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Recursive Adaptation

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"Grease 2: The Musical Based on the Sequel to the Movie Based on the Musical"
Sign outside of Springfield Community Theater, The Simpsons, "The Monkey Suit"

This trope refers to when a work is adapted, and then the adaptation is adapted, and this leads to the work being adapted back into its original medium. Often occurs because the original version is so different from the adapted version that it's useless as a tie-in, leading the work to be adapted back. It can also be due to Adaptation Displacement, however. Other reasons are quite possible as well because this trope cares not for the motives of the recursive adapter, merely that the adaptation "stack" curves back on itself (for example, book ⟿ movie ⟿ TV show ⟿ book).

This is the result of making a novelization of a movie based on a book, or making a movie out of a Screen-to-Stage Adaptation, effectively remaking the original movie. See also Recursive Import, Recursive Fanfiction, Ret-Canon, Third-Option Adaptation, and Canon Immigrant.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Battle Angel Alita: Last Order, manga → game → manga.
  • Cardfight!! Vanguard gives us this on an individual card level with "Majesty Lord Blaster":
    • The original 2011 adaptation of the manga features a card that did not feature anywhere in the manga called "Majesty Lord Blaster" which despite only being relevant for one episode gained instant icon status for its relation to Aichi's character development and its at-the-time unique effect which makes use of cards from clans other than its own which to this day has only been seen on one other card.
    • Then years later the climax of the manga gave us "Messianic Lord Blaster", which is meant to emulate "Majesty Lord Blaster", having a similar design and the same initials of "MLB".
    • A couple of months after the manga's conclusion, a 2018 reboot that aimed to serve as a more faithful adaptation began airing. So naturally, it had its own take on "Messianic Lord Blaster".
    • The final season of the 2018 reboot, which began long after it ran out of manga chapters to animate, features "Majesty Lord Blaster" as a central plot device.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack: Novel (High-Streamer) → Movie → Novel (Beltorchika's Children). Note that both novels were written by series creator Yoshiyuki Tomino, and none of these are straight adaptations, with Beltorchika's Children particularly being based on an earlier concept for Char's Counterattack that Sunrise ended up vetoing.
  • Dragon Ball Z had a double recursive adaptation: the fourth Dragon Ball Z RPG for the Family Computer was titled Dragon Ball Z Gaiden, which featured a new storyline written specifically for the game. A two-part video guide for the game was then released that was essentially a Dragon Ball Z OVA with footage of the Famicom game spliced in between. The animated segments of the video guide were then reused for two FMV games released for Bandai's short-lived Macintosh-based Pippin game console in Japan.
    • Dragon Ball Jump Festa special, Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!!, was adapted into a one-shot manga by Ooishi Naho. Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F' also received a three-chapter manga adaptation by Toyotarō which began serialization before the movie's release.
    • Dragon Ball Z: Bardock - The Father of Goku featured an original storyline that wasn't in the original manga. Years later Naho Ooishi wrote a manga miniseries called Dragon Ball: Episode of Bardock set after the events of the TV special which got adapted into a TV special. That makes it an OVA adapted from a manga which is a sequel to an anime TV special that was spun off from a manga. Also, just to make it more confusing, Bardock as a character received Canon Immigrant status in a flashback in Toriyama's original manga.
    • And then of course there's the "animanga", which is a manga that uses screenshots of the TV series, which itself is based on the manga. Its main upside was that it was in colour while the original manga was black and white, but then it became "redundantly redundant" with the release of Dragon Ball Colour, which coloured in the original manga panels at a much higher quality.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is an anime inspired by the original Ghost in the Shell that establishes its own continuity. This anime series received a manga adaptation, which makes it a manga based on an anime inspired by manga.
  • Lupin III is a multi-media franchise that began as a serial manga. After making its way to Anime, some of the stories have become full-colour manga volumes.
    • Comic Souris has made full-colour manga from: The Castle of Cagliostro (a three-book set) and Lupin III: Part 1 (Volumes 2 through 12). The best example of recursion is when a Green Jacket episode was aired based on a manga chapter and turned into a manga volume.
    • Action Comics made a four-volume set from The Castle of Cagliostro.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi (manga) → Negima!? (anime) → Negima!? Neo (manga).
  • One Piece had a video game adaptation that had an original story, and the story of the game later got adapted into the Ocean's Dream Filler arc in the anime.
  • Trigun is a strange beast; it began as a manga, which ended prematurely due to publication issues but shortly after was adapted as an anime with a definite conclusion to the story; later the original manga was republished under a different magazine, and continued on while borrowing story elements from its own adaptation.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! was originally a manga which was adapted into an anime. The anime received a spinoff, Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, which was adapted back into a manga, though this is not a full example of this trope as the manga is almost completely different from the anime, sharing only characters, setting, and the card game. The same goes for subsequent spinoffs too, the first of which also has a decent amount of changes from the anime, starting with the rules of the game (certain cards are not required and monsters are summoned differently).
  • Attack on Titan:
    • The Novelization of Levi's backstory, A Choice with No Regrets being adapted into a Manga, then being adapted into a two-part OVA.
    • The music composer for the anime was heavily inspired by the Dutch Symphonic Metal band Epica. In 2017 Epica covered several Attack on Titan songs on an EP.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam (anime) → Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin (manga) → Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin (anime adaptation of new manga material as a Prequel series)
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica (anime) → Magia Record (video game spinoff) → anime adaptation of the latter.
