25+ Anime like Sword Art Online (RATED)!!

Anime like Sword Art Online

Sword Art Online was one of the big guns that managed to break through the walls protecting the western world from anime. It unleashed a wave of weebery on an international level, gathering many fans despite the questionable quality.

Many people continued to follow the developments of SAO years after the first season, and as the main series ended recently, it’s time to collect anime to watch that are similar to SAO, but they are unique on their own.

This list is not only subjective but the entries are ranked based on their similarity to SAO, their animation quality, and the cool concepts or well-built stories. The versatility of these aspects might create a list unfaithful to the true quality of the show, and it may reflect a bias towards some in this category. There is one special anime at the end of this article, so make sure to read it all the way through!

Table of Content

26. Ixion Saga DT

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While the overall quality of this anime is quite shabby, it is pretty similar to Sword Art Online. The protagonist is OP, and while the story is not set in a game world, it can be considered a fantasy world. 

The main goal of the protagonist, Hokaze Kon is to retrieve the princess and find a way to get back to his own reality from the World of Mirror. Do you think it’s worth a try?

25. Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up
Girls in a Dungeon?

Is it wrong to try to pick up girls at a dungeon - Having amazing artwork and animation, this anime is very similar to Seven Deadly Sins. We notice both the MCs chasing after girls and showcasing their perverted sides with 0 SHAME. The plot of both the anime is also quite similar with MCs possessing exceptional powers and abilities.   The story follows the life of a young and naive boy, Bell Carnel who aspires to become the greatest and the strongest adventurer. He soon encounters a goddess named Hestia and with her support, he finds himself very close to his goals. Though, his journey is not as easy as it seems. He has to break his way through dungeons filled with blood-thirsty monsters and mysterious creatures in order to prove the honor of his familiar!
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Every time I’m writing about this anime, I have to state the final answer to the titular question: yes, it is wrong. But it can be fun, I guess?

DanMachi is actually a well-made anime with realistic RPG elements, and also featuring some reasonable story developments. A good protagonist can carry the whole show they say, and Bell surely is one!

24. In Another World with My Smartphone

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I’m sure that your teacher asked you the age-old question once already: if you were stranded on an empty island, what would be the one thing you’d bring? If you answered ‘your smartphone,’ then congrats on giving the worst answer.

In this anime world, smartphones somehow work without charging every three hours – yes, I’m calling out Apple on this one. The protagonist, Touya, got popular quickly after being sent to a new world with his phone, and he is also pretty strong with his equipment.

23. Demon Lord Retry

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To summarize these anime perfectly, I could just say that Demon Lord Retry and SAO are the exact same, but this time the protagonist is a demon lord. Well, it wouldn’t be perfectly true, as there are some other minor things that differentiates the two.

Akira Oono, the talented game developer, one day woke up in his own game as the demon lord. While being incredibly handsome with long hair, he soon encountered other characters that he didn’t remember creating! Did he really get transported to his game?

22. Btooom!

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Btooom!, with many vowels and an exclamation mark, is quite similar to SAO. Both anime feature OP MCs, and those players really can’t log out of their games. Ryota works hard to get back to his world, but that journey will be long and painful.

He soon encounters the Asuna copy Himiko with blonde hair, and they continue their adventure together in the new world.

21. Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody

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This anime is a perfect SAO lookalike, but sadly it can’t be ranked higher due to its poor storytelling. To be honest, if SAO were to be ranked on this list too, it might as well be next to Death March, haha.

In this show, the players once again can’t log out, and the smallest mistakes can cost them their lives! But don’t worry, the protagonist is OP enough.

20. And You Thought There
Is Never a Girl Online?

And You Thought There Is Never a Girl Online?
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No, of course, there are gamer girls! Rusian had some trouble accepting this though, as he was led on by an older guy pretending to be a cute girl online. Not being able to trust females ever again, Rusian continued to play games. 

He, one day, encountered a group of girls online, and they agreed to meet up despite his distrust towards them. This time his crush actually was not only a girl but also his schoolmate! The interesting part about this anime is that the players aren’t really stuck in a game, but they act like their usual selves in the game!

19. Summer Wars

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While it’s primarily a comedy anime, Summer Wars is a good watch for the fans of SAO! There might not be an endless number of similarities, the protagonists are well above the rest in both shows, and Summer Wars also features an interesting new world.

Kenji was asked to rewrite a code that was somehow responsible for rewriting the past and the future. The balance of the world was quickly shaken, and it is up to the genius problem kid to solve the trouble he caused!

