Animes Similar To Sword Art Online – When Sword Art Online first graced our screens in 2012, it was clear from the start that we were witnessing the birth of one of the most iconic and legendary anime. Even a decade later, SAO remains relevant, with several seasons, films, and games under its successful franchise.
For loyal SAO fans, the anticipation for the film and the live-action series, both in production in 2022, is palpable. It’s no surprise that fans wish there were more anime similar to this famous Sword Art Online.
SAO takes us to 2022, where every gamer’s fantasy comes true. With the help of a revolutionary helmet known as Nerve Gear, players can now plunge into the game world and control their game avatar with their minds.
Kazuto Kirigaya, a passionate gamer and former beta tester for SAO, eagerly enters this virtual world. However, the excitement quickly turns into a nightmare when 10,000 players find themselves trapped in the game.
The Mad creator has disabled the logout option, condemning them to a dangerous quest: conquer all 100 floors full of dangers in Aincrad, a tall castle with formidable monsters lurking at every level. To stake, if their in-game health reaches zero, it means death in the real world.
For those of you who are familiar with the feeling of emptiness after completing the series, don’t worry. There are more anime options that capture the essence of Sword Art Online.
List of Animes Similar to Sword Art Online
1. Log Horizon (2014)
In an instant, thirty thousand confused Japanese gamers were transported from their daily lives to the world of the popular MMORPG, Elder Tale, following the game’s latest update, and they were unable to get out.
Among them is Shiroe, a socially awkward college student. His confusion initially fades quickly, and as a veteran player, he embarks on a journey to explore the possibilities of this new world. Shiroe must adapt to this alien world, take on leadership roles, and negotiate with NPC natives to bring stability to the virtual city of Akihabara.
Accompanied by his friend, Naotsugu, who enters after years of absence, and Akatsuki, a small but fierce assassin who considers Shiroe his teacher, the story unfolds with elements of fantasy, adventure, and politics. Log Horizon provides a unique perspective on the game through the eyes of a strategist living in a confusing situation.
Similar to Sword Art Online, Log Horizon has a basic concept (stuck in an MMORPG), but the implementation is different. One is a virtual reality MMORPG, and the other is a traditional MMORPG. Its main difference lies in its tone and focus.
Log Horizon is more serious, action-oriented, and mature, delving into complex themes. In contrast, Sword Art Online tends to have a lighter tone, emphasizes romance, and is suitable for a younger audience.
If you feel Sword Art Online lacks action or depth but enjoy the concept, Log Horizon is a viable option. On the other hand, if you find Log Horizon difficult to follow and are looking for more romance while still maintaining the concept, Sword Art Online is suitable.
Ultimately, if you’re captivated by the concept of being stuck in an MMORPG, why not explore both?
2. Accel World (2012)
Haruyuki Arita, an obese and often bullied high school student, finds peace by playing online games. His life changes drastically one day when he realizes that his high score has been surpassed by Kuroyukihime, the popular vice president of the student council.
He introduced her to Brain Burst, a program that speeds up the user’s brain waves to the point of creating time distortions. Brain Burst also serves as an augmented reality fighting game where the user earns acceleration points by winning duels. However, if a user loses all his points, he will lose access to Brain Burst forever.
Sword Art Online and Accel World have significant similarities. Both of these stories take place in a virtual reality environment where the characters are forced to participate in a fighting game.
3. Btooom! (2012)
Ryouta Sakamoto, Japan’s best player in the popular online video game Btooom!, is unemployed and living with his mother. His peaceful life suddenly changes when he wakes up on a deserted island with a small green crystal embedded in his left hand and no memory of how he got there.
To his surprise, he realizes someone has turned the game he loves into a deadly real-life situation. Players, equipped with a unique bomb called BIM, must eliminate seven of their fellow participants and collect their green crystals to return home.
Initially reluctant to use violence, Ryouta is forced to struggle when he realizes that not all players are as good as they appear. Join Himiko, the Boom player! others, they attempt to escape the island, getting closer to uncovering the truth behind this deadly competition.
Similar to Sword Art Online, the series has a central theme of being trapped inside the game, but the main difference lies in the story setting. Sword Art Online takes place in a virtual RPG, while Btooom! takes place in the real world with game elements.
In Sword Art Online, the focus is on reaching the 100th floor to finish the game and return to the real world, while Btooom! focuses on the collection of seven chips to ensure the way home.
