Witcher fans, rejoice! CD Projekt Red is Kickstarting a manga adaptation of the iconic fantasy series set in an alternate universe. Geralt the Witcher will face Japanese mythological yokai in an “ancient-Japanese-inspired” setting. We at AIPT Comics were so tickled by the premise, we couldn’t help but imagine what other video games could similarly cross mediums. Thus! Here are ten video games and series we’d like to see adapted into manga series with a Japanese fantasy twist.
1. Luigi’s Mansion
Luigi may have just finished cleaning out a hotel full of ghouls, but transporting our favorite ghost-snatching Mario Bro. to a historical fantasy setting makes for a match made in heaven. Be it ancient Japan or the Sengoku era, the technology of the time would not be caught up to the Poltergust G-00. However, suppose Luigi must seal away various yokai into pots, barrels, or whichever container might be handy in the style of Dragon Ball’s Mafū-Ba (Evil Containment Wave). In the vein of the Super Mario Bros. Manga Mania, this premise would make for an all-ages series sure to delight.
2. Untitled Goose Game
Let’s keep the laughs going by imagining House House’s avian prankster stalking the rice fields of historical Japan! The usual action for each chapter of popular manga and Netflix hit Way of the Househusband hinges on one joke or premise which culminates in a hilarious punchline or climax. The same structure can be applied to chapters of Untitled Goose Manga, resulting in short, goofy episodes of the iconic goose sneaking around a shogun’s encampment or dragging away a mochi mallet to the chagrin of humans everywhere.
Speaking of Way of the Househusband, the Yakuza series of games would make for great seinen aimed at older readers. You could snatch Kiryu or Kasuga out of their more modern settings and throw them back in time, but there is actually a game in the series that would be perfect for a manga adaptation. Released only in Japan, Ryū ga Gotoku Ishin! (or, Like a Dragon: Restoration) is a spin-off title in the Yakuza series set in the Bakumatsu period. This period in Japanese history was rife with political upheaval. Pepper in some fantastical elements to represent the anxieties and conflicts amongst the politics and inter-yakuza relations and you’ve got a great read.
Catholicism arrived in Japan in the mid-1500s and though practitioners of Christianity are a minority in Japan today, it’s more than plausible the Angel’s of Paradiso might be lurking unseen in Sengoku era Japan. And who else might appear to deliver their spankings but the Umbra Witches? As with the Yakuza premise, either Bayonetta herself might be sent back in time or we could follow an Umbra Witch of the past who travels to Japan in pursuit of a Lumen Sage or otherwise on a mission to kick angel ass. Such an action-packed series would feel right at home in the pages of Shonen Jump!
5. 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim
For a tonal whiplash, let’s go from Umbra Witches spanking angels to 1945 Japan under siege by giant alien kaiju. Tamao Kurabe is one of the characters players get to know the least throughout the interweaving storylines of 13 Sentinels. A manga adaptation centered on her perspective as the kaiju attack and characters come in and out of her life would do a lot to let fans of the game connect with her. The manga would follow her as she struggles to survive the attacks without access to a mech. For comparison, think of the high stakes tension of The Promised Neverland’s early arc mixed with the emotional pathos of a an Akiko Higashimura series.
6. Animal Crossing
While Animal Crossing does have a gag manga, it should have either a spinoff or extended arc in, you guessed it, a historical Japanese setting! Instead of moving to a new town and ending up in debt to Tom Nook’s real estate company, the financially savvy tanuki we all adore could serve as feudal lord! For a more fantastic setting, Nook can lean into tanukis’ propensity for shapeshifting, while characters like Wisp and Luna can also appear for a few supernatural laughs — just imagine Isabelle as secretary to a daimyo.
7. Pokémon: Magikarp Jump
You might think this would be another gag manga. You might also wonder why the Pokémon franchise as a whole isn’t being suggested. That is because this list is sorely lacking the excitement and emotions of a dedicated sports manga that Magikarp Jump could provide. Because the contest is centered on how high Magikarp can jump, the sport can be placed in any time period. Furthermore, imagine the pathos of a trainer saying goodbye as their star athlete evolves into a Gyarados and hangs up the metaphorical jersey in retirement. Whether in the warring states period or even the more technologically advanced Taisho era, Magikarp Jump is a manga of which I would preorder every volume.
8. Cooking Mama
Food manga have become a subgenre that have mouths watering the world over. I would argue Cooking Mama would make for a lighthearted food manga able to hold its own with the best of them, like the rustic recipes of Golden Kamuy to the tantalizing dishes of Food Wars!. Now to spice up the premise: the setting is ancient Japan where the titular Mama must not only teach her family how to cook, but serve up dishes for mythological creatures, yurei, and yokai. Like Food Wars!, the series could include actual recipes at the end of the chapters so readers can prepare the dishes from the manga at home.
9. Fire Emblem
Though none of the Fire Emblem games take place in real world settings, the games already blend fantasy and strategy to deliver exciting stories of battle and heroism. However! What if instead of a manga about war, a hypothetical series leaned further into the dating sim elements of Awakening, Fates, and Three Houses? A shoujo romance manga would be a perfect fit for Fire Emblem. Set it in some sort of academy for war and magic like Three Houses (but focus on the dating, not the warfare) and you’ve got a romantic hit perfect for fans of Kaguya-sama: Love is War or Fruits Basket.
10. The Legend of Zelda
The Zelda games have their fair share of manga adaptations, but imagine if Link was not the usual everyman-turned-hero of legend. Imagine instead if Link was cast as Susanoo, tasked with slaying not the Yamata no Orochi, but Ganon to save Zelda. Of course, the Kusanagi would be analogous to the Master Sword in this retelling of the myth. Furthermore, Link would be brother not to Amaterasu, but Hylia. Mythology and legend already permeate every Zelda game, so a retelling of this ancient myth with Hyrule’s iconic cast of characters isn’t too much of a stretch of the imagination.
What game series would you like to see reimagined for print in a historical fantasy setting? Comment below or follow us on twitter @AIPTComics!
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