Anime is one of the more overlooked mediums when it comes to video game adaptations. When many discuss the topic, fans would point towards films and maybe the occasional live action show. However, what if I told you that there are plenty of anime series that manage to craft an entertaining adaptation for video games? Fans and newcomers alike will be able to find enjoyment from these series without needing to play the source material. Some of these series may be self-explanatory to hardcore fans but they’re still worth a watch.
Pokémon is a fairly obvious pick when it comes to video game adaptations. The anime has been around for over two decades, lasting just as long as the video game series. For many Pokémon fans, it’s considered their first venture into anime. You can never go wrong with the classic series but for this pick, we’re going to focus on the current series, Pokémon Journeys.
Everyone’s favorite Pokémon protagonist, Ash Ketchum, returns for yet another adventure as he travels throughout all eight regions in the Pokémon series. From what we’ve seen so far of the series, it’s a nice change of pace from the past seasons of the anime that focused on one region each season. Fans both young and old will have something to enjoy from Journeys. However, if the current season still doesn’t pull you in, you can always go back to the past series for a bit of nostalgia!
Pokémon Journeys is available to watch on Netflix.
While this series isn’t strictly an anime, it’s inspired by the medium nevertheless, as well as there being a Japanese dub of the show. It’s about as anime as it can get so it still deserves to be on the list. Castlevania is one of the most popular animated adaptations on Netflix with a favorably positive reception on Metacritic. It recently ended with its fourth season earlier this year and a spin-off is planned for the future. One of the peak examples of the anime medium being perfect for adaptations.
Castlevania is based on the third title in the series with Trevor Belmont as the protagonist as he worked alongside Alucard and Sypha Belnades as they do battle against Dracula and his minions in the nation of Wallachia. One of the defining features of the series is that animation and art style has been inspired by old anime and manga to create something resembling Ayami Kojima’s art style. It’s not a family-friendly show like Pokémon, but for those that enjoy dark fantasy and are a fan of the series, it’s a must-watch.
Castlevania is available on Netflix.
Persona 4 the Animation
Persona 3 through 5 all have anime adaptations. While the majority of them are decent in their own right, Persona 4 is without doubt the best anime out of the three. It’s already difficult trying to adapt a 60+ hour video game but Persona 4 manages to do so in the limited runtime it has. The pacing never felt rushed or dragged on and it manages to recreate the magic that made the Persona series so beloved in the first place. It’s one of the few adaptations that I would recommend even if you haven’t played the original game.
One of the best aspects of Persona 4 was its comedy and how it managed to strike a balance between it and its serious moments. They even managed to make the protagonist that initially served as a blank slate to be one of its most hilarious and well-written characters. It also helps that the majority of the original voice actors returned for both English and Japanese dubs. Although, I highly recommend the English Dub because it’s truly a hilarious treat.
There was also a semi-sequel/remake of the anime that took elements from the Golden re-release of Persona 4. While it’s not as good as its previous iteration, it still deserves a watch for those who are itching for more Persona content.
Danganronpa the Animation
Danganronpa is on the more niche side of games and series, but it’s still a well-received series. A murder mystery mixed with a death game among high school students isn’t the most original idea out there. However, Danganronpa manages to give it is own style and flair to stand out. The series spanned through three games with an anime epilogue to end off the first two games. For this pick, we’re going to focus on the beginning of it all with the adaptation of the first game.
Danganpona the Animation was able to take the structure of the original to make a well-paced show. We’re given more than enough time to focus on characters and their interactions before the deaths and trials shake up things up. The executions are also well-animated, matching the disturbing yet goofy style of the games. It’s also highly recommended for fans to give the DR3 anime a watch (not to be convinced with V3) which is a good sending-off for the plots and characters of the two first games.
For the Fate Series, it’s easy to forget that the series started as a visual novel. There are also countless video games under the title such as Fate/Grand Order and Fate/Extella. Over the past decade, the series managed to reach new audiences with its anime adaptations of the expansive series. For newcomers to the series, I believe that Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works is the best starting point. It helps people understand the overall lore of the series before diving into the countless spinoffs.
Along with being beginner-friendly, Unlimited Blade Works is also a beautifully animated show. Ufotable goes all out in delivering the best fight scenes. The sound design is perfect and the art is just beautiful. You wouldn’t even recognize that the show was made in 2014 with its outstanding quality. After watching Unlimited Blade Works, I recommend trying the Heaven’s Feel trilogy of movies or its prequel, Fate/Zero.
What’s your favorite video game anime? Is there one outside of the list that we’ve missed? You can also try our other list, 8 Anime Series That Are Perfect for Beginners, offering the best among the medium to general fans as well as gamers! Feel free to comment below your thoughts.