When a show is popular, more of it gets made. Sequels, prequels, spin-offs, retellings, reiterations, recaps, alternate worlds, alternate characters, alternate focus. Fan consensus begins to decide where is the best place to start, what to skip, where to move next, what the correct chronological order is. To a newcomer, this can all be intimidating. Where on earth do you start with Lupin III or Gundam or Macross? Which version of the Patlabor franchise is worth watching? What’s the correct order to watch the Fate/Whatever franchise?

This post is an attempt to collate this information into one place to help fans discover where the best place is and what best order to watch these franchises is. I’ve written up a list here on the franchises I’m familiar with, but for a full list I need your help. Leave comments and I’ll update the list with your additions, crediting the person who left the advice as well. You can also disagree and re-write what’s already on the list, because invariably people will have different takes on what’s the best order to watch these things in.


The big problem with .hack is it’s a mul­ti­me­dia pro­ject so to under­stand the whole pic­ture you’d need to fol­low a bunch of dif­fer­ent anime, games, manga, and light nov­els in a cer­tain order. Yes, the games are import­ant, and the Legend of the Twi­light anime is noncanon. Cut­ting it down to the import­ant parts, it’s in this order:.hack//Sign (anime) -> .hack ori­ginal PS2 game quad­ri­logy (Infec­tion, Muta­tion, Out­break, Quar­ant­ine) -> .hack//Liminality (anime) -> .hack//Legend of the Twi­light (manga) -> .hack//Roots (anime) -> .hack//G.U. game tri­logy (Rebirth, Remin­isce, Redemp­tion) -> .hack//Quantum (anime).

Credit to SuzushinaYuriko

Angel Beats

Watch Angel Beats TV series as nor­mal up to epis­ode 4. Watch the OVA epis­odeStair­way to Heaven, then resume. Watch the OVA Another Epi­logue after the last episode. Altern­at­ively, it can make sense for Another Epi­logue to occur between the end of the last epis­ode and the CREDITS of the last epis­ode. Accord­ing to Wiki, Another Epi­logue is just that: an altern­ate end­ing. It depends on your interpretation.

Credit to KBKarma


Gen­esis of Aquar­ion -> Movie or the OVAs -> EVOL. The first 20 minutes of the movie are a reg­u­lar epis­ode, tak­ing place in the second half of the first series. The rest of the movie is close to identical to the two OVAs, so you can pick which format you prefer. It’s not strictly neces­sary to watch Gen­esis of Aquar­ion for EVOL though, especially since EVOL is a much better series.

Credit to Anca


Anim­a­tion -> Nat­ural -> OVA -> Origination. Des­pite its name, Ori­gin­a­tion is not a pre­quel or any­thing like that. The ori­gin­a­tion special, or ‘epis­ode 5.5′ as it is known, comes after ep 5 (well, gee).

Credit to Adamar


Tet­suwan Birdy and DECODE are two takes on the same story. The lat­ter was made several years later so has much better animation. DECODE -> The Cypher OVA -> DECODE 02 -> Tetsuwan’s OVAs if you’ve come to enjoy the fran­chise should be the optimal way.

Credit to Yuyucow

Black Rock Shooter

The TV series is based on a single episode OVA that was based on a music video that was based on a song that was based on a bit of character artwork. The OVAand the TV series have the same basic set up. The OVA doesn’t really go anywhere though, so if you want a story you might be better off with just watching the TV series.


Here are the non-filler arcs of Bleach.

1–63 = Shinigami arc / save rukia

110 — 129 = Arran­car arc p1

137– 167 = Arran­car arc p2

190 — 203 = Arran­car arc p3

206 — 212 = Urahara back­story on how he kicked out of the Soul Soci­ety! Of course you can skip this if you don’t care for Urahara.

215 — 226 = Arran­car arc p4

266 — 297 = Arran­car arc p5

300 — 310 = End of Arrancars

343 — 366 = Fullbringers/bleach anime ends


The three different versions of the Blood franchise, Blood The Last Vampire, Blood+and Blood-C, have no plot-related connections to each other, so it doesn’t matter what order you watch them in. Plus there’s absolutely no guarantee that if you like one, you’ll like the others, as all three are completely different in tone to each other. The only one you need to remember is Blood-C: The Last Dark is a sequel to Blood-C TV series

Boku no Pico

This is very import­ant and I wouldn’t want any­one to be fooled by the titles. Boku no Pico -> Pico to Chico -> Pico x CoCo x Chico. Now enjoy.

Credit to Yuyucow


Clamps’ various stories have a lot of crossover characters and storylines. Often the anime are made to be open to newcomers, but if you want to try follow the crossover plots, here’s a stupidly long and complicated guide of the chronological order:

Card­captor Sak­ura (1−35 -> movie -> rest of the series -> The Sealed Card -> Spe­cials): this a good entry point, but besides that it is abso­lutely neces­sary for both Holic and Tsub­asa. Both assume you’ve read it and are famil­iar with the char­ac­ters, par­tic­u­larly Clow Reed. Then RG Veda manga -> OVA. This sets the mood for what many con­sider to be ‘typ­ical CLAMP’. Then CLAMP School Detect­ives; it occurs at the same time as the manga Man of Many Faces and Dunklyon: CLAMP School Defend­ers, although see­ing as they are not anim­ated I con­sider the two optional. Dunklyon ties into RG Veda and has char­ac­ters appear­ing in Tsub­asa.

Right, now Tokyo Babylon OVA -> X TV -> X movie -> Tokyo Babylon manga -> epis­ode 0 -> X manga: if you’d rather just read the manga and skip watch­ing the vari­ous adapt­a­tions, Tokyo Babylon > X as they are dir­ect sequels. It takes place in the same world as CLAMP School Detect­ives, and the char­ac­ters have a rather import­ant role here. Next is Magic Knight Rayearth (S1 -> S2 -> OVA) -> Angelic Layer -> Chob­its (-> Chib­its); MKR and AL aren’t sequels and take place in dif­fer­ent worlds. MKR is in the same world as CLAMP School Detect­ives. Clover and Wish only have music video adapt­a­tions. Wish needs ought to be read before Kobato, but isn’t strictly neces­sary. Miyuki-chan in Won­der­land is ref­er­enced often, but not in any import­ant way. The Legend of Chun-Hyang has never been anim­ated, and isn’t strictly neces­sary to under­stand the arc of Tsub­asa it plays a large role in.

