It’s become a tradition at this point that every popular shonen anime gets a film adaptation. It makes sense from a business perspective. When a studio has one of the most beloved and recognizable franchises in the world, the film industry presents a great opportunity to capitalize on that popularity.
While new franchises like Jujutsu Kaisen and demon slayer have recently used films to continue their canonical story, many older franchises have used films exclusively for non-canonical spinoffs. naruto itself has nearly a dozen spin-off films, while A piece boasts an impressive list of 14. With so many non-canonical stories, most of these films are bound to be lackluster, but somehow manage to impress even the most cynical fans.
ten One Piece: Z movie has enriched the world of anime even more
One of the greatest non-canonical animated films comes from the world of A piece. A piece has made a name for itself with its fantastic world-building and intriguing political structure. But even though it’s over a thousand episodes long, the anime still doesn’t have time to explore every nook and cranny of its world.
One Piece Movie: Z had the unique opportunity to delve deeper into the history of the Marines. Many fans love the original Z character created by the film and believe that adding it to canon would help flesh out the World Government.
9 Naruto Shippuden: Blood Prison was a unique version of the formula
Many popular shonen anime fall victim to their own formula for success. When things are going well, it’s easy for a story to try to repeat what got it there. While completely understandable, many fans yearn for these popular shonen to break the formula.
Naruto Shippuden: Blood Prison did just that when he took Naruto and placed him in the unorthodox setting of a dangerous prison. The story was a unique addition to the world of naruto and was even later re-incorporated into the sequel series, Boruto.
8 Hunter X Hunter: The Last Mission Brought Fans Back To The Sky Arena
Hunter X Hunter has an incredibly rich world with complex political factions constantly at work. Yet the story quickly abandons settings, often looking toward fresh new ideas instead of reveling in old ones. But fans couldn’t help but be charmed by things like Heaven’s Arena, a tower dedicated to 1v1 combat between the world’s greatest fighters.
While the official anime moved past Heaven’s Arena pretty quickly, fans got a chance to revisit the tower in Hunter X Hunter: The Last Missionas well as meeting Gon and Killua’s former comrade, Zushi.
7 My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising was the original and intended ending
Fans speculated about the my hero academia ending for years. As the series rapidly approaches its conclusion, many are wondering if the beloved franchise can hold its landing. But these fans can turn to My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising for a hint of what’s to come.
This film is rumored to be adapted from the manga original, set to end with a sequence involving Deku imparting his quirk to Bakugo and working together to take down the villain. While that concept was likely scrapped, the film is fascinating to watch knowing how it could potentially have tied into the canonical series.
6 One Piece: Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island Made Anime Classy
It’s no secret that many popular shonen spinoff movies are made for profit. These series are some of the most popular in the world, and studios are using the films as an opportunity to cash in on that popularity. But every once in a while, fans see glimmers of genius in these works.
One Piece: Baron Omatsuri And the secret island features the directorial talent of Mamoru Hosada, one of the world’s greatest living animation directors. It’s a unique crossroads of talents, leading to one of the most visionary A piece movies never made.
5 Naruto Shippuden: Fan-favorite characters reunited in the Lost Tower
One of the most beloved and treasured characters in the naruto canon is the fourth Hokage, Minato. Unfortunately for fans, Minato is only occasionally sprinkled in the actual anime, with a few flashbacks here and there and a significant stay in the War arc. But these fans can take to Naruto Shippuden: The Lost Tower to scratch that itch for Minato content.
The film features a time travel plot where Naruto goes on a mission with his father from the past. It’s a charming film that does more than provide the necessary fanservice.
4 Hunter X Hunter: Phantom Rouge Was Based On A Canon Idea
When a creator works on a series, they often go through several different drafts before landing on the specific idea that gets it into print. Some of these sketches eventually find their way to the public and serve as fascinating case studies of the artistic process.
Hunter X Hunter: Red Phantom is a rare storyline where the film adapts an original idea from Hunter X Hunter‘s creator that was previously scrapped. Although the film isn’t true to the real story, it does offer a unique insight into one of manga’s greatest geniuses.
3 One Piece: Stampede is the fanservice everyone wanted
A shonen spin-off movie can’t always be a work of art. At the very least, fans are buying tickets to these movies in hopes of being able to witness some proper fan service that reminds them why they love these anime. One Piece: Stampede is exactly the kind of fanservice these viewers want.
The film features a collection of A piecethe most popular characters in a run that allows them to highlight each character’s unique powers and personality. It might not be the fanciest film, but it’s everything fans want and need from a spinoff movie.
2 My Hero Academia: Two heroes gave everyone one more chance to shine
In the official history of My hero academia, All Might has long passed his power to Deku. While he initially had the opportunity to show off his strength, that window became more and more limited with each passing day. In current continuity, All Might is fully retired and has almost no access to his old powers.
My Hero Academia: two heroes gives All Might that last chance in the spotlight. This movie’s final battle is everything a fan could want in a fight featuring All Might and Deku on the same team.
1 Naruto: Guardians of the Crescent Moon Kingdom Put Rock Lee in the Spotlight
the naruto anime has a massive cast of characters that fans love. But despite its hundreds of episodes, many of these secondary characters find themselves without a place in the current series. These characters are often forgotten and left behind, leaving a great opportunity for a spin-off film to pick them up.
Naruto: Guardians Of The Crescent Moon Kingdom did just that when it assembled a team of Naruto, Sakura, and Rock Lee for a mission. Rock Lee had an amazing showcase with a beautiful animation that reminded everyone why they loved this secondary character.
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