10 Anime Like Sword Art Online

Updated on August 21, 2017
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Cheeky Kid has been watching anime and reading manga for as long as he can remember. Doing so takes him to different worlds.

Sword Art Online
Sword Art Online | Source

More Action is Coming Your Way with the Anime Like Sword Art Online

Swords, art, and an online game all included in one anime?! What could that possibly mean? Well, whatever the meaning, the level of excitement is exceptionally strong with this one!

Sword Art Online takes a core of depth and adds a flurry of exciting action, excellent visuals, and a charismatic essence no one can resist. Logging into the awesomeness of this show would cause anyone to start searching for equally great alternatives. So with that, we're delivering you an inspiring collection of similar action-based anime. Help yourself to this spectacular list and dive into a whole new world of cutting-edge action and adventure!


In the genesis of a new gaming age, Sword Art Online breaks into the world as the very first VRMMORPG (Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) created. But a deadly event and horrific blunder starts on the first day of its release. All the players who logged into the game are now unable to log out. Forcefully doing so results in death in the real world. And that's not all: when you die in-game, you die in the real world and lose your consciousness forever!

Now, all the players have to team up and form guilds to beat the game and finally be able to log out. That won't be an easy thing to do, as those inside the game grow increasingly hopeless. Will someone be able to save everyone from the deadly clutches of the game?

1. Log Horizon

Log Horizon
Log Horizon | Source

This is as close as another anime can get to Sword Art Online with respect to the theme and the other major online game elements. With a similar plot of players getting stuck inside a VRMMORPG and struggling to get out but minus the game-over (death) scare, Log Horizon is quite a spectacular contender in the VRMMORPG anime genre.

With the ever-popular game known as Elder Tale now on its twelfth expansion, a surreal event begins to transport people into this virtual reality game. Unable to get out of the game or do anything outside of the game's mechanics, the players are forced to live out their time solving what is happening.

Here enters Shiroe, a level-headed genius player who wants to solve the crisis and figure out the mystery that is taking place. With his insane maneuvers paired with his character's support skill set, he plays the game with party mates Naotsugu and Akatsuki in order to stumble onto some sort of clue.

There are no game overs or deaths in this game, so it's up to our heroes to catch the clues and solve the mystery that trapped them inside Elder Tale.

2. .Hack//Legend of the Twilight

 Hack//Legend of the Twilight
Hack//Legend of the Twilight | Source

Before the sudden rise in stardom of Sword Art Online and the various other anime shows in the same genre, there was .Hack//Legend of the Twilight. And even though it wasn't able to garner that much popularity, it started the booming of the online game anime genre.

.Hack//Legend of the Twilight tells the story of two kids who won two special in-game characters in the game called The World. Shugo dons the legendary character "Kite" while Rena dons the legendary character "Black Rose." With the game on its usual course, Kite and Black Rose play to their hearts' content. But one day, Kite discovers the twilight bracelet he always had and manipulates its secret data draining powers.

A power like data drain dangerously risks the balance of the game is. It might just save the world, though, as mysterious events also begin to manifest (with some players mysteriously disappearing and falling into comas in the real world).

Will everything be fixed in the end? Everything just doesn't seem to be right with this game anymore so Shugo, Rena, and the whole party must find a way to get to the bottom of things.

3. Btooom!

Btooom! | Source

In our current world, mitigated by all sorts of digital stuff and data creations, what would you do if the game you last played were now your reality? I'm sure it would be totally okay if it were something light, mild, and fantastical. But, what if you are now playing a character in a real-life brutal survival game? Would you still want to live in that reality?

This kind of horrific scenario is exactly what we witness in the bomb-survival-game anime Btooom!!!

N.E.E.T. (Not in education, employment, or training) Sakamoto Ryouta has lived his life indulging in the virtual world of online games. As a matter of fact, he's one of the best players in a bomb-oriented survival game known as Btooom! But, unknown to him and all other players, this game carries a dark, grim secret: it is being tested real-time on an isolated island with the characters played by the cast-outs of society.

Since Ryouta has pretty much lived a useless life where all he does is play online games with no regard to other people, he one day finds himself on the island where his favorite game has become a bloody reality.