Okay, now: xxxHOLiC TV and movie -> Tsub­asa Chron­icles (see entry); xxxHOLiC Kei should be last. Then Kobato., Blood-C and Gohou Drug. Kobato. should only be watched after TRC, as it spoils the end­ing. Blood-C ref­er­ences xxxHOLiC, but can be watched whenever, prefer­ably after RG Veda and X as their storytelling relies on you know­ing they are incred­ibly sad­istic. Gohou Drug can be star­ted dur­ing xxxHOLiC, but should be left until after as the recently released chapters take place dur­ing Kei. Gate 7 is still pub­lish­ing, so it would be prudent to leave it last.

Credit to Anca


Start with the Clannad TV series. Then it might be best to jump into the two alternate world spin offs after that, the Kyou Chapter and the Tomoyo Chapter. After Story is the sequel to the original TV series. If you loved Clannad, just watch all of it. However, if you got sick of Clannad, or weren’t huge on it anyway, it is perfectly reasonable to skip the entire first 8 episodes. They’re just a bunch of filler. The good part of After Story only starts on episode 9. In fact, I’d also hazard to say that if you don’t like the Clannad TV series but still want to see what the fuss about After Story is, it’s easy to jump into After Story at episode 9. As for the alternate world Clannad movie, it’s some­what of a for­got­ten child compared to the rest of the fran­chise. It’s gen­er­ally cri­ti­cized for its shoddy char­ac­ter design, anim­a­tion, and diver­gence from cer­tain ele­ments of the ori­ginal story. How­ever, the diver­gence is con­sidered to be a good and a bad thing, so the movie comes out as a decent work as long as it’s not too closely com­pared to the TV series.

Credit to Appropriant


Code-E and Mission-E, sea­sons one and two respect­ively. No OVAs, no movies, no fluff. Just sea­sons one and two in order chro­no­lo­gic­ally, and they just hap­pen to have dif­fer­ent names.

Credit to blazingdead

Cowboy Bebop

The Bebop movie occurs between episodes 22 and 23. Most people just wait until they’ve finished the TV series to watch it.

Crest/Banner of the Stars

Start with Crest of the Stars. Then there’s Crest of the Stars: Birth, which is a prequel to Crest of the Stars, which I’d recommend slotting it in here. Then watch in straight chronological order, Banner of the Stars I -> Banner II -> Banner III.

Darker than Black

Original TV series ->side story special episode -> Gaiden OVA -> second season. The second season originally aired before the Gaiden OVA, but the OVA comes first chronologically and clears up a lot of the confusion that arose from the second TV series, particularly the change in Hei’s character.

Detective Conan

If you don’t mind being spoiled for something very small, you can jump right into the movies, they make a good start­ing point. I recom­mend movie 12. Otherwise, or afterwards, watch the TV series. Lupin III. vs Detect­ive Conan is as friendly to new­comers as any other part of Lupin fran­chise, so that could also be a good starting point if you already like Lupin III.

Watch the movies at least after these epis­odes. Movie 1 — ep 10; Movie 2 — ep 32; Movie 3 — ep 129; Movie 4–12 — ep 147; Movie 13 — ep 345; Movie 14 and 15 — ep 365. About the OVAs, all except num­ber 1, 9 and 11 are sup­posed to be seen after ep 147. First OVA should be watched after epis­ode 50. It has some minor spoil­ers about epis­ode 129, but those only con­sist of one char­ac­ter appereance. Ninth OVA includes great spoil­ers for epis­odes up to 200. Elev­enth OVA takes place in Japan dur­ing the Lon­don arc (616−621), when most of the char­ac­ters are (sur­pris­ingly) in Lon­don. A cer­tain char­ac­ter from epis­ode 509 appears there, but almost noth­ing is revealed about him. Since movie 11, movie spe­cials called Magic Files were sold on DVDs as well. For movies 11, 12 and 13, they provide a sort of back­story that has very little to do with plots of the cor­res­pond­ing movies. How­ever, Magic Files for movies 14 and 15 have minor spoil­ers, so they should be watched after their movies. Magic Kaito is a series of DC spe­cials based on a dif­fer­ent manga by the same author. They have noth­ing to do with DC and only provide a back­story for pop­u­lar Kaitou Kid char­ac­ter. There are also sev­eral cameos by DC char­ac­ters.

If you really want a stupid level of detail, see here.

Credit to Meonlyme1845, Anca

Dominion Tank Police

Watch the original OVA. New Dominion Tank Police is a sort of sequel, but was under different studio that stripped out the weirder side that made Tank Police memorable, so isn’t that good. But at least it’s not as bad as the TANK S.W.A.T. CGI remake thing.

Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera

Both the series from the 70s and the recent remake can be watched on their own without any prior knowledge of the franchise. The 2006 OVA series is completely different though, played dead serious without any attempts at humor whatsoever.

Credit to Flawfinder


1) Watch Dragonball or read the manga if you think the series is too old looking and long
2) Watch Dragonball Z if you want to stick to the traditional experience, or Dragonball Kai until the Android Saga if you like pretty colors and hate fillers, and Dragonball Z for the Majin Saga
3) Watch Dragonball GT only if you’re really committed to this, otherwise skip it ‘cos it’s crap
4) Watch the movies, except the two TV specials mentioned in the previous piece which are meant to be watched during the series
5) The Korean live action adaptation is a curiosity, stay at large from the western one because that one sucks
6 – optional) DBZ Abridged is nice to watch and use for rewatch value after finishing DBZ/Kai.

Much longer version here

Credit to GAN_HOPE326


Watch the first 12 episodes of the TV series, then jump into the first episode of thespecial. Then go onto the rest of the TV series, and finally back onto the second special episode. Also it would be wise to watch Baccano before watching Durarara, as some Baccano characters make cameo appearances in Durarara.

