Imagine that you log into your favorite game and suddenly you realize that you can’t log out. A pretty exciting scenario, right? The ‘isekai’ or ‘stuck in a virtual world’ or ‘in any other world’ has become a very popular genre the last few years in anime. Why? Well probably because it’s a stimulating idea to be able to live in a different reality, have awesome skills and magic powers. Everyone can relate to the concept.
Overlordis about Momonga, aka AinzOoal Gown, who gets trapped into the MMORPG called Yggdrasil. On the date the game decided to shut down its servers, Momonga stayed logged in until the last minute and to his surprise he couldn’t log out again. After realizing that the world of the game has changed a bit, the NPCs have come to life and that he is probably the only ‘real’ person trapped in the game, he goes on a mission to figure out more about the world he is in, see if he can find any other players like him, and of course, find a way to get back to his original body.
There are countless of anime out there that follow the same idea, but if you specifically enjoyed Overlord for its fun characters and nice fantasy elements, MANGA.TOKYO has prepared a list of anime titles that are particularly similar to it. Let’s get to it!
Fall 2013 25 Episodes
Elder Tale is a really popular online RPG with millions of players worldwide. It used to be only a game but suddenly one day the players were stuck in the virtual world, unable to log out. Shiroe, who easily adapts to his new surroundings, along with the pervNaotsugu and adorable Akatsuki, accept their fates and are trying to adjust to their new lives by rebuilding the city, lead good fights, and enjoy the adventure.
Log Horizon, as well as Overlord,have similar elements of survival and of course the fear of dying in the real world. All characters rely on their in-game skills that they are used to have and try to make the best out of the situation while they actually enjoy their ‘ride’ in this new adventure.
No Game No Life
Spring 2014 12 Episodes
Sora and Shiro are siblings, hikikomoris, and notorious gamers with amazing skills. A legend says that people with exceptional skills in gaming are sent a challenge, and if they win, they get sent to another world. The siblings defeat this challenge easily and they are transported into another world where everything is decided by competitions and games. As they try to restore humanity’s good name compared to other races and help influence who will become the next king, they are willing to take any challenge that comes their way.
Plot-wise, the two anime have some major differences, as No Game No Life is more about outsmarting enemies and Overlord is more about overpowering them, but other than that, they are quite similar with a strategic story where characters are placed in a unique environment. The biggest difference would be that No Game No Life has some weird ecchi and loli elements compared to Overlord.
Sword Art Online
Summer 2012 25 Episodes
‘Sword Art Online’ is the name of an in-anime MMORPG where players have the ability to immerse themselves in the game by wearing a special helmet. On the day the game launches, 10,000 players discover that they can’t log out of the game and if they try to or die in the game, they die in real life. The only way to get out of the game is by beating the 100-level tower’s final boss. Kirito, one of the beta players of the game who has really good fighting skills, along with Asuna, a girl who meets in-game, as well as many other Guild members try to beat the game and save everyone before it’s too late.
Sword Art Onlineis more about the horrific side of being trapped in a game, the toll it takes to survive and win, and has more romance into it. The core difference is that the main character knows a way out of the situation wherein Overlordhe is trying to find out what is going on.
One day in the modern Tokyo’s Ginza district, a portal appears where monsters and knights along with other fantasy beings start making a mess in Tokyo. The Japanese Defense Force takes action to return all these creatures back where they came from. Three months after the attack, another team is dispatched into the dangerous new world beyond the gate where they are joined by an elf girl in order to learn more about this unknown world.
Although the plot is very similar, the tone is quite different. Overlordis darker and more action-oriented where Gatecan be considered a more light-hearted comedy. They both have a strong focus on politics and diplomacy, dealing with both opponents and allies.
Fall 2015 12 Episodes
In a city where criminals, thugs, and supervillains are everywhere, Saitama decides to become a superhero. He trains so hard and he ends up becoming so strong that he defeats every enemy with one punch. His dream of fighting exciting and overpowered enemies is replaced by overpowered boredom as he is too strong for everyone. A cyborg named Genos learns about his abilities and tries to become his disciple but Saitama isn’t interested.
