What Could Have Been / Anime

Let us just say that there are a lot of "prototype" pilot episodes of famous manga whose ideas didn't make into the final product.


  • The Afganisu-tan series was supposed to be longer, but its sequel was cut short when the mangaka's PC had a virus.
  • Angel Beats! was originally supposed to have 26 episodes, but it was cut down to 13 at the last second. As a result, 26 episodes of content had to be cut down to fit 13 episodes worth of screen time. By the end of the series, it was clear that many of the unresolved plot threads and development of only a fraction of the main cast were meant for a longer running series.
  • According to research by Bandai, the Anpanman anime was originally going to premiere in 1987 and only last 24 episodes.
  • Attack on Titan:
    • Hajime Isayama first brought his pilot to Shueisha, with the hopes of having it published in Weekly Shonen Jump, but the editor who evaluated his work said that it was good, but not good enough for Jump standardsnote ; then, when Isayama gave his pilot to Kodansha, it was accepted in no time and published at Bessatsu Shounen Magazine, a monthly offshoot of their Weekly Shonen Magazine. The first two volumes sold more than a million copies combined. As a result, Jump, and consequently Shueisha, lost a giant new hit to its biggest rival.
    • The pilot itself, now called Attack on Titan: Volume 0, is extremely different from the series that we know today. For starters, third-dimensional maneuver gear don't exist in the pilot, and humans are fully capable of "jumping 10 meters" while fighting Titans.
    • When Annie is called out as the Female Titan in chapter 31, Isayama originally drafted her reaction to be along the lines of a (disturbing) Tearful Smile, as a result of being "relieved" she'd been found out. He regretted his decision of changing it and requested that a similar reaction would be added to the anime.
    • Isayama had originally planned to kill off Sasha in chapter 36, but later abandoned that idea, it was apparently so brutal that the editor went to the bathroom and cried.
    • In the same interview describing the initial plot of chapter 36, Isayama stated he originally had Eren knowing all along he could turn into a Titan, but later dropped the idea.
    • Isayama has also admitted in an interview that his original idea was to make Attack on Titan a Kill 'em All with an Everyone Dies ending, but has also admitted to seriously reconsidering that. Considering his reputation with "official" statements this has to be taken with a grain of salt though. However as of the events of Chapter 85 and 86, there's a good chance this claim is now true.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia:
    • The character of Belarus is a scary blonde Yandere. She was actually supposed to be a brunette and quite more mellow.
    • A remnant of this original idea can be seen in Belarus's first color appearance in volume 1 of the published manga. Though she still wields a knife, her hair (and eyes) are colored brown and her expression seems to be a little less severe.
    • Also, South Korea was initially female and with aspirations of becoming an Idol Singer. The original designs would be re-used in Sena, the lead of Himaruya's web-manga Moe Kan.
    • Hell, Korea in general, speaking only for the anime. He was going to be in it, but protest from South Koreans forced Korea off the show. The series would have been broadcasted on Kid's Station in 2009, but was cancelled after the protests Kid's Station apparently had no knowledge of. South Korean protesters claimed he was an offensive sterotype because his clothing and birthday are incorrect, his behaviour perverted and "not understandable", and the fact that he obsesses over Japan, even though this usually is World War II we're talking about.
      • More fun with gender changes! Hungary was to be a male crossdresser (while Poland would be a female character), but Himaruya switched him to an actual female and made Poland the Wholesome Crossdresser. For added fun, Hungary was supposed to be more of a "witchy" character, with a shorter fuse and the habit of shooting arrows at whoever thought of her as a male.
      • Also, before settling on a sweet-looking teenage girl, Himaruya had several designs for Taiwan: a cute little girl, an old bald man, a short-haired Bokukko, a young boy with a Simple Staff, an older boy with Big Ol' Eyebrows, a Dragon Lady, etc.
      • Himaruya has noted that he once considered making Switzerland a female, with her true gender only being realized by Germany when he'd see her out of uniform. This idea did later get recycled with Hungary (who was a massive Tomboy when she was younger) and Prussia, with the latter only realising that the former is female when her uniform gets ripped to Absolute Cleavage levels.
    • In the third volume of the manga, a special pamphlet revealed various designs that could have been (including the witchy Hungary): Cuba as a cute little boy instead of a gruff Jerk with a Heart of Gold, Italy with no Idiot Hair, Russia as a dark-haired drunken uncle kind of man, Greece with sleek hair and glasses, England with normal eyebrows, a meaner-looking Liechtenstein, and China with short hair and glasses.
    • Before what we now know as Axis Powers Hetalia was formulated, Himaruya was originally intending on writing a manga set in New York City with a cast of characters that were "useless heroes". Since he wanted the characters to be of different ethnicities, he did an online search of ethnic traits. Instead, he got pages of ethnic jokes, one of which went something like, "The only weapon the Italians had during WWII was a white flag." That was how Italy's character came to be. From then on, he retooled the whole series by giving it a historical/geographical angle and making the characters into allegorical portrayals of nations. Oh, and in the end, Italy was the only character who was a "useless hero."
    • For the dub, Todd Haberkorn was originally cast as England, with an unnamed voice actor cast as Italy. Said unnamed voice actor dropped out, and Todd had to drop England to try out for Italy (owing to the fact that the voices were too similar for scenes the characters shared). England was taken over by Scott Freeman. And before Todd was finalized for the voice of Italy, he was in competition with Vic Mignogna, who later was cast as Greece. Also mentioned was that Todd auditioned for Germany, using a voice not unlike what was later used for Prussia. (The story can be heard here)
  • The original version of Berserk had Guts as a somewhat less cold character with an eyepatch (which he gives up before the prototype's end), had elements of a Deadpan Snarker and took up hunting demons after his mother was killed by one. The Big Bad was to be a single demon lord by the name of Vana (instead of the four demons known as the Godhand that take up the role in the series proper), and the sacrificial mark was on the right side of his chest instead of on the back of his neck. The prototype was actually intended to be a Shōnen story, but was changed to Seinen because the story was too dark.
  • The Big O was originally written as a stand alone series that the writers did not know, but hoped with have a second season. Had the show not done so well in America it would've been likely that series wouldn't have been picked up by western producers meaning no second season. Likewise, the second season was written with the expectation that many of the unanswered plot points in it would be explored in a third season - but the show's audience limited to the late night slots of [adult swim] and poor DVD sales meant it was impossible to produce a third season.
  • Bleach: Many abandoned plot elements have been revealed by Tite Kubo in databooks or interviews.
    • The unpublished pilot chapter was very different from "Death and Strawberry".
      • Rukia shrunk to about 15 cm tall when Ichigo took her powers.
      • Pilot!Orihime was stalked by her hollowfied father rather than her brother, Ichigo reciprocated her affections, and she died at the end of the story arc.
      • Some of the rules are different, as souls have to be given tickets to get into the afterlife, and the Soul Reapers have to cut the chain of fate (doing so in the final manga results in the spirit becoming a hollow).
    • Kubo originally intended Mayuri to be Ishida's 'personal villain', with a series of escalating fights between them until Mayuri finally died and Ishida avenged his grandfather and race. This appears to have been de-emphasized when Kubo planned out the Arrancar and Blood War Arcs, at which point Mayuri became an over-the-top Token Evil Teammate and Yhwach became the real villain in Uryu's personal saga.
    • Kubo mentioned in an interview about Shinji that he'd originally planned for Ichigo's friends to develop powers, but Shueisha told him to hurry up and introduce the Shinigami.
    • Kubo originally considered Urahara and Gin as the original villains with Aizen being killed off permanently. However, at some point after Kubo decided that Aizen would be killed off, he decided that Aizen made the most sense as the villain, and decided on the fake-death storyline instead.
    • Kubo originally wanted the Shinigami standard weapon to be a firearm, while Rukia would be a bit of an anomaly by wielding a scythe. Rukia did end up wielding a scythe in Bleach Fade To Black.
  • Bandai America at one point had the rights to Blue Comet SPT Layzner, but according to internal sources the master copies they got were old and fadednote  which rendered them completely useless. Literally unable to do anything with it, Bandai just held onto the license for years until it finally expired.
    • On a related note, any of the licenses Bandai had when they stopped producing new series in early 2012. Among them was Turn A Gundam, which is one of the "Lost Four" Gundam series that fans never thought would get licensed. note 
  • In one of the omake of the Chrono Crusade manga, Moriyama discussed a few of these. For example, the tomboyish Genki Cat Girl Shader was originally supposed to be a man crossdressing in elegant clothing. (You can see some remnants of this in earlier scenes of the manga, where a figure that represents her is shown as taller and appears to be wearing a long gown.) There's also a sketch of a figure that was supposed to be Chrono and Rosette's rival at the Order—his design seems to be recycled in a younger version of Remington shown in a flashback.
    • The story was originally going to be set in the 1800s but Moriyama changed it to the 1920s to take advantage of newer technology.
