The 16 Best Anime Series About Video Games, Ranked

Anime series about video games are surprisingly uncommon. Here are the ones we've seen that are worth checking out!
The 16 Best Anime Series About Video Games, Ranked

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There's a lot of overlap between those who love anime and those who love video games. Yet, video game animes are strangely uncommon.

And that's a shame because video games make for a fantastic concept to tackle in anime form, whether we're talking about a character whose life revolves around playing games OR a unique video game that draws in characters and subjects them to fantastical rules.

Video game concepts mostly pop up in the isekai anime genre, which is a genre that involves characters being whisked away to make-believe worlds with strange new rules, including things like leveling up and advancing skills to finding loot and completing quests.

Even rarer are anime series inspired by or based on actual video games, giving new twists to those characters and plots and further exploring the lore already established by those games.

From animes based on popular video games to ones that simply feature video game-like environments, here are my picks for the best anime series about video games and gaming.

16. God Eater

Action, Fantasy, Sci-Fi

Originally aired 2015 to 2016

13 episodes (1 season)

7.20 on MAL

The God Eater anime series is based on the video game of the same name, featuring an apocalyptic world that's been ruined by monsters called Aragami and the only hope of humanity being the God Eaters who can fight and kill those monsters using their God Arcs.

The plot of the series pretty much follows the premise of the game and the New-Type God Arc element, which can morph into a blade, a gun, or a monster-like weapon that devours Aragami.

With its CGI elements and animation, it makes the Aragami and the fight scenes even cooler and more badass than in the games.

15. Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear

Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Isekai

Originally aired 2020 to 2023

24 episodes (2 seasons)

7.23 on MAL

If you're a fan of the "cute girls doing cute things" trope in anime, you might find the Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear anime series up your alley.

It follows the story of a VRMMO gamer girl named Yuna, who receives an in-game gift: a cute bear outfit. The twist is that she's nothing and vulnerable without the costume, but quite overpowered with it.

Is she trapped in the game world? Well, it seems like she purposely lives her life in the game, not bothered by whether she's actually trapped because she has nothing to do in the real world.

14. Monster Rancher

Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Isekai

Originally aired 1999 to 2000

73 episodes (2 seasons)

6.80 on MAL

Monster Rancher (also called Monster Farm) is a classic anime series based on a video game of the same name. It follows the story of Genki Sakura, who was brought into the game after obtaining a special disc.

Inside the game, he befriends Holly and her monster friend Suezo (the iconic one-eyed monster). He then accompanies them on their journey in search of the Phoenix to fight the evil Moo.

Aside from the monsters, the anime series also features the unsealing of the "disc stones" in Monster Temples to acquire new monsters, which is one of the mechanics of the Monster Rancher games.

13. Bofuri: I Don't Want to Get Hurt, So I'll Max Out My Defense

Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

Originally aired 2020 to 2023

24 episodes (2 seasons)

7.53 on MAL

If you find The Rising of the Shield Hero weird because its weapon of choice is a shield, then you'll get the same vibes with Bofuri: I Don't Want to Get Hurt, So I'll Max Out My Defense.

In this anime series, the protagonist Kaede Honjo (player name: Maple) is a player in the game NewWorld Online and chooses to spend her accumulated points to level up only her defense instead of other attributes, becoming a super-tank player.

Unlike other video game-based isekai anime series, this one actually features a story where players aren't trapped in the game.

12. Overlord

Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Isekai

Originally aired 2015 to 2022

52 episodes (4 seasons)

7.91 on MAL

Overlord features a typical video game-based isekai anime plot, which involves the protagonist—a player named Momonga—who's trapped inside a VRMMO (YGGDRASIL) after the game supposedly shut down.

The thing is, the protagonist has grown immensely powerful after years of playing, so much so that he's actually terrifying. Not to mention his menacing skeleton avatar!

With no clue as to what happened or how he might get out, he lives in the game while assuming the name of his guild, Ainz Ooal Gown, in hopes that he'll find other players.

On top of him being trapped, the NPCs of the game also become sentient: living, talking, and thinking like him.

11. And You Thought There Is Never a Girl Online?

Comedy, Ecchi, Romance, School

Originally aired 2016

12 episodes (1 season)

6.70 on MAL

Just from the title alone, you know there's going to be romance in the And You Thought There Is Never a Girl Online? anime series.

This one's based on a light novel of the same name, revolving around Hideki Nishimura (player name: Rusian) and his experience of heartbreak in the fictional game Legendary Age.

No trapped-in-the-game trope here, but the female character—Ako Tamaki (player name: Ako)—does have a hard time discerning reality from the game world, which causes misunderstandings in her real-world life. Not to mention she's the protagonist's in-game wife!

10. Recovery of an MMO Junkie

Comedy, Romance

Originally aired 2017

10 episodes (1 season)

7.54 on MAL

Admit it: you've probably created a female game avatar even though you're male (or vice versa). Well, Moriko Morioka of Recovery of an MMO Junkie does the same.

She creates a male game character named Hayashi and sets out to complete the quests before her—but to no avail as she fails several times. That's when she (or he) meets Lily, a skilled gamer and high-level player who helps her advance in the game.

This sparks a connection and they develop a close in-game relationship, but can romance work in this gaming world where they hide their identities behind their in-game names and avatars?

Recovery of an MMO Junkie is based on the romantic comedy manga of the same name by Rin Kokuyo. Its approach to storytelling—of switching perspectives between the game world and the real world—is a unique take on a story about video games.

9. Castlevania

Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Horror

Originally aired 2017 to 2021

32 episodes (4 seasons)

8.3 on IMDb

Castlevania is an anime based on the horror-adventure video game series of the same name, featuring the main characters of those games, including Alucard, Trevor, and Sypha.

