Top 10 Pachinko Anime Games [Best Recommendations]

Pachinko is Japan’s version of pinball and slots, which had been inspired by the American pinball machines that were quite popular for many years. What separates the two is that while American pinball setups are usually one large machine where you use the flippers to control where the metal ball will land and accumulate points, Pachinko on the other hand uses metal balls which can be rented to the player by the arcade owner, and multiple balls can be used as both a bet and the reward. You press a spring loaded handle which then propels the ball into a metal track, which guides the ball in various directions until it reaches the bottom. In the meantime, let’s take a look at some of the more popular Pachinko games here in Japan at the moment.

10. CR Ninja Gaiden

  • System/Platform: Pachinko Parlor, Arcade
  • Publisher: Koei Tecmo
  • Developer: Koei Tecmo | Okumura
  • Release Date: 2010

If anyone is familiar with the Ninja Gaiden series, then you’ll most likely fall in love with this crazy and flashy rendition of Team Ninja’s popular title. As with any pachinko game, much of the action takes place in front of you in the machine where you’ll be tossing your metal balls inside and rack up huge points. The awesome thing about Ninja Gaiden is that as you continue to rack up high scores you’ll encounter several cool animations that show Ryu slashing down each enemy that comes his way.

Let’s not forget that pachinko games are all about the noise and excitement, so there’s plenty of crazy sound effects to go with all the action. Anyone who’s looking to try something new in Japan should most definitely take the opportunity to hop into a parlor and check out Ninja Gaiden. There are just so many great features about pachinko and it truly feels better when you can actually sit down and experience it all first hand.


9. CR Garo

  • System/Platform: Pachinko Parlor
  • Publisher: Project Garo
  • Developer: Sansei R&D
  • Release Date: 2013

Garo is the story of a young boy who had been abandoned by his family and left to freeze in the tundra, but fortunately was discovered by a young girl who changed his life forever. Young Raikou grew up to be a strong warrior and when he inherited the title of Golden Knight Garo, he transformed into the hero everybody needed. Using his powers to stop the evil horrors from corrupting the world and turning everything to rubble, Raikou teams up with Seimei and Kintoki as the trio will do whatever it takes to restore peace.

The pachinko version of Garo still carries the same action and excitement that the anime provides, but with more pizzazz and metal balls flying across the screen. Much like any pachinko game, your goal is to try and score as many points as possible to collect coins. In Garo that premise remains the same, but when you land on certain bonus areas of the machine the entire booth you’re sitting at glows with a cornucopia of colors as if you were watching a light show. Several scenes from the anime are displayed as well since the more you progress through the game, it’s almost as if you’re playing along with the show.


8. CR Pachinko Terra Formars

  • System/Platform: Pachinko Parlor
  • Publisher: Project Terra Formars
  • Developer: Kyoraku
  • Release Date: 2016

Terra Formars took off in a big way when it finally released an anime version of the critically acclaimed manga, that many people in Japan enjoyed. In the series, you follow a group of space marines who travel to another planet to collect data about inhabitants that lived there, but unfortunately a tragic event occurs leaving these scientists dead and now a new team must go there to investigate. When they arrive, they’re shocked to find the planet is run by humanoid cockroaches with superhuman powers, and so now these marines must use their own super abilities to take them down once and for all.

While not as action packed as the anime and manga, Terra Formars Pachinko still manages to bring the hype with several uniquely scripted cutscenes that go along with the game and the points you acquire. It’s a cool adventure as protagonists from the series pop up on screen, and as you drop the ball into specific parts of the machine they’ll react differently and attack enemies on the fly. If the enemy is defeated then you’ll score bonus points, and if you don’t the game still provides you with some coins as a reward to entice you to keep playing. It’s just like your typical slot machine but with fighting roaches inside waiting for you (not real ones of course, Japan is too clean for that).


