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The infinite variation of top grossing nijigen-themed mobile RPGs laid bare

Crunching the data with App Annie
The infinite variation of top grossing nijigen-themed mobile RPGs laid bare

This article is part of an ongoing series of data-driven articles from and App Annie highlighting trends in the global mobile games sector using App Annie’s Game IQ analytics.

This enables mobile game developers to dig into the data and discover not only which games are performing best but what characteristics they have.

One important aspect of Game IQ is the deep granularity it enables, something considered in this week’s chart looking at the top grossing nijigen-themed (aka manga-style) mobile games from Chinese-headquartered developers.

Note; this data is for global consumer spending, excluding mainland China.

For fans, by fans

Of course, this is a highly specialised list, so that with the exception of long-running series Langrisser (just released on mobile for the first time), it’s hardly a surprise that many of the titles are not familiar.

Hypergryph and Yostar’s tower defense game Arknights has generated a certain amount of attention since its 2019 release however.

It’s proven to be a highly successful game and is ranked #1 on this list. Significantly its geographic appeal is wide too, ranging from APAC countries such as Singapore and the Philippines to Finland and Australia.

As the name suggests #2 title Girls Chronicle is an idle RPG populated by a set of punky female characters. Indeed, as can be seen in the icons of most of the games in this list, their protagonists are typically female, appealing to their core young male audience.

In Happy Elements’ Ensemble Stars Music gender roles are more balanced, as the role-playing element is all about levelling up a pop ensemble from the wide range of broadly androgynous characters.

Yostar’s Azur Lane brings us back to the male gaze, albeit with a novel twist. The setting is an alternative WWII scenario and the female characters are representative of historic warships.

As well as battling, players can also design a home and marry their characters. The game has been so successful since its 2017 release, that it’s since spawned its own animated series as well as console releases and cross-over events in World of Warships.


Finally, it’s worth noting that before it became better known for Genshin Impact, miHoYo’s hit game was Honkai Impact 3.

Launched in 2016 and effectively a sequel to Guns GirlZ, it’s since expanded with a PC version as well as multiple anime and manga releases, and crossovers including with Russian ice-skater Evgenia Medvedeva.

If nothing else, these games certainly demonstrate the creativity of the game designers’ art in terms of finding infinite variations in what would appear to be a restrictive form of entertainment.

Game IQ is a vertically tailored analytics product, developed by App Annie, that provides insight into dimensions such as class, genre, subgenre and tags. Games can now be analyzed by broad category class (tuning), genre, subgenre, and tags (modifiers) such as IP, art style, settings, monetization mechanic, and more.

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