Sword Art Online is a Japanese light novel series written by Reki Kawahara and illustrated by abec. The series takes place in the near future and focuses on various virtual reality MMORPG worlds.Anime lovers who are also fond of MMORPGs were excited to find out that Sword Art Online, the Japanese light novel series, has been adapted into an anime. Although there are a lot of criticisms about the overall quality of Sword Art Online, there is no doubt that it is well-liked by many anime fans.
Here are my top picks for animes like Sword Art Online.
This game centers around the story of a 22-year-old guy name Ryota Sakamoto. Ryota is currently unemployed and lives in his mother’s home. Unfortunately for poor Ryota, the only thing that he is good at in life is playing a kind of combat game known as Btooom!.
On one fateful morning, he wakes up on a tropical island and cannot remember how he got there. Struggling to figure out what is going on, he sees a stranger and asks the stranger for help. Instead of helping him, the stranger throws a bomb at him. Immediately, Ryota realizes that he has somehow become trapped within Btooom!. He ends up meeting his in-game wife, Himiko, who is another Btooom! player. Now, Himiko and Ryota have to figure out if they can beat the game and avoid dying so that Ryota doesn’t die in the real world as well.
2. Accel World
Haruyuki Arita is a student who is often bullied at school, which causes him to have low self-esteem. He turns to playing squash to free his mind from his miserable life but everything changes when Haruyuki meets Kuroyukihime, the most popular girl in school. She introduces Haruyuki to a secret program called Brain Burst.
Haruyuki soon finds out that Brain Burst is not only a program that speeds up the cognitive process, but it is actually a Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online (VRMMO) Fighting Game, where people fight each other to gain Burst Points, which can be used for acceleration abilities in the real world.
Haruyuki and Kuroyukihime join forces to reach Level 10 within Brain Burst, meet the creator, and find out the real purpose of the secret program.
3. Hunter x Hunter
Hunter x Hunter follows a young boy named Gon, who discovers that his father, Ging, whom he thought was dead, is actually alive. In fact, Ging is a legendary hunter, someone who has proven to be an elite member of society. Gon embarks on a long journey to find his father, soon realizing that he wants to become a hunter as well.
After turning 12, he takes on the Hunter exam, even after learning that many applicants end up dying. He meets several friends, including the silent but deadly Kurapika, the funny but very skilled Leorio, and the ex-assassin Killua. Their friendship is put to test as many trials and threats come their way.
4.Tower of Druaga: The Aegis of Uruk
This anime is similar to Sword Art Online in the sense that both take place in a tower-like setting, in which the characters need to get to a certain floor before being able to move on to the next. The ultimate goal, of course, is to reach the last floor and defeat the final boss. Tower of Druaga also features many RPG elements such as hunting for rare items, forming parties, and leveling up.
The anime begins during the Third Summer of Anu, a period when the powers of the monsters in the Tower wanes. People take advantage of this and set up camp inside—securing their stronghold within the Tower with the ultimate goal of reaching the top. The armies of Uruk Kingdom lead the pack, but adventurers known as “climbers” hop on their quest as well, attracted by the rumored Blue Crystal Rod found on the very last floor. Jill is one of the new climbers, seeking to reach the top of the Tower and defeat the Evil Lord Druaga.
The Tower of Druaga Opening
5. No Game No Life
No Game No Life has a fairly ominous title, but it has been a hit since it was released in 2014. This anime is one of the most common games played by people who liked Sword Art Online. This is mostly because they have a similar setting, although this anime lacks the action of Sword Art Online. Instead, it focuses on supernatural, quest-like themes. There are humorous scenes and many fun activities in the game that you can play.
In No Game No Life, we follow the story line of Sora and Shiro. These siblings are known for being reclusive gamers who excel at playing. Sora and Shiro are secretly members of a secretive group of gamers called Blank who are known for never losing their games. On one particular day, they are brought to a world where the games decide everything and all of humanity is driven into just one city. Now, Sora and Shiro are left to defeat the leader and hopefully save humanity from destruction.
6. Mirai Nikki (Future Diary)
If you love psychological thrillers, then you will love playing Mirai Nikki. Initially, it does not seem like this game is like Sword Art Online. There are a few hidden similarities though. Like SAO’s protagonist, the protagonist in Mirai Nikki is generally disliked. He finds himself stuck in a difficult situation and tries to make friends to help him along. Unfortunately, he loses these friends because of the game.
The story line of Mirai Nikki focuses on awkward Yuki Amoano. Unlike other children his age, he likes to spend his time talking to his imaginary friend, Deus Ex Machina, or writing in his journal. On one particular day, he is given proof that Deus Ex Machina is not just an imaginary friend. In his diary, Deus Ex Machina tells him what will happen each day for the next 90 days. When Yuki is asked to take part in a battle against 12 people, he decides to do it. His prophetic diary is on hand to help him find a way to kill each opponent. If he fails at his task, the 90th day will bring the apocalypse.
7. Guilty Crown
The Apocalypse Virus is coming. On December 24, 2029, this biological disaster reaches Japan and creates a disaster known as the Lost Christmas. The situation rapidly reaches unbelievably severe levels. Left scrambling, the Japanese government is forced to call the United Nations and international governments to help combat the epidemic. GHQ is sent from the United Nations to take care of the outbreak, but this creates another problem. Once the outbreak is contained, GHQ retains control over Japan.
The main character in this story is Shu Ouma. He is a high school student who unintentionally gains the power of the Right Hand of the Kings. This rare power makes it possible to remove voids from other people, which are basically a weapon made from the human heart. In the story, he meets a girl from a rebel group called the Undertakers. With this girl, Yuzuriha Inori, Shu wants to make Japan independent of the GHQ overseers. He has the good luck of his Right Hand, but the road ahead is still not clear. With the help of Inori, he must win this conflict and free his country.
8. Kaze no Stigma
In this story, Yagami Kazuma is a part of the Kannagi family. His family is well-respected for being the masters of the Fire technique. Unfortunately, young Yagami is kicked out of his family because a distant relative known as Ayano defeats him in a match that determined who would wield the Blaze Lightning Supremacy. Four years after being cast aside, Kazuma returns as a master of the Wind technique. He is reunited with his younger brother, Ren, as well as Ayano.
The story takes a darker turn when members of Kazuma’s family are killed. People find that the method was the wind technique, so they believe that Kazuma was responsible for the murders. Now, Ayano and Kazuma are working together to prove his innocence.
There are many similarities between hack/SIGN and Sword Art Online, so some people believe that SAO was actually based on this other series. While hack/SIGN does not have a lot of action, it is still fun to play. In the game, you uncover secrets until the main character ultimately figures out the reason why he cannot log out of the game.
Tsukasa wakes up inside a game known as the World. Unfortunately, he cannot remember how he got there, and he finds that he cannot log out. He ends up finding a guardian item that protects him from harm and tries to uncover the reason why he cannot log out. To help him along the way, Subaru of the Crimson Knights joins forces with him.
This is an anime that often gets compared with SAO. In fact, you will see tons of discussions comparing Sword Art Online and Log Horizon all over the Internet. The main similarity is that both take place inside a MMORPG. It is important to note, however, that even though both series feature the same setting and characters fighting in-game to return to their normal lives, the stories are entirely different.
The MMORPG, Elder Tale, has been a phenomenal success following its eleventh expansion pack. The game has grown its user base to millions of players. The next expansion pack, however, surprises thirty thousand players as they suddenly find themselves wearing their in-game avatars. They soon realize that they are inside the game they love. Shiroe, a gamer who is socially challenged in real life, teams up with other players to take on the challenges in their way.