4. No Game, No Life (2014)
Disboard, a world ruled by an almighty God named Tet, is home to sixteen races that possess intelligence. Among these races, Imanity, which is the lowest, consists of humans who do not have magic abilities.
In a world where every decision is decided through a simple game, humanity seems to be trapped in an endless number of situations. However, a light of hope appears with the unexpected arrival of two strangers.
On Earth, stepsisters Sora and Shiro are an inseparable couple who rule in various online games under the username Blank. Their fame on the internet is unparalleled, and they see life as nothing more than an everyday game.
However, when they respond to a message from an unknown sender, they are suddenly transported to Disboard. The mysterious sender turns out to be Tet, who introduces them to the absolute rules of this world. After Tet leaves, Sora and Shiro embark on a quest for information and seek refuge in Elkia, Imanity’s last remaining kingdom.
Similar to Sword Art Online, No Game, No Life transports its main characters into a captivating game world filled with mysteries to solve. No Game, No Life stands out with its bright colors and comedic fan service, while Sword Art Online delves into the protagonist’s struggles and the development of a deep romantic relationship.
In comparing storylines, Sword Art Online takes the lead, but the whimsical and entertaining gameplay in No Game, No Life offers plenty of reasons to smile.
5. Overlord (2015)
In the final moments of the popular virtual reality game Yggdrasil, Momonga, a powerful wizard and Ruler of the Dark Guild Ainz Ooal Gown, decides to enjoy his last few moments in the game when the servers start shutting down.
To his amazement, when the clock had struck midnight, Momonga remained fully aware of his character, and even non-player characters also began to show their own personalities!
Faced with this extraordinary situation, Momonga orders his loyal servant to help him investigate and take over this new world, hoping to uncover the cause behind this transformation and find out if anyone has been in a similar situation.
Similar to Sword Art Online, Overlord has the main character trapped in a video game world where the option to exit is no longer available. In Overlord, the main goal seems to be to control the world, while in Sword Art Online, the goal is to escape the game.
The initial setting is different; in Sword Art Online, the protagonist starts from scratch and generates power, while in Overlord, the main character already has everything and just needs to adapt to the new environment.
Read also: 15 Best Animes Similar to Overlord
6. Hack/Sign (2002)
A young player known by the alias Tsukasa wakes up with mild amnesia in an MMORPG called World. He has no memories of his actions before awakening.
In the world, the Crimson Knights suspect him of being a hacker, as he is seen alongside a modified cat-like character. Unable to exit the game, he scours the virtual world looking for answers while avoiding knights and meeting other players.
As Tsukasa explores the world, he discovers a magical item that takes the form of a guardian and promises protection from him. Subaru, the leader of the Crimson Knights, along with several other players who are friends with Tsukasa, embark on a mission to uncover why Tsukasa is unable to quit the game and solve the growing mystery.
Like Sword Art Online, Hack and Sign are two exciting adventure anime based on a similar concept: individuals trapped in a fantasy-style MMORPG. They feature impressive animation, detailed world-building, and fantastic creatures. Although both series follow various characters in their stories, Sword Art Online moves quickly in character development and emphasizes action, whereas Hack/Sign has a slower, more mysterious approach, with more depth in the virtual world where the main protagonist is trapped.
7. The King’s Avatar (2017)
Widely recognized as a pioneer and high-end professional player in the online multiplayer game Glory, Ye Xiu was nicknamed Battle God for his skills and contributions to the game over the years.
However, when he was forced to retire from the team and abandon his playing career, he got a job at a nearby internet cafe. When Glory launches its tenth server, it returns to the game with a new character named Lord Grim.
Ye Xiu’s early achievements on this new server attracted the attention of many players and large guilds, sparking curiosity about the identity of this outstanding player. Despite having ten years of experience and in-depth knowledge, starting from scratch without a sponsor or team in a game that has evolved over the years poses many challenges. With the help of talented new colleagues, Ye Xiu once again dedicated himself to reaching the pinnacle of glory.
Like Sword Art Online, The King’s Avatar continues the trend of video game-based anime but carries a more relaxed style of slice-of-life. Tk’s A tells the story of an eSports star who is dismissed from the team after a few less impressive years and finds a new lifestyle through a night job at an inconspicuous internet cafe. The simplicity of the event contributes to its surreal charm.
8. The Rising of the Shield Hero (2019)
Four cardinal heroes, ordinary men from modern-day Japan, are summoned to the Kingdom of Melromarc to become its saviors. Melromarc is a country beset by waves of disasters that repeatedly ravage the land and bring havoc to its citizens over the centuries.
