10 anime every Baldur's Gate fan should watch

Anime series that capture the spirit of Larian's instant classic RPG.
Baldur's Gate 3 - ©2023 Larian Studios
Baldur's Gate 3 - ©2023 Larian Studios /

Since its release in August 2023, Baldur's Gate 3 from Larian Studios has become an instant classic. Set in the franchise's Forgotten Realms world, Baldur's Gate has proven one of the best and most successful Dungeons & Dragons adaptations in any medium, period. Notably, the game received dozens of awards and nominations, including winning multiple major Game of the Year Awards.

As hard as it can be to put down a game as deep as Baldur's Gate, fans should be sure to watch these anime series. These are 10 of the best fantasy anime that really capture the same spirit of epic adventure and feature characters that will be relatable to passionate players of Dungeons & Dragons, either digitally or on the tabletop.

1. Record of Lodoss War

Where to stream: Crunchyroll

The reason Record of Lodoss War feels like a standard tabletop game is because it was one. In its earlier forms, the story that eventually became Lodoss War was a campaign author Ryo Mizuno played with his friends. From there, he adapted the campaign into a series of novels that were eventually turned into an anime. All the best aspects of Dungeons & Dragons-style high fantasy are on full display: a party of heroes out to save the world, wars between gods and kingdoms, literal dungeons and dragons, all presented with an art style that still holds up after 30 years.

Lodoss War consists of two series: the original 13-episode series called Record of Lodoss War and the follow-up that's somewhere between a sequel and a remake subtitled Chronicles of the Heroic Knight. One isn't necessarily better than the other. The original has a stronger main cast, but the story of Chronicles of the Heroic has better pacing and depth thanks to being twice as long. Both are absolutely worth watching, especially for fans of unapologetic high fantasy adventure.

2. Berserk

Where to stream: Crunchyroll (2012 and 2016 series)

Baldur's Gate 3 is notably darker than most Dungeons & Dragons adaptations. Berserk is one of the most popular dark fantasy anime and manga series of all time. Fans who appreciated Baldur's Gate 3's grittier and more mature approach to the genre will likely appreciate Berserk's similarly dark tone. Like the heroes of Baldur's Gate, Guts finds himself in a conflict with evil god-like beings and cults trying to take over the world. Like the characters of Baldur's Gate, Guts isn't a traditionally heroic character, motivated primarily by revenge against the major villain, his former best friend.

The Berserk fanbase generally agrees that the 1997 is the best adaptation, notable for an awesome soundtrack by experimental musician Susumu Hirasawa. As of this writing, the 2016 anime adaptation and the Golden Age Arc film trilogy divided into a 13-episode series are available to stream on Crunchyroll. The 1997 anime has recently been re-released on Blu-ray, but is not currently available to stream, though it is available for purchase on Blu-ray via Crunchyroll.

Both Berserk series available to stream on Crunchyroll are rated TV-MA and contain graphic violence, sexual content and mature subject matter that viewers may find disturbing.

3. Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?

Where to stream: Crunchyroll (sub), HiDive (sub and dub), Hulu (sub and dub)

For a not-insubstantial portion of the fanbase, the main appeal of Baldur's Gate 3 is the romance between the player character and their companions. Fans of fantasy romance should check outIs It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, which balances adventure in a legitimately interesting fantasy world with memorable worldbuilding, humorous moments, and second-hand embarrassment at the main character Bell's inability to tell his love interest Ais how he feels.

Bell only has eyes for Ais, but Ais never really seems to notice. Basically, every other female character has her eyes on Bell. Most of the humor is driven by the awkwardness of the characters' romantic endeavors — which usually end in failure. On the other hand, the growth of Bell's adventuring group from allies of convenience to true friends and companions provides some understated heartwarming moments and nicely mirrors the development of the group of playable characters in Baldur's Gate.

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? is rated TV-MA for violence, sexual content, and mature subject matter that some viewers may find disturbing.

4. Fairy Tail

Where to stream: Crunchyroll

The interactions between the members of the party provide some of the best moments in Baldur's Gate and demonstrate the game's brilliant writing of its characters and dialogue. The same is true of Fairy Tail, an anime that is carried by the strength of the interactions of both its main cast and the secondary characters. Although many fantasy anime follow adventuring guilds, Fairy Tail is one of the best examples in anime of how life and work as a member of that kind of guild actually looks and affects its members' everyday lives.

Every character in Fairy Tail is technically a wizard, but how they actually utilize their magic is unique between every character. In Dungeons & Dragons terms, Lucy is the most straightforward wizard; Natsu is a monk; Erza is a paladin. Understood in Dungeons & Dragons terms, Fairy Tail is the story of a party of wizards that are all multi-classed into a second character class, something that Baldur's Gate players will appreciate, given how common multi-class character builds are in the game.

