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Retcon / Anime & Manga

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  • Mahou Sensei Negima!:
    • In the last page of chapter 238, Makie shows up with her friends in kid form, looking smaller than Negi. In the first page of the next chapter, in the very same scene, she is now in teenage form and Marshmallows Negi.
    • The posted "birth date" of the title character changed from the fairly vague "Summer 1993" to the even more vague "1994" between the magazine version of Chapter 10 and the publication of Volume 2. This works as a Revision, as it renders Negi's in-story usage of a historical Japanese method of age reckoning correct, but also makes determining his actual age more difficult.
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  • Somewhere between volume 5 and 11 of the English-language Great Teacher Onizuka manga, the average age of the protagonist's class gets bumped from 14 to 16.
  • The Gundam canon has a pretty significant number of these.
    • Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam contains scenes where the titular Gundam does things such as turning its beam saber into a mile-long "sword of rage" and channeling the spirits of the dead to power itself up. Originally this was just attributed to pilot Kamille Bidan's incredible Newtype powers, but later works introduced the concept of the Biosensor, an experimental system in the Zeta which boosts a Newtype's abilities, and serves to allow these fantastic feats without completely destroying the Real Robot feel of the show.
    • Zeta introduced another, somewhat unusual example. At the start of the show, the Next Big Thing in mobile suit tech is the Movable Frame, a skeleton-like framework that allowed for greater flexibility and freedom of movement, which in turn allowed the creation of Transforming Mecha down the line. In order to justify this, it was said that all previous generations of MS were empty "shells" with their armor supporting the weight of all their internal machinery. While this concept does exist in real life (it's called Monocoque), the writers eventually realized that it doesn't make a lick of sense for giant robots, and over time this explanation has been mentioned less and less.
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    • The resolution of the series itself in the final Compilation Movie, which not only changed the ending from a Downer Ending into a Bittersweet Ending, but also potentially alters the course of two related sequels drastically (if not does away with them entirely). Yoshiyuki Tomino, who created Gundam and directed the Zeta movies in specific, has said that he considers the movies an Alternate Timeline, but many fans like to believe that the movies shift the less-popular Gundam ZZ into Canon Discontinuity territory. Tomino then went on to write the CG short Gundam Evolve 5, which depicts a battle from Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack with a more positive outcome; Tomino has said he considers the short to be the "New Translation" version of CCA.
    • Another rather famous example is Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz, which quietly replaces the TV series' Gundams (designed by Gundam veteran Kunio Okawara) with sleeker designs by Hajime Katoki via a Flash Back prologue. Fandom is split on the issue, and there's quite a bit of feuding over which designs are superior, despite the fact that they're supposed to be functionally identical. The manga Glory of the Losers (a retelling of Wing) retcons things further by showing that Wing Zero started off in its TV form (which was dubbed "Proto-Zero") and was later modified into the Endless Waltz version, with the angelic wings originating as an upgrade to Zechs Merquise's Tallgeese.
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    • Gundam SEED has a couple of infamous examples:
      • SEED Special Edition, a Compilation Movie, retcons the death of Mu la Flaga by digitally erasing a sure sign of the character's death (his broken helmet floating by the wrecked Strike Gundam). Fans were none too happy about the writers retconning a meaningful character death just so said character could come back in SEED Destiny.
      • The HD Remaster of SEED alters the circumstances of Nicol Amalfi's death, changing it from an intentional but tragic act of violencenote  into a stupid accidentnote . Fans were up in arms over this one because Kira is often viewed as a Creator's Pet and retconning the death was seen as a ham-fisted attempt to absolve him of the murder.
  • One episode of Digimon Adventure 02 has a flashback of the season one characters giving up their ability to evolve past a certain level (and by extension, their ability to be of any use in a fight). This comes up right in the middle of the season, soon after the Applied Phlebotinum the now-reformed Ken was using to obstruct their evolution is destroyed, and basically comes across as a cheap excuse to keep the old characters out of the Competence Zone. It also gave Patamon and Gatomon (two heroes from 01 that made the main cast in 02) a reason to DNA digivolve.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler: For those who haven't read the manga, this seems to happen between the first and second seasons of the anime. In the last episode of the first season Ayumu and Hinagiku are shown to know each other (well enough for them to travel to the Parthenon together), but in the second season, they acted as if they'd never met. In the same episode, it's stated that Hayate's been Nagi's butler for over a year, whereas in the first episode of season 2, Klaus says Hayate's only been Nagi's butler for a month.

