10 most iconic anime spin-off series 

Characters from Attack on Titan: Junior High, an anime spin-off (Image via Production I.G)
Characters from Attack on Titan: Junior High, an anime spin-off (Image via Production I.G)

Anime spin-off shows are a real challenge for creators to take on as they are almost always either a hit or a miss. The writer has to conjure up a storyline that must be perfectly complementary to the original series while at the same time being an unique experience for the already invested fans.

Since an anime spin-off is inspired by a show that already enjoys a massive fan following, it becomes difficult to crown one as a success. So it is really impressive when a spin-off does live up to the expectations to make a name for itself.

In this article, we have curated 10 anime spin-off shows for you to watch that we believe have hit the sweet spot of doing justice to the OGs while also bringing a whole new treat to the plate.

10 anime spin-off shows that are at par with the originals.

1) Attack on Titan: Junior High

This anime spin-off parody takes the modern classic Attack on Titan and completely turns it around to make a top-notch comedy. It contrasts Attack on Titan’s bleak and grim nature, making it more fun and light-hearted. The story takes place in Attack Junior High School attended by chibi versions of the original characters, the traits of whom are maximized for ultimate comic effect. Eren Yeager is not pissed off at the titans for killing his mother, as shown in the original version, but rather at the Colossal Titan for stealing his cheeseburger, a detail alone enough to tickle your fancy.

2) Pokemon Origins

Featuring characters from the original video games from Nintendo, Pokemon Red and Blue, this anime spin-off series is a perfect treat for the fans of the iconic franchise. The miniseries follows Red as he embarks on the journey to become a Pokemon master, the hero narrative is similar to Ash's, the face of the franchise. Despite spanning only four episodes, the show promises the same zeal and vigour of the beloved original series with a great protagonist accompanied by an engaging story with amazing action scenes.

3) Dragon Ball Z: The History of Trunks

Considering the enormity of the Dragon Ball franchise, an anime spin-off is inevitable. Focusing on the fan favorite, Trunks, the story takes place in an alternate timeline where Goku has succumbed to a heart disease and the Z fighters are almost all annihilated by Android 17 and 18. Gohan and Trunks are the only defense the world is left with and it gives the fans an emotional taste of what might have happened if Trunks had not intervened the way he did in the past.

4) Cells At Work: Code Black

AA2153 and U-1196 from Cells at Work: Code Black (Image via Liden Films)
AA2153 and U-1196 from Cells at Work: Code Black (Image via Liden Films)

The original show is known for its pretty accurate representations of the human anatomy and the potential dangers the organs are faced with. The anime spin-off drives the narrative to a darker place by depicting the human body at its foulest, laced with alcoholism and heavy smoking and the results of it not being taken care of. Maintaining the same impressive medical accuracy as the original series, Code Black follows the journey of a rookie red blood cell called AA2153 and an overworked white blood cell named U-1196, as they work in the extreme conditions of a poorly maintained human body.

5) Isekai Quartet

Speaking of fan services, this anime spin-off is a winner. Isekai Quartet indulges the fans of the trending isekai genre where the protagonists are transported to a different world or dimension which they navigate and fight for an identity in it. The series features chibi versions of the characters from isekai gems like Overlord, KonoSuba, Saga of Tanya the Evil and The Rising of the Shield Hero who find themselves in a whole new isekai where they become high school students. The relentless comedy paired with the joy of seeing the original serious characters having a laugh is an absolute delight.

6) The Cat Returns

An absolute must-watch for Studio Ghibli fanatics. This anime spin-off is a fresh take on a subplot from the Ghibli classic, Whisper of the Heart. If you have enjoyed the visual treat and the magical ambience of the first movie, which paints a heartwarming story of first love, The Cat Returns promises every single of those aspects enhanced to perfection. Fans of the original movie were already enticed by the beautiful origin story of the enchanting cat doll, The Baron, who becomes the protagonist in this movie.

7) Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu

This anime spin-off gives the fans some respite from the seriousness of its original show, Full Metal Panic!, which is more of an anthology of different stories than a series. Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu takes place between the first and the second season. Instead of dealing with mechas and main plot, this series is set in a high school as it focuses on the romance between the characters, Sosuke Sagara and Kaname Chidori. Different aspects of the original series are parodied in this spin-off, bringing a stark change to the overall tone of the main show and turning it into a comedy.

8) Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online

This anime spin-off takes place in the Sword Art Online universe where the prior incidents of the players getting trapped in the MMORPG game has dropped the popularity of VR games. The story deals with a university student, Karen Kohiruimaki, who begins a VR game called Gun Gale Online, with an avatar called LLENN. After quickly proving herself to be one of the best players in the game, she is invited to a challenge by a player called Pitohui.

9) Yu-Gi-Oh! GX

Another mammoth of a franchise, Yu-Gi-Oh! has spawned a much darker spin-off called Yu-Gi-Oh! GX. The story takes place ten years after the incidents of Yu-Gi-Oh! and features a group of new dualists. The protagonist, Jaden Yuki, who shares similar traits with Yugi, is training in the field of Duel Monsters under the Duel Academy which was founded by Seto Kaiba. The initial friendly atmosphere soon becomes bleak when Jaden is consumed by his dark side, turning him into the bad guy who is even posing a threat even to his own friends.

10) Soul Eater Not!

Tsugumi Harudori, Meme Tatane and Anya Hepburn from Soul Eater Not! (Image via Bones)
Tsugumi Harudori, Meme Tatane and Anya Hepburn from Soul Eater Not! (Image via Bones)

The anime spin-off of the popular Soul Eater series takes the fans a year from the events of the previous show to the Death Weapon Meister Academy. This series pulls the focus from the EAT (Especially Advantaged Talent) class and puts it on the NOT (Normally Overcome Target). The students who train to keep their abilities in check prevent them from becoming a threat to others, unlike the EATs who are trained to become warriors. The series follows three students of the NOT, Tsugumi Harudori, Meme Tatane and Anya Hepburn, as the trio works towards controlling their powers.

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Edited by Priya Majumdar
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