7. CR Persona 4 the Pachinko

  • System/Platform: Pachinko Parlor
  • Publisher: Atlus | Sega
  • Developer: Atlus | Taiyoelec
  • Release Date: 2015

When people hear of Persona especially in the west, they most likely connect it with role playing and using your special powers to fend off enemies. That very same motive is within the pachinko game as well but only this time, instead of using a controller to control everything on screen you’re tossing your balls into the machine hoping to land on the high score areas. What makes Persona 4 the Pachinko so cool is that you’re being led by none other than Kuma, the cute little mascot who celebrates with you every time you hit it big.

The machine will respond differently every time depending on the bonus that you received. One example is called ‘Shuffle Time’ where the screen shakes and red neon lights flash directly in front of you, as several different animations take place on the screen indicating what’s about to happen. It also takes several cut scenes from the anime to create a more immersive experience for fans of the series, while also creating a cool little narrative to go along with everything happening around you.


6. Super Street Fighter IV CR Edition

  • System/Platform: Pachinko Parlor, Arcade
  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Date: May 21, 2014

Street Fighter has always been a staple franchise not only in the fighting game community but gaming in general, as it helped to pave the way for more fighting games to establish themselves and created new avenues for innovation to take place. Super Street Fighter IV released with great reception both in Japan and the west, since it was the title that revived the fighting game scene as a whole and allowed Capcom and other companies to continue shipping out their notable titles. The pachinko version released several years after its release and it takes everything you love from the series, but transforms it into this intense and fun battle experience.

Much like in the console version where two players must duke it out for the top spot, the pachinko version takes that but places cool new animations inside the machine for a totally fresh experience. One example is when you come across a slot section of the game and you don’t score your matching three numbers, different characters with their own unique animations will strike that number that didn’t match and creates this explosive new animation on the machine. You’ll get a ‘Combo’ special which can then allow you to roll again for more points, which just felt looked cool since Ryu’s hands came out in hadouken form on screen. It’s hard to explain but when you see it, you’ll know.


5. Super Robot Taisen CR

  • System/Platform: Pachinko Parlor
  • Publisher: SRWOG Project
  • Developer: Sammy
  • Release Date: April 2016

Super Robot Taisen is all about mecha and nostalgia as this classic fan favorite makes its way to the parlors to greet you. One amazing aspect about pachinko parlors is just how neat and organized everything is, with every machine lined up almost perfectly while still allowing you to have your privacy as you play. Super Robot Taisen throws you into the popular robot fighting universe, where much like every other pachinko game, you’ll need to ensure your timing is right so that you can match your numbers up and score big rewards.

When you land the super bonus the entire machine turns into a vibrant array of colors that resembles that of a rainbow, and you’re just staring at all while coins come flying out of the machine for you to collect. Unlike in America, where you can take your cup of coins and cash them in, Japan sort of has this grey line where you can cash in your coins but at a private location within the parlor premises. Despite that, Super Robot Taisen is a very cool experience that not only provides you with a fun and engaging experience, but a nice throwback to an amazing mecha series.


4. CR Gantz

  • System/Platform: Pachinko Parlor
  • Publisher: OK! Co. Ltd.
  • Developer: OK! Co. Ltd.
  • Release Date: January 10, 2017

Gantz follows the story of a young man named Kei, who finds himself thrown into the game of death where he must survive at all costs and avoid death. It’s a test of skills, morals, where god shows no mercy for your well being and enemies have no remorse. With so much violence happening all around him, just how can Kei keep up with everything and somehow avoid imminent death? With comrades along the way who do their best to aid in this deadly game of cat and mouse, Kei needs to rely not only on them but most importantly himself to get out in one piece.

Now the main difference between the gruesome anime and the pachinko version is that there isn’t a lot of gore and slightly disturbing scenes, but you still get a lot of random surprises here and there to keep you on your toes. New 3D CG cut scenes are added to the game, and so every experience feels fresh as you progress to grab as many coins from the machine as you can. Much like slots, your goal is to try and match the numbers on screen and accumulate bonus points as well. Each reward triggers the machine to go off and spray your eyes with an array of neon lights coming from every direction possible. It feels like being in a club but only this time it’s just you sitting front of a loud machine.


