5 Anime Titles That Failed Miserably

“In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.” – Anton Ego, Ratatouille (2007)

I can emphasize with the opinion that anime is bad. Yes, some of it is, just like any media format. The Harem genre has lent itself to some killers. For example, the infamous bear rape scene from Green Green (2002) is guaranteed to give any sane person nightmares. The panty galore fest of Ikki Tousen (2003) is just one of many titles that display the distasteful end of the anime spectrum: the insulting, sexist and stupid. In a similar vein to Taylor Ramsey’s brilliant “Things that Embarrass Me About being a Comics Fan“, I would like to re-live some horrible memories by letting you in on anime that didn’t live up to their potential.

If any readers would like to share their negative experiences with anime, please do so below in the comments section.

5. Vandread (2000-1)

Vandread

GONZO is known for their hit or miss quality, and this is one of their failures. Vandread is a 26 episode series divided into two seasons, set in a world where men and women live in different planets to each other- Merjere for the women and Taraak for the men. One day, they collide, and they try to find the way back to the system they were originally from. It sounds like a cool idea, right? Perhaps it was because they enlarged the story from an incredibly short manga that it turned into a pile of nothing.

Considering the potential of the premise, they could have done a lot more with the story. The execution of scenes are disjointed and often confusing. It jumps around between dream sequences, reality, past and present, like Satoshi Kon but in a bad way since it is not supposed to be a serious work. 24 episodes later, I have no idea what happened with the ending, and it didn’t help that I didn’t care. I’m sorry Atsuhiro Tomioka, even though you have assisted with writing shows like Chrono Crusade (2003), Fairy Tail (2009) and some episodes of Pokemon (1998), your screenplay did not get enough polishing here. Takeshi Mori, who is more well-known for his storyboards on shows like Eureka Seven (2005), Noein (2005) and Rumbling Hearts (2003) should stick to what he knows best – drawings, instead of attempting to plan a show.

Why does story matter, right? People forgive shows with bad substance all the time, if it looks pretty. That is not the case here. The generic artwork is square, clunky and the colors are bright enough to induce burns. At least Kazuya Kuroda’s work has improved since with Spice & Wolf (2008). Add in cringe worthy 3D mechas which are comparable to the cars of Initial D (1999) and you have a recipe for disaster. Hey, at least Princess Dieta’s character looks somewhat attractive. The amount and quality movement itself is nothing to write home about.

The standout piece of the soundtrack is the opening song Trust by Salia, which is the only part of the show you need to see. The ending song is forgettable. The English dub is mixed. Julie Maddalena and Tony Oliver were good as the two leads, but the rest did not impress. The soundtrack is not the worst on the market, as it has some passable piano tracks. The only characters you will give an inkling about are the two leads, which consist of 20% of the cast. The others could die for what I cared… and some of them do.

At the end of the day, Vandread falls short. There are other mecha anime out there that are a lot better than this one. Full Metal Panic (2002), Neon Genesis Evangelion (1996) or Code Geass (2006) are just a few titles that come to mind… out of hundreds that exceed this in terms of quality.

Rating:

4. AIR Movie (2005)

AIR Movie

This film made me want to cry, not because it was sad, but because it was terrible. It is a retelling of the 13 episode Kyoto Animation anime by the same name. It takes the story arc of the two leads: Mizizu and Yukito, and condense it into an hour and a half movie. It seems like a smart move, as the TV series was all about Mizuzu and Yukito. However, the changes inspired facepalming.

Art supervisor Osamu Honma has an interesting taste in style. The character are given smaller eyes in this movie, which might appeal to those who hate the big-eyed anime look. The colors are incredibly bright, and the lighting flares and makes the backgrounds and picture look extremely saturated. This is the most disappointing aspect of the animation. Even though Toei Animation aren’t as bowed-down-to as Kyoto Animation, that they are still capable of animating well. It is baffling how they succeeded on making a 2005 production look like a 90’s one. The direction is off too, with scribbled drawings and split screen effects reminiscent of Evangelion’s no-budget days.

