Discussing The Horror and Joy of Anime Sequels, Prequels and Spin-Offs


When it came to movies, I was always wary of sequels growing up. It was more or less universally accepted that the sequel would be weaker than the original with a few exceptions (which of course proved the rule). I was less aware of prequels until the Star Wars franchise essentially hacked the heart out of their own series by delivering 3 very underwhelming movies that pretty much told us nothing that we hadn’t already figured out from watching the original series.

Since then we’ve had plenty of other examples in movies of prequels and sequels just not quite hitting the mark.

So how does this translate when watching anime sequels?

Well it doesn’t really because anime sometimes wraps up the story in one season, but often it doesn’t. What we usually call a sequel in anime is regularly just an ongoing continuation of a story that wasn’t finished. Which means that sometimes that second part is awesome (or third, or fourth, or whatever in the case of very long running series).

However, sometimes even if the story isn’t finished it feels like the characters have said everything they needed to and we’re just getting put through the motions of yet more fights and battles for the sake of it.

That said, some anime sequels are amazing. Higurashi’s second season is fantastic, and totally necessary if you ever want to know why everyone keeps dying in that story. Meanwhile, Black Butler 2 I probably could have done without (and Darker Than Black 2 and quite a few others).

What it comes down to is while I will watch a sequel to a series I enjoyed, I always watch with the assumption that there’s a good chance it will go downhill fast, that way if they manage to pull off something decent I’m always pleasantly surprised. And I know some people are screaming Endless Eight right now which is probably another reason to be wary of some sequels.

Did Darker Than Black really need the anime sequel? I don't think so.

The occasional prequel that shows up (such as Handa-kun) doesn’t really register given how infrequent they are. Generally, any backstory that is needed is told through flashbacks and prequels just aren’t needed. That hasn’t stopped various ‘young’ insert character name stories cropping up but they aren’t exactly flooding the market (and please don’t).

Handa-Kun was entertaining but did it actually act as a prequel or really was it its own thing?

Then, we’ve also got spin-off series which are extremely hit and miss. Some manage to surpass the original where others just end up looking like a watered down imitation. A Certain Scientific Railgun is an excellent example of a spin-off that kind of left the original material in the dust.

While I like A Certain Magical Index, the need to explain magic, esper abilities, and Touma’s weird ability which falls into neither category, meant the whole thing was very crowded. Also, Touma regularly faced magical villains which meant despite the show being set in a city of espers, esper abilities sat more as a background setting than a focus.

Railgun deals pretty much exclusively with the espers and esper issues and as a direct result the world building is significantly stronger and the conflicts are far easier to convey and explain.


This season we’ve got Sword Oratoria giving us a different view of the world from DanMachi (Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?). Where Sword Oratoria concerned me even from its announcement was in the focus character. See, Railgun took the most interesting character out of Index and gave her a chance to shine.

Sword Oratoria takes the least interesting character out of DanMachi and so far hasn’t done much with her. That isn’t to say it can’t pick up, but you have to wonder why we didn’t just get a continuation of DanMachi given Bell’s story wasn’t yet done.

What it means is, there’s no hard and fast rule in anime (or in movies really) as to whether an anime sequel, prequel, or spin-off will work or not which leaves a lot of fans wading through poor follow up seasons in the hope of stumbling across a good one.

Winter 2017 gave us a number of anime sequels to consider and to be honest I found them all lacking. Tales of Zestiria the X had been reasonable in season 1, but season 2 lost all focus and forward momentum before rushing to a conclusion that made very little sense to those who hadn’t played the game because so many things happened just because.

It was kind of a let down even for those of us with minimal expectations of it. Iron Blooded Orphans similarly kind of faded during its second season. While it maintained a reasonable storyline, it just lacked the punch of the original. Meanwhile, Super Lovers 2 just left me wondering if the characters actually had made any headway at all and Blue  Exorcist just felt like they thought they could just throw any random villain at the characters because the audience would be happy with whatever.

Yes Tales of Zesteria the X - you lost focus. Your anime sequel was less than impressive.