Eureka Seven

Start with the original TV seriesPocket Full of Rainbows is a movie that’s a alternate world re-imaging on the TV series. Eureka Seven Ao is a loosely connected sequel to the original. It’s tempting to say don’t bother with either, as popular opinion states neither is very good. But if you want to watch them, they can kinda be watched without knowledge of the TV series, but you really should watch the TV series first.


Evan­gelion TV series -> End of Eva. Make sure to watch the Director’s Cut for episodes 21-24. They include extra scenes that were included in the Death portion of the Death and Rebirth movie. Death was just a recap with extra scenes, and Rebirth was the first half of End of Evangelion. The rebuild movies are retell­ings and should be watched after the ori­ginal series and movie. Altern­at­ively if while watch­ing the TV series you get com­pletely sick of Shinji’s whin­ing, it might be best to cut your losses and jump straight to the altern­ate retell­ing movies as they make his character less of a hopeless whinger.

Fate/whatever franchise

This one’s awkward. The ideal starting point would be the Fate/Stay Night visual novel, but the level of wordiness in the VN would be incredibly intimidating to anyone who has never played visual novels before. There’s the anime adaptationFate/Stay Night, which isn’t a particularly good adaptation. Then there’s the prequelFate/Zero which, despite not being written by the original author, is widely considered to be the best part of the Fate/whatever franchise. Thing is, both Fate/Zero and Fate/Stay Night spoil stuff for each other, so it’s difficult to say which to start with. If you can handle visual novel word-vomits, start with that. If you can handle mediocre anime, try the Fate/Stay Night anime. If you just want a quick fix for a good anime, watch Fate/Zero.

There’s also Unlimited Blade Works, which is an alternate version of the TV series. There’s Fate/Prototype, which is just a short window into what nasu originally planned Fate/Stay Night to be. Finally, there’s Carnival Phantasm, a piece of goofy fanservice for fans of Type Moon’s work. It  has characters from places other than the Fate/whatever franchise, but if you’ve liked all that you’ve seen so far, by all means track down everything by Type Moon. They did make a Tsukihime anime, but it differs wildly from the game to the point that many Type Moon fans claim there is no Tsukihime anime.


Original TV series -> Fireball Special -> Fireball Charming. Charming is technically a prequel, but it was made after the original and it makes more narrative sense to watch Charming last.

Fist of the North Star

Possibly the definitive example of “it gets better I swear!”. The first story arc of the TV series has some filler and time wast­ing. I’d recom­mend watch­ing epis­odes 1–5, then you can safely skip right to epis­odes 18–22, which fin­ishes the first arc. Everything between is largely unne­ces­sary and gets extremely repetitive.

Credit to Antz

Full Metal Panic

Chronological order would be the easiest way around this. Full Metal Panic ->Fumoffu -> The Second Raid -> The Second Raid OVA. The only weird case here is Fumoffu. It’s a comedy spin-off from the original series with a completely different tone. I’d argue that you will find Fumoffu funnier once you’ve seen the original TV series, but plenty of people watch Fumoffu before the rest of the franchise and love it. So if you’re not feeling the TV series, or just want a very solid comedy anime, you can start with Fumoffu.

Fullmetal Alchemist

The two TV series, the original and Brotherhood, start off the same way but then veer in completely different directions. The original anime was made before the manga had finished, so the creators took a completely different direction with their adaptation. Several years later they made Brotherhood, which followed the manga right the way through. The original has a stronger character focus and deeper messages and themes, but Brotherhood constructs a much more coherent story that actually ends properly. I believe popular opinion swings towards Brotherhood being the better of the two, but they are both fantastic series. I personally think that it’s better to start with the original TV series though. My reasoning is that Brotherhood assumes you have seen the original and barrages through its early content to get to the New Stuff, diminishing the effect of some considerably important plot events. If you watch the original TV series, make sure to follow it up straight away with the Conqueror of Shamballa movie. If you’re watching Brotherhood, you should watch the special spin off episodes whenever, either once you’re done with the TV series or about 40-50 episodes into the TV series. They tell neat little side stories. Finally there’s the Sacred Star of Milos movie, if you want Full Metal Alchemist to degenerate into generic shounen pap.


Ignore the first series and just watch Futakoi Alternative. They have barely any relation to each other and Futakoi is total rubbish.

Credit to Yuyucow


Easy chronological order. Original TV series -> OVA -> second season. There’s spin-off material, Kujibiki Unbalance or Ramen Tenshi Pretty Memna, which are animated versions of the anime the characters in Genshiken watch. However they add almost nothing to the TV series and are routinely regarded as being terrible.

Ghost in the Shell

The original Ghost in the Shell Movie and Stand Alone Complex do not have any connecting plot threads, so you can watch whichever first. It’s probably best to start with the movie, as it’s the least intimidating place to start. The second movie, Ghost in the Shell: Innocence, is a direct sequel to the first movie, but isn’t generally considered to be that good, so you can skip that if you want and jump straight into the TV series Stand Alone Complex. Stand Alone Complex has a whole load of different spin offs, but they are mostly just re-tellings of the same story with re-used footage. Chronological order is Stand Alone Complex -> Stand Alone Complex Second Gig -> Solid State Society. Finally there’s the new OVA Arise, which is its own completely new universe as well, so you’re probably safe to watch that without seeing the previous GITS properties.


The first few episodes of the Gintama TV series are fairly poor and do not give a good account of the rest of the show. The ideal starting place for Gintama is theJump Festa OVA. It’s a microcosm of the sense of humour you will find in the TV series. If you liked that, then go wild because you’ll probably love the TV series too. If you didn’t, then don’t bother. As for the Benizakura movie, it’s a retelling of episodes 58-61, but does have some new scenes at the start and end.


The first thing you must understand about Gundam is there’s a main timeline, the Universal Century (UC) timeline, and then there’s Alternate Universe (AU) series that don’t connect to the main timeline at all. If you aren’t averse to old school animation, you can start with the UC timeline as outlined below. However a better starting spot may be one of the more recent AU Gundam series. The most recent ones are Seed, 00 and Age. Gundam fans will never agree which ones are worth watching, so I’m just going to go out on a limb and say I think 00 is the best place to start.