With real bombs and grenades (the basic weapon of the game) in his hands, will he be able to play Btooom in real life? Or will he just fall prey to the murderous intent of the other players? Is there a way to escape this horror?

Be a spectator of the game-based reality show and see the outcome as well as the dark secret of the real-life bomb-oriented survival game of Btooom!

4. Mirai Nikki (Future Diary)

Mirai Nikki (Future Diary)
Mirai Nikki (Future Diary) | Source

Did anyone say survival game? Well, the story of Mirai Nikki (Future Diary) is different from just any survival game you have seen in the world. That's because the sole winner of this deadly survival game gets to become the God of Space and Time!

Deus Ex Machina is the current omnipotent God of Space and Time. But, in a mysterious twist of fate that encompasses all, Deus Ex Machina begins to deteriorate. Once he disappears, everything shall cease to exist. And so, to prevent the world from treading a path of destruction, a deadly survival game with the purpose of choosing a new god comes to fruition.

Battle the odds of survival as the twelve chosen future diary holders who are given the power to see the future in various unique ways. They must fight amongst themselves to survive and eventually become the new god of time and space.

With a perfect combination of action, drama, thrill, suspense, mystery, slice of life, and a little bit of light humor, Mirai Nikki is a god-like, thrilling anime that will keep you on the edge of your seat...and your sanity. It's an awesome anime beyond the comprehension of any other title.

5. Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin)

Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin)
Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin) | Source

On that fateful day, humanity received a grim reminder. They've come to hide themselves behind giant walls out of fear. All is rooted out of fear of the monstrosity known as the titans!

In this humongously epic anime, follow Eren Jaeger along with the rest of humanity as they strike back at the nape of those flesh-hungry titans. Just what awaits the noble struggles of our heroes? And what exactly are the titans, and where did they come from? Will humanity stand victorious against the merciless carnage of the titans? Witness the horrifying yet exhilarating scenes of battle and action as they unfold before your eyes.

I guarantee you that this anime, Shingeki no Kyojin, is a sure-fire hit that you will probably dig your fangs into. Its unusual yet sort of realistic elements will give you a brand new look into the innovation of anime. Grand plot line, awesome characterization, effort-full graphics, and jaw-dropping cut-scenes — you'll find them all here in Shingeki no Kyojin!

6. Ixion Saga DT

Ixion Saga DT
Ixion Saga DT | Source

Again, Ixion Saga DT is yet another show within the domain of online-gaming-based anime. However, this one's heavier on the comical and fantastical side! That means that this series caters more to the fantasy and comedy aspects of MMORPG anime.

Kon is your usual teenage video game addict. One day, an unexpected yet unforgettable experience happens. The video game Kon was playing sucked him into the world of Alma for reasons yet unknown.

Now, Kon starts his wacky gaming-world adventure with the most unlikely of teammates. One teammate is a beautiful cross-dressing male, another is a huge honorable brute, another is a midget princess, and another is a shady but cute pet.

Will the odds of the World of Alma be in favor of this newly-formed band of misfits? Or is their whole journey just a way for this unusually funny series to troll us? More importantly, what's at the end of Kon and his wacky party's laughable adventure?

There's only one way to figure this all out. Join the party and the adventure yourself and see what funky mysteries the World of Alma holds. This anime is gonna keep you trolled to no end, so prepare for laughs!

7. Overlord

Overlord | Source

Have you ever wished of living in a game-like world where you’re the all-powerful supreme? Have you ever dreamed of being an almighty creature that can bend everything at its will? Well, lucky for Momonga as the aforementioned questions are now his new realities.

Overlord? Yes, we’re talking about Overlord here! And the Overlord we’re talking about is Momonga! Now spreading his name as Ainz Ooal Gown, Momonga never imagined that a day will come when he’ll be living as the overlord of a virtual world. Actually, it all happened in a flash. Momonga doesn’t even know what happened to him in the first place!

But, now that he has power, loyal servants, and is the all-powerful Overlord of the world of the world Yggdrasil, he might as well enjoy the out-of-the-world experience!

