If you're looking for anime similar to Sword Art Online, you might like these titles. All recommendations are made by Anime-Planet users like you!
As an orphan whose life is in the hands of space pirates, Coud has had no choice but to survive on bravado alone. He has nothing to live for until he finds Ren entombed amongst the treasures in the pirate ship's hold, and awakens her. In addition to being mysterious and beautiful, Ren can transform into a battle sword to help Coud fight and prove his strength -- but with this strength comes the bitter realization that power alone is not enough. Now, in a race against time, Coud must endure betrayals and fierce battles as he struggles to return Ren to her home, before it's too late...
First off I want to say that I overenjoyed the first half of SAO but can't say the same for the second half. I am not really into fantasy anime but I totally got sucked into SAO's virtual world. I liked the drama and the romance the first 14 eps had to offer. The second half was not so much to my liking cause the believability factor vanished for me after that point. I know that there are a few more anime with the same premise (virtual game world turned into reality) but the only fantasy anime that came to mind while watching SAO was Elemental Gelade. Perhaps a bit more childish than SAO but I think that if you liked the "hero saves girl in a fantasy world" premise, you could give Elemental Gelade a chance.
Thor and Rai are twins who live on an advanced space colony called ‘Juno’. Things take a nasty turn one day when they are kidnapped by the Federal Army’s Special Forces and abandoned on the hostile prison planet Chimera. A cycle on Chimera consists of 181 days of scorching heat and 181 nights of below-freezing temperatures – not to mention it is populated almost entirely by carnivorous plants. The convicts on Chimera have found only one means of survival – reverting back to the law of beasts. For the strong-willed Thor adjustment comes naturally; but for his naive and weaker brother Rai, things do not go as well. Thor must now use all his wits, strength and courage to endure life as a member of Chimeran society, rise above the rest, and take the only ticket off this planet: becoming the Beast King.
With war on the horizon, the lives of the students at Tristain Magic Academy are in for a change. As the students train for battle and prepare to join the fight, Louise is determined to protect her childhood friend, now the Queen of Tristain. As her familiar, Saito is sworn to protect Louise and so must ready for battle himself... but with the abundance of pretty girls around, it's a toss-up as to whether Saito should be more worried about enemy attacks or Louise's own jealous rages! Can Saito and "Zero" Louise stand up to the challenge and protect their friends and country?
Both are themed in a fantasy world based on swords and magic. They also have a lead male character with special fighting abilities that they use to protect the ones they love. Both anime's have similar looking characters and they both include humor (more so Zero no Tsukaima), action, and romance. If you love one, you've got to love the other
Since long ago, the wolf goddess Holo has honored a contract to bless the rural village of Pasloe with fertile harvests; and in return she has been celebrated and worshipped by the villagers. But as mankind advances, the people have begun to take command of nature for themselves and have made their own god to worship. Holo finds that she is paid little more than lip service, if not outright mocked; and considering the contract annulled, she takes human form and enlists the aid of a passing merchant, Kraft Lawrence, to return to her home in the snowy forests to the north. As they journey together, Kraft finds that he has plenty to learn from this capricious god, and she from him as well.
Ten years before Shirou Emiya's and Saber's fateful meeting, Japan is the stage for the fourth Holy Grail War. Seven Masters, each with his own dreams, step forward to win the boon of the mystic relic. Into this fray comes Kiritsugu Emiya, the enigmatic "Mage Killer" who wants to use the Grail to make a better world. Can he, paired with the indomitable Saber win the War? Or will he fall to the ambitions of the other mages?