Each of these four heroes is given a weapon to defeat the waves: a sword, spear, bow, and shield. Naofumi Iwatani, an otaku, is exposed to the fate of becoming a shield hero.Equipped only with a simple shield, Naofumi is despised by the other heroes and the inhabitants of the kingdom for his perceived lack of attack ability and less than perfect personality.
When the heroes are given resources and friends to train with, Naofumi embarks on a journey with the only person willing to train with him, Malty Melromarc. However, he soon betrayed her and made false accusations. Naofumi is then severely discriminated against and hated by the population for something he did not do.
Moved by pain and distrust, Naofumi embarks on a journey to strengthen himself and his reputation. Finally, he gets a moribund, half-human slave named Raphtalia to accompany him on his journey.
Like Sword Art Online, The Rising of the Shield Hero has similarities to an Isekai but offers fresh and thrilling elements. It has impressive animation, an enthralling story, and well-formed characters.
Unlike the overly strong protagonist (Kirito) in Sword Art Online, we have Naofumi, the weak protagonist, who relies on hard work to become strong even though the world rejects him. The heroines in the series have unique characteristics and form different relationships with the protagonist.
The show offers a fresh take on the Isekai genre, making it an interesting alternative to Sword Art Online.
9. KonoSuba (2016)
After suffering a comical and pathetic death while returning from buying a game, Kazuma Satou, a high school exile, finds himself face-to-face with a beautiful but obnoxious goddess named Aqua.
He gives these NEETs two options: go to heaven or be reborn in a fantasy world that every gamer dreams of. Choosing to start a new life, Kazuma is quickly given the task of defeating the Demon King, who terrorizes the villages.
However, before starting his quest, he was allowed to choose any one item to help him, and he chose Aqua. Without him realizing it, Kazuma had made a big mistake—Aqua was completely useless!
Their difficulties do not end here; it turns out that living in this world is much different from the picture in the game. Instead of embarking on a thrilling adventure, the two must first work to make money to make ends meet. Their adventure is just beginning.
Like Sword Art Online, KonoSuba has something to offer. KonoSuba offers humor and parodies tropes of the isekai genre, taking a light-hearted and never-too-serious approach to comedy, ultimately making it one of the best isekai anime series.
And for SAO fans, Kazuma, our beloved protagonist, continues to build his harem, use his various ‘overpowered’ abilities, and explore an MMORPG-like world.
10. The Future Diary (2011)
Yukiteru Amano is a shy high school student who meticulously records her daily activities on her cell phone—a digital notebook. Despite having no friends at school, Yukiteru often talks to his imaginary friends, Deus Ex Machina, the God of time and space, and Deus’ servant, Mur Mur.
One day, Yukiteru wakes up and finds that some daily events have been displayed on his phone. Initially thought to be a coincidence, he slowly realizes that the events listed on his phone are actually happening in the near future. After taking advantage of this new ability, Yukiteru learns that her classmate, Yuno Gasai, has a similar record.
Similar to Sword Art Online, the series will take you into a changed and somewhat distorted world where the main characters fight for survival in different ways. Although the genres of these two shows are different, they have something in common: an action-packed and emotion-filled scenario that will leave you hooked.
Mirai Nikki, at first, will play mind games with you, eliciting fear and excitement and potentially changing your view of the anime genre.
Instead, Sword Art Online takes you to a new world but exposes you to unprecedented conditions (except hacks) and a scenario that will make you shed a tear and amaze you with many eye-catching moments.
I recommend watching Mirai Nikki before Sword Art Online. This sequence will enhance the overall experience.
11. Death March (2018)
Ichirou Suzuki, a programmer approaching his thirties, is immersed in his work. After getting tired, he finally had a chance to sleep, only to wake up and find himself in a fantasy RPG world created from a game he was testing in the real world.
In this new place, she realizes that not only has her appearance changed to a younger version of her, but her name has also changed to Satou, a nickname she used while undergoing beta testing on the game.
However, before Satou really understood the situation, an army of lizardmen attacked her. Forced to cast a powerful spell in return, Satou destroyed them completely, and her level soared to 310, effectively maximizing her stats. Now, as a high-level adventurer equipped with diverse skills and with no way back to the real world, Satou embarks on a journey to explore this amazing new world.
Similar to Sword Art Online, the anime highlights game mechanics as an important aspect in their story setting, where life and death are concerned with HP, which serves as a character’s lifeline throughout the series. The nature of the game is deeply rooted in fantasy, with an emphasis on sword and magic skills.
