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Anima: Beyond Fantasy

First Edition


Publisher Description

Welcome to the limitless stories and exciting games of Anima! Designed by a collaboration of Japanese and European writers, game designers, and artists, the Anima: Beyond Fantasy Roleplaying Game is a fusion of Eastern and Western myth, art, and belief. Anything is possible when you go Beyond Fantasy!

Anima: Beyond Fantasy features a powerful game engine that allows for incredible flexibility and options for character design and exciting storytelling. The system is robust, detailed, and surprisingly simple, requiring nothing more than the Anima basic rulebook, pencils, paper, and a pair of ten-sided dice to play.

Anima also features dynamic and flexible systems for psionic abilities, magic, summoning, weapon styles, and a detailed martial arts system that lets you customize your fighting style!


A Crunchy RPG With a Mixed European/Asian Setting [ edit ]

Anima: Beyond Fantasy (which is not connected to Anima Prime) is set in the world of Gaïa, the same world as two video games (Anima: Ark of Sinners and Anima: Gate of Memories), a miniatures game (Anima Tactics), and a card game (Anima: The Card Game).

As the art of the game suggests, Gaïa is in many ways a typical medieval European fantasy world, but it's also darker, and with heavy influence from Asia (anime and JRPG in particular).  Although the setting is fictional it features many historical analogues.  For instance, just as in Medieval Europe a powerful monotheistic church is one of the most powerful forces in the setting, and the most powerful nation in it is a holy empire with a child ruler.

However the setting also has monsters, magic, magic which summons monsters, psychic and Ki powers, and many other fantastic elements.  Characters in Anima (which are created from a combination of classes and points) can choose from a fun variety of such powers, but don't misunderstand: Anima is not a "high magic" setting.  Monsters and magic are relatively rare in Gaïa, which makes the PCs and the creatures they battle all the more exceptional.

In terms of rules Anima is a more "crunchy" system, closest perhaps to Rolemaster than Dungeons and Dragons.  While many fans love the mechanical details for things like the various character powers, that same "crunch" was a problem for some critics, who complained about having unnecessary rules, or about having to look up tables in the rulebook just to accomplish things.  If you're looking for a rules-lite RPG, Anima probably isn't for you.

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A Spanish RPG Translated to English ... Mostly [ edit ]

Anima: Beyond Fantasy was originally created in 2005 by Spanish gaming company, Edge Entertainment ... which means that all English products for the game have to be translated from Spanish to English.  As a result some of the game's products have yet to be translated, and English-speaking fans are stuck without access to them.

To make matters worse, Anima: Beyond Fantasy no longer has a English distributor.  When the game first came to America in 2008 it was through Fantasy Flight Games, which continued to distribute it until 2010.   At that point they switched to selling the game on Drive Thru RPG ... but in 2016 they stopped that also.

Hope For English Fans [ edit ]

However, English fans do have some hope, because in 2017 FFG's parent company (Asmodee) purchased Edge Entertainment. Then. in 2020, they announced that Edge would take over development of their English RPGs, including popular ones such as Genesys, Legend of the Five Rings (5th Edition), and Star Wars.

On the one hand, this means Edge will be busy with FFG's products in the near future.  In the long term though, once Edge has beefed up their English-speaking staff, they may well try to bring Anima back to America.  Fans of the game will just have to wait and see ... and in the meantime rely on used copies of the game, and online resources if they want to explore the fantasy world of Gaïa.​