  • CLAMP:
    • Less of a straight example than the others, but CLAMP mentioned during an interview after the conclusion of Card Captor Sakura that Syaoran/Sakura being a "normal" pairing (discounting Syaoran still being a foreigner despite being a boy Sakura's age) was never really part of their considerations; if Syaoran had been a girl and/or older/younger than Sakura, they still would have ended up together. Several fans who were disappointed that Syaoran and Sakura getting together prevented any yuri in the series were rather intrigued by this information.
    • According to The Other Wiki, Tokyo Babylon originally debuted in a set of doujinshi by Nanase Ohkawa. It contained the original three main characters (Subaru, Hokuto, and Seishiro), but was supposedly about hunting elves. Also, while Seishiro was still a veterinarian and still had a dark side, it's said that it wasn't as pronounced as it was in the final product, thus having him undergo the most character change between the doujinshi and the final manga.
    • Apparently, CLAMP was originally made the storyboard for the second season opening of Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-. But it got rejected by Bee Train in place for the current second opening which is a boring slide show. Also, the second season would have been closer to the manga itself which divulged into the Darker and Edgier territory. However, NHK made the show more kid-friendly and lighter which resulted to much dissatisfaction on CLAMP. And in the end, CLAMP pulled the plug for a possible third season and have Production I.G continue it instead in a form of OVAs.
  • Before the Executive Meddling that turned the second season of Code Geass into what it is today kicked in, the writing staff had originally planned for Lelouch to win the duel at the end of the first season. After that, there were several possible routes the story could have taken. One of the proposed scenarios involved Lelouch being imprisoned after being defeated by Emperor Charles, only to later break himself out of prison and run in a political election against Schneizel. The other scenario involved Jeremiah's sister Lilicia, who would look like a female Lelouch, becoming Zero and taking control of the Black Knights, confusing them greatly when they find out their leader's gender. Because of this, Lelouch is forced to join the Black Knights as himself, and gets picked on by Tamaki, who has a crush on Girl!Zero.
    • There were some potentially big ideas for the second season, including introducing Kallen's father, bringing her supposedly-dead brother back (foreshadowed in a first season audio commentary where the head writer teases that he might not be really dead, greatly surprising Kallen's voice actress), an explanation about Suzaku's superhuman abilities and his relationship to Geass, and a greater exploration of C.C.'s past. All this had to be cut in the great reshuffling brought on by Executive Meddling.
    • Even earlier than that, it was mentioned in passing that Lelouch and Suzaku's characters were derived from the first draft of the series, which would have been about a Wide-Eyed Idealist fresh recruit in the army (Proto-Suzaku) and his idealogical conflicts with Proto-Lelouch, his cynical commanding officer.
    • In a bonus feature for Code Geass: Tales of an Alternate Shogunate, Kallen sneaks into the studio and finds an early story idea. It describes the story as a "Lone Wolf and Cub type story", with Lelouch, Suzaku and Nunnally as the main characters (Nunnally ends up being Demoted to Extra), and Lelouch possibly having an eyepatch over his Geass eye. Kallen seems to like the idea until she sees the idea to put Nunnally in a cart with Hadron blasters equipped.
  • The Death Note pilot manga had a young student named Taro finding a notebook that would kill anyone whose name was written in it... and also an eraser that would resurrect those people if you erased their names!
    • In stark contrast to Light, Taro gets scared of the notebook and stops using it after his first two unintentional uses (although a classmate of his uses it to kill people and deflect suspicion from himself). This fits nicely with Near's statement late in the manga that if Light were an ordinary person, he would not have used the Death Note after the first time.
    • Taro's character design was later used as the inspiration for the fourth Kira, Teru Mikami.
    • "Vol. 13: How to Read" implies that the creator had considered having L win with Light dead and that an error between editor and artist switched Mello and Near's character designs.
      • It was also said that Naomi Misora was originally going to be a more major character, but since she wound up being too clever, she had to be killed off fast. Also, Ohba had considered having Mello be the one to win against Light, but since he was also too "smart", he had to be killed off to provide suspense.
    • Mogi was originally planned to have a larger role, but Ohba couldn't decide how to do it.
    • An early idea was to have Near and Mello be L's twin sons, but this was eventually dropped because L is implied to be about 25 years old when he dies, when Near and Mello are both about 14 years old. Which would imply that L became a father incredibly young.
    • Allegedly, early concepts for the Shinigami would have made Ryuk, Gelus, and Rem resemble attractive humans, but the decision was made that Gelus's brief appearance worked better if he looked somewhat pathetic and Ryuk and Rem being beautiful did raise concerns that fans might side with the team of killers just because of their looks. The designs were soon changed to give the Shinigami a more appropriately inhuman feel.
      • Ryuk's original design can be seen here.
  • Demashita Power Puff Girls Z:
    • Initial artwork gave the girls hairstyles similar to their American counterparts, and they had different weapons (Blossom had a pair of hula hoops, Buttercup had a pair of juggling clubs and Bubbles had a skipping rope).
    • Likewise, the pilot trailer that was revealed on April Fool's Day had Ken serve in place of Professor Utonium, had the girls' transform with their weapons instead of their henshin belts and using their weapons in melee combat closer to the originals. Rolling Bubbles was long-ranged, with bubbles that disintegrated Mojo's machines and Hyper Blossom and Powered Buttercup were mid-range and point blank resprectfully but far more violent in their handling.
  • D.Gray-Man had a prototype titled Zone which was more of an experiment of what the characters and plot would be like. Allen was originally a female character named Robin and General Cross's weapon was going to be what Allen's current weapon is. Lavi was also supposed be a character for another manga titled 'Bookman' but the idea was scratched and he was put into D. Gray Man.
  • Digimon:
    • By Word of God Hikari of Digimon Adventure wasn't originally intended to join the group, and it was only decided to add an 8th child around midway.
    • Likewise, according to this interview with the series' director, the infamous 02 epilogue, in which Sora and Yamato ended up married, was originally planned to be the first series' finale.
    • Remember Digimon Adventure 02? Remember the Dark Ocean and how it only showed up in about 3 episodes? Well, originally it was supposed to be used as a plot point (perhaps as the next big arc after the Digimon Kaiser?) but it was completely ignored by the regular writers of the show.
    • In early discussions about the premise of Digimon Adventure's sequel series, it was suggested that Tai and the others remains the main characters while Matt had broken off from the group to join the enemy's side. Kaiser!Matt anyone? From the footnotes of this interview
    • Way, way back in the planning stages of Digimon Tamers, Impmon was originally supposed to be Takato's Digimon. When that fell through, they decided to make Beelzemon the Big Bad of the series, but changed their minds and replaced him with the D-Reaper, so he became The Atoner. Also, Renamon was originally supposed to be called Lunamon (which eventually became the name of a completely different Digimon).
    • Digimon Frontier's Digidestined were originally going to have slightly different designs and color schemes. Also, Koji was originally planned to be female, an idea that was presumably discared due to Tamers already having a female lone wolf character.
  • Dirty Pair: The entire franchise has been dubbed into English... except for the main 26-episode series itself, which has been something of a gripe among not only fans, but North American anime distributors who would LOVE to produce one... apparently Nozomi Entertainment is the exception to this rule, and unfortunately for everybody else, they ended up being the ones to finally get the license to the series. David Williams from Sentai Filmworks did promptly offer to produce an English dub with Seraphim Digital Studios (likely with the same cast from the movies and OVAs), but Nozomi declined, likely for budget. Still, some are hopeful that such a dub WILL be made for this anime classic for a collector's edition re-release or a Blu-ray reissue.
  • Doraemon:
    • The 1979 anime had been attempted three times to be released in the US, however, none of them were successful. The first was in 1985 by Ted Tuner, who acquired the US license to it and planned to air the first 50 episodes on TBS. The second was in the late 1990s by Streamline Pictures, who asked several TV producers, such as Fred Patten, to get them the anime. Unfortunately for the company, the TV producers rejected the request due to concerns about it being "too ethnically Japanese" and having content that would be inappropriate for American children. The third and final one was in the early 2000s by Unbound Creative Inc, who actually created a pilot episode and pitched it over to US networks. And of course, no one picked it up.
    • According to this article, Matt Alt was originally considering changing Doraemon's name for the North American release of the manga to make his name "more accessible to English readers". Thankfully, this wasn't an option and Doraemon's name was retained.
    • The manga was originally supposed to end after the chapter, "Goodbye Doraemon", due to the Fujiko Fujio duo being busy with other works. However, the series wouldn't leave their minds and they decided to resume it by making the chapter, "The Return of Doraemon", that has Doraemon returning from the future after Nobita stated to himself that Doraemon wouldn't ever come back. This was caused by a potion he drank earlier in the chapter that made everything he said true. The chapter then ends with both of them reuniting and tearing up in happiness.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • The original pilot for the manga was called "Dragon Boy". Its hero, Tanton, was a boy with bat wings that would evolve into the monkey-tailed Goku. The pilot interestingly featured an artifact called a Dragon Ball, but it was pretty useless (all it did was release a puny dragon). The story was also heavily based on Journey to the West and had Tanton escorting a princess that strongly resembles Bulma back home to her country. When the story ends, the heroes still have nine-tenths of the way to go. Just think of all that could have been here...
