Anime and video games have always shared a close relationship over the years. There are plenty of anime series that were adapted from games, and just as many games offered players the chance to become their favorite anime characters. Anime styled video games occupy a unique space in the mix, offering up characters, worlds, and storylines inspired by (and on occasion inspiring) anime aesthetics and tropes. Here are our Top 10 Anime-Inspired Video Games.
10. Devil May Cry
Ah Dante! The white-haired demon-hunter became a crush for young many anime fans back in the day, despite his origins being that of the Capcom action-game franchise. The anime like elements of Devil May Cry can mostly be found in the style and look of the series. In an interview, Platinum Studios president Hideki Kamiya (the creator of the original DMC series) noted that the inspiration for Dante’s design came from the character Cobra, protagonist of the anime and film series Space Adventure Cobra. Plus, what anime-inspired protagonist’s backstory would be complete without the driving need to avenge his mother’s death? Devil May Cry was just begging for an anime, and Capcom decided to give it a shot. An anime adaptation by Madhouse was released in 2007, spanning a total of twelve episodes. It took until 2015 for it to hit North American shores (courtesy of and dubbed by Funimation).
9. Metal Wolf Chaos
Metal Wolf Chaos is one hell of an American game. Players hop into the shoes and titular robot of the 47th President of the United States, Michael Wilson, as he attempts to fight off a coup d’état from his Vice President, Richard Hawk. Wilson flies around spouting out lines about how great America is and tossing out references to real-life events in American politics. You’d think that it would be the furthest thing possible from anime, but it’s actually inspired by decades of Japanese super robot shows. Produced by From Software (of Armored Core and Dark Souls fame), Metal Wolf liberally borrows tropes and clichés from all over the mecha spectrum. You’ve got giant mobile suits with comically oversized weapons, hot-blooded characters who give ridiculously over-the-top speeches about truth and justice, and even one-on-one battles inside humongous space fortresses. It’s Mazinger, Gao Gai Gar, and Gundam all at once, but with a heaping dose of American-brand patriotism thrown into the mix. Believe in your own justice!
8. Gravity Rush
Even if you just look at it in terms of style alone, Gravity Rush has a very anime feel in regards to the character designs. But I would say that the main character, Kat, and the story give the game more of an anime feel than anything else. At the beginning of the story, Kat has little to no memories of who she is or why she has strange, gravity-defying powers. She doesn’t let her confusion stop her from taking everything with a “go with flow” kind of attitude, while still following her own moral code. Eventually, she finds a rival in Raven, a mysterious girl who shares her powers. There is actually an anime series in the works for release in December 2016, Gravity Rush the Animation ~Overture~, which will bridge the gap between the first and second games.
7. Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE is a game that practically screams anime. The game takes cues and inspiration from lots of common anime styles. An example of this can be found in the 2D-animated cutscenes, which were made by Studio 4°C (a company that also provided the animation for the 2011 game Catherine). This is in addition to the characters, who them falling into very specific tropes. These include Kiria, a ‘tsundere’ (a character who is outwardly harsh to others, but is a caring and loving person deep-down) and Elenora, a ‘himedere’, (a proud/haughty character that thrives on attention). As well, the game focuses on characters who work in the Japanese entertainment industry, which is a major part of anime both in real life and in many anime series themselves. It’s safe to say that anime and Tokyo Mirage Sessions definitely go hand-in-hand.
6. Yandere Simulator
I want to preface this entry with the biggest warning ever because HO BOY is this game disturbing. It’s extremely violent and gross and weird, but I do feel it belongs on this list. For those not in the know, a Yandere is an archetype in anime of a person who loves their target of affection to a psychotic degree, enough that they would be willing to kill their lover or anyone that will get in the way of their love. Yandere Simulator takes that trope and just runs with it. You play as Yandere-chan, a girl who is trying to keep rivals away from her beloved senpai at any cost. What this means for the player is that you need to carefully orchestrate the murders of various other girls in the school you attend in a disturbingly mechanically deep manner. You need to keep track of schedules, your reputation and the many various ways you can dispatch your rivals for affection. Again, this is a really disturbing game and definitely not for the faint of heart, but because it takes an anime trope and creates such a mechanically deep game out of it, I can’t help but to add it to this list.