Retcon / Anime and Manga

  • Mahou Sensei Negima!:
    • In the last page of chapter 238, Makie shows up with her friends in kid form, looking smaller than Negi. In the first page of the next chapter, in the very same scene, she is now in teenage form and Marshmallows Negi.
    • The posted "birth date" of the title character changed from the fairly vague "Summer 1993" to the even more vague "1994" between the magazine version of Chapter 10 and the publication of Volume 2. This works as a Revision, as it renders Negi's in-story usage of a historical Japanese method of age reckoning correct, but also makes determining his actual age more difficult.
  • Somewhere between volume 5 and 11 of the English-language Great Teacher Onizuka manga, the average age of the protagonist's class gets bumped from 14 to 16.
  • The Gundam canon has a pretty significant number of these.
    • Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam contains scenes where the titular Gundam does things such as turning its beam saber into a mile-long "sword of rage" and channeling the spirits of the dead to power itself up. Originally this was just attributed to pilot Kamille Bidan's incredible Newtype powers, but later works introduced the concept of the Biosensor, an experimental system in the Zeta which boosts a Newtype's abilities, and serves to allow these fantastic feats without completely destroying the Real Robot feel of the show.
    • Zeta introduced another, somewhat unusual example. At the start of the show, the Next Big Thing in mobile suit tech is the Movable Frame, a skeleton-like framework that allowed for greater flexibility and freedom of movement, which in turn allowed the creation of Transforming Mecha down the line. In order to justify this, it was said that all previous generations of MS were empty "shells" with their armor supporting the weight of all their internal machinery. While this concept does exist in real life (it's called Monocoque), the writers eventually realized that it doesn't make a lick of sense for giant robots, and over time this explanation has been mentioned less and less.
    • The resolution of the series itself in the final Compilation Movie, which not only changed the ending from a Downer Ending into a Bittersweet Ending, but also potentially alters the course of two related sequels drastically (if not does away with them entirely). Yoshiyuki Tomino, who created Gundam and directed the Zeta movies in specific, has said that he considers the movies an Alternate Timeline, but many fans like to believe that the movies shift the less-popular Gundam ZZ into Canon Discontinuity territory. Tomino then went on to write the CG short Gundam Evolve 5, which depicts a battle from Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack with a more positive outcome; Tomino has said he considers the short to be the "New Translation" version of CCA.
    • Another rather famous example is Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz, which quietly replaces the TV series' Gundams (designed by Gundam veteran Kunio Okawara) with sleeker designs by Hajime Katoki via a Flash Back prologue. Fandom is split on the issue, and there's quite a bit of feuding over which designs are superior, despite the fact that they're supposed to be functionally identical.
    • One of the most infamous Ret Cons was the end of the Gundam SEED Special Edition. A scene specifically put in to reinforce a main character's death was edited out to enable an exceedingly unlikely comeback. The HD Remaster versions of Gundam SEED went further with its retcons, changing a second death from "self-defense" to "an accident in the most Narmiest way possible" and introduced a brand new weapon that wasn't used in either the original nor the Special Editions. The HD Remaster for Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny sets to do the same thing.
  • One episode of Digimon Adventure 02 has a flashback of the season one characters giving up their ability to evolve past a certain level (and by extension, their ability to be of any use in a fight). This comes up right in the middle of the season, soon after the Applied Phlebotinum the now-reformed Ken was using to obstruct their evolution is destroyed, and basically comes across as a cheap excuse to keep the old characters out of the Competence Zone. It also gave Patamon and Gatomon (two heroes from 01 that made the main cast in 02) a reason to DNA digivolve.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler: For those who haven't read the manga, this seems to happen between the first and second seasons of the anime. In the last episode of the first season Ayumu and Hinagiku are shown to know each other (well enough for them to travel to the Parthenon together), but in the second season, they acted as if they'd never met. In the same episode, it's stated that Hayate's been Nagi's butler for over a year, whereas in the first episode of season 2, Klaus says Hayate's only been Nagi's butler for a month.

    However, this is easily explained by the fact that the events of the last episode of the first season of the anime (Ayumu and Hina's parthenon trip and Hayate and Nagi's trip to the Aegean sea) were, in the original manga, side-stories that took place during the golden week holidays and that were out of sync with the rest of the series' continuity.
  • Bleach:
    • Some initial character designs are retconned beyond the bounds of the series' Art Evolution in later appearances, such as the location of Ulquiorra's hollow hole.
    • Aizen being an Unreliable Narrator is used to explain discrepancies between chapter events and his description of those events. Initially, Aizen claims Urahara was exiled for creating an illegal, untraceable gigai. "Turn Back the Pendulum" reveals that Aizen framed Urahara for illegal Hollowfication experiments, but Urahara's group escaped punishment by using Urahara's illegal gigai. Aizen eventually tells Ichigo that he has a personal definition of "reality", so enjoys lying regularly. He states it's idiotic to trust a single word he says.
