There are some joys in life that are just irreplaceable. For some people, it may be trekking up a mountain or having a strong hot coffee just after waking up. For me, personally, two of my best are playing video games and watching anime at 3 AM at night.
I thought why not combine the two and talk about some anime about games, so here we are! We are gonna explore today the best anime built around games, board games, card games, RPGs, and more.
I have enjoyed researching to write this article so much that I can’t wait to just tell you all about it, so what are we even waiting for?
Let’s jump right into it!
Starting off our list strong with the titular series Saki, which is about a girl who is exceptionally talented at Mahjong. She is a shy girl who hates standing out more than anything and tries to fit in with her classmates. But her high school life certainly has something different planned for her.
The anime also features some well-rounded supporting characters, like Saki’s friend Kyoutaro Suga, who drags the young girl to their school’s Mahjong Club where she meets the club members and the captain, Hisa Takei.
Hisa spots the talent Saki was so desperately trying to hide and she puts Saki in a tough spot trying to get her to stand out! The anime is super fun and kinda peaceful, I mean it’s Mahjong so there’s no action or magic or anything but it can still be enjoyed.
20. Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle
Coming next up at number 20, Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle is an anime about solving puzzles like you are a demon. Yeah, you read that right, Kaito the lead of the anime is a “demon” at solving puzzles and that’s probably one of the most unique anime plots I know.
Phi Brain is one of those super brainiac anime with a super-smart main character. Kaito is just an average high schooler but he has the talent of solving puzzles easily like it’s common knowledge.
The anime become intense when Kaito and his friend Nanoha get caught in an elaborate trap set up by a bunch of evil guys who call themselves POG. The trap is literally deadly, meaning not being able to solve a puzzle will result in death!
19. Shichisei no Subaru
Up next is Shichisei no Subaru (Seven Senses of Re’Union), an anime about an electronic game Union. The plot begins with the lead of the show dying in real life when she dies in the game. This is quite the situation and a bold beginning of the plot for sure!
The story gets interesting when years later a new game Re’Union comes out. Haruto, a friend of Asahi, plays the game and reunites with Asahi in the game, that is one hell of a reunion.
Now the whole squad has to enter the game to find out if it actually is Asahi or just a coincidence. So they enter this deadly game and we get to follow them on their adventures through it.
18. Hikaru no Go
As kind of obvious by the title and the article you’re reading this anime is about Go, the board game which requires intelligence, strategies, and of course mental awareness.
The anime begins with Hikaru Shindou stumbling upon an old Go board in his grandfather’s attic. The young boy falls unconscious after touching the board and hearing a mysterious voice.
When he wakes up he finds himself in the presence of the mysterious voice, Sai Fujiwara, an ancient champion of the game appears in front of him. The anime has a good storyline, it gets competitive and intense and really brainiac because it’s about Go of course.
17. Selector Infected WIXOSS
Next up on number seventeen, we have Selector Infected WIXOSS, a seemingly simple anime that gets intense real quick after a series of events.
The protagonist of the anime, Ruuko Kominato receives a deck of playing cards of a game called, WIXOSS. She thinks this is a normal deck but she doesn’t realize that she had been made a Selector. A Selector is basically a player in a special game of WIXOSS.
The game soon gets even more intense after learning that three losses may result in total destruction of her life! Watch the anime to find out what happens with Ruuko and her buddies.
16. Ryuuo no Oshigoto
How can we have a list of game anime without the most popular board game of Japan, Shogi? Ryuu no Oshigoto is an anime about Shogi, the Japanese version of chess!
First, let us begin with an important piece of knowledge. In the Shogi world, the title of Ryuuo, “The Dragon King” is only given to the best player. Yaichi Kuzuryuu, a young gem receives this title and becomes the youngest Ryuuo after winning the Grand Championship.
The plot moves further when Yaichi reluctantly starts coaching a little girl, Ai, who he had promised to teach Shogi if he won the Championship. This anime has some of the most intelligent shogi games, all the games really feel very natural and it’s like you’re really there. If you love chess, you’ll definitely love this anime.
