When it comes to jaw-dropping worlds, FromSoftware is arguably one of the best in the business, bringing a level of wonder and awe that is often imitated but never replicated, as seen in the smash hit Ring Elden. Their influence continues to be seen in upcoming titles like Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty and Lies of P to bring challenging yet engaging gameplay to stunning new settings where players and viewers are transported to immersive fantasy worlds.
Isekai has become one of the most popular anime genres due to its fresh take on world-building, while also serving as a form of escapism in similar fantasy settings. With the added element of not knowing what the world has in store, introducing thrills from the revelation of its mysteries, it’s also a big proponent of what makes open-world games so popular, allowing it’s up to a player to freely explore untethered as a narrative unfolds, and some anime heighten that feeling.
The Rising of the Shield Hero (2019 – )
Stream on funimation
The Isekai genre likes to take protagonists who are gamers and summon them to other video games or worlds they find themselves lost in. Due to their knowledge of video games, however, they are generally able to adapt well with a basic understanding of how potions and the like work when they find themselves in a fantasy setting.
In the case of The Rise of the Shield Hero, the main protagonist, Naofumi, finds himself in a parallel world to become a legendary hero to fight monsters but is ultimately stripped of all his accessories and must start from scratch. Starting from scratch and working your way up should be familiar to any FromSoftware fan, making this an entertaining watch on how Noafumi trains for superiority.
Sword Art Online (2012 – )
Stream on funimation
It’s hard to mention Isekai without mentioning arguably the most popular and notable of them all: Sword Art Online. Kirito and his friends continually find themselves in a new MMO world, and even though it was a literal life-and-death battle for the first time, the stories still hold value because they’re as dramatic as they are adventurous.
Sword Art OnlineThe premise of the video game is instant appeal, and the idea of getting stronger so you can get past that next boss or level ties in in many ways with fans of Ring of Elden.
The devil is part-time! (2013 – )
Stream on Hulu
While certainly more comedic for an anime with an absurd premise, The devil is part-time! is still a great Isekai and deserves a watch for fans of Ring of Elden who want some respite from all the darkness and death that surrounds him.
Even though Satan himself has been transported to the human world and has a bounty on his head, his obsession with running a thriving fast food restaurant and overcoming a new hierarchy while trying to stay alive in a world where he has especially lost his powers undoubtedly brings some laughs that Ring of Elden fans can enjoy.
Overlord (2015 – )
Stream on Crunchyroll
Stuck in an MMO called YGGDRASIL after the game’s servers shut down, a guild leader realizes that even though the game has stopped, the world he’s playing in continues to function. Somehow this world came to life on its own, and although the guild leader, Momonga, has accepted his fate, he sets out to see if there are others who would have could also be trapped.
Ring of Elden is no stranger to the Yggdrasil concept with its Erdtree serving as the world tree and focal point of the plot, and as the Terni must find their place and fix the Elden Ring, overcoming various struggles to do so, there has a surprising amount of similarities to Suzerainwhich makes it an interesting watch.
Dark Summoner (2022 – )
Available for purchase on Amazon
It’s hard to deny the sheer excellence that Ring of Elden has not only in its world-building, but also in its art direction. The enemy and armor designs stand out in almost every version of FromSoftware, and Dark Summoner takes viewers on a journey through a new world that sees plenty of over-the-top designs with great aesthetics and animation, to boot.
Although it is a newer anime released in 2022, Dark Summoner has already attracted an audience and stands out for its animation and setting. It’s a consistently thrilling experience that sees the main character, Kelvin, trade his memories for the power to defeat bigger and fiercer foes. Ring of Elden is known for his difficult encounters, and Dark Summoner has a lot of overlapping similarities that no doubt point to some of the Ring of Eldenthe most intense moments.
Subject: Creators (2017 – )
Stream on Amazon Prime
When transported to another ill-equipped world, it can be difficult to discern who or what to trust when trying to find your way home. Subject: Creators puts a fun twist on things, where despite being briefly transported to another world, Sota Mizushino – an aspiring light novel writer – finds his way back home but brings characters from different worlds back with him.
Subject: Creators‘ the unique concept of an Isekai turned on its head gives a neat perspective on what it’s like for others to step into an everyday familiar world, and with Ring of Elden holding so many secrets and layers to its world that players are still discovering months later, Subject: Creators immediately attracts when it comes to seeing these worlds collide.
Grimgar, ashes and illusions (2016)
Stream on Hulu
Originally known as Grimgar of Fantasy and Ashes, a group of first-time adventurers wake up with no memory in a very different world and no choice but to quickly learn how to defend themselves. Although the concept may seem superficial at first glance, the studio behind Sword Art Online ends up delivering a pretty dark story of moral values and loss.
It’s a slow-burn story that sees individuals grow from nothing to something, fight for what they believe in, and in the meantime grow as they fight tough enemies and make tougher choices, complete Ring of Elden as it creates an engaging story and environment for fans of the game.
The Twelve Kingdoms (2002 – )
Stream on the Roku Channel
There’s a special feel and look that comes from the classic anime, and for fans who want a more vintage take on Isekai, The Twelve Kingdoms is one of the best manga and anime going today. With stories told across several intersecting realms and worlds, it gives a sense of depth and wonder typically found in FromSoftware titles.
No stranger to medieval and fantasy architecture and design, FromSoftware uses this approach to create some of the most breathtaking settings, and The Twelve Kingdoms visit many worlds and areas as breathtaking as the stories weave into each other.
DOOR (2015 – 2016)
Stream on Hulu
When a mysterious portal appears and passes through medieval soldiers, elves, dragons, and other monsters set in modern-day Tokyo, the soldiers of the present do their best to hold off the waves of incoming enemies. However, once the rest of the world gets wind of the exclusive gate that leads to other worlds, it becomes a War of the Worlds.
However GATE can seem artistically contradictory due to the range of intersecting designs, its political nature as well as the main protagonist being an older individual instead of another young teenager allows for the scope of GATE being deeper in maturity and emotionally, and this darker aspect of war, the unknown, and the monsters within it make for a gripping story that takes on a different yet familiar perspective from the Isekai genre.
Log Horizon (2013 – )
Stream on funimation
Sword Art OnlineThe continued success of has inspired many to create novels, manga, and anime with their own take on literal MMO immersion history that sees players suddenly warped into the setting of a game. Log Horizon builds on that with its own MMO in the fictional game Elder Tale, where thousands of players are suddenly trapped as in-game avatars.
From mages to knights and beyond, a multitude of classes make up Elder Tale’s user base, and these match the multiple playstyles and classes Ring of Elden allows players to step through to play in a way that suits them. Having to adapt to a new world with new skills, friends and enemies Log Horizon a familiar and comfortable adventure through the mysteries of a fantasy world.
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