There are a lot of TV shows out there, and in this golden age of TV streaming, the choices have never been more significant. So how do you cut through the noise and find the “Best of” for any chosen topic? We’re here to help celebrate and shine a spotlight on some of the latest, most fabulous, and unforgettable shows through the years.
For our ongoing series of articles depicting the best anime, our attention this time turns to shows based on video game properties. From Microsoft’s Halo to Nintendo’s Animal Crossing, there’s an excellent choice to whet your appetite.
Of course, if we’ve missed any of your favorites, feel free to comment below, and we’ll add them when we can!
If you were disappointed by the live-action Halo series, then Halo Legends could scratch your itch for a fun adaptation. This anthology film chronicles the lives of old and new characters in the Halo universe. In contrast, the film has its profound moments, jam-packed with many chapters that lean into absurdity.
A different studio worked on each chapter. Some are animated traditionally, while others are done in complete CGI. While fans can look forward to seeing Master Chief, Cortana, and other characters in this work, it presents viewers with perspectives from lesser-known entities. Some characters inserted in this show stem from classic Halo graphic novels.
While some of its CGI looks outdated and horrid, the 2D animated ones have enjoyable artwork and animation. Not every story involved in this project has a heavy focus on action, comedy, or drama. Each chapter focuses on a particular topic in the Halo universe that some may find appealing. If you’re looking for an animated film that offers a nice homage to Xbox’s FPS mascot, check out Halo Legends.
Many people might not have checked out Cyberpunk 2077 without Cyberpunk: Edgerunner’s success. This anime captures the heart of that game and creates an astonishing world full of colorful characters and beautiful structures. Some argue that it handled one of the game’s notorious villains, Adam Smasher, better than its source material.
For a Netflix original, Cyberpunk: Edgerunners follows close behind Castlevania for being an incredible video game-based anime series. This anime oozes drama, action, and suspense. There are many fights in this anime that will get your heart-pumping and emotional segments that will get your tears flowing. It’s these scenes that make this a hard-hitter for many fans.
Unfortunately, some characters don’t receive much time to shine in the series. The anime spends most of its time developing the relationship between its protagonists, David and Lucy. At the same time, the other characters receive enough time in the spotlight to warrant fans’ empathy. If you’re looking for another astounding anime based around a video game, check out this gem.
Animal Crossing: The Movie
Animal Crossing: The Movie captures the peaceful and relaxing vibes of its source material well. This movie contains many memorable characters and a new protagonist whose personality reflects that of the player. This film follows a girl named Ai, who moves into a village full of anthropomorphic characters who tackle human-based activities and jobs.
Ai will meet many familiar faces from the popular feline Rosie to everyone’s favorite business raccoon dog Tom Nook. These characters resemble their video game counterparts well, but offer something new to Ai’s storyline. Fans will adore seeing Ai get into mischief with these animal creatures. Some activities she participates in are pulled straight from the games.
From fishing for a meal to participating in festival activities, this anime offers a vibrant and fun world. Everyone can enjoy this film, regardless of whether they are colossal Animal Crossing fans.
This anime is based on Konami’s incredible NES game of the same name. This anime aimed to change fans’ perceptions of video game adaptations and succeeds on many fronts.
This is a show full of endless fun and excitement. You’ll find yourself having a hard time putting it down with how impressive its writing and characters are. While the first two seasons offer some wonderful moments, many classify its third season as one of its best.
If you’re familiar with the games, this anime offers a basic premise. It centers around an enraged vampire named Dracula who unleashes hordes of demonic creatures onto the town of Wallachia. Therefore, it’s up to our anti-hero Belmont protagonist to put a wrench in Dracula’s plans.
Although this show doesn’t kick off with guns blazing, it later branches into something intriguing and exciting. If you’re looking for a video game adaptation that offers deep characters and thoughtful world-building, this one is definitely worth watching.
Kirby: Right Back At Ya
Kirby’s adventures tend to start off jolly, but transform into something nightmarish. Kirby: Right Back At Ya not only captures that momentum with its show, but it adds a lot of refreshing elements to appeal to new fans of the franchise. Like other Nintendo-themed anime, this one features a nice mix of action and comedy.
From Kirby’s power-ups to his longtime rivalry with King Dedede, there are some story beats that weren’t present in the games at the time that will make fans bewildered. The humor you can expect from this anime ranges from witty jokes to clever slapstick.
Fans will enjoy seeing King Dedede’s plans be thwarted by Kirby and his friends. The voice acting in this anime is top-notch as everyone involved brings their best take on these beloved characters. There are some instances when the anime uses strange CGI for character designs or background elements.
However, the characters don’t appear too jarring to warrant fans skipping this show. If you’re looking for another Nintendo-themed anime about one of its best franchises, check out Kirby: Right Back At Ya.
Sonic X is a wonderful adaptation of the blue blur. This anime has a wonderful soundtrack, entertaining story arcs, and phenomenal portrayals of Sonic and his friends. Our tale begins with an encounter between Sonic and Dr. Eggman over the series’s well-known artifact, the Chaos Emeralds.
