To many, the Sword Art Online anime series was the advent of the numerous anime set in a game world. Amongst those in the current season, are Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku and Overlord II. Perhaps less known to most people nowadays was one of the first to have had a similar setting, the .hack series. For people who enjoy both games as well as anime, watching SAO may have made you hungry for some MMO fun. But it may be kind of difficult to find a game that could satiate that hunger, so we may as well fill that with some other anime set in game worlds. Let’s take a look at 4 such titles here.
1. Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!
Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!, translated as KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World!, is a light novel series written by Natsume Akatsuki. It’s anime television series was released in January 2016.
If you are looking for some comedic work that could make you laugh and relax, KonoSuba is probably a good choice.
The series follows an Otaku, Kazuma Satou, who was sent to a fantasy world following his accidental death. The fantasy world is exactly like the RPG game world where magic works and has plenty of jobs, monsters and guild quests. The characters can earn skill points and upgrade their skills after they level up by defeating monsters and clearing quests.
Traditionally, works set in these kinds of worlds usually have an evil power, and a hero with his excellent party, who will combine their powers to conquer all the problems and defeat said evil power. However, KonoSuba doesn’t exactly fit the standard tropes of the typical RPG fantasy world. In KonoSuba, all of the main characters that make up the party is “weird”.
First up, we have Kazuma, an ordinary human with no power at all to begin with, putting more importance on money and living a good life than his duties as a hero. Then, his first companion, an “item” he chose from anything that would be granted to him by a Goddess, Aqua, the Goddess herself. Aqua is a Goddess of Water who is very strong against demons and the undead but does not have enough intelligence to understand any kind of tactics, wasting all her skill points on useless party tricks. Then there is Megumin, a magician with powerful magical affinity, but only knows a single spell and is immediately incapacitated after a single use. Last, but definitely not the least, is Darkness, a powerful crusader. Though she has terrible accuracy so almost none of her attacks ever hit their mark, along with having pretty problematic masochistic tendencies.
It is this colorful cast of characters that makes KonoSuba succeed as a comedic anime. The comedy is spot-on with its unexpected and deadpan nature of the main character, Kazuma.
Though some may view KonoSuba in a bad light because of points such as Kazuma’s negative attitude, KonoSuba was voted the tenth-best TV anime in the Newtype 2015–16 Awards. It’s probably a sort of love it or hate it kind of show and if you are into light hearted anime and want a laugh, it doesn’t hurt to give it a go.
2. No Game No Life
No Game No Life is a light novel series by Yū Kamiya, and the animation adaption was released between April and July 2014.
The story is in the setting of a world which revolves around games. The main characters, Sora and his younger stepsister Shiro, are an undefeated duo of gamers known as “Blank”. The story begins when the God of Games invites them to play.
The amazing point of No Game No Life is how Blank manages to wins the game, even if the opponents could use magic, have other super powers or even cheat in the game. “The word ‘LOSE’ does not exist in Blank’s dictionary” and “We don’t win by coincidence, but by calculation” are the famous quotes of Blank. Blank is good at considering all the possibilities of the game, then leading their opponents to the actions they anticipated. They even go as far as to pretend to nearly lose the game as part of the steps to win.
Thus, watching No Game No Life is exciting for the reason that you could never guess how they will win the game, even if you know that they will win in the end. They will never disappoint you.
Sometimes you could also get some deliberations from No Game No Life. For example, Blank always thinks humans are the weakest in the game world, since humans who posses no special powers or magic, are ranked at the bottom of the world. However, they also believe in the possibility of humans if they recognize their own weaknesses and find a way to turn the weakness into a powerful weapon. Isn’t this point also enlightening and relevant to our life?
In 2017, the animated movie No Game No Life: Zero was released. Unlike the TV anime version, which is more comedic, the film has a graver tone being about war and sacrifice for peace. Though it is a sad story, it also brings about some questions about life for one to muse over. If you are interested in some philosophical thinking along with an interesting game world setting and brain juice grinding strategy, do consider giving this a try.
3. Log Horizon
First of all, a lot of people have been put off this just based on the premise that says that a lot of players have been trapped in the game, one that sounds suspiciously similar to a certain famous anime. However, rest assured that that is where all the similarities end. This isn’t even a VRMMORPG, but a regular MMORPG for instance. The anime has 2 seasons, both with 25 episodes each.
