Well, click bait title aside, worst anime I’ve watched, but whatever.
I’ve done these before, but not to the detail I have here; the dreaded worst anime post, these sorts of things, if taken with a grain of salt can be fine provided that everyone’s a good sport about it. It comes down to understanding that it’s all opinion and in this particular post; just my opinions, and like anyone else’s opinions; they’re not fact. I’m not an authority on anime as far as what constitutes good and bad and I’ll never claim that I am; it’s pretty much the same approach to why I like an anime, only the opposite. Basically, it starts with a simple question; why do I feel a certain way about a particular show? These explanations here are answers to that; in this case, how these shows fail me as an audience member, or why I had a difficult time enjoying them let along trying to stay focused on them.
You see, I got into anime in my early 20’s; but I still had a mild case of “if its anime, it has to be good and I want to watch” which resulted in me buying shows because they were cheap at the time, or if they had cool art work. This didn’t last and was quickly deep sixed when I realized some of the material I had gotten sucked hard. I mean, just abhorrent, unpleasant shit that I subjected myself to; why did I do it? Because when I was a rookie to getting into anime, I had no idea how much and what actually existed; I had no clue how great or terrible some shows in the medium could get. So I do have some of these shows on DVD and even the odd Blu-ray of. Don’t get me wrong, I stumbled upon some prized gems like Perfect Blue and GunBuster; both I got a great price on too. Thankfully, however, for the most part, and as I mentioned I outgrew that aspect of my venture into anime quite fast and started looking closer into what I was picking up.
Some of these shows I do go into great detail; the others ones, since it’s been so long since I watched them I can’t remember much besides the fact that it was an unpleasant viewing experience. The catch is that I have to have watched these shows in their entirety; so shows like Cyberteam in Akihabra don’t go on here. That’s the thing; if I list dropped shows; this post will be ridiculously long, and it’s already plenty long enough.
I do want to mention that I remember Cyberteam in Akihabra being so awful that I made it only ten minutes into the first episode, the people who made it had to be on some nasty drugs, or they didn’t care, or they were drunk, or it was a combination; either way, it’s so bad I say stay away. It does bring up a quick topic for me to rant about real quickly though; its proof that there was some awful material made in the so called “good old days” of anime, which many detractors of modern anime seem to conveniently overlook. Yes; there was ungodly shit in the so called glory days; it wasn’t all Cowboy Bebop, Neon Genesis, GunBuster, Berserk or Revolutionary Girl Utena as some of these fools would like to believe.
Just remember Cyberteam in Akihabra, or Apocalypse Zero or Violence Jack the moment someone wants to say anime sucks now; bullshit, and the proof is right here. All these shows make Rosario + Vampire (not great, but not bad either) or whatever light novel adaption people are getting their junk tangled up a about look like sophisticated criterion pieces in comparison. I really hate that whole modern anime sucks now; it has no heart; too much harem and fan service; fucking light novels; blah blah blah, moo moo moo; ah get over yourselves, go have your cookies and milk.
Anyways, without delaying things further; here’s my list.
“We’re here to ruin your life.”
School Days – I’ve heard many people express their dislike for this series, yet, while I get where they’re coming from, I feel that I still haven’t seen anyone truly pinpoint the major problems with this series. People have brought up that it’s a stupid melodrama – which is true, that the characters are way to unlikable – which is also true. These are some factors that make watching School Days an exercise in withstanding tedium, but aside from poor execution, I feel they’re the result of something else rather than the primary faults that make this show unbearable.
When I viewed it, I was already having problems watching it; I really dislike the overall aesthetic of this series; it’s an ugly, ugly show. Visual perspectives are distorted, the colors have an old, dated and sour look to them, backgrounds are inconsistent ranging from passable to just plain hideous. This continues on throughout the series as well, so right away, watching this was going to a chore rather than an enjoyable pastime.
The characters for the most part are severely underwritten, only being pigeonholed to one dimensional personality types with little to no fleshing out or development. We get that the male protagonist is a douche, we get that the female characters are naïve, but the series doesn’t go to any length implicitly or directly to explain why that is.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine to have characters that have little to no backstory to add a certain level of mystique to them; Melona of Queen’s Blade for example is perfect for this; but Melona is not the main character of the show she’s in; she’s an antagonistic anti-hero. She’s a rare specimen that if she was given a backstory, it would actually trash her character. Of course, there are other characters like this throughout anime, movies and such as well.