UC Timeline

Start with the 0079 Gundam trilogy. These are recap movies of the original TV series and generally considered better than the actual TV series. From there it’s0080 war in the pocket (also a favor­ite for christ­mas watch­ing) -> 08th MS team ->0083 Star­dust Memory -> Zeta Gun­dam (the actual direct sequel to the original trilogy, as the others are more spin-off OVAs) -> ZZ gun­dam (can be a bit jarring as the tone shifts from the super dark Zeta to light and goofy ZZ) -> Char’s coun­ter­at­tack movie -> Gun­dam Uni­corn (at this point the stories become less direct sequels and more indirect, this is just the chronological order) -> Gun­dam F91 movie -> Vic­tory Gun­dam. Then there’s Turn A Gun­dam, which was sup­posed to be the last UC is thing but feels more like a spinoff and could even be called an AU Gundam.

Credit to R1CK_D0M, Fadeway

Gundam 00

Straight release order. Season 1 -> Season 2. The sequel movie Wakening of the Trailblazer is widely considered to be a total mess and probably not worth watching, lest it spoils your opinion of the TV series.

Gun­dam Wing

OVA/Movie sequel: You should be fine watch­ing either ver­sion since the movie only includes a few extra scenes which aren’t ter­ribly neces­sary to the plot. Don’t read the pre­quel manga until after watch­ing the TV series and movie sequel since the pre­quel does have a lot of tie-ins to events that hap­pen dur­ing the TV series/movie sequel. There are a couple manga that try to explain the year gap between the series and the sequel, and you can read either of those before/after watch­ing the movie sequel, but the gen­eral con­sensus (even though the char­ac­ter relationships/dynamics are por­trayed VERY dif­fer­ently in both stor­ies) is that Blind Tar­get occurred before Bat­tle­field of Paci­fists. The glor­i­fied doujin “Ground Zero” is said to occur right before the sequel.

Credit to gw_kimmy


I am probably the only person on the planet who thinks the TV series is far better than Hellsing Ultimate, so I’ll have to bow to popular opinion on this one. Go straight into Hellsing Ultimate and ignore the original botched TV series.

Hidamari Sketch

It’s straight order of when they were released, but since the naming conventions for the franchise are a bit all over the place: S1 -> S1 Spe­cials -> x365 -> x365 Spe­cials -> x Hoshim­itsu (☆☆☆) -> ☆☆☆ spe­cials -> SP (spe­cials) -> x Hon­ey­comb (upcoming).

Credit to Adamar


The chronological order is as follows: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (26 episodes) -> Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Spe­cial: Nekogoroshi-hen (1 episode) -> Higur­ashi no Naku Koro ni Kai (24 episodes) -> Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Rei (5 episodes) -> Higur­ashi no Naku Koro ni Kira no (4 episodes). Only Koro ni (1) & Kai (3) are the vital story arcs. Both the Neko­goroshi ova (2) & the 5-part Rei ova con­tain a mix­ture of fan-service & new story ele­ments, but are not vital to the main plot. Kira (5) is pretty much noth­ing but tacky fanser­vice, & should be avoided!

Credit to fathomlessblue

Hunter X Hunter

The original Hunter X Hunter and sequel OVA cover the exact same material as thenewer TV adaptation. It’s nothing like the differences between the two Full Metal Alchemist adaptations. The original moves slower and has some filler material, but otherwise they are exactly the same. Popular opinion seems to be siding with watching the newer adaptation, as it will actually cover all the material and has better animation.

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure

The manga, which has been running since 1987, is split into different generational arcs. The first 2, Phantom Blood and Battle Tendency, are covered in the fabulous 2012 TV adaptation by David Production, and that is where you should start. The next arc, Stardust Crusaders, has two OVA adaptations. One from 1994and another in 2000, neither of which cover the entire arc. The 1994 one was a bit of a cult classic back in its day, but doesn’t hold up next to the more recent 2012 TV adaptation. You can still watch it though, as it hasn’t been confirmed yet that David Production will adapt Stardust Crusaders yet.

Kimagure Orange Road

The OVA series takes place during different points in the actual series and the two movies take place after the series’ end with “I Want to Return to that Day” being the official conclusion and “Summer’s Beginnings” being an epilogue movie, so by estimation, it would be this: Episodes 1-20 > Hawaii Suspence > I Was A Cat, I Was A Fish > Hurricane Akane > Unexpected Situation > Episodes 21-25 > Spring Is For Idols > Birth of a Star > Episodes 26-35 > White Lovers > Episodes 36-48 > Message in Rouge > I Want to Return to That Day > Summer’s Beginnings.

Credit to Flawfinder

Kino’s Journey

The spin-off movies should be watched only after you’ve completed the TV series. While Life Goes On is technically a prequel, it would spoil important reveals for the TV series.

Kara no Kyokai

The movies aired out of chronological order. If you were to watch them chronologically, it’s 2–4-3–1-5–6-7-OVA. However it’s advisable to stick to the order the original creators intended them to be watched in.

Credit to Chipp


What happened with Kurenai is Brains Base took a rather different interpretation of the source material when they made the TV series. Later they came back and made a short spin-off OVA more in the spirit of the original material. Popular opinion sides with the TV series being better, but they’re both worth watching so long as you remember they have very different feels to them.

Last Exile

While you can watch Last Exile Fam without having seen the original (different characters, different setting, only loosely connected to the original), you’re better off watching the original first because the two do tie into each other.

Legend of the Galactic Heroes

The movie My Con­quest is the Sea of Stars is gen­er­ally con­sidered the best start­ing place, just before jump­ing into the 110-episode OVA that make up the main series. Over­ture to a New War is a retell­ing of the first two epis­odes of the series (including substantially expanded backstory) that you can watch whenever. Once you’ve fin­ished the series, you can watch the prequel material, although most of it is of lower quality and often comes off as unnecessary: the Golden Wings movie; the A Hundred Billion Stars, A Hundred Billion Lights OVA; and the Spiral Labyrinth OVA.

Credit to Yuyucow, Magus

Leiji Matsumoto

Good luck with that. Even the likes of Gundam and the Clampverse cowers in fear with the sheer baffling nature of the Leijiverse. Here’s the AniDB chart, have fun.

