form of a sword, a spear, a bow, and a shield. The weapons grant their users different abilities while also having different forms under certain conditions and absorbing materials. The protagonist’s Legendary Shield gives him a high amount of defense but lacks offensive capabilities like the others.
- Re: Monster has the main character, Tomokui Kanata, reincarnates into a goblin named Rou. He kept his memories, and his Esper ability called Absorption. This ability allows him to eat anything from a living creature to material no matter how hard or toxic. The strength of the ability or abilities gained depends on the condition of the item eaten.
- Wise Man's Grandson's main character was a salaryman who gets hit by a truck and gets 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. After growing up in 8 years, he can recall vague memories of his life in modern-day Japan. He is taught to control his magic power and use magic without chants from Merlin. He also learned about Enhancement magic from the Guru, Melinda. Shin also combines magic with the knowledge of modern science and the Japanese language for powerful effects along with new forms of magic; for example, Shin was able to apply the process of combustion to create an explosion that can destroy a mountain. There is also the use of Enhancement magic to modify clothes, weapons, and accessories better than Guru Melinda. This application is made by using Kanji instead of the alphabet used in the world, which can give more options for customization.
- The protagonist of Knight’s and Magic, Ernesti Kurata, was a genius programmer and mecha otaku while on Earth. He is reincarnated into a world where magic and mecha powered by magic called Silhouette Knights exist. He realizes that magic is like computer programming. Ernersti applies this to use high-level magic at an early age by reprogramming his own internal Magic Circuit with subroutines. He also uses his programming knowledge to reprogram and improve the Magius Engine of a Silhouette Knight. There are also other inventions he has developed, such as a wand that can be used for close combat and improvements to the magical mecha.
- 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 a world which is RPG-like and under siege by the Demon Lord. Along with reincarnating, he is then offered a "cheat" to use in the new world. Kazuma then chooses Aqua, who has spent the whole time mocking him, as his bonus. Another goddess recognizes it as official; then the two are teleported to this new world.
- Konjiki no Word Master has five teenagers summoned, but only four of them are titled as the heroes who are summoned to save the kingdom. Each hero has their advantages, like affinities for all elements of magic or physically stronger. The fifth is the main character with the title, Innocent Bystander, but he can use the unique Word Magic. The magic allows him to draw Kanji and apply the meaning of it as an effect.
- World Strongest Rearguard: Labyrinth Country and Dungeon Seekers have a man named Arihito Atobe is reborn as a Seeker in the 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 reducing damage, increase their attack, and recover from damage automatically.
- Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody has Suzuki Ichiro, a 30-year-old programmer that died from exhaustion and ended up reincarnated into a younger body. After seeing a game screen, he realizes that he was given the name Satou along with the three use power, "Meteor Shower". He then gets attacked by an army of lizardmen then uses up all of his Meteor Showers against the battalion and level up to 310.
- So I'm a Spider, So What? has an entire classroom mysteriously die but then are reincarnated, including the main character into another world. The protagonist is reborn as a spider monster, along with her past life memories. There is also how people who reincarnate into the world gets the skill n%I=W. The skill transfers their previous life’s fortes, memories, and soul. Without it, the person would be a normal being with no skills 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 can be acquired and stats increases. It also recovers the person's HP, MP, and SP when they level up.
- Deconstructed in Re: Zero, where the protagonist, Subaru Natsuki, has the ability he calls Return By Death after being transported to a fantasy world. He can return to a previous time after death. There are different limitation that prevents 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 has Satoru Minami reincarnate after getting killed by defending his subordinate from getting stabbed. Due to how he died a virgin, he gained the Unique Skill of Great Sage along with Predator and other skills such as immunity from pain, and resistance from electricity and heat. Satoru is just one example of people called Otherworlders that are people who come from another world through different means. 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 summoned to the world by a magic ritual. Otherworlders tend to have at least one Unique Skill based on their mental state, and those with weaker minds would 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 smartphone by God that can be charged with magic power and can access the internet from Earth.
- Overlord has the protagonist, Suzuki Satoru, being transported to the New World while still logged on the final seconds of his MMO, Yggdrasil. The man is now his Yggdrasil max leveled Overlord character, Momonga, along with the guild headquarters and all the loyal NPC subordinates. The New World acts much like the game, along with how his character has been leveled up to 100 with high-class equipment and a plethora of spells before being teleported.
