10 long-running anime franchises that keep releasing new content

Several franchises seem to release something new every ten seconds. Some have been stable for years and others have recently been rebooted. It can be hard to tell if the new content is worthy or if these franchises are fan-trading for as long as possible.

With the next releases of Light year and Minions: The Rise of Gru, fans remember these long-running franchises and their impact on the entertainment industry. While some probably should have given up when they were ahead, others continue to deliver content worth watching for fans of the property.

Despicable Me/Minions

Since 2010


Minions in Minions The Rise of Gru

The first film in this franchise follows Gru, a despicable criminal who adopts three girls as part of an evil plan. He learns to love children and realizes he’s not so despicable after all.


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Despicable Me was well received and the franchise continued with Despicable Me 2, Minions, and more. The franchise branched out into different focused plot threads. The kids reacted well to the first movie’s minions, so Dreamworks capitalized on the silly characters and released several shorts as well as an origin feature about them. The next film set to be released is Minions: The Rise of Gru, released July 1. A fourth Despicable Me is also in the works and is expected in June 2024.

kung fu panda

Since 2008


Kung Fu Panda Movies

kung fu panda is about a panda who, against all odds, is chosen to be the dragon warrior. Despite the doubts of everyone around him, Po trains to be the best warrior he can be. It’s a story that promotes self-acceptance, perseverance and loyalty to oneself.


This franchise is loved by families around the world. Most kids fell in love with the fighting style and fun characters. Others have found entertainment in the lore of the story. All of the vocal performances are phenomenal, and thanks in large part to this series, the voices of Jack Black, Seth Rogan, David Cross and others have become recognizable in their other projects. Season 2 of Kung Fu Panda: Legs of Destiny created on July 1 and Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight is one of the highly anticipated films from Dreakworks set to release later this year.

Ice Age

Since 2002


Ice Age Movie Cast

The first one Ice Age follows a group of quirky animal characters as they migrate south before the next Ice Age, but are ostracized when they find a lost human baby and reluctantly decide to return it to its family.


The franchise follows these characters through several historical geological shifts, and they encounter a plethora of other characters along the way. Ice Age was made by Blue Sky Productions, which was acquired by Disney in 2019. Disney announced last year that Blue Sky would shut down permanently. Despite this announcement, Buck Wild’s Ice Age Adventures and a mini-series titled Tales of Scrat came out this year. Fans hope this isn’t the last time they see these iconic characters.

Shrek

Since 2001


Shrek and Donkey meet Puss for the first time in Shrek 2

Shrek follows an ogre and his impatient donkey companion on a quest to rescue a princess and reclaim her swamp after magical fairy tale characters are banished there. Upcoming films expand on the franchise’s lore and introduce fun new characters.


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Somehow, Shrek always comes out with new content. Millennials and older Gen Z grew up on this franchise and turned many aspects of it into memes, but popularity is popularity. Which makes Shrek so interesting is the twisted take on fairy tales and classic characters. Mike Myers is brilliant as the titular character and Eddie Murphy is iconic as the donkey. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish will be released in December and the next Shrek The film is expected in May 2023.

Sponge Bob SquarePants

Since 1999


SpongeBob, Patrick, Squidward and Mr. Krabs in SpongeBob SquarePants

Sponge Bob SquarePants talks about the titular sponge and his life in Bikini Bottom. SpongeBob is hanging out with his co-workers and his best friend, Patrick. They often face conflicts with Plankton who is looking for Krabby Patty’s secret recipe.


This long-running Nickelodeon franchise has been adapted into several films, with the 2004 film being considered one of the best films based on animated shows. The characters in Sponge Bob SquarePants started out as characters in a comic book designed to help students learn about marine life. Both kids and adults loved the show and it became a meme with specific elements of the show that got a lot of attention. For example, the song Campfire was all everyone was singing when it came out and fans often ask if mayonnaise is an instrument. Season 2 of a spin-off children’s show, Kamp Koral, has been confirmed.

toy story

Since 1995


Lightyear Buzz Woody Toy Story

toy story introduces viewers to a world in which toys are alive and find purpose in being there for their children. The franchise follows Woody, Buzz, and several other toys as they embark on often unintentional adventures.

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toy story was the first feature film made entirely in computer animation. The film was also Pixar‘s first film, and because it did so well, the company went on to create several more award-winning films and shorts in the franchise. Light year is the following toy story movie to be released and it tells the origin story of the astronaut who influenced the Buzz Lightyear toy. Fans have loved previous franchise films for their ability to merge comedy, fantasy, and drama into these heartwarming family films.


Tic and Tac

Since 1988


Chip ‘N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers centers on two chipmunks and their crime-fighting adventures. Although this solo franchise is small compared to some other animated properties, the characters have been around for a long time and have made appearances in several Disney shorts.

This franchise was recently rebooted, likely due to the era of nostalgia present in Hollywood today. Their 1988 show was adored by many, and the silly chipmunks won hearts nationwide. Disney+ features chipmunks in the show, Chip ‘N’ Dale: Park Life, and the most recent Chip ‘N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers features several Disney Easter Eggs and sees Andy Samberg and John Mulaney voice the iconic duo.

The simpsons

Since 1987


A scene from the movie The Simpsons

The Simpsons: Tracy Ullman Shorts was the first show to feature the family of five. The series is made up of 48 shorts revolving around the Simpsons family. The voice actors returned for the 1989 series, and most stuck with the show after all these years.

The simpsons is one of the longest running animated series on television. Episodes are still ongoing and the series is expected to continue production until at least 2023. Fans have loved the series since its inception, with the character catchphrases, specials, and seemingly psychic storytelling, which in itself has become a huge meme. The Halloween episodes are also always a huge hit. Disney acquired The simpsons as part of their FOX purchase and fans are hoping the media giant will see the show for what it’s worth and keep it going beyond 2023.


My little Pony

Since 1984


My Little Pony: A New Generation - cast

The My little Pony The franchise is based on Hasbro toys introduced in the early 1980s. One of the first films follows a group of ponies as they struggle to defeat an evil witch who has destroyed their land. The film features voice work from Danny DeVito, Madeline Khan and Rhea Perlman.

My little Pony is a great franchise for kids because it teaches the importance of friendship, courage, and self-expression. Each pony has a unique personality or passion. There are a few reasons My little Pony is still present in pop culture. Besides loyal young fans and families, a community called the Bronies is obsessed with the franchise and keeps it going with their cosplay, role-playing, and binge-watching.

scooby-doo

Since 1969


scooby-doo follows Fred, Daphne, Velma and Shaggy – otherwise known as the Mystery Gang – as they and their dog work together to solve mysteries and bring the bad guys to justice.

The scooby-doo The franchise is interesting because the last three generations have all grown up with the series. The release of zombie island, was the start of many of Scooby’s feature films. Fans love the cowardly dog ​​and the stupid situations he finds himself in. The mystery aspect of the show is also fun for families to try to solve on their own. Future releases include Velmaan HBO show for mature audiences, and Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Pups, a show for preschoolers.


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Ana de Armas is Marilyn Monroe in the trailer for the Netflix movie NC-17


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