In a nutshell, a spin-off is a story that explores something other than the main plotline. It may be an exploration of one of the supporting characters or a story about something that takes place before, after, or during the main storyline. It could also be about an alternate timeline to the main series.
In a well-crafted story, there are so many great things that deserve to be explored, and yet unfortunately, the main storyline doesn't have the time to pursue those paths. And that is what makes a good spin-off so great - it opens up the world and tells another story while still being grounded to the main plot in one way or the other.
Spin-offs are not a common thing to see in manga, but that doesn't mean there are no good ones out there. So, with that thought in mind, these are 5 spin-offs of currently popular manga.
5. Kakegurui Twin
- Mangaka: Kawamoto, Homura (Story); Saiki, Katsura (Art)
- Genres: Drama, School Life, Psychological, Shounen
- Volumes: 12+
- Published: Sep 2015 - Present
Kakegurui Twin is the story of Mary Saotome, a supporting yet quite popular character from the main Kakegurui storyline. The events of this book happen a year before the main character of Kakegurui, Yumeko Jabami, enters the Hyakkaou Private Academy.
It tells the story of how a young, bright, and promising girl who manages to get into a highly coveted private school is destroyed by gambling. And yet she managed to rise again to annihilate her opponent.
From owning her own gambling room to challenging the top of the food chain, this is the story of how a girl who came from nothing scraped her way to the summit of power.
4. Bungou Stray Dogs: Beast
- Mangaka: Asagiri, Kafka (Story); Hoshikawa, Shiwasu (Art)
- Genres: Action, Drama, Supernatural, Shounen
- Volumes: 3+
- Published: Dec 2019 - Present
What would happen if Atsushi Nakajima wasn’t a member of the Armed Detective Agency? What if the Beast Under The Moonlight was a member of the Port Mafia instead? Likewise, what if Ryuunosuke Akutagawa had been Osamu Dazai's trusted ally all along, and Rashomon was used for good?
These are the questions posed by this spin-off. This alternate reality story where the main forces of good and evil are reversed explores some of the things that would likely happen had things not turned out the way they do in the main storyline.
These two beasts still battle one another in this series, but now, they do so under a different banner and for a different reason.
3. Goblin Slayer Gaiden 2: Tsubanari no Daikatana (Goblin Slayer Side Story II: Dai Katana)
- Mangaka: Kagyuu, Kumo (Story); Aoki, Shougo (Art)
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Seinen
- Volumes: 3+
- Published: Aug 2019 - Present
In the world of Goblin Slayer, the Sword Maiden is an Archbishop whose influence is second only to the king himself. And as a former gold-ranked adventurer who defeated the demon king with her party, she is also one of the most powerful people on Earth.
Dai Katana is her story: the tale of how a young priestess met a couple of strangers and formed a party that would eventually be known as the savior of mankind. So, if you're bored with all the goblins in the main series, this spin-off will offer some refreshing adventures for you.
2. Shingeki No Kyojin: Kuinaki Sentaku (Attack On Titan: No Regrets)
- Mangaka: Sunaaku, Gan (Story); Suruga, Hikaru (Art)
- Genres: Action, Fantasy, Supernatural, Shoujo
- Volumes: 2
- Published: Nov 2013 - Jun 2014
One of the most popular and deeply admired characters in Attack on Titan is not Eren, the main character, but rather someone dubbed as humanity's strongest soldier: Levi Ackerman. Attack on Titan: No Regrets is his origin story. This is the tale of how he first meets with the Survey Corps’ charismatic commander, Erwin Smith.
The main series has already explored Levi’s past on several occasions, but if you want to know how he rises to be the unstoppable Titan killer that he is known for being in the main series, then you should read this spin-off. Besides, with only two volumes under its name, you'll breeze through these books in one sitting.
1. Vigilante: Boku no Hero Academia Illegals (My Hero Academia: Vigilantes)
- Mangaka: Furuhashi, Hideyuki (Story); Betten, Court (Art)
- Genres: Action, Comedy, Superhero, Shounen
- Volumes: 13+
- Published: Aug 2016 - Present
In a world filled with people with quirks, not everybody can be a registered Hero. So what should those who still possess a strong sense of justice do in that case? Well, they mostly become vigilantes. And that is what Koichi Haimawari does in this My Hero Academia spin-off.
From picking up garbage to helping elderly people cross the busy roads, Koichi (better known as the Crawler) does everything he can to help his community. But, of course, it won't take long until things start to escalate.
Throughout the series, Koichi faces multiple life-threatening situations, meets the top heroes that you know and love from the main series, and most importantly, he evolves. Slowly but surely, he grows from a lame copy of Spiderman into a full-fledged hero who can stand toe-to-toe with all the pros.
A spin-off is basically an exercise in exploration and possibility. What is the story behind that character, or what would they do if this happened instead of that. Those are the mindsets behind these five manga.
All of their respective main storylines are interesting and quite remarkable in their own right. So why, you might ask, should you read a story about some side characters?
Because there is more to the greater story than what the main series has to offer. And by reading these spin-offs, you'll have a much richer and nuanced insight into the manga that you've been following all this time.
So what do you think? Care to try any of these spin-offs? If so, which one would you likely pick up anytime soon? Let us know in the comment section below.