Yesterday we discussed several video games which deserved anime adaptations, but the reverse is equally appropriate. There are countless anime settings which crave a video game treatment – or already have games that didn’t quite hit the mark. Here are eight favorites which we’d love a modern dev team to explore.
Any anime you think we missed? Share them in the comments!
Akira was the definitive anime experience for a generation, so making a modern video game might feel like sacrilege at best and challenging at worst. And I’d partially agree, if we’re discussing the anime. The original manga, however, spends three volumes in a post-apocalyptic Neo Tokyo where multiple factions struggle to overthrow Tetsuo’s seemingly unstoppable religious cult. That’s potentially a fantastic setting for an open-world game where Kaneda navigates militant factions and his own changing friendship with Tetsuo, as opposed to the disappointing visual novel we actually got.
Mobile Suit Gundam
Mobile Suit Gundam is already a definitive mecha anime that inspired multiple video games, but I doubt anyone will complain if we get a few more. Each series is set in a future where Earth and its space colonies engage in warfare using giant robotic suits called Gundams. Gundam anime are often praised for their setting and characters, but the gameplay potential is clear: Giant robots fighting each other in space. What more could you want?
Sword Art Online
Sword Art Online is already a game-friendly setting, since it takes place within an MMO. The light novel and anime series follow virtual reality MMO players who are trapped online by the game’s creator, and face a real death if their characters are killed. While a few action titles explored alternate storylines, the ideal direction would be a meta Sword Art MMO where “NPCs” behave like other players trapped in-game. Your party’s actions would determine whether Sword Art‘s protagonists are freed, killed, or trapped forever. It would certainly be experimental, but given Sword Art Online‘s popularity, the approach might be a successful one.
Princess Mononoke was a beautifully-presented fantasy anime with a complex environmental message that avoided being preachy. But it also has a larger setting which was barely explored, addressing gods, corrupted demons, and a human Emperor seeking immortality. An action-adventure game starring Ashitaka, San, or another hero struggling with demonic corruption could expand Mononoke‘s themes while exploring a larger world. It would need to be handled with care, but if done right the results could be powerfully engaging.
Blood: The Last Vampire
Whether we’re discussing Blood: The Last Vampire or its spin-off Blood+, there’s a great deal of video game potential with this anime. Set in 1966, the game follows Saya, the last “original” vampire who agrees to hunt supernatural creatures for the US government. Gameplay would involve a combination of investigation and sword combat, as you track down mutated chiroptera vampires who have infiltrated human populations. Think The Witcher in 60s-era Japan with a focus on vampires, and you’d be on the right track with Blood.
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is one of the more unusual post-apocalyptic films out there, but it’s positive message helped it stand out as a seminal anti-war anime. Set years after a nuclear war, the game follows Nausicaa as she attempts to defuse a conflict between human soldiers and giant mutant insects that inhabit a radioactive jungle. It’s had a few shooters in the past, but an RPG that emphasizes peaceful approaches to unlock the best ending might be a great fit here.
Samurai Champloo may have received a PlayStation 2 game in 2006, but since it has no connection to the anime, the setting is worth revisiting. Set in Edo-era Japan, Champloo follows two rival warriors who agree to help a young girl find the samurai who smells of sunflowers. An ideal Samurai Champloo game would place a strong emphasis on advanced sword combat, with Mugen and Jin having wildly different styles that advance over time before facing deadly final bosses. Add great characters and a fun hip-hop soundtrack, and we could end up with a beautifully fun anime game.
Cowboy Bebop is already critically acclaimed for its fantastic characters and wonderfully eclectic soundtrack. But the series has a built-in video game premise: Space cowboy bounty hunting. Imagine pursuing bounties across the solar system, but the most lucrative contracts are the hardest to capture alive – and you risk collateral damage that reduces your final payment. While Cowboy Bebop did a PlayStation game release, that concept alone would be well worth revisiting.
See you, space cowboy.