A while back, I posted a list of my top 20 anime of all time. Then a Certain Someone suggested I do a list of my top 20 anime shows I disliked the most. I saw two problems with this: the first being that I’m just not that much of a masochist, and the second that, as Peter from Too Old for Anime pointed out, it’s not really possible to fully judge an anime that hasn’t been watched all the way through – and let’s be honest, patience isn’t my strong suit, so there are a great many titles that I’ve dropped from boredom and/or disgust after only an episode or two.
Know what miraculously solves both these problems? Scraping together a top 5 list instead.
Despite the somewhat misleading title of this article, I’m making no claims about the below anime being the worst of all time. They’re clearly not, as I haven’t stuck with any anime series all the way through that I’ve truly disrespected or hated that much. They’re simply shows that, for whatever reason, I happen to have watched every single episode of and then decided were utter crap. I’m discounting OVAs and specials, as most of these require comparatively very little time to sit through.
5. Princess Princess
Generally speaking, gender bending as a major plot point in anime doesn’t work for me – particularly males cross-dressing as females. There are certainly titles where this is done realistically and sensitively (Hourou Musuko), and when it’s used to say something genuinely interesting and thought-provokingly about its characters (Kuragehime), but Princess Princess depicts about the most idiotic excuse for cross-dressing I’ve ever seen: three boys dressing up as girls in order to carry on the time-honoured tradition of breaking up the monotony of daily life at their all-male school. These ‘princesses’ are always first-year students who are popular, pretty, and as yet physically undeveloped so that they can more convincingly wear dresses at morning meetings and school events. Oh yeah – and students who are elected for this position are unable to refuse (but don’t worry, they get paid for it)! Yup, it’s about as respectful and fascinating as it sounds. Essentially, Princess Princess is a comedy-drama where the jokes don’t work and nothing ever really happens – a flimsy excuse for three bishounen (each with a different hair colour, of course) to be dressed up in maid, nurse, and lolita outfits without actually having to engage in any kind of meaningful (or even entertaining) storytelling.
4. Galilei Donna
While Galilei Donna is ostensibly less offensive than Princess Princess, it gets an even worse ranking from me because while I can’t imagine the latter title is making any kind of serious attempt to be good, Galilei Donna comes across as though it actually thinks it is. Hoo boy. Now to give credit where credit is due, the anime takes one or two episodes before revealing its complete and utter incompetence in instigating a plot that makes one lick of sense – the admittedly nice artwork no doubt fools a few people for a little while there. But don’t worry, even if the story eventually spirals into an almost laughable place of no return what with its evil corporations, sky pirates, time travel, and magical goldfish (not to mention one hell of an awkward romance), our originally-named characters are sure to appeal to the most discerning of viewers. Hozuki of course gets the most screen-time because she’s the perky genius loli of the outfit. Middle sister Kazuki is the ‘cool’ one whose outright bitchiness is only a mask for how deeply sensitive she is, probably. But if neither of these girls do it for you then there’s still Hazuki, a college student studying to be a lawyer. She’d probably have more success if she didn’t drink/sleep all the time, but meh, minor details. Billed as a sci-fi action/adventure, Galilei Donna is so nonsensical that I can’t even view it as unintentional comedy.
3. Strawberry Panic
I’ve never been a major fan of the yuri anime genre – too soap-opera for my tastes – but I can still think of plenty of titles off the top of my head that treat lesbianism with more realism and originality than this. Alright, so maybe that’s a ridiculous thing to say, since every yuri anime I’ve seen treats lesbianism with more realism and originality than this. Strawberry Panic is what Maria-sama ga Miteru would be if the latter had zero subtlety and way more cleavage; it’s one almost parody-like cliché after another, while random outbreaks of fanservice give it just that extra bit of trashiness. Think of Strawberry Panic as the definitive Mills & Boon of yuri anime – melodramatic, predicable, and cheap as it gets. If you desperately want to watch girls quite literally swooning over their goddess-like peers, or endearing crushes playing out like obsessive stalker sub-plots, or ‘princes’ saving the day on pure-white horses while hordes of minor characters squee like banshees in the background, then this is the show for you. Otherwise, you could always go try a yuri series that doesn’t feel like an insult to your intelligence with every episode.
2. Orphen Revenge
I’m not entirely sure how anyone thought that they could spin a decent story out of 23 episodes and a poor excuse for a sequel, but clearly someone decided to take a swing at it. Unfortunately, and completely unsurprisingly, it didn’t work; Revenge is poorly written, badly animated, strewn with dull filler, and liberally sprinkled with comedy moments that utterly miss their mark. Luckily, the ever-exciting battle monologues might distract you from some of this, while Horton and Balkan, nobody’s favourite characters from the first season, get more screen time than ever so as to liven things up even more with their apparently hilarious antics. Meanwhile, Cleao really breaks out of her whiny rich-girl stereotype to grow into her intriguing role as Main Love Interest, and Majic totally comes into his own as a bit of a ladies’ man. You know, fantasy at its finest. I recommend this series to anyone looking for the most pointless ‘revenge’ story they’ve ever seen, or else to anyone who has the sudden urge to waste about 8 hours of their life.
1. Meine Liebe
I never made it through the second season of Meine Liebe, but I did finish the first. Looking back, I’ve no idea how, as this is one of the dullest anime I’ve ever seen. Meine Liebe is based on a series of dating sims, and so while I can’t say that I went in expecting the most engaging of plotlines, I did at least expect to at least be mildly entertained. Unfortunately, that’s exactly where Meine Liebe falls flat on its face. For a title with a cast chock-full of bishounen as the main attraction, this in an incredibly dialogue-heavy show, and one that takes itself entirely too seriously at that. If you think you’d like a reverse-harem that for once isn’t also a comedy, think again because this is seemingly the result; a stuffy pseudo-European setting that tries for political intrigue and instead delivers lashings of inner angst with a big helping of stiff drama and a side-dish of misogyny. The story is about as coldly flat yet oddly pompous as most of its characters, who feel remarkably similar to expressionless cardboard cutouts with entitlement issues. While the character designs may well appeal to some viewers (manga artist Yuki Kaori, best known for Count Cain and Angel Sanctuary, has a very distinctive art style), it’s just not enough to distract from any of Meine Liebe’s myriad of shortcomings. Long story short, it’s a snoozefest from beginning to end.
Question of the post: What’s the worst anime TV series you’ve watched all the way through, and what made you decide to tough it out?