Expanded Universe Details?

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Mafty
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Expanded Universe Details?

So just how long have expanded Universe been a thing in Anime? I'm not talking about Manga to Anime adaptations, I mean works in print that flesh out a story's universe and mechanics. Gundam had the early 80's MSV series, but as has been discussed elsewhere on the forum it seems like a lot of early 80s series didn't have a lot of side material (Though Votoms did have an independent side story in Mellowlink).
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Seto Kaiba
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Re: Expanded Universe Details?

Mafty wrote: Sun Dec 31, 2023 11:57 am So just how long have expanded Universe been a thing in Anime? I'm not talking about Manga to Anime adaptations, I mean works in print that flesh out a story's universe and mechanics.
For starters, we should probably do a better job of defining our terms here... since "Expanded Universe" is a term without an official definition, which has several different interpretations depending on who you ask.

"Expanded Universe" in the broadest possible sense just means literally any narrative material that's not part of the main narrative from the original medium. The most widely used definition popularized by the pre-Disney Star Wars franchise refers to narrative material outside the franchise's main narrative in its original medium that is carefully planned, codeveloped, and vetted for consistency with to exist as part of the official setting on pseudo-canon or canon status and may be made more or less canonical as new official works come out. The narrowest definition is, of course, works outside the main narrative in its original medium that are declared full canon only.

Things like series art books are not typically considered Expanded Universe material for the same reason liner notes aren't... they're reference works for an existing series. When it comes to anime, the most common form of material that fleshes out the setting and mechanics of the story universe are non-narrative material like liner notes, commentary in art books, series "fact books" (viewer guides that read like FAQs), and the coverage that a series gets in the hobby press (magazines, mooks, websites, etc. promoting the series/OVA/ONA/movie).

Retellings of the same story in alternative media formats has been a thing for nearly as long as anime itself has been a thing, but having new works made to expand upon an existing work with an original story of their own is more recent I think. Audio dramas, which sometimes went beyond stories from the manga titles they were based on, go back to the 1920s and 1930s. For "expanded universe" works based on anime, the oldest example I know of is a one-shot manga side story for the original Space Battleship Yamato called Eternal Jura that was printed in August 1976. The first franchise which IMO truly embraced the idea was Macross. Studio Nue had several short stories done specifically to expand upon the story of 1982's Super Dimension Fortress Macross TV series that were published in 1983 and 1984:
  • The Lost Two Years: an article/short narrative that explains in some detail what many of the characters did during the timeskip separating episodes 27 and 28.
  • The UN Wars: the Plundering Fleet: a short story that explains a Noodle Incident mentioned by General Global in the anime's 15th episode, where forces under Misa's father Takashi Hayase (incl. Global himself) raided their own side's base to steal supplies after their request for resupply was denied.
  • My Fair Minmay: a short story about Minmay's rise to fame and what Skull platoon were doing around the time of Minmay's debut around episodes 8-12.
  • Misa Hayase: White Reminiscences: a novella about Misa Hayase's youth and her romance with the doomed Riber Fruhling (the man she'd hoped to meet on Mars, and the reason she goes a bit nuts in episode 7.
  • White Christmas: a short story set between episodes 20 and 21, about what the crew of the Macross did around Christmas 2009 after being ordered to leave Earth by the UN Forces.
It seems like the idea of a mixed-media franchise where the works in different mediums coexist in the same overarching narrative instead of being separate alternative versions or non-canonical "for fun" extras based on that narrative wasn't fully realized until the 90's or the 2000's.

The first franchise that I can think of that truly embraced the mixed-media format and really ran with it was Tenchi Muyo! circa 2003. After the third of the main-series Ryo-Ohki OVAs and the accompaniyng TV anime spinoff Tenchi Muyo! GXP, they decided to continue the story the anime had started through light novels under the title True Tenchi Muyo!. Those novels are in the same continuity as the Ryo-Ohki OVAs (and the GXP spinoff) but pick up and continue the story past the end of GXP's anime, greatly expanding on the setting through continued adventures by the GXP cast, retroactively incorporated previously unrelated Kajishima Masaki works Photon and Dual! into the setting, merging back into the animation for OVAs 4 and 5, and setting up two further spinoffs: Saint Knight's Tale in an Alternate World (AKA Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar, the light novel series Paradise War, and the recent OVA Tenchi Muyo! GXP Paradise Starting. It's interwoven enough that OVAs 5 in particular is borderline incomprehensible if you haven't read the light novels that connect it to GXP since at least half a dozen different characters (and one giant robot) are introduced only in True Tenchi Muyo!.


