There are a lot of TV shows out there and in this golden age of TV streaming, the choices have never been greater. So how do you cut through the noise and find the “Best of” for any chosen topic? Well, we’re here to help celebrate and shine a spotlight on some of the latest, greatest and unforgettable shows through the years.
For our ongoing series of articles depicting the best anime, our attention this time turns to gaming. From hilarious company situations to vast role-playing adventures, there’s a good choice to whet your appetite.
Of course, if we’ve missed any of your favorites, feel free to comment below and we’ll get them added on!
New Game! is a quirky and cozy anime that delves into the world of video game design and programming. The struggles and predicaments its characters run into are realistic and hilarious. The characters themselves are grounded in realism despite the anime’s art style making them appear young and naive.
The anime doesn’t feature much drama or psychological aspects, though. You’ll witness the characters undergo stress regarding perfectionism and meeting deadlines. However, the characters have great personalities and distinct enough skills that help them stand apart from each other.
The art style is a bit hit-and-miss. While it gives the anime a cozier atmosphere, the adorable designs tend to interfere whenever the anime decides to teeter toward harsher or saddening moments. Nevertheless, the designs and backgrounds will offer fans a calming experience.
Log Horizon is an Isekai anime with a wonderful fantasy RPG world and engaging characters. This anime follows a boy named Shiroe, who finds himself among many others trapped in a popular MMORPG titled Elder Tale.
Despite his situation, Shiroe shrugs it off and immediately embarks on an expedition to seek more knowledge about this fantastical world. With no way to escape, Shiroe must adapt to this new setting and bring peace to the virtual city called Akihabara. He won’t be traveling alone. He’ll be joined by his gaming novice friend Naotsugu and a petite assassin named Akatsuki.
Unlike some Isekai anime, Shiroe finds his entrapment satisfying. He’s not in any hurry to return to his mundane lifestyle in the real world. He embraces this world’s customs, principles, and political system with open arms. This grants the anime its sense of uniqueness compared to other Isekai shows where the protagonist wants to return home.
Furthermore, this anime gradually incorporates concepts administered in common MMORPG video games. You’ll see Shiroe conversing with NPCs and shopping at markets for new equipment. The world of Elder Tale is vastly explored from its civilizations to stand-out landmarks. If you’re looking for an anime with a fresh world and set of characters, check out Log Horizon.
No Game No Life
No Game No Life left an impact on most gaming enthusiasts thanks to its intelligent protagonists and vibrant fantasy world. Many fans are dying for another season, despite the anime gaining enough traction for an intriguing movie.
No Game No Life follows two step-siblings named Shiro and Sora, who find life dull and spend their time dominating online games under the name “Blank.” One day, they respond to an unknown user’s message and are transported to a virtual world called Disboard.
They meet the world’s God, Tet, who explains his world’s rules to them and departs. Later, Shiro and Sora discover a kingdom called Elkia and meet a girl named Stephanie Dola, who wants to retain her father’s throne but can’t due to her clumsy persona. Shiro and Sora decide to aid Stephanie in getting her kingdom back on track, as they secretly plan to become this world’s new rulers.
There are many back-and-forth intellectual battles in this anime. The world handles disputes through mini-games in a gambling-like fashion. Shiro and Sora are a powerful duo and formulate witty and tactical manoeuvres that’ll leave fans exhilarated.
At the same time, the anime explores the struggles and worries these characters endure whenever they are apart. These moments add tension and suspense to its battle scenes. It also allows fans to pick apart Shiro and Sora’s skills as individuals. The foes in this anime are charismatic and will leave a lasting impact on fans, too.
If you’re looking for a gaming-rich anime with strategy and depth, check out No Game No Life.
Hikaru No Go
Hikaru No Go tells a gaming narrative that reaps in friendship and rivalry. This anime is about a boy named Hikaru Shindou finding an old go board in his grandfather’s attic. Making direct contact with the board awakens the spirit of an ancient go expert named Sai Fujiwara.