  • The Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Reflection/Detonation duology are movie adaptations of the Gears of Destiny video game, which in turn was a Spin-Off of the Lyrical Nanoha anime franchise, which in turn was a More Popular Spin-Off of a visual novel.

    Asian Animation 
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: It began as an animated series, and it was later adapted into a comic series in a magazine, which then got adapted back into an animated series called Man Jing Tou.

    Comic Books 

    Films — Live-Action 

  • The Beast Player: Erin adapts the original novel into an anime series. Jun'ichi Fujisaki, the chief writer of Erin, wrote "And Kiriku", a short story about the Canon Foreigner Kiriku. It's available in the first fanbook.
  • Both the films Bram Stoker's Dracula and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein had new novelizations written, despite being based on classic novels themselves. And having included the original author's name in the title of the movie, as if to give an air of authenticity. Fred Saberhagen wrote the novelization of Bram Stoker's Dracula; Saberhagen reportedly offered his services on the Frankenstein novel as well, solely for the purpose of being able to put "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein: From the author of Bram Stoker's Dracula" on the cover. Ah, What Could Have Been...
  • The Thing (1982) also had a novelization... making it a novel based on a film based on a short story (ignoring the previous film version of the short story which had little to do with the original).
  • Hollywood producers offered Philip K. Dick the chance to write the novelization of Blade Runner, itself a loose Film of the Book (the screenwriters had not read the original book) of his Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? They would have paid him a lot of money to do this, but feeling insulted he refused. This led to the release of tie-in editions of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? re-titled and looking for all the world like Blade Runner novelizations. Later, his short story "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" inspired the movie Total Recall (1990). Having gone through Development Hell and many screenwriters, the script was essentially an original script with even less in common with its source material than Blade Runner. By the time of the film's release, Piers Anthony had written a novelization of Total Recall. The novelization came out in 1989. The movie came out in 1990.
  • Black Beauty, originally a novel, had a movie made out of it. And then the movie was novelized into a children's book with pictures from the movie in the middle.
  • Several movies based on children's books wind up getting adapted into children's books again. Examples include The Tale of Despereaux.
  • Anthony Trollope's six-volume Palliser series (long) was adapted into a twenty-six episode miniseries (also long) only to be novelized again in a single volume (very, very short).
  • Fritz Leiber adapted Tarzan and the City of Gold starring Mike Henry into a prose Tarzan novel. He took pains to footnote past Tarzan adventures by Edgar Rice Burroughs to make this a canonical continuation of the Tarzan continuity of Burroughs.
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series example: the episode "The Slaver Weapon" was adapted by Larry Niven from his own original (unrelated to Star Trek) short story "The Soft Weapon". The episode itself was then subsequently novelised by Alan Dean Foster as a Star Trek novel. This means that there are two print versions of the exact same story, both of which are similar but also startlingly different from each other.
  • Many The Saint comic strip arcs and TV episodes received prose adaptations by Leslie Charteris and other writers. These adaptations fit into the Saint's literary continuity. Examples include The Saint in Trouble (has a footnote to the events of The Last Hero) and Salvage for the Saint.
  • Will Murray wrote some Remo Williams comic books, at least one of which he adapted into a prose novel.
  • Max Allan Collins wrote a Bones novel. This counts as a recursive adaptation as the Bones TV series adapts Kathy Reichs' concepts from her novels.
  • Carl Dreadstone adaptations of the Universal Horror universe, many of whom started in prose.
  • 1977 novelization of The Island of Dr. Moreau (1977), itself an adaptation of a novel.
  • The novelization of Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes remake was a novelization of a remake of a film adapted from an English translation of a French novel.
  • Joy Hakim's A History of US middle-school textbook series was adapted into a PBS documentary series Freedom: A History of US, which was released concurrently with a history book (not quite written for middle-schoolers, but for all casual readers) adaptation of the documentaries, sharing the revamped title with the documentaries. So Textbook → Documentary → history book.
  • The run-up to the Jackson The Lord of the Rings adaptation inspired this memorable parody.
  • Both Arthur and Franklin began their lives as popular book series, and have since been made into television series. In turn, episodes of those series have been released as books, though they've generally avoided releasing episodes as books that were adapted from books in the first place.
    • The Magic School Bus series also had books based on the TV series based on the book. They were by far the least educational of the versions.
  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Chapter Book. Seriously, that's the actual title.
  • The Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine was adapted into a TV show, which then was adapted back into books based on the episodes (though, these books were written by someone else).
  • James Bond:
    • The Spy Who Loved Me has an interesting history as a book → movie → book. It was the tenth James Bond novel by Ian Fleming. Fleming only licensed the title to EON, due to him being unhappy with the novel and with Bond only appearing in the final third of it. An entirely new plot was created for the 1977 film The Spy Who Loved Me. Since the book and the film had so little in common, a novelization was commissioned; the first for James Bond. The film’s screenwriter, Christopher Wood, adapted his screenplay into the novelization, titled James Bond, The Spy Who Loved Me to differentiate it from the original novel.
