9 Things Netflix’s Spriggan Did Better Than The ’90s Adaptation

Some pivotal projects have come along and received multiple anime adaptations because they’re focused on such evergreen subjects. Spriggan started as a popular shonen manga from the 1980s and ‘90s that eventually received an anime feature film in 1998. The 1998 film is still held in high regard, but the recent Netflix ONA adaptation reboots the franchise for a new audience.

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Both of these Spriggan adaptations have their strengths and weaknesses, but the newest effort has surpassed many people’s expectations and reignited interest in the series. This is likely due to the fact that Netflix’s Spriggan does a few things better than the ’90s adaptation.

9 It Covers More Of The Manga’s Story

A fundamental difference between the feature film version of Spriggan and the modern six-episode ONA series is that the latter covers significantly more ground. The Spriggan manga covers 11 volumes and the 1998 film is limited to covering the Noah’s Ark storyline, which kicks off the series. This is arguably Spriggan’s strongest material, but it only makes up the first two episodes of the Netflix series.

The following episodes do a better job at showcasing the full scope of this series as other revelatory relics are pursued by ARCAM. There’s a much bigger world on display in the Netflix series and the Noah’s Ark epiphany is just the tip of the iceberg.

8 David Production’s Impeccable Animation

There’s an increased savviness from anime audiences over which studios are working on which projects and how important it is for there to be a good fit between studio and series. 1998’s Spriggan is such a visual marvel because of the meticulous work done by Studio 4°C, who are still major players in the anime industry.

Netflix’s Spriggan has David Production as its animation studio, who have been involved with aesthetically impressive anime like JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Fire Force, and Cells at Work!. David Production has a very different aesthetic than Studio 4°C, but it’s the right fit to bring the unpredictable world of Spriggan to life.

7 There Are Bigger And Bolder Action Sequences

1998’s Spriggan benefits from a feature film budget, which allows the movie to create some beautiful and suspenseful action sequences. Every battle that Yu engages in feels appropriately powerful, but the movie suffers from its limited focus.

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Netflix’s six-episode Spriggan delivers multiple action setpieces in each of its installments, all of which gravitate around unique supernatural dangers. The action from the anime movie is absolutely impressive for the 1990s, but the Netflix Spriggan verges into haunted forests, lost kingdoms, and prolonged battles against berserkers where every punch is felt.

6 There’s A Superior Dub

One of the biggest differences among anime from the 1990s and modern series is the amount of time and resources that can go into the English dubs. 1998’s Spriggan has a commendable dub that came from Industrial Smoke & Mirrors through ADV Films. There are some egregious English dubs from the 1980s and ‘90s that became popular simply because of their awkward productions.

1998’s Spriggan isn’t subjected to these same issues, but it’s still held back by the limitations of the decade. Alternatively, Netflix’s Spriggan has an English dub from VSI Los Angeles that’s made up of performers who have decades of experience in the industry.

5 Yu Ominae Has A Supporting Cast To Help Him

There’s a certain power in the 1998 Spriggan that comes from how Yu Ominae is turned into a one-man army who can use Spriggan power to seemingly do anything. Yu is largely a lone wolf in this take on the story. Netflix’s Spriggan, on the other hand, benefits from the ARCAM staff and supporting characters who accompany Yu on missions, both to his excitement and his chagrin.

Yoshino Somei, a plucky female ruin raider, is a standout addition who carries a contrasting energy to Yu. Some of the most entertaining moments in Spriggan come from the awkward tag-team efforts that Yu and Yoshino experience.

4 Its Open Ending And The Possiblity Of More Adventures

Modern storytelling has encouraged audiences to expect an extra shred of story during the end credits. A post-credits tag is practically mandatory for any established property and it helps keep anticipation alive until the next effort. Spriggan tells a complete story across its six episodes, but the final installment offers a hint of what’s next for Yu.

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More episodes of Spriggan may not happen, but it’s a smart idea to advertise the expansion of this rich world. The Spriggan movie doesn’t cover nearly as much of the original manga, but also doesn’t set up Yu’s future adventures.

3 The Slice Of Life Angle With Yu Is Handled Better

Both versions of Spriggan establish Yu Ominae to be an incredibly powerful and committed soldier for ARCAM, but there’s a much rounder presentation of the character in the Netflix ONA series. Yu is only a teenager and the six-episode series gets a lot of mileage out of how Yu’s days are spent at a mundane high school until he gets called into international action.

There’s less time to explore this compelling dichotomy in the Spriggan movie, but it becomes a consistent source of joy in the Netflix series. It’s easier to understand and root for Yu when he can be viewed as a person, not just a weapon.

2 It Has More Space To Breathe From Akira

Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira remains one of the biggest cinematic animated masterpieces, anime or otherwise. The cyberpunk story sets an impossibly high standard that’s still difficult for modern stories to surpass. There was a difference of a decade between 1978’s Akira and 1998’s Spriggan, but it’s still hard to not draw comparisons between the two.

Otomo doesn’t direct Spriggan, but he remains deeply involved and there’s a lot of crossover between Spriggan’sLittle Boy and the mutated children of Akira. Netflix’s Spriggan has the luxury of coming out nearly 50 years after Akira and it’s less likely to be held up to the totemic classic.

1 The Music Is An Improvement

There are so many factors that contribute to an anime’s success and an atmospheric property like Spriggan can live or die based off of its musical score. 1998’s Spriggan has an effective score by Kuniaki Haishima, but it’s ultimately one of the more forgettable aspects of the anime after the fact.

Netflix’s Spriggan recruits Taisei Iwasaki for its musical duties, including its catchy opening and closing themes, “Seeking the Truth” and “Ancient Creations.” Iwasaki has a distinct and fantastic sound that he’s established through his work on Blood Blockade Battlefront and Mamoru Hosoda’s most recent cinematic masterpiece, Belle.

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