Anime has exploded in popularity over the past few decades, with mainstream titles like Naruto, Attack on Titan, One Piece, and My Hero Academia leading the charge.
Many anime series have spawnd video game spin-offs. For example, the Naruto and Dragon Ball series have several fighting games to their name. Yu-Gi-Oh! has come out with many video games, and Pokemon released as anime and video game simultaneously.
But video games turning into anime series? That’s a lot rarer.
A few notable ones have made it onto the scene, of course. Digimon is a 2000s classic anime based on virtual pets. And we can’t forget Netflix’s recent anime adaptations of two popular video game series, Castlevania and Dota: Dragon’s Blood.
Outside of those exceptions, there aren’t many successful examples of video games being turned into anime series. Which is a shame, because plenty of video games have amazing stories, worlds, and characters worth exploring in animation form.
Isn’t it time for more anime adaptations of video games? Here are our picks for video game animes we’d love to see!
5. Fire Emblem Warriors
A lot of people don’t know that Fire Emblem already tried to become an anime. Back in 1996, Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem was adapted in a two-episode OVA, but it was cut short and canceled due to poor sales. Maybe it’s time to try again?
Fire Emblem Warriors is the 2017 entry in the series, available on Nintendo Switch and New Nintendo 3DS. The story centers on a set of royal twins—Lianna and Rowan—who must power up the Shield of Flames to protect their kingdom against the Chaos Dragon.
Sure, the plot may be a little cliché on the surface, but the real draw of Fire Emblem Warriors is its characters. Lianna and Rowan build up support from heroes across several different nations, and it’s a joy to see them come together over the course of the game.
The beautiful graphics of Fire Emblem Warriors—and the series as a whole—already resemble that of an anime, so an adaptation would make a lot of sense. Complete with the game’s lovely background music, it would be a solid anime based on a video game.
4. The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky
The Legend of Heroes is an RPG series that spun off from the Dragon Slayer series in 2004. Trails in the Sky, the first in the Trails subseries, actually did well enough to warrant a two-part OVA adaptation. The problem is, it felt ridiculously rushed.
The pace of the game is quite slow as there’s a shonen feel to it: the focus is primarily on the characters, their relationships, and how they develop with and against each other. For the most part, the heroes only have one goal: to see the world.
There’s a distinctly relaxed atmosphere to most of the game—no big wars to fight, no evil conspiracies to expose—so it’s enjoyable in a way that most RPGs aren’t. Plot hooks do make themselves known, but they’re relatively tame in the grand scheme.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky paints a realistic image of the world as characters tend to basic everyday needs, like going on a fishing trip or check into a hotel as they arrive at a new city. All of this makes this RPG prime for an anime adaptation!
3. Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon
Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon is an action RPG set in a post-apocalyptic world with barely any survivors. Every human encounter is depicted as emotional, touching, and important against the backdrop of an eerie and ruined Tokyo.
The story follows Seto and Ren’s journey as they fight off ghosts and robots while trying to find other survivors. But because the world is so barren, it’s easy to feel lonely and lost. Every moment is intimate and special, which is perfect for an anime.
Along the way, they collect memory items that each provide a glimpse into the memories of their former owners. These would make for some amazing episodes in anime form as they dive into new memories.
There was actually a manga sequel for Fragile Dreams, but the game’s story would work really well as an anime series instead. The soundtrack alone would elevate the experience in ways that a manga can’t. It really deserves more than just a manga adaptation!
2. Ace Combat
There aren’t many anime series about flying, which is why we’d love to see an anime series based on the Ace Combat video games.
Ace Combat is a combat flight simulation series that started in 1995 with Air Combat for the PlayStation. It’s one of the longest-running flight simulation franchises, and even spawned a novel called Ikaros in the Sky. Why not an anime series?
Despite being “only” a flight simulator, the Ace Combat games have strong stories full of emotion. You’d be surprised how immersive it can be to hear radio comms during missions, maneuvering harsh weather and conditions, and landing critical missile strikes. All of that’s amplified by the surrounding political conflicts.
And there are deaths. The player must witness tragic events in the midst of battle, without time to grieve as they strive to complete missions. If that doesn’t sound like material for a gut-wrenching anime series, you haven’t seen enough anime!
1. Asura’s Wrath
Asura’s Wrath isn’t your usual video game. This mixture of third-person action fighter and on-rails shooter feels more like an interactive movie than a video game. It’s even presented in an episodic anime style—but, for some reason, it was released as a video game.
Asura is a demigod who seeks revenge on the other demigods who betrayed him by framing him for the emperor’s murder, killing his wife, and abducting his daughter. Understandably, Asura’s rage is unquenchable as he goes on a destructive rampage.
There’s an incredible story here, capped off with beautiful visuals, perfect soundtrack, and epic fight scenes. It really should be a proper anime series, and we hope it will be one day!
This article is a guest contribution by Rachel Torgerson.
Rachel is an anime latecomer who now loves to watch all kinds of anime: new series, classic series, good series, bad series. If the synopsis sounds interesting, she’ll watch it! She creates anime filler guides at No Filler Anime.