What Makes an Anime Game "Anime"?
Anime is among the most widely consumed types of content consumed by people worldwide. It undoubtedly made the childhoods of many people and its many fandoms are pretty solid. Characters like Naruto and Son Goku are recognizable almost anywhere, while people who have watched “isekai” (transported to another world) anime have all wondered how it feels like being dropped into a different world.
Anime is influential and for decades, it has made its way to video games. A lot of anime and manga franchises have made their way into our consoles, PCs, and of course, mobile phones.
In turn, this makes us ask: what exactly makes an anime game “anime”? . Before we answer that question though, there are a few considerations we need to take in mind:
First, what exactly is anime?
The textbook definition of anime is “Anime is hand-drawn and computer animation originating from or associated with Japan. The word anime is the Japanese term for animation, which means all forms of animated media.”
You could also argue that anime is an art style, one that follows distinct characteristics especially that of manga comics. Note that manga is a source material for many anime series we see today along with light novels.
Origin and the aesthetic factor
So what makes anime games “anime”?
It’s a broad spectrum and people will, of course, give different opinions. Personally, it’s more of the aesthetic instead of the format or actual genre and the place of origin of these games. For example, we can argue that Final Fantasy VII, Tales of Berseria, and Blazblue Cross Tag Battle are anime games simply because they use the anime art style.
However, not all games that follow the anime art style can be considered anime. For example, we’ve had Chinese and Korean games use an anime art style, but given their place of origin, we can’t exactly call them “anime”. Please note that this is a term used exclusively for animations coming out of Japan.
Can all titles that came out in Japan be considered anime games?
Super Mario came out of Japan and calling it an anime game will never be acceptable. You could include series like Resident Evil, Ace Combat, and Metal Gear Solid. Meanwhile, franchises like Devil May Cry, Final Fantasy, the Tales games, most Japanese RPGs, and even light novels can be considered as anime games.
One thing is for sure though: all games that are based on anime and TV series can be considered anime games, particularly those published by companies like Bandai Namco and Falcom. For example, the Trails in the Sky games weren’t based on manga or light novels and an anime OVA came much later than the games. With that said, the games used anime art, as well as storytelling and themes to bring its characters and its outstanding world to light.
Vague, but there are things we can be sure of
In conclusion, there’s not much of a boundary and the lines of what considers a title an “anime game” are a little muddled. There are a few things for sure though:
- They don’t have to be considered something off of an anime, light novel, or manga series.
- Next, they should be developed in Japan.
- Finally, they have to follow and use an anime art style and aesthetics.
So, what are the types of titles do you think can be considered an anime game? Do you think the industry should put in a clear distinction?
Regardless, they’re here to stay and regardless of what they are, they’ll definitely continue to bring countless hours of fun and entertainment.