Sai’s passion bypasses time and space, allowing him to play his favorite game as a ghostly figure. He develops a goal to play the game through Hikaru’s eyes and aims to develop a new godly go technique with Hikaru’s help. Although Hikaru doesn’t like board games, his passion for the sport takes flight when he meets a young go prodigy named Akira Touya.
Hikaru No Go contains many shōnen tropes from tournament-centric sub-plots to training segments. While the battles are handled through gaming means, you’ll obtain the same exhilarating energy from the “go battles” taking place here.
Despite its length, this anime it offers a wonderful coming-of-age narrative with cliffhangers that’ll keep you binging. You’ll see Hikaru’s spirits pivot throughout the anime, making it a slightly motivational watch for those needing encouragement. Sai’s character is lovable and fun all around, as he delivers remarkable dialogue that will move you.
Overlord is as gaming-oriented as an anime can get. This isekai comedy follows the same plotline as most anime like it. It involves a gaming enthusiast getting trapped inside a fantasy RPG for some unknown reason. What sets Overlord apart from most lies with its incredibly humorously intelligent lead, Momonga.
Momonga is a gamer who role-plays as a powerful wizard inside his world’s most popular VR title Yggdrasil. Unfortunately, this is the last time he’ll get to experience this game’s world, as its creators plan to shut their servers down. Upon shutting them down, Momonga runs into an issue.
He’s still conscious inside the game. This leads to our protagonist panicking and searching for a way out. He runs into a few player characters and tries asking them what is going on. Unfortunately, these player characters are no longer being played by their real-life counterparts. They have adopted mindsets of their own inside this game and start worshipping him.
Therefore, the anime follows Momonga’s life inside Yggdrasil as he attempts to find a way back home. Unlike most Isekai protagonists, Momonga starts off his quest with mass knowledge and power. While they’ll be those that challenge his power, Momonga has many allies he can count on for support if he needs it. The side characters in this series are as strong as Momonga but aren’t the brightest.
If you’re looking for a fun and lighthearted comedy anime with a gaming emphasis, check out Overlord.
Death Parade tackles the subject of death in a thrilling and unique way. With its thought-provoking elements, detailed character studies, and fun-filled vibe, Death Parade brings a lot of painful yet ecstatic concepts to the forefront. This is an anime that will leave you on the edge of your seat.
In this world, many humans go to heaven or hell after they die. However, there are some instances where a pair of individuals arrive at a bar called the Quindecim. At the Quindecim they meet the arbiter Decim, who has them participate in a life-threatening mini-game of some kind. Decim’s mission is to pass judgment on these individuals and decide if they’re suitable for reincarnation or should be sent into the void.
During these exhilarating events, you’ll see each visitor showcase their true nature, whether horrid or sweet. Although Decim’s known for keeping his cool, the arrival of a black-haired female with amnesia sparks something strange inside of Decim’s heart. From over-the-top mental breakdowns to heinous backstories, Decim’s mental-breaking wonderland is sure to keep you entertained.
I’d recommend this anime to anyone that enjoys anime like Monster or Death Note, for its psychological concepts and mind-games alone.
Hi-Score Girl is not you’re typical romantic comedy anime. What begins as an appreciation of retro-gaming slowly blossoms into a series full of heart and charm. With its deceptive nature, likable characters, and beautiful coming-of-age narrative, Hi-Score Girl is a Netflix anime gem that everyone needs to watch.
Our tale takes place in the year 1991 when arcade games were the talk of the town. We follow a male protagonist Haruo Yaguchi, who has a fondness for video games and dreams of becoming a successful gamer. Although he’s praised by a few local arcades for his confidence and pride, this joyous energy crumbles when he gets by a fellow classmate named Akira Oono in Street Fighter 2.
As one can expect, this defeat causes Haruo to loathe Akira despite her wonderous record, rich lifestyle, and intelligent brain power. What starts as a playful rivalry transforms into something beautifully romantic and somewhat relatable. If you thought that it would simply focus on their childhood years, you’re mistaken.
This anime does dive into Akira and Haruo’s teenage lifestyles, and you get to see them undergo emotional and mental change as a result. I’d recommend giving this anime a shot if you’re looking for an anime with a compelling romance angle and video game-like elements.
