A sequel to a popular anime is going to happen, no matter what. However, producers sometimes get the memo a bit late and sequels arrive when the original series’ fans have stopped watching anime...or breathing. To celebrate the need to make horrifically delayed comebacks, here are 11 anime sequels that came way after the original series.

1) Digimon Adventure tri. (2015)

  • Sequel to Digimon Adventure 02 (2001-2002)
  • Gap between sequels: 13 Years
  • Yes, there have been about 40 Digimon-related spin-off series sandwiched between the “original” Adventure trilogy. But, no, they just weren’t Digimon. There was one that even made the original series into a trading card game — and no, it was never time to duel. The original adventure where seven young kids went to camp for the summer and ended up fighting evil creatures in a digital world was never topped, and fans always wanted a sequel where Tai and gang (sorry, Matt fans: Tai is the leader) save the world one more time. Unfortunately, fans got that sequel nearly 13 years after the last series ended, and even that came to fruition as a movie series rather than a proper anime. However, fans take what fans get, so the question really is this: are you still young enough to bust out your Digivice in public? No, you’re not. But will you? Yes, you will.

2) Inuyasha: The Final Act (2009-2010)

  • Sequel to Inuyasha (2000-2004)
  • Gap between sequels: 5 years
  • Five years is not a particularly long time in anime; in fact, it’s actually the amount of time a One Piece story arc takes to “get going.” However, consider this: Inuyasha was a revolutionary anime that defined many elements of the magical/fantasy action genre as the “feudal fairy tale,” so it was a tragedy for viewers that it ended before the manga had completed its run. Fans (at least those who actually like looking at color) had to wait five years to find out whether or not perpetually out-of-time girl Kagome ends up with 15th century demon Inuyasha. So, really, can’t you already see why fans were crazy about the beautiful romance?

3) Dragon Ball Super (2015)

  • Sequel to Dragon Ball Z (1989-1996) (see below, Continuity Enthusiasts)
  • Gap between series: 19 years
  • There’s a lot of debate between fans about whether or not Dragon Ball GT was canon, whether Frieza is finally dead, and whether creator Akira Toriyama is just one of Dr. Gero’s henchmen designed to confuse us with his convoluted involvement in the series. Either way, whatever the case may be, fans are rather confused that Super seems to incorporate elements that make it a sequel to Dragon Ball Z and also has some (albeit, very controversial) elements which imply that GT also happened — something that’s a bit divisive because Toriyama wasn’t involved in that series. It may just be a ploy to keep the popular GT designs alive for merchandising, but either way, Goku is here and he’s killing more enemies that never seem to die, and he’s probably going to die 5 times in the series himself (and somehow come back each time as well). What more does a DB fan want?

4) Sailor Moon Crystal (2015)

  • Sequel to (technically, re-imagining of) Sailor Moon (1992-1997)
  • Gap between series: 18 years
  • Reboots; they are all the rage nowadays. Whether it’s the same superhero being recast as early as three years after the previous film or age-old series getting a new coat of paint and being labeled “updated,” the point is that purists are seeing more recycling and messing with the source than they like. And that is kind of what happened with Sailor Moon Crystal. While fans generally agree that it is an interesting reboot of one of the defining examples of the “magical girl” anime, there is always the question of why does a tribute need to “reboot” something? Would it not have been nicer to take a route that pays homage to the original while coming up with an entirely new story for Sailor Moon Usagi and her fellow senshi as they battle Queen Beryl? Actually, there is one complication: Sailor Moon Crystal is, in spite of its liberties with the material, considered by some to be closer to the original manga than the iconic series. Whether that is good or not is entirely up to you and your nostalgia, but one thing is certain: Sailor Moon Crystal is not Sailor Moon.

5) Hajime No Ippo: New Challenger (2009)

  • Sequel to Hajime No Ippo (2000-2002)
  • Gap between series: 7 years
  • Perhaps it is the aftereffect of Floyd Mayweather once again turning boxing into a mainstream sport, but the return of Hajime No Ippo to the big screen was well-timed with the PPV sales for the sport suddenly becoming huge once again. And although the actual sport of boxing is filled with bravado and machismo, this beloved series succeeds by avoiding exactly that. Protagonist Ippo is a sweet, simple kid who wouldn’t hurt a fly outside the ring. He has the good fortune of one day being discovered by a world heavyweight contender, and the rest is history...or the plot to almost any boxing movie. What’s more interesting is that the original manga actually came out in 1989, so the original anime itself was quite a bit delayed. After all, every decade needs its own boxing anime, right? Right?

6) Ashita No Joe 2 (1980-81)

  • Sequel to Ashita No Joe (1970-1971)
  • Gap between series: 10 years
  • What is it with boxing and comebacks? Just like Hajime No Ippo but several decades before it, beloved anime franchise Ashita No Joe came back and took fans by the collar. But what makes this anime darker than your average pugilistic plot is the premise: Joe, an orphan who used boxing as a means to improve his life, killed his last opponent. Now, in the sequel, he comes back to the ring knowing that he once killed someone. And while this is a story you should experience on your own and this description will therefore give no further details, it isn’t giving away anything to say that Joe eventually ends up against a champion whose horrific strength has damaged many careers on its own, and Joe fights him — not for his own sake but for the sake of the once-contender that he killed. It is a story that does not shy away from the reality of boxing as a modern-day cockfighting arena between humans, and is therefore best watched when you are willing to think about this legalized form of sensationalized violence in “modern” society.

