Instead of taking a cynical approach to the never ending swarm of isekai stories released nowadays, I like to think of it as a game - out of 31 flavors of isekai, find the best ones. Or at least the best ones for me. That segways nicely to a new isekai challenger from the Fall 2020 anime season that I checked out called 100-Man no Inochi no Ue ni Ore wa Tatteiru / I’m Standing on a Million Lives. As this is a recap article, hopefully you’ve braced yourself for some spoilers.
First episodes tend to start out with a bang, and I’m Standing on a Million Lives is no exception. The anime begins by following the life of Yusuke Yotsuya, a male junior high student from Tokyo with no ambition for his future and no desire to socialize with his classmates. But almost immediately into the episode, this loner is unexpectedly transported to another world. One he quickly realizes is filled with massive monsters and a seemingly all-powerful naked blue Game Master sporting only half a face!
Yusuke isn’t the first to be transported without his consent. He’s actually the third. The first was Yusuke’s beautiful and popular classmate, Yu Shindo. Creepy Game Master gave her a quest, she completed it, and as a reward was sent back to their original world. Where she was instructed by Game Master to become friends with the sickly Kusue Hakozaki. Kusue was the second member of the team to be isekai’d. After struggling and completing the second quest somehow, the two girls were then forced by Game Master to enlist Yusuke. If all goes well, they will eventually form a team of ten isekai travelers to learn exactly why they were chosen to take part in this mysterious game and get back home for good.
Yusuke is brought up to speed on the stakes and basics. In this reality, he and his teammates can be killed. But similar to many online fantasy RPG’s, he will come back to life 30 seconds later, hence the “million lives” part of the title. The same goes for Yu and Kusue. But if the entire team dies all at once, they supposedly die in their own world! And while each member is designated a randomly selected class like wizard or warrior to help them, they possess low level stats making them easy prey for enemies. What’s worse, Yusuke proves extremely unlucky and pulls the farmer class. Oof.
In this first ep, we already see our main characters get decapitated and dismembered. Human blood is replaced with “digitized” stumps where arms once were, but the concept is no less brutal. This isekai is unforgiving. But even with all these odds against him, Yusuke is having a ball. He finds this new world to be much more exciting than the “sh*thole” Tokyo where he’s from. With an experienced gamer mentality, will Loner Boy and his team make it out alive? I can’t wait to find out!