The lack of a strong supporting script made it even worse, even though it cuts out the filler material between episodes 2 to 6. It had an annoyingly large amount of narration, ignoring the classic ‘show don’t tell’ rule of writing. The characters are given a vague amount of detail, which is passable for a film. The ending they chose wasn’t nearly as powerful as the one in the series, although it was nice to see Mizuzu and Yukito get a bit of romance. Overall it wasn’t nearly as interesting, moving or inspiring which are the qualities which made the TV show so memorable.

The soundtrack for the TV show half consisted of documentary music, the other half decent piano tracks. For a film adaption, you’d think they could improve on the hit or miss quality of the soundtrack. Instead, it is even worse than the TV show. You’d think they could have at least remixed the awesome “Tori no Uta” theme song, but instead it is the same.

If you are a fan of AIR or would like to learn more about it, watch through the AIR TV show. Even though it is flawed the lazily made movie makes you realize that Kyoto Animation actually did an alright job.

Rating:

3. Love Hina Again (2002)

Love Hina Again

I avoided the original 24 episode Love Hina (2000) due its overflow of criticism in recent years, but I couldn’t resist giving Love Hina Again a try since it was considered higher quality. If something was wrong at least it was only 3 OVAs. Sadly, XEBEC created a good example of a show which looks pretty but is still torture to watch. It seemed to be an excuse for fanservice and stupidity.

A problem with many harem anime is the question as to why so many girls fall for the main character. Here, it is more baffling than others. Keitaro is nice and hard working, but that’s about it. He doesn’t have a sense of humor and doesn’t seem to take much pride in his appearance. Not that we should judge on looks, but the girls infatuation with Keitaro would be rationalized a lot better if he wore contact lenses and got a hair cut. Shinobu’s crush on him is the only one that makes sense, since he helps her with study. Obviously, they all are desperate from living in an all-female bathhouse.

The story is not only stupid, but incomprehensible and IQ melting. Keitaro’s step sister appears to take over the bathhouse, and is in competition with Naru for Keitaro’s affections. This wouldn’t be too bad if they took a serious spin on it, however, they decided to take the silly entertainment route. These OVAs try to be too many things at once, and end up a mess. There’s illogical magic elements like a flying and talking cat, and the characters somehow have machine guns hiding in their pockets. The ecchi was more forced than your average pornography- for example, the female characters decide to fondle each other for no reason. The manga was a lot more down to earth and believable, and I think that’s what made it so popular.

The animation is decent with vibrant colors and fluid movement, but it isn’t good enough to be a redeeming factor. The characters change outfits a lot, and they are tastefully drawn. Kanako is the most attractive of the ladies…. too bad her personality is repulsive. Craziness versus hotness ratio from How I Met your Mother, anyone? It is quite odd that Kitsune looks like Brock from Pokemon and never opens her eyes. In the manga, her eyes are one very appealing physical attribute of hers!

The Opening and ending songs are catchy but nothing mind-blowing, while the sound effects were cute and fit the genre of show. As someone who generally prefers watching the English dubs of a show, I could not stomach Love Hina and had to switch to the Japanese track. The only decently cast voices were Sara, the Samurai girl, Shinobu, Haruka, Mei and her family (basically, the side characters). Keitaro is voiced as Impmon from Digimon Tamers (shudder), Naru’s voice sounds forced and Kitsune was given a Texan accent and it does not fit at all. It is times like these when anime should be released subtitled only.

This viewing experience confirms my belief that Love Hina deserves a 13 episode remake, which is closer to the manga. Also, it would force silly Naru to confess her feelings instead of being uncertain for 20 episodes or so. For those who would rather submit themselves to more pleasantries, I recommend the manga.

Rating:

2. Neia Under 7 (2000)

Neia Under 7

If the artwork looks familiar, you may know it from the popular 90’s series Serial Experiments Lain. From Yoshitoshi Abe’s name alone you can form some sort of expectation about this show – perhaps it is slow, but eerie and mysterious? Maybe funny? Sadly, Neia Under_7 is none of these things. This 13 episode Geneon Entertainment show is not only pointless, but boring and infuriating. Perhaps there is some lucky soul out there who will find it hilarious or moving, but I don’t think it is worth the risk.

The animation is choppy and awful, even for a show in the 2000s: the animation is clean, but the characters don’t move realistically and even change shape as they move. The character designs are alright, if the characters themselves weren’t so annoying.