    • Harmony Gold had done an obscure and short-lived English dub of the Dragon Ball anime in the late 80s, with many Dub Name Changes; Goku was named Zero, Bulma was Lena, Krillin was Bongo... Only a few episodes (and the first two movies) were dubbed, and the project was axed when test markets failed to hold an audience.
    • The Android/Cell arc changed its intended Big Bad a lot. Originally, Android #19 and Android #20/Dr. Gero were supposed to be the main villains of the arc (Trunks even specifically naming them as the androids ruling his time in the manga), but Toriyama's former editor, Kazuhiko Torishima, mocked the pair's designs, seeing them as ill-fiting for such a big threat. Thus, Toriyama created Androids #17 and #18 to be the new villains. Torishima called him again, disappointed that now the enemies were "brats", so Toriyama ultimately created Cell.
      • Even when Cell appeared, it wasn't over; his Imperfect form was conceived as his only form, but Toriyama's current editor, Yū Kondō, saw him as ugly and suggested he transform like Frieza. His Semi-Perfect form was intended to be around for a lot longer (likely due to being Toriyama's self-admitted favourite character design), but Kondō now saw him as "a moron" and pressured Toriyama to have Cell reach his final form quicker.
    • Gohan was intended to take over as lead in the Buu arc, with Goku staying dead following the Cell arc. However, for one reason or another Toriyama felt he wasn't right for the role of protagonist, and gave it back to Goku.
    • Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods underwent many changes:
      • Initially, Beerus was conceived as a more villainous character who infected people with evil (such as the Saiyans, to whom he gave their violent Blood Knight traits). His design was also first seen as a lizard, before Toriyama changed it to resemble a cat.
      • Before the party in the film became Bulma's birthday, it was first thought of as Krillin and Android 18's wedding.
      • Super Saiyan God's design was originally more muscular, complete with a cape and a hairstyle resembling a mix of the hair on Super Saiyan 3 and Super Saiyan 4 from Dragon Ball GT. The final design went in a completely different direction from this.
      • Many storyboarded scenes were cut for time; among them was a scene of the supporting cast coming to Goku's aid when he finds himself in a pinch, despite being fully aware of how outclassed they are against Beerus.
  • Elfen Lied creator Lynn Okamoto has said he wished he'd given the residents of Maple House more slice-of-life stories, sort-of seen in the manga-format/anime-continuity bonus adventure included in the Japanese Blu-Ray release. The anime itself had a different ending than originally scripted. Among the differences is a kidnapping plot against Yuka, the Chief's manga plans coming out in the anime, more details about Mariko's mission, and the gate at the end actually opening, though the person behind it remains unseen.
  • Fairy Tail:
    • Mashima mentioned in Volume 10 that he once thought of Erza's entire adult life being All Just a Dream of young Erza, but decided against it when he realized what that would mean for the entire rest of the series.
      • Considering the problems she has as an adult (not the least of which is that the love interest she relied on so much as a child is Brainwashed and Crazy), this would have some serious implications for her mental state if it were true.
    • Her friends also were supposed to be the Quirky Miniboss Squad of the arc, rather than have a Bait-and-Switch with Trinity Raven. When he was writing their backstories Mashima decided that he liked them too much to make them serious villains.
    • Wendy was supposed to be the Water Dragon Slayer.
    • A very early design has Natsu as a Horned Humanoid, seen here.
      • Similarly, Erza's original character design had her as more of a Nubile Savage than the Magic Knight we know her as. Mashima's idea for her character was simply "a woman badass enough to scare Natsu" and everything evolved from there.
    • Makarov was supposed to die during the Tenrou Island arc.
    • The anime was officially going to end after the Daphne filler arc, which is why most of the passing references to Gildarts were left out. It proved more popular than expected so it continued.
    • According to the Q&A section of volume 22, Erigor was supposed to appear during the Oracion Seis arc in the manga, but was ultimately cut out. The only bit that was left in was a brief mention at the start of the arc before Team Natsu's departure. However, he was added into the anime version of the arc.
    • The name Oración Seis was originally only used as a placeholder for another title Mashima was trying to come up with, but he ended up going with it when the deadline came too close for comfort.
    • Mashima always intended for Faust to be Makarov's Edolas counterpart, but was forced to exclude it from the manga for reasons unknown. He was glad to see that the anime included it, but complained that their shared actors (Shinpachi Tsuji and R. Bruce Elliott) made the connection too obvious.
    • Cosmos was originally named "Fione", but her name was changed because it sounded too similar to “Fiore".
    • Before The Reveal that Doranbalt is a council agent pretending to be a member of Fairy Tail, Mashima considered making him an actual member of Fairy Tail, Grimoire Heart, or even Tartarus.
    • Edolas Gajeel was intended to appear in the manga, but was forced out for unknown reasons.
    • A series of older sketches Mashima released during a drafting phase for Volume 32 of the manga shows Lucy kneeling before Zeref in the lower right-hand corner.
    • On the subject of Lucy, there are early sketches of her with a different hair style and wielding cards to summon the stellar spirits instead of keys, but Mashima decided that was too similar to another manga.
  • Final Fantasy: Unlimited was going to be fifty two episodes, making two seasons, but it was canceled after its first season. The story continues in other media.
  • Tetsuo Hara's two-part pitch for Fist of the North Star that he wrote and illustrated by himself bears little resemblance to the later serialized version he co-wrote with Buronson. In the pilot, Kenshiro (who originally bore the surname "Kasumi") is a teenager who leads a seemingly peaceful life in present-day Japan (the apocalypse hasn't happened yet) with his sweetheart Yuki (not Yuria) while learning the ways of Hokuto Shinken from his father (who is implied to be Kenshiro's own biological father). That is until his girlfriend is murdered by a rival martial arts clan (the Taizanji Kenpo school) for witnessing a crime and Ken himself is framed for her death. The pilot deals with Kenshiro hiding from authorities (who are secretly under the control of the Taizanji) while seeking to avenge his girlfriend's death. The major fights from both pilots ended up being used as template for filler fights in the anime and Hara would later revisit the concept of a Hokuto Shinken successor living in a civilized age with Fist of the Blue Sky (even reusing the "Kasumi" surname for Kenshiro's predecessor).
  • In some drafts, Free! had Nagisa as a cooler character who'd view Haru as more of a rival.
  • There are several differences between the Fullmetal Alchemist movie's original script and the final product. One major point is that Izumi's death was on-screen; the script writer even apologized to her Japanese voice actress for giving her no lines. There was also meant to be a scene with a meaningful conversation between Winry and Colonel Mustang at Hughes gravestone. Originally there was a love triangle between Edward, Noah, and Alfons as well but that was scrapped in exchange for platonic relationships.
  • Media Blasters at one point was in extensive talks with Disney XD to get GaoGaiGar aired on their channel. Disney ultimately decided to pass on the show on the basis that they thought giant robots were "out" at the moment. As such, the series was direct-to-DVD in North America, and the lack of a TV deal likely highly influenced the second season being released as subtitled-only.
  • According to the Getter Robo Bible, the prototype for Getter Robo was actually a racing manga, which Ryouma, Hayato and Musashi riding old-fashion race cars and performing stunts with them.
  • Giant Robo was over long and over budget, so a lot of stuff had to be cut to make way for the main plot. One the director himself mentioned as something he regretted was that Sally the Witch (the ORIGINAL magical girl) was going to have a fight with the Big Bad ruling council, the Magnificent Ten (themselves famous cameos). The awesomeness of this scene can only be imagined but by the time the last episodes rolled around there was just nowhere to put it, and sadly she ended up as little more than a slightly confusing plot device.
    • That's just the tip of the iceberg. You know how the series ends with a teaser for a final battle between the Experts and Big Fire? That was supposed to be animated, as the climax of the series. And, in fact, Imagawa had plans for an entire saga spanning several OVA series, of which Giant Robo was the second to last chronologically. The others would have explained things like how Daisaku became an Expert and the origin of the Magnifacent Ten (along with a teamup between Giant Robo and Tetsujin 28) before it all culminating in the final series, "The Siege of Babel," which is the story teased at the end of Giant Robo. Thanks to funding issues, none of these series will ever come to be. The sheer amount of potential awesomeness we have been denied almost boggles the mind.

  • As mentioned in the Gunsmith Cats article, the original incarnation of the story, Riding Bean, had Rally as Bean's triggerwoman.
  • Minor/only-dub-related one: Johnny Yong Bosch mentioned that, at first, many ideas were thrown around about what to do with the "Endless Eight" episodes of Haruhi Suzumiya. Among the ideas were making different accents per episode and switching the roles among the voice actors for each episode. Bandai ultimately decided to go for a straight dub.
  • Originally, Hayate the Combat Butler was going to be a one-shot about a teenage girl and her little sister who were in debt with the mob, and the things they had to do to pay them off without getting sucked in. These characters became Yukiji and Hinagiku. Word of God says the one-shot is part of Hayate continuity, and will be worked in as part of the series.
  • Inuyasha was at one point considered for airing on daytime Toonami rather than Adult Swim in America, but the Standards and Practices were alarmed by a plot-important scene of impalement in the first episode. (The show did air on Toonami in Latin America.)
