Even though a large chunk of popular anime shows are based on manga, the anime culture also draws heavily from video games. After all, Pokemon, Sonic, and Steins; Gate wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for their original video games. Other, lesser-known anime include TV series based on gaming franchises such as Devil May Cry and Street Fighter.
These anime adaptations might take up the entire storyline of their source material or just include characters from the game. At a time when cinema struggles with making a good video game movie, the anime industry is leagues ahead, helming one beautifully adapted video game anime after the other.
10 Castlevania (2017-2021) – Available On Netflix
An American production for Netflix, Castlevania is set in a world of vampires, vampire hunters, and magicians. When Count Dracula desires revenge for his dead wife and wreaks havoc, such forces come together to restore balance. What follows is a constant series of violent adventures.
The first two seasons are based on Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse while the other seasons used characters and plotlines from Castlevania spin-off games like Curse of Darkness. The Netflix anime series not only emulates the over-the-top violence synonymous with the games but also offers more detailed backstories of characters such as Trevor Belmont and Alucard.
9 Pokémon (1997-) – Available On Netflix Kids
Pokémon is so popular that it has become a huge facet of greater pop culture. Debuting in 1997, the anime revolves around ten-year-old Ash Ketchum who embarks on adventures to find the titular creatures, capture them, and train them. In his quest to be the best Pokémon trainer in the world, he also learns several life lessons.
A year before the anime’s release, Pokémon was introduced with Pocket Monsters Red and Green for the Nintendo Game Boy (also marketed as Red and Blue in the United States). The game became so wildly popular that every generation of Nintendo’s handheld consoles has received one Pokémon game or the other. These Generation I Pokémon video games were centered upon the Pokémon trainer known as Red, the character that inspired Ash.
8 Digimon Adventure (1999-2000) – Available On Hulu
The first-ever Digimon anime, Digimon Adventure follows a Pokémon-like route with its young protagonists taking care of ‘digital dinosaurs’. Unlike Pokémon’s monsters that appear in nature, the creatures in Digimon emerge from computer screens. They seem to inhabit an alternate universe known as the ‘Digital World’.
The origins of Digimon can be traced from the Namcai product line of the same name that included digital pets akin to Tamagotchi. These toys then spawned the video game Digimon World which added more context behind the fiction histories of the virtual pets. Sharing similar elements with the game, Digimon Adventure has aged well, incorporating coming-of-age and social themes that the game couldn’t.
7 Steins; Gate (2011-2015) – Available On Hulu
A thriller and sci-fi anime with a cult following, Steins; Gate is set around university student Okabe Rintarou who, along with his friends, figures out a technique to send messages to the past. When his activities draw the attention of an evil organization, the unlikely hero becomes the only chance to balance all timelines.
The anime serves as a continuation of the visual novel game of the same name that was also a part of the Science Adventure series. The video game utilized multiple scenarios and branched timelines with the anime retaining all of its characters. Even though time travel has become a repetitive trope in sci-fi, Steins; Gate still offers a fresher take that starts off on a lighter note but ends up being quite introspective.
6 Fate/Stay Night (2006) – Available On Hulu
Religion and sorcery intertwine in Fate/Stay Night which puts its protagonist Shirou Emiya in the so-called ‘Holy Grail War’. As the name suggests, the chief intention of every party is to get their hands on the mythical object and unleash its true powers. Aiding him in his quest is Saber, a powerful warrior who initially hides her true identity.
Much like Steins; Gate, Fate/Stay Night is also based on a visual novel game. Both versions of the story incorporate British history and mythology. With the anime fleshing out the game’s Unlimited Blade Works and Heaven’s Feel storylines, the dark fantasy series balances the usual adventure tropes with introspective themes on spirituality.
5 Sonic X (2003-2005) – Available On Prime Video
Starring Sonic the Hedgehog, this three-season series focused on the friendship between the hedgehog speedster and the human boy Chris Thorndyke. As an encounter with Doctor Eggman results in him leaving his home planet, Sonic adjusts to his new life on Earth. Later, he and his superpowered friends also venture out into space to fight an alien army.
Sonic X borrows the comedic and thrilling elements of the Sonic franchise while retaining the larger-than-life tone of the original Sonic the Hedgehog games. While it is not based on one particular game, Sonic and his enmity with Eggman do resemble similar arcs in the first Sonic game, and other spin-offs like Sonic Adventure.
4 Devil May Cry (2007) – Available On Hulu
Devil May Cry is more popular as a gaming series but it did spawn a short-lived single-season anime series. Released under the same name, the show features fan-favorite private investigator Dante who runs his own devil-hunting business.
The story seems to be taken from the first two games of the franchise and reintroduces characters such as Trish and Lady, while introducing new ones like Dante’s friend Morrison, and Patty, a girl whom he rescues and shares a close bond with. As expected, the anime is also filled with adrenaline-inducing action sequences that pay tribute to the original hack-and-slash game.
3 Dragon’s Dogma (2020-) – Available On Netflix
Ethan is a warrior determined to slay a Dragon who took his heart. But in his quest for vengeance, his own inner demons are unleashed with every step. There’s enough action for medieval fantasy fans and the protagonist’s mental struggles add a sense of realism to his character.
The open-world environment in the Netflix anime series is explored in even greater detail in the 2012 video game while dealing with a somewhat deeper story. Even though the video game’s graphics are still cutting-edge, they do draw a lot from more classic styles. The Dragon’s Dogma anime, on the other hand, presents a more detailed CGI vision.
2 Inazuma Eleven (2008-2011) – Available On Hoopla
Fans of sports and fitness anime would be delighted with Inazuma Eleven, the story of a school soccer team that struggles to get back to form. With an emphasis on friendship and leadership, the anime also has heartwarming moments in addition to sports-based action.
The series drew inspiration from manga as well as a Nintendo DS role-playing game. For the latter, players aren’t just expected to play football matches, but also scout potential players for the titular team. Inazuma Eleven retains the game’s visual style and themes to make a more interactive watch.
1 Virtua Fighter (1995-1996) – Available On Tubi TV
Virtua Fighter serves as the prequel to the first game of the series, with each character appearing as a comparatively younger version of themselves. Martial artist Akira Yuki forges new alliances in each episode in his quest to seek the ‘eight shining stars’, mythical objects that only true masters can attain.
Taking characters from both Virtua Fighter and Virtua Fighter 2, the anime follows a straightforward plot with a lot of action sequences. The fast-paced fighting is perfect for fans of not only Virtua Fighter but other classics like Tekken and Street Fighter.