18. My Next Life as a Villainess:
All Routes Lead to Doom!

My Next Life As A Villainess
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A girl had the misfortune to reincarnate as the main antagonist of her favorite game, Fortune Lover. Now as Catarina Claes she has a clear mission: to not die. Sadly the main villain got defeated in every original scenario of the game, and her options are limited.

While Catarina has a vast knowledge of game mechanics, she is not a god. Her job is a little harder than Kirito’s, but she wasn’t planning on giving up on the start!

17. Darwin’s Game

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Darwin’s Game is not really like SAO, but it somehow feels like you’re watching SAO once again. Maybe because both are pretty bad? It was a joke, calm down 🙂

In Darwin’s Game, the protagonist was scammed by a mobile game, and instead of fighting reasonable enemies in the game, he encountered them in real life. Now that’s why you shouldn’t download everything! Kaname fought for his life instead of a new skin, and I don’t think he would recommend it to anyone.

16. How Not To Summon A Demon Lord

How not to summon a demon lord
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We already get a reasonable answer to the titular question in the first episode, which is quite simple: you might get enslaved by him. Diablo isn’t a bad guy, but he accidentally reversed the summoning technique on the two girls who summoned him, and thus he got some fun companions.

The isekai aspects are both shared with SAO. The wonderful trio of adventurers consists of the insanely OP protagonist, the big chest elf, and the loli catgirl. The perfect combination!

15. Problem Children are Coming from Another World, Aren't They?

Problem children are coming from another world, aren't they?
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Oh hell, they might be! While we have no reasonable explanation why children can’t just accept our rules and shut up for good, this anime presents an interesting idea. 

Mondaiji-tachi has some shared aspects with SAO. The animation is quite similar, which is weird because they weren’t made by the same studio, nor do they share the same manga author! One thing for sure, the MC here is also OP, and the world they live in, Little Garden is also game-based.

14. KonoSuba: God's Blessing on This Wonderful World!

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Konosuba is one of the funniest anime you could ever find! While most of the jokes are based on alcoholism and perversion, it is quite sophisticated. Only the truest of the cultured weebs and the champions of gender equality can enjoy this masterpiece!

When the loser Kazuma died in some hilarious circumstances, he was given a choice to pick anything he wanted and start a new life in another world. He chose the very goddess giving him the option, Aqua. Now that the two good-for-nothings are trapped in their new home, they go on to recruit more mental case adventurers and they all spend their days bumming around with plenty of danger!

13. Grimgar: Ashes and Illusions

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The lightweight version of the Falcon Band presents itself in a new world, where fighting for survival is the number one priority. A newly formed mercenary band consisting of people with hazy memories of another life kicked off their adventure to not die on day one, and it went phenomenally.

Grimgar is a ruthless world, where only the strongest survive. Kirito wouldn’t have a problem here, but the current mains are not invincible. While many aspects are shared by the two anime, Grimgar is a team-based battle royale at its finest.

12. No Game No Life

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While the title should be Yes Game No Life for us to relate to, this anime is a certified frosty! Let’s not continue in Glass Reflection’s style. This series features smart people outplaying every one of their opponents in the world of games, which is already a good concept!

No Game No Life and SAO lack similarities all around the board, but there are some things we can bring up! Both anime feature overpowered mains, but in NGNL they are strong because of their intellect. The siblings also work their way through the ocean of game partners to get back to their world and claim prestige along the way.

11. Re:Zero

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Re;Zero quickly became a fan favorite of 2016, which wasn’t a surprise, as both the animation and the twisted plot were polished to perfection. New concepts and best girls (REM) were introduced, but we had to wait a few years for the continuation.

The second season took a different tone, and it also explored the lore of Re;Zero a bit. While there is not much to bring up that SAO did the same, there are traces of connection along the way. Re;Zero is a good watch for sure!

10. Tower of Druaga: The Aegis of Uruk

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This anime and SAO have a lot in common, especially because it is also a tower-based RPG. Clearing a floor lets you advance to the next one, but unlike in SAO’s case, this time it actually takes effort and skill to complete a level.

Hunting for rare items and dealing with unrealistic problems is also part of the two anime, but Tower of Druaga is much more simplistic in many ways. 

9. Deadman Wonderland

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Deadman Wonderland brought up a fantastic concept, and we can safely say that it delivered perfectly. There are many who are discontent with the later developments, but I’m satisfied with the final product!

Imagine going on a field trip to visit a prison (I’d rather not), but your whole class gets murdered by the „Red Man”, and you get framed for the massacre. It wasn’t bad enough, your prison will be that exact one you would have visited! Among absolutely insane people, can you find the truth behind everything that happened?

