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Most Popular Anime Adapted into Video Games Posted Jun 10, 2020

Anime is a massive industry in Japan and has spread across the world, becoming popular in many countries. Anime is a form of Japanese animation that can either be hand drawn or computer generated. Interestingly, the word ‘anime’ is used to describe all forms of animation by people in Japan yet for those outside the country it is more commonly used to describe Japanese animation.

Focusing on fantasy, with colourful and brightly designed characters, anime lends itself to a number of different genres outside of the standard forms of anime found in print or television series. A good example is video games and many anime series have been adapted into video games over the years. So, let's take a look at the most popular anime adapted into video games, beginning with one of the earliest adoptions, Science Ninja Team Gatchaman.

This Japanese anime series was initially released in 1972 and features a team of five superheroes called Ken the Eagle, Joe the Condor, Jun the Swan, Jinpei the Swallow and Ryu the Owl. The main aim of the characters throughout the series is to promote environmental and conservational progress. They do this while attempting to stop villains who are trying to drain the earth's natural resources for their own benefit.

In terms of the video game, it was released in 1986 under the title of Battle of the Planets. This was an American adoption of the Japanese anime series Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. Produced by Mikro-Gen Ltd, it was available for several home computer systems, including classics such as the Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum. This was one of the first examples of popular anime being adopted into video games. Further games were released based on Science Ninja Team Gatchaman including Kagaku Ninjatai Gatchaman, Gatchaman: The Shooting and Pachi-Slot Gatchaman.

Staying in 1986 and it was a great year for the release of video games created using popular anime series. The Dragon Ball video games are some of the best to ever be released in terms of anime/manga and the first game was called Dragon Ball: Dragon Daihikyō. Made available for Super Cassette Vision, a games console first released in Japan, the game allows players to take on the role of Goku. He uses his Power Pole and rides on Nimbus, a magical yellow cloud, shooting at the enemies below.

The first Dragon Ball game was released by Epoch but interestingly, it was the only version of Dragon Ball in the gaming world to be produced by any company other than Bandai, or Namco Bandai as it is now known. Dragon Ball video games have proved so popular they have seen a new release in five different decades, with the most recent at the time of writing coming in January 2020. Entitled Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, it is available for Xbox One, Microsoft Windows plus PlayStation 4 and has been well received. There have been close to 50 different Dragon Ball video games released for consoles and that does not include various versions for handheld gaming devices and mobile phones.

Moving from 1986 into 1988 and another popular anime series adapted into a video game is Captain Tsubasa. This Japanese manga series is based on the sports of football and stars Tsubasa Oozo. The series follows him throughout his career, including the matches against opposing teams. It is one of the best-selling manga series ever created and therefore it should come as little surprise to see Captain Tsubasa developed into a video game. The first game was released for the NES in 1988 by Tecmo in Japan and later made available for sale around the world under the name Tecmo Cup Soccer Game in 1992. New releases of the game continue until this day, including a mobile augmented reality game for Android and iOS plus Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions, available for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC in 2020.

Anime has not been reserved only for video games and you can also find online slots games based on the Japanese style of animation. Magical Stacks Slot, Fortune Girl Slot, Super Graphics Super Lucky Slot, Koi Princess Slot and Sakura Fortune Slot are just a few examples and they are regarded as some of the best online slots available today.

Moving on and we come to one of the most successful Japanese anime science-fiction television series called Cowboy Bebop. Premiered in Japan back in April 1998, Cowboy Bebop follows the space travels of a bounty hunter crew and it quickly became popular in Japan and the United States. This led to the release of a Cowboy Bebop video game for the PlayStation in 1998. A second game was produced in 2005 entitled Cowboy Bebop: Tsuioku no Serenade but it was released exclusively in Japan. The music for the game was composed by Yoko Kanno, who also composed the music for the television series.

Next, we come to the fourth best-selling manga series in history, Naruto. The story of Naruto Uzumaki, a young ninja has sold over 250 million copies worldwide in 46 countries featuring on USA Today and The New York Times bestseller list on more than one occasion. Despite being first published in 1997, Naruto did not appear on the shelves of video game retailers until 2003. The game Naruto: Clash of Ninja was produced for the GameCube in Japan and did not appear in North America until three years later. The first 4 video game versions of Naruto were all available for GameCube and it wasn't until 2007 that we saw the first Naruto game for a different console. Naruto Shippūden: Gekitō Ninja Taisen! EX was developed for the Nintendo Wii and that continued with Naruto: Clash of Ninja through until 2010.

Since the initial game release, there have been several other Naruto based games including Naruto: Ninja Council, Naruto: Ninja Destiny, Naruto: Path of the Ninja, Naruto: Uzumaki Chronicles, Naruto: Ultimate Ninja and Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker, the latter of which was made available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Microsoft Windows.

In addition to the anime series highlighted above, there have been other popular anime adapted into video games. Avatar: The Last Airbender, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Armored Trooper Votoms, Chibi Maruko-chan, Digimon, Future GPX Cyber Formula, Hajime no Ippo and One Piece are all good examples.

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