Anime is enjoying growing popularity outside Japan – and not just in its neighbouring Asian countries. The art form is also growing in popularity in the western world – and nowhere more so than in Australia.
The Land Down Under is always an interesting case and one that is not easy to categorise. Culturally, we think of it as “western” in as much as the majority of the population is English-speaking and of European origin. Geographically, of course, it is another matter. Australia is not really close to anywhere other than New Zealand, but stretch the word a little and it is as close to Japan as anywhere.
Australia and Japan – two cultures collide
Certainly there is a fascination for Japanese culture and cuisine in Australia – Brisbane offers some of the most authentic sushi you can find outside Japan, for example. The nation’s fondness for anime, however, has a very specific angle to it.
Yes, there is a certain amount of love for traditional anime comics and TV animations. But Australia is a nation that is quite obsessed with tech. Mobile gaming has exploded in popularity over the past four to five years and it is here that the citizens have really fallen in love with anime. Let’s have a look at some of the titles that have fired Aussie imaginations.
Fate / Grand Order RPG
The Japanese RPG that hit North America by storm took its time in reaching Antipodean shores. But when it finally did so in 2018, Australian gamers could not get enough of it. The ever-evolving story keeps players hooked from one season to the next, a little like a good TV series.
If you have not encountered it before, Fate/Grand Order is a turn-based RPG featuring distinct chapters, each of which is set at a different point in human history. Each takes the player through a series of linked quests and missions. Success demands a blend of arcade skill and tactical nouse to negotiate the challenges and obstacles along the way. Together with different seasonal events, players will be put to the test with challenging missions and quests. One of the greatest appeals of Fate/Grand Order is that it is easy to learn, but hard to master. The game requires both in-depth strategy and skill to advance the player through ever changing obstacles.
As for the visuals – the game has inspired a whole subgenre of art, with pictures changing hands for serious money online. We will let that fact stand for itself!
Toki Time – a Tamagochi-style slot
It won’t come as a surprise that we could have selected several anime-style slot games. Combining anime with casino slots – or pokies as they are generally known in Australia – is a match made in heaven for the Aussie market. Australians love to play casino games on a mobile device and there are numerous online casino pokies that clearly take inspiration from anime.
Toki Time is our winner, however, for several reasons. First and foremost, the design work that developer Thunderkick has put into this game is astonishing, and the end result looks amazing. Five by eleven is an unusual format, but what will grab your attention is the kawaii symbols. Casino players are a little older than the average, and most will recognise them as they look just like the Tamagotchi virtual pets that were such a massive craze around the turn of the millennium.
It’s not all about looks and gimmicks, though. Toki Time has proved a winner with the serious casino players because it gets all the basics right, too. High RTP and medium volatility is the sort of combination that anyone can get behind.
Dragon Ball Legends
Here’s a title that attracts another Aussie cultural soft spot – the love of sport. Now let’s be clear, Dragon Ball isn’t something that is going to be appearing at sports centers in Adelaide and Melbourne any time soon. But the game blends competitive action with aspects of combat, strategy and RPG.
The whole thing is wrapped up in a user experience that is second to none. It’s worth noting that there are several other Dragon Ball games in the franchise. They have all sold handsomely, so they clearly have their fans, but in our view Dragon Ball Legends is the one that really gets it right, while others can be less engaging.
DanMachi – Memoria Freese
The popularity of this game down under proves that the spirit of Mick Dundee is still alive and well. The game is alternatively titled Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon. Don’t lose too much sleep contemplating that philosophical point. The fact is that despite its somewhat questionable roots, this has evolved into a cracking mobile game that features classic elements of Japanese anime and even some voice work from the original voice actors.
It’s the scenery that will really take your breath away, however – and much of it is outdoor despite the alternative title! Drop your preconceptions at the door as a thousand or more Aussies have done, you won’t regret it.