Overlord has left its mark on the Isekai genre and anime as a whole, and for good reason: following the exploits of a man transported into a game world and aiming to become its evil ruler, the series captures exactly what so many other shows in the genre lack with fun characters, cataclysmic battles, and great art. It’s the type of show that fans of fantasy can’t help but gobble up. With that in mind, these seven anime series are perfect for anyone who liked Overlord and are looking for something similar once they’ve finished the series.
One of the more popular Isekai in recent years, Re:Zero follows a young man named Subaru as he tries to find his footing after being transported to a new world. He quickly discovers that should he die, he’ll be resurrected at a point in time before he met his end, forced to relive deadly encounters until he figures out a way to survive. This could mean anything from finding an antidote before succumbing to a life draining poison, to saving a princess so as not to be caught in the frigid wrath of her guardian spirit. Dark, gory, and bursting with gut wrenching story moments, this series is a must-watch for anyone who wants a grittier take on what it would be like to wind up in a fantasy setting.
Sword Art Online
Love it or hate it, one can’t deny that there’s something special about this series. Set in the world of Aincrad, the story follows Kirito and his friends as they seek out a way to escape a new online game after its creator traps every player inside until it is beaten. This is made all the harder by the fact that if any of them die in the game, they’ll die in real life as well, their brains destroyed by the virtual headsets they used to access the virtual world.
While it does lose some steam in its second half, the first arc of the series stands out as top quality Isekai with an engrossing world, interesting characters, and gorgeous fight animation. Plus, with a second season and feature length film also available, there’s plenty to dig into should you find it to your liking.
Who says being trapped in a game world has to be bad? Set in a years-old MMORPG called Elder Tale, the plot follows several thousand players who suddenly find themselves trapped within the popular game’s world. Whereas Sword Art Online presents dire stakes for being trapped in a game world, though, this series’ protagonist Shiroe and his friends embrace the opportunity for a fresh start and attempt to build new societies within it. Taking part in quests, side missions, and large scale battles, they use the abilities and powers they’ve built up over the course of their previous play time to make the most of this new opportunity and settle into the roles they’d previously only dreamed of. Much like Overlord, it shows how fun an Isekai occurrence could be and is great for an enjoyable binging session.
No Game No Life
When online gaming masters Shiro and Sora find themselves transported to a world where every dispute is solved through games, they couldn’t be happier. No matter the challenge, they always know when and how to come out on top, and they’ll use this talent to become the rulers of this new world and defeat it’s current king.
Whereas a series like Re:Zero presents a world ready to rip the protagonist apart, this series instead presents a reality where its heroes are tailor made to succeed. Seeing them overcome powerful foes one after the other is good fun, and whether it’s a gamble using one’s own memories or an improbable coin toss, each challenge will leave viewers eager to see what comes next.
The Devil Is A Part-Timer!
Flipping the Isekai genre on its head, this series offers a comical look at what would happen when beings from a fantasy setting are transported to our world. After a climactic battle between the forces of Satan and the Hero of Light Emilia, both find themselves transported to modern day Japan. Unable to use any of their powers, they have no other choice but to settle into normal life and try to find a way to return to their world, picking up day jobs and taking part in random hijinks to restore bits and pieces of their magic abilities. Boasting a great cast of characters with some spot-on humor, this series is sure to scratch that itch for anyone who enjoyed Overlord’s comedic moments and lovable villain protagonist.
The granddaddy of series with the “trapped in a game world” storyline, .hack//Sign places viewers in the shoes of Tsukasa, a player stuck within the world’s biggest – and only – MMORPG, known as The World. More contemplative and relaxed than other Isekai series, the show presents viewers with a look at why we want so badly to escape into other worlds. Through Tsukasa, we catch a glimpse not only of the benefits of having an escape, but of the repercussions when the escape becomes our reality, watching as he struggles to come to terms with the challenges in his own life. Thanks to a great supporting cast, this deconstruction should strike a cord with most anyone who enjoyed Overlord and wanted to take a deeper look at some of its core themes.
What would you do if there were a way to bring your powers from a game into reality? This question lies at the core of Accel World, a series where players of an augmented reality game called Brain Burst can bring their skills back into the real world should they topple the game’s best players. Not only that, but those who defeat all of the game’s top competitors can meet Brain Burst’s creator and learn how, and why, he created the game in the first place.
This anime is a great example of how to make a power fantasy enjoyable with fast-paced fights, slick animation and likable characters. Should viewers find it to their liking, the series also has a film and video game offerings to delve even deeper into the world and its lore.
Know of any other series that fans of Overlord would like? Let us know in the comments below. For more anime recommendation lists, check out these anime to watch if you like Devilman Crybaby or Black Clover.