3.749 out of 5 from 122 votes
Fourteen-year-old Tokio Kuryuu is a gaming whiz, clearing every game he plays in no time at all. He'd like nothing more than to play The World R : X, the latest incarnation of the massive multiplayer online RPG that suddenly ended its service two years ago, but access was limited to a lottery that he didn't know to sign up for. Tokio is plagued by dreams in which he's a hero in The World, saving a beautiful princess, and his dream becomes a reality when the woman of his dreams shows up in his class one day! With a strange device, the girl named Amagi somehow transports Tokio into The World, fulfilling his dream to become a real hero. Now, Tokio must save The World and find a way home, meeting famous heroes such as Kite and Tsukasa along the way.
In a world where everyone connects to an online network, pudgy Haruyuki Arita can't seem to catch a break. Constantly bullied, afraid to face reality and paranoid his two childhood friends pity him, the teenager uses online games as a way to escape his problems. But things change one day when Haruyuki's beautiful upperclassman Kuroyukihime approaches him with a mysterious time-decelerating program known as Brain Burst - there‘s just one catch. To keep the ability, he must defeat other Brain Burst wielders in Accel World, an exclusive, virtual MMORPG, and the newbie player will need all the help he can get. Eager to prove he's not a pathetic weakling, Haruyuki joins forces with Kuroyukihime to challenge fierce competitors and discover just how incredible Accel World and he truly are.
After a beautiful middle school girl with black hair uses a strange disc/program on him, a male middle school student is introduced to a mysterious video-game world he becomes a sudden yet popular fighter in. If you enjoy video-game settings in your manga and characters leveling up to learn new skills and abilities, get ready to be introduced to either Accel World or The World R:X.
Pokemon-lover Ginji fell asleep on the eve of his birthday, eager to awaken and find his presents. However, when he opened his eyes, Ginji found himself... in the body of a Torchic?! Now in the world of Pokemon, Ginji meets a week Mudkip who strives to be part of a Rescue Team, and together the two form a group to assist other furry and feathered friends. Ginji must now try to discover why he's transformed, help unravel a thousand year old legend, and support his new comrades in the process!
Now, hear me out. I know Pokemon has a certain stigma associated with it, but I believe Ginji's Rescue Team and .hack//Link are decent recs for each other (perhaps moreso Pokemon->Ginji).
Both involve an unlikely hero being swept into a strange world where he must overcome obstacles in order to save it and find his way home.
The year is 2022, and gamers have lined up on launch day to connect to Sword Art Online, a hotly anticipated MMORPG that allows players to connect to an immersive, lush virtual reality world with special helmets called Nerve Gear. Kirito is eager to return to the place where he spent a good deal of time as a beta tester, and quickly becomes friends with Klein, a newbie player. But soon, Sword Art Online's 10,000 players discover that not only are they unable to logout, the only way they can return to their physical bodies is by beating the 100-level tower's final boss - that is, if their HP doesn't drop to zero first, for death in the game means death in the real world. Now, with no one else to turn to, Kirito and the other participants must survive the game as best they can – some forming guilds, others ruthlessly leaving their peers behind, and many tragically falling by the wayside or to the merciless monsters populating the lands...
These cover humans getting trapped in an MMO while fighting to save others and for a way to escape. However, .hack//Link is somewhat comical while SAO can be rather dark with its “die in the game you die in real life” and player killing player scenarios. If you’re merely looking for something else with the same setting and enjoy fantasy RPGs, it’s time to prepare for your next journey. It’s going to be a difficult one, since you’ll be “stuck inside” these tales, but you wont even notice the hours you spend there - or ever want to leave when it‘s finally time!