Lupin III

The great thing about Lupin III is that every new thing they produce is made to be open to newcomers. The only struggle is knowing which ones are actually good. Popular opinion sides with Castle of Cagliostro, the movie directed by Miyazaki himself. Its more whimsical depiction of Lupin isn’t a very good representation of the rest of the franchise, but it’s still a damn fine movie whether you care about Lupin or not. From there, you can really go anywhere. First Contact has a good reputation amongst Lupin fans. I think Alcatraz Connection is a good movie. The new TV series A Woman Called Fujiko Mine is interesting if you want a really artsy take on Lupin. Finally, if you aren’t put off by old ass animation, you can always jump right back in time to the original TV series.


Start with the original TV series, Macross SDF. From there you can sorta go anywhere. Macross Zero is a prequel but works better with knowledge of the original. Do You Remember Love is a retelling of the original TV series, but in a rather unique way. It works much better if you’ve already seen the TV series though. Macross Plus is the sequel to the original TV series. Then comes Macross 7, which is a deliberate mockery of the entire Macross franchise. Might work for you, might not, so no worries if you dump it. Finally, there’s Macross Frontier. So in short: Ori­ginal series -> Do you remem­ber love movie/Macross Zero/Macross Plus -> Macross 7 -> Macross Frontier.

However, if you are adverse to the old-school animation of the original SDF Macross (we’re talking very old school here), both Plus and Frontier are accessible as stand-alones, even if you don’t get the full appreciation.

Credit to Shinmaru, Adamar, R1CK_D0M

Macross Frontier

The movies, The False Song­stress and The Wings of Farewell, retell the Macross Fron­tier TV series but are dif­fer­ent enough to be worth­while and are awe­some visual spectacles

Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha

Mahou Shoujo Lyr­ical Nan­oha -> Nan­oha A’s -> Nan­oha StrikerS. A’s takes place six months after the first sea­son, and StrikerS takes place ten years after A’s. There are also the movies, Nan­oha the Movie 1st, and the upcom­ing Nan­oha the Movie A’s 2nd. The movies are retell­ings with some minor changes, primar­ily in the art, anim­a­tion, and char­ac­ter design. But they’re good if you want to see what the series is like and don’t want to watch a 13-episode show.

There are two Nanoha manga after strikers. The first is vivid, and it takes place 4 years after Strikers. It mostly centers on Vivio and fighting tournaments ( and fanservice ) The second is Force which takes place six Years after Strikers and Nanoha isn’t even directly the main characters.

Credit to Myna, Doom


Major is broken up into 6 seasons, going of a different stage of the main character’s (Honda Goro) growth. Each season goes in chronological order, and should be watched as such. The awkward part is in the movie, Major: The Ball of Friendship (yes that’s actually its title). The movie itself is set between seasons 1 and 2, but actually aired (and is intended to be watched) between seasons 4 and 5, as it shows characters from season 4, and spoils a portion of the beginning of season 2. While nothing majorly (haha punny) important is spoiled if you watch it then, it does suck some of the plot value and mystique around the first couple of episodes of season 2, so just hold off on it a bit.

The other awkward part is at the tailend of the series with the two OVAs, Major: Message and Major: World Series. Both are set following the events of season 6. World Series is a two episode OVA covering the final arc of the show (though spoiled by the main series itself), and Message is an epilogue OVA set 10 years after season 6 and few years past World Series. While neither have any major relevance to each other in terms of plot, I;d recommend watching World Series first, as it’s technically more important and keeps to chronological order.

Credit to Conankudo4

Monogatari Series

Bakemonogatari was the first season released, and first novel from the franchise released, but the third chronologically. There are events in it that don’t make a whole lot of sense without knowing the previous two arcs: Nekomonogatari and Kizumonogatari. Unfortunately Shaft haven’t animated Kizumonogatari yet (they said they would about 3 years ago but still no sign of it) so it means there isn’t that easy starting point for the franchise. If you are willing to wait, I would recommend waiting until Shaft finally animates Kizumonogatari as your ideal starting place. However if you want to make the leap now, chronological order is:

Kizumonogatari (not animated yet) -> Nekomonogatari (movie, start here for now) -> Bakemonogatari (make sure you get the BR/DVD versions as the TV broadcast has a lot of unfinished animation because it was made before Shaft had money) ->Nisemonogatari -> Monogatari Series Second Season (yes, ‘second season’ is the 5th Monogatari entry, 4th one animated and third actual TV series. Don’t ask why they made it so complicated, just accept it)


Munto was first released as two movies (Munto and Munto 2) and then a TV series with the very long name of “Sora wo Miageru Shoujo no Hitomi ni Utsuru Sekai” was released later. How it pretty much works is, you can com­pletely ignore the two movies that were released first as the first 6 epis­odes of the TV series are as good as com­pletely identical. From 7–9 you have an in-series art style update and new story where it con­cludes (yes, at the odd num­ber of 9).

Credit to Sarukah


As it is, there’s no stan­dalone anime if you want to enjoy Negima. Xebec first adapt­a­tion loosely cov­ers the first volumes of the manga and then jumps off a cliff for a laugh­able ori­ginal end­ing. It’s a really cheap show and you’d be hard pressed to find someone who’s fond of the fran­chise recom­mend­ing it. SHAFT’s Negima?! (and its Haru/Natsu OVA) took the char­ac­ters and threw them into a dif­fer­ent set­ting where abso­lutely dif­fer­ent stuff happened. The res­ult is a Pani Poni Dash Lite — not that bad, but def­in­itely not Negima. Might be some­thing to look at if you’re already a fan and like the char­ac­ters, but noth­ing else. The Ala Alba OVAs (and its sequel, Mou hitotsu no sekai), on the other hand, are faith­ful depic­tions of the manga… start­ing from ch176. You can’t exactly skip 20 volumes and watch those, so it’s quite tricky. And to make it worse, the Anime Final movie that was sup­posed to give clos­ure to those was so bad even the mangaka said it was ter­rible and should be avoided.

tl;dr: Avoid Mahou Sen­sei Negima, read the first 20 volumes of the manga, watch Ala Alba and Mou hitotsu no Sekai, avoid Anime Final. Watch Negima?! if you like the girls and Shinbo.

