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Genre Shift / Anime & Manga

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  • Hunter × Hunter started off as a lighthearted action adventure series where many characters learn to take mercy on their enemies in the end. The arc focusing on Kurapika was noticeably more grimdark & intense, but goes back to normal with Greed Island. This goes out the window with the Chimera Ants; suddenly it's blood, gore, cannibalism, everything is a life or death situation. It's like it went from 90s Shounen to 80s Seinen.
  • Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan season one was a comedy that focused on over-the-top cartoonish gore. The 2nd season had no violence, but became an unwanted harem with comedy akin to Eiken, Puni Puni Poemi, & the last episode of Excel Saga.
  • The Black Butler franchise does this in both incarnations. The anime & manga both start out as shounen horror. The 2nd season of the anime is BL shoujo. After the Circus arc of the manga, the series seems to focus on movie parodies (Titanic or Ghost Ship, zombies, Harry Potter) & sports. Either way, there's a lot less boobs & more fanservice for the ladies. Although the parodies seem to have ended during the Green Witch arc.
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  • The anime adaptation of Saiyuki Reload & its follow-up differed from Gensoumaden Saiyuki is going from an action adventure series with nudity aimed at boys, to an adventure comedy with a few serious episodes aimed at women. While the tone of the manga did not shift, the franchise did migrate from a shounen genre to jousei.
  • Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro the anime only covered the first half of the manga, which was a mystery comedy. In the 2nd half of the manga, a new bad guy shows up, an important character dies, & suddenly it's a gory horror survival.
  • Yu Yu Hakusho started out as a supernatural story, then a supernatural crime drama, then a supernatural martial arts story, and ended up a supernatural psychological thriller.
  • A strange example occurs in the last Steel Angel Kurumi OAV, a far-future prequel done in the format of a fairly serious drama instead of the show's usual bubblegum cuteness.
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  • Naturally, Neon Genesis Evangelion also surprised many fans (and parents) at its increasingly grimdark tone as the show went on. To be specific, it starts as a Monster of the Week giant robot series (albeit in a dark post-apocalyptic setting with clearly troubled characters) and ends up as a full-blown Cosmic Horror Story that is at the same time an extended philosophical and psychological treatise. It's so much of a genre shift that even the plot itself essentially fades away at the end, to the point where after the last two episodes, you're asking yourself "What did I just watch?" Even after so many years, people still differ widely in their interpretation of the last two episodes. And then comes the movie to supposedly "rectify" the ending and give you closure... where all hell breaks loose and cranks every last horrible aspect that the second half of the series adopted to a soul-crushing threshold. It's so violent and disturbing, you'd better be on morphine while watching it.
  • Mai Hime starts out looking like a postmodern take on the Magical Girl genre, then turns into something disturbingly like Highlander.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima!. Provides the main page image. An interesting example in that the original lighthearted harem comedy atmosphere was an editorial mandate that the author disliked, having wished to experiment with other genres after having done that extensively in his other work. He slowly started stripping elements away other the manga's run until it became the darker fighting series he originally wanted to create.
  • Princess Tutu, in its first season, was about a magical ballerina princess/therapist restoring emotions to her love interest. The second season revealed it just wasn't like a fairytale, and it turned into a dark, epic struggle against the sadistic author trying to wreck his character's lives. In other words, a slightly different type of fairytale.
  • Love Hina became prone to Road Trip arcs as the series lingered and most of the romantic misunderstandings had been resolved. These were apparently brief but enjoyed changes of pace for the author, as the later series Negima's framework allows them to be used more extensively.
  • Ah! My Goddess's long run is likewise affected by this. Keiichi and Belldandy's relationship is paradoxically so far along while also being stunted that most chapters are about their quirky slice-of-life adventures rather than a romantic manga. Meanwhile, the series, in manga more than other forms, also has a tendency to dip into being a magical action show as opposed to a romantic comedy. Later manga story arcs have come to focus more on conflicts between the angels and the demons which tend to result in epic battles and intense situations wherein just a few chapters before, everyone was just fighting over what to watch on TV!
