7 Highly Questionable Videogame Adaptations
by Lynzee Loveridge,
Anime productions pull from a lot of places; in addition to manga and light novels, anime also routinely adapts storylines from popular videogames. While there are plenty of decent anime based on videogames, the medium doesn't exactly have a sterling reputation for becoming memorable or beloved anime TV series. This season's Phantasy Star Online 2: The Animation is heading down this same path; let's take a little stroll through seven examples of videogame adaptations that didn't quite scratch that itch.
7. Shining Tears X Wind It was a toss up on whether to chose Shining Tears X Wind or its related adaptation about really happy bread. I went with Shining Tears X Wind for being the epitome of a JRPG checklist. The first episode jumps right in with students discussing how their classmates have disappeared. Then, a cat-girl appears who accidentally transports two of the students to a fantasy world. They end up in a battle on the opposing side of their previously missing friends. Drama! The kids discover that the world contains "Soul Blades" that wielders can extract from other party members and there's even "Ultimate Soul Blades" that are needed to defeat the soul of the evil big bad.
6. Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky I was immediately skeptical to see how an entry in a franchise that revolves heavily around item creation was going to work as a television show. I grew more skeptical when Studio Gokumi picked a middle entry to start. Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky comes after Atelier Ayesha and the writers just assume anyone tuning in has played the previous game. The writers continue on in this way with the show's format too, which mirrors playing the game with "battles" and item creation. Instead of taking the overall story and wrapping in the mechanics in a natural way, Gokumi opts for things playing through like a series of game cut-scenes.
5. Devil May Cry The fun of the Devil May Cry game series was hacking and slashing through creepy monsters in creepier locales. The plot was light: main character Dante is the snarky descendant of a demon knight who has the power to defeat the demon emperor Mundus when he awakens. The anime series strips out the game's horror-edgy action and instead recasts Dante as a face-stuffing mercenary for hire. Throw in a cute kid and low-stakes episodic plots and you have... well, this, a show nobody who enjoyed Devil May Cry seemed to really light up for.
4. Disgaea Disgaea as both a game franchise and its subsequent anime adaptation are definite products of their time. Look no further than the high-energy, spastic comedy and the initial obsession with penguins. I can't say whether it was an insular anime kid thing in the 2000s, but penguins used to be hilarious. The internet has since moved on to sloths, but the Disgaea games are still chugging along with its Prinnys. Needless to say, the anime series did not age well. The jokes routinely fall on their face and there's nary a plot point to be found during its 12-episode run. The character designs are cartoony with sharp angles, a particular aesthetic that plagued a few other shows of the time period (Karin, Macademi Wasshoi!).
3. Ragnarok The Animation The Ragnarok Online PC game exists in a special time and place before mobile phone RPGs and micro-transactions. It would mark the beginning of Korean MMORPGs (followed not long after by Maple Story) that amounted to a lot of grinding and focus on character customization and very little in the way of "story". This formula still exists, except it's on your phone now. Ragnarok The Animation had the same problem that plagued the game; you can't make grinding and standing around in the town square yelling for trades into an interesting television experience. This is only further expounded upon by a cast of inane fantasy stereotypes traveling about for equally superficial reasons.
2. Final Fantasy: Unlimited Square Enix's beloved role-playing franchise are known for their immersive worlds, striking character designs, and colorful personalities. Gonzo's entry into the franchise wasn't an adaptation of an existing game but instead betrayed the goodwill on franchise fans with an ugly adventure starring a couple kids who take a train into a underground world to find their parents. They're pursued by bumbling villains and team-up with an Auron prototype and a character named "LiSA Pacifist." I really can't stress how unattractive this show is from episode one to conclusion. It's another digipaint product from the early 00s, like Arjuna and Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040 but it looked bad even in 2001.
1. Tekken: The Motion Picture This film, along with Shadow Skill, Appleseed, Dominion Tank Police and Mermaid Scar were played fairly often on The Sci Fi Channel's Saturday Anime block late at night. when I was a kid. I remain forever haunted by Jack being crushed by mechanical shutters during the ending sequence. The anime is centered around a fighting tournament hosted by the evil Heihachi. The cast of fighters show up, some with their own laughable subplots involving ESP and a dying kid. ADV produced the film version by combining two OVA episodes and managed to change up the soundtrack to include songs by The Offspring, Stabbing Westward, and Soulhat. The DVD cover art is also hilarious. ADV's attempt was panned by the likes of Entertainment Weekly and Hyper, but the show could make for a good ironic watch.
The old poll: What's your favorite One Piece film?
- One Piece Film Strong World 43.6%
- One Piece Film Z 35.6%
- One Piece: Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island 20.5%
- One Piece: Dead End 6.6%
- One Piece: The Desert Princess and the Pirates: Adventure in Alabasta 5.2%
- One Piece: Django's Dance Carnival 3.6%
- One Piece: The Movie 2.7%
- One Piece: Episode of Chopper - The Miracle Winter Cherry Blossom 2.7%
- One Piece: Mega Mecha Soldier of Karakuri Castle 2.5%
- One Piece: Dream Soccer King! 2.2%
- One Piece: The Curse of the Sacred Sword 1.1%
- One Piece: Take Aim! The Pirate Baseball King 1.1%
- One Piece 3D: Mugiwara Chase 0.8%
- One Piece: Nejimaki Shima no Bōken 0.5%
- One Piece: Chinjō Shima no Chopper Ōkoku 0.5%
When she isn't compiling lists of tropes, topics, and characters, Lynzee works as the Interest Editor for Anime News Network and posts pictures of her son on Twitter @ANN_Lynzee.
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