8. Digimon Adventure

Digimon Adventure
Digimon Adventure | Source

Before the onset of the current video-game-based anime genre, we already had an anime that took place inside a digital world. That place is the Digiworld (Digital World), a place where creatures known as Digimon (Digital Monsters) dwell and live.

The story of Digimon revolves around the chosen children known as the Digi-destined, as they mysteriously get drawn into the Digiworld. Clueless about what is going on with their fateful encounter, the chosen children set out to explore the new-found world. Along the way, they meet dangers and predicaments that they have never experienced before. They won't have to face the trials by themselves, though, because their Digimon friends and partners are coming to the rescue.

Watch the digi-destined children and their Digimon friends as they tackle the strange Digiworld and battle their way through devious traps set by mysterious evil foes in order to find their way home and put the human world and the digital world in balance.

This is a one-of-a-kind digital adventure you shouldn't miss. Don't worry, the Digimon are there to accompany you on your grand digital adventure!

9. No Game No Life

No Game No Life
No Game No Life | Source

If it’s all just about games and whatnot, then No Game No Life is something you should seriously consider watching!

No Game No Life follows the game-conquering story of “Blank”—the entity resulting from the impeccable teamwork of brother-and-sister duo, Shiro and Sora! Together, Shiro and Sora are invincible! At any game of all walks and cheats, Blank is the perfect gamer.

And so one day, Shiro and Sora are invited by a mysterious entity to another world. That world, is none other than—Disboard—a world with games as its essence. It’s the perfect world for Shiro and Sora! Will they be able to conquer it as Blank as well?

No Game No Life is the show to watch if you want your brain to be tickled by mind plays, twists, and games in general.

10. DanMachi (Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?)

DanMachi (Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?)
DanMachi (Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?) | Source

If the world was just a gaming world, everything would absolutely be different! Fighting monsters, levelling-up, saving the world, searching for treasures—such bliss! If the world was such, would everything truly be blissful? Would the world be as magical and mystical as it sounds?

In a far-off land, there exists a dungeon with unimaginable depth and mystery. It can be found in the city of Ontario. And in that city, new dreams and desires are made.

One day, a new adventurer by the name of Bell Cranel stumbles upon the goddess, Hestia. Both of them have their own goals and dreams. Bell wants to be one of the adventurers that ever existed while Hestia wants to be followed by loyal followers and make her own guild famous and successful. Such is the beginning of a new story. A grand adventure awaits!

Based on this list, what's next on your watchlist?

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Questions & Answers


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      • profile image

        Sawa-san 6 weeks ago

        Log horizon, No Game No life and Danmachi are way better than sao, still is a good anime but these are better.

      • profile image

        PonyBoy636 2 months ago

        HA more like anime like .Hack, SAO is literally inferior to that anime series

      • profile image

        The Anime Virus 2 months ago

        If ya'll haven't checked out the anime King's Avatar, go check it out though it's Chinese is ligit and way better than almost all the anime listed here. You have my welcome if you're gonna say thanks.

      • profile image

        FruitPornDesuka 7 months ago

        first of all yes that is my normal user name and not to be confused with FruitPornDesu

        now onto the list.... personally DanMachi is as close as it gets in an overall viewpoint thats coming from the guy who has watched all of these 29 times (rough average SAO take the most rewatches from me about 40) now i know what poeple say about SAO but it is my 2nd favorite anime after the classic DxD and i really love the series but there are no anime that can make me feel like SAO does and ye si know Hack series has the same trrapped in a game thing but it doesnt have the romance nor the drama (the slight bit tht SAO has i hate most drama cuz its over done) but most of all... the Hack series... HAS Ranged weapons... lol sry just a little joke but i relly wish any one of thee lists could have something like the chiese anime... FUCK WHAT WAS IT well if you look up SAO done right chinese you should find it on YT but other than that thats my 10 cents

      • profile image

        player 7 months ago

        Danmachi has also Skills like SAO so its right to do it in this list.

      • profile image

        hi 8 months ago

        im sorry but aot and a few others in this list are WAAAAAAAYYYYY better than SAO

      • profile image

        A random guy 8 months ago

        Why and how does Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon? make it to this list?