    However, this is easily explained by the fact that the events of the last episode of the first season of the anime (Ayumu and Hina's parthenon trip and Hayate and Nagi's trip to the Aegean sea) were, in the original manga, side-stories that took place during the golden week holidays and that were out of sync with the rest of the series' continuity.
  • Bleach:
    • Some initial character designs are retconned beyond the bounds of the series' Art Evolution in later appearances, such as the location of Ulquiorra's hollow hole.
    • Aizen being an Unreliable Narrator and Urahara being stingy with the truth is used to explain discrepancies between what readers witness in the story and their descriptions of those events. Initially, Aizen claims Urahara was exiled for creating an illegal, untraceable gigai. "Turn Back the Pendulum" reveals that Aizen framed Urahara for illegal Hollowfication experiments, but Urahara's group escaped punishment by using Urahara's illegal gigai. Urahara claims Sado and Orihime developed their powers because they were affected by Ichigo's constantly leaking reiatsu and that the Hougyoku was dormant inside Rukia during that time, but Aizen later claims it was actually the Hougyoku that unlocked their powers. Urahara has a history of manipulating the truth to achieve certain results while Aizen claims to enjoy lying because he has a personal definition of "reality". Although Aizen states it's idiotic to trust a single word he says, the shadiness of both characters give the fandom a headache over how to interpret certain events.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • In the third Megami sound stage, Hayate says that Fate is more of a sister to Vivio, and Nanoha says that while Fate loves Vivio, she is keeping some distance from her. In ViVid, Vivio says she still considers both of them her mothers, and Fate once refers to herself in the third person as "Fate-mama" while talking to Vivio.
  • Naruto:
    • In earlier manga chapters, Gaara had triple-pierced ears despite his automatic sand shield, which almost always prevents him from taking physical damage.
    • Gaara's name was stated to mean 'Demon who loves only himself' by his mother, a dying curse on the village for sacrificing her, and he was told this by the uncle who despite showing him kindness claimed to always hate him deep down for her death. Skip ahead to the war arc and his resurrected father reveals she loved Gaara all along, and that he told his uncle to lie about it (as well as force him into the assassination) as a test of character to see if Gaara could control Shukaku when confronted with such a horrible claim, which he didn't, obviously.
    • The Sage of the Six Paths is stated to be the first to utilize chakra and also the one who solely defeated the Ten-Tailed Beast. Along comes Hamura in Chapter 670, his previously-unheard of brother who is also the source of the Hyuga clan's Byakugan.
    • Boruto has retconned some stuff about the Byakugan. According to it, not all Hyuga unlock the Byakugan and the Byakugan requires training to unlock. This makes it more similar to the Sharingan; however, none of this was depicted in the original Naruto.
    • Some elements of the Distant Finale, Chapter 700, were later retconned. The character designs are off in Chapter 700 compared to how they'd later be in the Boruto manga and anime. Everyone looks younger and their clothes are different (for example Sarada wears a casual-looking sweater, tie, and skirt instead of her red ninja-looking outfit from Boruto). Sarada and Sakura's dialogue imply that Sasuke's present in Sarada's life, if busy and often away on missions. Naruto Gaiden changes this so that, due to a mission, Sasuke hasn't seen Sarada since she was a toddler. The chapter also includes character differences, such as Chocho being Fat and Proud instead of interested in dieting. In Chapter 700, Hinata is shown with long hair during Boruto's academy days but in Boruto, Hinata has short hair even at the start.
  • The Space Battleship Yamato movie was meant to end the story, so the ending has many core crew members, including Kodai and Yuki, dead with the Yamato destroyed in a suicide charge. After fan outcry, the movie was adapted into the second season TV series with a different ending so that the ship is not destroyed and most crew members live. Several movies and a third TV season later, the second movie is just claimed never to have happened.
