Good artists create, but great artists steal. Controversial as that idea might be, there’s some truth to it. Impressive as it is to create something completely original, taking an idea that already exists and innovating it can often make for a classic. That’s not to say the original series isn’t still great or iconic, but it’s easier to reach the top when standing on the shoulders of giants.
Some anime wear their influences proudly, with creators often admitting how a prior legendary creator’s work influenced them. These anime series might have gotten their beginning as copycats, but given years of development, they found a way to go even further beyond.
10 One Piece Took Goku’s Personality & Improved Upon It With Luffy
The influence dragon ball had on all battle shonen is undeniable. One look at Luffy from One Piece and it’s easy to see the resemblance between him and Goku, from his big-eater nature to his desire to stand up for his friends. That influence is even more obvious when looking at Luffy’s Gear system, which seems suspiciously similar to Dragon Ball Zs Super Saiyan transformations.
but dragon ball leaves most of its characters without development, and even without focus eventually. One Piece doesn’t forget any character in its massive cast; even as they add more characters, older ones continue to see growth.
9 Shadowverse Flame Experiments More With Card Games Than Yu-Gi-Oh!
Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Masters is seen as the GOAT card game anime. And when it comes to meme potential and what it felt like to see the genre created, nothing will ever top it. However, card game anime series have come a long way toward evolving in ways Yu-Gi-Oh didn’t. Most recently is Shadowverse Flamebased on the popular digital card game from Cygames.
Shadowverse Flame is a sequel series to the original shadowverse that develops some of its other characters, giving them moments where they can feel important. It’s also a series that isn’t afraid to have its protagonist lose matches, whereas Yu-Gi-Oh! continued to place its protagonists in scenarios where every duel was a must-win or else everyone was in danger.
8 Digimon Has A Better Story & Characters Than Pokemon
90s kids everywhere have fond memories of the original pokemon series. The theme song alone is one of the most memorable cartoon opening of all time. But, as fun as that show was, the Digimon franchise was much better.
Digimon was much more willing to take risks, which is why Digimon has multiple series over its run, while pokemon has always been about Ash and Pikachu, the cutest anime pet no one wants. pokemon was also satisfied with being an episodic series, compared to Digimon always having serial storylines. While the marketing machine has kept pokemon alive for generations to come, multiple seasons of Digimon have become favorites of anime fans everywhere.
7 Love Live Evolves The Idolmaster Ideas
There have been anime series about idols dating back to 2001’s Chance Pop Session on television, and in OVAs even further. but idol master was a massive multimedia success unlike any other. But, as great as the idol master franchise is, Love Live takes what works and evolves it.
Love Live boasts a massive universe featuring multiple idol groups, allowing fans to get to enjoy different groups in competition with each other. Despite a brief break, the franchise is now more popular than ever, with Love Live! superstar starting in July 2022, and a fantasy spin-off coming in 2023.
6 Naruto Copies Goku’s Design Right Down To The Color Scheme
dragon balls influence on Naruto is obvious with one look at the protagonist. Kishimoto certainly created his own world and characters, but Naruto still copies Goku’s color scheme. Plus, there’s the fact that Naruto carries a dangerous monster inside of him, just like a certain Saiyan did in the first part of dragon ball.
that said, Naruto knows how to use this to greater effect than dragon ball ever did. Kishimoto builds his series around the Kyuubi residing in Naruto, and how the world responds to Naruto because he’s different from other people.
5 The Brave Franchise Improves On The Transformers’ Later Seasons
When fans think of Transformerswhat they tend to remember is the original Generation One series. What they don’t remember are the series that were exclusive to Japan. Series like Transformers Headmasters and Transformers Masterforce continued the Transformers idea, but they added their own twists.
the Transformers franchise came to an end in the late 80s, but Takara wasn’t done with the concept. the brave franchise would improve upon the same ideas introduced in Headmasters and master force. By breaking away from the Transformersthe brave franchise was able to put the kids at the center of things and make a less awkward series overall.
4 Edens Zero Takes Fairy Tail’s Designs & Adds A Better Story
Just one look at Edens Zero and most fans will notice how identical some designs are to Fairy Tail. But Hiro Mashima has improved on what he was doing with Fairy Tail by leaps and bounds. Though Edens Zero lacks the romance and ship teases of Fairy Tailit trades that for a more coherent plot.
Mashima himself talked about how Edens Zero is plotted out in advance, while Fairy Tail was made up as he went along. This difference in approach shows itself, as Edens Zero feels like it serves a greater purpose. The twists will leave viewers at the edge of their seats, and every new season of Edens Zero seems to be better than the last.
3 Gundam 00 Improves On The Ideas Of Gundam Wing
The original Gundam Wing was a smash hit both in Japan and America. Toonami introduced teenagers to a group of moody teenage boys with cool-looking giant robots and created an entire generation of gundam fans. But the original Gundam Wing isn’t very good, with lots of strange characterization and story developments.
Gundam 00 takes everything that doesn’t work about wing and tosses it out, instead going for insightful discussions about what it means to try to use might to stop a war. It’s a classic, and one of the best gundam series of the 2000s.
2 JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Took From The Style Of Fist Of The North Star
One look at Jonathan Joestar from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and its obvious Hirohiko Araki was influenced by the mega-popular 80s series, Fist of the North Star, and its protagonist, Kenshiro. Araki wasn’t alone; Kenshiro’s look defined many 80s protagonists in anime and manga alike. But Araki managed to evolve his style, eventually creating a universe and aesthetic that was his own.
The muscular physiques remained, but Araki modified with the signature flamboyant JoJo poses. Araki also wasn’t satisfied with the dystopian setting of Fist of the North Star. Instead, each major JoJo part resembles a different time period and setting, making each one unique.
1 Log Horizon Does The Trapped In An MMO Idea Better Than Sword Art Online
Sword Art Online was one of the biggest hits of the 2010 decade. Its first episode was groundbreaking, so of course, it didn’t take long before the copycats sprung up. The first series to do the “trapped in an MMO” idea after Sword Art Online used to be Log Horizon. Surprisingly, Log Horizon did an even better job showing what that idea would be like — and a better job with its own characters.
Horizon’s Log lead, Shiroe, is more interesting than Sword Art Online’s Kirito, and everything doesn’t constantly revolve around him. Log Horizon also feels like it was written by someone who’s actually played an MMO before, with the complex playstyle and strategies of high-level MMO combat being incorporated into every big fight scene.
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