However, with School Days, I knew and didn’t learn dick all about the protagonists; which is a narratively counterproductive move because I didn’t give a shit about any of them. The exception, however; is Katsura who does get some decent characterization. It’s illustrated that her family puts a lot of pressure on her, that she’s being bullied at school, so when she meets a guy and it boosts her status; it makes sense that she would become a possessive stalker at first watching her “thing” and then a homicidal maniac when she learns of his betrayal as well as her friend’s.
Aside from that, there’s nothing else occurring with the characters to cause me to care about or empathize with them. The lead is an asshole; it’s not outlined why, it’s almost as if the series is implying that it’s just “normal” for boys to have such an entitlement complex to betray and cheat on their partners because they’re just degenerate scumbags. Or that girls are just as bad and naïve by going along with all this expecting no consequences. So, I agree that the show’s misanthropy impedes the viewing experience.
If that’s not enough, the dialogue is some of the most meaningless, boring verbal diarrhea ever to come out of an anime. It does nothing to add dimension or depth to the characters, it has no thematic relevance; it’s just bland, directionless talking; nothing more.
In summation, I feel that the true reason School Days is a terrible series is that it’s tedious to watch; that’s it; it’s a result of all the factors I had mentioned making this series unpleasant to watch. I barely made it to the end of this series, I wanted to drop it so bad, but I continued to watch it because sometimes, in order to appreciate a good series; you have to see how low the medium can sink. This is one of the few times in recent memory I stuck it out to finish an awful series.
“How did we get stuck in this? Run for it before it’s too late! Oh, too late.”
Green Green – Here’s a series that pushes fan service in its trailers and cover art, that has next to none and whatever fan service it had was poorly executed and lame. This was another rookie mistake I made way back when I was getting into anime and, like the earlier shows I watched in those days; I would finish them regardless of how bad they were. Oh, I knew they were bad as I was watching them, but, I kept going anyways because it was something to watch.
To summarize this series, once again the aesthetic and art work is crap, the characterization is crap, and the story is crap; basically this show is crap. To make it worse a lot of the comedy relied on these creepy supporting characters, which had far too much screen time, that I just wanted to see clobbered, but didn’t happen often enough; oh, I wanted to see them get straightened out so bad.
“We’re stuck here; doesn’t mean you have to be.”
Shuffle – Here’s another melodrama, well, not quite; it starts off as a harem comedy you see, then it becomes a slice of life drama then it mutates into a B-grade horror thriller series. I was enjoying this series during the first few episodes even with some of the unfunny jokes and half-baked cookie characters; no, it was nothing special, but not every series needs to be Cowboy Bebop to be good. However, when the pacing slowed to a crawl and attempted drama I was given more verbal diarrhea dialogue, and since there was so little invested in the characters, I couldn’t even try to care about them.
Things got worse when it tried to be a psychological thriller, but, as mentioned, since nothing was put into the characters along with no foreshadowing or anything to set up this direction in the story, it came in with the subtly of a wrecking ball.
“Don’t get too excited; even the fan service on this is lame.”
That is perhaps one of the biggest problems with Shuffle; its attempts to be ambitious and demands to be taken seriously – which is fine, but goes about it all wrong resulting in a weak execution. The problem comes in couple of places.
The transitions feel forced and make watching the series wonky, however; many shows can do this, sometimes within the confines of a single scene; both versions of Fullmetal Alchemist do this so well being able to pivot from comedy to drama, hell Ikki Tousen, or Cat Planet Cuties or Darker Than Black pull these tonal transitions with precision and smoothness at the drop of a hat. Aside from that, there are many other shows that pull off starting light and comedic and then smoothly, sometimes gradually transition into more dramatic or darker material later on.
But where these shows succeed is where Shuffle fails; all the listed shows invest in their characters, there’s a strong dynamic, there’s a natural and organic element to those characters and the worlds they populate. Aside from that, they just change tones much better; it’s as simple as that.