  • Lyrical Nanoha combines an initial genre subversion (a magical girl show pitched specifically at a male audience) with a genre shift halfway through the original series. And then it goes from Shonen-Magical Girl to Military Action-Magical Girl with strategy in StrikerS. Eventually, the series completely dropped the "Magical Girl" title in Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force (partially because Nanoha is 25 at that point). Even ViVid, which superficially appears to be a return to the cute magical girl fodder of the first series, is filled to the brim with fighting and martial arts related tropes, making it something of a genre "bait and switch" that at times comes off more as a Shonen fighting series than a magical girl series.
  • Parodied in Excel Saga, which changed to a new genre in nearly every episode (sci-fi, war drama, romantic comedy, horror, etc.), which it also parodied. And then the 2 penultimate episodes were straightforward drama/suspense/action eps.
  • Str.A.In.: Strategic Armored Infantry had a first episode much like a Shōjo series, and though its marketing in the Bishoujo Series-focused Megami Magazine could predict that that would change, no one predicted its quick shift to angst and its new motto in Anyone Can Die.
  • Genre shift is the point behind Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi.
  • Ouran High School Host Club went through most of the anime as an over-the-top parody of Shoujo drama, but in the last few episodes became more of a shojo drama with jokes added.
  • One may be excused for thinking that Guyver is a typical school-based shonen anime after the first few issues/episodes. But this changes pretty rapidly when the school is blown up by either Zoanoids or Guyver 2, depending on what medium you prefer and Sho is almost never seen in school again.
  • Rockman EXE/MegaMan NT Warrior shifted from computer-based Mons to some kind of weird Sentai variant right around season 3, and completely gave up on its computer origins in season 4, with the advent of Cross Fusion. It forced the human protagonists to merge with their partners and fight themselves, at which point the Mons were rarely seen again. This is one of the reasons season 4 is disliked among the fanbase. Then, in season 5, it switched from computer Mons to normal Mons when an Alternate Universe setting made it impossible to Cross Fusion but forced Navis to be summoned into material space instead.
  • In the first few episodes (both in the Anime and Manga) of Bleach, a reluctant teen fights ghosts (Hollows) in a series of unconnected locations. However, once Ichigo travels to the Shinigami world, the series completely abandons ghostbusting in favor of high-power duels between progressively more powerful rivals. Additionally, the series replaces its largely simplistic good spirit/bad spirit dichotomy with increasingly complicated plots, intrigue, and a much larger cast. Also, the first movie, Memories of Nobody ended up being somewhat of a Wham Movie to those used to the dragging plot lines of the series, with a much different tone still.
  • The OVA Moldiver spends three episodes as a gender-bending superhero send-up before abruptly switching into a serious drama in the final two episodes.
  • While JoJo's Bizarre Adventure generally keeps to being an action series with elements of horror and mystery, each of the Parts which make up the whole of the series is of different genre. From earliest to latest these are classic horror, an Indiana Jones-style adventure around the world, a travel story, a small-town murder mystery, a mobster story, a prison drama, a western, and finally another mystery story, this time with elements of a conspiracy story. Perhaps the most drastic change came midway through Phantom Blood, where Dio's sudden transformation into a vampire ended up changing the manga from a 19th-century period piece into a flat-out action-horror series.
  • Berserk's Golden Age Arc for the most part is a pretty grim and gritty medieval fantasy, with the only major fantastical elements being several demons that Guts and the Hawks have to fight, and a certain Crimson Behelit borne by Griffith. When the Behelit's true nature is revealed near the end of the arc, the final chapters turn everything into straight up horror as Griffith makes his Deal with the Devil and becomes Dark Messiah Femto, and the demons start coming en masse to rip apart the members of the Band of the Hawks who Griffith has marked out for sacrifice. Since both Guts and Casca are marked with the Godhand's Brand of Sacrifice as a result of Griffith's betrayal, both of them have to deal with the monsters from that point forward, and they soon become Guts' primary enemies.
    • Also before Guts' group meets Schierke, they find a man who was attacked by trolls while searching for a witch. Serpico lampshades that this had more of a fairy tale atmosphere to it, and that its nice that they've gotten a break from fighting horrible monsters. While Schierke is very much a Witch Classic (and cute to boot) and is the first true magic-wielder of the series (and of a kind that most definitely doesn't fit the Dark Fantasy motif of the series so far), the trolls are anything but standard fairy-tale fare, and are as horrible as everything else the crew has encountered.
