There's a lot of anime out there that are about different kinds of games, a lot of which are pretty well known (Sword Art Online and No Game No Life are two examples), but there are also those whose stories were sourced from already existing video games. Today we'll be exploring 10 interesting shows that are based off of this exact medium.
Maybe you'll discover something new about a show you already like, and maybe you'll find a new show to enjoy. Nonetheless, let's get to it.
10 Kantai Collection
Kantai Collection, KanColle for short, is about World War II warships reimagined as anime girls called Kanmusu. This isn’t just in terms of appearance, as each character’s personality also represents the history of the vehicle and country of their inspiration. The anime centers around a newbie assigned to one of the elite squadrons and is put very quickly in the front lines. It’s a slice of life sprinkled with fan service for fans of the game, and the story can be pretty interesting to watch, especially seeing the progression of the protagonist throughout the show.
9 God Eater
Post-apocalyptic themes are a common trope in video games and anime as well. In a world where what remains of humanity is threatened by near-indestructible monsters called the “Aragami”, humans who are merged with what are called Oracle cells, known as God Eaters, are able to wield the only weapons (God Arcs) that are able to kill these monsters.
The anime’s main protagonist goes through his journey honing his God Arc with the goal of defeating the Aragami once and for all. It has an interesting art style that mixes both 3D and 2D elements which, alongside the execution of the story, might be hit or miss, but it’s still worth a shot.
8 Senran Kagura
Senran Kagura is a series of games with different mechanics, all of which are pretty heavy on the fan service. The characters’ proportions are exaggerated, and so are the effects applied to them, panty shots have been featured, and in some games, damage inflicted leads to pieces of clothing being stripped off of them. The anime is about a group of girls training to be shinobi, each representing a certain character trope, and the shenanigans they get into during their studies. Like in the games, it also has fan service heavily incorporated into it, and it’s an entertaining watch (just don’t take it too seriously).
7 Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works
The Fate series is well known, but as far as the adaptation of the game is concerned, the Unlimited Blade Works series is the most well received. The story is about a high school student that gets pulled into what is called the Holy Grail War — a competition to the death between 7 magi and their “Servants” in pursuit of an artifact that can grant the winner what his/her heart desires.
The game itself had three different routes, but for this the creators decided on Rin’s path, and the show was both much anticipated and well-received. This is a show that you’ll be able to enjoy whether you’ve watched other installments of the series or are entirely new to it.
6 Valkyria Chronicles
Valkyria Chronicles is a well-loved tactical RPG set in an alternate world Europe at the beginning of a war period. It revolves around the Ragnite ore -- a vital resource with many uses like fuel for weapons as well as for medicinal use -- and the neutral country of Gallia that is rich in it. The protagonist is the leader of a squad tasked to protect their country from those that want to take their land and reserves for themselves. The anime may be a bit of a slow burn, but it is one that was overall enjoyed whether or not you have played the game.
Related to a third-person shooter game of the same name, the Gungrave show serves as both an epilogue of sorts and the origin story of the game’s protagonist. It goes through the journey of a pair of best friends who eventually become part of the mafia, and deals with themes of loyalty, betrayal, and redemption.
This isn’t a show with a light-hearted nature, but it has a compelling story that stands on its own and gained appreciation from those who have watched it. If you’re looking for something a little more serious, or perhaps you’re a fan of mafia-related stories, this might be a good addition to your watch list.
4 Persona 4
Of all the Persona games, the fourth Persona seems to be a popular one. It has an interesting murder mystery meets mystical/otherworldly creatures theme, and the anime adaptation is one of the most faithful to its source out there. Because of the nature of the game where each decision leads to a different outcome, in adapting it the show creators had to make the decisions to create the plot. This perhaps led to a roller coaster-like watching experience, with ups and downs in terms of appeal, but those who are familiar with the title and the plot were able to appreciate it for what it was. It may be an interesting watch for the theme itself, but maybe brace yourself for the dips that maybe had while watching.
This is one of those things that’s probably been part of a lot of our childhoods (and adulthoods, if we’re being honest) in one form or another. Pokémon are weird creatures, some based on real animals and some objects, and the main video games focus on “catching them all” and your journey to become a Pokémon Master.
The long-running show focuses on the seemingly non-aging Ash Ketchum and his friends as they explore the different locations that the games are set in. There’s also an anime called Pokémon Origins, whose story ties more to the plot of Pokémon Red and Blue, whereas Ash seems to just be constantly exploring. That would be an interesting watch too if you’re a Pokémon fan.
Steins;Gate is an anime based on a visual novel video game that deals with time manipulation. When a mad scientist randomly invents something that is able to send text messages through time, it seems to cause a butterfly effect to their present time and this trio of friends ends up in sticky situations that can leave your jaw dropped as you watch. It’s one of those shows where you may have to trudge through the first few episodes, but when it gets good, it gets good. This is a unique take on the time travel theme and is well-loved by its audience.
Castlevania is a classic side-scrolling video game by Konami that is loved by many. That said, there may have been some pressure, and definitely excitement, when Netflix announced an adaptation of the third installment. They did a good job of bringing the story to life in a more dynamic way with an anime series that is dark and gothic, much like the games, is visually amazing with good fight scenes, and is pretty faithful to the source. It’s one of those shows that you might just find yourself binge-watching and enjoying — regardless of whether or not you’re familiar with the games.