  • Jewelpet:
    • The protagonist Ruby was originally going to be the amber Jewelpet instead of the ruby one, so she would have been Kohaku. Hilarious in Hindsight, as the Kohaku of the finished product is a pretty minor character.
      • The first personality type proposed for Ruby was very different from the final one: she was going to be a polite and modest character; she wound up a Hot-Blooded ditz instead.
    • Lady Jewelpet: Momona's hair ribbon was going to have a different color scheme.
  • King of Braves GaoGaiGar: Project Z, the continuation of the GaoGaiGar story. The story would have had Mamoru and Ikumi joining the hero group from Betterman after the disappearance of 3G. Because Allouette, the All There in the Manual tyke genius who built GaoFighGar, lost her intelligence after falling into a coma, rebuilding said mech was impossible. Instead, that would have used Stealth Gao II (the component for Star GaoGaiGar) and the Liner Gao II and Drill Gao II (components from GaoFighGar) and using a new Nendroid known as GaiGo, they would have created a new King of Braves, GaoGaiGo. Pictures also showed that Genesic GaoGaiGar would have returned, seemingly bursting through the sun, possibly meaning Guy Shishioh, the original protagonist, might have become an antagonist somehow. However, for unknown reasons, the idea was shelved, though figurines of GaoGaiGo were made.
  • Love Hina:
    • In the prototype version, Naru was named Midori and instead of being a hot-headed Tsundere, she was to have been a Cute Clumsy Girl, even in the cafe where she worked. Shinobu was to have been the Tsundere, as well as having a ponytail similar to Forty's. Also, Naru was already engaged on a love relationship with another guy, while Keitaro was much less of a pushover: right after the first hot spring incident with Naru and the subsequent beating up from the girls, he severely considered kicking them out of the boarding house. (He is the new manager, after all.) Also, the girls's original reason to befriend him was just to get on his good side and avoid being kicked out. (Naru was supposed to take the bullet for them.)
    • During the manga's run, the girl who was supposed to end up with Keitaro wasn't Naru but Motoko Aoyama instead. Constant setups for this can be seen on the manga, with both Keitaro and Motoko seriously considering it at least twice. The fact that both Keitaro and Motoko are the characters with the biggest changes and character developement of the entire cast also says a lot, but according to Ken Akamatsu himself, he was running out of ideas near the end so he decided to drop that option and quickly finish the manga with a typical finale instead.
  • As can be seen in this video of the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha mini-scenario that was included in the Triangle Heart 3: Sweet Songs Forever fandisc, Nanoha was originally meant to be a more typical Magical Girl anime. Raising Heart as a heart-shaped wand, Lindy as a Fairy Companion, Chrono as a villain, pre-existing kitsune character Kuon in the place of Yuuno, no Fate, no Humongous Mecha inspired weaponry, and no Stuff Blowing Up. Then, during the production of the anime, someone noted how the Giant Poofy Sleeves on Nanoha's new Magical Girl outfit made her look like a Gundam, and the rest was history.
  • The first 52 episodes of Magical Princess Minky Momo were translated by Harmony Gold for a dub called "The Magical World of Gigi". However, the project failed to take off in the US due to Harmony Gold being unable to get a TV deal (similar to the cases of their Dragonball and Dr. Slump dubs). The scripts for this adaptation were recycled for a few overseas adaptations, such as ones aired in Italy, France, the Netherlands, and Mexico. The only piece of the Momo series that managed to be officially widely released in English was the first OVA, which was retitled "Gigi and the Fountain of Youth". The English dub of the series however, did briefly make it onto Melbourne's ATV10 channel, where it aired in a morning cartoon block on weekdays throughout the later half of the '80s.
    • There was also to be a third Minky Momo anime for the new millenium, titled "Miracle Dream Minky Momo", but it never got off the ground and only a manga adaptation was made. The third Momo would have hailed from a land-based kingdom, rather than one in the sea or in the sky.
    • Harmony Gold had also produced adaptations for Demetan Croaker (retitled "Adventures on Rainbow Pond") and Temple the Balloonist (retitled "Sabrina's Journey") , which they intended to market as part of a TV package with Gigi. While the first dub didn't make it to airwaves, an old catalog entry shows that at least 26 episodes had been translated for it. It is unknown how far Harmony Gold got with their adaptation of Temple, though its scripts were also recycled for overseas dubbing.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima! had numerous character redesigns before the final product: Negi was supposed to be named Negi.T.Silverberg and be older looking; Nodoka was to be named Meiko Miyazaki; Ako was to be named Ayu Izumi who instead had a large scar across her chest instead of her back; Makie Sasaki was originally going to be a different person entirely named Kozue Migara who was best friends with the lead girl (a role filled by Konoka) and who played on the lacross team (an idea which lead to the creation of Sakurako Shiina); Yuna and Chizuru had several connections in their designs, starting with the character of Yuko Akashi, an energetic, random girl, who worked part-time at the academy's daycare, while the character of Tsutsumi Nadai was a character with a strong father complex who was good at cooking and house-work. These various traits went to both Yuna and Chizuru. Kaede was at first intended to be a clumsy and incompetent ninja. Not to mention the school itself possibly being a giant tower reaching to the sky, or a large island in the sea of Japan. These are given as notes in the back of the manga volumes, along with other characterization notes that, at least unless/until the manga contradicts them, are considered fanon for the series.
    • Speaking of Negima, the OADs count as well. Anime News Network has listed Negi (adult) being voiced by Hiroshi Kamiya. Seems to be good considering the fact that he won the Third Annual Seiyuu awards. Cue the third OAD and it's still Rina Sato who voiced Negi in his adult form. Not that bad all things considering, but it would have been nice if Hiroshi Kamiya did the job (then again, at this point, he was voicing four major roles).
  • Mai-HiME has two prototype videos. Several characters have different hair colors and uniforms, some of the Elements and Childs are different (Natsuki has two double-barreled pistols and a golden Duran).
  • Martian Successor Nadesico: Prince of Darkness was planned to be the first movie in a trilogy.
  • Sayaka Yumi from Mazinger Z was one of the first Action Girl and Tsundere with a lead role in Anime, and she and Kouji did the Belligerent Sexual Tension bit before no one else. However, she was Put on a Bus at the end of the series. The Bus Came Back again at the end of Great Mazinger, but after the end of the series she was Put on a Bus again. She was to become the 4th spazer pilot in UFO Robo Grendizer, but character developer and co-plotter of the series, Shingo Araki, opposed Go Nagai and designed a new character that did not appear in the Grendizer manga: Maria Grace Fleed, younger sister to Grendizer main character Duke Fleed. Maria soon became a fan-favourite in the latter part of the series. What might have happened had Sayaka and Maria, two hot-tempered, Hotblooded Tsunderes liking the same boy, shown up in the same series? Fans have made plenty of fanfics and doujins about the topic and it ended up in the scripts of many Super Robot Wars games.
    • Kouji Kabuto wore a Scarf of Asskicking and used a bike to dock on Mazinger Z in the Go Nagai's early designs. However, Kamen Rider premiered before Mazinger Z, and Go Nagai removed and changed those elements because he did not want people thought he was ripping off another show. The idea would return in Shin Mazinger as a literal prototype for Mazinger Z.
    • Originally there was a recurrent the idea about giving Minerva X as a replacement mecha for Sayaka (in fact, it's was somehow created for that purpose, as the true Mazinger Z partner, but not as a pilotable mecha, according to the original story), but it's was latter decanted to the Tear Jerker side (Minerva's "death" in episode 38)(and probably for having Sayaka always with a "breaking easy" mecha, in the misogynous Nagai's style...) Funny enough, there is an alternative universe manga called Mazinger Angels with Maria Fleed piloting it, and finally you can get Minerva X alive and playable for the good guys team in Super Robot Wars Advance and Super Robot Wars 64, letting you put Sayaka in it as her pilot, making combinations attacks with Mazinger as her true partner, and having original attacks quotes, all as it was intended/could been in the original series...
    • Another Go Nagai series, God Mazinger, has nothing to do with the original series. However, it was meant to be the sequel from Mazinger Z. However the idea got rejected, Great Mazinger and UFO Robo Grendizer were made instead of, and years later a God Mazinger anime was made, but removing any connection to the original series.
    • Great Mazinger was actually set to appear in the US back in The '80s. As part of the Force Five series, it would have complimented UFO Robo Grendizer, Getter Robo G, Gaiking and DanguardAce, but the plan fell through and they replaced it with Starzinger.
    • Back in the early '00s, AD Vision had plans to release some of the original Go Nagai series to compliment releases such as Getter Robo Armageddon and Mazinkaiser, but that plan obviously fell through. It wouldn't be until late 2012 when Discotek revealed that it would release the original Mazinger series.
  • Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch, in its original short story format, was going to be set in a mystical coast town in Ye Nonspecific Pirate Days. Yes, Kaito was a pirate. Lucia, who was named Lyre at the time, had a much skimpier outfit and her full team consisted of herself, Hanon and Rina, with no Sixth Rangers. There were only three villains, too — Izuuru, Gackto and Sara — and they were all merpeople; the rule that all mermaids were female hadn't been invented yet.
