Being that so much of the gaming industry is based in the Land of the Rising Sun, it’s no surprise that anime inspires a lot of video games and vice versa. Perhaps you’re intrigued by the prospect of “adult-focused” animation or you’re curious why JRPG seems to look exactly the same. Regardless of the reason, we have listed the best anime that every gamer should watch. These aren’t just shows that will appeal to video game fans in some way, but they are each quality shows in their own right. So without further ado, let’s get started.
Best Anime: Sports Game Fans: Yuri!!! on Ice
Are you a fan of sports games? Well, thankfully, there are a ton of incredible sports anime for you to check out. Our personal favorite is Yuri on Ice. This 2016 show from the relatively new animation studio MAPPA follows the life of Yuri Katsuki as he attempts to reclaim his figure skating career.
It is beautiful, harrowing, and even a little goofy at times. The sequences of figure skating are absolutely enthralling to watch, enhanced by an unforgettable soundtrack. Though the figure skating is a major focus of the show, the real star is Yuri’s relationships with coach Victor and other characters.
Best Anime: MMO/VR Game Fans: Sword Art Online
Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no doubt that Sword Art Online is one of the best anime shows for beginners, especially for fans of MMOs or RPGs. The show follows Kirito and his friends as they are trapped in a VRMMO where losing in the game means dying in real life. That simple premise has expanded greatly in the last couple of years and with a third season on its way later this year, there’s no better time to jump on board.
Best Anime: Fighting Game Fans: Megalo Box
Don’t like emotional or over-the-top storylines and just want that pure gameplay action that fighting games provide? Then we recommend Megalo Box. This is a very recent anime from the spring 2018 season that just ended. It’s your classic Rocky story of a nobody rising to the top in the boxing ring. The twist? It’s in the far future, sporting a gorgeous Cowboy Bebop-like retro art style and fighters utilizing mechanical fighting gear.
Best Anime: Walking Simulator/Telltale Game Fans: March Comes in Like a Lion
Do you enjoy the laidback, mostly action-free nature of walking simulators or the Telltale games? Then you should check out March Comes in Like a Lion. The story follows Rei, a shogi (Japanese chess) player who lives on his own despite being a minor.
While the shogi sport is a portion of the show, it is a slower anime that focuses on the characters first and foremost. The unique animation from Shaft highlights the interactions of the characters in huge, fantastical ways. Like good adventure games, the dialogue is brilliant and dives deep into heavy themes like depression, abuse, love, and more.
Best Anime: RPG Game Fans: DanMachi
DanMachi, or Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, is an RPG-inspired anime where it’s as if the characters are living in an RPG game world and don’t even know it. Each “adventurer” is a part of a Familia (think guild or faction) that is led by mythological gods like Loki.
The show follows Bell, a boy who is the only member of his Familia. The story has some amazing action as Bell ventures out into the dungeon to raise his level and skills. It’s also worth mentioning that his relationship with his Goddess, Hestia, is so hilarious, heartfelt, and worth watching for alone.
Best Anime: Shooter Game Fans: Gundam 00
There are a ton of war-themed anime that would appeal to shooter fans but the one we recommend is Gundam 00. Odds are, you’ve probably heard of the Mobile Suit Gundam series and our pick for the best one to start with is Gundam 00. This is the only show in the series that takes place during the present so it not only features the iconic land and space mech battles, but great on-foot sections and a story that revolves around corruption, religion, global unification, the Middle East, and more relatable modern subjects.
Best Anime: Action Adventure Game Fans: Tokyo Ghoul
If you’re into a mature storyline and plenty of heart-pounding action, we recommend the phenomenal anime Tokyo Ghoul. This most definitely R-rated show is packed full of action, blood, and unbelievable characters and development. The story follows Kaneki, a human forced into the world of Ghouls; creatures whose only diet is the flesh of human beings. It will be receiving its fourth season later this year so there’s no better time to check out one of my personal favorite anime of all time.
Best Anime: Horror Game Fans: Higurashi
Higurashi might be for you if you’re in the market for unsettling shows. This story follows Keiichi, a high school student who moves back to the town he was born in, except this creepy small town has its endless amounts of secrets.
Each year at the annual festival, one person is found dead and another disappears. When the festival comes around again, bizarre and horrifying things begin to happen to Keiichi and his friends as they try to uncover what is really going on. If you like psycho killers and unnerving scenes like people bashing in someone’s head, then this is for you. It’s also worth noting that it has easily the best ending of any anime I’ve watched as it ties up every thread perfectly.
Best Anime: Battle Royale Game Fans: Magical Girl Raising Project
It would be a disgrace for us to miss out on acknowledging the battle royale genre for fans of games like PUBG and Fortnite considering Japan basically invented the genre with its classic live action film Battle Royale. Unsurprisingly, there are a decent amount of battle royale anime out there to watch and one that is incredibly underrated is Magical Girl Raising Project.
“Wait, magical girls? You’ve got to be kidding, right?” Nope, we aren’t. Magical Girl Raising Project starts out as a simple story about girls with traumatic backstories given magical powers but quickly subverts your expectations. It is actually a brutal death game to see who the last magical girl standing will be. Shocks and twists are around every corner.
You truly have no idea who will die next and most of the time, it’s who you weren’t expecting at all. There’s nothing more heartbreaking than seeing your favorite anime girls die in horrific and bloody ways. With an English dub that just started, there’s no better time to check this out weekly on Funimation.