3. CR Lupin the Third

  • System/Platform: Pachinko Parlor
  • Publisher: Heiwa
  • Developer: Heiwa
  • Release Date: November 18, 2013

The really cool thing about Japan pachinko is that there’s always something new to look forward to every time, and nothing truly feels the same. While the rules and outcome are concrete, you just never know how many points you’ll rack up compared to the last time you played so it’s always a thrill. This should come as no surprise to those familiar with gambling, because it’s that very same rush you get that keeps you coming back for more. In Lupin the Third, all of the action is wild and crazy, with quirky little animations that show up on screen when Lupin and the team do their stuff.

Another cool feature is when you really hit it big with the slots, the entire machine will start glowing in white and orange colors with a loud police siren going off to indicate a big cash grab. These little subtle additions to the game are what truly make the experience more satisfying because it not only embodies the pachinko flashy culture, but the randomness and humor that comes with Lupin the Third.


2. CR Evangelion

  • System/Platform: Pachinko Parlor
  • Publisher: Sankyo
  • Developer: Bitsy
  • Release Date: 2016

Fans of Evangelion rejoice! This is your very opportunity to take part in an experience that you can only get here in Japan. Everything that you love from the series, from its high flying mecha action, to the stellar narrative, Evangelion Pachinko provides that and so much more. As you sit down on in front of this colorful machine, you’re just blown away by all of the detailing. The game itself is truly magnificent indeed but these machine makers do such a wonderful job of ensuring that everything matches Evangelion down to the tee.

Depending on the timing of when you press the button, a different animation will pop up on screen which will load up the slot and from there your fate is sealed. Scoring 888 for example generates a very awesome looking cutscene with EVA Unit-01 popping up on screen and throwing a huge ‘BONUS’ message at you, confirming you managed to score it big time. While the game can be extremely addicting to play, we warn you that it will suck your time away along with whatever’s left in your wallet.


1. Hokuto no Ken CR

  • System/Platform: Pachinko Parlor
  • Publisher: Sammy | P-World
  • Developer: Sammy
  • Release Date: 2007

Hokuto no Ken is perhaps the most popular of the anime pachinko lineup because well, it’s Hokuto no Ken and everyone loves Kenshiro. Taking place in the same universe as the anime, you star as Kenshiro as he must travel the Mad Max-esque lands taking out whatever foe stands in his way, in order to save the woman he loves and restore peace to the land. Everything that you love about the character roster in the series is still the same, with Kenshiro’s signature moves and ‘Ata-ta-ta-ta’ scream going off in the background when you hit the matching triple digits.

Perhaps it’s for that reason that so many people flock to this machine because it stays true to the series entirely, while implementing new CG elements for a totally fresh experience. As we’ve stated before in our earlier paragraphs, playing pachinko for a long period of time can be very addicting and so time will certainly fly by very quickly. The action is so awesome in Hokuto no Ken that even when you think it’s time to get up and leave, something inside you begs to go and sit back down just for another few minutes. Those minutes unfortunately turn into hours, and now you’re waiting for the last train to go home. Such is the life of a pachinko addict, but we hope that when you come to Japan that you don’t succumb to that.


Final Thoughts

At the moment there’s really only one place where you can truly experience the world that is pachinko, and that’s here in Japan. With a plethora of pachinko parlors scattered all across the country, there’s never a shortage of fun and excitement no matter what city you’re staying in. Whether you’re in the bustling streets of Tokyo, or in the more traditional towns of Kyoto, there’s more than likely going to be a pachinko parlor somewhere down the street for you to walk in and enjoy. Have you ever tried pachinko before? How was your experience if you did? Let us know in the comments section below!

As always, if you want to know about all the latest buzz straight from the bee’s nest in Japan, be sure to keep it locked here at Honey’s Anime.

Rob

Editor/Writer

Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.

100% Vegan. A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and join me on Discord! Take care!

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