  • In Eyeshield 21, Agon's hair is a walking retcon. In one flashback to his 10th grade year he had short blonde hair and in another he had incredibly long dreads. In middle school, depending on whose reminiscing, Agon either had short thick dreads, long thick dreads, short thin dreads, or shoulder-length blonde hair.
  • A couple instances in Fairy Tail:
    • Nirvana, a giant walking weapon, was initially drawns with 8 legs but suddenly had 6 when the method by which it had to be destroyed was determined. The characters explain this via Shrug of God in the Q&A section afterward, with Mirajane believing Nirvana just decided to drop them off for no reason while Lucy claims it dropped them because it wanted to walk faster. The anime removes this entirely by having Nirvana appear specifically with six legs upon its activation.
    • Lisanna, Mirajane and Elfman's deceased younger sister and Natsu's childhood friend, was revealed to have been transported to the Mirror World of Edolas, instead of having been killed when a monster-possessed Elfman attacked her. Meanwhile, she somehow still managed to be buried in the town's cemetery.
      • They found the body of the dead Edolas!Lisanna, which had switched places with Earthland!Lisanna due to the Anima, so the burial still makes sense.
    • Flashbacks in the manga showed Lisanna's guild mark was on her upper left arm, but when she comes back from Edolas, it's on her left leg instead. The anime tried to fix this by showing it being removed as she was taken by the Anima, but a more recent flashback in the Tartaros arc shows it on her leg despite this flashback taking place years before her trip to Edolas.
  • Early on in Soul Eater, Liz Thompson briefly remembers her and Patty's Backstory, saying that her life took a turn for the bizarre on that day that she got high and tried to mug a Shinigami (Kid). A couple dozen chapters later, it's instead revealed that Kid came to New York specifically to recruit the Thompson sisters as his weapons, no mugging involved. They went along for the ride, at least initially, to milk him for all the money and convenience he could provide them, before coming to admire him for real. The two events could have both happened though, since the later chapter didn't specifically deny the mugging. What could have happened is that he came looking for Liz and Patty, they tried to mug him but Kid got away, and he came back to them at later chance to recruit them.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's:
    • In the original Japanese version, we see that the five bearers of the Mark of the Dragon are Yusei (tail), Jack (wings), Luca (claw), and Aki (other claw). This is true for the English version too, with the fifth signer being unknown in both versions. Then, the English version mentioned that Rex Goodwin bears the final mark, before Japan even knew it. Because it was false information. Japan later aired their episode to show that Rudger has the head of the dragon. After this, the English version just pretended that they never said Goodwin had it.
    • When the Signers first realize that their marks look like the Crimson Dragon, Yusei incorrectly states (in the English version) that his is the head, not the tail. And it became even more confusing when Rudger and Goodman were defeated, with Yusei actually gaining the real head, and transferring his tail mark to Crow. This was barely even addressed in the English version, despite the fact that it's tattooed onto their freaking arms.
  • Pokémon:
    • In his first appearance, Santa Claus had a Ponyta pulling his sleigh, because the franchise didn't have any deer Pokémon in Gen I. But when Gen II came out and Stantler was introduced, all further Santa appearances had him with a Stantler pulling the sleigh.
    • This one's dub only. When Ash returned to Viridian City for his eighth Kanto Badge, Ash said in the dub that it had been a year since he was last there. Later, in the short accompanying the third Pokémon movie, Ash and co. celebrate the (presumably first) anniversary of Ash and Pikachu meeting.
    • Another dub-induced one. In the episode introducing Brock, it was said that his mother passed away in the dub (which wasn't the case otherwise). Later on, come Pokémon Chronicles, Brock's mom returned to the Pewter City Gym and the dub treated things as if they never said she had died.
    • Pikachu was retconned to have a baby pre-evolution Pichu, and for the females to have a clefted tail. There's no problem with declaring that Ash's Pikachu had been a male the whole time, but it means that the Pikachu village they encountered back in season 1 had no newborns and no females.
    • When Lyra appeared in Sinnoh, Brock and Ash acted like they experienced Pokeathelons when they didn't. The event was created for the Gold and Silver remakes.