8. That Time I Got
Reincarnated as a Slime

That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime
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Tensura got a huge hype train going when it was first revealed. There is no particular reason for its success, as it is just an all-around well-made isekai. Maybe that’s exactly the reason why it got so popular!

What could be worse than being stabbed? Reincarnating as slime is the perfect answer to that question. Well, Rimuru had some good buffs, to begin with, like merging with the all-powerful dragon of the universe, Veldora, and thus becoming pretty OP. The new seasons are still airing I believe, so make sure to check it out!

7. Log Horizon

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Log Horizon also used the infamous trapping the players in a game cliche, but the story developed for the better in Log Horizon’s case. It actually turned out to be a pretty good geopolitical anime, with plenty of versatile quests to complete along the way.

The protagonist, Shiroe, had a vast knowledge of the game mechanics, and using his intellect he had no problem overcoming the different obstacles that were thrown in front of him. Shiroe lives his life to the fullest in his new reality, and he gives us some quality enjoyment.

6. Overlord

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It’s not hard to see why Overlord is up here. The premise is almost the same as in SAO’s case, but the turn of events can make the two series drift apart quickly. Still, the MC is overpowered in both cases, and they can’t get out of the game!

In Overlord, Ainz actually decided to stay there while the game servers got shut down, and he wasn’t so bamboozled by the fact that he has to live in his favorite game after all. The massive skeleton warlord had plenty to do in his new full-time “job”, but sadly the story wasn’t quite thought out.

5. Rising of The Shield Hero

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Shield Hero was already treated as a copy of SAO when it was airing, but I can assure you that it has some better qualities. At the end of the day, both anime are just isekais, so you shouldn’t expect a conclusion that fast.

In Shield Hero, Naofumi got summoned to an RPG world through a book, where he was chosen as one of the four great heroes to protect the realm. He became the Shield Hero, the lamest one of all. Surprisingly everyone was quite hostile to him, to the point that he was accused of crimes on his first day, and was exiled.

As he continued his journey, Naofumi acquired a generic female lead, and he also got to awaken his insanely overpowered abilities. He only has one goal though: to get back to his world.

4. .hack//Sign

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The first .hack// season came out in 2002, a whopping ten years before SAO did. Many people claim that the latter is based on the .hack// series, which isn’t hard to understand if you watched both shows.

When Tsukasa woke up in another world, he was immediately thrown into danger. Not understanding his situation, he wandered The World to find answers. The World is basically an MMORPG, but Tsukasa can’t have that much fun with it. He set off to find out why he can’t log out, which turned out to be a long journey!

3. Accel World

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Accel World is surprisingly quite similar to SAO, despite the initial thoughts. The main character was a hardcore gamer, and he couldn’t find happiness anywhere else. He was introduced to a program called Brain Burst by the popular girl, Kuroyukihime

It was somehow able to manipulate brain waves into thinking that time stopped for everyone, and it also served as a VR fighting game. To gain points, a player must defeat another. Kuroyukihime asked MC to get to the last level and find out who made all of this happen.

Accel World is also quite close to SAO because it uses some of the exact same pieces of equipment mentioned in both series!

2. Digimon Frontier

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Digimon Frontier is a big nostalgia source for me. Many people would disagree about this one, as we all have different ideas about which Digimon season was the best. As you might know, every season gave a different setting, and they were all independent from each other storywise.

Frontier was my personal favorite, and it is the one that resembles SAO the most. According to the plot, the five main characters were invited to a train station by a mysterious voice, and they were taken to the digital world from there.

They must figure out who called them there, and why they can’t go back to their world. Along the way, they all obtain the spirits of the ancient warriors, and they become able to transform into the most powerful monsters.

1. Gun Gale Online

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I’ve decided to give a little boost to Gun Gale’s score, as it actually should be the number one on the list of anime similar to Sword Art Online, but it wouldn’t have made it if we judged it faithfully.

The reason why it is so similar to SAO is quite simple. Gun Gale is a spin-off of SAO, this time with a female protagonist. The two shows are almost identical, but Gun Gale focuses more on the dynamic of the main characters, and guns, obviously. 

If you liked SAO you should give a chance to this one as well, but the overall quality might be even worse this time. It’s up to you!

Conclusion

Sword art online

These were our top picks for the best anime that resemble Sword Art Online! Make sure to submit your ideas down below about what should be corrected here and there, or just tell us your opinion about the article in the comments. You can also check out our other lists about isekai anime, or the one about overpowered main characters!

Soooooooooooooooooooo Tell Me,
which one... are you ready to watch!?

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