Game of Thrones is finally back for another season, which means another season of great high fantasy and epic fights. However, waiting for the next week’s episode can be painful, and once the shows on hiatus, we need another TV show to keep us distracted.
For fans of Game of Thrones and anime, there are plenty of great series out there that hit the same ideas. Character deaths, epic battles, politics, and large character casts are what draw us back into the Westeros– they keep the stakes raised, and make us fear for our favorite characters’ lives, as we’re made aware that they can die at a moment’s notice.
However, the crucial component that ties this all together is a well-developed story grounded in realism that is weaved into the show, and anime definitely has this.
Anime shows are diverse, ranging from fantasy to modern human drama, and, among the vast number titles in the universe, a small trickle of shows are just as mature and epic as the Game of Thrones series.
Although anime shows may not have the same noble houses or impending white walkers, there are a few that certainly grab the attention of many viewers due to their intricate world constructs and characters.
Here are the 15 Shocking Anime Series That Are Just Like Game Of Thrones.
15. Attack on Titan
Game of Thrones’ tendency to off kill fan favorite characters has become normal– and, in Attack on Titan, this also happens a lot. Set in a Medieval era, humanity has barricaded themselves in giant walls in fear of the man-eating titans that roam the lands. When Wall Maria is destroyed, Eren Jaeger’s mother is eaten by a titan in front of him.
Titans are a destructive force, created only to kill humans, with superhuman strength. The size and scope of these beings are as equally terrifying as the whitewalkers, and, like the frozen zombies of the North, there is only one way to kill them– by hacking the nape of their neck.
The show is merciless when it comes to murdering your favorites. It treats all of its characters the same, and a death only occurs if the plot warrants one.
Attack on Titan’s world is a cruel place– across the narrow sea beyond the walls, the “truth” is ten times worse than the war in Game of Thrones, or any other dark fantasy. The “truth” hits home, and can make anyone feel despicable about humanity.
Berserk gets down to the nitty-gritty world of fictional medieval Europe, and makes one thing clear to the viewer: no one is safe. Like Game of Thrones, Berserk doesn’t care if prominent characters are tortured to death, or that humanity is full of cruel comrades who might transform into psychotic backstabbing traitors.
Author Kentaro Miura created a dystopian fantasy world that examines human cruelty in a setting where violence reigns. While Lord of the Rings and Dungeons and Dragons define the heroes and villains, Berserk, on the other hand, erases the fine line of good and evil, choosing to focus on the common folk trapped in the brutal Medieval-inspired world.
The rulers are similar to the noblemen in Westeros, where all nobles are pit against the common people. Here, the concepts of good conquering all, honor, and moral codes are bedtime stories that kids grow out of. In Berserk, characters like Guts, the central protagonist, are thrust into a world that consists of the worst kind of people.
Fate/Zero creator Gen Urobuchi (Urobutcher) is noted for his nihilistic works and, in some cases, acts like the George R.R. Martin in anime.
In modern Fuyuki, Japan, the 4th Holy Grail War is about to take place. Seven masters and seven servants participate in the battle for a chance to win the Grail, a magical cup that offers the winner one wish.
Fate/Zero isn’t just an ordinary anime fantasy. Instead of seven houses battling for the Iron Throne, there are seven masters contending for the wish-granting device. What makes this show so engaging are its characters and their philosophies. Each one has their set of goals and motivations, and the grim reality that killing opponents is the only effective way to win the Grail makes this a battle of beliefs, not justice.
Don’t get too attached to the characters because everyone in the war gets scarred emotionally. It’s not only about killing characters as a one off shock-value– how each person ends up, both physically and emotionally, is in the hands of karmic retribution.
Similar to Berserk, Claymore is set in a medieval-inspired world centered around Yoma and Yom-hybrid warriors called claymores, who are tasked to kill the demonic beasts.
The warriors all have silver eyes and white hair; because of their unique features, and the fact that they’re half-Yoma, most people are afraid of them. They should be, since, if a claymore uses too much of their demonic energy (the Yoki), they will turn into a full Yoma.
The anime series is characterized as a dark-fantasy show, drawn from medieval history. Yoma is the metaphorical version of the plague, which sows fear in people’s mind. Yomas can morph into their victims, and are untraceable. The organization that trains claymores uses this epidemic as a form of business, where they sometimes charge villages at an exorbitant price for protection.
Claymores are similar to the unsullied; they are young girls who are taken at a young age and trained to fight. Only a small percentage eventually earn the rank of a claymore, where they are forced to serve the Organization.
