This year was a veritable treasure trove of unique characters, series, and ideas. Some of it worked extremely well, some of it was baffling, and some of it fell completely flat. The same goes for video game to anime adaptations out there, only more so. These types of shows are always pretty hit or miss, even if the source material is spot-on.
This year saw an abundance of full-length series and shorts based on video games, but while they were all intriguing pieces of media, not every single one of them was a winner. In the spirit of keeping things positive and ringing in an uplifting new year for 2017, however, here’s what worked when it came to video games turned anime throughout 2016.
Ace Attorney was one of the more straightforward anime adaptations of a successful franchise, and it was an admirable attempt at taking what made the games so enjoyable in the first place and translating all of that into a few episodes with a runtime that barely constitutes time for you to digest a meal. But it turned out to be an excellent product, following the first two video games from the main series Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney and Justice for All. While the animation was sometimes sub-par and it suffered from some small quirks here and there, it did a great job taking a nuanced video game series and compressing it into bite-sized chunks that nearly anyone could enjoy–especially fans. It’s also a lot more relaxing than trying to puzzle out each court case, allowing you to appreciate the cast’s colorful personalities and multiple jokes.
Pokémon Sun and Moon
Pokémon Sun and Moon was finally released on 3DS, and was accompanied by numerous alterations that completely changed up the way the traditional Pokémon games played out. Gone were many of the staple mechanics, and in their place were new ideas that some might call divisive. I personally welcomed these changes, as did many critics, but I can understand how it might be jarring to some. That’s exactly the same premise the anime adaptation dealt with when it debuted. A new animation style, a slightly younger-seeming Ash, and a host of changes seemed as though they might threaten longtime fans’ love affairs with the show, but instead it made a series that felt stagnant long ago feel new and fresh again–just as fresh as the games themselves.
Ao Oni: The Animation
Ao Oni was pretty thin on the narrative to begin with as a video game, but its premise was enough to capture the hearts and minds of gamers around the world. So turning it all into a set of chibi, super-deformed adventures that took the game’s horror elements and flipped them on their head was a courageous move that ended up paying off in the end. That’s what you get with Ao Oni: The Animation. Though it’s a series of shorts, its casual nods to its source material, occasionally ridiculous death, and contentment with being a parody of the product that brought it to prominence makes it worth a watch. Even if you have no idea what Ao Oni is or what it’s all about, you can get something from it, and that’s part of what makes these sorts of adaptations so valuable.
Brotherhood Final Fantasy XV
One of the year’s greatest role-playing games was launched with a plethora of tie-in media such as the impressive-looking Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV and the much more lighthearted Brotherhood Final Fantasy XV. Brotherhood follows Final Fantasy XV protagonist Noctis Lucis Caelum on his journey to meet up with fiancée Lunafreya Nox Fleuret, marry her, and form an unsteady alliance between The Kingdoms of Lucis and Niflheim. Offering a unique look into the four main personalities of Noctis, Gladiolus, Prompto, and Ignis, it’s one of the rare occasions where the anime based on the game offers more insight into its players than the product it’s based on. It’s a fantastic choice for both those who have played Final Fantasy XV and fans interested in giving it a shot–especially if you’re into it for the touching male friendships forged during the journey.
Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope’s Peak High School
The third installment in the Danganronpa game series was as raucous and exciting as the previous entries, so its anime adaptation had to be on point as well. Divided into two arcs, the Future Arc and Despair Arc, it served up a thrill ride that was just as addictive as the game itself. That’s nothing new for the anime spinoffs in the Danganronpa media conglomerate, but it’s definitely worth noting that these episodes were by far the best spawned from Spike Chunsoft’s wonderfully weird franchise. And before you ask, Kyoko Kirigiri is still best girl in the anime, too.
What video game to anime adaptations did you really enjoy this year? Let us know in the comments below!
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