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The 15 Best Anime Reboots That Improved Upon The Original

Updated May 12, 2021 34.9k votes 9.5k voters 279.0k views15 items

List RulesVote up the anime reboots that bring something new and valuable to an existing anime series.

Sometimes, an anime just needs a solid revamp, and the best anime reboots stand as a testament to the power of re-imagining a beloved series. This practice, where an old anime gets reworked with modern animation and fresh ideas, injects new life into a series either forgotten by time or without a proper conclusion. Some of the best anime remakes introduce anime fans to history they might otherwise have ignored. That's what happened to Devilman, a '70s anime remade in the form of Devilman Crybaby, which updated the art and style and introduced new fans to the series.

Another reason a studio may remake an anime is to more closely follow the manga source material. The 2003 version of Fullmetal Alchemist boasts plenty of its own merits, but it largely veers off course from Hiromu Arakawa's story in the manga. For fans of the manga, the 2009 remake, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, is a welcome addition to the anime canon, even ranking as one of the best anime of all time.

Not every anime that deserves a reboot receives one, and some reboots even end up eliminating the joy of the original series. That said, the anime below not only rebooted their series faithfully, they did so in ways that improved upon the existing property. This doesn't necessarily mean that the original series is bad – instead, it means the reboot adds something new, and provides a worthy viewing experience all its own.

  • Photo: Nippon Animation / Madhouse

    The original Hunter X Hunter started on some solid footing, but it ended up on hiatus more than once due to the source manga's erratic update schedule. After the first series began in 1999, production stopped just short of the Chimera Ant arc, as there wasn't enough material available and they wanted to avoid more filler. Manga updates came so slowly and sporadically that it took until 2011 to gather enough material for a complete arc.

    Rather than creating the arc and risk going through the same thing again, production decided to restart the series from scratch, paying more attention to character development and faithfulness to the source material.

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  • Photo: Mushi Production / MAPPA

    Based on the 1967 manga by Osamu Tezuka (creator of classics like Astro Boy and Black Jack), the 2019 Dororo anime faithfully adapts the manga's dark themes. The original anime version came out in 1969. And although it was a faithful adaptation, it had to be censored since the network thought this show was too dark with its bloody battles and images of corpses. Plus, the black and white animation might feel too outdated for modern viewers. 

    Luckily, the 2019 version delivers with its amazing animation and upgraded character designs. It doesn't shy away from the manga's tragic storylines and grisly images either. While the anime has some awesome fights and action sequences, it's also a moving story about humanity and friendship.

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  • Photo: Bones

    Everyone has an opinion on which version of Fullmetal Alchemist is better, which means the anime community may never agree on an answer. Both have their merits, but only the reboot, FMA: Brotherhood, truly remains faithful the manga storyline, which is a fantastic story on its own.

    While plenty of amazing anime excel without strictly adhering to their source manga, it's a blessing at least one version of Fullmetal Alchemist brings manga creator Hiromu Arakawa's original ideas to life.

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  • Photo: Gonzo / Madhouse

    The main thing differentiating Hellsing Ultimate from its predecessor Hellsing is its loyalty to the manga storyline. To be fair to the first series, it couldn't follow the manga because the manga wasn't anywhere close to being finished. In order to create an anime with a coherent storyline, the anime creators came up with their own villain, a vampire named Incognito.

    Hellsing Ultimate follows the manga closely, and is generally considered to be the superior version of the Hellsing story. In addition to telling a more compelling narrative, Hellsing Ultimate boasts much better animation.

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