Then we got to Spring 2017 and while I’m watching the spin-off Sword Oratoria, in terms of anime sequels the load is heavy. My Hero Academia, Attack on Titan, The Eccentric Family and Natsume Yuujinchou are all trying to draw me back into their worlds. Natsume has the advantage in that it’s up to season 6 (and I’ll come back to Natsume in a little bit). The Eccentric Family made a strong start.

Both My Hero Academia and Attack on Titan have done a reasonable job (and I’ll admit My Hero Academia seems to be getting stronger by the episode), but at this point neither has really convinced me they can surpass the first season (I’d love to be proven wrong and for both to end well).

For me, the main issue always seems to be that unlike a new series, an anime sequel is stuck with all the expectations of the audience and preconceived notions. We’ve watched part 1, we know these characters and this setting. It limits where the story can go but it can still be very good if there is character development to be found or more story to be told.

More importantly, long running series like My Hero Academia ultimately suffer diminishing returns in entertainment. As they try to one-up the danger they ultimately fall into feeling pretty formulaic and repetitive.

There are three series that I want to discuss in regards to sequels.

Fumoffu was more of a filler season than an anime sequel. Highly entertaining but also pretty skippable.

Starting with Full Metal Panic, this series had a season 1 and then we got its anime sequel: Second Raid. There’s also a filler comedy season which should be regarded in its own way (its hilarious) but I’m not discussing that here. Arguably, you can stop watching at the end of season 1.

You can. Chidori realises she’s got all this stuff in her head and she uses it to save the submarine. Sousuke beats the guy he’s been wanting to beat. They celebrate and then they go back to school. Yeah, Chidori is still going to be targeted and Sousuke still knows nothing about living in the real world, but essentially, it’s a good stopping point.

So why Second Raid?

Because what does Chidori want to do now that she knows she has this knowledge in her head? Is Sousuke actually just going to play the good soldier forever? And what is their relationship? There were plenty of character points still open that had more than enough points of interest to explore and certainly more than enough villains in the world to get the plot moving again.

The reason Second Raid works though is Chidori and Sousuke both get pushed to their limit. Chidori is forced to fight for her own life because Sousuke doesn’t instantly save her. He’s too busy going through his own little mental break down which is spectacular to see given everything he’s been through. And while he recovers just a little too fast, it is a mecha series and mental health was never supposed to be the main focus (it isn’t Evangelion).

It kind of needed an anime sequel in order to continue this journey and all of the characters and the plot still had more to give that was worth seeing. It didn’t feel like anyone was contriving reasons for these characters to still be around just to create an anime sequel.

But then this anime announced yet another continuation, Invisible Victory. The original question I had was whether or not this anime sequel could fit with the prior seasons, considering the time gap, and whether it was even needed. I’m thinking yes it was needed from a story point of view but the execution was not great.


But all of this contrasts with my view of SAO in terms of anime sequels. Sword Art Online was fantastic when it came out (some will argue against that but let’s put that aside). The entire first arc, playing Sword Art Online, was good (I know some people have issues with it but it works). I loved it. Then Kirito beats the game and they all wake up. That’s great. We’re trapped in a game that can kill us and someone finally let us out. Whoo-hoo.

So why isn’t that the end of season 1?

Because some people didn’t wake up. Okay. Fine. Why not?

Technically, this could have worked as a continuation. It could have. But most people will agree that Fairy Dance is the weakest of the SAO stories. While it does tie up a loose end or 2 from SAO, it isn’t necessary. The story could have ended with them waking up and being reunited.

They added an additional complication for no reason other then to force a continuation that wasn’t needed, turned a reasonably capable female character into a damsel in distress, and introduced a villain who was so immature and cartoonish in his villainy you couldn’t have taken him seriously if you tried.


Then we have GGO and the Mother Rosario arcs before the most recent Aliciztion, all of which I kind of regard more as Spin-offs given how little in common they have with the original story at this point. And they work as anime sequels that develop the supporting cast but Kirito pretty much stops developing as a character (and I know some people will argue he didn’t develop in the original, but we’ll save that argument for later).

Essentially, he freezes at the end of Fairy Dance. There’s nothing more to say about him. He does stuff, but he no longer changes as a result of his actions or decisions.

