Platformers are perhaps the most iconic genre within gaming. Shooter heroes like Master Chief or Doomguy may have their fans, alongside fighting game figures like Ryu or Terry Bogard. Yet they only have an iota of fame compared to Super Mario or sonic the hedgehog.
Those two managed to leap out of the video game console and appear everywhere. Cereal boxes, lunchboxes, The Simpsons, movies, and TV shows. They even made it into anime, but they weren’t the only ones to do that. here are ten platform game heroes who made it into anime.
9 sonic the hedgehog
Before the 2020 film defied expectation and produced an okay movie instead of a disaster, ADV Films put two Sonic OVA episodes together and called it Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie. It was released to coincide with sonic adventure 1‘s US release in 1999, despite originally being made in 1996.
The film follows Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles as they attempt to save Sara, the President’s daughter, from Dr Eggman and Metal Sonic. It’s pretty cool in that Sega Enterprises made two full-on shows in the style of sonic cd‘s lovely, animated intro. Plus, the final battle between Sonic and Metal Sonic gets rather exciting. Still, it can be quite clunky in the dialogue department.
8 sonic x
Why stick with an OVA when there’s a 3-season anime? sonic x reached 4Kids, Jetix, and a hundred other channels. The show was kind of a reverse-isekai, as Sonic and his friends emerge from their world into the real world. It even managed to adapt large chunks of sonic adventure 1 and two.
The show had its ups, but it also had some big downs, mainly with its original characters like Chris Thorndyke. Today, it’s mostly remembered for introducing Mike Pollock as Dr Eggman, a role he’s still playing in the games to this day. Also, Sonic’s habit of breaking into English in the original Japanese dub is kind of funny. Particularly when he used swear words.
7 Popful Mail
Popful Mail was a cult classic RPG/Platformer crossover that made it to the West via the Sega CD. It was one of the few reasons to bother with the Genesis’ maligned add-on. The only bit of drama was that it was going to be released as a Sonic tie-in called Sister Sonic, with its heroine Mail becoming a female hedgehog. The fan backlash stopped that plan in its tracks. Or so the story goes anyway.
The game had anime cutscenes and advertisements, but not a full-on anime show or movie. Though it wasn’t without trying. Studio Fantasia put together a 5-minute pitch back in 1994 to get an OVA funded. Unfortunately, the pilot didn’t take flight, but it’s a nice look at what could’ve been.
6 Kirby: Right Back At Ya!
Or Hoshi no Kirby (Kirby of the Stars) inJapan. The show is just a show. Kirby crashes onto Planet Popstar and makes friends with the locals. He does n’t talk beyond the odd word or chirp, etc., but helps his more verbal pals Tiff and Tuff whenever King Dedede acts up. Like when he went into Wispy Woods with a chainsaw because he wanted to build a golf course.
The show reached the West through 4Kids, who did their usual weird editing tricks. Like removing all text from the front covers of books. One notorious episode, ‘Shell Shocked’, even became lost media for a while because it was only broadcast once, then never again. The jokes about King Dedede’s snail friend Escargoon getting stripped of his shell were a little too racy for them.
5 Super Mario Bros: Peach-Hime Kyushutsu Daisakusen!
From the DiC cartoons to the upcoming Illumination movie, the Mario Bros have been adapted by Westerners more often than the Japanese. But they did beat everyone else to the punch with this 1986 anime. It’s technically the first video game-based movie ever made, though at 61 minutes it’s not really feature-length.
The plot is simple; Mario and Luigi must rescue Princess Peach from King Koopa (Bowser). But it has some differences. The Mario Brothers first learn of Peach and the Mushroom Kingdom via Mario’s Famicom, and go there via pipe, making it one of the earliest isekai anime. They also work as grocery store clerks instead of plumbers, and some scenes suggest they’re Mexican instead of Italian.
4 Megaman Maverick Hunter X: The Day Of Ʃ (Sigma)
Interestingly, the only Megamen to get full-on series were the ones from the Game Boy Advance games. But Battle Network and star force were tactical RPGs, and got rather cold receptions. Luckily, Xebec Studio also animated the cutscenes for Megaman Maverick Hunter Xthe PSP remake of mega man x. For an extra touch, they made a 26-minute OVA called The Day of Ʃ that showed how Sigma went from a fellow Hunter to the series’ main villain.
It was okay for what it was as well, and spiced up what was already a good reason for Mega-fans to get a PSP. Even if Sigma’s moral switch contradicted how he turned evil in the other X games. Though with Zero’s repeated resurrections, Sigma’s constant comebacks, and pretty much everything in X6, it wouldn’t be the biggest plot hole fans had to swallow.
3 Saru Getchu -On Air-
Oh Yes, Ape Escape managed to get an anime. It even ran for 77 episodes across two seasons. It sort-of follows Ape Escape 3 and two Japan-only entries; Million Monkeys and Saru Saru Big Mission. A tame monkey called Kuuta gets caught by aliens called Pipotrons, who put a special helmet on his head to give him extra intelligence. As a result, he changes his name from him to Spectre, and calls upon his monkey brethren to cause trouble across the world.
It’s up to Kakeru and his friends Hiroki and Kuuta’s owner Natsumi to catch all those escaped apes with a variety of gadgets provided by the Professor. They even get help from Charu, a virtual girl, and Haruka, a mech genius, as they foil Specter’s plans. It sure sounds like an Ape Escape story. It was also made by Xebec, though its quality didn’t end up matching that of Day of Ʃ. Nonetheless, it’s a good find for eager Ape Escape fans.
two Viewtiful Joe
Group TAC adapted the first game into a 51-episode anime broadcast across 2004 and 2005. Joe and Silvia go to see a Captain Blue movie, only for one of the evil Jadow forces to reach out of the screen and pull Silvia into the film. Joe gives chases and, under the tutelage of Captain Blue himself, becomes Viewtiful enough to fight the Jadow.
26 of those 51 episodes were dubbed and shown on Kids’ WB. Critics and audiences liked it for being faithful to the games, but they weren’t too fond of the dialogue. Joe spouts so much hip lingo to be down with the kids that he comes off like someone’s try-hard dad. Maybe it’s fitting for a guy who transforms by saying ‘Henshin-a-Go-Go, Baby!’, but viewers will still have to brace themselves for the dialogue.
“But Castlevania is a Western cartoon.” Yes, one staffed with many people who previously worked on anime in Japan. The producers wanted the show to resemble the concept art done by Konami’s Ayami Kojima, and follow in the spirit of dark fantasy manga like Berserk. It’s close enough to count.
Likewise, the series is based on Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse on the NES, which played more like a platformer than the ‘Metroidvania’ style later games would adopt. It’s a pretty popular adaptation too, and one of Netflix’s few remaining highlights. Castlevania is a must-see recommendation for its drama, action, and sweary banter. Especially when it’s got a sequel series on the way.
More: Video Games That Were Turned Into Cartoons