Anime’s Midlife Crisis: Why Are So Many Shows Having Reboots, Spin-Offs, and ‘Next Generations’

Anime collage full of all sorts of chaos going on

Anime, a beloved genre of animation originating from Japan, is currently experiencing what some might call a midlife crisis. An increasing number of shows are being rebooted, spun-off, or continued with ‘next generation’ storylines. This trend has sparked a debate among fans and critics alike. Is this a sign of stagnation or a testament to the enduring appeal of these shows? Let’s delve into this phenomenon.

The Rise of Reboots

Reboots are not a new concept in the world of entertainment. They offer a chance to reintroduce classic shows to a new audience while also providing an opportunity to correct past mistakes or explore alternate storylines. In the anime industry, notable examples include “Sailor Moon Crystal”, a reboot of the classic “Sailor Moon” series, and “Dragon Ball Super”, which continues the story of “Dragon Ball Z.”.
The reasons behind the rise of reboots are manifold. For one, nostalgia is a powerful force. Many anime fans who grew up watching these shows are now adults with disposable income, making them an attractive demographic for studios. Furthermore, advances in animation technology mean that older shows can be given a fresh, modern look that appeals to today’s audiences.

Spin-Offs and Their Appeal

Spin-offs allow studios to explore different aspects of an established universe or focus on popular secondary characters. They can provide fresh perspectives and keep the fandom engaged without altering the original storyline. Examples include “Boruto: Naruto Next Generations”, which follows the adventures of Naruto’s son, and “Attack on Titan: Junior High”, a comedic spin-off of the popular “Attack on Titan” series.

The ‘Next Generations’ Phenomenon

The ‘next generations’ trend involves continuing the story with a new set of characters, often the children of the original cast. This allows for continuity and familiarity while also introducing new elements and conflicts. However, this approach has been met with mixed reactions from fans. While some appreciate the continuation of beloved franchises, others feel that these sequels fail to capture the magic of the original series.

Reboots are hit or miss; what is the deciding factor?

Reboots of movies, TV shows, and video games have become a prevailing trend in the entertainment industry. However, their success is often uncertain, leading to the popular phrase “reboots are hit or miss.” While some reboots triumphantly rejuvenate beloved franchises, others fall short of expectations and disappoint fans. So, what is the deciding factor that determines the fate of a reboot?

One crucial aspect is the ability to strike a balance between nostalgia and innovation. Successful reboots recognize the importance of honoring the original material and capturing its essence while also introducing fresh ideas. This delicate equilibrium ensures that both longtime fans and new audiences are satisfied. Additionally, having a passionate and talented creative team is pivotal. A reboot helmed by individuals who possess a deep understanding and love for the source material, along with a vision for its future, has a higher chance of succeeding.

Furthermore, audience reception and engagement play a significant role. If the original fan base feels connected to and embraces the reboot, it can generate positive word-of-mouth and attract a broader audience. On the contrary, when a reboot disregards the fundamental elements that made the original successful or fails to resonate with viewers, it risks losing its potential impact. Ultimately, the deciding factor for the success of a reboot lies in the careful balance between nostalgia and innovation, the expertise and commitment of the creative team, and the positive reception from the audience.


The trend of reboots, spin-offs, and ‘next generations’ in anime reflects both commercial considerations and creative choices. While there are valid criticisms, these approaches also offer opportunities for innovation and fresh storytelling within beloved universes. As long as there is an audience eager for more content from their favorite shows, it’s likely that this trend will continue.