    • Done again with Moonraker, the third Bond novel by Ian Fleming. The 1979 Moonraker film only incorporated the villain (Hugo Drax) and the idea of a rocket from the novel. While it wasn't nearly as deviant from its source novel as The Spy Who Loved Me, it was still far enough removed to have another novelization commissioned, again by screenwriter Christopher Wood. As before, the novelization was titled James Bond and Moonraker to distinguish it from the Fleming novel.
    • A strange case happened with the novelisation of Licence to Kill. John Gardner, who was writing the continuation novels at the time, wrote the novelisation to fit into his ongoing novel continuity. However, the film used a lot of set pieces from the original books that had been cut from previous adaptations. This led to strangeness like Felix Leiter getting his false leg bitten off by a shark. The same leg he'd lost years earlier in the novel Live and Let Die... when it was bitten off by a shark.
  • Night at the Museum, based on a children's picture book, was adapted into a young adult novel.
  • Mary Roberts Rinehart adapted her detective novel The Circular Staircase in collaboration with Avery Hopwood into the play The Bat, whose runaway success led to a novelization.
  • The Fox and the Hound, a novel by Daniel P. Mannix, and obviously literature to begin with, was very very loosely adapted into a Disney movie which was then further adapted into another series of books.
  • Where the Wild Things Are started as a picture book, then was adapted into a much longer and more detailed movie, and the movie has its novelized version, titled Wild Things.
  • Conan the Barbarian, both the 1982 and 2011 versions, received novelizations. (Admittedly, this an unusual entry, since the films did not especially specifically adapt the tales from the 1950s reprint volume Conan the Barbarian.) Robert Jordan also wrote a novelization of Conan the Destroyer, but no anthology or novel had used that title.
  • Significant changes were made to A Princess of Mars to get the movie John Carter, but at least the novelization included the original novel as an added feature in the back of the book!
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit was based off the book Who Censored Roger Rabbit?. The film then led to the book ... Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Not a straight example because only the characters were used but rather close.
  • The first Jurassic Park film was based fairly directly on Michael Crichton's novel, though differed in several major respects — including just which characters survive or not. Crichton's subsequent book The Lost World (1995) was written more as a sequel to the movie, rather than the novel, given the sudden Unexplained Recovery experience necessary for one major protagonist to appear after his apparent fate in the original novel. This new book was itself swiftly followed by a movie of (partly) the same name, although adapted more loosely still. A second sequel movie was then produced titled Jurassic Park III, combining some characters from the first book/film with the setting of the second and at least one major inspiration (the pterosaur 'cage') from the original novel. By the time we got to the third movie, we were 4 steps away from the original book in general, though.
  • Pretty much any fairy tale that Disney adapted was later released by them as either a picture book, a movie novelization, a manga, or all of the above, including Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella, to name just a few.
  • Robert Sheckley novelized Condorman, loosely based on his novel The Game of X.
    • He also novelized The 10th Victim which was based on his short story, The Seventh Victim and wrote two sequels, Victim Prime and Hunter/Victim.
  • Some Ellery Queen film adaptations received novelizations.
  • The dramatic novel by Peter George Red Alert was adapted to the Kubrick film Dr. Strangelove with many satirical elements. George would go on to make a novel of the film.
  • Jane And The Dragon was a series of children's books that got an animated series, which in turn had a few episodes get the Novelization treatment.
  • David Morell wrote First Blood, which was adapted into the Rambo series of films. Morell then penned novelizations of the first two sequels, which have more in common with the films than the original book since Rambo dies at the end of the original story.
  • Return to Oz, loosely based on The Marvelous Land of Oz and Ozma of Oz, received a novelization.
  • Julie Burchill's novel Sugar Rush was adapted into a popular TV show that ran for two series. Burchill was inspired by the performance of the two leads to writing a follow-up novel, Sweet, that incorporated aspects of both the original novel and the TV show but wasn't canonical to either, essentially creating a third version of the story.
  • If you guessed this has happened to any of the Live Action Adaptations to Dr. Seuss's books, give yourself some Green Eggs and Ham!
  • Doctor Who Expanded Universe prose sub canons: Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen: Began as an unfilmed script for the series, later dolled-up into the third Hitchhiker's novel, and finally adapted into a Doctor Who novel based on the original script, with a few subtle Shout Outs to the Hitchhiker's novel.
  • David Pinner's novel, The Ritual was adapted into The Wicker Man to which director Robin Hardy and scriptwriter Anthony Schafer wrote a novelization. Hardy wrote a sequel called Cowboys For Christ which he adapted into a movie called The Wicker Tree.
  • Bone Chillers was turned into a television series, made mostly of original stories. One of them, Romeo and Ghoulette, was later turned into a book for the series.
  • The Boss Baby was an In Name Only adaptation, or fairly heavy Adaptation Expansion of a fairly simple picture book. A novelization of it was released, described humorously on the cover as being "Based on the movie inspired by Marla Frazee's award-winning picture book, The Boss Baby."
  • The Cat in the Hat: book → movie → book
  • Goosebumpsmovie → tie-in novel.
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is based on a book by Ian Fleming but due to differences from the original book, the movie was novelized by John Burke.