Natsume Yuujinchou - doing anime sequels right.

The last series I want to touch on is Natsume Yuujinchou which is 6 seasons along and has kind of nailed how to do an anime sequel right. Natsume in terms of story has never really felt like it is driving toward anything. The conflict has always been Natsume dealing with how to live. That isn’t something that can be ‘solved’ or ‘overcome’ and it isn’t something that ends.

And it is a conflict that continually sees the main character reflect and grow (admittedly in very slow and small steps). What that ultimately means is that despite the number of sequels, this story still doesn’t feel finished and this character is still evolving. Spending more time with him on his journey is always fun.

Basically, anime sequels (or prequels or spin-offs) all need to be considered in the light of the series they are attached to. For me if they actually are needed or are adding something of value to the character or the story then I will usually find them highly enjoyable. But if I’m just expected to swallow lack luster story telling because someone slapped a name on it I recognise, I’m going to move on.

How do you feel about anime sequels and prequels?

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

Black Butler 2 Series Review – Review or Rant? Hard To Say

Spoilers of season 1 are going to appear as we discuss Black Butler 2.

I previously reviewed the first season of this and to be honest I really should have stopped there. Back when I originally watched this anime, I remember how excited I was to learn there was a sequel, and how bitterly, bitterly disappointed I was when I finally saw that sequel. Since then, whenever the occasion to rewatch Black Butler has come up, I have chosen to ignore the existence of a season 2. The anime ends with Ciel getting his revenge and Sebastian devouring his soul. That’s it. Game over.

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However, for the sake of reviewing it fairly, I had to watch this series again. Plus, AnimeLab runs the two seasons together and leaving half of it unwatched just didn’t feel right. Besides, maybe it wasn’t as bad as I thought I remembered it being. You know, how you build up all the negative points over time and forget the good things.

No. My memory wasn’t failing me. (That said, if you want some good reasons to try season 2, you should check out the debate Irina and I had about it.)

Black Butler 2 is everything that is wrong with sequels.

Characters who should be dead aren’t. The perfect resolution from the first season is undone and then utterly lost. New motives and rules are forced upon the characters for narrative convenience. Characters who have outlived their purpose in the series reappear regardless of how pointless and out-of-place their appearance might be. Or worse, the brother of a character who died in the first season intrudes on several episodes and then disappears without any purpose what-so-ever.

And don’t even get me started on the opening theme and how badly it matches the tone of the show. Seriously, Black Butler 2 could have at least had a decent opening theme.

I know some people really like the second season (for example: Irina) but I just can’t bring myself to enjoy it.

And the absolute worst thing is the addition of a new master and his butler. Alois has had a tragic childhood and has made a contract with a demon. Very similar to Ciel. Right. Uh-huh. Let’s have one more character tell us how they are similar. That’s right. They both had fires in their past. Really, really similar.

Alois - one reason to really hate Black Butler 2

Alois is a horrible human being with no redeeming qualities. Not even his obsessive love for his younger brother can make you genuinely want anything nice to happen to this violent, unstable thug of a human. And his butler, Claude, is a cheap imitation of Sebastian at best and a vile mockery at worst.

What it comes down to is that the sequel attempts to duplicate the events of season 1 in the early stages of the series, but fails completely at capturing the atmosphere and tone that made it dark and playful and sheer delight even when it kind of crossed lines it shouldn’t have and when the narrative wasn’t holding its weight.


What it comes down to is that the sequel attempts to duplicate the events of season 1 in the early stages of the series, but fails completely at capturing the atmosphere and tone that made it dark and playful and sheer delight even when it kind of crossed lines it shouldn’t have and when the narrative wasn’t holding its weight.

The second half of Black Butler 2 just decides to over write all the rules you thought you knew about demon contracts and throw twist after twist into the mythology of the entire piece until you genuinely believe anything could happen and you really don’t care what happens.

All and all, it’s a mess.

The only moment in the entire 2nd series worth watching comes at the very, very end. While the journey to get to that point was horrendous, it was a really clever way to finally have the show beat Sebastian, the overly perfect butler. Poetic justice was served and it was very satisfying, if only the road there had made any sense and it didn’t feel like the ending came from throwing all the possibilities in a box and shaking it real hard.