- Isekai Cheat Magician has the two protagonists, Taichi and Rin, who are summoned to the new world and gain new powers. Taichi is gifted with a massive amount of magic power, which can be used to gain superhuman physical abilities. Later, it's revealed that he is a Unique Magician who taps into the very elemental forces. His unique magic is being able to summon elemental spirits and use their power. 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 who was killed by a driver who was texting and then reincarnated into a living sword in an RPG fantasy world. He can gain new skills by slicing the magic crystals of monsters. These skills can be used by anyone who wields him along with the stats he carries adds to the wielder. One unique feature from other weapons is his Mana Conductivity ranked at A, which means that his weapon sharpness and power can be increased 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 and 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 currently going through a war. He is reborn as a girl named Tanya in an imperialistic country surrounded by hostile neighbors; the difference is that magic is involved with warfare. After taking a magical aptitude test, she then becomes a candidate for the Empire's Imperial Armed Forces. She is also the only one who can use the Elenium Type-95, which is an unstable magic core, and the only one that can use it without exploding as a 'blessing' from Being X.
- In The New Gate, Shin managed to defeat the final boss of a VRMMO, The New Gate, a game that trapped people where if they die in the game; they die in real life. Before he could log out, he is sent through a gate and finds himself in an actual fantasy world similar to the game. He then learns the titles he gained after finishing the final boss that can break restriction on all stats, doubles his current ones, and grant immunity from controlling effects.
- The Ends from Drifters are historical figures from various points in Earth history that are brought to the fantasy world. They are people who suffered trauma from events in their life and have become twisted. They each have unique supernatural abilities such as mind control, necromancy, cyrokinesis, and biokinesis. Averted for the Drifters, who are normal humans but share the trait of acting on their ideals and goals.
- 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 can be blessed with from a god. His Divine Art 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 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 certain skills. One of those is "God's Voice" that allows him to speak to a god, and the other 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. After saving a girl from a truck, she gets killed by it crashing into her. She then meets with a deity who gives her a chance to be reborn into a fantasy world with any power she desires. Misato then asks to be given average abilities. She is then reincarnated as a noble girl, Meine, but the god made her 6,800 times physically and magically more than the average human. This misunderstanding happened due to the god taking into account the power of all the creatures in that world. It was calculated from the strongest to weakest when he determined the average that made her so powerful.
- How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord has Takuma Sakamoto, the top player in the MMO, Cross Reverie until he is transported into another world and turned into his in-game character Diablo. He was summoned by magic from the two girls as their slave, but the slavery part gets reflected onto them instead. His character is level 150, magic from different elements, and even some of his equipment such as The Distorted Crown that automatically restores HP and The Demon Lord's Ring that can reflect all kinds of magic.
- Misumi Makoto, from Tsuki ga Michibiku Isekai Douchuu, is summoned to another world by Tsukiyomi, the Moon Kami, because his parents came from another world and had a contract they signed in order to be on Earth. He is granted powers by the Moon Kami, which Makoto calls Realm that allows him to increase his strength, detect beings and objects up to 3 km, regeneration, create a powerful defensive barrier, and can intercepts transmissions. The goddess of this other world gives him the ability to understand the language. There is also how the other world has lighter gravity than Earth's, which makes him faster and stronger 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 emblemed on it. After a few years, she returns to Oz as a teen with her dog, Toto. She has the ability to see the Yellow Brick Road and can even traverse it even through obstacles like walls or trees. The glove turns out to be the magic staff, Thyrsos, which is the same weapon used by the Wizard of Oz (who was an actual wizard that dominated through his magic). The staff can be summoned easily due to Mara Shin having magic power, which is rare for people in Oz.
- Monster no Goshujin-sama has an entire class somehow transported to another world with their own 'cheat abilities'. The main protagonist, Takahiro, didn't seem to have one until an encounter with a slime revealed that his ability is taming monsters.
- The Chinese comic, Soul Land, has the protagonist, Tang San, who was an assassin trained under poison and hidden weaponry techniques in the Tang Sect. After learning about the sect's secret knowledge and knowing he committed a crime, he performs suicide by falling off a cliff. He is then reincarnated into a world called Soul Land. In this other world, he kept the knowledge of his past life's training and techniques but faces trouble getting past level 1. On the day of the Spirit Awakening Ceremony, he learns that he not only carries two Spirits when a person would have one. The first is a River Grass Spirit that comes in the form of a blade of grass. The other is the Clear Sky Hammer, which is one of the legendary Tool Spirits. It was also revealed that he is a Spirit Master capable of cultivating soul power, which can be used to make a Spirit stronger. There is also how soul power is the same energy used by the Tang Sect's techniques and training. If enough soul power is cultivated, the more advanced techniques can be used at higher levels. Another benefit of gaining more soul power is empowering his Tool Spirits, too.
- All the three students and their teacher who are transported to the land of El-Hazard in El-Hazard: The Magnificent World gain a special 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 'omnipotence'. But... he doesn't know how to use it due to not being taught how to use it properly; even so, he manages to do marvelous actions despite lacking proper knowledge.