  • The third Diamond Brothers book, South by South East, is extremely complicated in this regard. It wasn't actually a book to start with, but a TV series that served as a sequel to the film adaptation of the first book. However, Anthony Horowitz then novelised the series, and the novelisation actually came out before the TV series was screened, leaving people to presume that the series was an adaptation of the book. This was not helped by the fact that the TV series was never repeated or released on home media, and a few years later Horowitz rewrote the novelisation to bring it in line with the continuity of the first two books; this revised version is by far the better-known version, further fuelling the belief that the book came first.
  • Umi Ha Sono Nazotoki Wo Nozomu Noka?, a novel by Hinata Haruhana, was adapted into the pair of Vocaloid songs Nazotoki and Nazokake, which in turn were made into a novel, also called Nazokake. Noteworthy that all of these adaptations were also done by Hinata Haruhana.
  • There were several books based on the Thomas & Friends TV series, but the series itself is an adaptation of The Railway Series novels. However, several of these books were written by Rev. W. Awdry himself.
  • Scarface: book → 1932 film1983 film remake → book
  • The PBS Kids cartoon Seven Little Monsters was adapted from a children's book by Maurice Sendak and received several book adaptations of its own that were published by Hyperion imprint Volo and had the monsters drawn to resemble how the cartoon depicted them.

    Live-Action TV 

  • Ludwig van Beethoven's Violin Sonata No.9 in A major, known as the Kreutzer sonata after its dedicatee,note  inspired the novella The Kreutzer Sonata by Leo Tolstoy about an adulterous affair between a violinist and pianist who perform the Beethoven work. Tolstoy's novella was then adapted back into music as Leoš Janáček’s String Quartet No.1, also called Kreutzer Sonata, which paraphrases a theme from the first movement of the original Kreutzer sonata in its third movement.
  • Any time a song, album, musical artist, or musical genre inspires a movie, musical, etc. a soundtrack album is inevitably produced. For example:
    • The music of The Beatles inspired the film Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which of course had a soundtrack album.
    • The Who album Tommy was adapted as a musical in the 1990s, and produced an album of the original cast recording.
    • American Idiot spawned a Broadway Musical in 2009, which in turn spawned an album of the original cast recording. It even won a Grammy for Best Musical Show Album.
  • Frank Zappa's 200 Motels, originally conceived as a classical music piece (and performed in fragments at various Zappa shows over a span of two years), then made into a film in 1971, which was also going to be performed in concert at the Royal Albert Hall around the time of the film's release, until the orchestra and organizers balked at the bawdy lyrics. Eventually, a newly-adapted version, 200 Motels: The Suites, with elements of the film and of Zappa's 300-page original score, was performed by the LA Philharmonic and the BBC Concert Orchestra in 2013.
  • MF DOOM's "Rap Snitch Knishes" was mixed with I'm here to see Paco. into the meme im here to see doom, which in turn inspired "I'm here to see...", an arrangement of the former with vocal clips from the latter. In short: Song → Meme → Meme → Song.
  • Russian artist Radio Tapok made his name covering various Western Heavy Metal songs in Russian, including Sabaton. He later wrote the original song "Битва за Москву" ("Battle for Moscow") as an homage to Sabaton's music. Sabaton translated it into English and covered it under the title "Defence of Moscow".
  • The songs that John Carpenter composed for his films are frequently cited as influential in the Synthwave genre, so much so that in 2015 John Carpenter started a second career as a standalone musician.


    Tabletop Games 
  • The role-playing game phenomenon inspired the Niven & Barnes novel Dream Park and its sequels. R. Talsorian Games then adapted the novel into an actual tabletop RPG.
  • Magic: The Gathering sells a few of the decks used in its Duels of the Planeswalkers video game as pre-made decks. Of course, there's nothing but money preventing the dedicated player from making the decks himself.
  • Words With Friends: The Boardgame. Zynga copies the concept of Scrabble to make a video game, then licenses it back to Hasbro, the company they copied it from.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: tabletop game → animated series → "Dungeons & Dragons Animated Series Handbook", a third-edition supplement that started out several characters and races exclusive to the cartoon.
  • Star Wars d20 strongly influenced the Knights of the Old Republic video game series, which inspired a comic book, both of which spawned a Campaign Guide for the tabletop game a few years later.
  • Scrabble: Board Gamegame showboard game.
  • Europa Universalis. Board games to series of computer games to board games.
  • R. Talsorian Games has announced an RPG based on Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, based on Cyberpunk 2077, based on Cyberpunk
  • Pathfinder: The Second Edition remastered version of the Kingmaker Adventure Path expands on the original by adding three new chapters, two of which originated from the video game adaptation of the AP before being adapted to tabletop form. The Kingmaker Companion Guide additionally provides rules to incorporate NPC companions, who originated as the PC's companions in the video game, into your tabletop game. Paizo also released the Kingmaker Bestiary containing First Edition statblocks for the same companions.


    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • Street Fighter II inspired a Live-Action Adaptation simply titled Street Fighter, which in turn inspired two fighting games based on it, both titled Street Fighter: The Movie. The arcade version was made by Incredible Technologies and featured a unique gameplay system that combined conventional Street Fighter II play mechanics with Mortal Kombat-style tap commands. The console version, often mistaken to be a port of the arcade version, was developed in-house by Capcom and plays more like a standard Street Fighter game (specifically like a slower Super SF II Turbo).
    • Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie also had its own game version, albeit one that came out only in Japan. Instead of being a traditional fighting game, it was a raising simulator where you control the newest model of Shadaloo's Monitor Cyborgs and develop his fighting abilities by traveling around the globe to observe the World Warriors fight each other (which basically meant moving a cursor over FMV footage from the movie itself, mixed with new footage created specifically for the game). There is a Super Turbo-style fight sequence in the end, but the Cyborg's moves are the same ones that Ken has in Super Turbo (including his Shoryu Reppa).
  • Pokémon:
    • Video game → collectible card gamevideo game. And the promotional cards that came with the game and its strategy guide are based on those from the video game, adding another layer.
      • Also worth noting that several aspects of the TCG directly affected later generations of the main series, prime examples including moves like Destiny Bond and Rain Dance, and "Pokemon Powers" from the early card game being the basis for abilities beginning in Gen 3.
    • Also, Pokémon Yellow is video game → anime → video game. This eventually went double-recursive when Ash and Gary finally battled each other in the anime: Ash uses Pikachu while Gary uses an Eevee, which are the Pokémon their game counterparts start with in Yellow. Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! are based loosely on Yellow, and add elements of the spinoff game Pokémon GO to the mix.
      • Special mention goes to the manga adaptation based off this particular game. It's a manga chapter based off a game based off an anime based off a game.
    • The Surfing Pikachu card is a reference to the anime via Pokémon Yellow, and is included in the video game version of the TCG. Surfing Pikachu has also been available in games other than Yellow via events. That's video game → anime → video game → trading card game → video game.
    • Pokémon Puzzle League, aside from being an updated version of Panel de Pon, is a pretty massive recursive adaptation in its own right, given that the Puzzle Master is Mewtwo from the first film. So the adaptation goes: game —> anime —> movie —> game.
  • Advanced Variable Geo was loosely adapted into a 3-part OVA by KSS in 1996. Part of which was used for the beginning of Advanced V.G. II's (released in '98) story mode. Specifically, by reusing the exact same footage of Yuka's match with Jun to explain how Tamao first saw Yuka in action.
  • Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls by Tradewest was a tie-in to the 1993 Double Dragon (1993) animated series, which in turn was a show loosely based on the earlier Double Dragon games. Instead of being a side-scrolling beat-'em-up like the earlier games, Double Dragon V was a one-on-one fighting game (clearly inspired by Street Fighter II) featuring characters lifted from the show, including the Lee brothers themselves (who went from unarmed combatants to swordsmen), although the game also deviated slightly from the show too (Billy and Jimmy never wore masks like their counterparts on the show).
    • Technos, developers of the original Double Dragon games, would later make their own fighting game version of the series for the Neo-Geo, simply titled Double Dragon, as a tie-in to the live-action Double Dragon (1994) movie. While the attract demo uses footage from the movie, the game itself uses traditional hand-drawn sprites instead of digitized actors and barely half of the roster are actually characters featured in the movie (Billy, Jimmy, Marian, Abobo, and Koga Shuko). Still, there are some visual references to the movie, such as Billy and Jimmy having transformed forms, or Abobo swelling into a mutant when performing some of his super moves.
  • Hoo boy, Super Robot Wars. Initially a series of games centered around anime crossovers which eventually got a sub-series of games based on its Original Generation. Said subseries got its own Animated Adaptation and an OVA sequel. And then the first two OG games got a remake that changed plot elements to accommodate scenes from the anime, and a bonus segment based on the OVA. And after that, a Gaiden Game was released that continued the plot of the bonus segment and threw in elements from what was essentially a radio play. Together with all the Canon Immigrants getting tossed around between series and mediums, Super Robot Wars has more loops than your average roller coaster ride.
  • Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, which was a creative localization of Puyo Puyo based off the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog animated series, which was based off of the Sonic the Hedgehog games.
    • Sonic Spinball is a video game loosely based on Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) and Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM) (which were both based on the original games, and shared quite a few elements due to the former having started as a tie-in with the latter), which eventually got its own comic adaptation within the former's continuity.
    • There was going to be a straight example of this—that is, a Sonic game based on the SatAM cartoon, which in turn was based on the video games—but it was canceled.
    • Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood was heavily inspired by the Archie Comics' comic line, which in turn took some ideas from the game. It also contains a subtle reference to the anime series Sonic X, which is a very different adaption of the games.
    • Sonic Boom is a reimagining of the Sonic universe as an animated CGI cartoon series with the companion video games Rise of Lyric and Shattered Crystal acting as a prologue to the story of the former.
  • F-Zero GP Legend: A video game based on the anime of the same name, based upon the F-Zero franchise of video games.
  • Pac-Man → the Saturday morning cartoon Pac-ManPac-Land, a sidescrolling platformer based on the cartoon.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, the Triangle Heart 3: Sweet Songs Forever added mini-scenario (game) → Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha series (anime) → ''Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable - The Battle of the Aces (game)
  • Metal Gear Solid: Digital Graphic Novel is a video game adaptation of the Metal Gear Solid graphic novel illustrated by Ashley Wood, which in turn was an adaptation of the first Metal Gear Solid. The game basically consists of reading through the comic with added visual and sound effects while trying to build a database based on elements that appear in each of the images.
