2016 can be seen as the year where SNK rose back from the dead. Since its bankruptcy in the early 2000s and acquisition by a number of other companies, it has always felt that the NeoGeo developer was struggling with the times and economy. But the recent acquisition by Chinese corporation Ledo Millenium was sure the catalyst to what can be seen as SNK’s second coming.
Besides announcing and releasing the critically acclaimed The King Of Fighters XIV, the company along with Ledo Millenium have announced that a brand new KOF anime series is in development (stated for release in early 2017 as it was revealed in our exclusive interview). Adapting a fighting game is not something new. In fact, since the early days of fighting games, there have been many attempts at adapting these famous properties into other form of media. One such form is the anime medium. And throughout these attempts there have been some great faithful adaptations (Street Fighter II Anime Movie) and some horrible ones as well (Samurai Shodown The Movie, Art of Fighting, etc…).
Being a fan of the King Of Fighters series since koF94 and as someone who enjoys action anime, I decided to share with you what we believe are the top Five Things The King OF Fighters Anime Series Must Have In Order To Be a Success
5 – Voice actors from the games
While the King Of Fighters Anime will be produced in house by 37games, as revealed in our exclusive interview, the show will be marketed towards Asia including Japan. With that in mind we really hope that the show will feature the Japanese voice actors from the recent The King Of Fighters XIV. Something similar to what Capcom did with the Street Fighter IV game and anime movie. Having the same voice actors will certainly help bridge the gap between video games and anime and make it easier for fans to transition between the two medias.
4 – Appearance from all the game’s fighters
The King Of Fighters has a massive roster of characters. This is especially true if you realize that there are more than 14 entries in the game series so far, each bringing new characters to the table. Nevertheless we do hope that all the characters will eventually make an appearance. The series does not have to focus on each one of them, but it does not need to have them there just for the sake of a cameo (I am looking at you Akuma selling potatoes in the Street Fighter II Animated Movie).
This should be easy to do if the series will adapt the actual tournaments. Then the characters that did not appear prior can shine in their own fights and moments, even though they might be brief. But this is all going to depend on what plan does SNK and 37Games have for the anime; whether it is a short series, like Basilisk, or an ongoing saga the likes of Naruto and One Piece. Needless to say we are hoping for the latter.
3 – Faithful designs
This might seem obvious and not needed, but the 1996 Street Fighter II V animated series left a bad taste in my mouth when it comes to character designs differing from source material. I remember back in the day how excited I was to learn that Street Fighter is getting an anime series, and how confused I was looking at this Joe Higashi looking figure and wondering who is the dude, and asking myself “where is Ryu?” Only to find out that that was Ryu. Street Fighter II V’s designs were the least of its problems, but those designs sure were awful. With KOF getting the anime series adaptation, we are hoping that 37games will be faithful to the source material when designing our beloved characters.
2 – Starting from the beginning
Unlike most Fighting Games out there, The King Of Fighters series does have a coherent and interesting storyline. The 14 main games of the series are divided into Sagas. The first saga, and the most famous one, is the Orochi saga that started with the King Of Fighters 94. The story revolves around the awakening of the dormant evil demon known as Orochi and how his history ties with the Kyo, Iori and Chizuru’s clans and families.
Having the KOF anime series start from the Orochi saga is not a recommendation but a must. Not only is the Orochi Saga the most famous and maybe best storyline of the series, but starting from the middle, or worse, from KOF14 will make the anime story unnecessarily confusing. Just look at how confusing each Street Fighter anime move has been since the beginning. Assuming your viewers know these characters is a fatal mistake. Yes, it is true that everyone who plays the KOF games knows Kyo, Ior and Terry, but do they know why Iori and Kyo hates each other?
1 – Great animation
While story, designs and voice acting are all very important to a series success, an anime cannot win people’s hearts without great animation. As previously mentioned, The King of Fighters Anime series will produced by 37games. The show will be the company’s first animated project. So how well will show look and animate is anyone’s guess. But for those worried that Chinese anime will not be on par with Japan anime should feel better after watching the below clip:
The King of Fighters Anime Series, along with a live action tv series will debut in Asia sometimes in 2017. Keep checking back at FGCnow.com for the latest development of the series.