  • Two of Rumiko Takahashi's Mermaid Saga stories were made into OVA's back in the early 90s. These OVAs (Mermaid Forest and Mermaid's Scar) were extremely well-made and considered legendary among North American anime fans. However the two stories of the manga which are arguably the best (Mermaid's Promise and The Village of Fighting Fish) never got the OVA treatment. They eventually got made into anime much later as part of the Tokyo Movie Shinsha TV series; but those were of far inferior quality. One can only imagine what those two OVAs would have been like.
  • In the original concept of Miracle Shojo Limit-chan, Limit was given a time limit of one year to live after her accident, and the story was going to focus on the days until her death. Toei retooled the series as a traditional Magical Girl Slice of Life story with a cyborg heroine when they decided that this idea was too grim.
  • Naruto:
    • Naruto's prototype has no ninjas, as the titular boy was a Fox Demon in human form on a quest to learn how to make friends in the Human world. Naruto's personality was even more mischievous and bratty. The Sexy Technique was still around there, but it was comparatively more clothed than its official manga counterpart (a minimal top and daisy dukes, showing the fox tails). There were still equivalent characters for the Third Hokage and the nine-tailed fox (the latter of which was Naruto's father), but no other characters. The one-shot story was actually published, and takes place in the modern world — much of the Schizo Tech in the series may result from this. Also, the original Naruto wore goggles on his head from riding his motorbike, and the mangaka says that he loved the visual, but found it too complicated to draw constantly — hence the whole business with the forehead protectors.
    • Outside of the pilot, Akatsuki was originally supposed to be composed entirely of inhuman monsters. This is probably why the majority of them are humans but with massively altered bodiesnote . In the third databook Kishimoto mentioned Hidan's scythe was supposed to have a bunch more special abilities that he didn't have time to show.
    • Hinata wasn't originally a ninja. Kishimoto's original sketch of her can be found here.
  • One Piece had two prototypes before the chapter that eventually became the first one, and there was heavy rewriting between them. We only say that Luffy's character was way toned down and close the discussion. Also, there was no titular treasure (Luffy pretty much became a pirate for the hell of it), and the series was called Romance Dawn (which was used as the name for the manga's first chapter and volume).
    • In the second Romance Dawn, which was submitted as the pilot, Luffy's grandfather(who's a marine vice-admiral in the actual manga) played an equivalent role to Shanks, which Oda did so that Shanks would have more of an impact when he was introduced in the actual manga. There's a character named Ann with a similar design to Nami and the position of a swordswoman of limited skill, but she doesn't join Luffy's crew in this version. Plus the Big Bad of this pilot is Pirate Captain named Spiel the Hexagon whom to this date is the ONLY One Piece villain who uses Magic such as having the ability to ride on a broomstick, set a subordinate ablaze, summon a hammer, and control water to sink his own ship.
      • In the other Romance Dawn, Oda's attempt at a Nami-like character was named Silk and she and Galley do join Luffy's crew according to the time skipped epilogue.
    • The story of the first prototype was adapted into an animated special made for the JUMP Super Anime Tour that's set in the continuity of the main series between the Thriller Bark and Sabaody Archipelago arcs (following the manga, as the anime hadn't gotten to this point yet). Even before this, the villain named "Crescent Moon-Galley" made a cameo appearance in the anime version of the Loguetown arc.
      • Captain Kuro makes a reference to the crescent moon that would otherwise be a throwaway line if not for the possible reference to Romance Dawn.
    • In other development news, Zoro was originally conceived as one of Buggy's bodyguards.
    • In Oda's initial draft for the tenth movie One Piece Film: Strong World, the Big Bad Gold Lion Shiki was building a Weather-Control Machine on a sky island which needed four Green Rocks to power it (said Green Rocks were actually referenced in the very first teaser), and this was presumably the genesis for the kidnapping plot. It was also written to be an intense and tearjerking piece, but Oda threw the whole thing out because he felt that it was too forced.
      • Other supplementary materials for the movie reveal that the giant snake from the Skypiea arc was originally intended to be an octopus, and Shiki's distinct injury of getting a steering wheel lodged in his head was originally going to be Kuma's distinguishing feature.
    • The Green Databook reveals more information about the parts of the series that did not make it into the manga - among other things, Dadan was going to be a man, Usopp (though with an older design) was going to be the first mate, the shipwright was a short Fishman with a mallet (Franky was there, but he looked completely different and was considered the weaponsmith), and Sanji was originally named "Naruto" but JUMP rejected this as they were still optioning the Naruto pilot to become a series. Well, that explains his eyebrows...
      • Even more: Moria was originally conceptualized as a kindly-looking priest, while Doflamingo looked like a DJ/rapper, Blackbeard's first name was "Everything", Akainu had glasses and Kizaru was cheerful in a jovial sense instead of the creepy one. Also, Don Krieg had made himself into a mecha and the Amazon Marguerite had a Zoan Devil Fruit called the Cat Cat Fruit Model Black Cat which made her look like a Cat Girl when transformed.
    • In a Log Book, a series of sketches were printed, one of which was Chopper with Robin's arms, legs, and eyes on his back. When asked about this, Oda said he was originally intending on Robin to transport the unconscious crew via this method at the end of the Skypiea battles, but he realized this would be such horror for his younger readers that he replaced the idea with something simpler. Still, it brings up an untapped idea of how Robin could easily expose of enemies without using her basic "Clutch" attack.
    • And on the dub side, before Funimation or even 4Kids Entertainment got ahold of One Piece, there was a dubbing group in Vancouver that attempted to pitch an English-language version to Toei. Twice. In this dub, Luffy is voiced by a male actor, talks like a surfer, and seems to love barbecue. Roronoa Zoro would've been voiced by Sam Vincent. One of the demo tapes also added in Scooby-Doo-esque sound effects too. Toei rejected both pitches.
  • The author of Ouran High School Host Club was instructed to extend the first chapter of the manga by seven pages, and in order to fill the space decided to add in an additional host - that would be Ohtori Kyouya, who would go on to become The Chessmaster and the cool half of a Red Oni, Blue Oni pair with the male lead.
  • Pandora Hearts was originally a short-story drawn in the author's early career, featuring an early-design of Liam as the main character; a priest named Harris Watson, Oz as a kid who had his sister killed by the Serial Killer B-Rabbit whom the main character was pursuing for no other reason but because of his 'God' Or Was It, and Old!Gilbert whose face was hidden in the shadow (only recognized by the viewer because of his Badass Longcoat and Nice Hat). And despite having B-Rabbit in the story, Alice was Oz's sister instead.
  • Pokémon:
    • Ash's original partner in the anime was supposed to be a Clefairy instead of a Pikachu. Think about it: if successful as a franchise icon as Pikachu has been, Super Smash Bros. players could have been able to play as a Clefairy that could Metronome other fighters' Final Smashes for its own Final Smash... Another choice for Ash's original partner was also a Jigglypuff, but one who couldn't sing.
    • Also, the anime was originally just supposed to last through Kanto, with an assumed ending of Ash defeating Gary and winning the Pokémon League.
      • The very first trailer for the movie Mewtwo Strikes Back in Japan, it is completely made out of scenes that didn't make it to the final product; the grown-up Misty segment, in particular, is a huge source of speculation and discussion withing the fandom, specially by taking account the movie would be the Grand Finale for the anime. Takeshi Shudo, in a blog entry, explained his concept of a series finale that may have been related: in this ending, elderly Ash would remember that Pokemon never really existed, and his entire adventure had been All Just a Dream; he'd then wake up as a child again, wanting to travel on his own. The adult Misty scene from the trailer may have been part of this, with Pikachu only existing in the girl's imagination.
      • Media Blaster wanted to release uncut DVDs in America at one point, but of course Viz got the rights and they were unable to do this.
      • There was originally going to be an episode that celebrated the Japanese New Year during the Kanto run. This episode was intended to air soon after the infamous Porygon "seizure" episode, so production was halted, and after a while simply cancelled.
    • Here's one to consider in light of that 18-month report: Pokémon Gold and Silver was originally scheduled for release in Late 1997, but was delayed to be adapted for the Game Boy Color. The first episode of the Anime aired on 1 April 1997:
      • Had the game been released as originally scheduled, or even with a slight delay (i.e. Spring 1998), would an immediate sequel have followed?
      • Given that the delay happened, what if the "Porygon Incident" never happened and the series ended in October 1998, 1 year prior to Gold & Silver's actual release (As opposed to January 1999)? Would we have had a whole year in the Orange Islands? Or would the Anime have taken the year off?note 
      • In either of the above cases, (presuming that they didn't go the Filler Arc route,) would Ash still have been the protagonist, or would he (and his companions) have been replaced?
    • The GS Ball was originally going to contain a Celebi that was to star in a large portion of the Johto arc. After Pokemon 4Ever came out, it was decided that having a Celebi in the anime right after a movie featuring Celebi would be redundant, so the idea was shelved.
