While there have been plenty of games over the years based on manga and anime, most have been based on the heavy hitters: the series most people have heard of even if they do not read manga or watch anime. With this wishlist, I wanted to look at some other series which could translate to the realm of gaming.
While these series listed are by no means obscure, most are not the household names such as Bleach, Fullmetal Alchemist, or Cowboy Bebop. As always, there are some exceptions. With that being said, let us begin!
The Series: Psycho Pass takes place in a futuristic Japan where a computer system named The Sibyl System watches the populace’s mental health with a Psycho Pass test in order to prevent crime and flag troublesome citizens. The Sibyl System also decides on career paths for people and more.
The series follows Akane Tsunemori, a new investigator for the Public Safety Bureau’s Criminal Investigation Division (try saying that three times fast), as she learns about the world, her coworkers, and questions the use of The Sibyl System. What follows is a noir-ish tale set in a dystopian future with great characters, solid writing, and philosophical questions, and people explode similar to Akira. It's Minority Report meets George Orwell. What’s not to love?
The Game: Since the series follows a detective attempting totrack killers and ne’er-do-wells, the game could be like a futuristic, stylistic version of L.A. Noire. Players would attempt to track criminals via clues, interrogate witnesses, and pursue villains.
However, players would also have to tend to their mental health status and ensure their Psycho Pass tests are clean and show no signs of criminal deviation, which can occur when becoming too immersed in a case. Throw in philosophical debates with various people and the relationships between Enforcers and Inspectors, and you could have a real winner here!
The Series: From some of the team who brought us the fantastic Gurren Lagann comes the tale of Ryuko Matoi in the search to find her father’s killer in a world where clothes grant people powers. You read that correctly; in this world people are granted zany powers by special clothing they wear. Kill la Kill is honestly pure zaniness and madcap antics captured for our delight. Go watch it. You won’t regret it.
The Game: Since most of the series features Ryuko fighting in one-on-one scenarios in the beginning, it could play out as a traditional fighting game and the early fights teaching some advanced mechanics. When the series goes completely bonkers, things would evolve into a spectacle action game akin to Bayonetta. So long as you have the option to play as Nudist Beach, I am all for it!
The Series: Sword Art Online is one of the worst anime I have seen. Really, and I have watched some questionable stuff! The premise of the series is great and full of potential. A new MMO named Sword Art Online launches and is played by players all over the globe. What makes special is that is a virtual reality game. However, it is soon revealed if a player dies in the game, they die in real life. The only way to stop the game is to beat it.
The series quickly loses sight of anything interesting and instead follows the romance of two insufferable teenagers rather than this fantasy world or anything remotely intriguing.
The Game: Rather than focus on the laughable romance of two kids who can’t even get their driver’s permit, the game could instead focus on the interesting bits such as the world of the MMO itself and interacting with other players. A possibility could be a rougue-lite where players attempt to clear dungeons and such, but a character’s death is permanent. This would one way to handle the death of the character killing the player. Honestly, any game would probably be better than the dreadful anime series. Such wasted potential.
The Series: Noragami tells the tale of student Hiyori Iki who unknowingly stumbles upon the world of gods, monsters, and phantoms in present-day Japan. The series mostly follows Hiyori as she interacts with the war god Yato who attempts to gather believers and build a shrine of his own. There’s also fighting to be had too!
The Game: Essentially Every RPG Quest Ever, The Game. Since Yato is usually forgotten as a god, he will do anything for 5 yen. Well, nearly anything. The game could follow Yato and company as he does his countless tasks and combats monsters, but also having discussions with his comrades. So a ton of trivial quests with some action coupled with witty and amusing writing! Bam!
The Series: Ganta Igarashi is found in a classroom full of his dead classmates who have been brutally butchered. He is sentenced to die at the titular Deadman Wonderland prison. While the prison appears to be a demented theme park, it hides dark secrets and vicious fights between individuals with special powers for the privilege of those with massive pocketbooks. Needless to say, there are multiple, layered mysteries for Ganta to uncover to find the secrets to the prison, as well as some other things better left unsaid.
The Game: Since the main attraction of Deadman Wonderland is the brutal cage fights, those could be the basis for the game. However, rather than a lost match simply being a “Game Over,” a loss could take notes from the series. When a combatant loses a match in the series, a slot-like machine with parts of the body is spun to determine what bits the loser loses. It could be an eye, an organ, a leg, etc.
The game could have losses permanently affect future fights. Lost an eye? Your effectiveness goes down until you train to compensate. Lost an arm? You lose access to certain combat maneuvers. Round the fighting out with exploration of the prison a la Escape from Butcher Bay and you have a game just waiting to be made.