What are your thoughts on this second season?

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

Fridays Feature: Black Butler 2 – One Hell of a Debate Part 2


If you are looking for part 1 of this debate, it is over on Irina’s blog. Pretty much we decided to debate whether Black Butler 2 is as good as (or better) than Black Butler. So, be sure to check out part 1 and then read the continuation below before sharing your opinion on the matter.

Irina is defending Black Butler 2 while I am working at pulling her arguments apart. We’d both love to know what the rest of you think on this issue so be sure to leave us a comment below.


Round Four: Mythology and Details

I: As I mentioned previously when speaking of Claude, the addition of new demons in season 2 finally fleshed out the mythology of Hell in the Black Butler universe. In season 1 all we actually know of Seb was that he was a demon. Without context, that simply meant that he was much more powerful than your average human but little else.

Season 2 confirmed that Sebastian is not only powerful among humans but quite a formidable demon in his own right. It also affirmed that soul contracts are in fact quite common and, at it’s base at least, Ciel and Sebastian’s relationship isn’t particularly special in any way. At least not for Sebastien. Which makes it even more deliciously grim.

Unfortunately, I think season 2 still left out much of the rules governing demons, hell and their relationships to humans, which I personally find fascinating. This is one of the foundations of the narrative and giving us more information on the subject would help create a much more robust story and universe.

K: I’m going to be honest, at no point when watching Black Butler did I feel I needed an explanation of how contracts worked or the hierarchy in hell. It is odd, that normally such questions would be something I’d want investigated but this show wasn’t about explaining supernatural phenomenon. It simply used the demon contract as a setting for the show and then we moved on. We knew enough in that Sebastian had to obey Ciel’s commands and they had the seal so the prey couldn’t get away, etc, but we didn’t need to know anything beyond that.

That’s actually part of what makes season 2 messy. Is they take a very simple thing and try to over-complicate it. Ciel wasn’t eaten at the end of season one because another demon swooped in and stole the soul first due to the arm that Sebastian had the contract on being torn off. Only the second demon didn’t eat the soul and the Sebastian was able to steal it. And then…

By the end of all the twists and turns, what we end up with is a somewhat convoluted and totally unnecessary mess of mythological jargon to attempt to explain what is going on in the final episodes of season 2 with the various souls, contracts and wishes being thrown about. Earlier, I said what I loved about the narrative of season 1 was the overall simplicity. I can explain what the crux of the story is in less than two sentences. Season 2 on the other hand is just messy because there isn’t a clear focus and they are desperately trying to pack details into a story but they aren’t necessarily needed or wanted.

Really, I found it pretty easy to follow, although not very complete. I wouldn’t say explanations were necessary but we naturally fill in the blanks. So a “contract with the devil” and a “soul” is something we decide for ourselves based on whatever data we have available. Because I’ve seen so many religion based stories, I’ve come to associate these things with a lot of different potential meanings so it is nice to know wich I should be basing myself on.

Moreover, I just love world building. A fully realized fictional universe will always have it’s own set of rules that are used to maintain the internal integrity of the narrative.Without them, what’s to stop the plot from just becoming completely random. I’m certain the writers had at least a rough idea what those rules are and it’s nice on be let in on it.

I like world building well enough but I don’t mind when the writers assume I can fill in some of the gaps myself. As you pointed out earlier with fallen angels, contracts with demons are pretty common fictional fare so most readers/viewers would know more or less what to expect. Still, you are right about internal integrity and ensuring the rules are established and not broken.


Round Five: Ciel’s Character

Who doesn’t love Ciel? Don’t answer that, we all love Ciel. But let’s be really honest guys, season 1 Ciel is pretty flat. He is a one note tsundere, who at random episodes becomes overly emotional without explanation or reason, then goes right back to who he was before. His characterization is pretty shallow. By the end of season 1 I had no clue why he loved Elizabeth or even if he did. I had no idea who the kid was outside of cute and with a great fashion sense.

