The recent announcement of The World Ends with You getting an anime has got us feeling equal parts excited and nostalgic for Nintendo’s beloved—now surprisingly venerable—handheld and thinking about other classic games that would make for great anime. This is all pure speculation, but our criteria are based on the general suitability and novelty of each game’s story, characters, and world for adaptation with bonus points for things like innovative art styles or gameplay mechanics that would be interesting to see explored in anime. Let’s get started!
Hotel Dusk: Room 215 (2007)
It really is a tragedy that developer Cing went out of business because Hotel Dusk and it’s sequel Last Window: The Secret of Cape West (which never even got a North American release) are some of the most memorable games of their genre thanks to solid writing and music and their unique late 1970s American setting accentuated with an art style that combines sketchy, hand-drawn characters with surprisingly well-done 3D environments.
However, the real standouts in Hotel Dusk are its charming cast and how their individual backstories all get woven into the narrative in clever ways. If properly paced, Kyle Hyde’s adventures out West uncovering the trail of his mysterious missing partner could be a fantastic little mystery OVA series or maybe even a movie. All we can say is we definitely want to see some Kyle and Louis bowling action!
Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective (2010)
Loved by almost everyone who has played it, Ghost Trick has shown up on many top DS games lists through the years, and for good reason! Directed by Takumi Shu, who is also behind the fan-favorite Ace Attorney series, this fairly late-release title stands out on all fronts with an inspired art style that mixes Japanese and Western design sensibilities brought to life with impressive animations and innovative gameplay revolving around freezing time and possessing objects and corpses to change what happens.
Twisted, funny, and definitely eccentric, Ghost Trick’s Groundhog Day-esque brand of spooky sleuthing has a ton of potential as the foundation of an anime that could be taken in a variety of directions but perhaps a full 3D treatment would allow for the best ways to show off Sissel’s possession shenanigans as he zips from vessel to vessel. In any case, we’d love to see more Ghost Trick!
999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors (2009)
The first installment of the famous Zero Escape series, 999 was the real breakout title for director Uchikoshi Kotaro who has since gone on to also work in anime on titles like Punch Line and Akanesasu Shojo (The Girl in Twilight) so we say let’s give 999 an anime too! In all seriousness, 999’s interesting blend of visual novel and escape the room sections, all held together by a captivating story revolving around a group of people abducted and forced into life-or-death situations on a sinking cruise ship, would definitely make for an intense thriller!
Given the game’s structure and multiple endings, there’s plenty of room for innovative, perhaps nonlinear, techniques when it comes to storytelling in the anime as well, although we wouldn’t say that that’d be absolutely necessary as the gripping story, situations, and cool science fiction elements would let a 999 anime shine regardless. As a title that helped popularize the visual novel genre as a whole in the U.S., and was redeemed from its commercial failure in Japan thanks to strong American sales, perhaps the promise of similar international success could propel this idea to reality. We say do it!
Elite Beat Agents (2006)
Rounding out our anime adaptation contenders is our wildcard pick, which is an appropriate descriptor for a wacky title like Elite Beat Agents. This unique rhythm game definitely has solid gameplay but probably stands out most for its titular over-the-top dancing agents that use their slick moves and empowering cheers to solve any number of problems. Elite Beat Agents is also interesting because its Japanese and international releases are substantially different despite having similar gameplay with completely different characters, scenarios, and music as the creators thought that the original game, Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan, was too reliant on Japanese cultural knowledge.
We propose this: use this hypothetical anime to unite both worlds! Make it even wackier! This series really just deserves more and a short anime series along the lines of Teekyu with a character of the day being rescued by the two cheer squads with some awesome tunes behind them seems like a winning formula! It could also be a great way to grow interest in a new game for fans new and old alike. Agents are go! Let’s do it!
While we can’t really say if any of these titles have much likelihood of actually getting their own anime series like The World Ends with You, or Professor Layton for that matter, these and many other games from one of Nintendo’s best systems of all time can certainly inspire the imagination with their compelling stories, characters, and worlds. With some honorable mentions being Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey and Solatorobo: Red the Hunter, let us know your own picks for DS games you’d like to get an anime in the comments section below and be sure to stick around Honey’s Anime for more of all things awesome, hypothetical media properties and otherwise! See ya~