15. Quanzi Gashou
This anime is built for the gamers! It is about the life of a super hard-core gamer with amazing knowledge of gaming and game mechanics.
The protagonist of the show, Ye Xiu is the guy we are talking about, a total gaming beast in the game called, Glory! When the game releases its tenth server, Ye Xiu starts again with a new character named “Lord Grim”
Despite his ten years of amazing gaming career, no teams or gaming companies sponsor him so he takes it upon himself to destroy everyone in the game and reach the summit once again like old times.
This is an absolute banger of an anime, if you love games like DotA and LoL, do watch this anime!
Coming in at number fourteen is D-Frag! A high school comedy seinen that is very enjoyable and definitely funny as hell.
The protagonist, an average high schooler and his two friends, or the Kazama family gang gets in a pickle with their school’s Game Development Club. Instead of thanking Kenji for putting out a fire in their club room the insane club members gang up on Kenji and make him join the club forcefully.
I absolutely love the supporting characters in this anime. All the club members have varied personalities and weird quirks which give rise to comical situations.
13. New Game!
Next up at number thirteen, New Game is a slice of life anime about game development and the adventures they go through to make a perfect game and a perfect character design.
Aoba Suzukaze is a big gaming fan and loves game development and character designs so naturally, she wants to join a game development company.
She meets new people in her team with some crazy coding skills and character concepts. Watch as Aoba and her friends try to achieve the pinnacle in the gaming industry.
12. Net-juu no Susume
At number twelve we have, Net-juu no Susume(Recovery of the MMO Junkie) is a wholesome anime about a 30-year-old gamer woman who quits her boring job and decides to dive deep into an MMORPG.
Moriko Morioka, the protagonist is very tired of her boring workday life so she does what’s best for her and quits that shitty job. After quitting her job she has a lot of free time so she jumps right into an MMORPG called Fruits de Mer with her heroic male character, Hayashi.
Soon she gets hooked onto the game and starts playing it day in and day out. While playing she meets another player who works a corporate job and we get to see their adventures in the game and soon in the real life.
Coming in at number eleven just one short of the Top 10 are Gamers! The anime is about a high school Game Club and a guy who had wild expectations of the gaming community which is soon broken by his peers.
An average high school student Keita Amano who is passionate about gaming and just wants to have fun gaming and average high school life. His average high school life changes soon when he meets Karen. Her long blonde hair and bright green eyes are so beautiful, she is the cutest girl in the whole school.
Soon Karen recruits Amano to the Game Club where he meets a lot of new people who have a different perspective on gaming than his own. Watch as Amano discovers all the aspects of gaming together with his friends.
10. 3-gatsu no Lion
I wish this anime was higher on the list but there some definitely good anime out there that just about beat my favorite in the list.
March comes in Like a Lion is an emotionally intense anime about a shogi champion, Rei and Akari, the eldest of the three sisters that soon kind of become Rei’s family. Rei is very good at shogi when compared to others his age so there is a lot of pressure on Rei to do good at it.
Under this pressure, his social life suffers a lot. He rarely takes care of himself and because of living alone, there is no one to do that for him. But that changes soon when he meets Akari, who takes it upon herself to get Rei out of his rut and acts as a motherly friend and takes care of Rei.
I recommend this anime so much you have no idea. Go watch it right now!
9. Accel World
Next up at number nine, Accel World is sci-fi school anime with some emotionally intense romance and witty comedy. The protagonist of the anime, Arita is an overweight kid with a gaming addiction.
Since he gets bullied for being overweight, Arita just likes to be at home and play his games and he is quite good at it, but one day he finds out that all his records have been broken by a girl at his school, the vice-captain of the game club, Kuroyukihime.
Watch as they both go on an adventure together to reach the top level in a game called, Brain Burst.
8. Yu Gi Oh!
This one needs no introduction but for the sake of the new anime enthusiasts and all those born after 2000 let’s run it one more time.