7) Ultimate Muscle: The Kinnikuman Legacy (2002-2002)

  • Sequel to Kinnikuman (1983-86/91-92)
  • Gap between series: 10 years
  • And once you’re done watching a depressing 80s anime in Ashita No Joe 2, go ahead and watch this sequel to  Kinnikuman, one of the most hilarious spoofs of (and tributes to) professional wrestling ever. Whereas the original focused on Kinnikuman (King Muscle) and his ascension to the throne of Muscle Planet, the sequel focuses on his son, Kid Muscle, and his ascension to the top of idiot charts everywhere. And whereas the original focused more squarely on disgusting humor, Ultimate Muscle succeeds because its emphasis lies in mocking not just wrestling but popular culture in general. Written with a Western audience in mind, the sequel series has some of the most sharply written and pun-tastic dialogue ever created for a dub, and it really serves as a great look at the evolution of pro-wrestling, anime conventions, and Eastern humor.

8) Ai Tenchi Muyo! (2014)

  • Sequel to Tenchi in Tokyo! (1993-97)
  • Gap between series: 17 years
  • You may not have heard of this collection of four-minute shorts, but it is actually the sixth installment of the Tenchi Muyo! series, a popular adventure/fantasy saga that aired back in the early and mid-90s. The series (save for its two spin-offs) follows the journeys of a gifted young man named Tenchi Masaki, a prince who owns a magical weapon and somehow always ends up surrounded by beautiful women who are attracted to him (no, really — that’s actually the story). The latest in the series now finds Tenchi as a 22-year-old teacher at an all-girls' school on a secret mission, pretty much pretending that the two spin-offs in the middle didn’t happen. The anime was actually sponsored by the city of Takahashi, Okayama to promote tourism, and what better way to do that than a series of four-minute episodes starring a protagonist that hadn’t been on air for 18 years in a setting that seems better suited for a category of anime that we will not mention here?

9) Lupin the Third: Part IV (2015)

  • Sequel to Lupin the Third: Part III (1984-1985)
  • Gap between series: 30 years
  • Before you scream about the “middle” story of Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, remember that this origin story didn’t have iconic thief Lupin as the main protagonist. Lupin the Third: Part IV, however, is a continuation of the chronicle of that ever-slippery devil as he dodges law agencies throughout the world and accomplishes the most heinous heists ever committed, only to usually lose it all and end up at square one. It’s an interesting series that often manages to pack both seriousness and comedy in a slick tone similar to Cowboy Bebop, but a story with considerable character development means you need to know the backdrop of the characters. And that means you need to go back and watch an anime with installments in 1971, 1977, and 1984. And while it may sound like a bit of a chore, with the quality of the anime, it really is the most enjoyable chore you can have.

10) Saint Seiya Omega (2012-2014)

  • Sequel to Saint Seiya (1986-1989)
  • Gap between series: 23 years
  • This is an interesting pick because it will likely melt your mind in terms of chronology. Saint Seiya was an iconic action manga and anime from the 80s that became a seminal work in terms of humans battling giants of mythology as orphan Seiya is forced to battle in a tournament of epic proportions called the Galaxian Wars in order to someday find his sister. If it sounds similar to nearly every anime since, that’s because Seiya’s journey inspired numerous hits from the 80s, like Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, served as one of the primary inspirations for Bleach, and even popularized the term "yaoi" in anime circles (look it up when you’re not in public or on a work computer). The creator made a sequel manga that actually involves several characters going into the past to save the protagonist —therefore, it is chronologically a sequel doing the job of a prequel. The creators of Omega, however, felt there wasn’t enough material in the ongoing manga and instead created a sequel/spin-off that takes place 25 years after the original anime. It was a derivative rendition of nearly every hero story that came out in the decades since the original and was a disappointment for fans who remembered seeing the classic. Therefore, if you are seeking to understand why the original series was so iconic, you might be better served watching the original from the 80s.

11) Mega Man (2017)

  • Sequel (?) to Mega Man (1994-1995)
  • Gap between series: 22 years
  • While details are a bit foggy as to what exactly this series will be (sequel, reboot, conspiracy to take over your iPad with intrusive ads), one thing is certain: the original Mega Man series originally had a third season planned when it was canceled back in 1995, and fans never got to see that version of the robot boy in blue again. There were several spin-offs involving computers and one where Mega Man was an anti-virus app or something, so, really, a return to the roots would be welcome. After all, this is a classic gaming series that lost its way — a challenging pioneer of the 2D genre that failed to carry its momentum into the modern age. The very well-regarded game Mega Man 9 brought things down to what they were in the original, and this show would do well to do the same.

So what other anime sequels do you know that you really had to wait a long time for? Any others you are still waiting for? Be sure to sound off in the comments below! And for all your anime goodies, be sure to follow Dramafever on Twitter!

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