    • Spell of the Unown was originally set to address the question of "What happened to real-world animals in the Pokemon universe" and instead of Entei and the Unown (Gold and Silver had been delayed at this point of development and they were unsure about doing another movie debut Pokemon) the focal point would be the reanimated fossils of a Tyrannosaurus rex.
    • Early previews for Spell of the Unown refer to it as Tower of the Unown.
    • According to ADR director Tom Wayland, in Pokémon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life Arceus was originally going to be voiced by actor Vincent D'Onofrio of Full Metal Jacket and Men in Black fame. However, before his recording session, there were difficulties with D'Onofrio's agent and he was unable to record for the movie. After re-auditioning, Tom Wayland himself was chosen to voice Arceus instead.
    • Team Plasma was supposed to make their debut appearances in Castelia City during Best Wishes, in their original game incarnations, but their episodes were indefinitely postponed after the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear reactor disaster, as the episodes featured Castelia City threatened by destruction from earth seizures and fiery energy. A related episode about the fishing competition was also postponed, but was broadcast without any references to the original setting of Castelia City.
    • When the ''Advanced Generation" was in pre-production, there was a discussion on who would get Put on a Bus, Misty or Team Rocket. Misty leaving the show was controversial enough, but one wonders how much the fandom would have flipped their lids if Team Rocket left.
      • Team Rocket was also going to be Put on a Bus in Best Wishes. Ironically, their intended write-off was still advertised as their Grand Finale, which was intentional since there were still plans for them to make some appearances after said write-off and only when Best Wishes ended would they be gone for good, so the promotion about their farewell was testing the waters with fans and getting a response before working on the end of the series and the start of the next series, XY. Because fan reaction was negative, Team Rocket was kept in the anime.
    • Takeshi Shudo had story plans for finding out more about Ash's father. This idea was scrapped and we ended up with the show we have now because of it.
    • Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea was supposedly going to focused on Jackie Walker as the protagonist, along with Manaphy as his sidekick, but this shifted around as May became a more interesting viewpoint for the story and they realized how May and Manaphy's Mother/"Son" dynamic might appear to be recycling Misty and Togepi.
    • Latias from Pokémon Heroes was originally meant to join Ash for at least the remainder of the Johto season, but that plan was scrapped possibly due to the staff not willing to work with a serious Pokemon/Human relationship on a kid's show (then again Bayleaf did like Ash too).
    • Following Diamond and Pearl, there were serious discussions about possibly replacing Ash with a new protagonist. Likely like the Indigo example, this would have led him to win Sinnoh. It's also likely why Tobias, the trainer who beat Ash in Sinnoh, came out as he did: it was likely decided after they had written the Ash vs Paul battle and the writers realized they needed to knock out Ash so they could keep him going in Gen 5.
    • Ash's name was originally "Casey" in the English dub. Ironically, another character - a girl - would later end up with that name.
  • Pretty Cure All Stars New Stage had a few teaser pictures released that had shown Original Generation character Ayumi with Hibiki, Tsubomi and Love along with them in their Cure forms fighting Fusion. Instead, the movie focuses more on Ayumi and the characters from Suite Pretty Cure ♪ and Smile Pretty Cure!, relegating those from HeartCatch Pretty Cure! and Fresh Pretty Cure! to be nothing more than Stealth Hi/Bye material.
    • Many Cure fans are pretty thankful that 4Kids never dubbed the first series as they intended. Changed openings, names and cultural references aside, the Toei/Blue Water dub turned out for the better.
      • Speaking of the first series, Nagisa's goofy ponytail she wears while playing lacrosse almost became her default style.
    • In the very early stages of the Italian dub for Futari Wa Pretty Cure Splash Star, the dub company was planning to make Saki and Mai Nagisa and Honoka and make it a continuation of the first two series, despite all of the continuity problems it would have had.
    • Nao/Cure March of Smile Pretty Cure! was originally meant to be purple-themed, not green.
      • Similar to what happened with Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger vs. Space Sheriff Gavan: The Movie, notes for the Smile movie list that Akaoni was a big fan of the storybook villain Aoioni (Blue Demon). However, like most movies, the series villains are only namedropped and nothing is mentioned of this fanboyism.
      • Before going with the official name "Glitter Force", Smile's working dub name was "Gangnam Girls".
    • Designs of the Yes! Pretty Cure 5 cast were vastly different than their finalized states. Komachi was shown with neck-length hair with no ponytail, Karen was actually much more colder in design, Rin looked more like Nagisa and Urara had braided pigtails. As well, their school uniforms would have been normal Japanese schoolgirl uniforms.
      • Other differences include variations of their costumes (at one point, their costumes resembled the usual uniforms worn by the previous teams and another had Cure Mint and Cure Aqua with more elegant costumes), a baton that would have granted the girls a different ability when used (for instance, Cure Dream spinning it would entrance a monster, yet Cure Rouge could end up getting a power boost from it when set a different position) and Natts was, at one point, set to be a flying squirrel.
    • Many people noticed how quickly things changed in Suite Pretty Cure ♪ after the infamous 2011 earthquake and tsunami, especially with the fact that, compared to Heartcatch, it was decisively much more Lighter and Softer. It's unknown, though, how much was changed from the original story.
    • Doki Doki Pretty Cure had a lot lopped out.
      • Originally, Alice was supposed to have an older brother who would have been more of a globe hopper. He was the previous Student Council President before Mana and it was his advice that would lead to Mana becoming Cure Heart.
      • Mana also had two crushes, the aforementioned brother and another unidentified male, but were dropped because they said it interfered with her "charity" character personality. She was also supposed to have a relationship with Joe, but was stopped by the female producers. On that note, they also tried to pair up Alice and Makoto, but opted not to because of silly reasons (they felt Alice's perfect person should be a prince. and Makoto wouldn't be in a position to fall in love) before settling on Rikka.
      • There were plans for Makoto to join the team permanently at the halfway point, but was scuttled due to Pretty Cure All Stars New Stage 2. She was also supposed to take the fairies and leave at the end of the series.
      • There were plans to show off Alice's school, but were scuttled due to the creators fearing that if they didn't show Makoto more, fans wouldn't like her.
      • Ira was supposed to die, not just... run off.
      • Because they had so much story, the producers actually hoped to have a sequel series focusing on Slice of Life things.
  • An extra released in the Princess Tutu DVDs says that originally the concept for Fakir was called the "black prince", and he was a 'crazy' young man babbling stories that only Ahiru believed.
  • Project A-ko was supposed to be a part of the Cream Lemon hentai anthology. Then the director decided that the comedy bits A) were strong enough to work on their own and B) worked better without being broken up with sex scenes.
  • The opening of Revolutionary Girl Utena features Anthy and Utena riding upon pegasi in armor. This was an idea for the plot that wound up falling through as the series developed further.
    • The remastered Utena releases feature a character booklet with many unused design concepts: Touga was drafted as having short blond hair, while Saionji would have short hair and wear glasses. Utena was to originally keep the blonde hair she had in the early manga illustrations by Chiho Saito, although Ikuhara had trouble deciding on her exact uniform color (he had already vetoed the pink uniform, as explained in a manga omake). At one point, Anthy was considered as having light skin and blue hair, Miki was to have black hair, and Juri would also have her hair be a shade of blue. There is even a draft design for Utena herself that depicts her hair blue.
  • Robotech was originally planned only as an English dub of Super Dimension Fortress Macross. The other two series (Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross and Genesis Climber MOSPEADA) were added in because more episodes were needed for syndication. Had they not been forced to mix the stories, Harmony Gold may have been able to continue translating and airing subsequent Macross installments. Of course, whether or not that would have been a good thing is best left to the reader...
    • Outside of the name changes, the Robotech adaptation of Macross is actually considered to be pretty faithful (up until they change the last few episodes to hook into the other two shows), especially considering the Standards & Practices of the era. Even the death of Roy Fokker was kept in, which was unthinkable for an American cartoon at the time. Given the care of the adaptation and the zest Harmony Gold's people usually show for Macross, not many people doubt they would've done a good job with the rest of the franchise and do bemoan the fact that the various legal hurdles from the way Robotech went down prevent us from watching Robotech Plus, Robotech Seven, Robotech Zero, Robotech Frontier, and Robotech Delta instead of, well, what we got.
    • The original dub would have kept a more international dimension, with Hikaru Ichijyo being called "Rick Yamada", averting the Race Lift that often happened in dubbing shows at the time by instead acknowledging the original character's Japanese ethnicity.
    • The Robotech franchise has a few more What Could Have Been moments on its own. A sequel series with all-new animation, Robotech II: The Sentinels, died after the major American sponsor pulled out due to disappointing toy revenues and a jump in the yen/US dollar exchange rate, leaving only enough material for a direct-to-video movie which barely started the main plot. Its follow-up, Robotech III: The Odyssey never got beyond a vague outline. The first movie (not to be confused with the more recent The Shadow Chronicles) suffered from Executive Meddling, and never saw wide release. Robotech 3000 never got beyond a CGI trailer.