Mafty wrote: Sun Dec 31, 2023 11:57 am Gundam had the early 80's MSV series, but as has been discussed elsewhere on the forum it seems like a lot of early 80s series didn't have a lot of side material (Though Votoms did have an independent side story in Mellowlink).
It does, but Sunrise's official position until 2018 and the announcement of the UC NeXT 100 project was that any works outside of the animation are strictly non-canonical... so it would be difficult to argue that the body of work produced prior to that point was an Expanded Universe.

Back in the 70's and 80's, the norm for licensed material seemed to be adaptations. You might end up with a radio play adaptations suitable for various ages, multiple manga versions, a novelization or two, etc. but the most difference you might get is an alternate take on the story or some of the characters rather than an expansion of the setting and existing narrative. Those short stories made for Macross are the oldest case that I personally know of where the creators of an anime went back and did a short story or manga or something specifically to expand upon the story already told instead of retelling it in a different way. Audio dramas often had different takes on characters and stories, but those were typically not applicable to the anime/manga they were based on until the 90's or 2000's when they started to become more like promotional materials for their respective anime or manga to drum up enthusiasm for a new release. Nowadays it seems that alternate versions are still more commonplace but when a series really takes off there's usually room for a gaiden manga that expains someone's backstory or an audio drama that provides insight into characters beyond what's in the series. (My favorite example being an Overlord audio drama where Ains tries to convince the Floor Guardians to stop seeing humans as vermin by having them play as humans in a TTRPG with their skewed perspectives played for comedy. Macross Frontier also did an entire series of audio dramas specifically to expand on different characters perspectives as well, while also having more than a dozen short stories and a light novel prequel to do the same.)
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Re: Expanded Universe Details?

Seto Kaiba wrote: Sun Dec 31, 2023 4:43 pm
The first franchise that I can think of that truly embraced the mixed-media format and really ran with it was Tenchi Muyo! circa 2003. After the third of the main-series Ryo-Ohki OVAs and the accompaniyng TV anime spinoff Tenchi Muyo! GXP, they decided to continue the story the anime had started through light novels under the title True Tenchi Muyo!. Those novels are in the same continuity as the Ryo-Ohki OVAs (and the GXP spinoff) but pick up and continue the story past the end of GXP's anime, greatly expanding on the setting through continued adventures by the GXP cast, retroactively incorporated previously unrelated Kajishima Masaki works Photon and Dual! into the setting, merging back into the animation for OVAs 4 and 5, and setting up two further spinoffs: Saint Knight's Tale in an Alternate World (AKA Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar, the light novel series Paradise War, and the recent OVA Tenchi Muyo! GXP Paradise Starting. It's interwoven enough that OVAs 5 in particular is borderline incomprehensible if you haven't read the light novels that connect it to GXP since at least half a dozen different characters (and one giant robot) are introduced only in True Tenchi Muyo!.
Tenchi first OVA and manga both started in 1994.(funny that the manga doesn't credit the anime staff at all and the author only lists the mangaka)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.hack
The //.Hack franchise started in 2002 and is also a fully fledged multi-media franchise at the time, with anime and PS2 game planned and released at the same time.

However, Gundam seems to have also tried similar thing back in the F91(movie), F90 & Silhouette Formula(mangas), F91 0122(game), back in early 90's. And there's supposed to be a sequel to F91, but the movie didn't capture enough of an audience and what's left of the plot became the Crossbone manga.

And then Patlabor also got similar stuff going on in the 90's.(OVA, TV, Movies, which are not entirely adaptation of the manga)
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Re: Expanded Universe Details?

I didn't realize there was actually supposed to be a sequel to F91, though that makes sense honestly. Really it's a shame the issues the movie faced given all the work and side materials put in to the pre production, plus the story itself is also fairly interesting if a bit underdeveloped.

Back to Armored Trooper VOTOMS which seemed to have some kind of expanded universe in itself (As Chris said in a review, a centuries long galaxy spanning war filled with numerous mech variations even in its main series provides a lot of material for side stories), in its Heyday in the 80's VOTOMS of had the previously mentioned Mellowlink OVA plus the Armored Trooper VOTOMS: Blue Knight Berserga Story novel, as well as the Equal Genesis (or something like that) 100 years later sequel story of which little is known.
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Seto Kaiba
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Re: Expanded Universe Details?

MythSearcher wrote: Fri Jan 19, 2024 4:43 am Tenchi first OVA and manga both started in 1994.(funny that the manga doesn't credit the anime staff at all and the author only lists the mangaka)
That's not an example of an Expanded Universe work, though... the 1994 manga is an adaptation of the OVA not an original work, and Shin Tenchi Muyo! has its own timeline separate from any of the animated works.