Credit to Yuyucow

One Piece

Kind of a com­mit­ment to make with about 450 epis­odes and 650 chapters at this moment and still ongo­ing. Unfor­tu­nately, it starts of kind of slow and not very inter­est­ing. Gen­eral con­sensus is that it really starts pick­ing up dur­ing the Arlong arc, start­ing from epis­ode 31 and chapter 69, and only gets bet­ter from there. The only prob­lem is that the earlier epis­odes intro­duce a lot of the major char­ac­ters. So I can’t really recom­mend to skip them. You could read the manga, since that is usu­ally quicker.

Like most long run­ning anime, it has a bunch of fillers, but not nearly as much as say Bleach or Naruto. I could write them all down here or just give you this link. It includes the fillers, OVAs, movies and TV spe­cials and between which epis­odes they fit. Epis­ode 55, although part of a (not so good) filler includes some import­ant canon inform­a­tion. You might want to watch that epis­ode or read chapter 101. Also the G8 filler arc ( epis­ode 196 — 206) is actu­ally very good. Def­in­itely watch that one. You can skip all the other filler arcs. They aren’t that bad, but they don’t add much to the story.

Most of the movies are okay. They pre­sume you know the char­ac­ters, so you can’t really jump in without know­ing any­thing about the series. The only ones I def­in­itely recom­mend are the 6th and the 10th. The 6th one is directed by Hosada (Summer Wars) and has a dif­fer­ent anim­a­tion style and a much darker story that the rest of the series. The 10th was actu­ally writ­ten by the mangaka and fits into canon. Movies 8 and 9 are recaps of the Ara­basta arc and the Drum island arc, but they try to fit too much into too little time. The 8th one is also more of a ‘what if’ story and includes some heavy spoil­ers for the rest of the series. So don’t watch them as a sub­si­tute for the series.

All the TV spe­cials are for­get­table. Also, the first OVA was done by a dif­fer­ent anim­a­tion stu­dio and before the anime. It also has com­pletely dif­fer­ent voice act­ors. I don’t recom­mend to watch this an intro­duc­tion to the series. It’s not very good. Watch the other two OVAs though.

Onegai Teacher/Twins

Onegai Twins is a spin-off series from Onegai Teacher. Some characters from Teacher appear in twins, but it’s not necessary to watch them in order. There’s alsoAno Natsu, which is a spiritual successor to the Onegai series, but again doesn’t require knowledge of the previous two.

Cheers to blazingdead


First timeline: Mobile Police Pat­labor OVA (7 episodes) -> Pat­labor 1: The Movie ->WXIII Pat­blabor 3: The Movie -> Pat­labor 2: The movie. The TV Series and New Files are an alternate story with the same characters. It’s -> Pat­labor TV series (47 episodes) -> Pat­labor ova 2/New Files (16 episodes). Best place to start is probably the first Patlabor OVAs.

Credit to fathomlessblue

Please Save My Earth

The last OVA epis­ode (6) tries to wrap up a story only half-done. There’s no need to skip it, but it won’t make much sense. Instead, start the manga at volume around volume 9.

Credit to Dan


Only two Pre­cure series are actual sequels (Futari wa -> Max Heart, YPC5 -> YPC GoGo) so you can jump in pretty much any­where. Dozens of magical girls meet every year in the All Stars movies, so you can use that simply to pick whichever cast you prefer. Heartcatch is widely considered to be The Best of the TV serues, so that’s probably the best starting point. However, if you know you’re going to watch a lot of the fran­chise you prob­ably want to go Splash Star -> Fresh -> Heart­catch -> Suite -> Smile, then return­ing to watch Futari Wa/Max Heart if you really want and Yes 5/GoGo if it’s fin­ished being subbed by the time you get there. Main point is that Splash Star is a fairly dir­ect remake of Futari Wa, so you don’t want to watch them one after the other, and Splash Star is prob­ably a bet­ter start­ing point.

Credit to Yuyucow, lmm


A Certain Scientific Railgun relies on your knowledge of A Certain Magical Index, so it’s advisable to get that done first. From there it really doesn’t matter whether you jump to both seasons of Railgun before watching Index 2 or whether you watch Index 2 before jumping to Railgun.

Credit to Yuyucow


This is actu­ally pretty simple but a lot of Redline fans haven’t watched its spinoff by the name of Trava like they very well should.

Credit to Yuyucow

Revolutionary Girl Utena

The movie, Adolescence Apocalypse, is an alternative version of the TV series. You’re better off watching the TV series first. Not because it has any important plot details, but because it will at least prepare you somewhat for the sheer weirdness of that movie.

School Rumble

Original TV series -> OVA -> Ni Gakki. San Gakki is not another season. Rather its an adaptation of 2 completely random chapters several years down the line of the manga. You’re better off not touching it at all.


Use the AniDB graph and watch chronological order. While there’s not a problem with watching all of Slayers in chronological order, it’s certainly not necessary to do so. Watch the different TV series in order and don’t watch the Slayers Premium movie before Slayers Next. It doesn’t really matter beyond that.

Credit to Magus

Space Battleship Yamato

Start with the original 1974-1975 Space Battleship Yamato series. There’s a compressed movie version of it but it’s very rushed. Next comes either the Farewell Space Battleship Yamato movie or the Space Battleship Yamato 2 series. Both cover roughly the same events but the latter is an expansion of the former with major changes. Later Yamato anime follow the Space Battleship Yamato 2 timeline, so if you have to pick one, have it be that. Release order is for the most part chronological order from there on out. Space Battleship Yamato: The New Voyage -> Be Forever Yamato -> Space Battleship Yamato 3 -> Final Yamato -> Space Battleship Yamato: Resurrection. There’s also a Space Battleship Yamato live action movie from 2010 in its own continuity. There’s an OVA from the 90′s called Yamato 2520. It was cancelled partway-through because of a legal battle over who owned the Yamato franchise. It doesn’t seem to be either well-regarded or relevant to the rest of the franchise, though.

There’s a new remake of the original TV series called Yamato 2199 that’s been getting rave reviews. That is probably the best place to start if you’re wary of older animation.

Credit to Magus

Spice and Wolf

Straight chronological order. First season -> Spice and Wolf OVA -> Second season.