While it’s not the first Isekai anime, it did serve as many anime fans’ gateway into the sub-genre. This anime is based on a video game of the same name. While it’s not the best one-to-one adaptation of the game, it does present some intriguing character-driven story arcs and tackles numerous mature themes.
This anime tells the story of a young Wavemaster named Tsukasa. He awakens inside an MMORPG called The World with little to no memories of his past life. He wanders this gaming universe searching for answers. He insists on avoiding this world’s Crimson Knights because they suspect that he’s a hacker because he was following a mysterious cat-like humanoid beforehand.
Tsukasa stumbles upon a magical artifact that transforms into a guardian-like being. This being promises to protect Tsukasa from all harm. Meanwhile, the Crimson Knights’ leader, Subaru, and several other players are shown investigating Tsukasa’s current predicament as they feel his inability to log out and return home will lead to something dangerous.
Unlike most Isekai protagonists who enjoy being trapped inside a fantasy world, Tsukasa opposes the idea and has a genuine fear of never returning home. The anime plays on this feeling of hopelessness and fear well with Tsukasa’s interactions with other players and creatures. Each player Tsukasa meets also harbors dreadful stories about their past, and the anime takes its time detailing those scenarios to viewers.
On that note, the story can feel like it’s moving at a slow pace at times. While there are monster fights inserted in this anime that help it speed things up, these don’t offer much entertainment. Instead, .Hack//Sign leans toward developing its characters and making them feel more realistic. If you’re looking for an Isekai anime that tackles the downsides of being trapped inside a gaming world, check out .Hack//Sign.
Gamers is a romantic comedy with gaming elements. While its storyline isn’t original and can be predictable at times, the antics and chaos our characters end up in will keep you entertained. This is anime an that utilizes gaming elements to forge a connection around its characters and their livelihoods.
Our tale follows the average life of a high school gamer named Keita Amano. His life spirals into something eventful when he meets his school’s most-popular female student, Karen Tendou. After finding out about Keita’s adoration for gaming, she insists he joins their high school gamers club. Shenanigans and absurdity ensue, as Keita will realize an area of gaming he’d never explored before.
While video games are a core element in this show, it is the characters that make it a worthwhile watch. While they’re both experienced gamers, their knowledge takes a detour where romance is concerned. You will see Keita and Karen fumble a lot whenever romance is brought into the discussion. The comedy that stems from these scenarios is goofy but relatable in some aspects.
If you’re looking for a romantic comedy with a simple plot but a strong appreciation for video games, Gamers may be the series for you.
It’s time to duel! But seriously, Yu-Gi-Oh is a splendid series full of charm, personality, and character. Fans have pointed out that it’s not an accurate depiction of how the card game is played. However, you can’t help but appreciate the enthusiasm and spirit that went into its production.
Yu-Gi-Oh centers around our young hero Yugi Muto. Yugi is a shy high school student with a fascination for Duel Monsters. This is a card game where players fight each other using monsters, magic, and trap cards. All is well until an egotistical duellist Seto Kaiba arrives at Yugi’s grandfather’s shop and steals his prized “Blue Eyes White Dragon” card.
Yugi confronts Kaiba and defeats him with the help of the Exodia monster card and the spirit that lays dormant inside his Millennium Puzzle. News about Yugi’s victory over Kaiba spreads, reaching a plethora of heartless individuals who plan to cause Yugi and his loved ones harm. Using his duellist skills and the power of the Millenium Puzzle, Yugi embarks on numerous quests to protect those he holds dear.
The foes Yugi and his friends encounter are maniacal and entertaining to watch. Each villain feels distinct in personality, motive, and design. Fans will appreciate seeing our heroes conjure up well-thought-out strategies to achieve victory. On that note, Yu-Gi-Oh’s English dub is phenomenal. Every actor and actress involved gives their one-hundred percent best when portraying these characters.
If you haven’t watched the original Yu-Gi-Oh anime, we’d recommend doing so.
So, there we have it, our picks for the best anime through the years about gaming!
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!