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Gaiden (外伝, pronounced [ɡaideɴ])[1] is a Japanese-language word meaning "side story" or "tale", used to refer to an anecdote or supplementary biography of a person. The use of gaiden is commonly used in popular Japanese fiction to refer to a spin-off of a previously published work that is neither officially considered a sequel nor a prequel. However, some gaiden are retold stories in the perspective of a different character, similar to that of a flashback.

Works whose titles contain the word gaiden include Saiyuki Gaiden (prequel to Son Goku's past), Fire Emblem Gaiden, Ten no Haō Hokuto no Ken Raō Gaiden (spin-off of Fist of the North Star, which is told through the eyes of Kenshiro's brother, Raoh) or Albert Odyssey Gaiden (released in English as Albert Odyssey: Legend of Eldean). The word gaiden has been used in English titles as well, such as Ninja Gaiden (literally "Ninja's Tale", the American title for the Japanese series Ninja Ryūkenden) and Resident Evil Gaiden (a European-developed spin-off of the Japanese Resident Evil franchise), Super Robot Taisen Alpha Gaiden, and Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden. The Nintendo 64 game The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask was called Zelda Gaiden or Zeruda no Densetsu: Gaiden (Kashō) (ゼルダの伝説 外伝 (仮称)) during its initial development.[2][3]

Films such as Battle Royale use the term "gaiden" to refer to supplementary or additional works.[4]

In anime, examples include Darker Than Black: Gaiden, an OVA released as a prequel to the events of the second season of the show.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Japanese Translation site provided by the Monash University Archived January 3, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "First Zelda Gaiden Details Exposed". IGN. 1999-08-19. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
  3. ^ „ゼルダの伝説 外伝 (仮称)“ (Zeruda/Zelda no Densetsu: Gaiden (Kashô))
  4. ^ "". 2008-12-02. Retrieved 2008-12-02.