  • The Haruhi Suzumiya series (both the original light novels and the anime) begins as a comedy series that, while featuring a very eccentric protagonist in Genki Girl Haruhi, was still a fairly realistic Slice of Life comedy. Then the aliens, time travelers, and psychics start turning up, and we get the big reveal that Haruhi is God (or at least the next best thing), and her subconscious desires can warp reality, or even destroy the universe if she becomes bored enough. And then the STABBING and sci-fi battles begin... It actually remains a Slice of Life comedy for the most part, but it's slices of much weirder lives than we originally thought.
  • Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-. It starts out as standard fairly light shonen fare, then takes an extremely abrupt left turn in Tokyo onto Mind Screw Way towards Drama Town.
  • In general, CLAMP seems rather fond of doing this. It's happening also to Xxx Holic in a rather similar way.
  • Naru Taru initially shows signs of being a lighthearted, female version of A Boy and His X, only to suddenly change into a dark, depressing Genre Deconstruction with lots of horrible things.
  • D.Gray-Man has evolved somewhat from being a Horror Gothic Shonen series to more of a... normal Shonen series. Oddly enough, if the Nightmare Fuel page is to be believed, the switch from horror-style Monster of the Week plots to a more complicated storyline has actually made it a lot more scary. Then after the series went Monthly, it became somewhat hard to define, but definitely moved away from a classic Shonen pattern, with fights almost absent and the tone becoming significantly darker and more esotheric.
  • Katekyō Hitman Reborn! had a major shift after 9 volumes of seemingly unrelated, silly fluff. It changes from a slapstick comedy to a Save the World Shonen series exactly from the point that Tsuna meets Rokudo Mukuro onwards. From that instance on, Tsuna becomes much more serious and less of a Butt-Monkey - this seems to have pleased the fangirls.
  • School Days: The anime starts out as a typical romantic comedy, then slowly takes a turn for the worse, going into horror at the end. This can sometimes contrast with the original novel, which also begins as a romantic comedy before becoming more of a drama, but the horror-ridden bad endings only happen if you handle things really, really badly.
  • Chobits is a comedy series with a touch of sci-fi for the first two-thirds or so. Then it becomes serious sci-fi with a touch of comedy for the remainder of the series.
  • Onani Master Kurosawa is perhaps another poster child of this. It starts off as Death Note with fapping (yes, seriously) but then after a certain Wham Episode the main character decides he'd rather be Holden Caulfield than Light Yagami.
  • Medaka Box underwent a shift not unlike that of Mahou Sensei Negima!, except far more sudden. It was a quirky series talking about the adventures of a God-Mode Sue and her harem, with just a bit of fighting here and there, for about 14 chapters. Then (probably as was planned from the beginning, considering swiftness of the change), the first character with superpowers to match said Sue appeared, and heralded a very swift change into a bloody, Darker and Edgier fighting series, with swiftly escalating power levels. As the series nears it's end (if the villain is to be believed), this would indeed appear to have been the point, as it's now come full circle back to the original plotline, except much changed from all the fighting and genre savviness that arose from the first shift.
  • Full Metal Panic! started off as a story that swapped between Humongous Mecha action and high school comedy antics, provided by Fish out of Water Child Soldier Sousuke Sagara and his long-suffering Tsundere classmate Kaname Chidori. Life-and-death battles over psychics with knowledge of overtechnology were interspersed with stories where Sousuke turned a theme park mascot costume into Powered Armor and transformed the school's wimpy rugby team into violent psychopaths. The seventh novel, however, pulls a major Nothing Is the Same Anymore: the series' Big Bad Leonard Testarossa plays his hand, destroying Sousuke's Super Prototype, sparing his life only because Kaname pulls a Take Me Instead, shattering the organization Mithril and forcing the rest of the heroes into hiding. At this point the wacky high school side of the story completely disappears, becoming a straight-up mecha military thriller that goes to some dark places before ultimately giving our heroes a happy but somewhat bittersweet ending.
  • The plot of Rosario + Vampire has come along way from the Romantic Comedy/Monster of the Week story it once was, and while it remains an Unwanted Harem series, it is a very nonstandard one. Tsukune received a major Next Tier Power-Up, complete with a troublesome alter-ego and some Body Horror. Even the romance has gotten deeper and less comedic. Overall, the current series is much Darker and Edgier, and leans more heavily on shonen action these days.