The opening song is still the worst opening song I have heard to date. The singer sounds like they are dying of lung cancer and the music isn’t very inspired. The ending song is like a kindergarten nursery rhyme. The sound effects were frustratingly overused. The English dub wasn’t too bad. The main character suits the character and sounds natural. Neia is appropriately annoying. The side characters don’t do well and the voices don’t fit the mouth flaps.

The story can be encapsulated in the synopsis: an alien is living in the main characters house. The story does not develop or progress at all from this stage – it doesn’t do anything interesting or entertaining with the concept. Hell, even SHUFFLE! (2005) or Elfen Lied (2004) which follows a similar “Mysterious girl in normal world” setup does a way better job. The story ends by reinforcing the friendship between the two main characters, which is anti climatic and done better in other shows where a proper friendship is actually developed. The climax of the anime was an episode where the two of them go to a Go-Con, which had some touching moments.

This show deserves an award for the most annoying main character ever. Neia is a loud, boisterous little girl (who is an alien, but she doesn’t do anything special) who is obsessed with food. The side characters are, dare I say it, even worse. There’s a random Indian guy who speaks gibberish and frankly doesn’t have any role in the show. They are altogether unlikable and flatter than pancakes. The only one who is slightly sympathetic as is the voice of reason is Mayuko – who initially finds Neia, whom isn’t given a great deal of attention despite how tolerable she is.

Only those who enjoy slice-of-life anime will find any entertainment in this. Even then, countless of other titles, like Fruits Basket (2001), The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (2006) or Kanon (2006) are more worth your time.

Rating:

1. Comic Party (2001)

Comic PartyComic party is a disastrous 13 episode show by Aqua Plus, KSS and Oriental Light and Magic. It deserves to be in a list of the worst anime ever made.

The animation is shocking – most distracting are the square, generic character designs – which are topped off with sketchy lines beneath the eyes seen on Ash Ketchum and every character of Saikano (2002). The artwork like backgrounds and outfits were simplistic and boring. Like in Neia Under 7, the characters sometimes move like a glitch from a 90’s game – they move in one block rather than like a normal human being (that said, most anime walking doesn’t include torso rotation but that’s getting too technical).

The opening song is catchy but forgettable, and the ending song was meh quality wise. The music or vocals are not stand out material. The Background music wins the award for the worst I have heard to date. It is like a collection MIDI files. The English dub, much like the one of Love Hina, was miscast and overdone. I had to switch it to the Japanese track within the first few minutes.

The premise of the story is promising but is lead in the wrong direction. It follows the characters who try to write their own manga – but it isn’t done in an interesting or intriguing way. The manga aspect would have worked better as a side story, in order to make us care but focusing on the characters. Thinking the show would improve, I was ready to throw a shoe at the TV when it ended with a “Life goes on” epilogue. Nothing changed or happened, it was disappointing and anti climatic. It made me wonder why the anime was made at all. The attempt of comedy is typical “This guy stared at my badly drawn boobs, let’s hit him!” humour, which is yawn inducing considering that the characters aren’t even attractive, and romance is not believable.

The characters are mostly annoying or predictable. You have one of every category: the bland, nice guy – the eccentric friend, the nerd, the childhood friend – it’s all here. You don’t learn anything about them except their names, and I can’t even remember those. I don’t know how this show managed to get the green light.

For an anime that portrays anime or manga creation in an interesting light, check out Welcome to the NHK! (2009) – it’s about video games, but still, or alternatively Lucky Star (2007).

Rating:

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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Female University student. 24 years old. I have been writing about anime since I was 15 and it looked far worse than this.

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38 Comments

  1. I liked Air the movie. It really is a heart moving story. The ending is a bit rushed and it takes time to understand what the heck is what but even with limited knowledge of what is going around, it’s still quite powerful.

    • Jordan

      I know it has a lot of fans, so I guess my list must anger a lot of people. I expected it to be awesome due to the glowing reviews… >.< I'm glad you enjoyed it though. 🙂 are there any anime you thought were really bad?

  2. sakuraje
    0

    I think we can all say that Naru and Keitario get married at the end… YAY finally after 1 series and 2 episodes… not worse anime.

    • Micchon
      0

      Wow. I was watching the series. And you just spoiled the anime for me. Thanks. A lot.

  3. 1. “Monster” – Others liked it but i hated this anime and it was such a drag.