      • profile image

        Natsu Dragneel 9 months ago

        Can anyone tell me if i can reply to someone's comment since i'm new to this and BTW if you want good anime you can try Code Geass, Death Note, Yona of the Dawn, Accel World, Vampire Knight only Accel World is like SAO tho the others i mentioned are good as well imma try Batoom from this list

      • profile image

        oncetwicenotthrice 11 months ago

        tbh its slightly offensive to even COMPARE sao with better anime like mirai nikki, snk, and ng nl.

      • profile image

        Sanji The Boss 11 months ago

        Accel world is set about 20 years after Sao

      • Cheeky Kid profile image

        Cheeky Kid 12 months ago from Milky Way

        @Ding Ding I don't know the specifics as there are no announcements yet so let's just hope that it's this year or the next.

      • Cheeky Kid profile image

        Cheeky Kid 12 months ago from Milky Way

        @david Never heard of it but I'll try to see it.

      • profile image

        Ding Ding 12 months ago

        Do you know when-abouts, Cheeky Kid. Because I can't find anything about an expected release time :/

      • Cheeky Kid profile image

        Cheeky Kid 12 months ago from Milky Way

        @ddd Yup, there will be. It's coming soon.

      • profile image

        ddd 12 months ago

        their saying there will be a season 3 of sao

      • profile image

        jules granet 17 months ago

        Where is accel world ?

      • profile image

        kamitorin 2 years ago

        No game no life....should be included in this list as well......

      • profile image

        Saika 2 years ago

        well i've watched them all!! i just want a good anime! why can't i find new ones i haven't watched?!

      • dailytop10 profile image

        dailytop10 2 years ago from Davao City

        @kimzkie : i think there is no new so far about season 3, I think we will be waiting long for a season 3 provided that there is.

      • dailytop10 profile image

        dailytop10 2 years ago from Davao City

        @kimzkie : there are rumors that NGNL season 2 will be released in 2016 but i think it has not started yet, many like you are waiting for it.

      • Cheeky Kid profile image

        Cheeky Kid 2 years ago from Milky Way

        @kimzkie Well, good news is...there'll be season 2 for NGNL soon. Yay!

      • profile image

        kimzkie 2 years ago

        pleaseer give me a alost of every anime that is worth watching .i have already seen the ones on this list please guys..hehehe and btw is there a s3 of ngnl?and log horrizon??

      • profile image

        Stony 2 years ago

        How is Attack on Titan like SAO? I'm failing to draw the connection.

      • profile image

        RLM101 2 years ago

        Attack on titan ...the best boring series i ever seen..... .And it was damn slow and little content in each episodes.every episodes pain and misery..over and over and over..like a military movie." what exactly are the titans, and where did they come from?".. the questions remains unanswered and i can believe I watched every episode to know about the secrets of titan .nothing but waste of time for me

      • profile image

        anone 2 years ago

        Monster Rancher should be here

      • profile image

        Yato God 2 years ago

        Overlord must be here!!!

      • profile image

        slfkdker 2 years ago

        Overlord new anime has 10 episode so far! It's just like Sword art online. The main character is left behind the game, and he still has his all skills from the game. Worth to check out, might be my new favorite anime.

      • profile image

        Opinoner 2 years ago

        Log horizon has an older target audience for example all these animes have scenes where the "hero" in the series is always fought over by girls, this bugs me as it is set at an audience of teenagers. instead Log horizon is more grown up in that matter and focuses more on strategy, its a shame it doesn't have graphics like SAO otherwise it would be in its own level. but i like watching them all plus theres a new anime you should watch its called "Is it okay to pick up a girl in a dungeon" this is like a real life SAO but with extras like leveling

      • profile image

        Iman 2 years ago

        I'm new to watching animes and I loved SAO (the second season is awesome!), so I'm excited to watch all of those, especially Log Horizon, it's very similar to SAO.

      • profile image

        Kuraj-a 2 years ago

        There is also "No Game No Life" anime.

      • profile image

        Meow =^-^= 2 years ago

        Is It Wrong To Try to Pick Up Girls In a Dungeon?

        This anime has the same feel as SAO. It has a level based dungeon and is set in real life instead of the game setting.

