Nintendo has begun to explore new adaptations of its video games, such as the Super Mario Bros. movie, but other well-regarded adaptations have existed before. F-Zero and Kirby both received anime adaptations that are still loved today and with more acceptance of anime than ever before, Nintendo may want to explore other adaptations of their games in anime form. Should the company do so, one game that deserves an adaptation is Nintendo’s collaboration with PlatinumGames, Astral Chain.
Astral Chain is a science fiction game with cyberpunk elements and a unique setting. The game was inspired by cyberpunk anime to begin with, such as Appleseed and Ghost in the Shell, and was worked on by manga artist Masakazu Katsura as well. An anime based on the game thus feels like a natural next step for the series, especially with how the story can be further explored.
The unique combination of hack ‘n slash gameplay and detective work gameplay already made Astral Chain stand out, as did the pairing of the characters with the legions they could summon and use. All of these elements would make for a spectacular series using the game’s post-apocalyptic story.
I am trying to avoid spoilers here, so no story elements will be given that can ruin the game experience for anyone but suffice it to say it would fit extremely well with a modern anime. There could be both incredible fight scenes using the legions, as well as great character moments that utilize the detective and role-playing parts of the game to do character study and world-building. The anime would not even need to necessarily follow the protagonist of the game, Officer Howard, but could instead follow another detective from Neuron as they investigate the goings on in the Ark and the Astral Plane.
In fact, the megacity of The Ark could be explored in greater detail, showing how people are living there and dealing with the state of the world. Perhaps showcasing more mundane police elements at times, while also showing other threats to humanity could balance things out as well. Astral Chain has a great setting with much more to be explored within and there are many other stories left to tell, and this can be done in so many ways.
Ultimately, Astral Chain just fits as an anime due to its inspirations coming from anime and manga and having had Masakazu Katsura working on it as well. It would have so much potential and could bring even more attention to the game, which is one of the best on the Nintendo Switch. Ultimately, Astral Chain is not one of Nintendo’s big hitters, but it does have what it takes to tell a great story in a number of mediums.