  • The 2006 installment of Midway's Spy Hunter series was actually based on the movie that was based on the game series. Except for the Spy Hunter movie upon which the game was based never ended up being released. Apparently they got tired of waiting and decided to just release the game with no context.
  • BombermanBomberman JettersBomberman Jetters video game.
  • Touhou Project series (video game) → Strange and Bright Nature Deity (manga spinoff) → Fairy Wars (video game continuation of a story from the SaBND manga)
  • City of Heroes goes Comic Book > MMORPG > Comic Book.
  • Not across mediums, but across companies: Konami's Guitar Freaks → Harmonix's Guitar Hero → Konami's Rock Revolution.
    • Another Rhythm Game non-pure example; Pac Man and other old arcade games → Pac Man Fever by Buckner and Garcia → Pac Man Fever on Rock Band, including a song about Donkey Kong available on Xbox 360 and PS3.
  • Roadside Picnic (novel) → Stalker (short storynote ) → Stalker (1979) (Tarkovsky movie) → S.T.A.L.K.E.R. (video game) → numerous novelizations → movie based on one of them.
  • Tak and the Power of Juju started out as its own game series, became a cartoon, them Tak from the cartoon appeared in Nicktoons Unite! and got two games based loosely off the cartoon.
    • It goes deeper than that. The games were meant to launch with the cartoon, but the cartoon ended up getting stuck in Development Hell while the games went on to become a trilogy. So, there are games based on a cartoon, which are based on a series of games, which were meant to tie in with a cartoon.
  • Autobahn Raser: racing game (1998) → In Name Only movie adaptation (2004) → racing game based on the movie (2004).
  • The additional cars and tracks from the home versions of San Francisco Rush 2049 were incorporated into the Updated Re-release /Special Edition of the arcade version, as well as two of the BGM's from the Dreamcast version to go with the new tracks. The tracks also had new shortcuts added.
  • The Star Wars films lead to the space simulator X-Wing, which lead to the X-Wing Series starring Wedge Antilles and his Rogue Squadron, which lead to the Rogue Squadron series of games.
  • Adventure IslandBug-tte Honey (anime) → Takahashi Meijin no Bug-tte Honey (video game)
  • The King of FightersThe King of Fighters Kyo (manga) → The King of Fighters Kyo (video game)
  • Where In The World Is Carmen SandiegoWhere on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? (cartoon) → Carmen Sandiego: Junior Detective Edition (PC game)
  • Final Fantasy VII (original game) → Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (animated movie sequel) → Final Fantasy VII: Ever Crisis (mobile game remake)
  • Arcus (early RPG series by Wolf Team) → gag Yonkoma in Micom BASIC MagazineArcushu (adventure game)
  • After making his debut in the crossover MOBA game Heroes of the Storm, Lucio from Overwatch gained new features in his native game based on his appearance in HOTS: namely, a visual indicator for the range of his auras and increased movement speed while wall-riding.
  • Parodied with I Wanna Be the Guy: The Movie: The Game.
    • It also is the source of an extremely unusual example. The creator of I Wanna Be The Guy was inspired to create the game when he played an unfinished Japanese flash game entitled The Life-Ending Adventure. The creator of The Life-Ending Adventure must have noticed because they finished the game by adding a I Wanna Be The Guy section.
  • Mega Man Battle Network: GBA games → animeWonderSwan games
  • Virtua FighterThe Anime of the GameVirtua Fighter Animation for the Game Gear.
  • Metro 2033 is based on the novel of the same name, and the game's sequel Metro: Last Light got its own sequel by the original author called Metro 2035.
  • Raving RabbidsRabbids Invasion cartoon → Rabbids Invasion: The Interactive TV Show
  • Ratchet & Clank (2002)Ratchet & Clank film → Ratchet & Clank (2016) video game. This a complex example because while some levels like Veldin, Quartu, and the Deplanetizer are this trope, many others like Novalis, Batalia, and Kalebo III are Video Game Remakes placed in the context of the movie's plot. Its tagline is even "The game, based on the movie, based on the game".
  • An unusual one is Hearthstone, which follows the unusual path of Warcraft (The original PC RTS) -> World of Warcraft (The MMO) -> the World of Warcraft CCG -> Hearthstone (video game)
  • Mighty Bomb Jack, the NES adaptation of the arcade game Bomb Jack was backported to arcades as Vs. Mighty Bomb Jack. Similarly, the NES version of Gradius had the recursive arcade port Vs. Gradius.
  • Zanac(MSX)->Zanac(NES)->Zanac EX(MSX)
  • Steins;GateThe Anime of the GameSteins;Gate Elite. What makes this interesting is that Elite is an Updated Re-release of both the game and the anime; it contains a visual novel-adapted version of the anime's version of the game in its entirety, all 24 episodes, but also adds new routes on top of that.
  • Shadowverse: Game -> Shadowverse anime -> Shadowverse: Champion's Battle for the Nintendo Switch.
  • Rampage the arcade game -> Rampage, the film adaptation of the arcade game -> Rampage, the arcade game based off the film, based off the arcade game.
  • Kung Fu Panda is considered by some to be a very loose adaptation of a video game with many similar concepts called T'ai Fu: Wrath of the Tiger, which Dreamworks also worked on. Kung Fu Panda itself went on to spawn a few video games of its own, with a few based on the first two movies and some of its spinoffs.
  • Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town is a 3D remake of Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town, which is a sprite-based remake of the Playstation game Harvest Moon: Back to Nature.
  • The Legend of Zelda CD-i Games are infamous for being extremely far removed from anything resembling the main Zelda games. This is because it's inspired more by the cartoon based on the games.
  • As with Dark Horse's Ultraman Tiga example (see Comic Books folder), One Piece for Game Boy Advance is based on the 4Kids dub of the anime. Drawing more comparisons to Ultraman Tiga, it seems the developers are familiar with the original source material; however, many elements from the 4Kids dub remain, such as the names (Chaser, Zolo, etc.) as well as Sanji receiving lollipops.
  • The release of Battletech, a spin-off of the tabletop game series of the same name, was followed by a sourcebook covering the region where the game takes place in greater detail. This makes it one of a very few Battletech videogame adaptations to be fully canon, albeit in Broad Strokes.
  • Crimzon Clover started life as a Windows release. It would then get ported to arcade hardware as Crimzon Clover for NESiCAxLive. This version would then get an Updated Re-release as Crimzon Clover World Ignition, bringing the game back to Windows. Then this game would be ported with extra content to Nintendo Switch as Crimzon Clover World EXplosion. Finally, this version was ported back to Windows under the same title.note 
  • Armored Hunter Gunhound was first released as a Japanese doujin game. It was later picked up and co-developed by G.rev Ltd. for remake on the PSP as Armored Hunter Gunhound EX. The PSP remake would finally find its way back onto PC under the same name via an upgrade tool for owners of the original game and as a standalone game through PLAYISM and Steam... up until the developers got suspended.

    Web Original 
    Web Animation 
  • The Season 3 Bravest Warriors episode "Fast Times at Saturn Oaks" is adapted from the 14th issue of the Boom Studios comic book tie-in, the story itself reworked from a scrapped episode idea.

    Western Animation 
  • The Animals of Farthing Wood, which was adapted from Colin Dann's book series of the same name, received abridged story book adaptations of the show's episodes from the first-two seasons by Reed Children's Books under their Buzz Books subtitle.
  • Batman: The Animated Series had two episodes in its retool season The New Batman Adventures that were adapted from its comic book tie-in The Batman Adventures.
    • The Christmas Episode "Holiday Knights", which was adapted from a Holiday Special one-shot. Aside from a few changes in character dialogue (both to make the language more appropriate for television and for reasons less clear), one of the most notable changes made in adapting the comic book into an episode of the animated series was the omission of Mr. Freeze's story, as it had discrepancies with the changes made to his story as of the film Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero and his New Batman Adventures episode "Cold Comfort".
    • "Mad Love", Harley Quinn's Origins Episode adapted from a one-shot of the same name, which changed little aside from leaving out the implications that Harleen Quinzel got her degree by sleeping with her professor.
  • The Cartoon Hangover animated short Dead End would later spawn the comic Deadendia. Dead End: Paranormal Park would finally come full circle and return the story to the medium of animation.
  • The Dexter's Laboratory episode "Momdark" was adapted from a story featured in the fifth issue of the tie-in comic book by DC Comics.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998) tie-in comic story "Remote Controlled" (which was originally written as an episode of the show, but was repurposed as a comic story out of concern that PBS would sue them over the plot spoofing Mister Rogers' Neighborhood) was loosely adapted into the episode "Neighbor Hood".
  • Teacher's Pet had a four-page comic story titled "Food for Thought" that was featured in the October 2000 issue of Disney Adventures and was subsequently adapted into the cartoon's antepenultimate episode "The Nose Knows".

  • Toy lines are prone to this, with Merchandise-Driven adaptions resulting in more toys.
    • Transformers started out as toys, went to an animated series, which then introduced new toys, some of which were used for new Transformers series, or for The Movie, which got its own line of toys.
    • Another Hasbro franchise to which something similar happened is My Little Pony. It started out as a line of plastic toy ponies with accessories, and in order to boost sales, an animated series was produced. Three generations later, since My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic was launched, the toys are more and more based on the animated series which in turn is based partly on the first generation toys (or how Lauren Faust characterized them), part on the third generation (In Name Only, though).
    • Even LEGO has gotten in on this, with toys based on movies based on the toys. Unikitty! merch goes further, with toys based on an In Name Only Spin-Off of a movie based on toys.
    • The Trolls franchise, originally based on the Troll Dolls toyline, had a lot of toy merchandise from many brands, as well as tabletop games, paper-related products, and a lot of other kinds of merchandise and promotions.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Radio playSeries of booksRadio plays based on the last three books that didn't start as radio plays.
  • Civilization: CivilizationSid Meier's CivilizationSid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game.
  • A recurring MST suggestion for RiffTrax is... Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Movie! This kind of came true in places that never had Mystery Science Theater 3000 on TV, but where suddenly its treatment of This Island Earth appeared on an official DVD, looking like a movie adaptation.
  • The game of Mornington Crescent on I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue inspired two books detailing the history of the game: The Little Book of Mornington Crescent and Stovold's Mornington Crescent Almanac. The later radio Mockumentary In Search of Mornington Crescent is essentially an Audio Adaptation of these books.
