Most anime is made as an adaptation of something. Usually this means that the anime is made as an advertisement, because TV anime is free and manga/books/games aren’t. Last year, some anime adaptations were made that took liberties with their source material, and this made them quite interesting to me. I had no desire to seek out the originals, but I enjoyed the shows for their own sake.
They are: Wixoss, Rage of Bahamut, Sabagebu, and Girl Friend Beta. There’s also a bonus at the end of this post, so keep reading!
What it originally was: a trading card game
What the anime is: Realistic depiction of the TCG hobby wherein you get addicted and fuck your life up
(Pronounced “We cross”, rhymes with Macross) Wixoss is a card game by Takara Tomy. Nobody was expecting big things from Selector Infected Wixoss, for such a thing didn’t scream must-watch to anyone. I mean, card games, amirite?
The thing about Wixoss is that it’s very different from Yu-Gi-Oh and its ilk–the Wixoss anime is not about the card game battles. It’s about the players themselves and their motivations. Battles aren’t given spergy detail where each play is meticulously portrayed and explained by a team of amateur commentators.
It is also creepy as shit. Wixoss is a dark show, and though no one actually gets their head chomped off, the amount of suffering in this cartoon is incredible. After finishing the first season, I thought of a boot stamping on the main character’s face, forever, and leaped in joy as I heard of the second season’s announcement.
So what is it exactly about? Wixoss is about a game within a card game, where girls (just girls, sorry) battle each other for their wishes, with predictable results. The key difference from this and the primordial “let’s-make-these-cute-girls-suffer” anime Madoka Magica is that the Wixoss girls could simply walk away from battling. But they don’t, so…
Kind of a real-life addiction, eh?
Rage of Bahamut
What it originally was: A mobile card game
What the anime is: Swashbuckling fantasy adventure
I know next to nothing about the actual game, except that people say it’s shit, so whatever! If you haven’t played any Japanese mobile card games, they’re all pretty much the same, making you perpetually feel that you don’t have quite enough cards or time in the game. I guess the card art looks nice, but eh.
The anime is not a cheap cash grab unlike its source material, though. The anime, or at least the first half of it, is glorious high-quality fantasy adventure. I watched the first episode out of word-of-mouth, and I got horse parkour and swashbuckling action. The main character has an afro and a refreshingly roguish personality that sets him head and shoulders above the competition.
By the second half, it starts getting serious and the plot gets in the way, but it’s still well above the average.
Also, zombie rocket punches.
What it originally was: A shoujo manga about girls, who happen to be into survival games.
What the anime is: An otaku-flavored comedy featuring a main character who is the scummiest scum of the Earth
Like many people, I thought Sabagebu was a 4koma adaptation, but it’s actually a shoujo manga? (In contrast, Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun is a seinen manga).
I don’t mind at all, because the end product is amazing. It truly feels like one of those shows where the staff is enjoying what they’re doing, from the insane amount of references to 80s action movies and protagonist Momoka being an awful human being. The show is self-aware and repeatedly pokes fun at itself, using everyone’s favorite narrator, Tessho Genda.
Girl Friend Beta
What it originally was: A mobile dating simulator with more waifus than you can shake a stick at
What the anime is: A slice-of-life show featuring girls, girls, girls (and no boys, hurrah)
I’m not actually done watching this show, but boy is it a seiyuu extravaganza. For fun I tried guessing who voiced which character, but I got them all wrong, because it turns out that older seiyuu like Kaori Nazuka and Sakura Tange are in this, the latter voicing a lovable French exchange student whose butchery of the Japanese language puts Karen Kujo to shame.
Dating sims have been adapted before in different, novel ways. Kimikiss used two male protagonists to keep the love polygons smaller. Amagami had discrete story arcs for all the girls. Girl Friend Beta is the most ingenious, though: it removes the boys from the equation. I mean, who cares about smelly boys, anyway?
It’s a benign little show if you’re a seiyuu fan or are really into cute girls doing cute things. Some have voiced their distaste for the saccharine-sweet voices, though.
And for the comedy option:
Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers
What it originally was: Comic books aimed for adult white men
What the anime is: Like Pokemon, but with your favorite Marvel superheroes
I’m not sure which came first, but this also has a real physical game where you could replicate what happens in the show. I only watched the first episode of this because the animation was so cheap-looking. Basically, Loki traps the Avengers into DISKs, which totally fit in your pocket and aren’t Pokeballs. A bunch of kids get hold of these DISKs and they fight supervillains. That’s pretty much it. Thankfully, unlike Pokemon, there is no breeding mechanic.
Why is this a thing?? I don’t know! And why is not Black Widow the token female superhero, when Wasp has next to no fans at all? Also Deadpool is voiced by Takehito Koyasu? What.