When it comes to the relationship between video games and anime, there is a delicate balance between the two different mediums. Some stories are better told through watching, while others are better experienced in the style of gaming. Yet for some tales, we feel the need to reiterate upon them in a different medium and revisit their explosive world.
Of course, not every story ends up translating well into one medium or the other, giving us some horribly bland games and predictable anime adaptations. Today, we will examine why this seems to be by looking at what each medium can offer a story and its world, as well as diving into what made some specific examples great, or not so great.
Games – A Personal Experience
With video games, it all comes down to the personalization, allowing even players in straightforward, linear games to have their own memories from playing it through. You are relying on your own skill to get the characters to different areas in the world. And in many games, you get the chance to interact with other players, connecting you to people you may have never known otherwise!
Games can allow for exploration of a setting and side stories are given room to grow as well. For some of our favorite stories, there is nothing better than getting more lore added to the world! Even those who don’t play video games have heard of Super Mario Bros., Halo, and Street Fighter –which says something about the reach video games can have.
Anime – Immersive World-Building At Its Finest
While video games may have the ability to give a personal experience in a world, the true art of world-building and emotion comes from the stories that anime can tell! From the fantastical to the more realistic settings, an anime series can choose to highlight specific stories and focus on specific characters, showcasing what it chooses to. Love for a specific anime can result in a widespread community, with people from all over the world joining together to appreciate their show.
Despite the limited amount of time anime has to impress a viewer, these shows are able to bring such emotions into the characters and their story that they will stay with their audience for long afterward. And even though you may not be able to control characters’ actions or movements, you will find yourself just as invested in how the outcome unfolds! And let’s face it, watching anime is relatively easy, though the emotions an episode brings forth may not be. For many of us, an anime series is the first taste we get of the interesting world it encompasses, and the fact that people continue to talk about series like Attack on Titan, Death Note or Naruto just shows how much of an impact the medium makes!
When It Goes Right…
Since video games and anime share many of the qualities that make them appealing, expansions between the two mediums can make a lot of sense! For example, Steins Gate was first a visual novel game and later developed into a popular anime. The series may have been successful because of the similarity in storytelling seen in both visual novels and television in general. Of course, when some anime become overwhelmingly loved or nostalgic, it is only natural that fans will want more involvement in the world, giving us games like those in the Digimon series.
Another strong connection for a game and an anime is when the anime is full of action, especially battles. This is used for many shounen series, such as the Naruto franchise, which has expanded from the original anime into many different games due to its continued popularity.
When It Goes Poorly…
Even as they share so many qualities, the difference between a video game and an anime is clear, which can lead to clashes when the two mediums try to combine. Some of the Pokémon anime series compared poorly with their game counterparts of the time and vice versa. The games often told a story that was repeated almost exactly in the anime, giving way to a rather boring viewing experience for those who loved the game. Further examples of an unoriginal adaptation can be seen in many forms, mostly in cases where the original storyline was simply repeated for fans.
People also complain about anime adaptations from video games taking away their choices, leading to straightforward experiences where once there was infinite possibility. This can be seen in the recent Persona 5 animation, where fans have complained about the watered-down story and quick pace of the plot compared to the original game. Of course, as the two are in different mediums, it is difficult to make them into the same experience!
It really doesn’t seem to matter whether a video game or an anime series came first when it comes to enjoyment. Although there are so many differences between the two mediums, video games and anime can both come out with great versions of a story, as long as they’re not simple repetitions of one another. Any new content in our favorite settings is a blessing indeed! Though, as always, we would love to hear what you think about this topic!