Anime remakes better than the originals
Still from Fullmetal Althemist: Brotherhood
Are you a purist? Do you think remakes are a scourge upon humanity? You are not alone. In an era where nearly all our entertainment comes packaged with a number following its name, many are sick and tired of reboots and remakes. Anime is no stranger to the epidemic of reboots. Plenty of anime have been remade to improve on animation, story, or simply cash in on a fan favorite (let’s be real here).
But once in a while something magical happens: a remake gets it right. We’ve rounded up a list of anime reboots that are undeniably better than the originals. We chose to feature remakes that retell the story (as opposed to sequels or prequels), and went with popular opinion regarding which version is better. Still, all of these are subjective and we expect disagreements. Come argue with us on Facebook.
The original: Cyborg 009 (TV)
The superior reboot: Cyborg 009 (1979)
Above: Still from original 1968 Cyborg 009. Below: Still from 1979 version of Cyborg 009.
The original anime came out only a few years after Astroboy, at a time when the idea of cyborgs and demihumans was at its height. The series created memorable characters but was limited by the youth of the medium. Episodes were mostly of a monster-of-the-week variety with an emphasis on action, and the characters were developed only as far as a spin-off of Astroboy warranted.
The 1979 remake was a color rendition of these same characters, but it managed to infuse them with more life and depth through a more structured narrative. Unlike the original, the 1979 remake gave Cyborg 009 an identity of its own and delved into more philosophical questions.
Which is not to say that every remake of the series did a good job. The less said about the Call of Justice movies the better.
The original: Hellsing
The superior reboot: Hellsing Ultimate
Above: Still from the original Hellsing anime. Below: Still from Hellsing Ultimate.
It’s commonly agreed that the original Hellsing anime adaptation pales in comparison with Hellsing Ultimate. To be fair, it’s not entirely Hellsing’s fault. When the original anime aired, it caught up to the manga, then made up the rest. The result is subpar to the remake, which follows the manga closely and builds character and drama much more effectively. It also introduces some characters that didn’t even make an appearance in Hellsing. The result is an anime so different from the original that many fans advise skipping the original altogether in favor of Ultimate.
The original: Fullmetal Alchemist
The superior reboot: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Above: Still from the original Fullmetal Alchemist. Below: Still from the remake Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.
The original Fullmetal Alchemist holds a special place in many fans’ hearts, being a gateway anime for many. But even though it holds its own, the remake takes what FMA did and perfects it. As with Hellsing Ultimate, what makes the difference is how closely Brotherhood adheres to the original source, making the telling and characters more poignant and relatable. It also doesn’t fudge the ending, a sore point in many fans’ eyes.
Still, despite what you think of the original FMA, there’s a reason Brotherhood currently holds the highly coveted spot of #2 on MAL’s rankings despite being nearly a decade old.
The original: Fate/Stay Night Movie: Unlimited Blade Works
The superior reboot: Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works
Above: Still from the original Unlimited Blade Works movie. Below: Still from the Unlimited Blade Works series remake.
No, we’re not saying Unlimited Blade Works is a reboot of the original Fate/Stay Night (although if it were, it would be named superior. Go ahead. Dispute that.) Instead, it’s a depiction of a different route from the game the series is based on.
But the anime is a remake of the movie that preceded it by four years, which many fans hated. By all accounts, the movie tried to condense too much material into the length of a movie, ending up with a disorganized and rushed finished product. By contrast, the anime took its time to develop the characters and was overall more polished than the movie. This is one case where the remake is the clear winner beyond a doubt.
Let’s fight about these forever!
Some anime and their remakes are not as clear-cut about their superiority. Many a war has been waged on the battlefields of forums over whether the original or remake is better. The following two anime are particularly divisive. Let the battle begin!
The original: Hunter x Hunter
The (potentially) superior reboot: Hunter x Hunter (2011)
Above: Still from the original Hunter x Hunter series. Below: Still from the 2011 Hunter x Hunter remake.
The best thing going for the 2011 reboot of Hunter x Hunter is its length: whereas the original anime ends prematurely, the remake continues in the adventures beyond where the 1999 series left off. The reboot contains less filler, improves the animation, and eventually gears itself more towards an older audience. Still, many fans prefer the original anime for its charm, art, and voice acting. There is just no clear winner here.
The original: Neon Genesis Evangelion
The (potentially) superior reboot: The Evangelion: Rebuild movies
Above: Still from the original Evangelion series. Below: Still from the first movie in the Rebuild remake.
Ah Evangelion, the flawed but beloved gem. The original anime received mixed reviews, but the series cemented itself in anime history as a classic. When the three Rebuild movies came out, they did everything they could to capture the same level of character depth while improving on the storytelling. The result was good — or as good as you can get when you condense 26 episodes into three movies. To this day, though, fans argue over which is better. Flawed as it is, you just can’t mess with the nostalgia of the original Eva.