Anime is a versatile entertainment medium that is usually able to cater to all audiences, no matter how niche their interests may be. However, not all anime are success stories, and it’s disappointing when an ambitious series misses the mark and turns into an embarrassment.
Anime is a medium prone to taking risks, which means there’s even more room for error when a particular series doesn’t connect with its audience. It’s frustrating when a promising anime turns into a dud, but some anime series are so bottomless that they completely turn audiences away from the art form.
10/10 Dragon Ball GT is a sloppy sequel that lacks original vision
Akira Toriyama’s signature Dragon Ball the series continues to draw in new fans throughout Dragon Ball Superbut the 1990s marked the release of a controversial sequel series that has been largely removed from the series’ canon. Dragon Ball GT is an anime-only follow-up Dragon Ball Z which has minimal involvement from Toriyama and takes a little too long to find its footing.
Dragon Ball GT rather shamelessly attempts to conjure up the magic of the original series with Goku’s clumsy transformation into a child. These attempts at drama feel forced or repetitive, and it soured people on the show for a long time.
9/10 The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya burns out audiences with its stylistic experimentation
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is a school drama with supernatural implications that revolves around the titular Haruhi, a girl who has universe-changing powers. The anime’s first season punches above its weight and creatively explores non-linear storytelling. Season 2, however, engages in a highly polarizing experiment that enraged fans.
Season 2’s “Endless Eight” debacle is a series of eight essentially identical episodes, with superficial differences in animation meant to emphasize the endless time loops these characters are stuck in. Many consider this a waste of time and left. audiences reluctant to trust the anime because of this stunt.
8/10 Violence Jack’s exaggerated action and violence play as parody
Go Nagai is one of the most prolific names in manga and anime responsible for key titles such as Devil man, Mazinger Zand Sweet honey. Violence Jack is cited as one of the first post-apocalyptic manga and anime stories, but this augmented story is like what the uninformed think anime looks like.
Violence Jack is divided into a trilogy of OVA installments, Harlem bomber, Wicked cityand The wind of hellwhich was designed to break barriers in terms of violence and action. Violence Jack goes too far and it’s hard to take anything in it seriously, even though it’s not a comedy.
One obstacle that holds audiences back from checking out some of anime’s biggest series is when there are hundreds or even thousands of episodes to get through. Bleach has more than 365 episodes, which pales in comparison to something like that One Piece.
However, it’s also one of the most egregious examples of how an anime adaptation can get lost in superfluous fluff or stray so far from the manga’s narrative that it’s hard to recover. Bleach ends without a resolution to the story, and it’s a reminder that viewers can commit to hundreds of episodes and still not get an ending.
6/10 Happy Sugar Life’s manipulative teenage murderous obsession is an exercise in delusion
There are many assumptions about anime that have prevented some from checking out the medium in the first place. Good sugar life is a deep, dark psychological thriller, but it immerses the audience in such uncomfortable territory that it almost confirms the stereotypical complaints leveled at anime.
Good sugar life follows Satou, a high school student who goes above and beyond to protect an innocent young girl named Shio, including murdering the people in her life. Satou’s obsession with Shio only grows more disturbing over the course of the anime’s 12 episodes, and it’s debatable whether this strange journey is worth the effort.
5/10 Darling In The FranXX’s clunky character dynamics and short conclusion are hard to miss
The mecha genre is one of anime’s most abundant storytelling, and it’s always appreciated when a series comes along and does something genuinely new. Darling in the FranXX begins with such a promise, which unfortunately only makes its fall from grace more difficult to accept.
FranXX is set in a nihilistic world where children resemble cannon fodder, but there is still a glimmer of hope for these cracked mecha pilots. Darling in the FranXX has such a cynical finish that forces the viewer to wonder what the point of all this was. It’s bleak finales like this one that can wear the audience down forever.
4/10 Ex-arm fails to bring anything new to the Sci-Fi Power Fantasy table
Ex arm draws from many familiar science fiction dystopia tropes as Akira Natsume wakes up from 16 years in a coma to find himself with mechanically enhanced abilities but strangely detached from his brain. Ex arm isn’t entirely devoid of compelling sci-fi ideas, but the anime’s clumsy writing and animation style is enough to overcome any rewarding qualities.
So many anime are visual marvels that break new ground with their ideas. But, Ex arm reinforces that there is plenty of secondary content that thrives on a usable story and visuals.
3/10 Sword Art Online’s gratuitous violence is becoming problematic
Sword art online is one of the more popular isekai series of the past few decades, especially when it comes to properties set in sprawling virtual MMORPG worlds rather than fantasy realms. Sword art online starts off in a decent place, but it slowly gets worse with its storytelling and portrayal of the main character, Kirito.
Sword art online also contains some unexpected and triggering attack scenes that feel out of place in this story. Audiences shouldn’t have to worry about questionable and problematic scenes disrupting their fantasy adventure, but that’s what it’s like to watch Sword art online.
2/10 Highschool Of The Dead’s Humble High School Students battle an undead Apocalypse
The 2000s have been extremely generous to zombie stories, and these undead menaces have invaded many anime series. Highschool of the Dead is a 13-episode series that pits a group of ordinary high school students against flesh-eating zombies in an increasingly serious scenario.
Highschool of the Dead might entertain some if it’s their first zombie story ever, but otherwise it’s extremely gratuitous and coasts on empty violence that quickly loses its impact. Highschool of the Dead is more of a channel to showcase female characters than create groundbreaking horror.
1/10 Boruto’s next-gen heroes turn out to be disappointing and derivative
It has become a popular approach in many forms of media, not just anime, to create a sequel series that focuses on the characters’ children as they are tested in the same way as their parents. This approach can produce good results, and even Dragon Ball Z turns to it.
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is an embarrassing follow-up to Naruto Shippuden and a weak starting point for new fans. Boruto is too lost in the past, and the sequel series that runs through its predecessor’s greatest hits feels increasingly lazy. It’s the worst version of what a sequel series of this nature could be.
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