    • The Best Wishes had what was essentially a retcon, though the original eps never aired. Team Plasma was supposed to meet and battle Team Rocket early in the Unova storyline, but the episodes were shelved because of the 2011 earthquake in Japan-part of the storyline involved the destruction of several buildings. Some hoped they might be aired later, but instead, the two teams finally met in the 'Season 2, Episode N' arc, the 'Adventures in Unova' arc in the US. This retconned the plots of the unaired eps out of existence.
    • Team Rocket's Meowth was originally the sole bipedal Meowth. Since Hoenn, several other bipedal Meowth have appeared without question. The only thing weird about Meowth now is that he can talk.
  • In the The World is Still Beautiful manga, Livius is said to be 15 until chapter 40 claims he's 12. The anime clears this up, with Nike's father specifically telling Livius that Nike's grandma ascended the throne when she was "not much older than [him]". This is in contrast to the manga scene it adapted where he says she was 15, "the same age as [Livius] is now". Also, if the manga omakes of them as students are to be trusted, Livius/Livita is still in elementary school which leaves him to be 12 at the most.
  • Jaco the Galactic Patrolman retcons quite a lot about the Dragon Ball series.
    • The entirety of the Bardock: The Father of Goku special was retconned. In that movie, Bardock was shown as a man with the ability to see the future who made a futile, last stand against Freeza after forseeing the death of his planet, only to die against Freeza with his last thoughts being of his youngest son. Even his relationship with his comrades is explored; one of the driving aspects of Bardock is to avenge the death of his best friend. Dragon Ball Minus, part of the Jaco manga, takes the opposite approach. Bardock's comrades are entirely removed, landing them as filler only entities, and instead, Bardock's relationship with his children and wife is focused on a little more. Contrast with Bardock's rather cold nature in the original movie, he's shown to have an actual loving relationship with his wife, and actually sends Kakarot away out of concern for his safety when Freeza called all the Saiyans back to Vegeta. He even asks on Raditz, who he entirely glossed over in the movie. Additionally, Freeza knew of the Super Saiyan God, information he was never stated to know in the original canon.
    • Even Goku's age is retconned; ironically, retconned back to what it originally was stated to be by Goku early on. As of Dragon Ball Minus, Goku was sent to Earth when he was three. Bulma was 5 at the time. This would make him 14 during the beginning of Dragon Ball; exactly the age he said he was when Bulma asked, despite it later being changed to 12 after Goku 'learned' to count. Of course, with Goku being Goku, he may have just counted wrong.
    • Another small retcon? In the manga, Bulma was stated to be on 'summer vacation' when she was hunting for the Dragon Balls, but as of the Jaco manga, she was stated to have graduated University at age 16. The details are just plain muddled now.
  • Dragon Ball Z: The Saiyan arc gets severely retconned by the Freeza arc, to the point that the entire plot is basically erased.
    • At the very beginning of the arc, Raditz mentions that planet Vegeta, the Saiyans' original homeworld, was destroyed by a meteor. The next arc 'reveals' that it was actually destroyed by Freeza, who then told everyone that a meteor did it.
    • Raditz also mentions that the Saiyans are the strongest warrior race in the universe and run the planet trade racket. Come the next arc, Freeza's unnamed race (or at least his family) is widely known as the strongest clan in the universe, and they run the planet trade instead.
    • In the Saiyan arc, Vegeta is his own boss and heads off to Earth without a second thought on a whim immediately after hearing about the Dragon Balls. In the Freeza arc, it's retconned so that he was a minion of Freeza, and him going to Earth was a rebellious act (which weirdly was not mentioned by either of his subordinates).
    • While often forgotten today, it was actually Vegeta who was first introduced as the strongest in the universe (he outright calls himself this in his internal monologue, so no room for lying or an Unreliable Narrator). This was explained by him being the top dog in a race said to be the universe's greatest warriors. Come the Freeza arc, suddenly Vegeta admits that he's weaker than Dodoria and Zarbon, and their boss Freeza is a guy who's literally thousands of times stronger than that, because... he... just kinda is.