    2. “School days” – I hated every second of it. The entire story is that the main character gets a girl after another each episode.

    3. “Hellsing” – Not much of a story.

    • Montijo X
      0

      1)Fariy Tail
      2)Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn
      3)Itzura na Kiss
      4)Bokura Ga Ita
      5)Digimon
      6) Pokemon
      7)Nodame Cantabile
      8)One Piece
      9)School days
      10)every anime that has annoying girls who fall in love with the guys at first sight

      • Jordan

        Haha I haven’t seen School Days but that would probably be on the list if I had! XD

      • Kamille
        0

        and here I was thinking that I was an elitist when it came to anime but you guys are nuts. Can you guys mention 1 or 2 anime that you like?

        Some of my favs are: Zeta Gundam, Ghost in the Shell (anime), Berserk (only the arc of the anime cus the rest sucks), Evangelion, Madoka, Rumbling Hearts.

        • Jordan

          LOL all my articles have been praising shows up until this point. 😛 There are plenty of shows I like!
          Some more recent ones: Madoka, Mawaru Penguindrum, Welcome to the NHK, Usagi Drop, Kanon……

          I am quite fussy though ! lol stupid reviewer mind

          • Oh my, yes. Madoka and Attack on Titan are quite possibly my favorite animé in a while. And I think Attack on Titan did a great job of using the manga without completely copying it.

          • Jordan

            I haven’t yet seen Attack of Titan, but will have to check it out!

  4. Dean Leighton
    0

    Mars of Destruction is one of the worst anime that’s ever been made. Be happy that you have not watched it.

  5. David Tatlow

    I think I’ve been fortunate in that my girlfriend shields me from the bad anime…she won’t show me any anime that is out-and-out terrible, unless it’s so bad that it’s funny. Wynter, you continue to impressively examine the things that matter to any discerning anime fan, as well as having fun with it. Thanks for writing this, I really enjoyed it.

    • Jordan

      Thanks David 🙂 I’m glad you liked it. And you’re lucky to have such a thoughtful girlfriend! haha

  6. Well I liked NieA under 7. It’s not some cookie-cutter generic show, but funky and quirky oddity. I think it’s the kind of show that resonates with some people and not others.
    Another issue is that it’s very Japanese and deals with the relation between traditional society and modernity in a subtle and mostly symbolic way.

    • Jordan

      It was definitely weird. I just think they could have made it a lot better.
      Even if I complain about it, I’m glad there are people out there who like it 🙂

  7. Somebody might want to kill me for saying this, but I absolutely can’t stand the 1985 OVA Vampire Hunter D. The animation is awful, and it’s plot feels rather half baked. Granted, I’m not a big horror fan, but given the hype around the franchise, I thought this one might be alright. Nope!

    • Jordan

      I think whenever you mention anime you hate, there is always going to be a fan who will want to kill you :p

  8. Sleeping with Hinako is definetly the worst anime in my opinion. The story had absolutely no plot. Heck, even animes with no plot have the complexity of Paradise Lost compared to this anime. It is pretty much watching a girl named Hinako sleep for over 40 minutes.

  9. Dominique Kollie

    Neia Under 7 was on my list of Anime to give another shot… Good to know I shouldn’t waste my time.

    Tenjou Tenge was intensely disappointing. The plot seemed solid and certain points of actions looked to give it life, but it was just buried in unfortunate aesthetics.

  10. Eiken. Worse ever. I still don’t know what the point of that show was.

  11. Justin Wu

    I’m glad that I haven’t watched any of these anime yet…in some way I’m glad my sense of picking anime to watch is usually good. I rarely watch a series that I come to absolutely hate afterwards.

  12. Why is vandread on here. I know plenty of worse anime then this. Also school days was TERRIBLY! HOW IN THE WORLD DID THAT NOT GET ON HERE. Even though the ending was fulfilling. They had a nice boat :D. Also the rest make sense. I couldn’t get into air. I also don’t care much of fan service but, I hate it when people go crazy about it. I care about fight scenes and the plot. Just don’t base the show on fan service and sex like school days. I was wanting to tell you more bad anime but, now my mind is on school days. GOD DAMN IT!

