Otaku USA Magazine
Move Over, Loki — Even the TVA Can’t Prune These Multiverse Anime

Loki clearly has the most multiverse credibility, but there's a beautifully diverse array of alternate timelines all over anime!

When Loki got his own series on Disney+, he was at the mercy of the Time Variance Authority. Pruning anything that strayed from the Sacred Timeline, the TVA worked to keep the MCU marching along down one set path. if you’ve seen the series, you know how that turns out.

But for all its technology and time travel and training, there are some timelines even the TVA couldn’t keep in check. These anime series run in all directions — on purpose — and would make pruning an absolute nightmare. When They Cry, for example, would take an article of its own (and involve heavy spoilers). ’til then, here are some other anime multiverses running rampant.


The Fate-verse

Fate/Grand Carnival, just one part of the ever-growing Nasuverse

There’s no stopping the Grail Wars — every time you think you’ve got a handle on them, a new timeline branches off. Usually with three new Sabers.

Starting as the multi-route Fate/stay nightthe world of Heroic Spirits always had multiple potential outcomes. As the media expanded, there were more and more takes on the battle for the Holy Grail. Even within the same timeline, you’ll see multiple variants of one Servant, much as we did with Loki. (He himself isn’t in there, though. But we’re sure it’s only a matter of time.)


Super Robot Wars

Cowboy Bebop

This is a complicated one. While Loki talked largely about divergent timelines, the Super Robot Wars universe simultaneously diverges and converges. The games bring together anime series from across the decades, teaming our heroes up with new characters to fight their great battles.

Thanks to Super Robot Wars, there’s a timeline where the retuning of RahXephon happened during Evangelion‘s Third Impact. And another where Captain Harlock and Spike Spiegel fought as allies. And soon, there will be one where Lelouch and C.C.’s unfinished mecha from Code Geass: Lelouch of the Re;surrection gets legs!


Tenchi Universe

Tenchi Universe

For all the multiverse anime out there, none is quite so committed to the theme as Tenchi Universe. If you thought Loki had weird variants, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. The sheer number of remakes, reboots, and sequels — along with attempts to link them — makes this one especially spider webby.

The basics are pretty much the same regardless. Tenchi Masaki is a normal guy (except he’s not), and tons of alien girls are in love with him. But then there’s the magical girl universe. And the one where Tenchi goes to a girls’-only school because he has to. And the one where Ryo-ohki got pregnant… Yep.

But what about the anime with timelines that did get pruned? We may have to address those someday…

Kara Dennison

Kara Dennison is a writer, editor, and presenter with bylines at Crunchyroll, Sci-Fi Magazine, Sartorial Geek, and many others. She is a contributor to the celebrated Black Archive line, with many other books, short stories, and critical works to her name.