This dark fantasy anime centers on their adventures in saving the people in darkness from the hands of Dracula and his monsters.

The story and lore are derived from notable games in the franchise, including Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, Castlevania: Curse of Darkness, and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.

8. Dota: Dragon's Blood

Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Originally aired 2021 to 2022

24 episodes (3 seasons)

7.8 on IMDb

Dota: Dragon's Blood is an anime series based on the MOBA game Dota 2. You don't need to have played the game to enjoy this series, but of course you'll enjoy it more if you do have some experience with it!

It centers on the adventures of the Dragon Knight Davion, who has now become a dragon himself after the Eldwurm Slyrak merged souls with him. He now has the duty to stop Terrorblade from killing other dragons and collecting their souls for his nefarious plans.

7. Sword Art Online

Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Isekai, Romance

Originally aired 2012

25 episodes (1 season)

7.20 on MAL

Sword Art Online is probably the most famous isekai anime, based on a light novel series of the same name written by Reki Kawahara. It revolves around the story of Kazuto Kirigaya (player name: Kirito) and the fictional VRMMO game Sword Art Online.

The Sword Art Online game features fantastical mechanics where players can fully dive in by linking their real-world senses to the game (FullDive) using devices like NerveGear and Amusphere.

Unfortunately, the gaming world is stirred up when thousands of players are suddenly unable to log out. To make matters worse, dying in the game means dying in the real world, and it's up to the players to beat the game before the game beats them.

6. Devil May Cry: The Animated Series

Action, Fantasy

Originally aired 2007

12 episodes (1 season)

6.94 on MAL

Devil May Cry: The Animated Series is based on the well-known hack-and-slash game Devil May Cry by Hideki Kamiya. It revolves around the story of Dante, one of the twin sons of a demon named Sparda and a human named Eva.

The plot follows the main story of the game, in which Dante is a demon hunter who operates a demon-hunting business and hunts these vile beings for money. Just like the game, you'll find tons of blood and gore in the anime's action-packed fight scenes.

5. Hi Score Girl

Comedy, Romance, School

Originally aired 2018 to 2019

21 episodes (2 seasons)

7.77 on MAL

If you can look past the unique animation and art style of Hi Score Girl, then you'll be in for a cute story of how our favorite video games can become the bridge that brings about an adorable love story.

Hi Score Girl follows the story of Haruo Yaguchi, a master-level arcade gamer who finds his match in Akira Ono, a rich girl with very good arcade gaming skills. Spicing up this love story is Koharu Hidaka, a girl who becomes a gamer just to get Haruo's attention.

Hi Score Girl is based on the manga of the same name, written and illustrated by Rensuke Oshikiri. The series' romantic comedy story tackles coming-of-age themes and features video games as the central element that ties the characters together.

4. Good Night World

Drama, Fantasy

Originally aired 2023

12 episodes (1 season)

7.16 on MAL

Good Night World is based on the manga of the same name, written and illustrated by Uru Okabe. It follows the story of Taichiro Arima (in-game name: Ichi) and his life both in the game and in the real world.

To cope with the stress, depression, and dysfunction of his family, he shuts himself inside his room and plays games to forget the real world for as long as possible. Within the game PLANET, he's a member of the Akabane Family, which he views as an ideal family.

However, unbeknownst to the members of the Akabane Family, they're all actually related to each other. In fact, they're the Arima Family outside the game! How's that for an interesting plot premise?

While many anime series nowadays feature characters being dragged into a game, Good Night World features a plot where it feels more like the game manifesting in the real world, creating chaos and havoc in the lives of Taichiro and his family.

3. NieR: Automata Ver1.1a

Action, Fantasy, Sci-Fi

Originally aired 2023

12 episodes (1 season)

7.53 on MAL

NieR: Automata Ver1.1a is an anime series based on the RPG game NieR: Automata by Platinum Games. Animated by A-1 Pictures, this series notably features voice actors Yui Ishikawa and Natsuki Hanae reprising their roles from the game as 2B and 9S, respectively.

Set in a dystopian future on an alien-occupied Earth, NieR: Automata Ver1.1a centers on humanoid androids YoRHa No. 2 Type B (2B) and YoRHa No. 9 Type S (9S) who are sent down to battle the sentient machines that now infest the world.

The anime pretty much adapts the plot of the game and mainly revolves around the characters' battle for survival, giving us the best of the action and adventure elements found in the game.

2. Shangri-La Frontier

Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Originally aired 2023 to 2024

25 episodes (2 seasons)

7.99 on MAL

Shangri-La Frontier is an anime set in the future when traditional video games and consoles are now considered old-school because Full-Dive VR gaming is the new standard.

It follows the story of Rakuro Hizotome (in-game name: Sunraku), a gamer who plays different types of "trash games" and VR games that are glitchy and full of bugs.

When he gets his hands on the titular game called Shangri-La Frontier, Sunraku finds the game experience to be totally different from the usual trash games he normally plays.

Can a trash game enthusiast like him finish this god-tier game? Will the skills he mastered while playing low-class games be enough to clear SLF and survive?

The compelling story and top-notch animation are what make Shangri-La Frontier a must-watch for fans of action and adventure.

1. The King's Avatar

Action, Fantasy

Originally aired 2017 to 2020

24 episodes (2 seasons)

7.88 on MAL

The King's Avatar is a Chinese animated web series (donghua) based on the web novel of the same name. Unlike other series on this list, this one features the life of a pro gamer and the game he plays.

After being forced to resign from his club as an esport player, Ye Xui is also forced to surrender the account he built up and won three championships with. Now, he starts a new journey with a new account from scratch, aiming for more victories and glory.

There are no isekai elements or VRMMO mechanics here. The taut storytelling brings the characters into the game while the satisfying animation and fight sequences keep us thoroughly engaged.