The players, or at least the main group we follow, don’t have a main goal of escaping the virtual world, but rather to explore and discover more of this virtual world that has become their new reality, which is the main focus here. The main character goes by, and is well known as, Shiroe in the game. The main characters are graduate students in real life and thus, the show has a slightly heavier tone to it, with more mature MCs compared to most other anime with high school student MCs. There is also the overlying mystery of Shiroe’s past which gets brought up in flashbacks and with meeting people related to him pretty often but not enough to give you the full picture, leaving you curious and wanting to know more.
The world map itself is built like the Earth, based off on the actual world map and countries we know, but turned fantasy with some name changes. The map is often brought up, and the system, called the Half Gaia Project, does exactly as described; making the world with half its size. The series also goes pretty in depth with the workings of the system and the building of the world and the characters.
More elements of the game itself, with menus and stuff we actually see in games appear and as the main characters get thrown into this familiar but also new world, we see their struggles and train of thoughts as they try to overcome the challenges they are facing. Fighting using the controls is also pretty different to fighting by using your own body to move, thankfully, Shiroe is also well known as the strategist and figures things out pretty well. The big question about what happens if they die in the game also gets brought up and they explore many parts of the new system, such as cooking and taste, which leads to various comedic situations.
The various other allied characters they meet in the anime are also fun with their own personality quirks and adds to the story in various serious and also humorous ways. For people seeking a show which features exploration into a new fantasy world with some touching scenes mixed in with a spot of comedy, this may be your cup of tea.
A dark fantasy aimed at a more mature audience, it is probably not for the faint hearted. The anime is adapted from a still ongoing light novel of the same name and has its second season airing this winter. Although it has its serious, dark and even gory moments, it is well balanced with humorous comedic parts. The animated series also comes with a sub series, “Ple ple pleiades”, with chibi versions of the characters in hilarious situations. It also somehow manages to expand on the world and it’s characters and leaves you wanting for more.
The first season was basically laying out the premise, introducing us to the main cast, a guild made up of heteromorphic races, basically members who are anything that is not the human race. The main character is a typical salary man who poured all his free time and money into the virtual reality game, YGGDRASIL. In the game, he is the guild master and supreme leader of Ainz Ooal Gown, Overlord of the Great Tomb of Nazarick. The main casts are former NPCs of the guild, residents of Nazarick. It shows us how most of the main casts’ alignment is more towards the chaotic side, with most members having and not even attempting to restrain their disdain for the human race. It is rather amusing and fun to watch their utter disregard for humans, although one would probably not want to cross paths with them as a human being.
That being said, the battle scenes are pretty interesting, albeit rather one-sided most of the time, it is still well animated, enough to get your blood pumping. For those of you who play games too, some of the spells and the way they do battle would feel familiar sometimes. Even though we may already know the result of the battle, it is fun to watch how they utterly crush those who dare stand in their way in various ways and the look of disbelieve on the faces of their unworthy opponents; it is, honestly, a breath of fresh air.
Season two, which picks up from volume 4 of the light novel and the end of season one, moves the focus away from the MC, expanding on the world they have been placed in. Continuing to find many similarities and differences with YGGDRASIL. While some may be in for the MC and their chaotic natured exploits, this season places us in various areas of the world, expanding on the world building and character development of the other people in the world. The sub areas may turn some people off at first but many have grown attached to the new characters over the course of it.
Needless to say, those in for watching the supreme one and his loyal followers will not be disappointed as all the build up of the sub characters are not for nothing. They all eventually connect back to Ainz and Nazarick, and we get to see Ainz and his followers display their overwhelming strength and absolute power. It is very satisfying to watch arrogant people get their butts handed back to them after seeing more about them and possibly their slighting of members of Nazarick when they are undercover. It is refreshing to watch the dwellers of Nazarick mete out possibly excessive violence and havoc, a change from most anime where the heroes mostly do good. The characters get development and elements from the initial game get brought up, it is interesting to see the dwellers of the world mention parts of the game but that is their actual life instead of players like Ainz who are aware of it having been a game and is stuck, coming from “the other side” so to speak.
If you are looking for something that deviates from the usual heroic hero who does good for the people not expecting anything back in return, Overlord and their overwhelming display of power and wits may be worth a watch. It is by itself quite a ride in various ways.
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