Fanart Friday returns, obsessively checking the rules for loopholes. Last week, we blasted off into space, but this week we're coming back down to Earth (sorta) for a look at GAMES-related series. Now, I should've specified more, but I'm going to do a whole installment on "trapped in a game" titles like .hack// or Log Horizon (that also includes "deadly games characters are forced to play" like BTOOOM! and Battle Royale)--this time around, we're only focusing on actual games.
I am not sorry at all
This includes competitions involving cards, toys, tabletop games, and fictional animals, and as you can probably guess, shows based off of these are marketable as hell. So, since I've explained the rules, is everybody ready? Let's get started!
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So here's kind of a weird confession: I've never watched Yu-Gi-Oh proper in any of its forms, but I've seen Yu-Gi-Oh Abridged (and seriously want to neck-punch anybody who constantly quotes from it--yes, people still do that) and I've actually played the pretty complex card game. But yes, this is the kind of "game" I was talking about for this week's theme: characters treating a card game like it's life and death.
Although sometimes the whole thing can be very life-and-death, especially in the case of Danganronpa. In a way, the whole murder mystery setup of the series can be likened to those murder mystery dinners, albeit with much more hilarious and creative ends when the culprit is outed.
The final type of character I had in mind was like Izaya from Durarara--they constantly play games or have a game tied to their overall character. Izaya is the "mastermind" type, so he has a constantly-moving board game using chess, othello, and shogi pieces to represent the shifting factions in Ikebukuro.
I would never have guessed it looking at the art or screenshots, but Fantasista Doll is in fact focused around a card game! And maybe fanservice, because holy crap, this series' Pixiv tag...
Mentioning Pokémon is kind of a given, since the series focuses heavily on Pokémon competitions, whether through battle or different events. There are also a few other "monster battle" shows in almost the same vein, like...
...Digimon! Okay, I haven't seen Digimon Tamers yet, but the amount of epic Gurren-Lagann looking art is certainly piquing my interest. Way back when Digimon came out, it was pretty blatantly advertised as riding off Pokémon's coattails with the whole "kids battling with cute(ish) monsters in a tournament(ish) setting" thing.
I've always been more into CCGs (or TCGs, whatever you wanna call 'em) myself, though, and I went through a pretty intense Magic: The Gathering phase in high school. I'm talking the early days, when Mirage had just been released and Ice Age had wrapped up. Looking at it today, it's a very different game from what I remember.
by 赤坂 択
I've already talked about why I want an anime for Chaosic Rune, but let me give you the short version: it's a card-battle series where instead of dealing with the usual non-lethal "defeats," losing players are messily devoured by the monsters on their opponents' cards (or their own, sometimes). Y'know who was awesome? That guy who only used Item Cards, and constantly found ways to end each battle with his handy-dandy Shotgun Card.
Really, it was Hikaru no Go that got me interested in game-related anime in the first place. Go is a very pure and abstract game--while it looks the objective is to claim your opponent's pieces, it's actually more about space control, and threatening to capture large groups opposing pieces. Good play backs a careless opponent into a corner, effectively letting them destroy themself for you.
Shion no Ou isn't quite as popular, but focuses on shogi, or Japanese chess. Shion's parents are both murdered at the start of the story, and she has reason to believe the killer is a shogi player. She begins competing in shogi, not only to master it, but to work her way through the ranks and find out who killed her folks. I remember the anime from a number of years back, and thought it was pretty slick.
Oh, Saki, you so frickin' oddball. It's a shameless mahjong series focusing on cute girls engaging in over-the-top mahjong competitions. A friend of mine asked me why I wasn't excited for the new season, and I had a very simple response:
..."It's not Akagi." Sorry, Saki fans, it's totally cool that you have your mahjong show and it hits the spot for you, but I like seinen gambling titles that focus on the intensity of the competition itself, even when it gets to the insane point of betting your blood for every round of a mahjong game. Nobuyuki Fukumoto really gets this genre, and knows how to make the cheats and counterplays exciting even to people who don't know a thing about the game.
Of course, there's always the happy bridge between the two: Mudazumo Naki Kaikaku, known to some as The Legend of Koizumi. This is the one where then-President Bush, Vladimir Putin, the now-late Kim Jong Il, and Pope John Paul II (among many, many others) play superpowered mahjong. Also, Adolf Hitler transforms into "the Super Aryan" with golden glowing hair.
