In 2016, Re Zero took the world by storm with it’s unique and shockingly interesting concept. Whether in past or present, the isekai genre of anime has always been the most common of all, as seen by how it’s become strange to see less than 4 isekai anime in a season. I’m sure that many of us, when first seeing this anime’s name on its announcement, felt it would be yet another carbon copy of its SAO-esque predecessors. Yet, proving us all wrong with a dark and heavy setting that wasn’t even that edgy, and a plot that really made you think, it quickly rose in popularity.
The story follows Natsuki Subaru, a NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) who gets blinked into another world as he leaves a convenience store. Excited at his situation, literally living out a fantasy he thought he could only see in Light Novels, he gets expectant of his potential in this new world. However, his dreams are quickly broken as he’s killed by 3 mobsters in an alleyway. After he painfully passes away, he opens his eyes to find himself back at the place he was at a few minutes ago. Discovering he has the ability to go back in time through death, the story soon takes a much darker turn for Subaru.
It had a uniqueness that made you think that there couldn’t be anything similar to it. Fortunately for you, there are actually at least 10 anime similar to Re Zero.
Here’s a selection of 10 anime similar to Re Zero:
1. Tokyo Revengers
Starting off is an anime similar to Re Zero in a way that it would be hard to tell them apart from their descriptions alone, Tokyo Revengers. A concept which makes Re Zero so memorable is it’s main character’s weakness in comparison to the others around him, that emphasizes all the efforts Subaru goes through to improve himself. This is something that’s done in Tokyo Revengers as well, with it’s main character, Takemichi Hanagaki, who has to return to his middle school days in order to prevent his ex-girlfriend, Hinata Tachibana, from being killed in a gang-related incident.
Tachibana, nicknamed “Crybaby Hero”, was never strong of heart. However, when the things important to him are at stake, he’s able to bring out a strength in himself he would otherwise never show and fight for what he loves. When he realizes what he needs to do to save Hinata, he joins the biggest gang in his town, the Tokyo Manji gang, despite the danger involved. By leaping from past to present and back with the help of Hinata’s brother, Naoto Tachibana, he goes above and beyond in protecting the people he cares for just like Subaru.
As an anime similar to Re Zero, while the main character’s efforts are crucial, the way the anime highlights the strengths of the characters around him is also amazing. I would definitely recommend anyone looking for anime similar to Re Zero that really touches the core of things check this anime out.
2. Link Click
Another very recent anime similar to Re Zero – though it’s actually a donghua, a Chinese animation – is Shiguang Daili Ren. Though this is a donghua rather than an anime, it fit the bill so much I had to put it in. This donghua follows Xiaoshi Cheng and Guang Lu’s lives as they work at their job at a rather special store. I’d like to emphasize on the word “lives”, because these two are required to live through multiple. The store they work at, a seemingly ordinary Photo Studio, is actually a store for clients to give requests to go back to the past – specifically, other people’s pasts.
Xiaoshi has the ability to go into photos and take over the bodies of the people inside of them, while Guang Lu can view all the history of that person, from past to present. By using their abilities together, they dive into the pasts of pictures they receive from clients. However, the catch is that they are not allowed to change anything too much, or there would be a lasting impact on their current world. This often causes big problems due to Xiaoshi’s empathetic nature, wishing to help the people he possesses to escape their often tragic fates.
As the more emotional Xiaoshi and pragmatic Guang Lu clash heads on many of their missions because of different opinions on what Xiaoshi can do and what he shouldn’t do inside the body he possesses, you’ll be pulled between heart and mind, especially with a few episodes that may even make you cry if you aren’t careful.
3. Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song
Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song is an anime similar to Re Zero in a tragically beautiful way. Vivy follows a very similar concept to Re Zero, focusing on the emotional and psychological side of things. Now though I say that, the two things I think advertise this anime most are the music – of course – and surprisingly, the fights. It’s an anime similar to Re Zero and yet foreign at the same time.
To clarify, this anime is about music. The story follows the titular Vivy, an android created to be an idol – the first of her kind. Make no mistake, androids themselves existed long before her, assisting humanity in various different ways such as cleaning, cooking, maintenance and hospitality. However, entertainment androids are essentially non-existent before Vivy, as people find their mechanical nature to lack life and creativity. Vivy’s creators made her in hope that she would overcome this, but at the start of the story at least, that’s the least of her problems.
The anime starts off with the world facing destruction by the androids they themselves had made. To stop this, a small cuboid android named Matsumoto goes to the past to find the android that his creator told him could save the future – Vivy. Throughout the anime you’ll follow Vivy as she faces hurdles that tower over time itself – oftentimes resulting in a few close combat fights with people who intend to oppose her goal of saving the world.
If you want to see an anime similar to Re Zero that gives you a moving story about discovering your meaning in life and finding your passion, or if you just want to see some good fist to fist action, I’d definitely recommend Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song.
4. Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash
So far we’ve followed a theme of Time Travel. Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash has no time travel included, but I assure you that this is still an anime similar to Re Zero. As for it’s darker qualities, Grimgar can be an anime similar to Re Zero to high degree. While not exaggerated enough for you to doubt its legitimacy, it’s still cruel enough to make you really bite back tears, putting it in limited group of good dark fantasy anime similar to Re Zero.
After a class of highschool students are involved in a bus accident, they wake up in another world by the name of Grimgar. After they all arrive in Grimgar, Haruhiro – the main character – is grouped up with 5 other people in an adventurer’s party. Each finding their own roles, the party of 6 has to claw their way through thick and thin to survive in Grimgar. What makes Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash a special one in it’s genre, is what comes next. Consequences. Lots of Consequences. Unlike many others in its genre, there are no safety pins or easy modes. Every mistake they make is paid for, in full – in sweat, tears and blood.
The special point of this anime is it’s raw dedication to being completely realistic. It makes you feel like, as unrealistic as it is, everything on screen could actually happen. It puts all the fantastical dream fulfilment tropes you’d usually see in isekai in the backseat to rather focus on more tangible things. To add to this of course, are it’s absolutely beautiful visuals. With backgrounds that could make you actually feel breathless to smoothly done animation and effects, it’s filled with eye candy. Watching Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash in the evening of a long day and just letting it do it’s magic is something I’d highly recommend you try.
To return to the concept of time travel, Erased is an anime similar to Re Zero you have to check out. Coincidentally coming out in the exact same year of 2016 as Re Zero, Erased also made a rather large impact on the industry during that time. Besides the obvious time travelling the two share with each other, there is also a link they share in the personality traits of their respective main characters.
The main character, Fujinuma Satoru is someone known to be overly prone to helping others. Whenever someone’s in a pinch, he’s always there to help out. However, this Samaritan-like behavior of his is something his body literally forces him to do. Satoru has a special ability, purely centered around helping and saving others. Whenever an accident happens or someone is in trouble nearby him, he is sent far enough back in time to save them. Having lived most of his life after adulthood with this ability, he’s gotten used to it and mostly stops accidents not big enough to impact his life. Until he has to stop his mom’s murderer.
Being sent back all the way to his years in elementary school, back when he was 10 years old, he not only has to prevent his mother’s death, but the deaths of 3 other children of his age from a serial killer’s clutches. Of them, the most notable is the story’s heroine, Hinazuki Kayo. As Satoru investigates the identity of the serial killer and how to stop him, he also learns more about the victims, spending the most time with Kayo. His discovery of Kayo’s past and efforts to help her overcome her trauma, also helps him grow as a person. Satoru’s self-sacrificial nature to help others mirrors Subaru, making for an anime similar to Re Zero even in character.
This one is a bit farther back in the past, but it still stands against the test of time like an iron rod. Steins;Gate, that came out a whole decade ago, is a classic in it’s genre. When you would recommend time travel anime to others, I’m sure Steins;Gate would be the first to come to mind for many people – for very good reason. However, there’s more than just time leaping that makes Steins;Gate an anime similar to Re Zero.
“Hououin Kyouma” as he’s named himself, or Okabe Rintarou is a self-proclaimed mad scientist – in short, he enjoys living in a very exaggerated way. Though it is true that Rintarou is a scientist, his career isn’t marked with too many successes and besides his exaggerated way of life, he’s far from being as “mad” as he says he is. It’s only when he happens to create a time machine before the discovery of another scientist’s – Kurisu Makise’s – death, that his character is put to test.
For an anime similar to Re Zero, the way Steins;Gate deals with human weakness is amazing. As the episodes go on, the show doesn’t try to fool you with any false sense of security. It shows you the most vulnerable parts of each of the characters, and it shows you how they learn from their mistakes. Especially Rintarou. Showing the viewers both the strongest and the weakest sides of the characters makes for a very complex and enjoyable watch, one that I’d suggest you enjoy as soon as possible.
7. Future Diary
For many, there’s little need to introduce this anime, but some of those newer into their anime experiences might not know about this classic yet. Future Diary is an anime so iconic it became the face of a trope for a while. For any of you not in the know, think of this face:
The relationship between the main heroine, Yuno Gasai and the Main Character, Yukiteru Amano, was one that left a mark on the community as a whole. Specifically, Yuno’s dogged obsession for Yukiteru – Yuki, as she called him. But this isn’t a lesson on the history of Yandere, so let me get to why this is an anime similar to Re Zero.
While I said I would get away from the talk about Yuno and Yuki, one thing that makes Future Diary an anime similar to Re Zero is exactly that. Yuki and Subaru’s similarities are a whole other issue to deal with, but something the two anime have very close in common are crazy women. Very crazy. Satella, the main antagonist of Re Zero that monitors Subaru 24/7 is a prime example. In Future Diary, while Yuno isn’t the only woman with a few screws loose, she’s definitely missing most of them. The violence her desire to keep Yuki safe from any assailants is a great source of action in the show, making more than a few amazing scenes.