Okay, One-Punch Man is not an isekai but it has a similar style with Overlord.Momonga and Saitama are both extremely strong but not to the point of being overpowered-lame. They are actually interesting characters with a lot to offer where one is trying to use his insane skills appropriately and the other one is just looking for a worthy opponent. The humor is also great in both shows with main characters that will feel quite unique.
Tanya Degurechaffis a young soldier who is well-known for her ruthlessness and uncanny tactics. Underneath her appearance as a little girl lies the soul of a man who challenged the ‘self-proclaimed God’ and ended up being reincarnated as a little girl into a world of magical warfare. Tanya’sgoal is to ascend the ranks of her country’s military in order to recreate the peaceful life she once knew.
From Japanese salary-men to overpowered characters that are capable of powerful magic, that’s the major similarity with Overlord.Both main characters must learn about the new world they find themselves in in order to survive and they both try to become known throughout the magic world in order to achieve their goals. Obviously, from the setting you can imagine that YoujoSenki is more about war and violence where Overlordis a bit more action adventure.
Ichiro Suzuki, aka Satou, is a 29-year-old programmer who finds himself transported into the fantasy game that he was working on. At first, he thinks he is dreaming but he soon comes to realize that everything is very real. Seeing that he has a uniquely powerful ability as a character, he ends ups wiping out an army of lizardmen and becomes a leveled adventurer with a lot of wealth. Satou’s adventure begins as he tries to live peacefully within the game but the return of the demon king ends up changing his plans.
Another main character that is greatly overpowered where we get to see his journey and all the decision making, mistakes, and character building. In Overlord,the main character feels more ‘stuck’ in his situation wherein Death March the character seems to embrace it in a different way.
QuanZhi Gao Shou
Spring 2017 12 Episodes
In the multiplayer online game Glory, Ye Xiu is a well-known professional player who was forced to retire from his team. After leaving the pro gaming scene, he finds work at an Internet Café. When Glory launches its tenth server, he decides to throw himself into the game once more. His adventure begins as he tries to dedicate himself again to Glory.
Pretty similar plotlines but quite different at the same time. Interesting story and development with main characters that once again share the same powerful skills. The main difference is that in QuanZhiGaoShou, the character decides to go back into the game himself while in Overlordthe character is struggling to find his way out.
Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash
Winter 2016 12 Episodes
A group of strangers with no memories of their past find themselves immersed in the fantasy world of Grimgar. Despite its resemblance to a game, Grimgaris very real and leaves no chance for deaths or respawns; it is kill or be killed. So the characters become involved with the Army, gain several different skills and abilities where they try to earn a living and preserve the peace in the fantasy world.
Same setting but in Overlordthe main character is more aware of his situation. He knows more about the world he is in and he has the memories of his past that keep him going in order to find out a way to get out of the game.
Spring 2002 26 Episodes
Probably one of the oldestisekai anime out there. Tsukasa wakes up in an MMORPG called ‘The World’, with no many memories of his past. Suspected to be a hacker and unable to log out of the game, Tsukasa sets out on a journey along with several other players that he met, in order to explore ‘The World’, look for answers, and investigate why he cannot log out of the game.
.hack//Signwill make you contemplate more than any other isekai series since it’s a bit more profound and serious as it addresses why we want so badly to escape into fantasy worlds and be rid of all our problems. A must-watch for any isekai fan out there, even though it can be a bit deeper and heavier that Overlord.
So many fantasy worlds to choose from.
Every anime takes place in a different world where characters have different powers, abilities and need to compromise under different rules. If you are a fan of the isekai genre, then it will be very exciting for you to explore each series and everything they offer. My advice would be (as with every recommendation list that you read) to not really compare each series with, in this case, Overlordbut allow yourself to experience each one individually with no biased feelings. Like this, you are bound to enjoy watching them even more.