5. Frieren: Beyond Journey's End

Where to stream: Crunchyroll

Frieren: Beyond Journey's End is another anime that puts a notable spin on a fairly standard fantasy story. What happens after the heroes' quest is always a lingering question. Baldur's Gate tried to answer it, at least in part, by adding an epilogue to the game to allow the player to catch up with the rest of the party several months after the end of the game.

Frieren tries to answer the same question by following the title heroine, a near-immortal Elf, decades after her original party Demon King. Frieren has to watch the world change around her as she largely stays the same, culminating in her outliving her original companions. Notably, even after her original adventure is long over, Frieren ultimately finds herself setting off on a new adventure with new companions. A hero's journey never really ends.

6. Princess Mononoke

Where to stream: Max (US), Netflix (most other regions)

On the surface, Studio Ghibli's classic Princess Mononoke doesn't have much in common with Baldur's Gate; the Forgotten Realms setting is inspired by medieval Europe, while Princess Mononoke is clearly inspired by Japanese history and folklore. However, the two have a lot in common in terms of themes more so than the aesthetics of their worlds.

In particular, Princess Mononoke is a fantastic examination of the ethos of the Dungeons & Dragons druid character class. Most of the druids actually depicted in Baldur's Gate are not particularly sympathetic and don't live up to the druid ideal of balance with nature. The entire plot of Princess Mononoke is driven by characters trying to maintain such balance. While the characters aren't primarily traditionally or unambiguously heroic, they all at least grow as people, and by the end of the story, they've all come to learn the importance of maintaining the natural world.

7. Delicious in Dungeon

Where to stream: Netflix

Delicious in Dungeon captures one of the great struggles familiar to Baldur's Gate players: keeping the party fed. To get the full benefits of resting in camp, Baldur's Gate players must make sure they have adequate supplies, leading to such bemusing meals as assorted fish heads or 13 potatoes and a bottle of wine. While Baldur's Gate players can't actually the monsters they fight, Delicious in Dungeon should feel familiar to players.

Delicious in Dungeon's first season is even paced like a video game or a tabletop campaign. The characters all have familiar character class archetypes and start off facing small, weak monsters. As they get deeper into the dungeon, the stakes gradually ramp up and the monsters get stronger, with several of the strongest monsters along the way filling the role of boss fights along the way to the bottom of the dungeon and the long-expected final boss.

Delicious in Dungeon is rated TV-MA for nudity and violence and may be disturbing to some viewers.

8. Inuyasha

Where to stream: Netflix, Hulu

Like Baldur's Gate, Inuyasha is the story of a group of characters with conflicting goals and personalities being forced by circumstance to work together against a major force of evil. Modern-day high school student Kagome finds herself sent back in time to Japan's feudal area, discovers she is the reincarnation of a powerful priestess, and is soon setting off on a quest with a hot-headed half-demon, a lecherous monk being slowly consumed by a cursed power, a young demon slayer and a shape-shifting fox.

Kagome fills the same role as the player character in Baldur's Gate. She is the voice of reason, the emotional heart of the group, and largely the sole reason the group is able to succeed at all. Fans of Baldur's Gate's iconic vampire character Astarion will no doubt appreciate Inuyasha's elder half-brother Sesshomaru — a handsome, white-haired anti-hero like Astarion.

9. Bofuri: I Don't Want to Get Hurt, so I'll Max Out My Defense.

Where to Stream: Crunchyroll

Baldur's Gate provides players with the opportunity for deep and compelling character-driven roleplaying. The game also provides the opportunity to build a character with stats and abilities so overpowered that they completely break the mechanics of the game. Bofuri: I Don't Want to Get Hurt, so I'll Max Out My Defense. takes that premise to its logical conclusion.

Set within the virtual world of an online video game called NewWorld Online, Bofuri follows Maple, the in-game avatar of a gamer named Kaede, who puts all of her ability points into her defense stat and quickly ends up functionally invincible, along with other characters who engineer their stats to be as overpowered as possible. Players finding novel new ways to break the game is a longstanding phenomenon in both video games and tabletop games. Bofuri is a shining example of a ludicrous character built into action.

10. Overlord

Where to stream: Crunchyroll

When given the option, most gamers will choose to play heroic characters and follow the path of good. In Baldur's Gate, players can commit to a frankly impressive level of villainy. An evil playthrough can make just about every other character's life miserable in the extreme. The anime Overlord similarly features a main character indulging in the same sort of villainous power trip.

After becoming trapped in his in-game avatar inside a virtual world, a previously normal salaryman adopts his in-game persona as his new identity, making the most of his situation by committing to the role of a typical fantasy-genre villain. While he's not completely unreasonable and does have positive traits, he never really stops operating on the logic of a fantasy dark lord.

In their style and theme, these 10 anime best capture the spirit of Baldur's Gate 3. These anime are sure to appeal to fans of both Dungeons & Dragons as a whole and Baldur's Gate specifically.

Baldur's Gate 3 is available now for PC, Mac, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S. The game is rated M for Mature in North America and PEGI 18 in Europe.

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