Shuffle suffers from a severe lack of depth on the characters, a lot of what occurs feels out of place; the character dynamic doesn’t feel authentic, it is outright weak, I just couldn’t care about what was going on, or what impact it has on the characters. What Shuffle is attempting fails to work; it didn’t establish a strong enough foundation built with good characterization, themes and ideas; that is why I had no fun watching it.
“This is a metaphorical for how it feels to watch this series.”
Eiken– A series with two episodes that I could barely finish; this show is so awful, but it seems futile to take it apart because I don’t even think the production team who worked on it gave a crap about it. It does have a plot and most art/entertainment does, and while some of the simplest stories are some of the greatest (Mad Max: Fury Road) other factors are imperative to creating something worth viewing.
Eiken has no characterization and this hurts it to no end. The animation and aesthetic are passible, and it does have some decent fan service gags; I’ll give it that, however; that’s the issue with this series. It’s a perfect example of a fan service driven series, meaning that the series revolves around nothing more than to have the characters move from one ecchi gag to another like consumers going from ride to ride at an amusement park.
“What the fuck did I just watch?”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m very liberal about fan service; when the series has substance such as well written characters with depth, strong themes and ideas and the fan service is well integrated into the series making it subordinate to the narrative regardless of the amount; then I’m cool with it. Shows such as Queen’s Blade and High School of the Dead do this very well; they have far more to offer than just ecchi content.
Eiken on the other hand, is just fan service; that’s it. I could see this show being amusing to watch with a group of people and laugh at the gags on it. Beyond that, this series has nothing to offer.
This show thinks very little of its demographic.
Chaos; Head – Now here’s a show that had potential only to have it flushed down the toilet with a convoluted story with a severe lack of foreshadowing.
Without going into too much detail, the overall aesthetic of this show is hideous, the lead character is one of the most oddly designed characters I’ve ever seen; I mean that outfit he wears all the time and just his look.
Now, it started off pretty good with the mystery aspects to it, and I was actually enjoying it as a series up until about episode three or four. From there it just nose-dived and became harder and more difficult to watch the further I got. A lot of that had to do with the fact that the story kept bringing up new ideas plot wise and the result is a very convoluted, confusing show.
It’s easy to point at something like Revolutionary Girl Utena and say it’s confusing too; but that’s just because it’s a dense show; and well composed to boot. The ideas aren’t cluttered together and have repetition so they stick, and oh yeah; they have thematic relevance there. With Chaos; Head, it’s all just plot driven as opposed to theme and character driven like Utena; so of course I’m going to be hard on it when it crams a bunch of mythology into a series and does so in a disorganized, messy, convoluted way.
Aside from all that, the English Dub performances were good at least, but the music on the series made it much more of a chose to watch.
“But I want to ride the motorcycle.”
Elfen Lied – I’ll try to keep this short; so it’s a series that demands to be taken seriously with edgy violence and nudity as opposed to complex characters with depth and compelling thematic ideas – which, like Master of Martial Hearts, had some thematic threads, but didn’t really focus on too many of them. The only one thematic thread that was given any attention is the strong preying on the weak, but this theme is subordinated to only explore it as a vehicle to torture characters in a graphic manner. Which wouldn’t necessarily be such a bad thing if the characters developed as a direct result of this; but that’s the problem, it just doesn’t happen.
There are some shows that have some torture scenes; nowhere near as gross or gory as Elfen Lied, but they are ecchi based eroticism. Queen’s Blade, which has a little of this, and Wanna be the Strongest in the World which has substantially more (fortunately no gore) is actually forgivable since it also helps aid the development of the character as a result of their ordeals. Basically there are consequences that involve the characters reacting to it after the fact in the sense of towards toughing it out, tougheninging up and bettering themselves. The actual result is a satisfying component to a character arc.
On Elfen Lied, it just doesn’t happen; there’s little fleshing out or development of the characters and the little bit that there is, is just spoon-fed to the viewers.
Aside from that, the series is highly misanthropic; it has the basic male as cannon fodder, or as I like to call it; the crash test dummy trope; and the guys actually do look like plastic mannequins when they get killed off most of the time. The major issue with the male cannon fodder is that it’s meant to create indifference between the viewer and those dummies; but they are characters that represent men, and that indifference towards men is a major problem in the real world as far as gender issues go.