Being a kid with a pretty varied collection of toys and action figures, the idea of them coming to life and battling for my amusement (and/or financial gain) would have been a dream come true. Angelic Layer has a lot of CLAMP's usual ticks--great art, likeable characters, surprisingly exciting action--only now, it's done in what's effectively a collectible, customizable toy-fight tournament.
Speaking of collectible and customizable toys, whose brilliant idea was it to attach blades to tops? I'm obviously not as familiar with Beyblade as I could be, but this just sounds like a really dangerous idea.
Back to more Nobuyuki Fukumoto! Kaiji is another of Fukumoto's gambling titles, this time focusing on a down-on-his-luck lowlife who has to compete in a variety of games (all involving risk, getting in your opponent's head, and sheer luck) to erase a massive debt... or spend a lifetime in hard labor.
No Game No Life was a pretty cool idea that a reader suggested to me--in this world, everything is settled through playing games. Everything, from land ownership rights to political rivalries, which can get pretty messy.
I was at the office talking with some CR folks earlier this week about the kind of shows I tend to watch on Crunchyroll. My answer was "usually the really long ones," seeing as how I've cut through Hunter x Hunter, Gintama, and Fist of the North Star, and now I'm currently working on Space Brothers thanks to last week's Fanart Friday theme. Cardfight!! Vanguard is another one of our long-runners, and is gonna be one hell of an undertaking when I actually get to it--we have, what, 150+ episodes total? Gintama's longer, but still...
And yes, I promise I'll get to the Monogatari titles right after.
People say karuta's a sport, and with the way that Chihayafuru's Chihaya plays it, I can't blame them for thinking it. While the type of karuta in the show (uta-garuta) focuses on 100 poems and snatching up the cards that complete verses of each poem, there are actually many different karuta gametypes, and you can even find historical or language-based karuta decks in import stores like Daiso.
Phi Brain is another one of our long-runners that I should watch more of sometime. Instead of using magic or superpowered martial arts or sports, Kaito and company fight it out with puzzles and games. For some reason, Kaito always makes me think the two guys from GetBackers did a DBZ-style Fusion.
One of my all-time favorite novels, Ender's Game takes place in the future, where humanity has just had its ass kicked by a powerful alien race. We only barely survived, but in preparation for the next war, the best and brightest young minds are being trained through a rigorous battery of games and simulations to create the generals of the future. It's good stuff!
Called Monster Farm in Japan, the Monster Rancher series did something pretty novel on the PS1--you could scan any CD in your library, game or music or otherwise, and get random monsters, which would then battle it out in a tournament setting. I always thought it was pretty cool how Castlevania annoyance Suezo more or less became a main character in this.
For a long time, this is how I felt whenever I would bring out my Magic cards--terrified of other people's decks and builds. The only real problem is that from what I'm reading (and what I remember of Yu-Gi-Oh's actual game), they're pretty different gameplay systems.
And that's everything for this week! There's no way I could have included everything--what are your favorite game-related titles? Sound off in the comments!
Coming up on two and a half years of this column, your work is always welcome here on Fanart Friday, regardless of your skill level or experience. Just PM me a link to your art, and I'll make sure to include it in a future installment! Here are the next three themes for Fanart Friday:
-Next week, on JANUARY 24th, we're giving our best annoyed sighs and learning to be as plain-looking as possible with our favorite GENERIC PROTAGONISTS! Short-cut, dark-colored hair isn't required, but white button-up shirts and dark slacks (so basically, school uniforms) are. Glasses are optional. AND THESE GUYS ARE THE MAIN CHARACTERS. THIS IS THE ONLY THEME I'M TAKING REQUESTS FOR THIS WEEK!
-Then, on JANUARY 31st, we ring in the Chinese New Year--the Year of the Horse--with a HORSE-themed installment! This is gonna be a weird one.
-On FEBRUARY 7th, I'm starting a monthly look at different animation studios by singling out STUDIO MADHOUSE titles! You'd be surprised at just how much they've done!
Thanks again for coming by to check out Fanart Friday! Have a great weekend, and I hope you drop by next week!