Otaku USA Magazine
Anime to Watch When Your D&D Group Can’t Meet Up

Record of Lodoss War, the literal D&D anime

Missing your Dungeons & Dragons group? Can’t align your schedules even with the magic of the Internet? It’s a common problem. With so many people involved in any one game, schedules can collapse at any time. Sometimes it’s a brief blip; other times, you wait for months for schedules, like the planets, to align.

But if you’re feeling that deep longing for some fantasy action and it’s a while yet until the next game, you can always turn to anime. You can even find one reminiscent of your particular game. Here are five to try to fill the void:

Traditionalists: The Record of Lodoss War

The cast of The Record of Lodoss War

If you like the flavor of classic D&D straight out of the book, then you’ll get a kick out of the literal D&D anime… assuming you haven’t seen it already, of course! The Record of Lodoss War was originally a series of “replays,” or transcripts of game sessions serialized in magazines. Basically, it was 1980s Japan’s version of watching gaming streams. Ryo Mizuno‘s replays of the games he ran became so popular, he adapted them into the Lodoss War novels in 1988.

If the adventures of the young hero Parn, the elf Deedlit, and the rest leave you curious about Lodoss, see if you can pick up a copy of the Sword World source book: Lodoss is one of the settings within it.

House Rules: Slayers

The cast of Slayers

If your D&D group considers the source book more guidelines than actual rules — if you’re not in a homebrew setting but you bin a few rules here and there for the sake of fun and ease of gameplay — dive into Slayers. The wacky, high-octane fantasy series is still rooted in fantasy tropes and follows the same basic rules you’d expect a series about an adventuring party to follow. But there’s also a lot of fudge room for modern anachronisms, overpowered spells, and general silliness. Plus, a lot of the character interactions will likely remind you of you and your friends trying to play off bad rolls.

Homebrew: Aura Battler Dunbine

Cast of the Aura Battler Dunbine OVA

If your D&D group’s DM has gone the extra mile and created a whole new setting for your campaign, dig into Aura Battler Dunbine. Created by Yoshiyuki Tomino, the series is one of several stories set in the alternate universe of Byston Well, where fairies and unicorns roam and fighters pilot insect-like armor. The series’s aesthetic is a cool fusion of Japanese, European, and Nordic influence on top of the mecha and high fantasy aspects. As an added bonus, you’ll be treated to a cavalcade of Tomino Names (Marvel Frozen, Keen Kiss, and Shott Weapon to name a few).

The Murderhobos: Berserk

Guts from Berserk

If the majority of your D&D game time is spent looting, killing, and causing overall destruction… well, first, no judgment. We all play for our own reasons. Second, dive into Berserk. While the violence and horror of the series aren’t necessarily indiscriminate, they’re pretty heavy. This is a dark, gritty, violent, demon-filled world, and not a lot of people get out in one piece. And there is a lot of blood. There are two series to choose from. The 1997 outing offers hand-drawn animation, while the 2016 continuation gets you up-to-date on the manga but also features CG animation.

The Derailers: Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?

Cast of Didn't I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?

Your DM had a beautiful campaign set out where you rescue a princess and fight an owlbear. But you’ve gotten drunk and kidnapped yourselves, two of your party members are high on mushrooms, and the bard… well, we know what the bard’s up to. If this sounds like your group, Average Abilities will feel like one of your sessions. The party (led by isekai heroine Mile) does get the job done, but only after they’ve had their fill of Power Rangers references and soft capitalism. Also, it’s got a super catchy opening theme.

Diving into series like KONOSUBA, DanMachi, and Escaflowne will also help fill that D&D-shaped hole in your life until your party can meet again!

Kara Dennison

Kara Dennison is a writer, editor, and presenter with bylines at Crunchyroll, Sci-Fi Magazine, Sartorial Geek, and many others. She is a contributor to the celebrated Black Archive line, with many other books, short stories, and critical works to her name.