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Playing cards is a traditional game which was popular before the Internet was invented. With the coming of the Internet, people rarely play card games anymore. Thus, those among us who are not into card games may find card anime unappealing. However, you should not underestimate the Japanese, as they are able to make a seemingly uninteresting subject, enthralling! Try to watch one of our Top 10 Card Game Anime recommendations, you may get addicted to card anime and yearn to watch more like them!
10. Duel Masters
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Oct. 2002 – Apr. 2003
A young boy named Shobu Kirifuda is great at playing a card game known as Duel Masters, where the duelists are called Kaijudo Masters. Inspired by his father who is a world-class master, Shobu aspires to reach his dad’s level. To realize his dreams, Shobu would need to win a local tournament. However, he is defeated by a Kaijudo Master named Knight.
Basically, in this anime, the plot is simple in that the protagonist aims to be the best at the card game called Duel Masters. The series seems to be very much inspired by Yu-Gi-Oh! but it is not as good as the latter. We frankly think that this card anime is more suited to the taste of the young audience as the older audience may not appreciate its simplicity.
9. Z/X: Ignition
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jan. 2014 – Apr. 2014
After the sudden emergence of five Black Points that function as portals to other parallel worlds, weird creatures begin to appear and invade the human world. The strange creatures are actually dwellers from the 5 parallel worlds, which are in different timeframes of the same world.
The reason for the battle between the five invasion forces is to make sure that each of their own future timeline survives by destroying the others future timeframe. And the key to this is a card-shaped device. The unique storyline promises lots of potential, but the end result is quite predictable. Nevertheless, this anime series provides tons of action in which the fights are really fluid and well done!
8. Bakugan Battle Brawlers
- Episodes: 52
- Aired: Apr. 2007 – Mar. 2008
After some random cards fell from the sky, Danma Kuusou and his friend, Shun Kazami, created a game called Bakugan. The duo then gets several other friends to form a group named Bakugan Battle Brawlers, so they can play the card game. While playing the game, they are accidentally dragged into another dimension called Vestroia, where Bakugan originated from. An epic battle in Vestroia is taking place and the Bakugan Battle Brawlers are now a part of it.
The series has been compared to Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! in many ways, so if you like those 2 series, you should totally watch Bakugan Battle Brawlers. Be amazed as you watch some of the characters think of unique ways to utilize their cards to defeat their opponents! It will be epic!
7. Fantasista Doll
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jul. 2013 – Sep. 2013
Uzume Uno is a girl who was the former champion of a card game tournament, but has stopped playing the game after entering high school. Suddenly, she is given a strange device that uses special cards to summon 5 Fantasista Dolls. These dolls are intelligent, virtual creatures that are now controlled by Uzume, who has become their new master!
The dolls reside in the cards given to Uzume and have different appearances, so you can choose whichever doll to be your favorite. In Fantasista Doll, there aren’t many characters in the series so the audience won’t get confused with the names to most of the characters. Each master has a collection of cards containing 5 dolls. It would be boring to own the dolls and not do anything with them, so Uzume fights with the other masters in tournaments. This is what makes the series an interesting one to watch!
6. Weiß Survive
- Episodes: 16
- Aired: Jun. 2009 – Sep. 2009
High school students, Takeshi and Michi, stay in school for a study session. Takeshi picks up a card and Michi tells him that the card is actually from a game named Weiß Schwarz, of which she’s won several tournaments. Somehow, both of them end up being sucked into a mysterious portal that brings them to another dimension called Weiss Schwarz Battle Space.
In the strange new dimension, an old man tells Takeshi that he is the chosen one to win card battles in Weiß Schwarz, which only then, can the two of them return home safely. Takeshi doesn’t know how to play the card game at all, so Michi has to teach him how to play it. Each episode is only about 2 minutes long, so this series may be suitable for all you folks who like card anime but don’t have the patience for a long series! All in all, the series is a nice watch, nonetheless.
