Video games inspired by anime and manga have been around since the earliest days of gaming, and the following are the 10 best anime games released so far.
A lot of anime is filled with over-the-top action and quirky characters, lending the medium well to video game adaptations. The gaming industry has seen a large number of anime-based titles over the years across a wide variety of platforms, with anime's influence present since the early days of video games.
Some anime games are cheap cash-ins, whereas others are genuinely quality titles in their own right, channeling the best of their inspirations and adding strong gameplay elements to make them as entertaining as possible. For those looking for high quality anime games to try out, these 10 are Game Rant's picks for the best anime games available to-date.
10 Astro Boy: Omega Factor
Astro Boy: Omega Factor was released in 2004 for the Game Boy Advance, and is widely considered one of the best-looking games on the system. Astro Boy pushes the GBA's power to its limits, featuring slick, fast-paced animation and intense, over-the-top boss battles. A beat 'em up at its core, Astro Boy also features minor RPG elements to shake things up, giving fans of the anime series plenty of gameplay variety to sink their teeth into.
9 Attack on Titan
One of the most popular anime franchises of the last few years is Attack on Titan, an action-packed series about huge, naked Titans that eat people and terrorize villages. The people of these villages form a military specifically equipped to battle these Titans, and the Attack on Titan video game allows players to experience what it's like to use the military's unique "vertical maneuvering equipment" to fight these monstrosities. The incredible action of Attack on Titan translates well to video game form, giving fans of the series a lot to be excited about in both the game's single player campaign and multiplayer mode.
8 Bleach: The Blade of Fate
With Astro Boy: Omega Factor, Treasure had already proven its ability to create a strong anime-based title for handheld devices, which is a legacy it cemented with Bleach: The Blade of Fate on Nintendo DS. Bleach: The Blade of Fate allows fans to battle it out as their favorite characters from the series in a well-received fighting game that won numerous awards back in 2007 for its polished gameplay.
7 Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3
One of the most celebrated anime fighting game franchises is Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi, with the third game offering the most bang for one's buck. All installments in the series feature similar 3D fighting game mechanics, but Budokai Tenkaichi 3 boasts online multiplayer (when played on the Wii) and the largest roster of playable characters out of all Dragon Ball Z video games. Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3 laid the foundation for more recent Dragon Ball Z successes like Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2.
6 Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku II
The first Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku game for Game Boy Advance wasn't well-received, but the followup earned more positive reviews due to its myriad of improvements over the original. The Legacy of Goku II incorporates more elements of the anime series into the gameplay, with players able to use scouters to assess the power level of their opponents, as well as transform into more powerful versions of themselves. It also helps that The Legacy of Goku II largely focuses on the Cell Games saga, which is generally considered one of the strongest storylines from the show.
5 Jump Ultimate Stars
Borrowing liberally from Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. series, Jump Ultimate Stars is an exciting fighting game that features 56 playable characters from numerous anime and manga franchises. Unfortunately, Jump Ultimate Stars was never released in North America, presumably due to licensing issues, but the game remains one of the most popular Nintendo DS imports, as the chance to see dream anime battles between characters like Goku, Naruto, and Monkey D. Luffy is too much to pass up for some fans.
4 Naruto: Rise of a Ninja
When Ubisoft got its hands on the Naruto license, it decided to do something creative instead of making another run-of-the-mill anime fighter. While Rise of a Ninja certainly features fighting game elements, the highlight of the experience is its story mode, which faithfully adapts the first few story arcs of the Naruto anime, and allows players to freely explore locations from the show, like the Hidden Leaf Village. Its exploratory elements and platforming help it stand apart from other anime games, and it's clear that Rise of a Ninja simply had a bigger budget and more imaginative development team than most anime games have at their disposal.
3 Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3
While anime fighting games are a dime a dozen, some manage to rise above the rest. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 is one such game, featuring a huge roster of characters from the series, large-scale boss fights, interactive arenas, and even the chance for fans to change the results of key battles for interesting "what if" scenarios.
2 Pokemon Yellow
It's no secret that the Pokemon video games pre-date the anime, but a few games in the franchise have since taken direct inspiration from the show. Pokemon Yellow is a perfect example of this, as it borrows numerous elements from the Pokemon anime series. For example, instead of choosing one of the typical three starter Pokemon, all players start out with Pikachu, and what's more, is Pikachu refuses to stay in its Pokeball in the game, opting instead to follow closely behind its trainer as they travel around the Kanto region. Pokemon Yellow also features Jesse and James from Team Rocket as recurring antagonists, in addition to a few other nods to the anime series.
1 Yu-Gi-Oh! The Eternal Duelist Soul
Yu-Gi-Oh! The Eternal Duelist Soul features visuals and characters pulled from the anime, but its gameplay is actually a faithful recreation of the official trading card game. It allows players to take on some of the most recognizable heroes and villains from the anime in challenging card battles, as well as take on friends in its engaging multiplayer mode.
From Astro Boy: Omega Factor to Yu-Gi-Oh! The Eternal Duelist Soul, anime has inspired many high quality video games over the years. As anime continues to grow in popularity and accessibility with streaming services like Crunchyroll, fans shouldn't expect the stream of video games based on anime to slow down any time soon.
Which anime game is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!