Super Robot Wars OG

First off is that the SRW anime are all based off the OG line of video games and con­tain no licensed series (no Gun­dam or Macross etc..) — everything is original. As of writ­ing there are 3 shows to chose from: Super Robot Wars OG The Anim­a­tion — A 3 epis­ode OVA released in 2005. Super Robot Wars OG Divine Wars — A 26 epis­ode TV series released ’06-’07. Super Robot Wars OG The I.nspector — A 26 epis­ode TV series released ’10-’11 In terms of chro­no­logy the order goes — SRWOG:DW > SRWOG:TI > SRW TA OVA. A word of note is that the OVA has been sup­planted by the events of one of the video games (SRW OG Gaiden [2008]) which took story ele­ments from the OVA and made them no longer canon. So while you can watch the OVA, when you play the video game or if there is another sequel, the events of the OVA will most likely be ignored or supplanted.

Cheers to Kraker2k


Tamayura ~hitotose~ Episode 1 > The Original Tamayura OVA > Tamayura ~hitotose~ Episodes 2-5 > Tamayura ~hitotose~ OVA > Tamayura ~hitotose~ Episodes 6-12 > Tamayura ~More Aggressive~. Episode 1 of hitotose covers before Potte moved to Takehara, while the OVA introduces all other main characters. In hitotose episode 2, it is assumed you’re already with Kaoru et al. The hitotose OVA chronologically fits between episodes 5 and 7 (6 is a flashback episode) but can work as a bookend as well. ~More Aggressive~ should continue with Potte’s second year in high school.

Credit to Justin

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

The order of Haruhi is all over the place. They aired the first season out of chronological order. Later they aired it in in chronological order, but threw a second season in the middle, then finally the movie Disappearence of Haruhi Suzumiya.The Wikipedia page lists the broadcast order and the chronological order. The first season works better in the original broadcast order. Take it from someone who watched  it first in chronological order, it completely messes up the pacing and narrative the creators were going for. However if the out-of-order version annoys you, its perfectly fine to watch it chronologically too. So Haruhi S1 broadcast order -> Haruhi S2 -> Disappearance.

The second season gets confusing with the whole Endless Eight fiasco, where they made 8 episodes of basically the exact same content. While there may be a special pride for those who can sit through all of Endless Eight, I wouldn’t recommend it. For the same narrative structure they were attempting to achieve, watch the first, second and eighth episodes of Endless Eight (so technically episodes 2,3 and 9 of the season). Trust me, you’ll already start to get frustrated by the time you watch the third episode. There’s also the dumb flash animation spin-off stuff, which you can watch if you’re a super fan.

Tenchi Muyo

The Tenchiverse is way bigger than you probably realise. In sorta chronological order: Ten­chi Muyo: Ryo-Ohki OVA 1 -> The Night Before the Car­ni­val OVA -> Ten­chi Muyo: Ryo-Ohki OVA 2 -> Ten­chi Muyo: Ryo-Ohki OVA 3 -> Mihoshi Spe­cial -> Man­atsu no Eve (Ten­chi Muyo Movie 2) –> Tenchi Muyo Dual (really for those determ­ined to watch everything in the Tenchi­verse, as its rela­tion is slight and it just isn’t that great of a show) -> Ten­chi Muyo GXP –> Ten­chi Muyo TV/“Tenchi Uni­verse“ –> Ten­chi Muyo in Love (“Ten­chi Muyo the Movie”) –> Ten­chi Muyo in Love 2: Dis­tant Memor­ies (“Ten­chi Forever! The Movie”) –> Magical Girl Pretty Sammy OVA –> Magical Girl Pretty Sammy TV/“Magical Pro­ject S“ –> Sasami: Magical Girls’ Club –> Shin Ten­chi Muyo/“Tenchi in Tokyo”.

Isekai no Seikishi no Monogatari/St. Knight’s Tale falls somewhere within the timeline encom­passing the OVAs, The Night Before the Car­ni­val, Mihoshi Spe­cial, and GXP. Just pop it in there wherever.

Credit to A Day Without Me

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

Start with the TV series. From there, you can jump into some of the side stuff. TheParrallel Works are cool little music videos with alternate takes on the TV Series. Then there’s the retelling movies. Now normally I’d say ignore retelling movies as they’re lame, cut down versions of the original. This is certainly the case withGurren-hen. But Lagann-hen is fantastic, so much so that I’d call it better than the TV version. Skip Gurren-hen and watch Lagann-hen. It starts at the midway point of the TV series, so you will have to have watched the TV series originally to understand what’s going on.

Time of Eve

The movie is just the 6 OVA episodes together plus a few more scenes. They’re the exact same material. The movie is probably a better watch simply because it has Blu-Ray version quality while the OVA only has a web-quality version.

To Heart

Weirdly, To Heart and To Heart 2 have the same settings but different characters. To Heart and its sequel My Memor­ies are much more decent pieces of anim­a­tion, if any­thing because they set many galge tropes that would be ter­ribly executed by count­less shows and games after­ward. Both have some spe­cials that are meant to be watched after their cor­res­pond­ing seasons. For To Heart 2, chro­no­lo­gical release order, which would be To Heart 2 -> To Heart 2 OVA -> To Heart 2 AD -> To Heart 2 AD Plus -> To Heart 2 ADnext.

Credit to Yuyucow

Touka Get­tan

Aired in reverse chronological order, but as always with these cases, it’s better to watch it in the order the original creators intended it to be watched in.

Credit to A Day Without Me

Tsubasa Chronicle

It’s gen­er­ally agreed upon to watch the series in chro­no­lo­gical order (sea­son one, sea­son two, ovas), but upon get­ting into sea­son two, unless you like filler, skip epis­odes 18–26. Instead, go straight to the Tokyo Rev­el­a­tions OVA (which is way darker than the TV series, but faith­ful to the manga). Then read manga volumes 18 — 21 before watch­ing the Shun­raiki OVA. If you skip the manga, you will be com­pletely lost. Actu­ally, even with the manga, you might be com­pletely lost… Also, some­time before the Tokyo Rev­el­a­tions, you can squish in “The Prin­cess in the Bird­cage King­dom” movie, though skip­ping it won’t hinder the story at all. After watch­ing the Shun­raiki OVA, start read­ing the com­ics at volume 24. If you’re reading the manga for Tsubasa Chronicle, try read it alternatively with XXXHolic as they will spoil each other.

