It was recently announced the gacha game juggernaut Genshin Impact is getting an anime adaptation (via the official Genshin impact YouTube page). The game certainly deserves it given its success. Despite being a gacha game (a game where progression is tied to random chance), its lore and characters have become quite iconic. An anime could do even more for them.
Of course, it’s not the first gacha game to receive this honor. Plenty of them have, and a few of them have even surpassed their game’s own popularity. A great adaptation can take even simple mechanics and make the exciting to watch.
10/10 Super Dragon Ball Heroes
Dragon Ball has an expansive Xenoverse full of characters. It was hard to put them all in a game, with the Tenkaichi Budokai games getting pretty close. Dragon Ball Heroes manages to pull it off, however. Not only does it include almost every canon and a non-canon named character, but also a few original versions of characters.
The game is essentially a card-based battling game, but where it really saw popularity was in its anime. It featured a unique version of the character Trunks going on an adventure. The anime debuted online as a companion for the game and even continued airing when the Dragon Ball Superanime went on hiatus. As it features so many characters from so many timelines, it can get pretty wacky.
9/10 Granblue Fantasy The Animation
Granblue Fantasy was Square-Enix’s attempt to break into the gacha game scene. The game was usually seen as a generic but better-than-average fantasy story with some high moments. The anime is generally considered to also be generally above average, though unremarkable.
That’s not to say that the anime doesn’t deliver strong voice acting and concepts. It absolutely does this and more, but many found the game to have more compelling animation and visuals. Additionally, the series was delayed multiple times, killing the hype for fans. On its own, it does do a good job, but its source material is simply better.
8/10 Cooking With Valkyries
Genshin Impact may have been the game that blew up, but it wasn’t the first game from developer MiHoyo. Before it came Honkai Impact, which also got an anime adaptation. Instead of focusing on its epic combat, though, it’s instead a slice-of-life anime. It focuses mainly on the many Valkyrie characters cooking relaxing summer food.
The series is mostly a comfy and slow-paced show detailing the characters making real-life food. While some events are based on the game, all the adventures here are non-canonical. Additionally, the heavy amount of ship-tease between characters caused it to become modestly popular with LGBTQ+ fans.
7/10 Princess Connect! Re:Dive
Princess Connect! Re:Dive was a pleasant surprise. It began with a very similar premise to most Isekai anime. A young man falls from the sky and is taken in by a young girl. They soon team up and become adventurers together.
The charm of Princess Connect comes from taking cues from funny isekai anime like Konosuba. Also, important was its focus on food as a motivator and reward for adventure. While the game doesn’t focus on food too much, viewers of this anime are bombarded with tons of breathtaking visuals of foods of all sorts.
Idolish7 is one of many gacha games based on rhythm games. Among the seas of Idolm@ster and Revue Starlight, it has one of the highest ratings of this genre on MyAnimeList. This is partly because of its all-male cast, which angles it to a slightly different audience than most similar games. An all-male idol game cast isn’t novel anymore, but that’s largely because of Idolish7.
The other reason the series is so popular is the anime’s strong character development and interactions. The idols all work off each other well, which led to multiple different spin-off mangas. The actual plot is usually kept quite light, though there’s usually a song at the end of the episode.
5/10 Rage of Bahamut
It’s important not to mistake Rage of Bahamut for its sequel series, Virgin Soul. The first anime was full of lovable characters going on a fantastic adventure. It takes place in a magical world called Mistarcia where gods, demons, and humans mingle. The anime draws heavily from mythology to fill up a wide cast of lovable characters.
Virgin Soul does not capture the magic of the first series. The first series was fairly standalone and easy to understand, while the second tried to incorporate more mechanics of the card game. The card game itself is basically an unknown in the west, so the third anime brought back the standalone charm. This was the slice-of-life anime Manaria Friends, which received higher praise similar to the original.
4/10 Uma Musume
Uma Musume, also known as Horse Girl Pretty Derby, is an odd one out among gacha game animes. It actually debuted before the game it was promoting came out. This was the result of complications during development, which saw the anime debut three whole years before the game did. This caused a lot of people to think the game was adapting the show when it was the other way around.
The game and anime focus on an afterlife centered around Tokyo’s Tracen Academy. Here, famous racehorses are reborn as “horse girls” to compete once again as racers, but this time on two legs. It’s an out-there premise, but the anime made it work as a fun sports adventure. It did so well that the anime even has upcoming spin-offs.
3/10 Kemono Friends
The first season of Kemono Friends was made on very little budget. As such, the team put all their effort and heart into it. It was felt, and this cute anime featuring a very limited CG art style became a hit. Praise was specifically given to the surprisingly deep world-building for a show about zoo animals being turned into girls.
The anime’s success saw the franchise rise to new heights and receive more international releases. To match the fever behind the first season, a second was greenlit with more staff and budget. Neither the game nor the second season managed to catch attention like the first did, though. It was a rare case of lightning in a bottle that couldn’t be replicated.
2/10 Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story
Puella Magi Madoka Magica is already one of the best magical girl anime out there. Beyond the main anime, though, there are many extra stories and characters. So a mobile game was created to wrap all of them together. That mobile game was Magia Record, which itself got an anime.
The anime expands on concepts from the main anime in a lot of ways. It takes place alongside the original anime and further explores the nature of witches. While the anime itself is well-produced, special mention goes to its soundtrack. The tunes for Magia Record were so good that they often surpass the original Madoka Magica for some fans.
1/10 Fate/Grand Order – Absolute Demonic Front Babylonia
When it comes to anime adaptations of gacha games, the Fate series reigns supreme. The series about warriors in the Holy Grail War summoning figures from history and mythology from throughout time has been going strong for years. Strong enough that it has at least seven anime adaptations. While all of them are considered good to some extent, the best is Absolute Demonic Front Babylonia.
With the present absolutely destroyed due to events from past anime, the heroes have no choice but to go into the past. They emerge in Uruk, the walled city in the ages of gods and heroes. This show fully dives into the backstory of some of Fate‘s most complex characters, like Gilgamesh. It delivers intense action and complicated battles, although it may be tough to watch if one isn’t caught up with the series’ lore.
NEXT: The Top 10 Servants Coming to Fate/Grand Order’s English Version, Ranked