Part of the problem was the season 1 Ciel is essentially a supporting character. He really just serves as a narrative device used to give Sebastien any motivation to participate in the story. He has no actual foil of his own, no rival or friend to exchange with and no real moments of introspection. His entire season 1 character is defined only by his interactions with Sebastien.

In season 2, first the writers gave him a rival of his own with whom he could spar and bicker, allow us to see much more of his personality. Ciel is a spoiled and rather snobbish aristocratic brat. This part of him only becomes visible though when he is interacting with someone he considers beneath him and doesn’t have any need to use. As Ciel would simply avoid interacting with such people normally, forcing Alois in his path also brought out more personality from Ciel than we’d ever seen before.

Moreover, actually separating Ciel from Sebastien for several episodes, leaving him lost and rudderless, also further refined Ciel as a person and reminded us that he is still a child. We got so much more development for a main protagonist in the 12 episodes of season 2 than in all 24 of season 1.

On this one, I thoroughly disagree.

Ciel is fantastic in season 1. We see a young boy working incredibly hard to maintain a facade as a master of a great house and as someone who has sold their soul to a demon we see a child trying desperately hard not to second guess their resolve. His general distance from others and distrust of most people is quite clear and very understandable considering his history. And his attachment to Elizabeth is very clear even if he understands that their relationship is going nowhere because he has no future. He works to keep her at a distance but also wants her safe and happy and he sways between these emotions which is where some inconsistencies come in but they all make perfect sense given his age and given the situation he is in.

I particularly loved Ciel’s interactions with Abberline during the first season. Abberline is one of the few people that sees Ciel as a child and sees through the facade Ciel has built around him. As a result, it is Abberline’s death that truly shakes Ciel’s certainty in his choices and actions. It is one of the few moments where we see the scared child Ciel really is breaking free of the mould he has pushed himself to fit.

Season 2 Ciel works well enough, save for the nagging feeling that he shouldn’t be alive because he should already be dead, but Season 1 Ciel is where I fell in love with his character.

I did enjoy his interactions with Abberline but to me they felt forced and it seemed a bit of audience manipulation. A slightly contrived relationship to quickly humanize a character that might have not gotten enough exposition.

Personally, I found his relationship with Angelina more revealing and I believe it could have become very interesting indeed had there been a bit more time.

This said, reading Karandi’s arguments, I have to admit I may have been a bit harsh. I still think Ciel was underdeveloped and the second season helped to flesh him out and make him a much more tangible character but season 1 Ciel was still a fine young man. I concede the point.

His interactions with Abberline were definitely audience manipulation. They worked on me, but I definitely concede the point that the relationship was contrived as a means of humanizing Ciel’s character.

I definitely would have liked some more interactions between Ciel and Angelina as that really could have become an even more interesting story. Actually, I think Ciel and Madame Red really could have their own OVA to really flesh out the details of what is one of the better moments in the series.

OOOhhh – Yes! Someone make that OVA.


 Round Six: Alois

I LOVE Alois!

I’m going to just agree to disagree given Alois is on my list of most hated characters of all time. I remembered I wrote a fairly apt description of my feelings towards Alois in my review of season 2:  “Alois is a horrible human being with no redeeming qualities. Not even his obsessive love for his younger brother can make you genuinely want anything nice to happen to this violent, unstable thug of a human.”  That pretty much sums him up for me.

I’m not sure I want to defend the fractured psyche of a deeply traumatized and endlessly abused little boy but morally speaking I don’t really see that much of a difference between him and most Black Butler characters. The demons are…demons. Half the humans are murderers, pedophiles (both usually) who endlessly torture the helpless and innocent just for fun. Ciel just wants revenge and doesn’t particularly care who he crushes to reach his ends and well Alois is the same. And both are children with PTSD….Guys, did I mention this show is a comedy? It is. Drama isn’t even one of the recognized genres of the series…

Good point. All the characters in Black Butler are pretty horrible when you get right down to it from a moral point of view. I think with the others though, I find something fun or possibly salvageable from them whereas I never found anything to like about Alois. And yeah, sometimes it is hard to remember that this show is actually listed as a comedy (as well as action, shounen, supernatural, and historical) when you start discussing the actual subject matter.

