If you’ve spent a decent amount of time on social media engaging in fandom activity, you might have noticed there is a decent amount of overlap between fans of anime, and fans of Japanese video games, such as visual novels and JRPGs. I’ve always felt if I was to recommend certain anime to fans of games I like, they would enjoy it. I’ve also felt if I recommended certain games to fans of anime I like, they would also enjoy it. So the goal of this blog is to give some anime/video game cross recommendations.
I will try to keep this as spoiler free as possible, but I will explain a bit about each anime/game to show why a fan of one might be a fan of the other.
ID:Invaded/AI: The Somnium Files
Both ID:Invaded and AI: The Somnium Files have very noticeable in common. Both involve solving crimes through dream worlds.
In ID: Invaded, the protagonist is a murderer who goes into people’s dream worlds called the Id well. The well is a manifestation of their Id, a psychological term to refer to the unconscious impulse to satisfy their urges. The Id well is formed by gathering cognition particles left at the scene of the crime. Each well has various puzzles and hints towards who the killer could be or where they could be. In the Id well, the protagonist takes on the role of the brilliant detective Sakaido, who has no memories, and only the desire to figure out the cause of Kaeru’s death, a girl in the well who’s death helps to provide a hint towards the murderer in the real world. Because he has no memories, he helps those in the real world unknowingly.
AI: The Somnium Files follows the detective Kaname Date, with a talking prosthetic eye named Aiba, that grants him some special investigative abilities such as X-ray vision. You go around discovering clues to solve a murder, and suspects are brought into to ABIS headquarters to dive into their somnium. The somnium is a dream world where you have to interact with various objects to find clues that could hint towards the murder culprit. Everything in the somnium is based on things the suspect has seen, but is presented in a disoriented way, giving the player the freedom to discover things and try to figure out the puzzles themselves.
Both of these series focus on the ideas of dream world in order to solve crimes, but handle it’s subject matter in different ways. ID: Invaded deals more in pop psychology while AI: The Somnium files deal more in crazy sci-fi ideas and insane twists.
Personally, I would say I loved AI: The Somnium Files more, as it’s one of my favorite games, but ID: Invaded is a similar enough anime with some really cool and interesting ideas, that I feel being a fan of AI would make it seem really intriguing. If you had only seen ID: Invaded, then you will probably enjoy AI even more, as it has similar ideas, but with more mind-blowing twists, and multiple story routes that will give hints towards the overall plot and have you guessing at every second.
Both series also have fantastic dubs and endearing casts, which makes the whole experience just that much more fun.
Something both To Aru (A Certain Magical Index/A Certain Scientific Railgun) and the Trails series (The Legend of Heroes) excel at is their extensive world building. Through experiencing these series, you learn more about the world as you progress. Things can get very complicated as you try to piece together how everything is connected. And everything does connect in a meaningful way. It allows to worlds to seem ever expansive and also more alive.
A Certain Magical Index follows a high school boy named Touma, who loves in Academy City, a city of students with scientifically engineered super powers. These students are called espers. Touma doesn’t have an esper powers, but has a special ability to cancel out other powers. He one day comes across a girl named Index, who stores 10300 grimoires in her head. He ends up getting involved in magic, which can also be negated by his ability called the Imagine Breaker. Over the course of the series, various characters and factions in both the science and magic sides get involved in a wide range of complicated conflicts. Sometimes it’s magic vs science. Sometimes it’s magic vs magic. Sometimes it’s science vs science. There is a whole range of interesting conflicts for Touma to resolve using his ability to cancel out special powers.
The Trails series is a turn-based JRPG series in which you follow a group of characters as they explore and learn more about the continent of Zemuria. Trails in the Sky has you following a Bracer named Estelle Bright. A Bracer is a member of a guild who solves jobs for money. The Crossbell arc has you following Lloyd Banning, the leader of a group of police in a special division. The Cold Steel arc has you following Rean Schwarzer, a student in a military academy, and his classmates in the special Class VII.
In each game, you explore the continent they live on and learn more about the circumstances of the people and the shady organizations the inhabit the world. The series has a heavy focus on politics and how it affects the lives of the people. The game is especially detailed, with NPC dialogue providing a wide range of insight about the world to match the events of the story.
Not only do both series have an extensive amount of worldbuilding and an interesting universe that never stops expanding, they also share similar themes to a certain extent. Both series express the belief in human goodness, and that people are capable of creating a better future for themselves. Both have clear anti-authoritarian themes, believing the people themselves can improve, grow, and overcome their flaws or their weaknesses without an overwhelming force to control them. Both series also stress forgiveness, with the presupposition that people usually do bad things because of their unfortunate circumstances, and not inherent evilness. Both series still manage to understand the weight and the consequences behind actions, but also pushes that idea that people can make up for their mistakes through a thorough understanding of their wrongdoing and a desire to make things right.
Something I noticed that the fans of these two series have in common is how much they appreciate the level of depth the worlds they engage in have to offer. That’s why I feel that one was to appreciate one of these series, they would also appreciate the other for similar reasons.
Record of Grancrest War/Fire Emblem
I sometimes joke that Grancrest is essentially “Fire Emblem the anime.” I have a good reason for this. Both series are pretty similar.
Fire Emblem is a series of strategy rpgs, often involving a lord leading an army to victory in a war. It involves difficult tactical gameplay.
Record of Grancrest War gives similar vibes, having a lord lead an army to fight in a war.
Each series has the lord trying to gather new members and allies of various classes to fight their perceived enemy. While Fire Emblem gives the thrill of tactical war gameplay, Grancrest gives those vibes solely through a narrative format. New strategies are always being employed that gives the series a very RPG-like feel to it.
If you are a Fire Emblem fan who’ve ever wanted a Fire Emblem anime, I think Record of Grancrest War is a good compromise, being able to give the same feel of the games in an anime format. There are also other series which I feel do a similarly good job at at giving those Fire Emblem vibes, such as The Heroic Legend of Arslan and Chain Chronicles – The Light of Haecceitas. But I feel Record of Grancrest War does it best.
And if you like Record of Grancrest War and are looking for a video game series like it, Fire Emblem is the perfect match for you.
These are some series in which I feel being a fan of one would make for a good chance they will like the other. But these probably aren’t the only good anime/video game cross recommendations. So let me know what cross-recommendations you would give. And thanks for reading this blog.