Sword Art Online is one of the most popular anime ever, thanks to its enticing setting of being trapped in a Virtual Reality world. There are many people who dislike Sword Art Online (and even more so Sword Art Online II) and there are good reasons for that, I didn’t really like much of it either.
This type of anime is called Isekai, which is defined as an anime which plays in an alternative dimension or world to the real world.
However, there are many similar anime that have done things better and today I will list some of them.
1. Sword Art Online: Alicization
If you did not watch it yet and want to find out how the original story continues, this sequel is for you.
2. Log Horizon
Log Horizon is very similar to Sword Art Online in its setting, being in an MMORPG world in which the players are stuck.
Even if the MC, Shiroe, is shown as a bland, spotless character at first, he strategically solves the difficulties he faces in the world of Elder Tale, which makes the story exciting to follow.
Where Sword Art Online failed at losing focus and wandering to other dimensions, Log Horizon sticks to the original topic
3. Accel World
If you do not like the idea of being trapped in a video game world, you might want to check out Accel World. Its big difference to Sword Art Online is that players can log out and go back to the real world at their will.
Instead, the story of Accel World focuses on a program called “Brain Burst”, which allows players to accelerate their thought processes by winning duels against other players.
4. No Game No Life
In both Sword Art Online and No Game No Life, the main characters are transported to a video game world which has many secrets to explore.
No Game No Life concentrates less on the hardship of the characters and the development of romantic relationships but instead focuses comedy, vibrant colors and fanservice.
This anime, compared to the negative view of Sword Art Online is clearly focused on portraying the crazy idea of living in a video game world in a much more positive and funny way, which is sure to make anyone watching smile.
5. Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu
Re:Zero has a similar setting to SAO, in which the protagonist get trapped in a fantasy world and gains a special ability. Both anime have action and a fair share of romantic elements, with the MC being interested in only one girl.
While SAO is focused more on the romantic relationships, Re:Zero deals with the deeply frustrating psychological aspect that Natsuki Subaru is confronted with.