It’s bad enough when a movie or TV show sucks. It’s worse, in a way, when they should be awesome. Spider-Man 3 had Venom. Heroes got a second season. Final Fantasy XIII had amazing graphics. And yet, every one of them pretty much bombed. I think most of us really wanted to like one of these things or something similar, but at some point, no matter how much you want to deny it, you have to face the truth: it sucks.
Anime is no different. I get on anime kicks now and then, and I’ve watched a handful of them. Thus, there have been many times I popped in an anime, then choked on it like a fancy chocolate from the mystery box. Here are five of them.
#5 Fullmetal Alchemist
Peer pressure got me to watch this one. It’s ridiculously famous and all its fans are probably glaring at me like I killed a puppy. What’s it about? Here’s the problem: I’m not really sure. There’s a metal-armed guy whose name I don’t remember, his little brother whose soul is inside a giant metal body (there’s a reason), and they do Alchemy. That’s really all I remember because I stopped watching it pretty fast.
I’ll admit, I didn’t give this one the best shot, only watching 4 episodes. That’s why it’s low on my list. However, when you can’t reel me in by the 4th episode, that’s bad on you. I really don’t remember hardly anything about the show, except for the basic laws of alchemy because they repeated them EVERY SINGLE EPISODE!!
The opening song was too long, the back story was more interesting than the actual story, the English voice acting sucked (that’s not the show’s fault, it’s just a reality in anime), and it clearly left no impact if I don’t remember a single person’s name. Next!
Harem anime is tricky. The concept is utterly ridiculous: 3-5 gorgeous women all vouch for one guy’s affections, despite him having no special qualities. Scratch that. He has no qualities AT ALL. It’s adolescent male fantasy, but if it’s taken gracefully, it can actually be pretty awesome. Clannad and School Days are two of my absolute favorite shows or all time. Shuffle? Not so much. The story? Five hot girls fight over one guy in high school. Told you they were all the same.
Rin is the most faceless protagonist of them all. He has one character trait: he’s nice. That’s it. The girls all annoy me one way or another. One’s freaking 12 for crying out loud. There’s a parallel world of gods and demons to give it a little zip, but this could have been negated; the story’s the same anyway.
So why the heck did I want to like this show? Well, it was actually pretty funny! Yeah, cringe-worthy, too, but there are still parts that make me laugh and laugh hard.
But the show’s biggest problem was bait-and-switch. They had a lot of great potential. Rin realized in episode 1 that he was doing nothing with his life…but proceeded to do nothing the rest of the show. Some of the girls had interesting dillemas…until you realized they were just stupid. One girl had the best subplot: a powerful jealousy that made her lose her mind–literally! But then she ended up right back where she was.
I liked the guy’s ultimate decision, partially because it was a slight cop-out, but the show never really resolved. All the girls are still in love with him and the premise is still ridiculous. Worth some laughs, but I can no longer deny it’s a bad anime.
#3 Fate Stay Night
Check out this awesome premise: 7 magicians summon 7 magical warriors who are heroes from legend (King Arthur, Gilgamesh, Alexander the Great, Hercules, etc). They fight to the death over the Holy Grail, which can grant the winner any miracle-level wish. A seven-way brawl with a lot of action and a retelling of familiar mythology! How can they screw this up?
Pretty easy, it turns out!
You know what doesn’t belong in an action anime? Harems. You know what kind of people aren’t heroes? Chauvinists and idiots! You know what warriors who need to kill each other don’t do? Ignore everybody but the protagonist!
I’ll ease up on the hero’s chauvinism because he does grow over time. Everyone else just falls apart, though. Saber, the main hero, goes from mighty warrior to lovesick little girl. And everybody else either switches sides or just dies before they can be grow a personality.
The show had good points: the premise is still awesome. I liked how the main character is a lousy mage who only accidentally got involved. I actually liked the love story, I just didn’t want Saber to be diluted. There was simply too much that got in the way of the main plot and watered it all down.
Fortunately, Fate Zero came along and changed all that. More about that in this post.
#2. Death Note
I actually did like this anime for a long time. It took years to finally admit all the flaws. The Deathnote is a notebook. If you write someone’s name it it, they die. There are more rules, but that will suffice. Death Note is about Light Yagami who finds a Death Note and uses it to kill criminals. Then comes L, a brilliant detective who sees Light as simply playing God and tries to stop him. It’s a wonderful cat-and-mouse anime and pits one genius against the other in powerful thriller.
For the first third.
The second third switches antagonists and joins Light and L together. While that’s kind of neat, the new antagonist isn’t that interesting or even that good. However, the second arc concludes on a mighty note. It’s powerful and game-changing, and appeared to end the series on a very…unusual note, but a very good one. It really should have stopped there.
But it didn’t. The show limped on for a third and final arc, and I do mean limped. Because of that powerful ending in the 2nd arc, the show loses all of its power. They add new characters who are rehashes of old ones or just plain stupid/pointless. Old characters are forgotten. I liked the final standoff, but the effort it took to get there was horrible and the way the bad guy finally gets caught is pretty freaking cheap.
I started off so good and just descended as it went on. I was so upset. And when only 1/3 of the show is super enjoyable, that’s not a good anime.
I’m still upset about this one!
In Bleach, Ichigo becomes a Shinigami, a death god, after Rukia gives him her powers. Turns out Ichigo is pretty awesome and starts beating up bad guys. The show is a lot of fun, it’s funny as all heck, the characters all have some punch to them, and the head-butting relationship between Ichigo and Rukia is hilarious and awesome. In short, Bleach is freaking awesome.
For about 13 episodes. Out of 300.
Shortly into the series, Rukia is taken back to the Death God world against her will, so Ichigo and company go after her. From here, the show descends into crap. Why? Two words: Upgrade Anime.
I’ve mentioned this type of anime before, so I’ll be brief. A character will have to upgrade his power somehow to be stronger, and every upgrade will be treated like this ultimate top-tier power. Until the next bad guy comes. Then you have to upgrade again. And again. And again. It’s nothing bug padding. And trust me, this show is padded plenty without it.
There are 13 shinigami leaders each with their own lieutenant and God help you, you’re gonna get to know the back story behind ALL OF THEM! The story keeps halting for flashbacks, character explanations, long, drawn-out fights with insignificant people, and plenty of talking. The story goes on forever, the side characters do nothing, and NOBODY DIES! Seriously, people get SLAUGHTERED in this anime, and they don’t die! What the heck, man?!
And when they finally rescue Rukia, she STAY IN THE DEATH GOD WORLD! …FOR TWO EPISODES! You rescued me, but I’m gonna stay after all…never mind! I’m back and totally useless. Yeah the third arc is about vampires or something, but I stopped watching. I couldn’t take the upgrades, the endless back stories, and the dilution of some seriously awesome characters any more.
Bleach, you courted me and made me love you, and then you changed. Whhhyyyyyy?!
Any shows you guys tried to like but couldn’t?