- Gacha wo Mawashite Nakama wo Fuyasu Saikyou no Bishoujo Gundan wo Tsukuriagero has Heihachi Okura transported to a fantasy world but with his smartphone and the app, Girls Corp. The app can summon items, food, and even girls to join his party. It even has a gacha to get more girls and items as long as he has enough magic crystals by hunting monsters.
- Enforced and Played With in The Death Mage Who Doesn't Want a Fourth Time where the main character, Hiroto Amamiya, and his class dies after their ship got sunk from a terrorist attack. Everyone in his class is gifted a new life, a special power, and luck from the god, Rodcorte, except for Hiroto. This misfortune happened due to another young man that resembled him and had a similar name, which was Hiroto Amemiya. The god, after giving his other classmates' blessings while leaving Amamiya as the last one. He had realized his mistake and had already given his blessing to another teen. Hiroto is then reborn with his magic core empty, which means he has higher magic power but can't use other magic except for Death magic. There is also how Hiroto will be met with bad luck due to not being blessed with any good 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.
- 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. The pair of shoes can't be taken unless by death, 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.
- 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. There is also another attribute that the teenagers have is that they don't go crazy, unlike most others who go to Everworld.
- In The Scum Villain Self-saving System, the protagonist Shen Yuan was an average sickly man. He dies while cursing the web novel he was reading, Immortal Demon Way, because of its plot-hole filled narrative and terrible ending. He is then transmigrated into Shen Quinquiu, which is the antagonist of the aforementioned web novel, while also having all of the latter's knowledge and powers. He also has access to the titular system, where he can use points to improve the plot of the story. He can also gain certain benefits for the exchange of points as well.
- In the Chinese web novel Release That Witch! and its web manhua adaptation, the protagonist is a civil engineer that dies after overworking himself. He is transmigrated into the body of Roland, a prince in this medieval fantasy world. The other world has women called "witches" who are prosecuted for their magical powers. Due to his past knowledge, Roland uses this to upgrade the technology while also incorporating witches into his plans. He brings innovation through his invention while also using the assistance of witches' magic.
- In the Chinese Romance web novel, Transmigrator Meets Reincarnator, the heroine is transmigrated into the world of a novel. In the novel world, she becomes the wife of a man who is a part of a powerful family. The setting of this novel is in a very old dynasty that uses dated cooking methods and ingredients. In her previous life, she was an entrepreneur, along with being an amateur chef. She uses these skills to win people over with her not only delicious but also modern dishes. She also uses her past business knowledge to create a profitable business by using these dishes, which helps her financially when she is temporarily abandoned by her new husband. She is also knowledgable about the plot of the novel, which helps her avoid negative events and characters.
- 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 also implied to have other powers than 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 is reincarnated into a living vending machine in a fantasy world, which he needs assistance being moved. He can give out items as long as he is inserted with money. There is also how he can use the profit from any products sold for upgrades from a broader selection to functions not included in ordinary vending machines.
- There is an example from The Sleeping Dragon, which is 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.
- 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.
- I am the Sorcerer King webtoon has the protagonist, Lee Sunghoon, who awakens 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.
- 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. Later on, 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. Forging uses magic stones embedded into a pen and brings to life any drawing made using it. It requires the user to have a skill with drawing and an understanding of how it works. The material it is drawn on is used to manifest the object. It can also be used to make magic when used with the right stone. Xiang Ye uses his talent with art while also utilizing his knowledge of technology and science to bring innovation to the craft. His forging has helped him make vehicles like cars and trucks, mecha, an exo-suit, a nuke, and even a Dyson sphere.
- In the webcomic Goddess Creation System, the main character, Xiaxi, was a bullied female otaku who created a goddess-like MMO player character. She commits suicide due to being outed online for being ugly. Xiaxi then awakens in a fantasy world that resembles ancient China with the titular system. The system gives her missions of making powerful men fall in love with her. It can also give her an alternate dimension where she can exercise to lose weight and study subjects while sleeping. Xiaxi can also get beauty products to enhance her appearance by using points she earns from her missions.
- In the web manhua Cheating Men Must Die, Su Luxia, the main character, is a shrewish woman from a futuristic world. She has the job of being a quick reincarnator where she takes over 'secondary female characters' who have been wronged. While acting as these women, she gets revenge on those who have wrong them while also fulfilling their last wishes. Su Luxia is assisted by a system that comes in the form of a hamster. The hamster can give her different items that can help her fulfill her mission from incriminating photos to magical slimming pills. She is very adept at getting revenge that she had spent millions of hours while also accumulating decades of vacation time. There is also how this time spent has led to many advantages and items that ease her missions in any world.
- 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 own magic powers.