An undeniable fact in entertainment is that a successful property is likely to lead to a sequel, and this is equally true in the anime industry. Anime has a cyclical nature, just like other forms of programming, and audiences tend to favor established properties over new ideas. It can be bittersweet when an anime series soldiers on for hundreds of episodes and inevitably reaches its conclusion.
A satisfying ending is important to any story, but anime tends to go back to these rich worlds and see what else can be done. There are an abundance of anime sequels that miss the point of the original or actively weaken its message, but there are also examples of sequels that find a satisfying second act for their characters.
10/10 A darker, more mature journey that is true to its predecessor
Digimon Adventure 02
There are now nine separate series in growth Digimon universe, many of which are set in unique timelines. However, the original Digimon Adventure followed up with Digimon Adventure 02which is very much a sequel, albeit one that introduces a new cast of Digidestined characters.
Digimon Adventure 02 has the same playful energy as its predecessor, but the villains go to darker places and there’s a greater emphasis on serialization. There is a vocal part of it Digimon society that prefers Digimon Adventure 02 over the original, and hopefully the upcoming one Digimon Adventure 02: The Beginning filmwill not let these fans down.
9/10 Mecha Mayhem Consequences are starting to sink in with the new guard
Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam
Mobile Suit Gundam is still a massive mecha property practically synonymous with giant robot battles. There are dozens of them Gundam anime, but the original Universal Century timeline tells a powerful story across multiple series.
Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam is the direct sequel to the original series and beautifully delves into heavy themes that explore the cost of war and its corruption of youth. Zeta Gundam turns to Kamille Bidan as its lead Gundam savant, though Amuro Ray is still in the supporting cast. Zeta Gundam’s conflict and loss bring forth a darker sequel that is instrumental to what is possible in this universe going forward.
8/10 Exaggerated action spectacles reach even greater heroic heights
Dragon Ball Super
Akira Toriyama in progress Dragon Ball the series continues to feature new content after three decades. There are more Dragon Ball sequels, whether it’s the transition from the original series to Dragon Ball Z or the controversial events in Dragon Ball GT. Jumped off Dragon Ball Z to Dragon Ball Super emerges as the most successful with the fewest tonal inconsistencies.
Dragon Ball Super begins not long after the defeat of Kid Buu, and it follows the same action-forward narrative that defined Dragon Ball Z. Return of many fan favourites Dragon Ball Z characters, like Future Trunks and Android 17, don’t hurt either.
7/10 Looser sextuplets grow older but not wiser
Osomatsu-kun is an absurd slice-of-life comedy that follows the exploits of the Matsuno sextuplets who had an anime in both the 1960s and 80s. The 2015s Osomatsu-san can be seen as a reboot. Still, the fact that it ages the Matsuno sextuplets into their late teens indicates that it’s actually more of a sequel series (albeit one aimed at an older demographic).
Osomatsu-san has the same unpredictable energy as the original, but the humor develops in ambitious ways that would previously have been impossible. Osomatsu-san fully embraces the extremes of the gag comedy genre, and it’s backfired Osomatsu into a modern comedy hit.
6/10 The next generation of heroes prove their monster dueling skills
Yu-Gi-Oh! GX is the sequel to the monster duel extravaganza series. Set 10 years after the original and follows Judai Yuki and a new generation of duelists, Yu-Gi-Oh! GX features both compelling new characters, expansions of the series’ story, and a satisfying insight into the original anime cast.
There have been diminishing returns on many of the subsequent ones Yu-Gi-Oh! sequels and how distant they have become from the original premise. Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, much like its predecessor, has a highly censored English dub courtesy of 4Kids. However, the dub’s odd decisions have helped this version find a passionate cult following.
5/10 A monumental magical girl faces new challenges
Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card
Card Catcher Sakura is one of the magical girl shojo series that is all the rage Sailor Moon. The original Card Catcher Sakura is a classic and its sequel, Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Cardis a worthy expansion.
Now in middle school, Sakura is forced to face unprecedented dangers after her Sakura cards run out and she encounters mysterious transparent cards. Admittedly Empty card anime adaptation is only 22 episodes long and thus can only capture the events of the first two dozen chapters of the superior manga. However, there is still much to appreciate in this energetic sequel series.
4/10 A brave hero uses a powerful mecha to find his missing mother
Eureka Seven: AO
Eureka Seven is an entertaining 2000s mecha anime that puts a shy young teenager in the pilot of a giant robot that has the power to shape the world. Eureka Seven doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it tells a complete story that thrives through character dynamics.
Eureka Seven: AO adopts a similar structure when the young Ao becomes the pilot of the prolific Nirvash mecha, but there is added emotional and narrative weight since he is the son of Eureka from the original series. Eureka Seven: AO expands on the original and recreates the highlights through a new generation of heroes.
3/10 A return to Hinamizawa reveals a terrifying mix of old and new
Higurashi: When They Cry – Gou
Higurashi: When They Cry is a sprawling, complicated murder mystery saga that spans visual novels, video games, manga and anime. Several Higurashi anime series build on the franchise’s nihilistic energy and the 2020s Higurashi: When They Cry – Gou is one of the best executions of the series’ mystery and horror.
Originally announced as a remake under the title When They Cry – Newcleverly changes the name of the second episode and reveals the true intentions behind this stealth sequel series. When They Cry – Gou leaning into the idea of remakes and older sequels only to turn itself into a dark meditation on time loops and alternate realities.
2/10 Human-demon offspring do justice to their prolific parents
Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon
Rumiko Takahashi’s Inuyasha is an effective shonen series that was still able to resonate with a large female audience due to its prominent romance between Inuyasha and Kagome. Inuyasha proved a reliable source of fantasy action. Still, the recent sequel has helped bring this fun universe back into the spotlight and celebrates what created Inuyasha so fun.
Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon follows Towa, Setsuna and Moroha, the children of Inutasha’s main characters, as they prepare for their own adventures. There is a casual quality to the first entries, however Yashahime ups the ante in its second season.
1/10 A signature Shonen classic returns to reap more souls
Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War
Tite Kubos Bleach was one of the biggest shonen series of the 2000s, but the anime came to an unceremonious end after 376 episodes and no proper conclusion to the manga’s story. The original Bleach faced constant problems with excess filler and pacing, which ultimately proved to be a greater danger than any cave.
More than a decade after the conclusion of Bleach anime, a proper sequel series, Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War, has emerged to redeem the franchise. This modern Bleach the sequel adapts the manga’s final story arc, and it turns out to be a satisfying return to form that won’t suffer from the same pitfalls as the original.
NEXT: 10 Anime Villains That Were Ruined By The Sequel