The prospect of being trapped in a video game universe may not be as terrible as it sounds. Take Kirito and Asuna’s example, who even managed to get married online.
In 2022, virtual reality technology advanced significantly, leading to the launch of an MMORPG called Sword Art Online. Players could use their thoughts to control their avatars in the game through the NerveGear technology console.
Kirito, also known as Kazuto Kirigaya and ten thousand other players were immersed in the exquisite and complex medieval world of Aincrad. However, the dream turned into a nightmare when the game’s creators trapped them in that world, unable to log out until they completed one hundred game levels.
As an anime adaptation of light novels, Sword Art Online is one of the most watched & Talked anime series. Here are ten anime recommendations that are Sword Art Online.
Anime Liker to Sword Art Online
- Episode: 26
- Genres: Adventure, mystery, sci-fi, fantasy
- Studio: Beetrain
Many believe this classic anime inspired Sword Art Online (SAO). The storyline follows the protagonist as he tries to uncover the game’s secrets, preventing him from logging out.
In the anime, Tsukasa wakes up in a virtual game called “The World” without remembering how he got there. He is suspected of being a hacker and cannot log out of the game.
Tsukasa eventually discovers an item that protects him from harm and begins exploring the virtual world. As other players learn about his situation, including the leader of the Crimson Knights, Subaru, they work together to uncover the game’s mysteries and help Tsukasa find a way out before it’s too late.
2. Accel World
- Episode: 24
- Genres: Sci-fi, Adventure, Action, Romance, Games
- Studio: Sunrise
There are several theories about the connection between SAO and Accel World. Both anime are set in the same universe but with different timelines. It’s believed that the NerveGear technology used in Sword Art Online is the first generation of the technology used in Accel World.
The story of Accel World follows Haruyuki Arita, a high school student who is frequently bullied and finds comfort in playing online games. When Kuroyukihime, the popular vice president of the Student Council, surpasses all of his high scores, Haru’s life takes a drastic turn.
Kuroyukihime introduces Haru to a program called Brain Burst and explains that she needs his help to meet its creator and uncover its purpose. Haru agrees to help and with Kuroyukihime’s assistance in dealing with his bullies, the two begin their journey to reach the top of the program and achieve their goals.
Accel World features a unique concept and intriguing storyline that has captured the attention of many anime fans. Although there may be similarities between SAO and Accel World, they offer distinct and enjoyable viewing experiences.
3. Grimgar: Ashes and Illusions
- Episode: 12
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
- Studio: A-1 Pictures
Sword Art Online has received criticism for portraying Kirito as being too powerful. Some fans have also expressed their dislike for the harem elements in the show, despite Asuna being the main heroine. However, Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash does not have these issues.
If you prefer watching anime with team-oriented combat rather than having one character overpower everything, Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash is a must-watch isekai series.
- Episode: 12
- Genres: Action, Survival
- Studio: Madhouse
Ryouta Sakamoto, an unemployed man who has achieved the title of Japan’s top player in the popular online game Btooom!, finds himself in a dire situation when he wakes up on a deserted island with a mysterious green crystal embedded in his left hand. Stranded with no recollection of how he got there, Ryouta soon discovers that the game he loves so much has been recreated in real life, and players must kill each other using bombs called “BIM” to collect their crystals and return home.
Initially opposed to violence, Ryouta is forced to fight when he realizes other players are not as merciful. Along with fellow Btooom! Player Himiko Ryouta embarks on a journey to escape the island and uncover the truth behind this deadly game.
- Episode: 13 (S01), 13 (S02), 13 (S03)
- Genres: Isekai, Supernatural, Fantasy, Adventure
- Studio: Madhouse
In the virtual reality game Yggdrasil, the final hour has arrived, and Momonga, a skilled wizard and leader of the dark guild Ainz Ooal Gown, decides to stay logged in until the servers shut down. However, when the time comes, he finds himself still conscious in the game world, along with the non-player characters who appear to have developed their own personalities.
Determined to uncover the truth behind this mysterious situation, Momonga orders his loyal servants to assist him in exploring and mastering this new world.
6. No Game, No Life
- Episode: 13
- Genres: Ecchi, Game, Comedy, Supernatural, Fantasy
- Studio: Madhouse
No Game No Life is a unique comedy anime that follows the story of Sora and Shiro, a pair of NEET siblings well-known in the gaming world as “Blank.” They see the real world as just another mediocre game until they receive a mysterious challenge to a chess game via email.
This challenge transports them to another world where they meet Tet, the God of the Games. Sora and Shiro soon discover they are in Disboard, a world where all conflicts, no matter how big or small, are resolved through games instead of war.
The key to success in these games is a fundamental rule where each party must bet something of equal value to the other party. In this unusual world, where humanity is reduced to mere child’s play, Sora and Shiro finally find a real reason to continue playing games: to unite the sixteen races of Disboard, defeat Tet, and become the ultimate champions.
7. Log Horizons
- Episode: 25
- Genres: Action, Game, Adventure, Magic, Fantasy
- Studio: Satellite
Thirty thousand Japanese gamers were suddenly transported into the virtual world of the MMORPG Elder Tales after a game update, unable to escape. Among them was Shiroe, a socially awkward college student and seasoned gamer who quickly began to explore his new reality.
Shiroe must adapt to his new surroundings, leading others and negotiating with the NPC inhabitants of the virtual city of Akihabara to establish stability. He is accompanied by his friend Naotsugu, who found himself trapped in the game after logging in for the first time in years, and Akatsuki, a tiny assassin who considers Shiroe her master.
Log Horizon is a tale of fantasy, adventure, and politics. It is considered one of the best isekai anime, exploring the elements of video games through the eyes of a skilled strategist attempting to navigate a complex situation.
8. Netoge no Yome wa Onnanoko ja Nai to Omotta? (And You Thought There Is Never a Girl Online?)
- Genres: Comedy, Romance, Ecchi, School
- Studio: Project No. 9
One of the reasons why this anime is so fascinating to watch is the fact that the characters try to act as their true selves in the game.
Like Sword Art Online, we will find many female characters fighting with one male protagonist. Even though it doesn’t have many dark and dramatic scenes, it still has something in common with SAO.
9. Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku
- Episode: 12
- Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Harem
- Studio: SILVER LINKS
Upon watching the initial episodes of Death March, it’s difficult to avoid comparing it with SAO. The anime features game mechanics such as the inability to log out, the significance of maintaining one’s HP to avoid dying in real life, and the pursuit of escaping from virtual reality, which is also present in SAO.
Additionally, the protagonist is excessively powerful and, similar to Kirito, appears to have a penchant for drawing in female characters.
10. The King’s Avatar
- Episode: 12
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
- Studio: B. CMAY
Both anime tells the story of a skilled gamer in an MMORPG setting. Although The King’s Avatar focuses on eSports instead of getting stuck in video games, the anime is comparable to SAO, especially regarding the main character. The plot takes a different direction.
If you want something with a heavy emphasis on action scenes, then give this a shot. The main character is more relatable because he loses everything initially and has to work hard to get back on top.