    • Jordan

      School Days hasn’t been licensed therefore I haven’t watched it. With my limited access to internet I don’t have a great variety of what I can watch.
      I’m glad you enjoyed Vandread even though I didn’t 🙂

  13. Meh 741
    0

    Lol vandread was ace . And really compared its 3d and effects with stuff released many years after ? And not to mention series that are flat out serious and depressing overall ?

    It was actually a success and what launched Gonzo along with the also great Gatekeeper .

    Vandread had no pretense of revolutionizing anime , it was just an harem comedy with great mecha action .

    “Add in cringe worthy 3D mechas which are comparable to the cars of Initial D (1999) and you have a recipe for disaster”

    Your tainted bias keep rearing its head here . Vandread 3d fights and its mechas were actually considered as great quality back then . It and a few others lead the charge for the following vague of mixing cgi based effects with 2d for sci fi and mecha tv shows .

    It isnt a smart show , yeah , but it still deserve some praise for its realisation , and for not succumbing like so many to the post evangelion craze that spawned gloomy poseurs that lost the fun of mecha series .

    • Jordan

      I agree that it’s nice to have a fun show here and there, but I think they could have done better with the material they had to work with. Even if the 3D effects look good for it’s time, it doesn’t mean I want to look at it now XD
      3D animation was done heaps better in the 2000’s outside of the anime-sphere.

      • Meh 741
        0

        Please now you’re scrapping the barrel looking for other mediums ?

        You lost any credibility when it comes to criticizing the use of 3d when you compared it to Initial D . Bottom line is it looked and moved better than many things in the 00s , especially initial D , was recognized for the quality of the work done in 3d and animation , even if its story is easy to tear apart … and there are probably more people that’d think it still look good evne compared to some of today’s show .

        And it’s not just Vandread the issue in your thread . i’m all for criticizing say Love Hina and its short comings .

        But reviewing its oav sequel colored by hearsay and bias , without actually watching the serie ? That’s a new low .

        “This viewing experience confirms my belief that Love Hina deserves a 13 episode remake”

        How would you know ? You didnt watch it and just made other people’s opinion yours , while burning a fan service sequel to the stake , for being what its supposed to be , some extra to the main serie .

        Anyway i’ve entertained more than necessary what is obviously a cheap list done to fish for hits . Cya

  14. I absolutely agree! Lovely article!

  15. Although I never saw Comic Party, I do agree with your suggestion to Welcome to the NHK. It’s a realistic and well thought out anime that details the life of the NEET. It also has psychological undertones and relatable characters. I highly recommend it.

  16. Besides, Air having beautiful art, I did not really understand the story or the main idea. Even reading the manga I still do no understand it. It has a beautiful soundtrack though.

  17. you should really watch sword art online or sao for short its an awesome anime even tho ther is romance there are really good action scenes (spoiler alert) like when kirito uses his dual welding skill to save an army,klain and asuna after that he almost ran out of hp

  18. infinitezenith

    Glasslip similarly fails to impress its audience: after the hype and build-up, the plot led nowhere: understandably, it’s one of the more maligned anime out there.

  19. Jonathan Leiter

    A few other Animes that seemingly failed, at least in my opinion, include “Magical Play” (which proves so annoying that it’s hard to watch more than an episode or two without growing frustrated or sleepy), “Maze,” “R.O.D.” the OVA (which was so completely insane plot wise that I could barely follow what was going on), and the original “Patlabor” TV series (something about that show just felt so disconnected from its characters, and gave me no reason to care about anyone or anything, despite it’s popularity or its good animation).

    • Jordan

      I actually forgot I had written this article, that’s how long ago it is. I don’t go out of my way to look for or watch ‘bad’ anime which is why a lot of the more notorious titles didn’t make the list. I haven’t heard of Magical Play and I’m guessing that’s probably a good thing. I have tried to watch ROD OVA although I couldn’t follow the story – probably because I hadn’t seen the series. I have only seen the first episode of the Patlabor TV show. I enjoyed what I saw, but its interesting you say it felt like the characters weren’t given much attention? I found that kills a lot of shows for me as well. I’m much more interested in characters than plot, generally speaking. Thanks for your comment!

  20. I have not written anything for this site in ages, but thanks for the name check and compliment.
    I struggle with anime for many of the above reasons, but there is some pretty decent stuff if you can dig past the flotsam at the pop end of it.
    Nice article.

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