The recent debut of the animated Castlevania show on Netflix has got me thinking. There are a lot of video games and with them comes the potential for an animated series. There have been some in the past such as the ongoing Pokemon anime and the more recent Ace Attorney anime but those game franchises are still going strong. How about some animated shows for games that are not as popular? Or even using the series to revive a dead franchise? For this piece, I’ve come up with three games that could make for fantastic shows.
Suikoden is the first thing I thought of when planning out this article. It’s a perfect fit for an animated series. If you aren’t familiar with it, the Suikoden games tell stories of political conflict and war. Look a bit deeper and you have themes of friendship, love, greed, betrayal and so much more. The individual stories of the characters are arguably more engaging than war and politics aspect (which are pretty good too).
One of the best parts of Suikoden is that the main series games maintain continuity. Ideally I would like a new story that maintains this continuity. It could take place 10 or so years after Suikoden 3, the last game in the timeline. This would be an excellent way of reviving a franchise that has been dormant for many years, with the last main series game coming out in 2005.
But I do understand that an adaptation is more likely; in which case the first 3 games are perfect for this. Despite not directly picking off at the end of each game, the trilogy maintains a tightly knit continuity with certain characters appearing in all three games. Of course we can’t forget about Suikoden 4 and 5. As both of these games are prequels to the first trilogy, they don’t need a direct adaptation. Subtle references to the events of these two games would be enough to satisfy fans as these happened to be two of the weakest games in the series.
To get a better idea of what an animated Suikoden series might look like, we have the opening for Suikoden 3. It is the only Suikoden game to have an animated opening and it is executed very nicely.
Ni No Kuni
Slightly cheating with this one here as Ni No Kuni will be getting a sequel later this year, so it isn’t a dead franchise. But I would still like to see an animated movie for this. Now, for the other two I won’t be fussy with who makes the show but for Ni No Kuni it is a no brainer. Studio Ghibli has to be the one to do it.
For anyone who might not know, Studio Ghibli is a very famous Japanese animation studio. They were responsible for the gorgeous animated cutscenes in Ni No Kuni so they already have a base to work off of.
A feature length animated movie of Ni No Kuni would work perfectly. Ghibli movies aren’t known for their action sequences (except for a little in Princess Mononoke). So a Ni No Kuni movie would be a great way for them to try something a little different and have that added element of action. The epic wizard duel between Oliver and Shadar on the big screen would be a sight to see.
A common issue with video game adaptations is fitting a 20-30 hour story into a 2-3 hour movie. The result is a lot of cut content and compression. Alternatively, two movies could be made to cover the entire story of Ni No Kuni. The game lends itself well to this idea as it is separated into two main arcs. The first is Oliver searching for his mother and ends with the showdown against Shadar, the Dark Djinn. The second arc has the White Witch take the role of the main antagonist and reveals the secrets of the Zodiac Council.
This seems like the best approach to tackling a game with a very long story. Having two movies means that we get to see most of the story without having to cut out a lot of story. Some compromises will have to be made, things like the Undead Casino. But Studio Ghibli is familiar with the material and can be trusted to do a good job.
This is the one I want the most. Let’s be real here, Square Enix is a very busy company so the chances of a new game in the series are very low, maybe even non-existent. But there’s no reason we can’t get something related to the franchise. Just outsource it to a very good animation company (please not Toei Animation) and you got yourself something good.
You might be wondering why I’m not going with Chrono Trigger. Well, no reason in particular really, I just really like Chrono Cross. Although you have to consider that Chrono Trigger is already popular and doesn’t need a re-telling. An animation of Chrono Cross would help shed light on this underrated gem and if it’s successful, then it might even get Square’s attention.
Admittedly, this would be a tricky one to adapt. First issue is the animation style itself. Chrono Cross has a unique art style that is unlike your typical Japanese anime. Final Fantasy movies have always had CGI, but those have bigger budgets. A series about Chrono Cross wouldn’t get that big of a budget. At the same time I don’t want a typical anime-esque show like Final Fantasy XV: Brotherhood. Ultimately, that sort of animation is probably the best way to go so I’ll just have to settle on that.
Moving on, Serge needs dialogue that is nothing short of excellent. Being a silent protagonist we can only imagine how he would have spoken. Body language gives us an indication of what his character is like, but we need more. Since the story has a huge arc that develops Serge as a person, he needs dialogue appropriate to his situation. The main concern is Serge being portrayed as a dull lead like Cloud from Advent Children, who was broody with very little personality.
The biggest issue lies with the convoluted storyline. While it isn’t quite on the level of Kingdom Hearts, Chrono Cross can be a bit hard to follow at times. Especially during disc 2 when there is a huge information dump at Chronopolis. There is also the issue of many story threads being connected to Chrono Trigger. The only way to tackle this is to have a long series with 50 plus episodes. It might even need a second season to cover disc 2.
That wraps my top three games that I would like an animated adaptation of. I had two things in mind when making my choices. The first is to introduce some classic games to a new audience who might not want to play the original games. It would be hard for some people used to games like the Witcher 3 or Uncharted to go back and play something from PS1 era.
The second factor is the idea of recreating these games with a modern touch. I don’t see how anyone can say no to a beautifully animated battle sequence against the Time Devourer from Chrono Cross. Or a duel to the death between Luca Blight and the unnamed protagonist of Suikoden 2. Unfortunately at the end of the day, none of these games would be probably receive the treatment they deserve. Perhaps they are just better left untouched.