    • In the Saiyan arc, Vegeta states that he wants to get the dragon balls to wish for immortality so he can enjoy a lifetime of violence forever. Nappa agrees with him. In the Freeza arc, he wants immortality to defeat Freeza.
    • Nappa states in the middle of the arc that Vegeta's name came from the planet itself; he was a Saiyan noble named after the Saiyans' homeworld because he was the strongest and cruelest of them and thus the greatest representative of their race. In the Freeza arc, Vegeta is said to be a prince named after his dad, the king, who gave his name to the planet.
    • It was stated by Toriyama through a 30th anniversary celebration manga that all of this came about due to Vegeta's unexpected popularity; he had intended for Vegeta to be killed by Goku, but his popularity led him to spare Vegeta and create Frieza to take over Vegeta's role and be killed off in his place.
  • Dragon Ball Super:
    • Apparently, Future Trunks' hair color. It goes from being purple to blue. Episode 52 includes moments from The History of Trunks, which also show this change. What makes this odd is the fact that the present-day Trunks still has purple hair. In turn, this is based on a problem with the anime adaptations as Trunks always had the same hair color as Bulma in the manga.
    • The "permanent" nature of the Potara earrings turns out to have been a miscommunication; they're only truly permanent if a Kai is involved, and otherwise wear off after one hour. Since the previous explanation for Vegito's defusion was speculated to be A Wizard Did It combined with Your Magic Is No Good Here, this is generally regarded as an improvement, especially since it doesn't outright contradict the previous events.
    • When introduced in Dragon Ball, Master Roshi claimed that the Immortal Phoenix granted him eternal life, and later died after he fed it tainted bird seeds. However, in episode 76 of Super, Roshi says the Paradise Herb in the Forest of Terror will let him live another 1,000 years, implying this is how he has stayed alive for over 300 years.
    • In the Cell Saga Future Trunks mentions Yajirobe was one of the many people killed by Android 17 and 18 in his timeline, and he is shown being killed in the flashback by 18 after she breaks his sword, however in the Goku Black Saga, Yajirobe is one of the few people from the present who is still alive in Future Trunks' timeline.
  • The first episode of Kill la Kill has the Big Bad Satsuki obviously kill a student, something that we later see is out-of-character for her. A future episode shows the boy alive.
  • In Wandering Son, when Cool Big Sis Yuki met Takatsuki it was heavily implied she was drawn to him because she knew he was biologically female and nervous about being out as a boy for the first time. Despite this several chapters later she seems genuinely surprised when he reveals his sex, though she could have been surprised at Nitori coming out.
  • This is combined with Early Installment Weirdness in Fullmetal Alchemist. In their backstory episode, Edward and Alphonse are sparring when Ed kicks his brother into the water. A much later episode shows that both had previously thought that getting Al's blood seal wet would kill him, and are surprised when it doesn't.
  • Sgt. Frog: A fairly inoffensive one though. The official databook for the manga released alongside volume 23 changed the ages of several characters compared to their initial ones in previous databooks. Natsumi and Koyuki are 14 years old in the present, but now were 13 in the beginning of the series and Mutsumi now is said to be 16 years old (which would make him 15 in the beginning of the series), rather than 18 like in the previous official publications. In general, the new official ages seem to match up with the ones used by the original anime, although Mutsumi still is one year older than his anime self.
  • A Certain Magical Index: Miracle of Endymion film revolves around Academy City's space elevator, a giant tower sprouting out of the middle of the city. It definitely wasn't there before. In A Certain Scientific Railgun, Uiharu very pointedly tells Saten that the tower just happened to be outside the panel in every single previous shot of the city skyline, and gives a few brief flashbacks of previous arcs from new angles, with the tower obvious in the background.
  • The Mysterious Cities of Gold: The Golden Condor's design changes between the first and the second season. Its landing gears are completely different, exhaust ports are visible in the tail, and it now has a ladder hidden in its beak that the children "discovered" during the Time Skip.
  • The Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro anime retcons almost all the random culprits from earlier in the manga into guinea pigs of HAL and the electronic drug. This is most likely because the anime ended before the last arc involving the New Bloodline could be animated and as such, HAL is the last arc antagonist faced by Neuro and co.


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