Every year it brings out hundreds of new anime series, which include both completely original properties as well as sequels and follow-ups to established properties. The anime industry has a cyclical nature that benefits from evergreen franchises that are always popular.
Instead of turning a single series into hundreds, or even thousands, of episodes long, a popular approach is to develop a sequel series that returns to the same universe, albeit with a new perspective. Some anime properties don’t find their voices until the sequels, but it’s even more common for the opposite to be true and a satisfying series becomes a sequel that falls short of expectations.
10/10 A promising story goes wildly off course
Tokyo Ghoul Root A
Tokyo Ghoul hits the ground running and makes its mark as a wicked slasher/horror hybrid that focuses on Ken Kaneki’s loosening grip on his humanity. Tokyo Ghoul lovingly adapts Sui Ishida’s manga, but the anime deliberately forges its own path with the sequel series, Tokyo Ghoul Root A.
Root A’s exploration of Kaneki’s character feels aimless and lacks the impact of the original series. It’s an even more frustrating experience for those familiar with the manga’s direction. Tokyo Ghoul:re trying to pick up the pieces and go back to the source material, but it’s too little too late.
9/10 The next generation of Ninja Warriors is too stuck in the past
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is Narutoits sequel series, and it adopts the popular formula that follows the children of the characters from the original anime. The problem with Boruto is that it follows the beats of its predecessor so closely that it often feels pointless.
Boruto takes too long to find a unique voice, and by then many people have already abandoned the adventures of their youth. Boruto has close to 300 installments with still no end in sight. This sequel anime was born out of a controversial place, but Boruto has clearly proven that it’s not going anywhere and that audiences are willing to stick with it.
8/10 A new version of Mecha warfare becomes clumsy and reductive
Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny
Mobile Suit Gundam has established a rich mecha universe that spans multiple timelines. Modern Gundam the anime may struggle to feel as important as the original series, but there’s a certain charm to it Mobile suit Gundam SEED who won over audiences through their resilient mobile suit pilots.
Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny works as SEEDthe sequel and takes place two years later. Fate covers many of the same plot points but focuses on a less interesting group of characters. Fate feels like a messy, homogenized series that tries too hard to please the fans and becomes too bland in the process. Fate nullifies all the benevolence which SEED builds.
7/10 Redundant sequels dilute a perfect brand of anime
The original FLCL is lightning in a bottle of entertainment that is a bewildering mix of mecha madness, serious slice of life storytelling and an overwhelming alien apocalypse. FLCL achieves everything it needs to in six episodes, and it’s one of the best combinations of music and visual storytelling.
FLCLits pristine reputation has not stopped two sequels, FLCL: Progressive and FLCL: Alternativefrom production and there are also two further sequel series on the way. Progressive and Option are not without charm, but they appear as less effective retreads of the original series. More music from The Pillows is never a bad thing, but these FLCL sequels feel free.
6/10 Mecha Policework sparks an unoriginal sequel
Super Dimensional Fortress Macross II: Lovers Again
Macross is one of the biggest mecha properties in the medium, but it’s also a franchise that has faced growing pains during its attempts at evolution. The biggest problem that Macross II faces is that it was originally designed to be an entire series, and it feels like a very compromised vision that has been rushed together.
On their own, Macross II isn’t a terrible anime OVA and meditation on mecha technology, but it’s just unnecessary as a sequel to the original Macross. Macross II repeats the same ideas, and it’s a sequel that requires more than just satisfying action sequences and decent animation to justify its existence.
5/10 A DigiDestined Homecoming is hollow and uneventful
Digimon Adventure Tri
New Digimon content continues to keep audiences entertained. However, it is the original Digimon Adventure to whom the fans have the most reverence. Digimon Adventure Tri celebrates the series’ 15th anniversary and returns to the anime’s original characters, albeit now as teenagers.
This can be an upsetting and nostalgic experience, but Digimon Adventure Tri appears strangely inconsequential. Originally released as six feature films, Digimon Adventure Tri was later divided into 26 episodes. This extended version feels even more laborious and wasteful with its priorities. It is not Digimon Adventure Tri redemption that fans were hoping to see with this edit.
4/10 Fun Harem Hijinks are starting to run out of steam
Tenchi Muyo: Ryo Ohki
The growing Tenchi the universe continues to circle around the same idea, that beleaguered everyone, Tenchi Masaki, is suddenly the object of affection for Ryouko, a space pirate, but also a whole group of alien women. Tenchi Muyo: Ryo Ohki is an OVA series that fails to offer many original ideas to the series.
Ryo Ohki covers the same territory as Tenchi learns more about his peculiar heritage and the unusual women who are now a part of his life. Out of everyone Tenchi material, Ryo Ohki is one of the most available.
3/10 A return to mystical cyberpunk storytelling recycles the same crises
Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex
There are two satisfactory Ghost in the shell films that set up the dangers of this technology-driven cyberpunk society, but the anime series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex continues to flesh out these ideas. Coming in with a little more than 50 episodes, Detached complex is a lengthy expansion of the original films, but still covers many of the same ideas.
Detached complex has diminishing returns between the film sequel, Solid State Societyand its OVA sequel, Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045. All of these feel like they’re chasing the top of the original film.
2/10 Mobile Suit High School students run out of gas in this mecha mess
Full Metal Panic! Invisible victory
Full Metal Panic! Invisible victory is technically the fourth proper series in the franchise, but it’s also the least original offering in this subversive mecha universe. Invisible victory again part of life mixes school life with devastating mecha warfare against ruthless terrorists, which isn’t boring but wears thin unlike the previous Full Metal Panic! series.
Kaname and Sousuke, while entertaining, fail to command the necessary authority here. Invisible victory may work as a stand-alone original property, but it does not effectively build on the foundation of the franchise.
Dragon Ball GT
The popularity of Akira Toriyama Dragon Ball franchise has never been bigger, but the release of the sequel series, Dragon Ball Superhas seemingly de-canonized the franchise’s previous sequel, Dragon Ball GT. Dragon Ball GT has faced an uphill battle since it was an original anime series that has minimal involvement from Toriyama.
There are some big ideas to come out of Dragon Ball GT, such as Super Saiyan 4, as well as the return of several popular villains. However, the sequel series begins with an emphasis on light-hearted adventure rather than intense action. This attempt to recreate the energy of the original Dragon Ball left many Dragon Ball Z fans are unhappy.
NEXT: 10 Anime Villains That Were Ruined By The Sequel