I’m an easy target for any anime adaptation to the game, a few fan-service story nods, a cast of my favorite characters, and I’m in it. I have a few that I’ll shyly admit were favorites despite being critically criticized – hello, Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Battle 22 – but I’m still revisiting my time alone. Even as a sucker for the fanservice inspired by some of my favorite anime series, I can admit that a lot of these adaptations feel a bit bad when I come back to my love for their source material (but all Fullmetal Alchemist games are awesome, don’t come for me). Yet when I somehow land on the topic of my favorites, I always come back to CyberConnect2 – the absolute kings and queens of anime titles.
Let’s go ahead and get rid of the roasts, but Naruto has been one of my favorite shows since I was a kid. My penchant for shounen probably shines through when I mention that I’m also a bit of a Dragon Ball Z fangirl, so you can imagine why I’m gravitating to CyberConnect2 now. The studio is behind some of the biggest adaptations of anime games, like the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm series and Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot. One of my darkest secrets is that I won the Platinum Trophy for every Ultimate Ninja Storm game, and I won every tournament held for it in my college – if only they would recognize Naruto’s fighters on the main stage EVO.
But all of that is irrelevant, at least for the shounen series, CyberConnect2 explains what it really feels like to become some of these characters. Prior to my adventures in Kakarot, I had purchased most Dragon Ball Z games only to feel miserably disappointed with something as simple as theft. But in a series where most of your characters spend their time bouncing around in the air, that’s a bit of a big deal. It’s not that I need CyberConnect to define the anime storylines that I know, Kakarot is just a big shortened version of the anime, but I want me to feel like be a shounen hero. I can get the Dragon Ball Z cliff ratings anywhere, but there is only one adventure game in a sea of disasters that nails down being the Z fighters themselves.
And that brings me to Ultimate Ninja Storm, a series that has become a personal favorite over the years. Its open-world elements may lack the depth found in Kakarot, but again, other Naruto games just don’t manage to fight like a shinobi. There’s a level of theatricality in Naruto that feels relegated to his shadow clone moves or basic weapon skills in other games, but CyberConnect2 consistently features a stellar roster where each character comes bundled with the same kit you would expect from the show. While I can still appreciate how the Ultimate Ninja Storm series tells the story, much like Kakarot, I already know a little and am not interested. The most satisfying is doing the “Naruto run” meme as Sasuke and summoning Kirin on my opponents.
I can find a million boring stories from my favorite shows or ridiculous side stories that would never make anime, but it’s a much harder task to point fingers at anime adaptations and say “this must. to be what it is to be in this world “. When I fall in love with a new series, it’s always the CyberConnect2 team who, I hope, will get their hands on the IP. Although it looks like we’re done with Naruto, for now I’m already waiting for the Demon Slayer game. And I don’t even belong to this fandom.
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