      • profile image

        Guest 2 years ago

        DanMachi is a new anime series currently airing that's based of light novels (i've read ahead 4 books) and i can say its easily the closest thing out to sword art online, i believe the voice acter for the MC is the same as Kirito too, so check it out if you're a fan of SAO :)

      • profile image

        The Khaos vi Brittania 3 years ago

        May I suggest an alternative for the author; Given SAO is a Light novel and love stories are also a focus on the main story I would very much suggest Zero no Tsukaima as a great alternative to who lived SAO, given its also a light novel based on a pair that falls in love and it has great dueling' sword and magic fightings.

        Thanks for the attention.

      • profile image

        RenV 3 years ago

        These are manga but i think comparable to SAO-

        1. Tate no yuusha no nariagari

        2. The new gate

      • profile image

        Meroth 3 years ago

        I've seen 5/7 on this list..

        - Ixion Saga DT

        - Log Horizon

        - Mirai Nikki

        - Btoooom

        - Attack on Titan

        I've gotta say though I really expected Accel World to be on this list? And I disagree with a lot of these comments I thought SAO was much better than Log Horizon but I am yet to start the second series. SAO's characters were just so much better & the action scenes were also better.

      • profile image

        nick 3 years ago

        Why would they say the .hack sequel started it all, and not the original .hack//sign. It seems very odd, as if the author isn't aware of the original. I loved .hack//sign. One of my favorites for many years

      • profile image

        shawn 3 years ago

        you for got about Accel World great game anime

      • profile image

        Damo 3 years ago

        No game no life should be on this list it's great! :)

      • Cheeky Kid profile image

        Cheeky Kid 3 years ago from Milky Way

        @tiagodamiao haha. I kinda agree with that you've said about gun gale online but -- that's just one arc as the upcoming arcs would be much better (even on par with the first one).

        And the BTOOOM, I definitely recommend that to you. Less fantasy and more seriousness. Thanks.

      • tiagodamiao profile image

        Tiago Damião 3 years ago from Torres Novas

        Interesting Hub. When SAO came out I remember everyone saw that anime. And when was the time for anime events everyone choose Kirito or Asuka. In the next year, was the time for SNK. But I don't think SNK has anything to do with SAO. Even the fights are different, but it's only my opinion. The most anime like sao that you have on the list is Log Horizon, and off course, it's better. The first season was amazing!

        The only thing that was bad in SAO was the 2nd world and now in SAO 2 the GGO. For me, SAO has only 13 episodes.

        But you have a good hub here! I have to see BTOOM and .hack//.

      • Cheeky Kid profile image

        Cheeky Kid 3 years ago from Milky Way

        @angelwolfchild as usual, thanks for your overwhelming support. It's kinda flattering to find an anime-lover like you here. You should try watching the BTOOOM! though because it definitely is action-packed as well. As for the Ixion Saga DT, it's more on the comedic side of things rather than action and serious business.

      • angelwolfchild profile image

        Angela McCann 3 years ago from Liverpool

        Only seen four on this list, and honestly the others don't really appeal to me. I must admit I was eager to find more anime like Sword Art Online because I loved that show, so finding things like Log Horizon was great. In some ways Log Horizon is actually better than Sword Art Online because it focuses on living rather than combat (although SAO has the better visuals and characters personally). Mirai Nikki is just fantastic, I could not get enough of this show. Digimon... that's a childhood favourite so huge nostalgia points, plus it's one of the few shows I love just as much now as I did when I was young. Attack on Titan is brilliant, but I feel like I never really got the hype around it. There's nothing wrong with it, but I just didn't go as crazy for it as everyone else seemed to, so not really sure what to say about that. Anyone, great job with another awesome list.

      • Cheeky Kid profile image

        Cheeky Kid 3 years ago from Milky Way

        Wow dailytop10, you must be the real-deal of otaku. I'm still halfway through Log Horizon and I plan to finish it ASAP. Thanks by the way. :D

      • dailytop10 profile image

        dailytop10 3 years ago from Davao City

        I've seen all of the animes mentioned on this list and my favorite so far is Log Horizon. It's a complete package. Romance, humor, action, and a good plot; Log Horizon has it all.hehe Thanks for sharing this cool hub and have a great day!