With the female characters it’s just as bad; yes, the body count is lower, but all the female characters that get killed have names; they have more detail to their character designs. They even have more fleshing out than the protagonist and supporting characters of the series. This makes it far more mean spirited; the female characters are given more graphic deaths; one girl gets her head corkscrewed off and her body used as a human shield, another gets her limbs torn off while another gets blown apart with all her insides exposed in the frame. So, to me, there just feels as though there’s an overt hostility towards the female gender in this regard here.
Just as an aside; male or female nudity for fan service, or ecchi for any reason or no reason other than titillation doesn’t bother me in the least; I see no issue with that provided the characters are well written and contribute more to the narrative than mere eye candy; I can take them and the series they’re a part of seriously at that point.
Other than that, I will admit, that Elfen Lied has a gorgeous look to its animation and character designs; the backgrounds look colourful and set the right atmosphere for whichever scene. The well designed characters generally stay on model and have a familiar yet unique look to them. The music on the series is also pretty good with strong melodies. Aside from that, I have nothing else to say about this series.
“You don’t want to know where my finger’s been.”
Master of Martial Hearts – Tell me; have you ever walked down the cereal aisle at the grocery store and noticed something like Fruit Loops? You know, it has Toucan Sam on it with the Kellogg’s logo on the box. Then have you noticed not too far away, the house brand cereal called Fruity Hoops and it has a distorted, drug induced nightmare of a cartoon character on the box?
Obviously, the house brand is a cheaper alternative to cash in on Foot Loops, and anyone who has ever had that, knows it’s clearly an inferior product in every way. That brings me to Master of Martial Hearts being a cheap knockoff of Ikki Tousen, and I say this regardless of the fact that the same studio, ARMS did both shows. So, comparing the two is an inevitability that can’t be avoided. Even Queen’s Blade comes into this comparison to a certain extent.
This here is an infamous one that has many problems to talk about, and there are many that caused my viewing experience to suffer. I found myself bored a lot of the time, and if not, confused at what the series was conveying to me on a contextual level. I mean, there was a point where I thought it was actually a parody of the whole ecchi fighting girl anime, but with what it is attempting thematically, it seems to take itself too seriously for that.
There’s nothing wrong with a series like this taking itself pretty seriously; Queen’s Blade is a perfect example, but Queen’s Blade invests more in its characters and set pieces, it has motifs, symbols, foreshadowing, powerful themes and ideas, and most importantly; it’s consistent about all of it and builds up to the end with a real catharsis or resolution for the characters and how their arcs contribute to the themes the series deals with. That’s how a series like Queen’s Blade can get away with all the fan service it has, but still be a phenomenal series. It’s intelligent, well composed and thought provoking, but also very inviting and entertaining.
Leina displays clear symptoms of having just viewed Master of Marital Hearts.
Ikki Tousen on the other hand never takes itself too seriously and while it’s more similar to Master of Martial Hearts, it’s is far more inviting and charming in every way. Yes, sometimes it has drama, but it’s earned as opposed to contrived. There’s also a greater self-awareness to it, which it knows it’s meant to be more of a fun series and doesn’t try dealing with heavier, darker material until later seasons; and even then, it still keeps everything light and optimistic for the most part. The irony is that not only does Ikki Tousen come off as a far more entertaining series; its way more intelligent and consistent with its thematic exploration and it doesn’t have to try that hard; it all occurs naturally.
A contributing factor worth bringing up is the characters; firstly, they actually have names and some really cool designs that stand out. They evolve beyond personality types, follow through with their motives and become realized characters as a result. Secondly, while not as deep or as articulate as the characterization on Queen’s Blade, the characters of Ikki Tousen have definitive story arcs that add to the theme a given season is working with. That’s where my cereal analogy comes from when comparing Master of Martial Hearts to Ikki Tousen, and even Queen’s Blade a little. Even Wanna be the Strongest in the World has profound thematic ideas which, when I think about it, are pretty well explored, followed through, consistent and even some character arcs reinforce those ideas; it’s also nowhere near as grotesque as Master of Martial Hearts. To sum up my thoughts in comparing all these shows, they succeed at what they’re doing where Master of Martial Hearts fails miserably.
