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
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
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
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
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
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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18 thoughts on “Top 5: Must-Watch Anime Sequels”
The only thing I can relate to is Clannad. Season 2 for me has been the worst thing as far as continuing the story. To be specific, the 2nd half was just awful. Intead of a story where Tomoya was raising his daughter, the producers just went and got too loyal with the story found in the original game. Because of this whole “killing and reseting the timeline” where Nagisa was having labor, this robs all the hardwork Tomoya put an effort on to absolutely nothing. I mean, that was the main highlight of the 2nd series and then, just reset the damn shabangand pretend as if nothing ever happened? It still makes me mad whenever I think about it. It still does.
Seems like we have a common taste for sequels we like. While I won’t rank AssClass 2 first, that show elevated the series into new highs. I remember bawling like a 6 year old in the finale. Maybe it is a testament on how effective that was in establishing investment with the characters no?
Shirayuki-hime S2 is more of the same with S1, but I found the pirate arc a tad too contrived. Well, more Obi > better for me so I won’t complain much.
Kimi no Todoke S2 made me feel like a neurotic mother wanting her children to find happiness. Then episode 8 -12 happened and it felt like… heaven. Now – when are we going to kill Joe for ruining that Kazehaya x Sawako moment in the classroom?
Higurahi Kai made efforts to develop its antagonist and the doramaaaaa is good.
Clannad After Story…. uhm, it destroyed me. I think I wasn’t able to watch new shows weeks after I saw that one.
I think the more Obi is definitely what really sold me on season 2 of Shirayuki. Of course the other characters are still adorable but Obi is awesome.
Great to see Clannad and Higurashi there. Though I have to say that while the former was a great adaptation, the latter was a really rushed one, I’m surprised it was so well received (at least on MAL). Still, second season before the first? Heh- no, I can’t actually laugh as I did the same with Haruhi…
Even so, I greatly enjoyed both of Higurashi’s season (the first one though… Deen that year had something against VN perhaps? As they also did the 2006 Fate/Stay Night…)
Haven’t watched Kimi ni Todoke and I’m not really into Shoujo Anime, so I can’t say much about it or Snow White With the Red Hair (I enjoyed it though). As for Assassination Classroom, I think I’m feeling the effect of being a Manga reader, as I enjoyed the Anime but couldn’t feel the same hype others were feeling while it was airing…
My best one, other than Clannad and Higurashi, would probably be the original Chinese Enmusubi no Youko-chan, second season blew my mind as the first one was quite bad in my opinion (and that’s why I totally understand some negative review of the first episode of the Japanese dubbed version which is airing right now). I hope people will try to stick it with at least 4 episodes, as that’s when the Japanese version will finish the 1 season and enter the 2nd, much better, one.
Well…I know that I am in the minority with this one, but I actually loved the second Season of Sword Art online. Especially the first arc of that one. But as I said, I know I am one of the few people that likes it.
Haven’t seen any of the shows on your list yet, but Clannad has been sitting on my to watch list for quite a while now.
I like the first arc of season 2 Sao more than the second arc of season 1. Then again, I just like Sao.
Forgot to mention my favorite sequels… SAO 2 of course brought us the awesomeness that is Mother’s Rosario. Which is not being ironic, but serious. Had it been a stand alone series, Mother’s would have been extraordinarily popular. It doesn’t get the attention it deserves because… well, SAO.
My favorite though is Yama no Susume 2, which took a charming SOL/CGDCT short a step further and delivered a charming and solid story.
While I haven’t watched it, I’ve heard wonderful things about White Album 2. Thankfully, WA2 is standalone, so you don’t have to drag yourself through the mediocre original.
Something a little more recent: Bungou Stray Dogs 2nd Season. I thought the first season was decent, if not a little generic. But the second season steps things up considerably, with a fantastic 5 episode prequel arc. The following arcs inject some much-needed tension to the plot, with a more serious tone that really works in favor of the show.
I liked the prequel arc in Bungo
I went from finding Dazai annoying in the first season, to having a man-crush on him by the end of the prequel arc haha
Higurashi Kai put an end to all the senseless bloodshed and madness, and after enduring the insanity of the first season, this book of answers was everything I could have asked for and more.
I haven’t seen any of the ones that made the list (shame on me) but the Noragami comment in the honorable mentions made me laugh. It always seems to be the second season with the horrible cliffhanger, and the third season that has the killer wait, huh?
I don’t mind it not concluding if I know more is coming, but in a lot of cases with anime it isn’t ever going to get made. They really need to give some closure if they don’t have a confirmed next season.
I really need to get on to watching season 2 of Kimi ni Todoke. I enjoyed the first season very much but a small part of me doesn’t want to see all the misunderstandings and jealousy with Sawako and Kazehaya again 😛 But I realize that’s the good thing about romances, the conflicts that can make you mad occurring first, then the relieving resolution later on.
I felt that S2 of Snow White, while still good, was a definite letdown from S1… Shirayuki, like Asuna in SAO/Fairy Dance, was still active (not merely a passive quest object) but lost a lot of her agency.
Fair enough. I still felt she had some great moments with Raj and at the end and even though she did play the damsel in the middle it was only because she was genuinely in over her head. Even though she couldn’t save herself she still tried to stay strong in a fairly miserable situation. There’s no denying though that she did have to sit around and wait to be rescued.