Yu Gi Oh! is an anime about cards, it is about collecting the rarest cards, fighting with those cards, and much more. The protagonist, Yuugi Mutuo or Yami Yuugi when he gets cornered and angry is normally a week and frail guy.
He loves his puzzle game, the Millenium Puzzle artifact which he completes which reveals a new personality within him, “The King of Games”. The anime is a classic, and it is super famous or rather was super famous in the 90s. and early 00s.
Chihayafuru is an amazing josei slice of life anime. Though it is tagged as josei it is quite enjoyable to almost all anime fans.
The titular series is about Chihaya Ayase, a confident young girl with one hell of an attitude. Though she is shadowed by her elder sister at her young age, it all changes when she meets a boy, Arata Wataya who tells her about karuta, a game she soon gets fanatic about!
Next, we skip to high school, we see a karuta freak Chihaya who aims at establishing a competitive karuta game club in her high school.
Coming in at number six, Kakegurui has one of the most unique premises in all of the anime that I have ever seen. It is about high school students that love to gamble.
Kakegurui takes place in Hyakkaou Private Academy, a school where children of the richest people in Japan study and gamble their money away. The protagonist of the show, Yumeko Jabami joins the school as a transfer student and soon turns some head with her brave gambling style.
The anime is super fun and intense. The characters are absolutely crazy. Despite being from the 2017 Summer season it got real attention in 2020 and 2021.
5. Death Parade
Starting off our Top 5 list now with Death Parade a super intense and amazing anime with action, a thrilling plot, and a mysterious bunch of characters.
The lead of the show, Decim, is the arbiter of life, he is the one that will judge you! The concept and premise of Death Parade are super unique and interesting. After Death, there only exists a bar where a game will decide your future, whether you’ll fall into the void or be reborn.
Watch the anime for it has one of the most unique plots if I have ever seen one and Decim is just a pretty guy, that’s enough incentive for the female weebs right?
4. Log Horizon
Here comes the isekai train! At number four we have Log Horizon, an MMORPG isekai with magic, action, spells, guilds, and amazing adventures.
Shiroe is among the thirty thousand gamers that get trapped inside an MMORPG game called, Elder Tale but since he is a seasoned gamer, just after a few moments he composes himself and sets out to explore the world of Elder Tale.
Log Horizon has got it all action, strategies, politics, and more. I seriously recommend you watch this if you’re a big fan of the isekai genre.
3. Sword Art Online
Starting out the Top 3 with one of the most famous shounen anime after the Big Three. Sword Art Online or SAO for short is yet another isekai about an MMORPG that goes by the same name as the anime.
The game has cool weapons, spells, magic, basically everything you’d ever expect in a super cool MMORPG. Kirito the protagonist gets trapped inside the game and the log-out button has disappeared and now he must learn to live in this new world and survive.
He soon begins to explore the world and meets amazing people and makes a lot of friends. Watch the anime to enjoy alongside Kirito on his adventures.
Yet another isekai on my list, I am so sorry but I love this genre and there is no one stopping right now from being a super toxic fanboy.
Overlord is yet another MMORPG isekai with one of the coolest isekai protagonists, after Slime-kun of course. In the final hour of the MMORPG Yggdrasil, the game turns out to be the biggest disaster or wait, does it?
The protagonist, Momonga decides to spend the last moments in the game but soon he realizes that the game has closed off but it still continues. He takes advantage of this anomaly and orders his guild to capture this new world thus making him the Overlord.
This one is also amongst my favorite isekai. Give it a try, it is good I promise.
1. No Game No Life
Did you guess the number one right? I hope you did because this was pretty obvious to me. Because the title of this anime is kinda my motto in life, No Games, No Life!
The duo protagonist, Sora, and his little sister Shiro are plunged into another world because of a suspicious email. Here they meet the Tet, The God of Games. He introduces them to Disboard, a world where games are everything.
Everything from squabbles to disagreements is settled not through fights and war but a series of high stake games and now Sora and Shiro, the super-intelligent duo get a crack at it.
The anime is amazing but sadly it has only one season and after watching that one season you’ll obviously want more but this world is not all sunshine and daisies.