- Episodes: 178
- Aired: Oct. 2012 – Mar. 2016
Starlight Academy is a prestigious school to train girls who want to be idols in the entertainment business. Aoi Kiriya and her best friend, Ichigo, apply to enroll at Starlight Academy as Aoi aspires to be like the world-renowned idol, Mizuki Kanzaki.
So what does this series have anything to do with cards? Well, in order for the girls to take part in various auditions at Starlight Academy, they would need special cards called Aikatsu cards. The Aikatsu cards contain designer dresses and accessories for the aspiring idols during their auditions. This dress up feature in the anime may appeal to anime fans, especially girls, but we do know that boys love this series as well!
4. Cardfight!! Vanguard
- Episodes: 65
- Aired: Jan. 2011 – Mar. 2012
Aichi Sendou is a middle schooler whose timid personality causes him to get bullied easily. The thing that keeps him going is a rare card named Blaster Blade, which he treasures a lot. One day, his precious card is stolen by one of his classmates. Even though Aichi hasn’t played the card game, Cardfight!! Vanguard, before, he is adamant in getting his card back, so he challenges the thief to a game.
In the world of this anime series, the trading card game known as Cardfight!! Vanguard is a normal game played by just about everyone on Earth. Human beings on Earth are not the only ones playing the cards as the game is also played by inhabitants of Planet Cray. Most of the exciting parts of this series are about the card fights and the unveiling of new cards. It’s pretty good if you ask us.
3. Selector Infected WIXOSS
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Apr. 2014 – Jun. 2014
Ruuko Kominato has just moved to a new town and hasn’t made any new friends yet. Seeing this situation, her brother gives her a deck of WIXOSS, which is a popular trading card game among teenagers. The brother hopes that with the cards given to her, it would be easier for Ruuko to make new friends.
WIXOSS is a card game that comes with LRIG cards which serve as the players avatar during battles. The girl on Ruuko’s card can talk and move, and Ruuko later finds out that she is one of the few who have such a rare card. Those who have such cards are known as Selectors, and they can have their wishes granted if they win against other players. However, if they lose 3 times, their wishes will turn into curses instead! Hence, Ruuko fighting hard to obtain her heart’s desire!
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Oct. 2011 – Mar. 2012
Chihaya Ayase is a tomboyish girl in elementary school who does not seem to have any dreams in life. That is until she meets a quiet transfer student named Arata Wataya. Arata introduces a card game to her known as Karuta. Along with Arata and her friend, Taichi Mashima, they spend most of their childhood playing the card game. The trio split up, but Chihaya meets Taichi again in high school. Chihaya dreams of being the best Karuta player ever. Besides that, she also longs to meet Arata again.
Karuta is not an easy card game to play as it is physically and mentally challenging. The game draws inspiration from a Japanese poetry called Hundred Poets. In the game, when a reader reads out the first line of a poem, the player would then have to touch the card which has the corresponding second line of the poem. The gameplay may not seem very interesting but you will definitely be surprised by how the combination of a card game and poetry turn out to be!
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Apr. 1998 – Oct. 1998
Like many other boys, Yuugi is into gaming of any kind. One day, he solves an ancient puzzle called Millennium Puzzle and consequently is granted with the power of darkness. When he is faced with danger and evil people, he will turn into a darker persona and challenges those people to dangerous Shadow Games. The losers of the game will then be subjected to punishments.
The Yu-Gi-Oh! series is the most well-known card anime. It has a pretty dark plot as it revolves around challenging people to dangerous games and then punishing them. Hence, it may not be very kids-appropriate. If you are still interested in letting your kids watch Yu-Gi-Oh!, you may let them watch Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters instead which is more suitable for young ones. However, we think this original Yu-Gi-Oh! anime takes the cake.
There aren’t many card game anime that have been created, so perhaps many of our readers haven’t seen one. Nevertheless, do give it a go, as you may fall in love with this genre. We highly recommend Yu-Gi-Oh! if you are able to accept the old style of animation. Otherwise, you should probably pick some of the anime in this list. If you have any other recommendations, please tell us in the comment section below!