  • The Trigun anime started as a humorous, lighthearted western with sci-fi elements, with a bit of mystery sprinkled throughout (courtesy of Vash, the show's protagonist). That all changed with the episode "Diablo." Suddenly, Trigun became Darker and Edgier, the comedic moments were few and far between, and the show was much more plot oriented. In this case, the shift worked very well, since the second half fleshed out details that were only teased in the first half. This happened because the anime took all the lighthearted and comedic parts of the manga, and used them in the first part. The manga version was a dramedy from the beginning - it became increasingly darker towards the end, but not to the point of complete mood shift.
  • The Higurashi: When They Cry series starts off as a bloody mystery-murder show, much like a slasher flick, each arc unconnected from the others. The second season, Higurashi Kai, turns it into a supernatural suspense with traces of an even an action series by the end, with the gorn of the first season all but gone, and focused now on conspiracies and the previous mysteries being solved. Then there was Higurashi Rei, which goes from comedy to drama and then back to comedy. The OVA, Higurashi Kira, aims to be comedy-fanservice. It makes sense since it's probably post-Kai and thus none of the murder and mystery are in play anymore, since the everlasting June finished. Also, the Question arcs and some Answer arcs go from a comedic Slice of Life to tragedy and death.
  • Hellsing starts off as an action-horror story about a vampire hunting organization working for the British government who employ a vampire of their own, with a bit of mystery thrown in as they try to uncover a plot to artificially manufacture vampires. Once the primary villains and the ones behind the artificial vampires, Millennium, are properly introduced, the series evolves into a war epic depicting a huge three-way battle over London, with much introspection and many characters having to rise to an enormous challenge.
  • Phantom Thief Pokémon 7 starts out as a quirky manga about a boy living a double life as a Phantom Thief. It quickly turns into a dark, violent, adventure to save his sister from the unusually menacing Team Galactic. In the end it seems to turn into the original story, but in trio form. However it ended before anything came out of that.
  • Pokémon Adventures changes genres each arc. They start as quirky adventures then turn more violent and team based.
  • Tenchi Universe is a lighthearted romantic action comedy. The second Tenchi Universe movie, Tenchi Forever, is a serious romantic drama with little action or comedy.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann started out as an episodic (but still continuity-heavy) Desert Punk comedy, with the rebellion against Lordgenome essentially being an excuse for the show to have fun with itself. Then Kamina dies, and the series takes a darker turn, but not without keeping its idealism and having occasional lightheartedness. The first half of the Time Skip is more character-driven, focusing on Simon and Rossiu's beliefs clashing, Viral's ordeals following Lordgenome's defeat, and Simon and Viral finally joining forces. finally, the last arc of the series is a Space Opera Astral Finale that takes the action to galactic extremes, but it also has no shortage of heart-wrenching moments.
  • Kill la Kill starts out as a battle series that frequently Crosses the Line Twice, loosely tied together by Ryuko's rivalry with Satsuki and her quest to find her father's killer. When said killer (Nui Harime) is revealed, the series starts taking itself seriously with the origin of the Life Fibers and Satsuki's plans slowly being revealed, and the overarching plot becomes more obvious and imposing. When the true Big Bad of the series, Ragyo Kiryuin, takes over, it becomes a Cosmic Horror Story with serious character breaking and it's one Wham Episode after another. Notably, Mako remains a relevant character, averting Shoo Out the Clowns, despite the show getting darker and darker.
  • One-Punch Man began as a simple parody of the shounen genre with a Monster of the Week format and lots of jokes about Saitama punching things. However, once the S-Class heroes were introduced and the world became more fleshed out, the series began an overarching action story. The later chapters now explore themes of heroism, sacrifice, power, and the conflict between nature and humanity itself with impressive action setpieces as the icing on the cake. The series does retain its comedy, but it no longer focuses on the "Saitama punches things" gags as much.
  • Mob Psycho 100 proceeded similarly; it began as a bizarre, comedic Slice of Life featuring supernatural powers and ghosts. However, the introduction of the evil organization Claw added some serious action into the mix, and the Mogami arc briefly made the series into an emotional psychological struggle. By the end, the Slice of Life elements were still present, but mostly in the background.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Although the shift happens very early and there is heavy Foreshadowing. It does several shifts very casually when the elements are progressively revealed. Kyubey also adds in an element of Science Fiction and Cosmic Horror Story when he revealed that the Incubators are logical aliens whose capabilities come from sufficiently advanced technology, and are harvesting Magical Girls in an attempt to delay the death of the universe via Second Law of Thermodynamics. And then it decides to reconstruct itself with a Decon-Recon Switch of a Gainax Ending.
