Adaptation is the name of the game these days, especially when it comes to video games. Despite this, and its previous adventures in anime and manga, one of Japan’s biggest video game franchises seems shy to participate.
monster hunter is a juggernaut in more ways than one. On the sales side, monster hunter world became Capcom’s best-selling game of all time, and the series as a whole is only second to Resident Evil on Capcom’s sales charts. Culturally, it’s had a big influence in Japan for years, being a favorite portable option for commuters and inspiring an entire subgenre of games. So, that would seem like a prime candidate for the anime world. Yet while he toyed with the idea, he never fully committed.
A little-known fact, even within the monster hunter community, is that the series actually had a short manga based on it. Thunderstorm Monster Hunter was published in Shonen Rival magazine in 2008 and ran until 2009. It only had 14 chapters and 4 volumes, but had the weight of being written and illustrated by Fairy tale creator Hiro Mashima, who appears to be one of many monster hunter fans of the manga world.
Since monster hunter star games characters to create, they lack a definitive protagonist. It allowed Thunderstorm to create its own protagonist, Shiki Ryuho. Much like your average shonen protagonist, he is a young man with a strong will and a desire to protect and honor his loved ones. The short series sees Shiki build his own small hunting party, in his goal to find a legendary monster that his deceased master has been searching for. It takes a lot of liberties with the source material, inventing new monsters, concepts, and even a new weapon. For some reason though, Thunderstorm didn’t seem to be popular or interesting enough for Capcom or Kodansha, which led to its extremely short runtime.
The main topic of discussion here is the Monster Hunter Stories: Ride! animated series released in 2016 and produced by David Productions of Jojo fame. While the idea of a monster hunter the anime produced by David Productions seems to be exactly what fans might want, there are several caveats. First of all, Climb on Not actually based on the main series monster hunter Games. It follows the plot and characters of Monster Hunter Stories, a turn-based RPG spin-off. While the main series follows hunters protecting the ecosystem and human settlements from monster activity, stories follows the runners who form Pokemon-esque bonds with monsters and fights alongside them in battle.
Contrary to Thunderstorm, Climb on received a lot of support. It aired a total of 48 episodes, a full length for your average long anime. In fact, some anime are lucky to have 12 or even 24 episodes, which means that Climb on had a big budget. And there are signs that it was possibly planned to receive up to 75 episodes. Much like the game it was based on, Climb on follows a very Pokemon– esque formula, being a cartoon show mainly aimed at children; far from monster hunterthe usual teenager to adult audiences. Despite the release of Monster Hunter Stories 2 however, we have heard nothing of a sequel series to Climb onimplying that Capcom may not have wanted to continue the series, possibly due to low ratings or other factors.
Although it doesn’t technically count as an anime, Monster Hunter: Guild Legends Also worth mentioning, as this is the last attempt at adapting the series into an anime format. Produced by Pure Imagination Studios and streaming on Netflix, Guild Legends was originally teased in 2018 and slated for 2019. For unknown reasons, the film ended up being pushed back to 2021, with little explanation as to why. It’s the series closest to a direct adaptation, featuring characters from the games instead of new ones, and following canonical events from the main series. The film’s protagonist, Aiden, was an NPC in Monster Hunter 4, Monster Hunter Generations and Mon the Hunter Worldmaking him the most relevant NPC in the series. Guild Legends chronicles how Aiden became a hunter and pays detailed homage to many aspects of the games, making it hugely popular with fans despite its low production value.
Thunderstorm has a compelling focus for the characters, but lacks a lot of plot. Climb on has a wonderful art style, but has a very different feel to the main monster hunter Games. Guild Legends had the right tone and characters, but its animation quality and length left a lot to be desired. Every anime and manga avenue the series has gone through all have some of what would make a great monster hunter anime, but also something that held them back.
It also seems like Capcom itself isn’t willing to commit to a proper anime series. They held back on these 3 projects, and at this time we have no information on whether they will try again. However, with the success of video game adaptations like Castlevania and Esoteric that have a more adult tone, they could see the potential for success with the right showrunner. CastlevaniaThe creator of worked on a the devil may cry anime, so if this series is a success, the door could open for even more Capcom properties to hit the anime sphere.
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