Subplots are not just a necessity in long-form storytelling, but a tradition of their own. In short, subplots are needed to bring more life to their story setting and to develop supporting characters that don’t normally get much attention. Some anime not only followed this unspoken rule diligently, but also exceeded expectations.
From filler plots to side stories for supporting characters, many anime had more subplots than anyone anticipated. Depending on the anime in question, the character and story development either enriched the series or loaded it with more baggage than it could handle.
ten Madlax took nearly 18 episodes for its subplots to connect
madlax is a 26-episode anime about two very different women living in different countries, but as fate would have it, their lives and destinies were intertwined. Normally, that would mean assassin Madlax and high school girl Margaret cross paths before the halfway point, but that didn’t happen until two-thirds of the way through the series.
For most of the anime, Madlax and Margaret handled their own subplots. Meanwhile, subtle connections arose and seemingly disconnected subplots about ghostly children and an ancient conspiracy played in the background. It was all well put together but, before that, viewers had to follow countless moving parts.
9 Future Diary needed Omakes to grow on other diary users
In all, Future Diaryit is The Game of Death had 12 distinct participants with their own motivations and personalities. That being said, the anime devoted most of its attention to the first and second diary users, Yuki and Yuno, and their respective secondary characters. However, this does not mean that the other 10 log users have been forgotten.
While Yuki and Yuno obviously got most of the scenes, Future Diary always made the effort to highlight the actions and lives of other diary users and secondary characters. Also, there were so many subplots that Future Diary resorted to short after-credits where Mur Mur and Deus explained the remaining details and filled in the gaps.
8 Dragon Ball Z gave every Z fighter their time in the spotlight
As revered as it is, a childhood classic, one of Dragon Ball Z the biggest shortcomings were its excessive amount of filler subplots. At the time, it was necessary since Toei Animation had to wait for the manga to release enough chapters to animate. While understandable, this decision has not improved over time.
Dragon Ball Zit isthe filler subplots were well-intentioned since they gave Bulma, Piccolo, and the others more to do, but they negatively affected Goku’s main story by slowing the pace. Dragon Ball Zit isremaster, Dragon Ball Z Kai, fixed this issue by removing all filler episodes and moments, which was appreciated by most fans.
seven Bleach’s Subplots Overshadowed Main Characters and Conflicts
One of the best and worst things about Bleach was its massive character roster and expansive world-building. At best, it meant that Bleachit is the world felt lived in and was populated by one of the most unique casts of characters ever created for an anime. At worst, it meant that Bleach was overcrowded and easily distracted by subplots.
Bleach is ostensibly about Ichigo Kurosaki as a Substitute Shinigami, but that continued to be hijacked by subplots featuring Karakura Town, the Gotei 13, the Arrancar, and more. The fact that almost everyone was more popular than Ichigo didn’t help matters, leading to filler plots to explicitly sideline Bleachit ishero.
6 Naruto diverged into multiple perspectives halfway through
When it started, naruto seemed like a straightforward shonen anime that focused on Team 7’s time together. However, about halfway through the anime, Team 7 split up when Sasuke chose to get revenge on his friends. The team wouldn’t reunite until years later, and they were living their own lives before that.
Even before Team 7 crossed paths, Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura had their own arcs that happened simultaneously but separately. In addition to that, naruto adding filler subplots while expanding on other ninjas’ subplots. naruto and its sequel Shippuden had so many stories to tell that viewers either got hooked or left exhausted.
5 Subplots And Spinoffs Of A Certain Magical Index Crossed A Lot
A certain magic clue takes place in Academy City, and it stands to reason that the city would be home to countless stories and encounters. Such was the case for Index that not only did it have many subplots, but it expanded into spinoffs like A certain scientific railgun and A certain scientific acceleratorwhich also had their own sub-plots.
Indexit issubplots and major eventstied with Railgun and Acceleratorit iscannons and vice versa. Additionally, additional subplots and world building can be found in manga and light novels. The only way to get the full extent of life in Academy City was to watch and read everything, not just follow Touma Kamijou in Index.
4 The iDOLM@STER makes the most sense for dedicated gamers
Since it’s an idol anime, The iDOLM@STER can be deceptively simple for most casual viewers. At first glance, it’s just a fun show about the stars of 765 Production and their lives on and off stage. However, each of the anime’s 13 main idols has a fully developed personality and backstory that the anime rarely (if ever) addresses.
Most of the idols’ personal subplots were only revealed through unlocks in The iDOLM@STER games — especially The iDOLM@STER 2– and the anime expects viewers to already know these facts. Without these, The iDOLM@STER may seem generic, but knowledge of these subplots allows for more meaningful monitoring.
3 Hetalia: Axis Powers Canon Includes Non-Animated Material and Real Time History
On its surface, Hetalia is a cute anime parody of world history, especially that of the 20th century. However, each personified country has a lot more going for it. It’s not just because they have intricate backstories and subplots that are only explained in the manga, but because they’re also influenced by the real story.
In short, country personalities and actions only make sense when the manga, webcomic, and story are acknowledged. For example, the strained relationship between Britain and France is not just a tease, but a reflection of their historic alliances and feuds. Taking note of all these external subplots will maximize the appreciation of Hetaliait ishumor and wit.
2 One Piece follows the valor of an entire world of pirates and marines
In his heart, A play is a shonen fighting anime, which means it follows a close-knit group of friends (namely the Straw Hats) who encounter and/or fight quirky people while pursuing their life’s dreams. Normally this would mean that some enemies and support characters are just one-arc wonders, but the reverse is true.
Each person named in A play has a fully realized character and subplot, and they all have a part to play in the coming war between the pirates and the World Government. A play is a master of balance and long play, as the seemingly insignificant first subplots are actually key elements in other subplots and in the anime’s larger plot.
1 Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War Can Only Be Fully Enjoyed By Following Its Spinoff
Kaguya Sama is famous for essentially combining the typical romantic comedy with the plot of Death threat, but there’s a lot more to its complexity than Kaguya and Miyuki’s mind games. Each of Kaguya and Miyuki’s classmates are practically the stars of their own rom-com anime, but that only makes sense outside of the anime context.
Namely, the spin-off manga We want to talk about Kaguya (which features fans Kaguya, Erika and Karen) and the hottest Doujin Edition give secondary characters subplots related to the events of the anime, but these have not yet been animated. Read them while watching Kaguya Sama is the only way to get a complete picture of the romantic battlefield.
NEXT: 10 Anime Characters Who Were In The Right Place At The Wrong Time