So where did Master of Martial Hearts really go wrong? Well, just like School Days, it did have some decent ideas and thematic threads that it touched on, but lost out on the execution. It’s unfortunate because this series had potential to be pretty decent. Was it the fan service that ruined the series? Absolutely not, but the fan service is not sexy in the least, it’s poorly integrated and brings absolutely nothing new to the subgenre, aside from that, the animation was mediocre, so most of the fan service was kind of, off; if that makes any sense. It can’t even do shock value right.
“I’m too sexy for my burger, too sexy for my burger.”
One of the major problems came from the negligence of its own thematic threads it started; and this is one of the reasons the ending was completely idiotic. Don’t get me wrong, I have to give it that there are one or two thematic threads that are very well done and explored. For instance, on episode four where the main character fights the maid/idol character; this particular scenario actually has some social commentary and relevance about how flaky fan bases can be with their loyalty and how frivolous the entertainment industry can be. This comes complete with a summation monologue from another character about how people and the entertainment industry always ditch/turn against one thing to jump to something newer or whatever fresh idea. I almost feel that an entire series could be built on this premise, in a way, Puella Magi Madoka Magica does this with its magical girl to witch concept; the older, busted magical girls become self-aware which leads them to expire only to have younger, more vibrant, optimistic girls who not only appear as replacements, but to literally do away with them; it’s also one of the greatest shows out there; you go watch, but I digress. With Master of Martial Hearts, this is another example that illustrates how even a series I consider horrible does have the odd good point that I’m willing to acknowledge.
Aside from the little bit of positive feedback I have for a singular thematic thread on Master of Martial Hearts, most concepts and threads on Master of Martial Hearts are prematurely dropped for whatever reason which really hurt this show. I actually had hope every now and then that this series would at least make it to okay, or passable at times, but because of its absence of consistency; it ends up really sucking. There is this one really great thread for example, that was starting to be delved into about how in any competition, victory will always come at the expense of someone else, and it’s true, the greater the reward, the higher the risk, thus the worse the consequences for failure. Add to that, a same sort of idea like Madoka in terms of wishes having a price. Unfortunately, right when a resolution to this thread was coming, it vanished like a fart in the wind and was never acknowledged again; which really pissed me off.
Some aspects of this theme were pretty well done with dialogue and visuals, but as I mentioned, it had no resolution in terms of the character or narrative. The main character had no catharsis about it in terms of their own regret eventually destroying themselves, or coming to terms with it and being at peace; nothing.
This brings me to other issues with this series; as mentioned earlier, I figured it was going to be a parody of shows like Ikki Tousen or even Tenjho Tenge, but as I said, it attempted to have deeper themes, which as mentioned, most weren’t fully explored to any sort of conclusion. Yes, they were touched on throughout the series, so it was taking itself seriously, there’s next to nothing for comedy in it, so I developed an expectation for it to resolve most of these themes but failed to do so. I still don’t understand exactly what I was supposed to get from this series as a whole; is it supposed to be a coming of age theme? Is it a metaphor for girls growing into women and the competition that goes with it? Is it still a parody of sorts making fun of the subgenre it belongs to? I mean; what’s the deal with this show?
Perhaps it’s just a vehicle to see girls and women being the crap out of each other, stripping each other down for ecchi content and fetishism; but there’s not much fan service here though, and most of its kind of, well, lame. I’ll admit there’s a ton of shock value involved, and maybe that’s the point of this series; who knows really?
This brings me to how it ended; it made no sense; there was no foreshadowing or any kind of set up to find out who the culprits were behind this scheme. This resulted in one of the longest info dumps I’ve ever seen in anime; it included character motivations, backstory material and explaining as far as setting it all up. I’m not even going to get into the major plot holes on this such as turning the fighters into mindless drones for fetishism; I get it they’re broken, but, that ending was disturbing. To me that’s some pretty hack writing.
As for the show, or the ride; I’ll admit, it could’ve been worse, but it was still pretty awful; at least it’s only five episodes. That’s where it has one of the greatest sins in art/entertainment; I generally found this series boring. Remember how I said character motives didn’t come out until that info dump at the end? Yeah, it’s pretty tough to stay engaged and interested in characters that have next to nothing to present in terms of actual characterization. Which is as bland as the generic designs for the characters; they aren’t ugly or anything like that; they’re just, as I said, bland, nothing special.