11. Guardian of the Sacred Spirit
Guardian of the Sacred Spirit is about a spear wielder named Balsa who is given a task to protect Chagum, a young prince who carries a water spirit egg. If hatched, it would bring calamities to the kingdom, such as droughts and natural disasters.
At a glance, the series doesn’t seem to resemble Game of Thrones because there aren’t any battles, nor any grand politics at play. However, Guardian of the Sacred Spirit’s strong heroine and fantasy world setting are similar to the Game of Thrones.
A major crucial part is a prophecy about the water spirit was lost through generations, and is thus similar to how the legends of Westeros are lost through time.
10. Mobile Suit Gundam (UC Timeline)
The White Base, a Federation warship arrives at the secret base located at Side 7 colony. The Zeon forces, the Federation’s enemy, are able to ambush the White Base and learn about the Federation’s new deadly weapon: the RX-78 Gundam.
Mobile Suit Gundam, nicknamed Gundam 79, is the first mecha show that saw robot pilots as tools of wars– this was never done before since robots shows were mostly targeted at little kids. Despite the show’s poor ratings, the anime revolutionized the mecha genre and introduced geopolitics involved with the inception of Gundams.
Mobile Suit Gundam is right on the money when it comes to large-scale conflicts and epic characters, despite it being a sci-fi series. Although the series first aired in 1979, the show’s themes are still relevant. The risks that each and every character takes, as well as their goals and motivations, speak volumes about the story.
9. Last Exile
Last Exile is a true gem for fans of the steampunk genre, though it also focuses heavily on wars and politics. Set in the fiction world of Prester, Claus Valca and Lavie Head are two sky couriers in the nation of Anatory.
One day, they come across a dying courier who asks them to deliver a young girl named Alvis Hamilton to a mysterious airship call the Silvana. The mission terrifies them at first, but they reluctantly agree to escort the girl to the ship. Once they completed the mission, both Claus and Lavie are dragged into a war between the Anatoray, the Disith, and the Guild.
Last Exile is best known for its relatable characters, and takes its time to flesh out each characters. However, Last Exile‘s take on the war is what truly sets it apart from other shows. The anime series doesn’t sugarcoat the conflict, and shows its viewers the true cost of a war that is based on strong notions of nationalism.
8. Code Geass
Code Geass may not have bloody decapitations on screen, but it does have a Petyr Baelish-like protagonist vying for the Britania throne.
In an alternate world where America lost the Revolutionary War and Britannia has extended its colonial rule to the shores of the Pacific Ocean, Lelouch vi Britannia, the former crown prince of the Emperor, lives in exile in Japan, along with his sister.
The whole series centers around Lelouch’s ambition to topple Britannia’s empire. When he obtains a power called the Geass, which allows him to control other people, he begins his revolution.
Normally, Lelouch is smart and calculative, but, due to his power, he can easily decide to become a “Mad King,” forcing enemy soldiers to do his bidding.
Fans of epic battles and history may want to check out Kingdom; a show that focuses on the warring states in China prior to the founding of the Qin Dynasty.
The story follows Li Xin, a commoner who rises above the ranks and eventually serves as the Qin Emperor’s right-hand man. Aside from its great characters, the anime series recounts the historical battles and key players who contributed to the unification of China.
One similarity between the series and Game of Thrones is that Kingdom takes viewers at the heart of the battlefield, where war councils employ stratagems against their opponents, warriors from different backgrounds are forced to chose sides, and the cost of war takes a toll on each warring state.
While other fantasy series initially set their main heroes up as incredibly strong and independent, Kingdom avoids this and lets Xin learn from his mistakes. When he finally becomes the great commander, the payoff is worth it.
6. The Beast Player Erin
While Berserk and Guardian of the Sacred Spirit, are mature animes, The Beast Player Erin appears to be formatted as a children’s bedtime story, with simple character designs. The story follows, Erin a young girl who wants to be a beastinarian.
Although the series seems like a harmless kid’s show at first, it gets quickly becomes dark. The first episode’s opening depicts the Touda army– the equivalent of Valyrian dragons– decimating hundreds of foot soldiers.
Beastinarians are employed to breed Toudas as killing machines, as the beasts are Alhan’s most powerful weapons. What’s more, if a Touda dies under a beastinarian’s care, he/she is fed to the Toudas as punishment.
This is seen, when Erin witnesses her mother getting eaten by a hoard of Toudas. If viewers can get past the simple anime-style, The Beast Player Erin is a worthwhile series for fans who love dangerous, giant flying creatures.