  • Shakugan no Shana shifts back and forth between action/supernatural and typical high school love story, until the final arc where it becomes a war story.
  • Ranma ½ starts out as a somewhat grounded romantic comedy/action series with some semblance of an ongoing plot, but gradually turns into an increasingly wacky, episodic, sitcom-esque gag-fest punctuated by occasional "serious" story arcs.
  • Kinnikuman started off as a superhero parody, but eventually became more focusing on wrestling and epic battles, becoming the pioneer of many shonen Fighting Series.
  • The second half of the 2nd OVA for My Bride is a Mermaid switches from comedy/action into straight horror, borrowing elements from The Ring, then suddenly switches back to comedy at the end.
  • The first half of Digimon Tamers is a Coming-of-Age Story with Mons. The latter half is Cosmic Horror Story...with Mons. Within the Digimon franchise as a whole, Tamers is a genre shift from Adventure/Fantasy to Action/Sci-Fi.
  • Is This a Zombie? is not so much this as a Genre Mix, with regular moments of out-of-genre action. It's a Harem story about an average guy who happens to be a zombie and accidentally gets a Magical Girl's powers, complete with the Cute Dress. However, there is a ridiculous amount of blood, and at one point the protagonist defeats a multi-lived villain by chainsawing her to death over and over again until she's back down to one life, complete with jets of blood and agonized screams.
  • This happens in Monster, which switches very early on from an almost noir-like hospital drama to a horror story involving Neo-Nazis, espionage, and serial killers shortly after adult Johan shows up.
  • While the book it is based on does not go into too much detail into this, Ringing Bell starts off as a cute kid's movie about a baby lamb, but halfway through the film it turns into a dark tale of revenge.
  • Collectively, Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z gradually shifts from a light-hearted comedic, sometimes tongue-in-cheek fantasy adventure series to a far more serious sci-fi martial arts series (with some fantasy elements thrown back in for the final arc). This is a large part of why the anime adaption treated everything after the Piccolo Jr arc as a Sequel Series under the Dragon Ball Z name; while the shift had begun much earlier with King Piccolo, the very first episode of Z put an exclamation point on it with the reveal that Goku, Piccolo and Kami are aliens. GT is somewhere in the middle with Super fully embracing the god element expanded on in the Buu Saga to the point of boarding on Lovecraft Lite. There is also the Future Trunks Saga that puts a mystery as the primary focus of the story arc.
  • This is a Downplayed Trope of sorts in Cardfight!! Vanguard. Though it begins as a shonen gaming series and remains one to the end, the majority of the first season was a completely mundane plot about some teenagers who hang out at a card shop after school, playing the eponymous card game. Then in episode 43, Aichi develops Psyqualia, which can be described as playing on autopilot, which (almost) guarantees victory. Furthermore, it is revealed that the Big Bad of the first season has had this ability all along. The show is never quite the same after that.
  • The Gungrave anime starts off as a sci-fi action series with it's first episode. After that, it goes back to the chronological beginning of the series and becomes a mafia drama as it goes into Brandon/Beyond the Grave and Harry's backstories, slowly reintroducing the sci-fi elements of the story until it becomes a sci-fi action series again.
  • The first half of Zetsuen no Tempest is extremely bleak and serious, with a Grey-and-Gray Morality plot involving The End of the World as We Know It. The second half abruptly becomes Lighter and Softer, with Romantic Comedy elements. Actually an Invoked Trope: the Tree of Genesis conquers the world during a Time Skip and outlaws violent conflict. It drifts back into dark angstyness near the end, but a lot of people stop watching before they get that far.
  • The Daughter of Twenty Faces starts off as a heist series about a young girl who joins a gang of thieves. Then, after a massive Wham Episode which results in the deaths of most of the cast, the series becomes a detective show focusing on the girl's efforts to find her missing mentor.
  • Animal Land starts off as a simple story of a baby being raised by tanukis in the wild. Then after a few years, it turns into a story about the child trying to find a way to allow carnivores live alongside herbivores without starving in the small but ever growing animal utopia he created. When the child grows up, the manga turns into a straight up Shonen wherein he commands herds of animals to fight against gigantic Animalistic Abominations in order to change the Crapsack World they live in.