Credit to Dan


Episode 0 Inga-Ron -> Un-Go TV series. Inga-Ron was released in theatres at the same time as the TV series came out in Japan. It’s a prequel to the TV series and gets you emotionally invested in the characters in a way the first two episodes of the TV series fails to do.

Urusei Yatsura

Episodes 1-58 > Movie 1 > Episodes 59-99 > Movie 2 > Episodes 100-140 > Movie 3 > Episodes 141-191 > Movie 4 > Episodes 192-195 > The OVA series > Movie 5 > 2008 OVA

The second movie, A Beautiful Dreamer, is considered one of Mamoru Oishi’s finest works and can be watched on its own without having seen either the TV series or the other movies. So if you don’t want to sit through all 195 episodes but still want to see a fine piece of animation, you can watch it without having seen any of the franchise as long as you understand the basic premise. All you need for the basic premise it to watch the first episode of the TV series, or even just read a wikipedia entry. The 2008 OVA is something of a celebratory special with much better animation, so despite taking place somewhere within the series, it’s better to finish the entire thing before jumping into that.

Credit to Flawfinder


The chronological order is as follows: Red shoulder doc­u­ment: Roots of Ambi­tion OVA > Pailsen Files OVA > (Mel­lowlink is a spinoff ova. It’s pretty good, but it’s per­fectly skip­pable. It’s just a guy being really angry at everything and killing people for revenge) > TV series ep’s 1–13 (First arc in Uoodo) > Last Red Shoulder OVA > TV series ep’s 14–52 (2nd, 3rd, and 4th arcs in Kum­men, Sunsa, and Quent respect­ively) > Big Battle OVA > (this is tech­nic­ally where the second half of 52, the last ep, goes, but I wouldn’t recom­mend stop­ping the ep halfway through just for big battle) > Shin­ing Heresy OVA > Alone Again OVA > Phantom Chapter OVA. Just watch it in that order.

Credit to R1CK_D0M


Start with the Tokyo Babylon OVA, then move onto the X TV series. The manga and TV series are faith­ful to each other until the last five or so epis­odes. From there, if you want more angst and lack of an end­ing, start read­ing the manga at volume 16 or so. The TV series has a con­clus­ive, and much more hope­ful end­ing. The movieis to be avoided at all costs, unless you like beau­ti­ful anim­a­tion with no plot (or are a fan of terribad anime). For hard­core fans, there’s also a set of music videos. Also, do not watch “Epis­ode 0″ first. Watch it at least 3/4 through the TV series. Oth­er­wise, you’ll be spoiled on pretty much everything. When you’ve done all that, you can go back to the Tokyo Babylon manga, which is a prequel to X. It starts really slow though, so you’re better off going to it after you’re done with X.

Credit to Dan, Anca


Watch the “A Mid­sum­mer Night’s Dream” movie after the the first half (or so) of the first sea­son. While the movie was made before the TV series (and thus the art is a bit dif­fer­ent), it does require know­ledge of the main char­ac­ters and dynam­ics before being watched. Note that mix­ing the manga and the TV series+Movie is dif­fi­cult due to whole plot­lines that aren’t trans­ferred through adap­tions, but if you feel up to it, after sea­son 2 of the TV series, being read­ing about volume 14 on. After volume 15, you can watch the Ro OVA. Some­where between (or after) volume 19, watch the Ro: Aday­ume OVA. There’s also an OVA called “Shun­muki” that can be fit in any­where around sea­son 2 of the TV series. If you’re reading the manga for Tsubasa Chronicle, try reading it alternatively with Tsubasa Chronicle as they will spoil each other.

Credit to Dan

You’re Under Arrest

You’re Under Arrest production and chronological order are the same. So watch 1995 OVA -> 1996 TV series -> 2001 series -> 2007 series.

Credit to Kadian1364


Sea­son 0 -> Sea­son 0 movie (rather ter­rible, can be skipped) -> Duel Mon­sters (skip the arcs between the end of Battle Tower and epis­ode 199) -> (manga) Yu-Gi-Oh R (if you want, this one is gen­er­ally for­got­ten, and it takes place between Battle City and Ancient Egypt) -> Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series. The dubbed version is a 4kids dub, so liberal changes everywhere. Pyr­amid of Light can be safely ignored, but if you do want to sub­ject your­self to it hunt down the Japan­ese dub, as they changed the plot and rearranged some scenes, because it was just that stupid. GX takes place after Duel Mon­sters, but barely ref­er­ences it. 5D and Zexal are entirely altern­ate uni­verses. Cap­sule Mon­sters does not exist. Bond Bey­ond Time belongs after GX and 5D.

Credit to Anca

Simple release order

These are the series that follow a straight, no-nonsense chronological format with no confusion. Just watch these in the order they were released. Leave comments if there’s any franchises that fit this list too.

Arakawa Under the Bridge, Baccano, Baka to Test, Big Windup, Black Lagoon, Break Blade, Candy Boy, Eden of the East, GaoGaiGar, Honey and Clover, Hare Guu, Ichigo Marshmallow, Initial D, Invasion Squid Girl, Jormungand, Kaiji, Maria-sama ga Miteru, Minami-ke, Natsu no Arashi, Natsume Yuujinchou, Rinne no Lagrange, Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei, Shakugan no Shana, To-Love-Ru, Vandread

If it’s not listed here: There are other ways to go about searching. At the bottom of each anime on AniDB there’s a link to a graphic of the chronological order of each series. They can be misleading though, as they might list prequels that you should ideally watch after to the TV series. You can also go in order each series was released in, but this can lead to you watching stuff with old ass dreadful animation or confusing OVAs for manga fans and so on. As you should have realised by now if you’ve read this post, it’s not instantly clear what order to watch stuff in for an awful lot of these franchises. If you’re in doubt, just jump in and watch whatever the hell you want. Sometimes watching things in the ‘wrong’ order leads to a more rewarding viewing experience that others won’t get.

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