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Anime like Sword Art Online is one of the pioneers of the Isekai genre with its source material dating back to 2002. The most crucial thing to note about popularizing a genre is that at first, it would create a sense of hype among fans followed by disappointment. It’s a trial and error process, and eventually, the refined product would be worth the time. The same thing happens to Sword Art Online. The first season got mixed reviews from fans, but the next season got a positive response. The Sword Art Online anime series was able to improve, with the third season becoming the most popular anime of Fall 2018.
Synopsis: The launch of Sword Art Online (SAO) has attracted lots of new players on its release. The game allows players to control their in-game avatar by using their thoughts with the help of a technology called Nerve Gear. Kazuto Kirigaya, aka Kirito, was one of the few beta testers who experience the world of SAO, which has medieval weapons and gruesome monsters before anyone else. As usual, Kirito logs in the game along with 10,000 new players. But he notices something is different. It turns out that there is no logout button.
The creator of SAO reveals that he has trapped everyone inside the game, and the only way to get out is to reach the 100th floor of the game’s tower and defeat the final boss. The worst part is if the player dies in the game, they die in real life. Will Kirito be able to survive in this virtual fantasy world?
Sword Art Online series has an excellent concept, but it failed with the execution. Still, it was able to improve and overcome the flaws. If you are looking for anime like Sword Art Online where characters get trapped inside games, then look no further. Here are some anime similar to Sword Art Online.
Anime Similar To Sword Art Online
01. Accel World
Haruyuki Arita is a highschooler who gets bullied for his overweight. Playing video games is his only to blow off some steam, but even that is taken from him when someone tops his high scores. It turns out that Kuroyukihime, the popular vice president of the student council, is the one who broke Haruyuki’s record. She invites Haruyuki to Brain Burst program, which accelerates brain waves to a certain point where time gets to stop.
The Brain Burst program works as an augmented reality fighting game and rewards points in duel match against other players. Kuroyukihime wants to find the creator of this program, and the only way to find it by defeating the leaders within the game. Kuroyukihime wants Haruyuki to help to win the game, and in return, she helps him with the bullies.
02. Log Horizon
Out of nowhere, thirty thousand Japanese players of the popular MMORPG, Elder Tale, get taken into the virtual world after the latest update. The players soon found out that there is no log out button, and they are trapped inside the game forever. Among the player is Shiroe, a veteran of the game who immediately starts exploring the limits of this virtual reality to overcome the confusion.
Shiroe soon gets joined by Naotsugu, who logged in-game after many years just to get trapped. And Akatsuki, a ninja who considers Shiroe as her master. Now the team of three players explores this game while trying to talk with NPC to learn more about this fantasy world.
Ryouta Sakamoto is a hikikomori whose only achievement is being the top player in the popular online video game Btooom! But his peaceful life gets taken away when he finds himself on an island with a green crystal embed on hand. It turns out someone decided to make Btooom into a real-life game with the player’s life on stake.
The players are armed with a bag full of unique bombs called BIM, just like the video game. Anyone who kills seven players and takes thier crystal can return home safely. While Ryouta wanted to avoid any violence, but it seems like the other players don’t have the same opinions. Ryouta teams up with fellow player Himiko to try to get off the island safely.
Tsukasa wakes up in the MMORPG called The World. He doesn’t remember how he got there or what was he doing there. He founds an altered cat character accompanying him and gets suspected to be a hacker by The Crimson Knights of the game. While trying to log-out, he discovers that the button is missing, so he starts looking for answers while avoiding the knights and other players.
While exploring this virtual world, he discovers a magical item that grants him protection and will act as his guardian. The leader of Crimson Knights, Subaru, learned about Tsukasa’s problem and started digging more into it before it gets out of hand. Join Tsukasa trying to find the solution in the fantasy virtual game of The World.
The popular virtual reality game Yggdrasil is going to shut down its servers in a few hours. Momonga, the leader of the top guild, Ainz Ooal Gown, decides to spend the final moments in the game. But to his surprise, the game continues to work even after it’s designated shutdown time. Momonga is still able to control his in-game character and order his NPC servants who somehow developed personalities.
Confused Momonga orders his servants to look out and help him investigate this abnormal situation. He starts by securing his house and looks for the nearby villages to learn more about the problem. Follow Momonga as he sets out in hopes of figuring out what has caused him stuck inside the game while looking for any other players like him.
06. Imawa no Kuni no Alice (Alice in Borderland)
Ryouhei Arisu is a high schooler who has no interest in the future and wants an escape from reality. One night while hanging out with his friends, Daikichi Karube and Chouta Segawa, he sees large firework in the clear night sky. Blinded by the light from the fireworks, the next thing he notices is that he finds himself on an island with his friends.
The island is a deserted city known as Borderland, and the only known residents are players like Ryouhei. To survive in Borderland, players have to participate in a deadly game. The tasks and rules of the game change every time. As Ryouhei and his two friends try to win the game and find a way out, Ryouhei discovers that he is enjoying life way better than he ever has.