I think we’re never going to find common ground on this one. I found Alois likeable and sad. And well, I still LOVE Alois.

Round Seven: Supporting Characters

I also love the Shinigamis. All of them really. But they all have huge, almost caricature like, personalities. Season 1 got dangerously close to overusing Grell and pushing him right over the line from fun to annoying. He almost became a Kramer like character, popping into scenes and episodes for no real reason and chewing up the scenery. That type of character has limited appeal and once the audience gets tired of it, it’s usually unsalvageable.

Weirdo Undertaker fared a little better but I think most fans can imagine him becoming overbearing.

Both characters were essentially relegated to cameos in season 2. The rarity and briefness of their appearances made them so much more precious. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that. I was filled with glee every time they came on stage precisely because it was such a scarcity. They became special and welcomed and I was left wanting more, which is always a good thing. Except when it comes to food.

 I’m actually going to just agree on this point. Grell in particular. As great as Grell’s character can be, too much Grell is just too much. Grell’s character seems to show up almost at random sometimes and often serves too little purpose so to be honest I’m happy enough for the cameo and gone use.

Undertaker on the other hand I’d have loved to see more of, but not if he doesn’t fit the story, so the absence of Undertaker in the bulk of season 2 is understandable and actually probably one of the better choices. Still, Undertaker in season 1 was pretty fantastic and I don’t think overused.

Ok Undertaker is my favorite character so I agree that he wasn’t overused but I know where the manga takes him and I am grateful the anime avoided that.

blackbutler ending.png

Round Eight: The Ending

A beautifully dry and sarcastic ending. Not sure how much more I can say here. I am a huge fan of a slightly mean twist ending, and this one certainly qualifies. I really did not see it coming and it left a smile on my face. I was wondering how the writers would manage to get out of a maudlin depressing ending without completely negating the entire story and this was an elegant and imaginative solution.

And once again, I’ll agree that the ending of season 2 is one of season 2’s strongest points. It is fantastic, ironic, and just works so well.

However, it is an unnecessary ending to a story that had already been brought to a beautiful and dramatic close at the end of season 1. While the twist on the demon contract and Sebastian’s ultimate fate in season 2 is hilarious, I definitely preferred the closure of season 1. Boy makes contract with demon and boy fulfils contract to demon.

Just comparing the final episodes, season 1’s was far more satisfying to me. Mostly because I actually cared about the conflict of season 1, and because it took a deep reflective turn after the violence and allowed the true tragedy of everything Ciel had been through sink in before he willingly accepted his fate. Season 2 doesn’t provide that same closure having another character force a decision on Ciel that amuses and does provide an ending to the conflict of season 2 but ensures that the story gets no definitive ending as Ciel and Sebastian’s relationship is now redefined and ongoing.



I think this ultimately comes down to what it is the individual likes about Black Butler as to whether season 2 works for them. For me, I don’t like unnecessary sequels (which is a category Black Butler 2 definitely falls into) and I didn’t like the heavier focus on the silly and over the top moments at the expense of the more reflective moments season 1 offered.

Yes I WON! That’s what you guys got from this too, right???  Ok ok, Karandi made some pretty good points. Odds are most people will prefer season 1. In fact it’s a pretty well established fact that most people DO prefer season 1 and  probably exactly for the reasons laid out here but I consider it a small victory that Karandi went from you should skip season 2, it should not exist, to some individuals may enjoy season 2!

 Keep in mind, I’m still going to pretend it doesn’t exist now that we’re done here. Though I definitely think we’ll have to let the readers decide.

Top 5: Must-Watch Anime Sequels

Tuesday's Top 5

I tend to run sequels down a lot (see Feature Discussing Anime Sequels and Prequels), which is sometimes justified, but occasionally there are anime sequels, part 2’s, and follow ups that actually do add something to a series and are fairly enjoyable to watch.

So I decided to think about all the good anime sequels out there for a top 5 list. This is my opinion and I’ve chosen sequels that I felt added something actually necessary to a story but were entertaining in their own right. I’d love to know what some of your favourite anime sequels are.

I did however disqualify long running shows without clear divisions between seasons (Bleach etc).

