If you’re a Sword Art Online fan, you’ll want to check out some of the other isekai and action anime out there.
As a result of Sword Art Online’s success, it has become one of anime’s most popular series. Kirito and his friends are trapped in a video game with only two ways out (death or reaching the top of the dungeon) that most people find fascinating. More than that, the series has become a gateway for potential anime viewers who have never heard of the genre before..
However, this list isn’t just for those people. Anyone who enjoys Sword Art Online is welcome to join this list. Overpowered characters, video game settings, or harems are all examples of this. There is no skepticism here, only solid advice on where to proceed.
Louis Kemner will post an update on August 11th, 2020: As the isekai genre gains popularity, some anime fans have grown tired of it. Those who are new to the genre may have discovered it through Sword Art Online, which has become a popular introduction to the genre. Aincrad, however, isn’t the end of the story. Fans of SAO can satiate their appetite for swordfighting and isekai series by dipping into other, equally exciting series.
15. NO GAME, NO LIFE
If you’re a fan of isekai, you won’t be disappointed by this short series. Among the protagonists are two hardcore gamers, Sora and Shiro, who find themselves in a world where competitive games have replaced warfare.
Sora and Shiro are in heaven in this new world, and they set out to prove why they’ve earned such a reputation for themselves in Earth’s online gaming community. There is a lot of overlap between SAO and NGNL, except that NGNL swaps swords for chess pieces.
Fans of SAO will find much to enjoy in this series, which ranks alongside Naruto and One Piece. The majority of the characters (known as zanpakuto) are armed with swords, and some of these swordsmen are legendary.
It doesn’t hurt that Bleach has soft isekai themes like when Ichigo takes a portal to the Japanese-inspired Soul Society (the afterlife) and later to Hueco Mundo, a supernatural desert full of monsters.
13. THE RISING OF THE SHIELD HERO
Unlike other isekai series, this one isn’t just about the “OP main character frolicking around in a fantasy world” type of stories. Naofumi Iwatani, the protagonist, is a shield-wielding combatant. A team will be necessary to support him in this endeavor.
In order to save the Melromarc kingdom, Naofumi and the other heroes must fight off waves of deadly enemies, and it’s all like a video game, but with sky-high stakes. This series includes stat-enhancing, swords, monsters, and, of course, cool shields. Kirito has been replaced by Naofumi.
12. SAMURAI CHAMPLOO
SAO fans looking for a creative, lighthearted, and wacky take on swordfighting should check out Samurai Champloo. The swordfighting scenes in this series are well-animated and slick, but there’s also plenty of quirky, anachronistic humor.
While searching for Fuu’s father in early 20th century Japan, the three main characters wander the country. A few hip-hop beats will be heard as they cross swords and play baseball along the way. It’s an experience you won’t want to miss.
11. DEMON SLAYER
There is a lot of swordplay in Demon Slayer, like in Bleach. This series depicts a Japan torn between its traditional past and the Western-style future, with demons lurking in the shadows at all times in this series set around the turn of the twentieth century.
Tasked with restoring his demon sister’s humanity, Tanjiro Kamado must learn the art of swordsmanship and take on the most ferocious demons. His ability to learn quickly allows him to form an entire team of sword-wielding heroes.
10. THE KING’S AVATAR
In the King’s Avatar, the protagonist isn’t trapped in an alternate world like in Sword Art Online. In place of that, Ye Xiu plays in the popular eSports tournament Glory. Ye Xiu, fed up with the shady politics of the eSports industry, decides to wipe the slate clean and begin anew with a new character at the tenth server’s grand opening.
Unlike Sword Art Online, The King’s Avatar follows Ye Xiu’s journey back to the top of an MMO, where he spends all of his free time trying to get back to where he left off.
9. THE IRREGULAR AT MAGIC HIGH SCHOOL
One of Japan’s most powerful magical clans, the Yotsuba, is Miyuki Shiba’s family. Tatsuya, her brother, has been assigned as her bodyguard, but he has no interest in magic. To the contrary, he is an expert in both physical combat and magical technology design, and secretly serves as a member of an elite magical combat team.
TheIrregular at Magic High School is a must-read for any Sword Art Online fan who admires how Kirito is able to keep his cool in any situation and overcome any threat thrown at him with ease.
