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The 20 Best Japanese Exclusive Anime Games Never Released In America

Updated November 5, 2019 410 votes 51 voters 4.0k views20 items

List RulesVote up the best anime video games that have only been released in Japan.

Today's anime fans have it made. Before the days of Toonami and Crunchyroll, anime fans of the late 80s had to jump through hoops, just to gain access to a hot new anime with fan-translated captions that often veered towards inaccurate. The same was said for video games. So many popular anime series like Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon, and Mobile Suit Gundam were the subject of so many great video games, but so many of them were exclusive to Japan. While Japanese exclusive games are rarer these days, there are still cases of great Japanese anime games not hitting North America. Sometimes its legal issues; other times it's because the anime series is to niche to guarantee success stateside. 

If you're a collector of Japanese exclusive games, here are 20 you should definitely put on your wish list. Make sure to vote up the Japanese anime games you want everyone to check out as well. 

  • Before you walk, you gotta crawl. Before Bandai Namco created ambitious fighting games like Jump Ultimate Stars or Jump Force, they took their time by focusing on the big three Shonen Jump series: Dragon Ball, One Piece, and NarutoBattle Stadium D.O.N is a 2D fighting game that plays similarly to Super Smash Bros., but fills its roster with characters from the aforementioned action series. And if you didn't guess it, the acronym "D.O.N." comes from the first initial of the three anime series.   

    • Release: 2006
    • Platform: GameCube, PlayStation 2
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  • Jump Ultimate Stars is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The 20 Best Japanese Exclusive Anime Games Never Released In America
    Photo: Nintendo

    Before Jump Force became the Super Smash Bros. for Shonen Jump, there was Jump Ultimate Stars for the Nintendo DS. Serving as the sequel to Jump Super StarsJump Ultimate Stars is a 2D fighting game modeled after the insane brawl of the Super Smash Bros. series. 41 of the best shonen manga series are represented here, such as Bleach, Captain Tsubasa, and Fist of the North Star. Over 300 anime characters are in the game; 56 of which are playable fighters. What makes Jump Ultimate Stars different from the Nintendo fighter is its manga-inspired deck builder, as it adds a rich strategic element towards every match.  

    • Release: 2006
    • Platform: Nintendo DS
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  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Girlf is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The 20 Best Japanese Exclusive Anime Games Never Released In America
    Photo: Gainax

    Just like the anime itself, Neon Genesis Evangelion: Girlfriend of Steel goes in a completely different direction than you would expect. Instead of a 3D action game, Neon Genesis Evangelion: Girlfriend of Steel is a visual novel about Shinji Ikari and his relationship with a new, mysterious girl named Mana Kirishima. The biggest input the player has on the game is deciding who Shinji should end up with: Mana or Asuka Langley Soryu. 

    • Release: 1998
    • Platform: Sega Saturn, PlayStation, Microsoft Windows, Macintosh
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  • 4

    Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon: Another Story

    Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon: Another Story is a 16-bit anime RPG for the Super Nintendo. You play as Sailor Moon and the other Sailor Soldiers as they go up against a rebellious team of magical warriors from the future. Similar to classic RPGs, you'll explore an overworld environment from a top-down 2D perspective while engaging in turn-based combat against various enemies. You can build a party of five out of your favorite Sailor Soldiers. 

    • Release: 1995
    • Platform: Super Nintendo Entertainment System
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