Please Note – There will be spoilers below.

Anime Sequel Honourable Mentions

Sailor Moon, Natsume Yuujinchou (not sure if this counts as long running without clear division so left it off the list, but every season is amazing), Full Metal Panic (Second Raid is fantastic), and Noragami (Second season was amazing, but where’s the third as this story still isn’t finished). There are plenty of other amazing anime sequels I could have gone with but we don’t want to be here all day.

Best Anime Sequel Number 5: Clannad After Story

Don't tell me Clannad season 2 didn't make you cry - this is one anime sequel that knocks it out of the park.

I’d be the first to say that Clannad wasn’t really my thing as an anime. It is a beautiful story and there are some really great elements to it, but it just isn’t my type of show. That said, I watched through all of it and even cried so it works well enough and for people who like the genre it is probably an even more moving experience. After Story is a perfect follow up to the original series.

It narrows the focus to the main characters, though all the other characters are still there, and it legitimately adds to their characters. Not to mention, it finally reveals what was going on during some of the stranger moments in season one. As a sequel or follow up it does everything a show needs to and is perfectly entertaining on its own (though you’ll probably miss some of the character moments if you haven’t sat through season 1).

Best Anime Sequel Number 4: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai

Higurashi is simply a question without season 2. A necessary anime sequel.

Follow up to Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (or When They Cry, When the Cicadas Cry, or whatever other title you’d like to give it), this is a fantastic sequel. I actually watched this first, not knowing it was the second part, and while the first loop was a bit confusing due to me not having a clue who anyone was, I soon figured out what was going on and this is the part of this series that actually solves the mystery of who is behind the tragedy. 

While the first season is fine, by itself it is unsatisfying. Lots of loops, lots of violence, there are clues and character moments, but it doesn’t end. Season 2 builds on all those clues and character moments and gives us a very dramatic final confrontation. It legitimately works by itself as a story and is highly entertaining (you know, if you are in to horror).

Best Anime Sequel Number 3: Kimi ni Todoke

While season one is a frustrating slow burn, you need season two to really get to the happy end of this romance.
Anime sequels worth watching.

Now this is more just an ongoing story. Season 1 has our main character, Sawako, slowly coming out of her shell and making friends. Yes, there’s a guy involved and there’s romantic insinuations, but the romantic aspect decidedly takes a back seat to building confidence and friendships. Having already established that in season 1, season 2 squarely turns the focus on Sawako’s ongoing relationship with Kazehaya and whether it is respect or love she feels.

For someone who has only just learned about friendship, there’s a lot that can go wrong as she treads her way into romance and season 2 takes us through all the ups and downs until we finally get to the moment we’ve all been waiting for. An excellent follow up on a very cute romance.


Best Anime Sequel Number 2: Snow White With the Red Hair

Seriously - who didn't want more of Zen and Shirayuki.
Anime sequel so worth waiting for and please give us more.

Possibly this is a theme given how many relationship heavy shows have ended up on this list, but I really felt Shirayuki and Zen had more story to tell after season 1, and season 2 proved that right though not as I expected. Rather than focussing fully on their relationship, season 2 kind of scattered the focus giving lots of other relationships time to develop and be revealed.

It was deeply satisfying seeing various characters have their moment, while an overall narrative involving Shirayuki’s kidnapping played out, but it did kind of leave the show with little time at the end to address the main question of Shirayuki and Zen. Which of course means we’re left with a sweet but not final ending and why is there no season 3?

Still, this sequel does the job of advancing the characters and the plot logically and adding to what we know about them and the world, so it succeeds even if it still felt unfinished.

Best Anime Sequel Number 1: Assassination Classroom

The ending of Assassination Classroom - this is the way to end an anime sequel.

Much like Kimi ni Todoke, season 1 of this focussed very much on building the characters up. They were learning skills, facing themselves, overcoming past difficulties, before they had the final test when the class was put in legitimate danger. Season 2 shifts the focus dramatically to the motive for the assassination and trying to find a way around it, dividing opinions and characters.

