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The 14 Best Anime Reboots That Improved Upon The Original

Updated February 25, 2021 34.5k votes 9.4k voters 277.7k views14 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: Studio Deen/TMS Entertainment

    While the original 2001 Fruits Basket anime remains an all-time classic for many fans of the shojo genre, manga fans were disappointed about its inconclusive ending. Because the anime aired while the manga was still ongoing, it settled for an anime original ending that didn't properly capture the manga's darker tone in later arcs. A few characters from the manga were also missing from the anime, such as Kureno Sohma, Isuzu Sohma (AKA Rin), and Machi.  

    However, the 2019-2020 reboot gives manga fans a chance to finally see the original source material faithfully adapted in its entirety. It also features a new, slick animation style with a completely different voice cast, staff, and studio. For those who wanted more complexity and drama to the series, this reboot is the perfect addition to your list of top-tier shojo anime. 

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  • Fate/Stay Night is based on a visual novel, where plots and endings are determined by the reader's choices. An anime adaptation can unfortunately only choose one ending, which means fans of the video game may not see their favorite outcome unfold on screen. This problem is ameliorated with the rebooted version of the story, Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works. While protagonist Shirou becomes romantically involved with his partner Saber in the first series, in the second series he instead becomes involved with Rin.

    While there are merits to both romantic outcomes, Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works, which was produced by ufotable, offers a significant improvement in art, animation, and special effects over the original Studio Deen version.

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  • Devilman Crybaby is a 10-episode anime centered on a teenage boy named Akira who transforms into a devil but still retains a human heart. It's based on a 1972 anime called Devilman, which never really enjoyed popularity in the US, and in fact wasn't even brought to the States until 2014. For many viewers, Devilman Crybaby is their first introduction to the Devilman universe, which contains a 39-episode anime, a manga, and multiple OVAs.

    The original anime offers a '70s feel, which doesn't always successfully generate fear in modern audiences. The new anime uses psychedelic, gory imagery to hook new viewers – who may be inclined to check out the old stuff once if they're not sufficiently terrified.

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  • Photo: ADV Films / MAPPA

    The main thing the Ushio & Tora reboot brings to the table is length. What began as a series of '90s OVAs is now a respectable, well-animated, 26-episode show. Though it aired in 2015, Ushio & Tora never bends to the demands of the times. Instead, it retains its '90s sensibilities, keeping the art style and monster-of-the-week format alive while still making use of the advanced animation techniques available to it.

    In short, its perfect mix of old and new ideas makes it an especially fascinating anime to watch.

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