Guilty Gear Strive Dual Rulers’ creators explain why GG series needed an anime

Virginia Glaze

The team behind the Guilty Gear Strive Dual Rulers anime spoke with us about what they’re most excited for about the anime and why so many fighting games are getting shows and movies lately.

Guilty Gear is the latest fighting game to get the television treatment, following Tekken’s animated series on Netflix and news of Legendary’s forthcoming Street Fighter film.

It makes sense that Guilty Gear is getting an anime; in fact, it’s odd that it hasn’t had one yet, given its status as one of the biggest mainline anime fighting games on the market.

Guilty Gear enjoys a large and passionate fan base that shows up and shows out at fighting game tournaments across the globe, not to mention the surprising number of Guilty Gear cosplayers thronging the halls at Anime Expo, where we got to speak with the team behind the games’ anime adaptation.

Given the sheer number of video game IPs being adapted in Hollywood right now (Detective Pikachu, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Mario, just to name a few), it looks like there’s a huge trend in the gaming industry to expand upon their properties by way of the silver screen. We quizzed the Dual Rulers team about their thoughts on this pattern, particularly in relation to fighting games.

“Since I’m from Arcsys and not Bandai Namco or Capcom, I can’t say why they’re doing that,” admitted Guilty Gear Strive producer Ken Miyauchi. “But, the theory I have is that the main objective of expanding fighting games to other media, not just movies or cinema, but also manga or novels or anime, is to basically grow the games’ player base.

“It’s easier to reach out to players and built-in fans of the game, but when we try to reach out to people who don’t often play video games, but maybe watch a lot of movies or are big anime fans, the best way to approach those people is to have content in their favorite media. That’s the approach that I think most companies are taking.”

That’s something the Dual Rulers’ team hopes the anime will accomplish, aiming to bridge the gap between hardcore fans and newcomers to the franchise. Specifically, they made mention of Guilty Gear’s rich history — a story spanning over 26 years and counting.

Given the sheer amount of lore to work with, we had to know if it was challenging staying faithful to the source material when making the anime, which picks up after the events of Guilty Gear Strive.

“The thing about Guilty Gear is that, of course, it has a very long history to it,” Seiji Mizushima, Dual Rulers’ Associate Producer, explained. “And, when you’re making an anime like this, you want to decide where you want to take it and where you want to begin that story. If you take the wrong era of the story, it can be very hard to onboard new people to the series. So, you want to, of course, have them join in, but you also still want to create something that older fans can enjoy. You need to find the balance.

“Everybody puts forward their ideas, you decide what to do about that, and then you create a target on where you’re aiming to take all of these ideas. And at that point, you kind of pass it on to the scenario guy.”

Guilty Gear Strive Dual Rulers brings new characters into the well-known story of the beloved fighting game franchise, such as the ‘mysterious girl’ Unika, pictured here.

Norimitsu Kaiho, Dual Rulers’ series composition lead, echoed this sentiment, “As Mizushima-san said, there’s a lot of story there, a lot of history, and you can’t just barge in and make a brash decision on that. You have to think about something that works, something that’s fun. And that’s something that we’re working really hard to really accomplish.”

It’s clear that this team cares deeply about Guilty Gear — especially Kaiho, who’s been a Chipp Zanuff main since Day One. He even wrote a novel about the character, as told in the Guilty Gear Strive Dual Rulers panel at Anime Expo.

Kaiho told me what he’s most excited about for the anime, fervently expressing in plain English that he’s extremely keen on connecting the fighting game series’ past, present, and future with Dual Rulers for both old and new fans alike.

“The most exciting thing about the Guilty Gear anime for me is connecting the past and the present and the future,” he said. “You know, Guilty Gear has a very rich history, both in its characters and the world and everything. And there are many themes and problems in Guilty Gear, like Gears versus humans, what is humanity, and those sorts of questions.

“So, we will hit on those questions and answer some of them for both the newcomers and both for the old-timers. Connecting the past to the future — that’s what I’m really excited about.”

Guilty Gear Strive Dual Rulers seeks to connect the fighting game series’ past, present, and future, while also providing an exciting opportunity for completely new fans to get in on the action.

For Mizushima, successfully pulling off a story that pays homage to an existing property, especially one with such rich characters and lore, is what excites him about Dual Rulers the most.

“Making an anime and being able to continue a story, showing that off, and particularly for the Guilty Gear world — a world that already exists, with the richness of the setting, the richness of the characters — being able to show that without falling out of line of what has been put in place before, being able to see the joy of newcomers as they watch this and as they live this…

“Seeing this as a kind of an entry point into the series and into this world, as well as being able to get really strong reactions from old fans — that’s what excites me the most,” Mizushima said.

Guilty Gear Strive Dual Rulers is slated to air in 2025 following the world premier of its very first trailer at Anime Expo 2024.