Their brief excursion leads to Sonic being sent to Earth. After some run-ins with Earth’s law enforcement, Sonic falls into the pool of the illustrious Thorndyke family. Thankfully, Thorndykes’ son Chris saves Sonic and protects him from society. While on a mission to return home, Sonic promises Chris that he’ll protect his world from harm.
This anime is full of speedy action sequences, heartwarming character moments, and tension. This anime pays homage to the games in eventful ways. Many of its arcs feel like direct adaptations of Sonic’s outings in games like Sonic Adventure 1 and 2. At the same time, it offers original and invigorating sub-plots that take our heroes into outer space.
While the series has its issues regarding some characters, there is a slew of moments in Sonic X that will impress you.
Layton Mystery Detective Agency: Kat’s Mystery-Solving Files
Considering how popular Professor Layton’s games have become over the years, many fans had anticipated it to receive an anime series like its rival Ace Attorney. While fans received a brilliant film in 2009, they’d be surprised to see the Professor Layton games receive another anime project several years later.
Only this time, it wouldn’t focus on the witty professor and his sidekick Luke. Enter 2015’s Layton Mystery Detective Agency: Kat’s Mystery Solving Files. This anime follows Professor Layton’s daughter Katrielle Layton who runs a detective agency that helps its clients solve strange mysteries. With her assistant Noah and talking dog Sherl, they will unravel numerous cases that come their way.
While these cases offer some amusement, the story’s overarching plot involves Katrielle trying to uncover the mystery behind her father’s disappearance. However, this mystery is treated like a dessert while the cases she handles in each episode feel like the main course. The anime revisits this disappearance case numerous times, so it doesn’t end up as an afterthought in viewers’ minds.
If you’re looking for a fun episodic anime to watch with interesting thought-provoking cases, give this a watch.
Tekken: Bloodline is a competent and fun adaptation of Bandai Namco’s beloved fighting game IP. This anime ran for 6 episodes and each had a runtime of about 25 minutes. It can be viewed on Netflix. While the story has its slip-ups occasionally, there are enough satisfying action scenes to warrant fans’ attention.
This anime follows the plotline of Tekken 3. It follows Jin Kazama, a skilled combatant whose haunted by an incident that involved his mother, Jun. He’s trained by his grandfather, Heihachi, to unleash his true potential. This leads Jin to enter the King of the Iron Fist tournament.
Jin hopes to avenge his mother and stop a monstrous fighter named Ogre. However, Jin must focus on vanquishing his inner demons alongside other powerful foes that stand in his way. As mentioned earlier, the anime’s storyline may leave mixed reception as there isn’t enough tension or build-up going into it.
What viewers receive are countless bouts that all carry little weight and depth. On the flip side, this anime blends its 3D and 2D segments well. If you’re looking for a bite-sized anime to watch that’s faithful to its source material, check out Tekken: Bloodline.
Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie
Tekken isn’t the only fighting game franchise that received an anime adaptation. Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie feels like a love letter to this beloved fighting game IP. It offers a compelling narrative, excellent visuals, and fights, and portrays our heroes and villains respectfully.
This movie revolves around M. Bison’s plan to brainwash the world’s strongest martial artists and have them fight for his organization, Shadowloo. To stop him, Interpol agent Chun-Li terms up with Guile, the Major of the U.S. Air Force. With Bison closing in on the franchise’s mascot Ryu, Chun-Li, Guile, and Ryu’s friend Ken must do whatever it takes to thwart Bison’s scheme.
Everything fans loved about Street Fighter finds its way into this animated flick. From the character’s signature moves to the way they act, this movie understood the assignment and turned in a faithful project. If you’re searching for another action-packed anime that adapts the source material excellently, check out Street Fighter II: The Movie.
The Pokémon franchise has spawned multiple projects besides the video games. Since its inception, Pokemon has brought fans other forms of entertainment through trading cards, mobile titles, and television series. Although many adore Ash Ketchum’s adventures with several protagonists, his journey didn’t reflect players’ experiences with the games well.
Enter Pokémon Origins, a 4 episode mini-series that follows the Pokémon Red and Blue’s narrative to decent effect. This anime follows the same plot as those games and includes appearances from important figures like Professor Oak, Trainer Blue, Kanto’s gym leaders, and the region’s Elite Four. This anime feels slightly more mature than Ash’s adventures in the mainline anime.
In this series, you can expect Pokémon to scream bloody murder. The atmosphere this series projects can feel heartwarming but remotely dark at times. The way our protagonist Trainer Red battles gym leaders, trainers, and other noteworthy figures feels more akin to the games. From mimicking the game’s HP system to Trainer Red using tactics from the games, this anime feels more faithful to the games.
Unfortunately, the story isn’t the best considering it only has four episodes to tell a solid narrative. However, if you can overlook its several time-skips and weird decisions, you’re in for a blast with Pokémon Origins.
So, there we have it, our picks for the best anime through the years based on video games!
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!