Most people who have had the pleasure of getting to know me in the real world, (and people who follow my random babbling on twitter,) already know that I am a bit of an anime fan. Well, maybe more than a bit.
OK, OK, I am a huuuuuge anime nerd. I started getting into the stuff when I was around eleven or twelve and just never stopped. There may even be photos of me cosplaying as Ness or Beat from Jet Set Radio at anime conventions floating around the web. Maybe. Probably not. …Totally. Don’t judge.
Recently I was reorganizing my anime collection and I started thinking of the relationship between anime and video games. The two have long had an interesting connection revolving around adaptation, with games based off of anime and vice versa. Anime has only fairly recently been widely recognized in the US, and a lot of anime that games have been based on are not as widely known. This gave me the idea to do a little research and go through my collection and see what games I own are either based off of anime, or have anime based off of them. The more I researched, the more I was surprised. Some anime that I’ve thought would be too esoteric and obscure have had straight releases here in the US, and others have been altered, sometimes so much so that they are totally masked.
I was surprised. several that had been altered for their US release and some others had just slipped by me. Today I’m going to be talking a few games in my collection that I didn’t realize were based off of anime/have anime adaptations, and next time I will discuss some others that may surprise you.
Magic Knight Rayearth
Although I am a big anime fan and have been aware of the anime series for a long time now, I had no idea that there was more to Magic Knight Rayearth beyond the game when I first played it at a friends house in the late 90s, so it still counts enough to be here. When I first saw this game I thought it was so cool. It was one of the first games I had seen with anime custscenes and decent voice acting, something the US publisher Working Designs was known for but was not really commonplace back in the late 90’s early 2000s. Not. At. All. Magic Knight Rayearth is a fun, solid game that is faithful to the story established by the manga and anime for the most part, although it does cut some of the side stories that build up as the show goes on. It’s a good example of a game adapted from anime done right and was handled well for in the US, (aside from a massive 3 year release delay.)
I know that these games don’t really count as retro games, but this is my article and I can add this if I want. (If you have any complaints please write to the advice column of your local newspaper because I’m sure not going to listen.) Believe it or not, there is an anime movie based off of the Animal Crossing games. There really is no set plot or developed characters in any of the games in the series, (unless you count… I dont know, Resetti?) so I found the fact that there is a feature film out particularly amusing. The movie, Dōbutsu no Mori is based around the Animal Crossing: Wild World game and characters. Despite being well received, the film has not been officially released outside of Japan, but can be found fan-subbed online without too much effort.
Watch the trailer here:
Zillion was one of the first games I picked up for my Master System. It’s a fun little action-adventure side scroller that feels and plays similarly to Metroid. The graphics for the main characters in the game are all anime style, so I wan’t too surprised to find out that it was based off of an anime series that ran in Japan in the late 80s. What I did find interesting is that Sega Co-produced the series with Tatsunoko, a name some of you might recognize from Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom. Segas influence with the series is easy to see. Not only is the Sega Master System’s light gun based off of the Zillion gun, but the Zillion anime also featured Opa-Opa, from the Sega shooter Fantasy Zone as a reoccurring minor character The anime did have a US release, but it was brief, only lasting 5 episodes.
J.J., the main Character of Zillion even plays the Master System in the Anime–↑
Next week I will examine some anime involved games that have been masked and altered for overseas release. What pops up might surprise you! Have any favorite Anime-game adaptations I missed that you find interesting? Leave a comment below!