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Literature / The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Isekai

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"Many authors who write isekai stories have visited an isekai. That's a hard fact. But that process hasn't received much attention until now, and it's rare that isekai authors speak of it publicly. So this is probably the the first guide being put out regarding visiting other worlds. It is also an agonised gripe-fest devoid of dreams and hope."
—Case 01: Carlo Zen

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Isekai is a doujin Short Story Anthology originally released at Comiket 96note  by the circle SAKKA KEIHANnote . Originating in a mealtime conversation about Japan's current glut of isekai stories, it brings together six authors (both established circle members and guests) to discuss what would happen if they were transported to another world themselves.

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An official English translation has been released as an e-book by J-Novel Club, with Case 01 free to view.

See The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy for the book's namesake, and The Tough Guide to Fantasyland for another work with a similar tone.


This book features examples of:

  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: Tappei Nagatsuki curses both SAKKA KEIHAN and Hoko Tsuda multiple times, claiming that this book is part of their plan to murder him and make it look like an accident.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Case 02 has Tappei Nagatsuki request detailed information on the world he's being transported to, including languages and religious conflicts, and ensure that he has a versatile array of powers with no loopholes (including both supersonic speed and flesh strong enough to withstand supersonic speed). So the goddess transports him to a world where every random thug can move at the speed of light, making his powers useless.
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  • Didn't Think This Through: Tappei Nagatsuki started off enthusiastic about contributing to the book, until he got to the research leg and realised what it means to tell someone "go isekai yourself".
    "It was at this point in my thought process that I realized what had appeared to be an invitation to contribute to SAKKA KEIHAN's latest product was, in fact, a roundabout way of bumping me off."
  • Fantastic Racism: Case 01 briefly mentions Carlo Zen hanging around in a salamander-heated bath with a group of orcs and goblins, discussing the great works of the Goblin Bar Assocation in tackling discrimination.
  • Impossibly Delicious Food: In Case 06, Hoko Tsuda arrives in another world after eating a bowl of "isekai ramen" so delicious that it detaches his soul from his body.
  • Marth Debuted in "Smash Bros.": Some of the authors make references to their past works which have never been translated into English.
  • Meta Fiction: The central premise of the anthology is that isekai authors base their novels on actual trips they've made to another world.
  • Our Monsters Are Different:
    • In Case 05, orcs have strong sexual dimorphism and seem to use "orc" to refer to their traditional lifestyle as much as their species. They also bring a lady knight to their cave... in order to pay her for magic lessons. Meanwhile, trolls look exactly like angry Moomins.
  • Pastiche: Case 02 is a blatant riff on Kazuma's meeting with Aqua at the start of KonoSuba.
  • Portal Network: In Case 04, the author manages to gain ownership of a fairy house that can be accessed through tree stumps. While she can't control the stump she exits from, she notes that most tree stumps nowadays are the result of humans clearing land, so there will usually be some kind of civilisation nearby.
  • Reality Ensues: The main focus of Case 01 - arranging a trip to to another world has all the complications of travelling to a remote place on Earth, and more.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Case 03 has Semikawa spotted by his editor as soon as he arrives in the other world, who forces him to return home and stop dodging his deadlines.
  • Summon Everyman Hero: Case 05 features a world of highly-ritualised warfare where factions must be headed by a hero summoned from Earth... with the catalogue being an old Nobunaga's Ambition strategy guide. This results in Katsuie Shibata, who took his Pen Name from one of the historical figures who appears in those games, being summoned by mistake.
  • A Tankard of Moose Urine: Case 03 advises staying away from the "mysterious liquid sold as beer" in Iandborough, which is said to taste "primarily of bitterness, astringency and bitterness, with a touch of nihilism mixed in for effect", and as if you "boiled a muscle-relaxing medical pad in the extract of whole bitter gourd and water pepper". Despite this, he admits that some travellers actually come to like it after a while.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Hotness: In Case 02, Loqua claims that goddesses receive more attractive looks as a perk of increasing in rank.

Alternative Title(s): Hitchhikers Guide To The Isekai, Isekai Hitchhike Guide

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