Isekai anime had a successful year in 2022, and 2023 will bring even more isekai titles for die-hard fans of the subgenre. For instance, the Fall 2022 anime season brought back two intense shows that are either isekai or have significant isekai elements: Welcome to Demon School, Iruma-kun! and Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War.
Although true isekai fans are aware that Bleach isn't one, its main story arcs do contain some isekai elements. Ichigo Kurosaki, a teenage boy with special abilities, is similar to Iruma Suzuki in that he has experienced what it's like to be the only person in a supernatural universe. Iruma and Ichigo are afraid that they don't really belong in the Netherworld or the Soul Society, but despite this, they will always act as isekai-style heroes and uphold morality.
Comparing Ichigo and Iruma as Displaced Human Heroes
Iruma Suzuki and Ichigo Kurosaki are both dislocated heroes who have made friends in these supernatural realms but, deep down, will always be outsiders, and this weighs heavily on them. Recent episodes of Bleach and Iruma-kun! reminded anime fans of this. Iruma, an authentic isekai hero, was sold into the Netherworld and is now Lord Sullivan's foster grandson and the only human student at the Babyls school. Iruma still faces significant pressure to conceal his human nature from all of his demon classmates despite the passage of time, but at least he has the ring of gluttony and his new specialized bow and arrow to protect himself.He also built meaningful friendships with notable students like the kind himedere Azazel Ameri and the noble Asmodeus Alice.
Recent episodes, however, show the student Orobas Coco using his bloodline trait to torture Iruma by giving him the impression that his classmates are rejecting him because he is a human and doesn't belong there. Iruma was severely wounded by this and it took a lot of willpower and the strength of true friendship for him to fight back with his bow and shatter that delusion. Iruma will always be physically and mentally weak because of this, but since he is unable to return home, he will make the most of his new life—friendships and all.
While Ichigo Kurosaki, the protagonist of Bleach, is much more assured of his abilities and self, he still feels outside the Soul Society when he embarks on partial isekai adventures. In the "Soul Society" arc, he was an outsider, and even now, as the revered savior of the Soul Society, he still doesn't belong there. Recent TYBW episodes featured Oetsu Nimaiya of squad 0 giving Ichigo a failing grade for the previous training arc and reminding him that a living human, especially one without an asauchi, will never truly belong in the Soul Society.
On that note, Oetsu teleported Ichigo back home, with no evident way to return. Not even Ichigo's Soul Reaper friends, such as Rukia and Renji, could help. This will challenge Ichigo like never before to understand his own powers and his place in the world, including exploring his heritage as Isshin and Masaki Kurosaki's son. If Ichigo can't be a true Soul Society citizen or even a proper guest, he will have to become something else entirely -- something more.
Iruma Suzuki and Ichigo Kurosaki - Who's the Better Hero in Different World?
When compared to Bleach's themes of shonen-style friendships, Iruma's themes of found family and the strength of friendship are sometimes even more compellingly presented. For instance, Iruma once created an entire Quincy-style bow and arrow as a manifestation of all his friendships. This also enables Iruma-kun! to more fully explore the increasingly prevalent and well-liked theme of found families, enabling the series to compete with Bleach on surprisingly equal footing. Iruma, who is simultaneously the new Izuku Midoriya and the new Ichigo Kurosaki, is also maturing and evolving into an incredibly sympathetic and deep isekai hero. Bleach, however, has the more compelling "boy in another world" narrative in the end.
Ichigo has done more, seen more and fought more enemies than Iruma, and he always impressed shonen fans with his punkish grit and steely resolve -- positive traits that will never go out of style. Gentle, empathetic male leads are in fashion and have their merits, like Iruma Suzuki and Wakana Gojo, but in the end, shonen is about strong boys who bravely stand up for what's right and strike down true evil without hesitation. Ichigo has thrilled anime fans since 2004 this way with his climactic fights against Byakuya, Grimmjow, Ulquiorra and Aizen. Now he's setting his sights on the Quincy king Yhwach.
Ichigo is also more compelling as a partially isekai hero attempting to figure himself out in both other and his own worlds. Returning to the Soul Society in TYBW isn't just for show; it also emphasizes Ichigo's transformation into the Soul Society's true savior, including for Ichigo's former foe, Captain Kuchiki, who begs him to save the Soul Society. Best of all, Ichigo's rejection from Oetsu's training not only emphasizes his isekai nature; it also opens the door to his inner world, where he will discover shocking new truths about himself that distinguish him from all Soul Reapers.
Ichigo is part Quincy through his late mother, and that also ties into King Yhwach and Ichigo's true zanpakuto, whatever it may be. Ichigo didn't like getting booted out of isekai land, but to realize his destiny and true power, it was a necessary step -- one that not even Iruma Suzuki could comprehend. That makes Ichigo the Fall 2022 anime season's best hero in another world.