The Five Worst Anime Series of All Time
In the land of manga and anime, there are many masterpieces that really demonstrate the kind of heights the art form can reach. Masterfully rendered and beautifully written, these gems really showcase just how good of an artistic medium manga and anime can be. However, for every diamond, there’s a lump of coal; for every Mona Lisa, a poorly drawn stick figure scribbled on the back of a napkin. This article is about the latter; those stomach-churning exercises in mediocrity that lead one to question their faith in humanity — providing they aren’t driven to autocanibalism by the sheer badness of these flops.
#5 – Toaru Majutsu no Index
I know, I know. Index in a list of worst anime series? Before you cry foul, hear me out. I love Index (and its associated spin-off) as much as the next guy, but what really cements this series as my fifth worst is this simple fact: Touma is a terrible protagonist.
The series itself had the potential to be great. The plot was well thought out, the characters are interesting, and it delves into some deeper themes that most in its age group would shy away from. It had all the makings of a truly epic Shounen anime, so why is it here? It’s because the focus of the series — the character of Kamijou Touma — is about as likeable as a board with googly-eyes stuck on.
A misogynistic board.
All the interesting character development happens around the protagonist, while the main event himself is a rigid, annoying ponce of a character who isn’t even relevant to his own series because he gets all of his memories wiped in the first five episodes.
Index had the potential to be great, but this one misstep essentially doomed it to becoming just one more irritating Shounen romp. It’s a shame, because I really like Index in general. I guess the moral of the story is don’t give your protagonists the emotional depth of Keanu Reeves.
This is my happy face
#4 – Devil May Cry: The Animated Series
Warning bells should be ringing already. This is an anime based entirely on the Devil May Cry franchise of video games. While the games themselves are pretty unique and fun, what could loosely be called the series ‘plot’ does not make for a very good anime. It’s like someone saw the games and said to themselves; “how can we take all the fun and interactivity out of this while retaining all the wank?”
Wank is more literal than intended
This anime was the result. It’s a mindless, clichéd slug-fest that tries so hard to recapture the magic of its source material that it completely misses the mark and swings right back around to horrible. The characters have the depth of a teaspoon, the action sequences may as well have been choreographed by Hellen Keller for all that you can make out through all the movement blur and gore. Even the protagonist of Dante, who’s supposed to be an unlike-able douche, somehow managed to come off as even less endearing and even more of a wanker.
Do you feel lucky, punk?
Add to the list of crimes terrible voice acting and a lack of any coherent themes or interesting plot (even when compared against the games) and you’ve got the makings of an anime that was dead before it left the drawing board.
#3 – Duel Masters
Duel Masters, as some of you may know, is an anime about a spry, spiky-haired lad giving it his all in life-or-death battles involving special trading cards and a severe lack of adult supervision. Over the course of his journey, the protagonist will encounter new friends and enemies whilst unravelling a dark secret thousands of years in the making. There was something about Egypt, too. I might have nodded off at some point but you get the gist.
Oh wait, that was Yu-gi-oh.
Duel Masters is actually a largely nondescript series with largely the same premise as the aforementioned trading card romp, that simultaneously manages to be twice as tedious while falling into all the same trappings as its predecessor, and then some. It’s a series that seems to be trying to cash in on the fad at the time (the fad presumably being series based around card games and trying to be the very best at them) and failing spectacularly.
#2 – SD Gundam Force
Here we are, the big number two. It’s apt, somehow. First, lets get this out of the way. SD in the name stands for “super deformed”, not “superior defender”, you slack-jawed yokel! With that cleared up, lets talk about why it’s the second worst anime that has ever ravaged my eyeballs with its foulness.
PREPARE YOURSELF, HUMAN
This series, though targeted at a younger demographic, manages to take all the things that make Gundam (and the mecha genre in general) interesting, strip it away and replace it with some terrible cell-shaded 3D models that look like they were done in a middle-school computer lab. In this rendition of the Gundam franchise, bright-eyed humans co-exist with these robotic abominations in the utopian city of Neotopia. That all goes to hell when some evil, but equally abominable robots known as the Dark Axis decide, “fuck all that shit, we’re robots damn it!” and proceed to wreck up the place. Copy and paste that synopsis for fifty two episodes and you have yourself a series. A really bad series.
I get it, it’s for kids and I shouldn’t be expecting any plot development or overarching themes beyond what can hold the attention-span of the younger demographic.
Look! A squirrel!
No, SD Gundam Force takes this spot on the list for being the avatar of the bottom line in anime. Forget the sanctity of a franchise, established mythos or fan base; if they think they can sell these day-glo midget Gundams to unsuspecting children, they damn well will. And there’s nothing you can do about it.
#1 – The Prince of Tennis
Here we are. Number one. This series has a special place in my cold, black heart as the most baffling of the entries on this list. It’s an anime about tennis. Tennis.
The series’ creators, in their infinite wisdom try to sell The Prince of Tennis as a slice-of-life anime with some semblance of a story beyond, well, tennis. Don’t be fooled. This is as boring as it gets. It’s the audio-visual equivalent of a funectomy. And truth be told, if you’re into watching nearly two-fucking-hundred episodes of a kid improving his tennis chops, more power to you. You’re probably crazy. Or Australian.
If you’re like the rest of us, watching this series from start to finish is like pulling teeth. It lacks any human drama, emotional depth, compelling plot, interesting characters, or anything that could make the experience enjoyable. You don’t care who wins or loses, you don’t care if Ryoma masters his backhand, you just want it to be over.
This makes it even more puzzling to me because the series went on for years and has a huge fan base. It’s blown up into a media franchise, with books, radio shows, video games, soundtracks, movies (both animated as well as live action) and a god damn stage musical.