But beyond the ever-exciting gunfire and head-chopping, this anime has a plotline that will keep you interested through the entire duration, just like Re Zero. With twist upon twist and enough surprises to make you doubt everyone that shows up on screen for even a second, Future Diary has a way of exploring the minds of people in a way that will keep you completely invested.
8. Deadman Wonderland
Deadman Wonderland is an anime similar to Re Zero that left a rather notable mark after it’s release, though now it’s mostly known as a very niche anime. With the premise literally resting on the spilling of blood it’s an anime with a very hardcore rock image attached to it – it’s opening only adds fuel to the fire. As for why this is anime similar to Re Zero, rather than in the generous bloodshed and cruelly painful scenes, the reason lies in Deadland Wonderland’s main character – Ganta Igarashi.
The story of Deadman Wonderland starts with Ganta being wrongly accused of the murder of his entire class. Being throw straight into the metaphorical fire from the very start of the show, Ganta is understandably very confused. After he’s taken to Deadman Wonderland, an execution ground for death row inmates that’s decorated as an amusement park, he expresses his distress quite vividly. While you can’t blame him, you also have to admit there are quite a few moments where he makes his weak position in comparison to his overbearing circumstances very visible. Despite this, when his life and certain things he always refuses to compromise are on the line, he shows uncharacteristic strength – just like Subaru.
As the show goes on, you go from seeing Ganta as just a barely passable main character to a hero that you can’t help but root for. With Ganta, accompanied by the main heroine, his adorable companion Shiro, this anime has enough personality and character to leave a vivid image in your mind long after you finish it. As an anime similar to Re Zero, I assure you that each episode will leave you with a craving for more.
9. Higurashi: When They Cry
When it comes to brutality, this anime ranks at the very highest of the list. It’s gory and dark imagery makes it an anime similar to Re Zero to shocking extent. The original anime starts off with a gory image of death, a bit unlike Re Zero, but then tries to trick you into a false sense of peace – leaving you with a looming feeling of danger that remains the entire way through – which is exactly what happens in Re Zero.
The story follows Keiichi Maebara, a new resident in the small and inconspicuous village of Hinamizawa. Hinamizawa is a village that seems happy enough in it’s meagerness, filled with the many small happy moments of everyday life. Keiichi believes so too, enjoying his time in the village with his group of friends consisting of him and 4 other girls. The show also tries to trick you into believing this as well. Soon, though, after Keiichi’s discovery of an accident that occurred during a planned construction of a dam in the village some years ago – a murder – things begin to spiral out of control. As the episodes go on, Keiichi’s perceived happy everyday life in Hinamizawa begins to fall apart.
Similar to Re Zero, this anime is filled with deceptive appearances and underlying tones of darkness that never really leave the show’s presence. As the show constantly tries to trick you into believing that the worst has already come and gone, you’ll be filled with anxiety for the next episode, just waiting for things to get even worse than they already have. For any who’d like to enjoy an anime with thrills similar to Re Zero, Higurashi: When they cry is a perfect fit.
10. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
Last but definitely not least, is the anime giant, the classic of classics – The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. This anime made such a large impact that the Hare Hare Yukai dance is still one of the most iconic dances from anime in existence. This anime might have been the furthest from your thoughts when the anime Re Zero is mentioned, but once you look close enough, you’ll see just how many things the two have in common that make this anime similar to Re Zero.
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya follows Kyon and his observations of the unpredictable Haruhi Suzumiya. After they both enter highschool, Haruhi forms a club – the SSS – to fulfil her bottomless curiousity for the supernatural. This curiousity of hers, however, often lands the club members in very strange situations that all rest on her emotional state. With Kyon being the closest to Haruhi, he often ends up being the one to resolve these incidents – through great effort on his part. The most infamous of these incidents being the Endless Eight arc, an arc where the club is trapped in a time loop for more than 500 years.
Scaling against odds to break into people’s emotional walls is a concept that makes the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya very similar to Re Zero. It’s not such a prevalent theme in season 1 – though it is there to an extent – but Re Zero’s second season is essentially centered around this theme. Subaru’s efforts in sympathizing with others and breaking into the walls in their heart with his headstrong approach is something that you’ll find resonates very strongly in this anime. If you’re interested in that or any of the many, many, iconic moments the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is famous for, I’d suggest you definitely check it out.
With all of these wonderfully exciting and thrilling anime introduced to you, these are 10 anime similar to Re Zero that you can spend an evening to watch and let your mind drift with the more thoughtful, mind-challenging picks or sit at the edge of your seat with popcorn in hand as you watch the more thrilling, goosebump-inducing anime in anticipation. If you’ve watched any of the anime listed above and have any thoughts you’d like to drop, or if you’ve picked your next anime to watch from this list, leave a comment or two below. And for more interesting anime content, follow our Instagram.