Aside from that, the pacing was clunky; I still say the scene on episode four with the maid/idol character is the best one because it’s consistent and has a good, inevitable conclusion. The aesthetic and animation are pretty inconsistent; some of the scenes look very nice, they have a refined, vibrant colour palette to really gunky looking backgrounds. The characters have the same issue as well where the lining and modelling is focused and polished to going off model and kind of gunky.
The music is atrocious; and not only that, it constantly goes actually becoming a huge distraction at times; silence can be platinum at times; just saying. The sound effects are awful, and it contributes to my theory that this show is a parody, but other mentioned factors contradict this. The English dub is good; no complaints, the actors at Funimation did their best with the material, and at the very least made this series a little watchable.
“You may be a weeaboo if you haven’t gotten tired of us yet.”
Panty & Stocking – I know there’s a chance I’m going to take direct or indirect flack for this, but I have to be honest; I really didn’t like this series. It’s actually easier for me to talk about what I did like on this show, and that’s the opening and closing songs, oh and that one song for the music video on one of the episodes. Once again though, the English dub performances are good on it; I can tell they had a lot of fun doing it; and you know? At least they got something out of it; I really didn’t, this series isn’t for me. And that ending; kiss my ass Panty & Stocking. Aside from that, there’s nothing redeeming for me on this series.
Where to begin; I didn’t like the characters one iota; not even a bit; I get that I’m not supposed to like them, but they irritated me to a point that tested my “can you survive” abilities. The sad part is that I actually know girls that behave like these two, take pride in it and believe that it’s somehow empowering. Just a news flash; behaving like an unlikable asshole, whether you’re male or female still makes you an unlikable asshole. No, it’s not everyone else who has to change for you and respect you while you treat them like crap; it’s called you may have to develop a sense of respect and manners for people too; grownups don’t put up with it; I don’t. So, that’s one issue I have with this series.
The next is the episode structure, I didn’t like the whole half episode pattern it does, and this allows me to transition to the comedy which I also feel is poorly done and unfunny. Basically, Panty & Stocking to me is badly done sketch comedy that derives most of its humour from using the F-word and poorly executed gross out jokes. I think I laughed maybe once or twice on the entire run of the series when I viewed it (the monkey episode) the end result being that it felt more like a chore to watch. And before someone jumps on me and tells me “I didn’t get it” oh I understood the jokes very well and their implications in the real world and the social commentary that goes along with them; I totally understand that. But just because a series has a little satire and jokes rooted in reality, it doesn’t make them good; on Panty & Stocking, they’re poorly executed and come off juvenile; they remind me of something I would’ve come up with when I was fourteen.
Moving on from there, while I liked it at first, the art style, aesthetic and character design really started to annoy the crap out of me to the point where I was literally getting nausea and headaches; I almost threw up once; it’s extremely rare for something to provoke that sort of reaction from me. It’s just the combination and way the colours are composed and the awkward character designs that are problematic for me.
It goes to show that just because a series has an out of the box style to it and it’s doing something different, it doesn’t automatically make it good. If someone wants a series with a unique style to it, some well executed comedy (and some great drama) and something much more intelligent and enjoyable to watch; go watch Ping Pong or The Tatami Galaxy; screw Panty & Stocking.
Ichi the Killer– AAAAAASSSSSSSSSSSSSSHHHHOOOOOLLLLLEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!
“Oh fuck no; there’s more!”
This last batch is merely a list of horrible shows I have finished, but can’t recall, and since I have a massive backlog of anime I want to watch; I will not be subjecting myself to these shows again just so I can talk about them here.
Burn Up Scramble – Boring, unfunny waste of time.
Burst Angel – A mech anime done wrong.
Deadman Wonderland – What a fucking let down this whole series is; I guess I expected way too much.
Ghost Talker’s Daydream – A “short” series that feels longer than it is.
Love Hina – This series made my blood boil watching it, awful fucking show.
Samurai Gun – I don’t know who thought up the concept for this, but it didn’t work.
Star Ocean EX – Boring, boring, boring.
This Ugly Yet Beautiful World – Another show attempts big things but fails in its execution.