5. Guin Saga
Guin Saga is an anime series about Guin, an amnesiac warrior cursed with a beast mask who only remembers the word “Aurra.” The fantasy tale is epic, and is often compared to Conan the Barbarian due to Guin’s incredibly strength.
When “Guin’s Theme”(composed by Final Fantasy legendary Nobuo Uematsu) kicks in, it’s also hard not to compare Guin to Chuck Norris.
However, the story focuses on the wandering swordsman’s journey, where geopolitics and large scale wars serve as the backdrop. Game of Thrones fans wouldn’t want to miss out the high fantasy elements in the series.
Guin Saga is based on the best-selling novel series, arguably Japan’s version of Lord of the Rings, that started a new wave of sci-fi/fantasy.
4. Le Chevalier D’Eon
If the Kingsguard had a spinoff series centered on their missions it would be Le Chevalier D’Eon. In Paris 1742, D’Eon de Beaumont, a knight in service of King Louis XV, leaves Versailles to investigate his sister Lia’s death and the recent murders of French women in the city.
The story is loosely based on the real Chevalier D’Eon, who was a transgender spy for the French court, which provides the anime with a few creative liberties.
In addition to political intrigue, D’Eon is similar to Jon Snow. He knows nothing of the aristocrats at play but strongly believes in his duty as a knight of the King.
Another reason why it is Game of Thrones-like is that its English dubbing delivers some of the best and most convincing voice acting in anime, creating an epic historical story.
3. The Heroic Legend of Arslan
The Heroic Legend of Arslan takes a page from Daenerys Stormborn’s arc and focuses on Arslan, the crown prince of Pars who assembles an army to reclaim his birthright, while learning about the geopolitics of the kingdom and the neighboring country Lusitania’s religious faith.
The setting, by design, is similar Essos, where neighboring countries surround the great region of Pars, a central trade kingdom that is invaded by the Lusitanias. After King Andragoras III’s upsetting defeat, Arslan is forced to flee from the battlefield.
The show’s cast is diverse, and a few have qualities similar to Game of Thrones‘ characters. Narsus, the Tyrion Lannister-like character, is a master tactician and philosopher. The show also follows Daryun, a younger version of Barristan Selmy, and a bard named Gieve, Pars’ finest player who has thieving skills of Bronn.
The show also addresses slavery, where Arslan learns that simply abolishing Pars’ slave system won’t stop its practice in one day. Much like Daenyres’ arc in Meereen, Arslan transforms into a wise ruler, and chooses to use Lusitania’s religion in order to understand his enemies.
2. Legend of the Galactic Heroes
Two bright tacticians, Reinhard von Lohengramm and Yang Wen Li are thrust into a never-ending intergalactic war between the Galactic Empire and the Free Planets Alliance, both represent the other side respectively.
Reinhard intends to carve a new dynasty and sweep away the corruption in the empire, whereas Wen Li is a firm believer of democracy and fights for its preservation.
Legend of the Galactic Heroes is loaded with politics from both sides, revealing that, despite the grand war, both sides of the coin are equally corrupt. It has an extensive cast that follows a wide range of characters from regular citizens to the emperor.
There are also intricate politics at play, and is often viewed as Game of Thrones in space. It is also arguably better developed than Martin’s world, mainly because of its vast political dialogue.
Yang Wen Li’s military inquiry has some of the best lines and anecdotes that most anime series fail to deliver. Based on anime standards, the show is a masterpiece for its mature story construct. If you enjoy grand casts and historical parallels, then this is the right anime for you.
1. The Twelve Kingdoms
In terms of worldbuilding, The Twelve Kingdoms can be seen as Game of Thrones set in China. The show is a long episodic fantasy anime, inspired by Chinese myths, that tells the story twelve fictional kingdoms.
The scope of the culture, history, and characters is as large as Martin’s world, partially because The Twelve Kingdoms original light novels are also told from multiple points of view. Each small detail in the show is tastefully done to expand a world that is as vast as Westeros.
Though original novels featured an ensemble cast, the show instead is told from Youko’s view, a young high school girl who soon learns that she’s the rightful ruler of Kei, and agrees to accept the terms to lead her people.
Initially, Youko starts is feeble and weak-minded, but, eventually, she grows into a wise queen. Viewers can find other likable characters across the mythic lands, while also learning about the history and politics of the fantasy world.
Do you know of any other anime series that are similar to Game of Thrones? Let us know in the comments section!
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