12. Guilty Crown (2012)
On December 24, 2029, known as The Lost Christmas, a cataclysmic event occurs in Japan as the Apocalypse Virus spreads, causing mass death and chaos.
In an effort to restore order, the United Nations sent GHQ to rein in the situation, effectively stripping Japan of its political autonomy. Ten years later, the country is still under their authoritarian rule, struggling to break free.
In response to this oppressive regime, Funeral Parlor, a resistance group led by the charismatic Gai Tsutsugami, seeks to free Japan from the clutches of GHQ. Their plan involves the theft of a vial containing the Void genome. This viral ended up in the hands of Inori Yuzuriha, an internet singer who was targeted by GHQ’s anti-government forces.
Similar to Sword Art Online, Guilty Crown is a beloved anime and hard to beat; there are shows that have something in common with it. Guilty Crown captures the same level of passion in Shu’s character, similar to Kirito’s passion in combat. Both Kirito and Shu have a hard time watching their loved ones suffer with them.
13. C: The Money and Soul of Possibility (2011)
In a world where money means power and the meaning of life depends on financial wealth, Kimimaro Yoga, a second-year economics student, grapples with the harsh reality of economic inequality.
Surrounded by classmates with whom life is more comfortable, he finds it difficult to make ends meet. However, his life changes drastically when a tall stranger arrives at his door.
The mysterious Masakaki invites Yoga to the Eastern Financial District, a place where one can amass wealth by offering their future as collateral. Although initially reluctant, greater desire prevailed over common sense, and Yoga accepted the offer, becoming an Entre.
Unbeknownst to him, this world of wealth is an alternate world that resembles his own, where Entres are forced to participate in weekly duels called Deals with their future bets. Yoga must quickly adapt to this new world to protect his future and wealth while discovering the true value of money.
Like Sword Art Online, the series has the protagonist find himself as an ordinary college student stranded in another world where their lives are at stake.
In Sword Art Online, the characters are trapped in a game, while in C, they can switch between the normal world and the Financial District. These stories feature elements of fantasy, action, and romance, often with a female partner accompanying the protagonist.
14. Darling in the FranXX (2018)
In the distant future, humanity is on the verge of extinction due to the threat of giant creatures called Klaxosaurs, which forces human survivors to seek refuge in giant fortress cities called plantations.
The children raised here are trained to become pilots of the FranXX, a giant mecha designed to fight Klaxosaurs, operating in male-female pairs. These kids know nothing but driving the FranXX and protecting their race.
Hiro, an aspiring FranXX pilot, loses his motivation and his confidence after failing an aptitude test. While contemplating his situation on the edge of the Lake Forest, he meets a mysterious girl with two horns on her head, called Zero Two, who is famous as a couple killer.
Similar to Sword Art Online, this series offers entertainment that is easy to understand with romantic elements, so it is easily accessible without the need to think too complicated. The surface similarities between Sword Art Online and Darling in the FranXX provide a familiar sense of entertainment, in contrast to some other recommendations that may only have a surface connection.
When watching anime, surface factors like these can play an important role in your viewing experience.
15. Chivalry of a Failed Knight (2015)
In a world where some individuals can manipulate their souls to form powerful weapons known as Blazers, the students at Hagun Academy are trained to become Mage-Knights.
Among them is Ikki Kurogane, who is labeled as the only Blazer with an F rating in the Academy and is considered a failure. His life undergoes a shocking change when he meets Stella Vermillion, an A-rated Blazer and a princess, under unusual circumstances.
Stella challenges Ikki to a duel in which the loser will be the slave of the winner. Despite the small chance, Ikki accepted the challenge.
As Ikki tries to prove his strength in a world that views him as weak, he gains friendship, wisdom, and new experiences.
Like Sword Art Online, the series belongs to the fantasy/action genre and features the rapid development of romance between the main characters. They are known for their visually impressive fight scenes and powerful soundtracks.
Sword fighting and romance are the main themes in both of these anime, so Chivalry of a Failed Knight is a suitable choice if you enjoy sword art online, provided you can deal with some ecchi content.
For those of you who love anime Sword Art Online and are looking for anime similar to Sword Art Online, Then the list above is a recommendation for some selected anime similar to Sword Art Online, which you might be able to watch. Thank you very much for reading this article, and see you in the next article. Enjoy watching, and have a nice day.