  • Japanese pro soccer player Hidetoshi Nakata cites the Captain Tsubasa manga and anime as his inspiration for pursuing a career in soccer. He got a cameo in Inazuma Eleven 2 via a secret character based on and named after him. Said character became an Ascended Extra in the third game and consequently also appeared in the corresponding arc of the anime adaptation. In short, anime → real life → game → anime.
  • Adrian Mole started out in 1982 as a BBC radio play called The Diary of Nigel Mole. The Adrian Mole books were then adapted for Radio 4, with the same voice actor, Nicholas Barnes. In 1985 Sue Townsend wrote some original Adrian Mole material for Radio 4's summer holiday programming (again with Barnes), which later became "Adrian Mole at The BBC" in her True Confessions of Adrian Albert Mole book. So radio → book → radio → radio → book. Further books have come out at random intervals every few years since, featuring Adrian's diaries from the age of 13¾ to over 40.
  • "Baby's Tears" started out as a Konami original song in DanceDanceRevolution SuperNOVA. It got drastically remixed (different instrumentals, different lyrics, slower tempo; about the only thing that stayed the same was the melody) into an Anime Theme Song as the opening theme for the Sky Girls OVA. The anime version subsequently appeared alongside the original in DDR SuperNOVA 2, listed as "Baby's Tears (Sky Girls Opening Theme)".
  • Rice Krispie Treats Cereal: cereal → dessert → cereal.
  • A weird one occurred after Homestuck cosplay at various convention: A bystander appeared on a photo and quickly went memetic with fanart, cosplay, and fanart of the cosplay.
  • Taco Bell's Doritos Locos Tacos were adapted into Doritos Locos Tacos flavored chips. It's a mix of either nacho cheese or cool ranch and "taco flavor" chips. The world quietly weeps but also gets ready to go grocery shopping.
  • Radicalfaith360 is a YouTube user known for his re-enactments of YouTube Poop. Since becoming popular, his re-enactments have become sources for poops on their own — often by the very same users who made the poops he was re-enacting in the first place.
  • The Heckler & Koch G3 rifle: Unproduced Nazi German gun (StG-45) → Spanish gun based on its plans (CETME Modelo B) → licensed German copy. Likewise, for the M20 Super Bazooka: Original American rocket launcher (M1 and M9 "Bazooka") → upscaled German copy (Raketenpazerbüsche 43 and 54 "Panzerschreck") → upgraded, further-upscaled original American rocket launcher based on the Panzerschreck.
    • Modern versions of the AR-10 came about like this as well: original 7.62mm rifle → scaled-down 5.56mm version with some other changes (AR-15) → 5.56mm version scaled back up to 7.62mm.
  • Girl Genius Radio Theatre strips: Webcomic → live performances and podcasts → webcomic.
  • Thomas & Friends garnered its own promotional magazine series, with some of its original stories actually adapted into episodes of the show itself in Seasons Three and Five. Incidentally, the magazine's writer at the time eventually ended up lead writer for the show come to Season Seventeen.
  • Combining this with Hey, It's That Sound!Williams Electronics' Defender reused sound effects from several of Williams' early solid-state Pinball games. When the game became a smash hit, Williams released Defender, a solid-state Pinball Spin-Off that used the video game's sound effects.
  • The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper was a cartoon based on the film Casper, which in turn was based on the cartoon Casper the Friendly Ghost.
  • Parodied in Irregular Webcomic!, where Will is hired to write a novelization of the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings movies.
  • A strange example in regards to The Amazing World of Gumball: The show got a Shoddy Knockoff Product entitled Miracle Star that ripped off scenes from the show wholesale. The show, in turn, then made Captain Ersatz versions of those characters in the episode "The Copycats". There's even an in-universe video where the parody character reenacts a specific scene of Gumball that was ripped off by Miracle Star.
  • Vocaloid: A mascot character meant to be modeled after a Nendoroid collectible figure of Hatsune Miku, created in order to promote the rhythm game Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai (which had an art style based on the Nendoroids of Miku and her fellow Crypton Vocaloids), became memetic for its strange look and awkward movements, gaining the nickname Mikudayo. This became her official name, and she got made into a figure of her own and started to make cameos in the same rhythm games she'd been created to promote. She was adapted from music software → figure → video game → mascotfigurevideo game.
  • Through an elaborate set of videos, The Fine Brothers gave us Kids React to Poppy Reacts to Kids React to Poppy. As Poppy is more or less performance art that invokes Uncanny Valley Girl, it actually turned out to be a pretty good practical joke.
  • British supermarket Morrisons once sold its own-brand Cola Cube flavour soft drink. In other words, a soft drink, based on a sweet, based on a soft drink, which tasted nothing like their actual own-brand cola. Wrap your brain around that one.
  • Anyone with knowledge of cuisine would understand that American Chinese food is far removed from "true" Chinese food, which is why it was a notable risk for an American Chinese restaurant to open in Shanghai. In spite of its challenges — mainly its reliance on international exports and incompatibilities with local tastes — it was an overall success, with the owners planning on opening additional restaurants in Shanghai.
  • TNA somehow managed to pull of the improbable-sounding Professional WrestlingVideo GameProfessional Wrestling adaptation. In 2008 they released an (awful) video game based on their product, the story mode of which culminated with the player character adopting the persona of a masked wrestler named Suicide. This character somehow ended up making its way onto TNA television, portrayed by various performers.