Manga based on video games has practically become a genre, with both import and OEL titles, and Tokyopop has been at the head of the pack with releasing and creating new titles. All of the manga included in this post are titles that were video games initially, and were then adapted into manga.
Let’s start out with the .hack series. These had been publishing fairly regularly, matching pace with the anime releases. These titles were crafted to enhance both the video games and anime. The stories enrich each other, a novel concept at the time it was introduce, but really makes sense when you think about it. It’s also a great marketing strategy. There are currently 5 separate .hack titles available. Legend of the Twilight, XXXX, G.U.+, AI Buster, and Another Birth.
A big winner for Tokyopop has been Kingdom Hearts. It was a big hit with video gamers. The inclusion of Disney characters would naturally appeal to younger audiences, which Tokyopop took advantage of by rating it for All Ages. My youngest certainly enjoyed it. They went on to also publish Chain of Memories, based in the Nintendo DS game, which told of events between Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II. The second series has also been a big a seller, doing as well as Fruits Basket, and is (hopefully) still coming out.
Tokyopop took some initiative to do an OEL manga for World of Warcraft. More addicting than Everquest, the MMORPG has
garnished a lot of attention including toys, a tcg, and youtube videos featuring characters from it dancing and singing. So it seems logical that it should get a comic adapation. Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy was written by a veteran of fantasy novels, Robert A. Knaack and drawn by Korean artist Jae Hwan Kim. The story doesn’t rely on readers knowing about the Warcraft universe, but obviously, being familiar with it enriches the story. Tokyopop’s success with this seems to have inspired others, as the DC Wildstorm imprint has also done a 12 issue series in the Warcraft Universe, and Tokyopop has published another series with Warcraft: Legends, and Warcraft’s sci-fi cousin Starcraft: Frontline.
Other OEL titles that Tokyopop has released recently based on video game properties are Hellgate: London. This manga acts as a prequel to the events in the game. Ghostbusters is an anthology of stories to help promote the new video game that is coming out, that will finally be modeled on the original actors. Castlevania: Curse of Darkness is based on the PS2 video game and is part of a long series of Castlevania games. This title is a sequel to Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse which first came out in 1990 for the NES.
Some other import titles available are Shin Megami Tensei Kahn is an import title that is a sequel to Shin Megami Tensei series that would become the basis of the Persona series. Devil May Cry made a big splash with video gamers, and first got a light novel series published before the manga for Devil May Cry 3. Set up to be a 3 volume series, only 2 have come out so far. Atelier Marie and Elie: Zarlburg Alchemist is based on a Dreamcast game that was re-released for the PS2. And finally, Suikoden III, a fantasy RPG from the early days of the PS1 who’s popularity helped the PS1, before Final Fantasy took off.
Titles like this would never have been possible in the early days of video games, as the “game” aspect was emphasised more that plot behind it. But in the last several years, story has become just as important as game play, making titles such as these possible. So if video games are your thing, but your parents are bugging you about not reading enough, check out one of these series. It’s a win-win situation, and you might even find a new game to play.