Danmachi doesn’t need much of an introduction. One of the most popular fantasy titles of the last decade, it has received two manga adaptations as well as an anime television adaptation by J.C.Staff, which aired in Spring 2015. An OVA was released in 2016 and a second anime season and an original anime film adaptation were both announced in February 2018. There is also an anime adaptation of the spin-off novel series Sword Oratoria, which was part of our weekly reviews. Another spin-off light novel series titled Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?: Familia Chronicle (illustrated by Nilitsu) began in March 2017.
The story is set in Orario, a medieval-like fantasy city that is home to a huge dungeon labyrinth (which is called ‘Dungeon’), and where deities live within its walls. The citizens of Orario join groups called Familia, which resemble what you would call a guild in a fantasy game. Each of these Familia is named after and serves one of the Deities. One of the goddesses, Hestia, has only one follower, the protagonist Bell Cranel.
Well, we have beautiful girls, a fantasy world, a pseudo-gaming setting, and ‘players’ with extraordinary abilities who level up. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find similar anime. Here are 10 recommendations by MT, your otaku friend in Japan.
This is a no-brainer. If you like Danmachi, then the next logical anime step is a series that takes place in the same world and actually follows the same time-frame. In Sword Oratoria, we get to follow the Loki Familia that was only mentioned in the main story. A fresh point of view if you’d like.
You can read our review of the first episode here:
Slayers takes place in a world inhabited by warriors, monsters, and demons. Teenage sorceress Lina Inverse wanders the lands along with her companions and use their supernatural powers and skills with the sword to battle everything evil, from wizards to demons.
Before we go back to contemporary anime, it’s safe to recommend one of the anime that has beat the test of time and is considered a fantasy classic. If you haven’t seen Slayers yet, then you are missing on one of the best fantasy anime ever created. It uses similar mechanics to Danmachi, especially the use of adventurers who band together to defeat monsters.
Season 1: Summer 2015
Season 2: Winter 2018
Momonga is an OP badass and like that he found his way on this list. I mean, he is the most powerful wizard and master of the STRONGEST guild ever, Ainz Ooal Gown. Imagine if he found out he wasn’t on a list about similar anime to Danmachi. Momonga could have the world of Danmachi for breakfast. For now, however, he is trying to find a way out of his favorite video game in which he trapped after staying online when the servers were shut down forever.
Similar theme to most of the anime on this list, Overlord is a semi-isekai series (that’s what I call this kind of anime where the protagonist is not thrown into a harem just for the sake of it and the ‘alternate’ world is not really an ‘alternate’ world) based on video game principles.
This list is going to have a few OMG-I-AM-TRAPPED-IN-A-GAME anime, so I figured I’d start from one of the oldest, if not the first, series that employed the theme. Tsukasa is trapped inside his favorite game, The World, without any memory of how and why it happened. Now, he is wondering the online world trying to find a way to log out.
While Danmachi is not an isekai and it doesn’t seem like an in-game, it could have been both and the similarities between the two series are there.
The Familiar of Zero (Zero no Tsukaima)
There is something that remains constant in the anime world and that is high school. No matter if you are on a spaceship, a faraway fantasy land, or in the depths of hell, it seems that the Japanese school has control over all educational systems in existence. Louise, the protagonist of the series, needs to summon a familiar during this academic year, but the odds are against her. Though from a noble family, she is terrible at magic and she is nicknamed ‘Louise the Zero’ because she can’t use any of the basic magic elements. While most of her classmates successfully complete the ritual and summon their magical familiar, Louise summons a teenage boy from Japan.
Despite the obvious similarities with Hestia and Bell, Zero no Tsukaima is a funny fantasy isekai romantic comedy that has a total of four seasons for you to binge watch.
The Tower of Druaga: The Aegis of Uruk
Instead of a dungeon, we have a tower, but the concept is pretty much the same. During the Summer of Anu, the powerful human-eating demons who live in the Tower of Draga are weakened. It is then that people brave and powerful enough to face them, enter the tower and try to reach the highest level and conquer the infernal place.
Otaku culture has its eyes not only on Earth but on several alternate worlds as well. Human cultural expansion has no limits, and Shin’ichi Kanō was selected to promote the anime life to an alternate fantasy world. An isekai about an otaku salesperson? Anything can happen in this crazy anime world we live in.
This is a great anime if you want to keep the fantasy world of Danmachi and add a bit of contemporary knowledge about your favorite pastime.
Also known as Sword Art Online Alternative: This Could Have Been SAO, this anime series tells the story of Shiroe and his friends, Naotsugu and Akatsuki, who find themselves trapped in the twelfth expansion of their favorite MMORPG, Elder Tale. They team up and try to face this new reality.
Adventures with adventurers against monsters. While the concept is the same, the characters in Log Horizon know that they are in a game. In Danmachi, well, let’s just say that we don’t know yet (even if I personally believe that they are not in a game).
KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World!
Season 1: Winter 2016
Season 2: Winter 2017
Konosuba is funny. So funny, indeed, that I can’t recommend it enough. Kazuma dies in a ridiculous way and is offered a chance by Aqua, a goddess, to either be reborn into a fantasy world or go to heaven. The ‘dirty shut-in NEET’, as the goddess refers to him, decides to enter the alternate world and is then given the option to choose one item as a weapon to aid him in his new quest. He can have anything, Aqua clarifies, and Kazuma chooses Aqua herself.
I have to repeat myself; Konosuba is funny. Danmachi is more adventure while Konosuba is more comedy, but both have that fantasy element that you will find yourselves drawn to.
SAO seems to find its way to almost every anime list out there that has to do with fantasy, gamey, isekai series. Well, at least the first season in which we actually spend time in a fantasy world. Just a reminder for those of us who have read the synopsis too many times and for those few who don’t know what SAO is about, the story follows an VRMMORPG player called Kazuto Kirigaya (avatar name: Kirito) who finds himself trapped in a game. The creator of the game informs all the trapped players that if they die in the game, they’ll die in real life as well. Kirito teams up with Asuna and other players to defeat the game.
If we are talking about game-like worlds, this is a must-watch anime. Ignore all the haters out there and just give it a chance. It’s not a masterpiece (very few anime are) and maybe it seems a little cheesy at times (like 70% of commercial titles out there) but if you like video games, then you’ll appreciate the theme and the various gamey details. Also, Kirito and Bell share the same voice actor!