Nephew Takafumi Takaoka and Uncle Yosuke Shibazaki from “Uncle from Another World.” (Screenshot from Netflix)

The Isekai genre has been a mainstay of anime for years, but Netflix’s new series “Uncle from Another World” flips the genre on its head with a hilarious first episode.

For the uninitiated, isekai means “different or other world.” In this genre, protagonists are often transported, summoned, or reincarnated into a fantastical world filled with swords and sorcery. Regardless of how the protagonists find themselves in this new world, they are quickly drawn into tales of adventure, danger, intrigue, and other high fantasy tropes. “Uncle from Another World” asks the question, “What if the protagonist returns to their old life?” The answer? Hilarity.

Yosuke Shibazaki is the titular uncle. Waking up from a 17-year coma, he finds himself in Japan in the year 2017. Technology and culture have advanced to the point where the modern world is as foreign as the fantasy world he left behind.

Yosuke’s nephew, Takafumi Takaoka, first arrives to inform his recently awoken uncle of the harsh realities of modern life only to discover that his uncle’s insane ramblings concerning his isekai adventures were all true.

Takaoka reacting to his uncle’s antics. (Screenshot from Netflix)

Shibazaki and Takaoka make the perfect manzai comedy duo with Shibazaki acting as the funny man with his often hilariously painful recollections of his time in the fantasy world. Shibazaki’s nephew, Takaoka, acts as the straight man and reacts perfectly to his uncle’s ignorance and tribulations. Typical of manzai comedy, the jokes are delivered hard and fast. “Uncle from Another World’s” visual gags, misunderstandings, and mundane uses of fantastical powers left me in stitches.

The series was written and illustrated by Hotondoshindeiru and published by Kadokawa Shoten. The Netflix series is currently simulcasting in Asia with the worldwide release delayed by two weeks. The first episode of “Uncle from Another World” is available now and is rated TV-MA.


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