Spin-offs are a great chance to try something new while still giving fans what they want, and there are several anime spin-offs fans can check out.
Who doesn’t enjoy a good spin-off? It’s an excellent technique to diversify a series while still catering to its core fanbase. It does not, however, guarantee success. There’s a Joey or AfterMASH for every Frasier or Mork & Mindy. There is a Bomberman Act Zero for every Persona.
It also happens in anime. The difference is that some didn’t gain as much attention as Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan or Boruto. They were created as manga and either stayed that way or failed to catch on when they escaped the printed page. Here are some examples of anime that received manga spin-offs that remained unnoticed.
Kazumi Magica And Suzune Magica
These Puella Magi Madoka Magica spin-offs were so brief and identical that they can be lumped together in one entry. Their first series was a gloomy critique of the Magical Girl genre, similar to how Neon Genesis Evangelion deconstructed mecha adventure series like Mobile Suit Gundam.
As a result, it’s maybe not surprising that its spin-offs are equally hefty. Kazumi Magica’s amnesiac protagonist tries to recall her life as a Pleiades Saint while slowly succumbing to a dark transformation. While the titular character of the three-volume Suzune Magica takes out both Magical Girls and their Witch enemies before turning her attention to the four girls investigating her.
Jaco The Galactic Patrolman
Jaco, created by Akira Toriyama himself, is a prequel to Dragon Ball. However, its happenings are distinct from those of Goku and his pals. It follows Jaco Teirimentenpiboshi, a Galactic Patrol member who crashes lands on Earth to thwart an extraterrestrial invasion. In order to repair his ship, he encounters the old scientist Dr. Mori, a nosy police officer named Katayude, and Tights, a young woman who assists Jaco in exchange for a few favors.
A few more Dragon Ball characters make brief appearances. Tights, for example, is Bulma’s older sister, and her family becomes involved in attempting to repair Jaco’s spaceship. Similarly, the alien invasion Jaco was attempting to avert would be led by Saiyans. To Jaco’s relief, they don’t show up. Except for one pod, which delivers a special monkey child to the home of an elderly man named Son Gohan. Perhaps it’s a good thing Jaco got distracted.
BURN THE WITCH
This Bleach spin-off received an animated film, which was met with mixed reviews. It’s a shame, because the premise sounds intriguing. Tite Kubo chose a horror fantasy setting in the Soul Society’s Western section rather than retaining Bleach’s neo-samurai style. It follows Noel Niihashi and Ninny Spangcole, two ladies who work for Wing Bird in Reverse London.
They are an organization that guards the city from dragon attacks while also looking after and keeping the fire-breathers safe. Their task appears straightforward enough until they meet Balgo Parks, a normal Londoner with an uncanny capacity to attract dragons. Perhaps the next “second season” will help flesh it out more. Or, at the very least, it will provide more amusing translations of Western names like Bruno Bangnyfe, Macy Baljure, and Wolfgang Slashhaut.
Food Wars: Shokugeki No Sanji
Food War: Shokugeki no Soma is a hilarious combination of fanservice and catering, with some unique ideas on cooking with shonen trappings. Is it still necessary to focus on Soma and his friends? Wouldn’t it be more intriguing if it suddenly shifted to characters from a completely different franchise, such as One Piece?
Food Wars creators Yto Tsukuda and Shun Saeki have been working on this series of One Piece-based one-shots since 2018. They primarily track Sanji’s food and how it has evolved throughout his voyage from the Baratie to the Straw Hat Pirates. This year, the final chapter was released just in time for One Piece’s 25th anniversary.
Death Note: The A-Kira Story
The return of Takeshi Obata and Tsugumi Oba to Death Note garnered some attention upon its initial publication. Ryuk returns to Earth to offer his Death Note to another child, Minoru ‘a-Kira’ Tanaka. Tanaka instead tells Ryuk to wait two years before making the same offer. He does so, believing Tanaka will follow in the footsteps of Light Yagami. Tanaka, on the other hand, offers to sell it online, which piques Ryuk’s interest. He assists Tanaka in auctioning off the book online, complete with TV commercials and its own Twitter hashtag.
The winner is the US President, who purchases it for such a high sum that it single-handedly lifts Japan out of its slump. Unfortunately, the King of Death institutes a new rule that punishes both Tanaka and the President for their sale. Tanaka will die if he touches the money he received from it. While the President will perish if he touches what he purchased. While the narrative does not explicitly name him, it is evident that it is Donald Trump. It’s no surprise that the King pushed that new rule through.
Neon Genesis Evangelion: The Shinji Ikari Detective Diary
Hideaki Anno’s juvenile mecha-turned-introspective analysis spawned a slew of sequels. There was a Sega Saturn visual novel, a self-aware spoof CD drama, and a Bandai Wonderswan virtual pet simulator. Shinji investigated crimes and tracked down their perpetrators in a Japan-only PS2 game similar to Ace Attorney. If only it were a manga.
Yes, it was, or else this section would be called something else. Takumi Yoshimura’s The Shinji Ikari Detective Diary is set in an alternate universe in which Shinji is attempting to assist his friend Toji against some thugs. Fortunately, private investigator Ryoji Kaji and his attractive associate Kaworu Nagisa are on hand to assist. Instead of taking on the case themselves, they assist Shinji with the investigation. They appear to have their own agenda, particularly Kaworu.
Hokuto No Ken: Seikimatsu Drama Satsuei-Den
Fist of the North Star has been around for about 40 years, and there have been numerous manga prequels, sequels, and other interpretations. Skoku no Gar featured popular side character Rei as he sought the murderer of his parents. Heart of Meet reimagined the large, overweight meme figure Heart as a pretty bishonen guy in his childhood. Taisen Amiba no Isekai Ha Densetsu transported the egomaniacal evil Amiba to another realm to give him a second chance at life.
The most intriguing spin-off, though, may be the most recent one. Hiroshi Kurao’s Seikimatsu Drama Satsuei-Den (‘Post-Apocalypse Filming Arc’) reimagines the manga’s original events as a TV drama. Kenshiro, his friends, and his enemies are now performers grappling with their lines and cues as their intrepid team attempts to piece together the show’s actions. The manga began in February 2021 and is still being published on the Comic Zenon website.
That brings us to the end of our list of 7 Anime You Didn’t Know Had Manga Spin-Offs!
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