Dungeons And Dragons Created A New Generation Of Anime Fans

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

dungeons and dragons

Once upon a time, Dungeons and Dragons was a game that only the dorkiest people enjoyed, which is why the 80’s set Stranger Things used the game to highlight how nerdy our protagonists were.

Critical Role And Other Podcasts

dungeons and dragons

However, the explosion of popular DnD podcasts like Critical Role has made the game downright mainstream. A side effect of this is that it has created a new generation of anime fans through the sheer amount of anime series inspired by DnD.

Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End

A great example of a Dungeons and Dragons-inspired anime is Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End. The conceit is that a party of adventurers has successfully defeated their Big Bad and now must figure out what to do with the rest of their lives.

But one adventurer is an elf who lives much longer than almost anyone else, and she discovers watching beloved companions growing old and weak is more difficult than facing even the most monstrous foes.

Goblin Slayer

Another anime clearly channeling Dungeons and Dragons is Goblin Slayer, a personal favorite in which the titular protagonist is an adventurer whose dark backstory means he only takes jobs that let him slay goblins.

He fancies himself a solo warrior, but this doesn’t stop him from reluctantly forming bonds with fellow adventurers and taking on increasingly challenging challenges.

For my money, this anime may be the best portrayal of the classic DnD trope in which a series of mismatched misfits achieve real synergy when they go into battle.

Delicious in Dungeon

If you’re a Dungeons and Dragons player looking for a more lighthearted anime, you should definitely check out Delicious in Dungeon. The plot of this anime involves the remaining members of an unprepared and under-supplied party of adventurers having to kill and cook monsters in a frantic quest to rescue one of their own.

In addition to its funny and charismatic characters, I love this anime because it captures the transcendent silly joy of players improvising increasingly crazy solutions as they make their way deeper into a dungeon they should never have wandered into.

Record of Lodoss War

Interestingly, while the explosion of such anime is relatively new, the very existence of anime series made to celebrate Dungeons and Dragons is anything but new. The classic anime Record of Lodoss War began as a manga that served as comic “replays” of an ongoing DnD campaign and generally followed the gameplay conventions of the RPG.

This means that not only is anime celebrating Dungeons and Dragons much older than most people think but that manga and anime gave us the earliest version of the “actual play” DnD podcasts now regularly enjoyed by millions of fans.

Great Time For Dungeons and Dragons

dungeons and dragons

If you’re already a Dungeons and Dragons fan, you’ll surely enjoy the anime titles above that channel the best of your favorite game.

Conversely, if you’re an anime fan who has never rolled for initiative, these shows may inspire you to create a character.

If so, take it from me: there is no shame in rolling up a barbarian even dumber than Luffie from One Piece and letting your great axe do all the talking.