While there’s definitely some filler in season 2, the sheer number of excellent character moments, before we get to the very final and necessary conclusion, makes this a sequel that was needed and it delivered on the promise way back in season 1. Thoroughly enjoyable watch though one could argue the end was dragged out just a little too long. Despite that, it was unforgettable.

Be sure to share your favourite anime sequels in the comments.

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Karandi James

Re: Hamatora Series Review



The sequel to Hamatora, the story picks up immediately after the events in season 1 so be prepared for a few major spoilers for season 1 if you read on.


Hamatora is an enjoyable enough story with a bit of mystery, a bit of super powered violence, some friendship stuff and a lot of bright colours. Re: Hamatora is a passable follow up but taken by itself is not a good piece of story telling nor character piece.

Actually, Re: Hamatora falls into traps that many sequels have issues with. Firstly, we ended season one on an enormous cliff hanger.


Art shot Nice. Nice had finally beaten the crazy serial killer and saved the city and Art shot him point blank (or at least seemed to but of course it happens ‘off screen’). Art was his friend, and a detective, and completely committed to protecting others and the formerly believed to have been killed Art turns up and shoots Nice.

That’s a pretty big finish to a series and is more or less a guarantee that people will come back for a season 2.


And yet, by the end of episode 1 we might as well say, well, that was pointless and move on with out lives. Nice isn’t dead (given he’s the main character and displayed prominently on the DVD case and pretty much every image of Re: Hamatora) and the motive for playing dead is at best incredibly lame. While we’ll need longer to figure out what is going on with Art and why he took that course of action this would only be a good enough hook if Art’s character had been developed as anything other than the nice guy, powerless do-gooder prior to these events. We don’t care about Art because season 1 gave us no reason to. Art’s death was a shocking moment. It came suddenly and with only a few minutes between the foreshadowing and execution so it definitely shocked, but it wasn’t because we liked Art. It was more the impact his death would ultimately have on Nice and that up until that point we had no reason to believe the killer would target non-minimum holders.

So before season 2 even gets rolling we have a shaky foundation with some questionable choices but the issues don’t stop there for the story.


The show has always had a vague focus on the discrimination minimum holders and/or normal people face in the world (those with power vs those who don’t) and yet this isn’t actually part of the overall motive for the serial killer, Art, or Nice as all three of these characters are more or less indifferent to the issue. Even Nice who protects others at times doesn’t really see the point of discrimination in either direction and he’s ‘off beat’ enough to just sail through life without really dealing with it. Art on the other hand has more issues with his own inferiority complex rather than an issue with external discrimination. So a major theme that attempts to build some sort of social commentary in this story, and scenes and sub-plots around this dominate whole episodes, but don’t actually link in to the main plot in a cohesive or meaningful manner. It’s more just a backdrop that takes up a lot of time and space.


Season 2 also sees an increased focus on Hajime (Nice’s friend who he regularly feeds at Cafe Nowhere who seems tough but we haven’t really seen her do anything prior to season 2). While she ultimately gets a really intriguing back story and a great side-story the link back to the overarching plot is again tenuous. Her story does lead to some complications with the powers of the characters and is probably the most interesting of all the stories we see in season 2, but it isn’t enough to carry the whole series.

Re: Hamatora ultimately has a bunch of ideas all competing for attention to the point where you all but forget that dramatic conclusion to season 1 or even what it is the characters were ultimately trying to achieve (if anything).


Despite the story issues, of which there are many, it is the fact that the characters seem so disconnected from these events and do not seem to undergo much development or growth that really causes it all to come tumbling down. A fragmented story could still come together if the characters drove through the plot and learned from each of their encounters and took something with them. But Nice is apparently perfect from the get go and others just need to see he’s fine. The other characters personalities barely blink over the course of the events and so as an audience member you are not asked to care about any of the goings on but are merely expected to embrace the zany colour pattern (which is intensely bright, even more so than season 1) and the sickening scene transitions.

This is a watchable follow up and it does ultimately answer questions about the school and Minimum Holders and it does end, but honestly there is little point in watching unless you just like anything involving super powers. Because it is not bad. It may not be good but there is fun to be found in watching this just don’t expect anything amazing.

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Karandi James.