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!
In a mythical kingdom, the mighty Imperial Knights harness a magical substance known as Aer to power their weapons and protect humanity from the monsters of the forest. But something strange is afoot. The Aer is somehow changing, causing the wilderness to waste away and stirring the woodland beasts to attack with greater frequency. As danger creeps steadily closer to civilization, two young recruits - Flynn, the rigid son of a fallen hero, and the rebellious and brash Yuri - must ride with their fellow Imperial Knights to distant ruins in hopes of uncovering the truth behind the transforming Aer. Some will not survive the thrilling journey. Some will be betrayed. If Flynn and Yuri cannot overcome their differences and learn to fight together, all will be lost for the people of the realm.
Death and reincarnation are inescapable, but what happens in between? Without warning and without his memories, a boy who only recalls his last name - Otonashi - wakes up next to a girl named Yuri who offers him a gun and tells him to shoot an angel. Assuming it must be a misunderstanding, Otonashi is then almost killed by the angel and is drawn into Yuri's army to battle to delay the beginning of his next life. Immortality is within reach, but if Otonashi remembers how he died, will he keep fighting or allow himself to vanish?
The fact that characters are stuck in a game-like world which has a specific set of rules made me think of Sword Art Online when watching Angel Beats!. While those two series are not exactly similar, I believe that this feel is enough to justify a recommendation.
Additionally I would like to add that both series sport a competent male lead (I'm not sure if this is the right word to describe them). Simply put if you liked the male lead in one series, you shouldn't be disappointed with the other series.
In a mystical land filled with magic and monsters, eager adventurers scour a ten-floor dungeon in search of fame and fortune – if they are able to escape with their lives! But none dare set foot in the tenth floor, as a powerful foe will make sure that they never return to the light of day: the evil Werdna, a wizard who stole an amulet of immense power. Now, to aid a beautiful woman, a group of skilled warriors must descend to the tenth floor to find the woman’s lost love, and to take back the amulet from the hands of evil!
Yohko is nothing but ordinary. Throughout her life she has been considered an outcast, especially with a hair color not native to many in Japan, bright red. Things change for Yohko when a mysterious man named Keiki arrives and claims that she is his empress. Yohko and two friends are then taken through a vortex, and then abandoned.. in a world of demons and magic.
Both of these anime ard grounded in a pretty intricate fantasy world. Both stories involve whisking the main character away to a new fantasy universe. Sword art online has a much more developed romance. It also feels very modern with more commentary on current day concerns like connecting to a brain interface that takes over your body. Twelve kingdoms on the other hand is just an immersive story. Both of these I enjoyed thoroughly.
After suffering a heart-wrenching rejection, anime and manga-loving Shinichi Kanou shuts himself off from the world and becomes a hikikomori. But the boy's solitary life soon comes to an end when he's hired as an ambassador to a newly-discovered world, where the only job criteria is to be a hardcore otaku! Now the boy must work hard to spread the word of this unique, nerdy culture in hopes of strengthening relations between the other world's citizens and Japan. And in a land filled with dragons, half-elf maids, and a teenage queen, it shouldn't be that hard... right?
Apart from having the same fantasy setting, these are anime that shamelessly pander to otaku tastes. SAO is heavier on the drama and has more plot to it as well as plenty of action while Outbreak Company is mostly a comedy but they are so invested in deliberately playing with anime tropes that it is difficult not to group them together. If you enjoy loads of pretty girls, elves, maids and the like, then you are very likely to enjoy these titles.