  • Rurouni Kenshin had two prototypes, both called Meiji Romantic Swordsman Story. The first one revolved around Kenshin saving Chizuru, the daughter of a merchant, from a jealous former samurai, and had none of the characters from the final version apart from Kenshin (whose name wasn't given). The second prototype had Kaoru, Megumi and Yahiko, but all three were siblings and Megumi's personality was completely different (being shy and submissive), and their father had been a comrade of Kenshin's. The main plot was about a former student of the Kamiya dojo taking it over and trying to marry Megumi in order to obtain it legally so that he could use the dojo as a gambling hall. Kenshin's name wasn't given in either. Also of note is that a minor mook character from the two prototypes eventually became the basis of Anji's design. If you count the author's first published work, Crescent Moon in the Warring States, then Rurouni Kenshin had three prototypes. It does include some elements of the final story, but takes place in the Sengoku (Warring States) era of Japan and focused on Hiko Seijuro, a master of Hiten Mitsurugi-Ryu (Kenshin's style) and Isshinta, a cowardly boy.
    • Watsuki originally planned for it to be revealed that Hannya had been stepped on in the womb like The Elephant Man, explaining his featureless death-mask of a face. Luckily, he realized the Unfortunate Implications of that idea and changed it to reveal that Hannya had intentionally mutilated his face so that he could easily disguise himself as just about anything.
  • Science Ninja Team Gatchaman is full of these. The first series was originally supposed to focus mainly on Ken, Jun, and Jinpei out of the team, but after Joe became more popular, he gained more screentime in the anime. Jun was also originally intended to be second-in-command, but after the team numbers got shuffled about in production, Joe gained that position instead. Early plans for the series also put more emphasis on the relationship between Ken and Jun, possibly making them a romantic couple.
    • Katse's initial design was much different, with a long mane on the cowl and the uniform being primarily green. This design was eventually assigned to a Galactor boss when the first two episodes were made. Katse was also initially intended to be THE Big Bad and secretly a woman, rather than a Gender Bender made from fusing twins with X as only a consultant. These ideas did not make it very far, and it was decided that X being the one in charge would make for a more interesting story.
    • There would have been a Sixth Ranger in Gatchaman II, known as "Jack the Hawk" (G6). He was to be Joe's never-mentioned younger brother, while Joe would have been resurrected and brainwashed into being a Galactor operative under the name of the "Space Joker". Joe would eventually be freed of his brainwashing, although the planning notes did not specify if he'd rejoin the team or act as an ally. This idea lasted as far as a 1976 outline for the series (when it was called "Gatchaman 2" without Roman numerals). A later outline for the sequel, titled "New Gatchaman", had a different concept: Joe was back on the team, with no Jack to be found. However, this "Joe" would be revealed to be an android copy, who only was under the delusion that he was the actual deceased Joe Asakura. The android would have then performed a Heroic Sacrifice at the end of the series. By the time the sequel went into production as Gatchaman II, it was decided that Joe should remain part of the team and the plans for him were heavily reworked: Rather than there being an android Joe replacing the original, the Joe on the team would be the original, having narrowly survived his death by being modified into a cyborg. He does attempt to sacrifice himself at the end of the series, but it's averted and he continues to live.
    • Had the 1997 remake of Mach Go Go Go not failed, Tatsunoko would have released a remake of Gatchaman (tentatively titled "Gatchaman '98") for the following year, which would have featured all three major villains from the old series under the rule of X. The Red Impulse squadron would have also had female members, and both Ken and Jun would have been in search of lost family members. Concept art by Tatsunoko artist Roberto Ferrari could be seen floating around on the net for the series at one point.
    • Another failed remake idea by Tatsunoko was an SD Gatchaman series slated for 1996, which would have had the team reimagined in the super-deformed format and with an extra female member, operating from a floating platform. Unfortunately, concept art for this version has yet to surface.
    • Early plans for the Gatchaman series (tentatively titled "Birdman", among other working names) had the lead character named Ken Hayabusa, with his birdstyle being the Great Hawk, rather than the Eagle. His teammates would be named Jun Shiratori, Joe Takano, Ryu Washio, and Jinpei Tsubakurou. Jun was to carry a fencing sword as her weapon, rather than a yo-yo. At some point in the planning, Joe was to be into gardening rather than racing, and this detail visually carried through to his model sheet, where he was depicted with a flower hanging out of his mouth.
    • Sandy Frank Entertainment had originally considered doing all-new "original" stories for their Battle of the Planets adaptation, but due to expense concerns and already fulfilling their syndication quota, the ideas didn't get very far. They also attempted to get a redubbed and remastered version off of the ground in 2004, but it never got any further than an unaired pitch pilot and the idea died off fast. Sandy Frank had also considered doing an all-new American animated series with different designs in an attempt to not pay Tatsunoko royalties for the Gatchaman characters, but this got no further than a mere wish.
  • Sgt. Frog: A large example from the English version due to its Development Hell. Keroro was originally going to be voiced by Vic Mignogna when ADV had the series (and Jessica Boone was to voice Natsumi). However, when Funimation picked up the show, everyone was recast. Keroro was played by Chris Cason in the test dub of Episode 12B, but was changed again in the final release to Todd Haberkorn, who in the test dub voiced Kululu, whose voice actor changed to Chuck Huber. Chris Cason still does make an appearance in the dub as Taruru, however. In fact, the only voices from the test dub that weren't changed for the final cut were Giroro and Tamama (Christopher Sabat and Brina Palencia respectively). Hell, even most of their lines were unchanged from the test dub.
    • The dub was also going to have some name changes, such as changing Natsumi to Natalienote  and removing the third syllable of the frogs' names (Keroro became Kero, Tamama became Tama, etc). This was changed due to negative reception, and they instead went with the original names for the characters.
    • Had the English distribution rights remained to ADV, the show would've aired on television in the United States. Cartoon Network liked a mass-media pilot and Nickelodeon liked a kids' pilot (in fact, Nick said they would air the show if ADV got merchandising rights). To this date, the Funimation dub has never aired on television in the United States outside of their own channel, and no network has picked it up.
  • According to art books Sherlock Hound was supposed to be a floppy-eared dog instead of a fox. It also seems they were originally going for a darker, more true to the original story with Sherlock being a drug addict among other things.
  • When Hajime Kanzaka was beginning to pen the Slayers light novels, Lina was conceived as a ten year old (she starts out at fifteen in the first book), and the setting would've been either modern or slightly futuristic, as he penned her as being obsessed with technology (the setting is actually a Medieval European Fantasy, and her obsession shifted from technology to money and treasure.). Also, Naga the Serpent was originally slated to appear in the fourth novel, which is set in her home kingdom of Saillune, but Kanzaka, in an interview, was reportedly too lazy to explain her appearance, so he gave her a little sister, Amelia, instead. Finally, Kanzaka mentioned that the Badass Normal swordsman, Gourry, has a lot of hidden magical potential, but so far, it's never been acted upon.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie was supposed to be an entire series. However, Sonic is not nearly as popular in Japan as in other countries so it never took off. The "movie" is simply two episodes put together.
  • Sonic X, as evidenced by its original pilot created circa 2001, was supposed to include a cast of anthropomorphic animals instead of humans (who are not generally well-regarded, especially Chris Thorndyke), as well as a new hedgehog affectionately dubbed "Nazo" by the fanbase (a reference to the title of his image on the long-gone Japanese Sonic X site). Most of the comments on YouTube are in this vein; hell, even the uploader's caption is "This is how Sonic X should've been done (No chris no humans whatsoever)".
  • Sore ga Seiyuu! has an in-universe example. Futaba was supposed to cover the bit part of a little boy in the first episode of Buddha Fighter Bodhisattvon. She couldn't do it due to nervousness and Rin covered the part instead. We do get to hear what she would have done at the end of episode 3 though.
  • Space Battleship Yamato's third television series (called "The Bolar Wars" in Star Blazers) was originally meant to be a 52 episode extravaganza, over twice the length of the first two series. It was truncated to the usual 26 episodes only because the producers were starting to feel that the melodramatic Space Opera style of Yamato was starting to become less relevant to audiences in the wake of newer, grittier shows such as the Gundam franchise. So West Cape Corporation considered the low initial viewer ratings of the show and elected to truncate the series. It shows in the final work. Numerous subplots were removed. Also, the premise of Yamato III was to focus on the Next Generation characters with the original Yamato crew hanging around as mentors. The newer characters got little development and were quietly pushed back into the background. The 1980 film Be Forever Yamato proved successful in its use of subplots, character development, and focus on newer characters, so these concepts were to fare into a 52 episode TV series where these elements could be used to even more potential. Among the things that we would have seen in Yamato III are 1) An outer space version of Aushwitz 2) A baby born on the Yamato 3) Tension between Yamato and Dessler as Yamato now seeks a new home planet much like Dessler did in the original series 4) A touching story focusing on the Space Battleship Arizona (included as a tip to perhaps the most famous of the American ships sunk at Pearl Harbor) 5) An interstellar empire based on America 5) An overdue Romantic Interest for Sanada (Sandor), 6) Much more character development for Captain Dan Hammer whose role was cut short after his brief appearance and 6) More exploration of the Shalabart religion. The loss of all of this caused Yamato III to be a weak point in the saga, even to Star Blazers fans.