  • Samurai Flamenco started out as a realistic, slice-of-life comedy with the Deconstruction of the Tokusatsu genre. Until episode 7, when its Wham Episode came where the Monster of the Week brutally kills people which led to the a full-fledged tokusatsu series, before the genre changed again in episode 15 between Hazama being wanted by and on the run from the government, and eventually battling the Prime Minister of Japan, again in episode 17 with an exercise in existentialism that would do Neon Genesis Evangelion proud, and AGAIN in episode 19 with the introduction of Sawada Haiji. It became apparent after a while that genre shifts were an integral part of the show's premise.
  • The Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise has always been a Gaming and Sports Anime and Manga, but with several other genres mixed in. Those change constantly, not just from series to series, but within the entries themselves.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! started out as a horror-comedy manga, with lots of action, torture, and death, all revolving around Absurdly High Stake Games, most of them having nothing to do with the eventual card game tie-in. The protagonist is infamous for having set a man on fire... more than once. The villains ranged from bullies to actual murderers. The Genre Shift came as the card game got developed and marketed. Once the Duelist Kingdom arc (where the popular anime starts) begins, the emphasis is more on a single, bloodless game that's more easily marketable to children. Horror elements were still there but were rarer, especially in the 4kids dub that took pains to edit out anything involving guns, death, blood, etc.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX started as an Affectionate Parody of the anime above, with the Serious Business aspect takenUpToEleven, and involved the cast getting into increasingly ridiculous adventures. However, as the series advanced, Cerebus Syndrome hit in and it became a Cosmic Horror Story about a battle between higher forces, while simultaneously mixing this with a Stalker with a Crush Yandere in Season 3, and Coming-of-Age Story in Season 4 (which is wildly considered to be made on drugs). In other words, it barely resembled what it started as.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's is where the franchise as a whole started to shift from supernatural/occult elements to more sci-fi fare. Its second arc dealt with the heroes' battling resurrected Duelists in the service of the Earthbound Gods, gigantic monsters bound within the Nazca lines, and who were attempting to summon the Gods' own master, the King of the Netherworld. Its third arc, meanwhile, focused on a group of cybernetically-enhanced Duelists who wished to avert a cataclysm in the future by altering events in the present. It was rumored that this shift had happened when one of the show's seiyū was found to actually be a part of a real-life cult—but the change in tone had already started behind the scenes by the time this news was brought to light.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V started out very light-hearted mostly focusing on Yuya's attempt to become a pro with the dark elements in the background usually focused around the heroine, Yuzu. But since episode 7, foreshadowing kicked was into overdrive with the payoff being an interdimensional war showing the realistic implications of forcing tenagers into a war. Especially Yuya who goes through numerious Break the Cutie moments. Also, politics suddenly start to play a very big role in the plot.
  • During the first 10 or so volumes, Attack on Titan is a story of humans living within walls and fighting giant monsters that devoured humanity to near extinction, while trying to find out who are the enemies that apparently control said monsters from outside the walls. After the Beast Titan arc though, the story took a more "political" turn with a faction war involving a coup d'état, more focus or ordinary citizens that are forced to take side and humans fighting each other, all of this painted with Grey-and-Gray Morality, with nary a single titan in sight. Eventually, the humans kill all of the Titans entirely, but find the rest of the world has plenty of other humans doing just fine who hate the Wall people, kicking off a full-fledged human national war arc.
  • Kokouno Hito starts off a fairly typical optimistic shounen series, but took a pretty sharp turn in the beginning of volume 4 into a more adult and psychological Comingof Age story.
  • Assassination Classroom shifts from a Save Our Students plotline supplemented by quirky humor to a spy movie in manga format.
  • Happens to a degree in My Monster Secret: the first part (up to volume 10) is a harem romcom, heavy on the comedy with fantastical elements but relatively conventional development and mostly focused on the main couple (and the two girls of the Supporting Harem). Part 2 — after the two protagonists become an Official Couple — does maintain the general feel of the first part but gradually introduces more serious elements and explores some of the ramifications of both the Love Dodecahedron and the overall plot of a human and a vampire being in love. To drive the point home, for most of the plot the conflict was driven by comedic misunderstandings and characters acting like doofuses; near the end we're introduced to an actual villainous antagonist driven by hatred and Fantastic Racism and the entire cast unites to oppose her.
