By Chelsea Cruz
Imagine being totally unaware of your full capabilities, only to learn that the way to unlock this power is by revisiting the memories of your ancestors. You may have thought you were a nobody, but you actually secretly belong to a long line of Assassins, a group that has sought to protect the world from the world-conquering Templars for generations.
That’s the basis for Assassin’s Creed, the popular open-world franchise from Ubisoft. The latest game in the series, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, was just recently released, and it is chockful of viking action and ancient mysteries.
So whether you’re deep into the game, rolled credits or are getting hyped to play it, here are some anime suggestions for you that scratch that Assassin’s Creed itch! This is for all you Assassins and Templars out there.
Sword Art Online
Framed around a video game, Sword Art Online is the perfect example of what happens when your ordinary life gets caught up in a virtual reality—not totally unlike the Animus from Assassin’s Creed.
In this series, gamers find themselves stuck in the latest online video game, Sword Art Online, by the game’s inventor Akihiko Kayaba. The story follows Kirito as he explores and tries to beat the game he’s trapped in, effectively working to free everyone from this virtual nightmare. With their minds trapped, the gamers logged in are left comatose in the real world.
Sword Art Online’s NerveGear is definitely a product that could be created by Assassin’s Creed’s Abstergo Entertainment (a modern-day Templar front), making the series even more reminiscent of a world built on the technology of capitalizing on human experiences.
Much like Assassin’s Creed, Sword Art Online deals with the idea of living a full life in a world completely unlike your own, only to struggle with a return to your reality. Of course, the broader world of Sword Art Online extends far beyond just being trapped in a video game, but you know what? So does Assassin’s Creed!
Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom
Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom is a fast-paced series that follows a young man, Zwei, regaining consciousness in an unknown location with only the memory of someone trying to kill him. From there, he’s given the chance to start a new life as an assassin and save himself.
This series, much like Assassin’s Creed, explores the reality of assassins living in a modern age and how they follow certain guidelines to be successful at killing. Zwei learns that he’s a prodigy for the organization, Inferno, and they begin to work on tapping into his natural assassin skills.
Zwei proves that he’ll do everything and anything to survive, and that’s what makes him such a great assassin. In Assassin’s Creed, it’s always understood that the choice to join with the Assassins has its price. Unfortunately for Zwei, he isn’t willingly giving up his life for the organization. Instead, he’s bound by the uncertainty of who he really is.
The term for assassin in this series is “phantom,” as Ein puts it. And in many ways, the stealth gameplay of Assassin’s Creed makes this connection seamless. You’re present, sure, but nobody knows who you are as you lurk through towns and climb towers.
Watch Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom on Funimation!
Clan against clan; organization against organization; devoted guilds of people working to protect the world and build their own legends. That’s FAIRY TAIL, and it’s got plenty of thematic similarities to Assassin’s Creed.
In the series, Natsu and a band of misfit wizards form the Fairy Tail Guild, each with their own set of unique skills and different powers. Like assassins, wizards are sent out on jobs to make money and to build up their ranks. (Those are some literally RPG elements right there!).
Natsu and the others are excellent wizards that do what they can to protect people and to protect their guild’s name and honor. But key ideas like loyalty and order ring true for the life of assassins as well, even if FAIRY TAIL feels a bit different.
The legendary slayer Battosai is believed to have been the cause of murders throughout Tokyo. But just as these crimes are committed, a mysterious wanderer named Himura Kenshin arrives to save the day. This is Rurouni Kenshin.
Like Assassin’s Creed, this series is also built on preserving the handed-down skills of ancestors. Kenshin lives with his own former life, just as Desmond and Layla (the protagonist of the last three Assassin’s Creed games) do, and they each learn to atone for the sins of the past.
Even though this series is set in the least technologically advanced world on this list, the plot has plenty of character development, the kind you’d see in protagonists like Ezio (Assassin’s Creed II) or Jacob and Evie Frye (Assassin’s Creed Syndicate)
And hey, maybe one day we’ll see an Assassin’s Creed game that will take us to Meiji era Japan!