    • Originally, Chad and Orihime were said to have developed their powers because they were affected by Ichigo's constantly leaking reiatsu. Eventually, Aizen claims that it was actually the Hogyoku that unlocked their powers, even though it was supposedly dormant inside Rukia. Some fans have tried to reconcile the different explanations, but the story itself never does.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • In the third Megami sound stage, Hayate says that Fate is more of a sister to Vivio, and Nanoha says that while Fate loves Vivio, she is keeping some distance from her. In ViVid, Vivio says she still considers both of them her mothers, and Fate once refers to herself in the third person as "Fate-mama" while talking to Vivio.
  • Naruto:
    • In earlier manga chapters, Gaara had triple-pierced ears despite his automatic sand shield, which (almost always) prevents him from taking physical damage.
    • Gaara's name was stated to mean 'Demon who loves only himself' by his mother, a dying curse on the village for sacrificing her. Skip ahead to the war arc and suddenly she loved him all along. Also, everyone in his family loved him, even the one who tried to murder him.
    • The Sage of the Six Paths is stated to be the first to utilize chakra and also the one who solely defeated the Ten-Tailed Beast. Along comes Hamura.
    • In one episode of the anime, an anime-only scene showed Hinata being bullied by a group of boys as a young child and Naruto saving her. This Forgotten First Meeting between the two was later made manga canon in The Last: Naruto the Movie, however the context was changed. The scene was changed to taking place in winter, Naruto didn't beat up the boys (he was punched in the face and knocked out in one hit), and Hinata wasn't dragged away from an injured Naruto by a Hyuuga member (she talked to Naruto instead).
  • The Space Battleship Yamato movie was meant to end the story, so the ending has many core crew members, including Kodai and Yuki, dead with the Yamato destroyed in a suicide charge. After fan outcry, the movie was adapted into the second season TV series with a different ending so that the ship is not destroyed and most crew members live. Several movies and a third TV season later, the second movie is just claimed never to have happened.
  • In Eyeshield 21, Agon's hair is a walking retcon. In one flashback to his 10th grade year he had short blonde hair and in another he had incredibly long dreads. In middle school, depending on whose reminiscing, Agon either had short thick dreads, long thick dreads, short thin dreads, or shoulder-length blonde hair.
  • A couple instances in Fairy Tail:
    • Nirvana, a giant walking weapon, was initially drawns with 8 legs but suddenly had 6 when the method by which it had to be destroyed was determined. The characters explain this via Shrug of God in the Q&A section afterward.
    • Lisanna, Mirajane and Elfman's deceased younger sister and Natsu's childhood friend, was revealed to have been transported to the Mirror World of Edolas, instead of having been killed when a monster-possessed Elfman attacked her. Meanwhile, she somehow still managed to be buried in the town's cemetery.
      • They found the body of the dead Edolas!Lisanna, which had switched places with Earthland!Lisanna due to the Anima, so the burial still makes sense.
    • Flashbacks in the manga showed Lisanna's guild mark was on her upper left arm, but when she comes back from Edolas, it's on her left leg instead. The anime tried to fix this by showing it being removed as she was taken by the Anima, but a more recent flashback in the Tartaros arc shows it on her leg despite this flashback taking place years before her trip to Edolas.
  • Early on in Soul Eater, Liz Thompson briefly remembers her and Patty's Backstory, saying that her life took a turn for the bizarre on that day that she got high and tried to mug a Shinigami (Kid). A couple dozen chapters later, it's instead revealed that Kid came to New York specifically to recruit the Thompson sisters as his weapons, no mugging involved. They went along for the ride, at least initially, to milk him for all the money and convenience he could provide them, before coming to admire him for real. The two events could have both happened though, since the later chapter didn't specifically deny the mugging. What could have happened is that he came looking for Liz and Patty, they tried to mug him but Kid got away, and he came back to them at later chance to recruit them.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's:
    • In the original Japanese version, we see that the five bearers of the Mark of the Dragon are Yusei (tail), Jack (wings), Luca (claw), and Aki (other claw). This is true for the English version too, with the fifth signer being unknown in both versions. Then, the English version mentioned that Rex Goodwin bears the final mark, before Japan even knew it. Because it was false information. Japan later aired their episode to show that Rudger has the head of the dragon. After this, the English version just pretended that they never said Goodwin had it.
    • When the Signers first realize that their marks look like the Crimson Dragon, Yusei incorrectly states (in the English version) that his is the head, not the tail. And it became even more confusing when Rudger and Goodman were defeated, with Yusei actually gaining the real head, and transferring his tail mark to Crow. This was barely even addressed in the English version, despite the fact that it's tattooed onto their freaking arms.
  • Pokémon:
    • In his first appearance, Santa Claus had a Ponyta pulling his sleigh, because the franchise didn't have any deer Pokémon in Gen I. But when Gen II came out and Stantler was introduced, all further Santa appearances had him with a Stantler pulling the sleigh.
