Ria is an avid anime and sci-fi fan who loves gushing about her latest favorite shows.
Fate/Grand Order (FGO) has been one of the highest-grossing mobile games worldwide for the past few years, and it was only a matter of time before an anime adaptation was announced. The Fate/Grand Order - Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia anime began airing in October 2019, and its slick animation and cameos from fan-favorite characters made it a hit with fans of the franchise.
If you haven't seen the other Fate anime series yet, you should absolutely watch those as soon as possible. If you've worked your way though those, though, you may be struggling to find other action fantasy shows like it. Here are ten series to try if you like FGO's fast-paced battles and larger-than-life characters.
Re:Zero - Starting Life in Another World is one of the most popular isekai anime of all time, and for good reason: it has a harem of female characters who are actually likable and well-rounded. While it doesn't have the same action elements as FGO, it has mystery-thriller elements to it that make it unique in the isekai genre. Its worldbuilding has been critically acclaimed as well.
Though the anime is based on a light novel series, some fans argue that the anime is better due to its stronger writing. The TV series runs for 25 episodes, with a handful of OVA episodes and online specials around as well. There is also a manga adaptation, but it isn't nearly as long as the light novels' massive 21 volumes!
Gate is one of the more mature isekai anime out there, and is a good fit for anime fans who find most isekai anime to be too juvenile. Like the Fate franchise, Gate has high stakes in play, and there are some good geopolitical elements to Gate's setting. The characters aren't as colorful as those of FGO, but they're still enjoyable.
In addition to a 24-episode anime series, Gate has a light novel series and multiple manga adaptations. It remains very popular in Japan, so it could receive another anime adaptation in the future. If you want to watch the anime, try to watch it subtitled, as the English dub script has necessary alterations that take away from the experience.
Record of Grancrest War
This action fantasy anime also has a healthy dose of romance, so if you're a little disappointed by the lack of romance in the Fate franchise, you're in luck here. The 24-episode Record of Grancrest War TV series struggles somewhat with worldbuilding, but if you could handle FGO Babylonia's rushed storytelling, then Grancrest should suit you just fine.
Main romantic interest Siluca is a solid female character, and rises above many tropes that female fantasy characters tend to fall into. The family politics throughout the series are usually interesting, though not as much as the character dynamics in FGO. Overall, Grancrest is worth a watch if you like JRPGs or fantasy anime in general.
The Rising of the Shield Hero
Like FGO, The Rising of the Shield Hero has well-animated battles, unlikely partnerships, and a fantasy setting full of surprises. Main character Naofumi is more well-rounded than most isekai protagonists, and the supporting cast is also interesting. The plot takes some time to get moving, but it allows the characters time to develop.
Shield Hero's first 25-episode season ended in October 2019, and a second and third season have already been announced. The source light novel is already at 22 volumes, and there are multiple manga and light novel spin-offs. This hit series will be around for years to come, so get caught up as soon as possible.
Tokyo Ghoul is an awesome dark fantasy for those who like the darker elements of FGO's mythos. Since it's set in present-day Tokyo, it's missing the sci-fi elements that help make FGO so epic, but it's still an excellent show. It has plenty of twists and turns that surprise even seasoned anime fans.
Unfortunately, the anime adaptation of the series has its shortcomings, and fans of the manga were generally disappointed by the last season of the show. However, the franchise overall is excellent. If the 48-episode anime ends up disappointing you, dive into the manga to get your action fix.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
If FGO appeals to you because of its complex worldbuilding and different characters' factions, then Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood could be your new favorite. Though its setting and premise are very different from FGO's, it still has a blend of action and adventure that won over millions of fans when it aired in 2009. It's a must-watch classic for fans of adventure anime with rich worldbuilding and character development.
It's important to note that there are two Fullmetal Alchemist anime, and the original 2004 anime is also excellent. However, the Brotherhood remake is a little more similar to FGO because of the complex worldbuilding and fantasy elements that emerge late in the series. It's also slightly better than the original, partly because its ending is much more satisfying.
Kill la Kill
Don't overlook this one just because it's weirder than FGO. Kill la Kill has zany character designs and over-the-top action, but at its core, it's a thrilling fantasy story that is a breath of fresh air in the action genre. Main characters Ryuko and Satsuki are way more complex than they appear at first glance, and their journeys are aided by a compelling supporting cast. The plot twists are memorable, too, and it's worth rewatching the series a second time to see the little details you missed the first time through.
The TV series only has 24 episodes plus an OVA, and other than a short manga and a video game, there isn't much content in this franchise. Still, it's a fantastic show that you can finish over a long weekend. (Just don't be surprised when your roommates are alarmed by the fanservice.)
This short and underrated gem should be next on your watchlist if you like dark urban fantasy. The plot twist early in the series may rattle you, but keep watching, as the remainder of the show is well-executed and memorable. The complicated relationship between the two main characters develops quickly, and by the end of the series, you'll be left wanting a lot more.
Fortunately, Ga-Rei: Zero is actually a prequel to a longer manga. The main Ga-Rei series focuses on a different protagonist, but still includes the main characters from the TV series. If you end up not liking Ga-Rei: Zero, though, at least you won't have wasted too much time: it's only 12 episodes.
Darling in the Franxx
Though most mecha series are very different from FGO, this one manages to have many of the same core themes. Darling in the Franxx takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, but like FGO, it never becomes too grimdark or philosophical. It has a few moments with poor writing, but the overall character development is excellent. Like FGO, the fight scenes often require partners to work together, creating many memorable moments over the course of the series.
With 24 episodes and a 6-volume manga, Darling in the Franxx is a relatively short show that has a decent ending. There's no word on any sequels yet, but since the world its set in has lots of potential, the anime's creators may unveil more plans in the future.
If you like FGO's characters and team dynamics, then Soul Eater will likely appeal to you as well. This shounen series manages to avoid the tournament arcs and other tropes that other series fall into. Instead, it plunges straight into the action as various factions emerge from the shadows. There's a small amount of romance, but the show usually focuses on its other strengths, like its unique art style and memorable villains.
The original Soul Eater manga ran for 25 volumes, but the anime ended at just 51 episodes. If you want a more satisfying conclusion to the story, the manga is definitely better. The Soul Eater Not! spinoff series isn't as good, but it's a nice light-hearted diversion.