These anime sequels took a darker turn compared to the tone and themes set by the original series.
- Anime sequels often stick to the original’s tone and style to not alienate the previous audience, but some can take a darker turn, like Digimon Ghost Game and Casshern Sins.
- AD Police Files is a grittier prequel to the already dark Bubblegum Crisis series, showcasing a crime-ridden MegaTokyo without the Knight Sabers.
- Cells at Work! CODE BLACK presents a more violent and gruesome version of the original series, depicting a body ravaged by disease and neglect.
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Usually, anime that get popular enough to get a sequel don’t deviate too far from their basic premise. Anime sequels don’t want to alienate their previous audience by shaking things up too much, so while some things may change in the sequel, things like tone and style won’t be all that different from the original.
Sometimes, anime sequels might take a left turn and make a drastic change in tone, becoming much darker in comparison to the original series. While it might be a shock to fans of the previous series, it may also be a refreshing change that makes the sequel stand out compared to the original. Here are some anime sequels that went dark in comparison to their predecessors.
8 Digimon Ghost Game
Digimon has certainly flirted with dark themes over the course of its long life, with elements of horror and psychological trauma existing in nearly every entry. The newest entry in the franchise, Digimon Ghost Game, takes it one step further, being a horror-influenced take on the concept.
Digimon Ghost Game isn’t the darkest anime out there, but it certainly gives previous Digimon entries a run for their money. The Digimon in Ghost Game are often the subject of horrific urban legends that inflict horrible fats on unsuspecting victims, forcing the main crew to investigate what exactly is causing such supernatural phenomenon.
7 Casshern Sins
Tatsunoko Productions is well known for producing a litany of classic 70s superhero anime such as Science Team Gatchaman and Space Knight Tekkaman. Neo Human Casshern is another superhero series by Tatsunoko that aired in the 70s featuring the formerly human Casshern who became an android to fight evil robots.
The series received a reboot in the form of Casshern Sins, which tells a much darker story about a post-apocalyptic world where an amnesiac Casshern is being constantly hunted by robots seeking immortality. While it is wildly different from the original, it would be a mistake for fans to ignore it.
6 AD Police Files
Bubblegum Crisis is an iconic cyberpunk anime series from the 80s about an all-female group of mercenaries known as the Knight Sabers. The series followed them as they fought the secret machinations of Genom, a megacorporation responsible for creating cyborgs called boomers.
Bubblegum Crisis was a rather dark series for its time, but the prequel AD Police Files takes things a step further. While it was canceled with only 3 released episodes, the series shows a grittier, crime-laden MegaTokyo without the Knight Sabers to help clean up crime.
5 Cells At Work! CODE BLACK
The original Cells at Work! is a half-educational, half-comedic story about anthropomorphic cells doing their best to keep a body alive. The series got popular due to its scientific focus and cute designs, and naturally the series spawned several spin-offs.
Cells at Work! CODE BLACK is much darker take on the Cells at Work! formula, this time taking place in a body that has been ravaged by disease, vice, and neglect. The world of CODE BLACK is shown as violent, gory, and gruesome, though the characters still hope they will see better days.
4 Fuuto PI
Fuuto PI is a rather unique example here as it is not a sequel to another anime, but a live-action tokusatsu series called Kamen Rider W. Kamen Rider is a series normally targeted towards young children, so while it does tackle dark subjects, it rarely gets that graphic.
Fuuto PI, however, is completely different. It is much more graphic when it comes to violence, even featuring murders when the original series lacked such serious cases. Despite this, fans of the original should surely enjoy this sequel.
3 Dragon Ball Z
The original Dragon Ball anime was a mix of adventure and comedy. Most of the villains were goofy and silly, and danger was never all that present. While later arcs turned Dragon Ball into a more action-focused series with real consequences, the general feel of the series remained light-hearted.
Dragon Ball Z marks a huge change in the series’ tone, turning it from a whimsical fantasy adventure story to an epic sci-fi drama, with more focus on action and graphic violence than ever before. While many aspects of the previous series remained, Dragon Ball Z is almost an entirely different show.
2 Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam
The original Mobile Suit Gundam was fairly dark for its time, featuring a more realistic interpretation of the classic mecha formula of a young man piloting a giant robot. The series was a landmark in mecha anime and launched the Gundam franchise.
Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam came out several years later and was much darker than even Mobile Suit Gundam, featuring more deaths, more tragedy, and more violence than the original series. Zeta Gundam helped to establish the franchise’s popularity, helping it maintain itself as a mainstay of anime for quite some time.
The very first Fate/stay night anime series, released in 2004, featured only one route from the original visual novel. That route featured Saber as the main heroine, and showed her and her master Shiro Emiya as they fight in the Holy Grail War.
Fate/Zero is a prequel to Fate/stay night, featuring the events of the previous Holy Grail War. Unlike the original, Zero is much darker and more gruesome, featuring more cynical and cruel masters in comparison to the ones found in the original series. Despite its darkness, Fate/Zero is a beloved entry in the franchise, and a commonly recommended starting point.