    • This one's dub only. When Ash returned to Viridian City for his eighth Kanto Badge, Ash said in the dub that it had been a year since he was last there. Later, in the short accompanying the third Pokémon movie, Ash and co. celebrate the (presumably first) anniversary of Ash and Pikachu meeting.
    • Another dub-induced one. In the episode introducing Brock, it was said that his mother passed away in the dub (which wasn't the case otherwise). Later on, come Pokémon Chronicles, Brock's mom returned to the Pewter City Gym and the dub treated things as if they never said she had died.
    • Pikachu was retconned to have a baby pre-evolution Pichu, and for the females to have a clefted tail. There's no problem with declaring that Ash's Pikachu had been a male the whole time, but it means that the Pikachu village they encountered back in season 1 had no newborns and no females.
    • When Lyra appeared in Sinnoh, Brock and Ash acted like they experienced Pokeathelons when they didn't.
    • The Best Wishes had what was essentially a retcon, though the original eps never aired. Team Plasma was supposed to meet and battle Team Rocket early in the Unova storyline, but the episodes were shelved because of the 2011 earthquake in Japan-part of the storyline involved the destruction of several buildings. Some hoped they might be aired later, but instead, the two teams finally met in the 'Season 2, Episode N' arc, the 'Adventures in Unova' arc in the US. This retconned the plots of the unaired eps out of existence.
  • In the The World is Still Beautiful manga, Livius is said to be 15 until chapter 40 claims he's 12. The anime clears this up, with Nike's father specifically telling Livius that Nike's grandma ascended the throne when she was "not much older than [him]". This is in contrast to the manga scene it adapted where he says she was 15, "the same age as [Livius] is now". Also, if the manga omakes of them as students are to be trusted, Livius/Livita is still in elementary school which leaves him to be 12 at the most.
  • Jaco the Galactic Patrolman retcons quite a lot about the Dragon Ball series.
    • The entirety of the Bardock Father Of Goku special was retconned. In that movie, Bardock was shown as a man with the ability to see the future who made a futile, last stand against Freeza after forseeing the death of his planet, only to die against Freeza with his last thoughts being of his youngest son. Even his relationship with his comrades is explored; one of the driving aspects of Bardock is to avenge the death of his best friend. Dragon Ball Minus, part of the Jaco manga, takes the opposite approach. Bardock's comrades are entirely removed, landing them as filler only entities, and instead, Bardock's relationship with his children and wife is focused on a little more. Contrast with Bardock's rather cold nature in the original movie, he's shown to have an actual loving relationship with his wife, and actually sends Kakarot away out of concern for his safety when Freeza called all the Saiyans back to Vegeta. He even asks on Raditz, who he entirely glossed over in the movie. Additionally, Freeza knew of the Super Saiyan God, information he was never stated to know in the original canon.
    • Even Goku's age is retconned; ironically, retconned back to what it originally was stated to be by Goku early on. As of Dragon Ball Minus, Goku was sent to Earth when he was three. Bulma was 5 at the time. This would make him 14 during the beginning of Dragon Ball; exactly the age he said he was when Bulma asked, despite it later being changed to 12 after Goku 'learned' to count. Of course, with Goku being Goku, he may have just counted wrong.
    • Another small retcon? In the manga, Bulma was stated to be on 'summer vacation' when she was hunting for the Dragon Balls, but as of the Jaco manga, she was stated to have graduated University at age 16. The details are just plain muddled now.
  • Dragon Ball Super has apparently retconned Future Trunks hair color. It goes from being purple to blue. Episode 52 includes moments from History of Trunks, which also show this change. What makes this odd is the fact that the present day Trunks still has purple hair.
  • The first episode of Kill la Kill has the Big Bad Satsuki obviously kill a student, something that we later see is out-of-character for her. A future character shows the boy alive.
  • In Wandering Son, when Cool Big Sis Yuki met Takatsuki it was heavily implied she was drawn to him because she knew he was biologically female and nervous about being out as a boy for the first time. Despite this several chapters later she seems genuinely surprised when he reveals his sex, though she could have been surprised at Nitori coming out.
  • This is combined with Early Installment Weirdness in Fullmetal Alchemist. In their backstory episode, Edward and Alphonse are sparring when Ed kicks his brother into the water. A much later episode shows that both had previously thought that getting Al's seal wet would kill him, and are surprised when it doesn't.
  • Sgt. Frog: A fairly inoffensive one though. The official databook for the manga released alongside volume 23 changed the ages of several characters compared to their initial ones in previous databooks. Natsumi and Koyuki are 14 years old in the present, but now were 13 in the beginning of the series and Mutsumi now is said to be 16 years old (which would make him 15 in the beginning of the series), rather than 18 like in the previous official publications. In general, the new official ages seem to match up with the ones used by the original anime, although Mutsumi still is one year older than his anime self.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Retcon/AnimeAndManga