The Series: The secret Hellsing organization fights supernatural threats in England with the help of Dracula erm… Alucard (because screw creativity, am I right?). The threats start out minor with petty vampires, zombies, and various undead.
Things soon escalate to include a deranged, murderous Catholic priest, werewolves, Nazis, Nazi werewolves (I kid you not), and the Vatican’s secret army. If it sounds stupid it’s because it is, but it knows what it is and revels in the glorious, awesome stupidity of the entire affair. Also, mounds of gratuitous violence for the kiddos!
The Game: Just let the masters of ridiculous at Platinum Games make an over-the-top action that makes Bayonetta look realistic. Players would play as Alucard and kill everything in sight. What more could you ask for with this? This is practically begging to be made!
The Series: Ten years ago, a strange phenomenon occurred in Tokyo where the stars disappeared only to be replaced with counterfeit stars. The land of the city was ravaged. In the wake of this event, people with extraordinary abilities known as “Contractors” emerged from the shadows.
The cost of gaining tremendous power came at the loss of humanity as well as a “price” to pay for using their powers, which can range from inflicting harm on themselves to completing trivial tasks. Trying to keep their existence a secret, the world powers use these Contractors to carry out their dirty deeds, often with bloody results.
The Game: Players would create their own Contractor and undergo tasks for whoever they please, including the clandestine Syndicate. Players would decide which missions to undertake as well as how to fulfill them. Since the existence of Contractors is largely unknown, penalties would be incurred for witnesses or making a mess of things. You may even have Contractors sent to kill you. The price for using abilities could also play a role in combat. Stronger powers and abilities could also have more a costly effect or even multiples prices to pay. Excuse me for a minute. I seem to be drooling over my keyboard.
The Series: Higurashi When They Cry is actually a series of dojin soft sound novels which was the basis for the subsequent anime series. The series follows five young friends in the small Japanese village of Hinamizawa who find out the sinister secrets of the village. Every year, a person in the village is brutally murdered, usually by someone they know, and another disappears. There are plenty of twists and gruesome scenes which make the Saw films look kid-friendly. Great stuff!
The Game: Rather than play as a visual novel like its predecessors, the game would be a more traditional investigation game. Players would play as one of the main characters in different arcs of the story as they try to uncover the hidden secrets to Hinamizawa. However, your friends are out to get you! Or are they? Maybe your mind is playing tricks on you… What can you trust?
The game could have a paranoia system similar to Eternal Darkness’ insanity system which would have players questioning what in the Wide World of Sports was going on in this creepy village. Add those stomach-churning murder scenes and you have a game the entire family can enjoy!
The Series: Brilliant young Light Yagami finds a notebook belonging to a shinigami, a death god. Light discovers whenever a person’s name is written in the book, they die. The notebook can also exert some control over circumstances and people as well. Light begins to kill criminals and those he deems worthless to society.
The killings attract the attention of Interpol and the genius detective, L. What follows is a cat-and-mouse game of the two minds trying to flush out the other and eliminate them. While the series jumped the shark later on and the outlandishness got ridiculous, it is still a fine series worth looking into.
The Game: There have been some games based on the series released in Japan, but none seem to have seen a release outside of Japan. Players could assume the role of Light as he attempts to eliminate those he deems unworthy as well as his foes. However, players would have to be careful as certain kills or methods could help L suss out their identity. The mounting pressure of L’s investigation would keep things tense as well as a kill quota of some sort players have to meet as well. Just ignore the Near and Mello arc, and everything should be fine!
The Series: Kentaro Miura’s ultraviolent horror fantasy has been going since 1989 and shows no sign of slowing down. The plot follows the wandering badass Guts who is hunting down demons in an attempt to take revenge on his former commander, who is now a demon lord.
What I really like about the series was how it briefly shows the state of the world with demon overlords and it then proceeds to delve into the backstory and how things turned out to be how they are. This allows a great deal of character development and you quickly begin to care about the characters and truly appreciate them.
The Game: There have been two games based on Berserk already made, but both were in the action/hack-n-slash genre. Both were also based further along in the series, leaving newcomers in the cold. My idea would follow Guts during the present timeline, but would flashback to the past to show how things came to be.
The present could be an open-world in the vein of Shadow of Mordor and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt while the flashbacks would be more akin to real-time strategy titles. In fact, if you could play as different officers of the Band of the Hawk during the flashbacks during some of the big battles, you could play as Casca, Pippin, or your other favorite characters. Also, the series is notorious for its over-the-top violence so it’s a perfect fit for the gaming world!
There are countless anime and manga series which could make for great games. Which ones did I miss? Which of your favorites did I overlook? Sound off in the comments!