8. IS IT WRONG TO TRY TO PICK UP GIRLS IN A DUNGEON?
Sword Art Online’s most frustrating aspect for first-time viewers is the shattered belief that Kirito would have to gradually ascend the tower. That work is instead ignored in favor of jumping straight to the top floors at an early stage.
In a Dungeon, Is It Illegal to Approach Women? in reverse: Bell Cranel starts out weak but quickly gains a special ability that lets him level up. After that, he begins his journey down the dungeons of his world, searching for treasure for his family.
7. UNBREAKABLE MACHINE-DOLL
Raishin Akabane, the protagonist of Machine Doll, is a lot like Kirito in that he’s calm, likable, and extremely talented, making most battles a piece of cake for him. As a puppeteer, Raishin is a magician who can bring mechanical dolls, known as automatons, to life and bring them to life.
During the Evening Party of the Royal Academy of Machinart, a competition for the best puppeteers and automatons, Raishin and Yaya hope to gain entry. It doesn’t matter who wins, Raishin wants to restore the Akabane Clan’s reputation…and avenge those who torpedoed it.
6. GRIMGAR OF FANTASY AND ASH
In Sword Art Online, there are some people who enjoy the fantasy setting, but aren’t sure about the rest of the storyline or characters. Harem elements may be too much, or the protagonist may be overpowered. We’ve got Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash to help you out in that situation. There are six adventurers who found themselves in a strange new world without a clue as to how they got there or even any recollection of how they got there in the first place.
Emotional turmoil that comes with early adolescence instead of harem. In place of super-powered characters, you get ones who have to put in a lot of effort to defeat slimes and goblins.
In Btooom!, an online game that does not rely on swords or guns, Ryouta Sakamoto is the best player in Japan. Ryouta wakes up one day on an island where the game’s rules and weapons have been recreated.
Before Ryouta is allowed to leave the game, he must kill seven people. His attempts to flout their rules fail because he doesn’t know whom to trust, and he is eventually coerced into following their rules. There’s Btooom!, which is based on the original Sword Art Online’s concept of battling in a life or death game, but with a Battle Royale twist.
4. ACCEL WORLD
Reki Kawahara, the brains behind both Accel World and Sword Art Online, also created both games. Accel World’s protagonists have a different goal in mind when it comes to spending too much time in a virtual reality game. Together, Haruyuki Arita and Kuroyukihime take on the game’s toughest foes, the Six Kings of Pure Color, in the virtual world of Brain Burst.
By defeating them, the two will be able to reach level 10, the highest possible level, and meet the creator of Brain Burst to learn more about the game’s origin.
3. SWORD ART ONLINE ALTERNATIVE – GUN GALE ONLINE
The inclusion of this Sword Art Online spin-off, based on the third game in the series, Gun Gale Online, feels a little out of place. Sigsawa, best known for his work on Kino’s Journey, is behind the series.
She joins Gun Gale Online because her avatar is small and cute compared to her tall real-world self, a college-aged woman named Karen Kohiruimaki. Though set in the same universe as Sword Art Online, Alternative features plenty of exciting gunfights and allusions to SAO’s storylines.
2. LOG HORIZON
As one of SAO’s first “clone” series, Log Horizon was a pioneer in the genre. One major difference between Log Horizon and SAO is that the player dies in Log Horizon, and the player is not resurrected after death. This fundamental shift transforms the experience from one of tense conflict between the player and the game’s enemies and other players into one of exploration and discovery for the player.
Individuals trapped in Elder Tale gradually begin to construct their own social structure.
Elder Tale’s mysterious 12th expansion has altered the game’s rules in ways the players are not aware of, so the characters must come up with creative ways to acquire property and feed themselves.
1. KNIGHT’S & MAGIC
In this fantasy world of magic and giant robots, young Tsubasa Kurata awakens from the dead after being hit by a truck. When Kurata was born Ernesti Echevalier, he retained a love for giant robots and a surprising aptitude for magic, which he used as a super inventor/pilot.
Ernesti (or Eru, as his friends call him) becomes one of the most important people in his country thanks to his inventions and piloting prowess, and he even gets to create his own Knight company where he employs his friends, much like Ernesti does in Sword Art Online not long after entering the alternate world.
After working as a freelancer since 2014, Sage Ashford joined CBR as a staff writer in 2017. She has also written for Comicon and other sites like The Gamer. The majority of his efforts are devoted to disseminating information about obscure anime, comics, and video games.