Next month, FUNimation Entertainment will release the Anime films Mass Effect and Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker. To celebrate we thought we’d look back at videogame anime. While not exactly a genre, there are numerous anime titles that are based on popular Japanese computer and video games. In many cases, these are series that are action/adventure-type shows geared towards youth, though titles based on visual novels are also very common. After doing some research I found out there are literally HUNDREDS of series based on videogames so in order to bring some sanity to the list, we focused only on films. Below is a list of the biggest, best, and highest-grossing films based on video-games:
The Halo Legends anthology is an anime-style adaptation of the Halo series consisting of seven short films animated by five different Japanese production houses. It’s also a good introduction into the anime world, making this the perfect film for beginners of both mediums. Animation is smooth and the soundtrack is fitting. A good effort, and one I would like to see more studios take chances on, but I would have like to have walked away from this anime feeling more fulfilled. Still, a good enough entry for our number 10!
In 2007 Fate/tiger colosseum, a 3D fighting game based on Fate/stay night, was released for the PlayStation Portable by Capcom and cavia, inc. in cooperation with TYPE MOON. The characters are all rendered in a super deformed style. In July 2011, Aksys Games confirmed it would be publishing Fate/Extra in North America, so there is no slow down of this franchise in the near future. Fate/stay night Unlimited Blade Works covers a different story branch of the original game. For those keeping track at home, production is the same as the series which not consistent in art direction. Just like with the Evangelion series, it seems as if the whole 24 episodes of the series have been melted down into one large scaled film. The same cast and crew return to deliver the big screen debut that didn’t leave me dissappointed n the least. What’s great about Fate/stay night Unlimited Blade Works is that its more relatable to our society than most animes because the characters are based off of many cultural and historical figures, not simply those pertaining to Japan.
The Fatal Fury franchise is full of promises and this first animated feature takes the characters beyond the video game boundaries. It’s cool how the fighters (Terry Bogard especially) are written as being normal and sensitive rather than always butch, evil and trying to start a fight. The characters in the Street Fighter series were too much like this but Terry Bogard always appears innocent and his adult form still looks like the child he was at the beginning. But my fave character in Fatal Fury was always Geese Howard. He is such a cool bad guy and live action bad guys should be more like him. Andy Bogard and Joe Higashi are amusing supporting characters and make great sidekicks for Terry. A great flick that, 20 years later, still provides lots of entertainment.
Dead Space: Downfall is based on the videogame Dead Space, but actually takes place before the game, showing us all the horrible events leading up to the game. It is an animated film about the perils of space exploration, following orders and having blind faith. EA has committed to crossing over into film and Dead Space is a logical first step for the publisher. Despite the rather routine characterization and dialog, however, Downfall is still quite an enjoyable flick. It’s got some morbid humor and there are a few memorable scenes. On the whole though, it’s good stuff. This might not be a genuine anime film per say, but it still has roots in animation and heed my warning when I say this: Dead Space: Downfall is unflinchingly graphic and violent.
Now, let me make it clear, I don’t have an interest in Pokemon but I do have a general interest in anime and I found a lot to like here. Arceus and the Jewel of Life is the third movie in the Diamond & Pearl trilogy, following The Rise of Darkrai and its sequel, Giratina and the Sky Warrior. The movie itself centers on Arceus’s imminent destruction of the world putting humans to justice through meteors bombarding the earth, the equivalent of the biblical Judgment Day. I was actually quite surprised how much fun this film was. Some of the music in this movie is beautiful, as well. So in conclusion, unless you have an interest in Pokemon I don’t see anyone going out of there way to see, but that is only because a film absed of the monumental video game is a tough feat in itself.
Damnation or ‘Degeneration’, as it is commonly referred too, is my opinion, quite excellent for what it is…and it is a “survival horror film” – and, at that, it is inspired with by a lot of information in the RE games. From the standpoint of a Resident evil fan, I was so incredibly frustrated with the Paul Anderson films. I mean, it’s like the dude never even heard of Resident Evil. Somehow, though, he’s made three films about it. He doesn’t follow the storyline of the games. I really wish that they would pull the plug on “Anderson” and make another animated film. Now the fanboys here will be telling you that this movie is for fans of the videogames. Bullcrap. They will also say a CGI film is not an anime. More bullcrap. It might not be pure Japanese animation but director Makoto Kamiya made sure the essence of the games stayed true. It was a well conducted piece of work. Nothing at all far-fetched for the video game world and it was entertaining from beginning to end.
From the video game ‘Tekken’ comes an anime movie, ‘Tekken: The Motion Picture’. Young Kazuya and Jun have a opening comment that will be replayed several times throughout the movie. Kazuya is hurled from a cliff by his father, Heihachi Mishima and left for dead. But determination and a powerful will for revenge save him. We move forward to the present, which appears to be a near-future date and a government organization that polices the uses of outlawed bioweapons and other problems. Jun is now a member of this force and is by chance mysteriously invited to the Tekken tournament along with wise cracking inter-pol agent Lei WuLong. After just watching the film I feel like the producers could have done so much more with this film, however, for the most part the pros beat out the cons. The videogame franchise is still very lucrative, and considering the amount of Tekken characters in existence (52, including the ones that are not in the game), they managed to get many of the characters in it without harming the continuity of the story.
Fist of the North Star: 10 Big Brawls for the King of Universe for the Game Boy was in conjunction having run for two TV series (totaling 148 episodes) in the 1980’s, and three feature films (one animated, two live-action; trust me and skip the little-seen Taiwanese version) it has had a strong cult following for quite some time, and a resurgence was inevitable. Those people who often dub this movie as total garbage should realise that Streamline Pictures totally edited most.. ( To be fair, about 80% ) .. of the dialogue and story. This was common back in the day that anime was first coming around over in the West, as Streamline obviously thought.. “Wow, this is too complex for idiots. We should make the dialogue totally different and cliché, and market this as a big violent massacre!” See the original. It is greatness! Very graphic violence, and bloody, unrelenting animation.
The sentimental favorite of an entire generation comes back with cutting-edge animation, resulting in dramatic imagery and eye-popping fights that raise the bar and blow it away. Underneath that glossy exterior, however, is a superficial quest that barely lives up to the original. Not only that, but knowing the key plot points of the original game is a prerequisite for understanding the movie in full. Biting into this piece of eye candy may be a delight, but watch out for the hollow core. In the end, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children can be judged on so many different merits, both pro and con, but the bottom line is that it’s thrilling entertainment for people who like Final Fantasy. It’s fan service 101: Give the people what they want, and then give them some more. Yes even I am guilty of this as I am a huge Final Fantasy Fanboy, as FF7 for playstation ranks up in my top 10 games of all time.
Of the many fighting games reborn as anime, Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie is the only one that can claim to be based on the game that started it all. Any self-respecting video game fan should love Street Fighter II and any self-respecting Street Fighter II fan should spend some time with this fine animated adaptation. A word of caution: between Chun Li’s hooters and some moderate bloodshed, this isn’t a cartoon for the kids. Fight scenes are choreographed well, with some excellent uses of camera angles. Still-shots and speed lines will not be found here. The music is also good. Purists might get upset that the Japanese soundtrack was replaced, but the replacement music does its job nicely. If you love the games or knew these characters intimately when the game was tearing up the arcade and Super Nintendo, then yeah, this flick is definitely for you.