  • Knights of Sidonia started out as a fairly grounded IN SPACE! Real Robot show that focused on averting Artistic License – Physics. Then more and more girls started appearing and it shifted into a Slice of Life / Battle Harem / Super Robot mix by the end.
  • The obscure anime Genma Wars starts out as a post-apocalyptic Dark Fantasy where the protagonists are fighting demons who had taken over the world and humans toil away as slaves, but then in Episode 10, they are sent back in time to modern period, where the story changes to a City Noir, where the heroes investigate the demons who are hiding in the shadow, subtly conspiring to cause mankind's downfall. Though the overall tone has remained consistently dark, the sudden change in type of story can only be described as if Planet of the Apes suddenly turned into Dark City.
  • Sonic X:
    • Sonic X originally a light-hearted action series focusing on Sonic and friends' battles against Dr. Eggman. When the series was Un-Cancelled for Season 3, however, the show changed drastically - becoming more like a Darker and Edgier Space Opera animé featuring Sonic characters than anything resembling the Sonic games.
    • Less prominent but still noticeable was the shift between seasons 1 and 2. Season 1 was almost purely episodic and much less focused, more in the vein of the original Sonic cartoons from the 90s. Season 2 shifted into basically being anime adaptations of the Sonic Adventure series. They were less focused on comedy, and far less light hearted
  • Strawberry 100% started as a typical harem anime with a good balance between romance and comedy, where all four girls having good chances of winning Junpei's heart. In the second half of the story, the harem is dissolved and a love triangle is formed. The comedy is replaced with loads of drama.
  • Pretty Cure counts, though as a Franchise, can have different themes by season.
  • Happens in-universe in Kirarin Revolution. During the anime-only Black Wood arc, Fubuki stars as the main character in a drama show named Black Cinderella. We see a trailer for the show in one of the first episodes of the arc, and it's about a girl trying to get her fortune back by accepting any kind of job she finds after her dad got in trouble with Yakuza men and she was thrown out of her house. In the last episode of the arc, we see that the plot somehow shifted to the main character getting a magic cellphone that allows her to turn into a devil and Take Over the World.
  • Yuri Danshi is generally about the main cast discussing and fanboying over Yuri in a relatively mundane setting. Its official spin-off Yuri Danshi-kun, however, adds a dash of magic realism and a Trapped in Another World plot by inexplicably sending them to a world where girls (and therefore Yuri) never existed. To top it all off, most of the content comes from the cast begrudgingly running into Yaoi tropes in their new life more often than not.
  • Early on School-Live! was a Zombie Apocalypse manga disguised as a Schoolgirl Series. It had dark overtones but it also had a lot of fluff as well. After Yuki stopped hallucinating everything was normal and the characters left their school to find a better shelter at a local college, the school-geared aspect of the series started disappearing. Cerebus Syndrome set in at this time as well, causing everything to become much darker. The switch from cute schoolgirl manga to dark survival manga is metaphorical, as the girls "graduated" from high school into the harsher world of college.
  • No Game No Life: Invoked. Kurami plays a game of chess against Sora and Shiro with living pieces, where the pieces can sometimes take extra moves or refuse to obey a weak player; this lets her cheat without it being obvious. However, Sora realizes that this means there's no need to pretend the normal rules of chess apply at all, and starts ignoring the turn order, basically turning it into a Real-Time Strategy game. Kurami has no experience with such games, and is quickly overwhelmed despite her cheating.
  • Re:Zero starts off seeming like another Trapped in Another World romance anime, but then Subaru and his primary love interest are murdered. Things still seem up when he tries to get around what causes their deaths, but the real tone sets in after he dies a third time. The first episode was nearly an hour long and Crunchyroll split it into two parts in order to better maintain this effect. Fans of the novel looked at the promotional art and compared the marketing to offering a child an ice cream cone with nails hidden inside of it.
  • Cardfight!! Vanguard (V Series): A massive genre shift happens during the -If- arc, when the genre shifts from Gaming And Sports to Magical Girls. Ibuki, who thinks that the game is Serious Business, is just DONE with it, especially since he doesn't get any action, as the other characters point out to him that having card fights with crazy alien monsters is an absurd idea.


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