Some great anime series haven’t ascended to the same level of popularity as their video game counterparts.
In recent years, anime has skyrocketed in popularity. Reaching far from its beginnings in Japan, the artistic styling of anime has expanded to an international audience. Meanwhile, the video gaming industry is growing and has continued to see numerous crossovers and spin-offs between mediums. Though these are often the result of a large franchise attempting to cash in on its popularity, there are other cases where various forms of media are created to quell demand or fill in plot holes.
Whether it's due to one industry trying to cash in on the popularity of another or simply something that's occurred as a natural crossover between artistic mediums, video games and anime have undoubtedly become intertwined. While the success of such ventures tends to vary between franchises, it was inevitable that some great anime series wouldn't ascend to the same level of popularity as their video game counterparts.
Arc The Lad is one of the most slept-on JRPG series of all time, and its anime rendition is even less known. Still, fans of the video game will thoroughly enjoy the show, which follows the tone of the games fairly well while diverging in plot.
In particular, the anime picks up in the story of Arc The Lad II, following its protagonist, Elk. Fans of the game series will enjoy seeing their favorite characters in action in a new way. Still, the dark themes of mercenaries and experimental chimeras can keep the attention of any anime lover.
Though Sonic's game series are among the most popular series of all time, Sonic himself has a somewhat inconsistent characterization. The show brought a new a dimension to the personalities of the characters in the Sonic universe and proved immensely popular outside of Japan.
Despite its popularity, Sonic X still couldn't hope to overtake the popularity of its video game series. Sonic is one of the few game mascots that can compare in recognizability to Nintendo's Mario, which is a testament to the success of its game series.
The .hack is a rare case where anime and video games coincided perfectly with a purpose. CyberConnect2 and Bandai Namco created the .hack project in 2002, intending to release both the anime and video game simultaneously.
While both are beloved in their own right, with the anime ordinarily being considered one of the precursors to the isekai craze, the games took on their own life in popularity which the anime wasn't able to follow. Though the .hack video game series was more popular than the anime, the two forms of media undoubtedly work in tandem, providing key plot points that are best understood as one project.
After the incredible success of Pokémon Red, Green and Blue, the Pokémon anime truly took the series to new heights. Ash Ketchum and Pikachu's story solidified Pokémon as more than just a game series, and it's been a pop culture phenomenon ever since.
The Pokémon show is the most successful anime rendition of a video game ever — successfully propelling the franchise into the collective consciousness of kids everywhere. Still, Pokémon's video game series is one of the best-selling franchises of all time and hasn't shown signs of slowing down any time soon.
Final Fantasy is one of the most popular RPG franchises of all time. It has become a household name, with the term Final Fantasy being synonymous with the console RPG. Final Fantasy Unlimited set out to bring that immersive experience to the anime arena, but it was unfortunately cut short at 25 episodes due to financial limitations.
Despite its cancelation, Final FantasyUnlimited was popular enough with fans to receive a proper ending to its story in manga and videogame renditions. While Final Fantasy's other forms of media couldn't have such high hopes as overcoming the popularity of the games, animated works like Unlimited, Brotherhood FFXV and FF7: Advent Children expand upon the deep storylines that Final Fantasy has become known for in its games.
Ni no Kuni is a beautiful RPGs series created in conjunction with the legendary Studio Ghibli anime film company. With its anime-styled characters and Ghibli-esque storylines, Ni no Kuni is maybe the perfect game series to convert into the anime format.
Ni no Kuni's games have been a huge commercial and critical success, spawning a mobile MMORPG, Cross Worlds, which made over $100 million in just 11 days after its release. While the Ni No Kuni OVA is a great companion to the game series, it doesn't match up to the cinematic experience of the console RPGs — let alone an actual Studio Ghibli film.
Mega Man is one of side-scrolling's royalty alongside Mario, Metroid and Castlevania, so, surprisingly, its best animated series is based on one of the Mega Man games that wasn't a side-scroller. Instead, it was MegaMan NT Warrior: a show based on the Game Boy's Battle Network series.
Battle Network pitted Mega Man inside a high-tech cyber network where he would fight viruses and other computer-related enemies interfering with systems in the real world. This was the perfect setting and atmosphere for an anime, and NT Warrior brought it to life as well as any fan would have hoped.
Tales of Symphonia is the most popular title in the classic Tales RPG series. Its storyline, battle system, and graphical style made it a stand out on the GameCube and have justified its being ported to most other major consoles.
The anime faithfully follows the game's story, even though it makes some necessary cuts, given the time restraints of converting such a huge game into only 11 episodes. Still, the characters and action translate well to anime, and it's filled with enough notable references to the game to satisfy fans of the classic RPG.
Dragon Quest is a cultural staple in Japan and an international hit abroad — it was only a matter of time before it spun off into other forms of media. Dragon Quest: The Adventure Of Dai is a spin-off of the series that began as a manga and has seen two separate anime remakes, with the most recent being released in 2020.
While Adventure of Dai isn't drawn by Akira Toriyama, its author, Koji Inada, does a great job recreating Toriyama's style in the manga. The Adventure of Dai is a good show with some great animation, and it stays faithful to the Dragon Quest universe while still making for an enjoyable series in its own right.
Persona 5 is often cited as one of the best JRPGs in recent years, so its anime had a lot to live up to. It shouldn't have been too hard to pull off, though: after all, the game itself already features anime cutscenes.
While it hasn't caught on as much as the game series, Persona 5: The Animation is nonetheless a great-looking show that does a good job setting up the story in the game. For anyone who is still unsure if they would enjoy the vibe of Persona's game series, The Animation is a valid way to test the waters. Any RPG fan should watch the Persona 5 anime, and any anime fan should play the Persona 5 game.
NEXT: 10 Anime-Themed MMORPGs In The App Store Worth Playing
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