MythSearcher wrote: Fri Jan 19, 2024 4:43 am https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.hack
The //.Hack franchise started in 2002 and is also a fully fledged multi-media franchise at the time, with anime and PS2 game planned and released at the same time.
This, however, IS a perfect example... I had completely forgotten about .hack//, which mixes video games, light novels, manga, and TV anime in one single continuity with them all referencing each other.

MythSearcher wrote: Fri Jan 19, 2024 4:43 am However, Gundam seems to have also tried similar thing back in the F91(movie), F90 & Silhouette Formula(mangas), F91 0122(game), back in early 90's. And there's supposed to be a sequel to F91, but the movie didn't capture enough of an audience and what's left of the plot became the Crossbone manga.
I'm gonna say "kind of"... mainly because, while the manga and games absolutely do spin off of F91, the franchise's official policy on continuity was that only animated works are canon prior to the introduction of the UC NeXT 100 plan some years ago. Those manga and game titles are non-canonical. In the loosest possible sense, it might count.

MythSearcher wrote: Fri Jan 19, 2024 4:43 am And then Patlabor also got similar stuff going on in the 90's.(OVA, TV, Movies, which are not entirely adaptation of the manga)
This is another one that's not really an example of Expanded Universe works because the material in question belongs to separate, self-contained timelines like in Tenchi. Patlabor's not quite as bad as Tenchi in terms of total number of parallel world timelines, but it's close.

Patlabor's creators did provide an official series continuity chart to show how their works are joined up, but it definitely DOES NOT mix media. The manga, the light novel, the MiniPato series, and Patlabor REBOOT are all shown as stand-alone titles that are not in continuity with any other works. The remaining animated features are grouped into two parallel timelines...

The Patlabor OVA timeline has the 1988 OVA, movie 1, movie 2, and the Next Generation TV series.

The Patlabor: On Television timeline has the On Television series, the 1990 OVA, and the forthcoming Patlabor EZY.

WXIII gets an official Shrug of God as to where it fits on the chart, with lines tentatively linking it to both timelines but not officially to either.
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Re: Expanded Universe Details?

Seto Kaiba wrote: Fri Jan 19, 2024 11:38 am
That's not an example of an Expanded Universe work, though... the 1994 manga is an adaptation of the OVA not an original work, and Shin Tenchi Muyo! has its own timeline separate from any of the animated works.
It is not just an adaptation, it got its own original stories.
They have overlapping parts, but you also get more than the OVA.
It is a limited example of an expanded universe, not a full fledged one.
Though I guess you can view filler episodes of adaptation anime a similar concept so it is kinda murky.


I did find of another example, Slayers.
There was a little known manga that was not an adaptation of the light novel nor anime, that ran in 1995 on Comic Dragon that are basically side stories of the light novel/anime adaptation.(little things that happened during their travels) It only republished once in 2001, so...
The magazine then switched to the adaptation of the light novel with an added header from the anime.
There's also a 2008 manga which happens in part 2 of the story.

The universe didn't split until the later anime original 3rd part(TRY) which is also parallel to the novel.
The 1994 SFC game also was expanded upon the then novel serialisation and contains things that was not in the novel yet at the time(which was later introduced in the novel) and is also considered a parallel 3rd part.
Then there's the manga only 3rd part in 2008.
Not to mention the completely in-universe parallel world manga in 2009.(the main characters are ported to a parallel world themselves)
So there are 4 parallel part 3s and a basically unrelated short side story with the characters being isekaied.



There is also Sakura Wars(1996), I can't believe we are forgetting one of the biggest mix media franchise in the 90's~00's.
The 1st OVA(1997) is not an adapation of the game, but more like a prequel to the middle of the first installment of the game.
The 2nd OVA(1999) and the anime movie(2001) are side stories of the characters from the 1st 2 installments of the game that was absent in the 3rd game and what they did during the 3rd game.
The 3rd OVA(2002) is definitely original. 4th OVA(2004) are side stories that are not in the game and 5th OVA(2007) is after the ending of the 5th installment of the game.
The latest New Sakura Wars anime is also expanding the New Sakura Wars game, but oh well, that's relatively new.
You also get a bunch of drama CDs, prequel and side story novels, a shojo manga that goes the completely opposite direction and having a female main character surrounded by all males forming another team.
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Re: Expanded Universe Details?

MythSearcher wrote: Sun Jan 21, 2024 5:39 am It is not just an adaptation, it got its own original stories.
They have overlapping parts, but you also get more than the OVA.
It is a limited example of an expanded universe, not a full fledged one.
It's not in continuity with the animated material, though... so it's not really an expanded universe work.

It's an alternate version of the story. Arguably another alternate timeline/universe in the Tenchi franchise... one among many.


