In anime history, reboots have served as lifeboats, rescuing certain series from being forgotten. Some have even carved out a unique space for themselves, becoming irreplaceable gems in the anime world.
Often, these reboots come into existence to rectify past adaptations that fell short, especially when it came to delivering a satisfying, source-material-faithful ending.
Today, we will look at some anime reboots that were better than the original, setting a new standard for how we view these classic series.
6. Dragon Ball Z Kai
|Old Adaptation||Toei Animation | 291 Episodes | 1989-96|
|New Adaptation||Toei Animation | 158 Episodes | 2009-15|
“Dragon Ball Z” is a childhood-favorite shounen anime that’s sure to evoke nostalgia in anyone reading this. The series is undeniably a masterpiece and holds legendary status, given every facet of its creation.
However, this series includes some filler episodes (not part of the original manga) that may not sit well with contemporary anime enthusiasts.
To cater to such fans, a streamlined version called “Dragon Ball Z Kai” was developed.
This reboot focuses solely on the canon arcs from the manga, and even fine-tunes the character dialogue. As a result, the series offers more action and less chatter.
The most notable improvement in this reboot is the enhanced animation quality during battle scenes.
Therefore, “Dragon Ball Z Kai” is an excellent starting point for newcomers to the anime world. But for those seeking the full experience, the original “Dragon Ball Z” series remains the go-to option.
5. Fate Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works
|Old Adaptation||Studio Deen | 24 Episodes | 2006|
|New Adaptation||Studio ufotable | 25 Episodes | 2014-15|
“Fate/Stay Night” is a seinen anime that adapted a segment of TYPE MOON’s visual novel series, Fate.
Translating a visual novel into an anime is a complex task, given that visual novels have multiple endings (routes) determined by player choices.
Studio Deen took on this challenge and chose to adapt the first route, pairing the protagonist “Shirou” with his hero “Saber.”
Unfortunately, this route was the least popular among fans, and Studio Deen’s limited budget led to mediocre animation quality.
Recognizing the need for a better adaptation, Studio “ufotable” stepped in and rebooted the series with “Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works,” based on the visual novel’s second route.
This route, which pairs “Shirou” with “Rin,” is a fan favorite.
Studio ufotable showcased its signature high-quality animation and aesthetic visuals in this reboot.
Additionally, the series improved upon the awkward dialogues found in the original “Fate/Stay Night,” making the reboot far more engaging.
4. Hunter x Hunter
|Old Adaptation||Nippon Animation | 62 Episodes | 1999-2001|
|New Adaptation||Madhouse | 148 Episodes | 2011-14|
“Hunter x Hunter” is a renowned shounen anime that gained fame for its innovative power-scaling system. The anime debuted in 1999, just a year after the release of its source material, the manga series.
Given the close timing of anime adaptation, the availability of source material was inevitably going to be a challenge as anime quickly caught up to manga.
This led to frequent hiatuses for the anime, primarily due to the slow progress of the manga. The series eventually concluded without adapting the highly acclaimed “Chimera Ant Arc.”
Once enough source material was available, Studio “Madhouse” stepped in to reboot the series without any preamble. They not only elevated the animation quality but also revamped the entire voice cast.
Madhouse successfully adapted the much-anticipated “Chimera Ant” Arc, earning widespread praise from the anime community.
However, the “Hunter x Hunter” manga once again entered a period of hiatus, a cycle that unfortunately continues to this day.
3. Fruits Basket
|Old Adaptation||Studio Deen | 26 Episodes | 2001|
|New Adaptation||TMS Entertainment | 63 Episodes | 2019-21|
“Fruits Basket” is a beloved romcom manga that once vied for the top spot on MyAnimeList. The first anime adaptation was announced in 2001, at a time when the manga was still being published.
Due to the rush to conclude the anime, an “original ending” was devised, and some key characters like Kureno, Machi, and Rin were omitted, leading to an unconventional finale.
Fast forward 18 years and a reboot was finally announced by the esteemed studio “TMS Entertainment.”
One of the most reassuring aspects of this remake was the involvement of the original author as an executive producer, ensuring that all creative decisions passed through her scrutiny.
The reboot featured updated animation and an entirely new voice cast.
What set this version apart was its musical score and a greater emphasis on the “drama” genre, as opposed to the 2001 adaptation, which focused solely on the “romcom” elements, causing the series to lose some of its original luster.
2. Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood
|Old Adaptation||Bones | 51 Episodes | 2003-4|
|New Adaptation||Bones | 64 Episodes | 2009-10|
“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” holds the top spot on MAL and is considered one of the finest shounen anime series.
The initial anime adaptation began just two years after the manga, its source material, was launched. As with many early adaptations, the series encountered the issue of limited source material.
The workaround was to create an “anime-original climax,” which, while well-received at the time, couldn’t truly rival a professionally crafted manga ending, especially since fans had no basis for comparison.
Years later, the same studio returned, this time just a year before the manga concluded its run.
Seizing the opportunity for redemption, they rebooted the series as “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood,” and the rest, as they say, is history.
The reboot featured enhanced animation, updated character designs, and a storyline that adhered faithfully to the original manga.
These improvements propelled “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” into a global sensation that continues to be celebrated today.
|Old Adaptation||Mushi Production | 26 Episodes | 1969|
|New Adaptation||Tezuka Production, MAPPA | 24 Episodes | 2019|
“Dororo” is a vintage shounen series created by the legendary Osamu Tezuka, often referred to as the Godfather of manga.
Mysteriously, the “Dororo” manga was canceled a year before its anime adaptation, leading to an “anime-original” ending for the first adaptation.
Although Tezuka eventually concluded the series in October 1969, it was too late—the anime had already wrapped up.
Fast-forwarding 50 years, studio “MAPPA” joined forces with “Tezuka Production,” founded by the late Tezuka himself, to reboot “Dororo.”
Given that the original 1969 adaptation was in black and white, the reboot was a significant upgrade.
The studio modernized the character designs while preserving their essence and adjusted the pacing to align with contemporary anime-viewing habits.
The reboot was a boon for today’s anime fans, introducing this iconic series to a new generation unaware of its existence. For those interested in the original, the 1969 version still holds its own!
There you have it: Six of the best anime remakes that changed the series entirely. Let us know in the comments below what you think of this list!