    • An adaption of the cut material can be found in comic form on Cosmo DNA.
    • The original season, the trip to Iscandar, was also cut down to 26 episodes. Amongst the material that got cut was Derek Wildstar's brother, Captain Harlock (or at least an early version that would go on to be the character we know as Harlock).
  • With Spider Riders, an original press release shown on the Canadian network Teletoon's site and later pulled revealed plans for an older version of the show. Some notable differences include Aqune being the reincarnated Spirit Oracle, exploration of her past (she was exiled from her home for helping Buguese, who was injured), Buguese's origins as an artificially created Insector, Corona seemingly being the daughter of Queen Elma/Illuma, Hunter getting a chance to return home, (yet choosing to stay), Mantid actually being defeated, and possible resolution to Hunter and Corona's romantic relationship.
    • The Directors Book, which came with the Japanese DVD release, also showed some cut ideas. Most interestingly, Sparkle had a very boyish appearance, and the writers admitted to changing her age around quite a bit. She went from being an infant, to mature and beautiful, to her current 8-year-old self. The book also stated that they considered rendering the Spiders in CG, but ultimately chose to use traditional animation.
    • Initially, Magma and Igneous' names were to be switched.
  • Star Trek manga by Tokyopop was going to include at least five more stories based on Star Trek: The Next Generation, including one titled Skin Deep.
  • Back when Super Dimension Fortress Macross was on pre-production as Battle City Megaroad, Lynn Minmay was a delivery girl who worked in her parents' Chinese restaurant aboard the ship and who usually delivered Chinese food to the main bridge. The staff liked her so much that when the series evolved into Macross, she ended up expanded into not only a vertex in the main love triangle, but probably the most important character in the entire Macross franchise.
    • According to Shoji Kawamori himself, the earliest concept for Macross was an all-female crew, with Misa Hayase as the captain. Makes you wonder how that would have played out...
    • Macross was also initially envisioned as a parody of the mecha genre (i.e., taking the transforming Up to Eleven with the ship itself being a Transforming Mecha). Early drafts of the story included a trip around the world, with a landmark or city getting destroyed at pretty much every stop.
  • Tekkaman was to have more episodes dubbed past the thirteenth story, but William Winckler Productions ran into trouble when they were unable to get TV stations to pick it up, due to it having to have a toy line in order to air. Ted Turner apparently considered picking the dub up for TBS, but then balked as he considered it too violent for childrens' television.
    • Had the Tekkaman dub not flopped, WWP was thinking to also license Neo Human Casshern and Hurricane Polymar. Casshern's original TV series would not see any release until Sentai Filmworks announced it as part of their deal with Tatsunoko in 2013.
  • There are storyboards out there from the third Tenchi Muyo! OVA series that expanded the sixth episode. In it, it shows Tenchi being flung 10,000+ years into the future and on planet Jurai. There, he meets Queen Misaki, now as the Counteractor, revealed that she became that after Emperor Azusa and Queen Funaho died long ago. The Juraian Empire constantly attack her, which explains her odd shadings on her body - that's her rebuilt self.
    • Originally, Washu was supposed to have been the true Big Bad of the first OVA series, with Kagato as a disguise. However, the creators enjoyed her craziness too much and decided to make her part of the main group instead.
    • Original designs for the characters had Ryoko with purple hair, Emperor Azusa and Kagato with red hair and Sasami with curly cotton candy pink hair.
    • Episode 2 of the OVA would have had the first kiss between Tenchi and Ryoko, done as Ryu-Oh and Ryo-Ohki are plummeting to Earth, with Sasami watching curiously and Ayeka getting incensed by it all.
  • The opening scene of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann originally was an accurate display of what they planned the final storyline to be like, but it went through some massive re-writes. Additionally, Yoko's identity as the schoolteacher Yomako was originally supposed to have a plot about there being a teacher there that looked a lot like Kamina.
    • The concept art for the second movie included, among the other Tengen Toppa Gunmen, designs for a Tengen Toppa King Kittan. It's unclear, but this could have meant that the movie was at one point going to spare Kittan along with all the other secondary members of the team.
    • AD Vision was once set to dub the series, but their financial troubles forced Gainax to pull the licence and give it to Bandai. They revealed that they would have solved Simon the Digger's name pronunciation by just calling him "SIGH-mon."
    • Steve Blum originally intended to audition for the role of Kamina. When he saw a picture of Leeron, however, he begged the producers to let him try out for him instead.
  • Ikumi Mia, as one may have noticed from her constantly adding things that premiered in the anime adaptations of her works back into the manga, is a go-with-the-flow revisionist. What you may not know is that she never intended for Tokyo Mew Mew in its current incarnation to exist at all. She had been commissioned to draft up a horror manga, and thought it would be cute if a catgirl with a pink and black motif were added into the cast. The executives at Nakayoshi were immediately smitten with the character and wanted more Petting Zoo People, which she soon added. Then they decided that the horror story was too dark for a kids' magazine, but they couldn't just leave those characters there. After many, many revisions, the mysterious, chilling pink-and-black catgirl became the cute, easily flustered pink-and-red catgirl Momomiya Ichigo, and she and her friends were Magical Girls in modern-day Tokyo.
  • A one-episode Ultima anime remains unpublished, based on the Famicom port of Ultima III, with some footage of the anime featured in a game commercial. Tapes of the anime were found in a warehouse and sold off, but the entire episode remains missing.
  • At the end of Venus Versus Virus's first volume you get to read the original oneshot and see the original character designs. The art style changed between the oneshot and final version, plus several details about the character designs changed as well. The plot is different as Sumire came to Lucia without them previously meeting, Viruses are simply demons, and Lucia intentionally shot Sumire wuth a special bullet to make her go Berserk.
  • The Vision of Escaflowne was originally going to be a straight up Shōnen mecha series directed by Yasuhiro Imagawa. Whether this would have been a bad thing or still completely awesome is a question that will never be answered though: Imagawa left pre-production to channel his energies into the pinnacle of Narm Charm that is G Gundam. Escaflowne was put on the shelf for a year or two before Kazuki Akane wound up with the series and decided to go for Multiple Demographic Appeal. The biggest changes were probably are the Bishōnen and a complete redo of Hitomi's character from Ms. Fanservice to the Shorttank Ordinary High-School Student we know today.
  • On a related note to Robotech mentioned above, the success of Voltron in the United States was nearly a total accident. World Events Productions previewed a show called Mirai Robo Daltanious, somewhat liked what they saw, and told Toei that they wanted "to go with the vehicle one, and the one with the lion" (they were referring to the prominent lion emblem on the chest of Daltanious). This communication goof confused the Toei execs, and instead of Daltanious (which they were shopping around due to it having been a decent success at home), they sent over a far-less-successful-in-Japan show called Beast King GoLion with a shrug of "whatever, silly foreigners"... and the crew at World Events fell in love with GoLion immediately and proceeded to make it the headliner of the Voltron run, scrapping all Daltanious-related plans on the spot. The rest, of course, is history. Had the world not gotten "Lion Voltron" as we know it, who knows what would have been different, or if the frankly very different Daltanious would have appealed to Americans at all.
  • Wandering Son was originally going to be about a High School girl that yearned to be a boy, but the author realized that a boy who wants to become a girl before entering into puberty would have a lot of worries related to growing up and decided to go for it, changing the plot accordingly. The original idea was used with the secondary protagonist though, Takatsuki Yoshino (albeit she was in elementary at the start of the series).
  • While nothing definite has been revealed, one has to wonder What Could Have Been with Yu-Gi-Oh!, had the card game Plot Tumor been nipped in the bud as was planned; Kazuki Takahashi, the manga's creator, never intended the card game story to last more than a few chapters, putting it on a rotating list of children's games to base stories on. He also based the Millennium Puzzle and the spirit of Yami Yugi within on Hellraiser's puzzle box and Pinhead, playing the shadow games in a similar manner. Had the card game not garnered such popularity and forced him to rewrite the rest of the series Lighter and Softer, who knows how Darker and Edgier it could've been?
    • In the manga, Mr. Takahashi mentioned the premise of Yu-Gi-Oh was about "the mysterious" in every day life before it morphed into a story of games and the supernatural connotations of them (and later Duel Monsters specifically). Paranormal Magnet Yugi Muto, anyone?
    • Originally, Seto Kaiba was meant to be a one-shot villain for the manga. However, Takahashi decided to add more to his character, including a tragic back-story for his present-day character and ancestor, give him a little brother, and make him somewhat appealing. Never knew that, did you, Kaiba fans?
  • YuYu Hakusho was originally going to be brought to the states by AnimEigo before FUNimation showed interest, and AnimEigo pretty much decided not to pick up the series. Imagine if Yu Yu Hakusho had been dubbed by Coastal Carolina Studios and give AnimEigo, who doesn't license ANY anime anymore, a mainstream hit!
    • In addition, Media Blasters had dubbed the first movie (which has been redubbed by FUNimation), imagine if the series had been dubbed by Animaze instead of FUNimation!

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/WhatCouldHaveBeen/Anime