MythSearcher wrote: Sun Jan 21, 2024 5:39 am I did find of another example, Slayers.
There was a little known manga that was not an adaptation of the light novel nor anime, that ran in 1995 on Comic Dragon that are basically side stories of the light novel/anime adaptation.(little things that happened during their travels) It only republished once in 2001, so...
The magazine then switched to the adaptation of the light novel with an added header from the anime.
There's also a 2008 manga which happens in part 2 of the story.
Now, I'm not as familiar with Slayers as I am with other properties... but I do know that the Slayers franchise treated the different versions of the story in different media formats as essentially separate, self-contained takes on the story. I'm not able to find anything on a quick survey of what sources are available to me that says whether that one-shot comic is in continuity with any other source.

All in all, probably not an example of Expanded Universe material as the different media formats are considered separate narratives by the creators.


MythSearcher wrote: Sun Jan 21, 2024 5:39 am There is also Sakura Wars(1996), I can't believe we are forgetting one of the biggest mix media franchise in the 90's~00's.
The 1st OVA(1997) is not an adapation of the game, but more like a prequel to the middle of the first installment of the game.
The 2nd OVA(1999) and the anime movie(2001) are side stories of the characters from the 1st 2 installments of the game that was absent in the 3rd game and what they did during the 3rd game.
The 3rd OVA(2002) is definitely original. 4th OVA(2004) are side stories that are not in the game and 5th OVA(2007) is after the ending of the 5th installment of the game.
The latest New Sakura Wars anime is also expanding the New Sakura Wars game, but oh well, that's relatively new.
You also get a bunch of drama CDs, prequel and side story novels, a shojo manga that goes the completely opposite direction and having a female main character surrounded by all males forming another team.
This one, I know basically nothing about... my only experience with it having been seeing trailers for an anime in the early 2000s back when on-disc trailers were a thing.

The writeup in the Japanese Wiki suggests the game series, anime, light novel series, and manga are essentially separate series of works with much of it being adaptations or expanded adaptations of the game story.


TBH, I'm not sure we're gonna find another example anywhere near as good as the one you came up with in .hack//. It's surprisingly rare for a franchise to have stories in multiple media formats in continuity with each other prior to the 2010s or so. Usually the attitude is that the original work is its own thing, and any adaptation to a new medium is typically treated as its own thing or a non-canonical "for fun" exercise. I'd assume it's likely because audiences risk being locked out of the loop if they haven't read/seen/played the material in that other medium and won't know what's going on... esp. if the story can't be arsed to do an "As you know".
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Re: Expanded Universe Details?

Never mind.
My girlfriend was a loli.
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Re: Expanded Universe Details?

Seto Kaiba wrote: Sun Jan 21, 2024 4:06 pm
Now, I'm not as familiar with Slayers as I am with other properties... but I do know that the Slayers franchise treated the different versions of the story in different media formats as essentially separate, self-contained takes on the story. I'm not able to find anything on a quick survey of what sources are available to me that says whether that one-shot comic is in continuity with any other source.

All in all, probably not an example of Expanded Universe material as the different media formats are considered separate narratives by the creators.
The split didn't happen until part 3 of the story(or, mainly due to the slight change at the end of part 2 anime), the manga is not a one shot but a full volume and the story was still in part 1.
The author didn't claim the different media formats as separate until part 3. At the point of publication, the manga is treated as an expansion of the main story.
This one, I know basically nothing about... my only experience with it having been seeing trailers for an anime in the early 2000s back when on-disc trailers were a thing.

The writeup in the Japanese Wiki suggests the game series, anime, light novel series, and manga are essentially separate series of works with much of it being adaptations or expanded adaptations of the game story.
The adaptation anime is the TV, not the OVAs.
The OVAs mostly expanded upon the game stories.
Though tbf, since the games, at least the old ones(excluding the newest entry), have their dating sim portions balanced out and there's no official ending unlike many other dating sims(While Sakura is often depicted as the main female protagonist, all of the endings can basically co-exist (as their own parallel universe but actually they don't contradict each other). The newest instalment triggered a lot of old fans because the game is heavily leaning on a single female character as the main and her presence is overwhelming even in other character routes.)
TBH, I'm not sure we're gonna find another example anywhere near as good as the one you came up with in .hack//. It's surprisingly rare for a franchise to have stories in multiple media formats in continuity with each other prior to the 2010s or so. Usually the attitude is that the original work is its own thing, and any adaptation to a new medium is typically treated as its own thing or a non-canonical "for fun" exercise. I'd assume it's likely because audiences risk being locked out of the loop if they haven't read/seen/played the material in that other medium and won't know what's going on... esp. if the story can't be arsed to do an "As you know".
I think the concept is that .hack was planned to be a multi-media franchise from the very beginning, unlike other older shows where they only do other media either after the show became popular, or only started both manga and anime at the same time to garner more viewers.
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