The Bottom Three Anime of 2015, and All the Rest


This post is guaranteed to piss someone off.

As you can easily note, there are significantly fewer series on my worst list than on my best. Primarily, this is from the simple fact that I don’t typically persist in watching things that I dislike past a few episodes; I figured out ages ago that forcing oneself through to the bitter end is a really great way to burn out on any medium. Given that I didn’t finish many shows that I didn’t enjoy, then, I had a pretty small pool to draw on, made even smaller by the fact that I wanted to stick to the stuff I truly found awful.

So, first I’ve got the worst, and the latter part of this post is for all the rest.

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3. K: Return of Kings

I’ve written so very much about this show and why it was so terrible, so I don’t want to go on at much length about it here. For ROK, GoHands gutted what made the first season work as goofy fun, shifting focus away from the core triplet of Neko, Kuroh, and Shiro and onto characters that weren’t even half as charming. It also took a story that at most had enough to it for six episodes of content and spread it out over thirteen. ROK would’ve been served better by having been a movie, or having been combined with the plot of the Missing Kings movie to make a TV series. As it was, it was a few action set pieces sandwiched by a whole lot of people mumbling semi-coherently around tables with MAD FILTERZZZ… emphasis on the ‘zzz’ bit! Oh, and terrible political philosophies oozing from every spinning camera. What a tremendous disappointment for a franchise that used to be good popcorn entertainment.

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2. Death Parade

I’ll admit to having felt some leeriness about listing this as I am in an extreme minority on this, but I hated Death Parade. It so often felt like it was just missing the ability to be some good, in part because it didn’t seem satisfied to stick to a solid but quiet denouement when it could go into complete melodrama territory. The mini-arc with the cop and the teenager with the imouto plot device ended so absurdly, and I still do not at all understand why anyone thought it was a brilliant idea to have had the idol killed by a bomb. I also couldn’t stand its treatment of its female characters, from the consistently crappy attitude it had toward the teenaged Mayu, to its vicious demonization of a domestic violence victim, to the bog-standard usage of the uguu so innocent imouto of the aforementioned mini-arc as a plot device for her brother’s story. (And I haven’t even mentioned the mind-numbingly idiotic twist that – SHOCK – the girl in episode four had had… plastic surgery! So scandalous! It was so amazing that the guy was just wonderful about that and able to accept her! What a great guy! If I eyerolled any harder, my eyes would come loose from my skull.) I loathed this show, and I’m honestly pissed at it for not being much better since the raw material had a lot of potential.

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  1. Vampire Holmes

As much as I hated ROK and Death Parade, though, Vampire Holmes was by far the worst thing I watched this year. It’s also the only thing I’d recommend folks check out on this list! Vampire Holmes was impressively bad, as there truly was nothing redeeming about it. The art and animation started out rough before deteriorating into Microsoft Paint backgrounds, it immediately forgot its supposed plot before picking it back up again in the second-to-last episode, the characters had no depth… well, the voice-acting wasn’t terrible. Episodes were only roughly three minutes long to begin with, with OP and ED eating into that, but by the midpoint, twenty seconds of each episode was being sucked up by a direct advertisement for the mobage that differed not at all over the remaining episodes. Despite being billed as a mystery story somehow related to vampires, Vamp Holmes was a weird almost slice-of-life show that picked a new, random thing to do every week that had no effect whatsoever on anything that subsequently followed. I recommend watching Vamp Holmes as it’s rare that a show completely flames out in every regard. *This* is what truly bad anime looks like. I almost feel badly about holding it up as such, as the thing was a one man project, but there are other folks out there who’ve largely worked alone and produced good anime (Makoto Shinkai, Soubi Yamamoto). But, still – watch it! It’s so bad that it needs to be seen to be believed!

And, now, for all the rest:

The Perfect Insider – Closer to the sort of thing noitaminA used to reliably give us, but couldn’t quite clinch it as it was far too enamored of the putrid philosophy of its antisocial serial killer. I liked Nishinosono a lot, and think the show worked best when it was more about her than it was about its emotionally immature geniuses.

Go! Princess Precure – Not done yet (still four episodes to go), I wish this had been better. The good episodes were very good, and it had visual direction that frequently was impressive, but the bad, fluffier episodes were mind-numbingly boring. I also found its focus on wealth and fame as goals in and of themselves off-putting, especially in a show for small children.

Rokka – Braves of the Six Flowers – Reallllly bad ending. If they’d cut off before the recycled plot twist, I could’ve lived with it, but the recycle was so, so bad. The stuff which preceded it, though, kept me guessing endlessly, and I really enjoyed the ride. Also: equal opportunity boob bandages.

Himouto! Umaru-chan – “Japanese Garfield” is such a good description of this show. The first two-thirds or so are decent comedy, and I found Umaru’s terrible behavior entrancing. How bad could this brat get? But in the final few episodes, it seemed to be spinning its wheels, and it lost much of the comedy, making for dull viewing. And I really could’ve done without the “omg, old maid (real age: 24 years old) career woman is sooo lonely because she wants a man” subplot.

Re-Kan! – Pleasant but not terribly memorable. Marred by the nasty cat ghost/demon thing that is given to committing sexual harassment, although by the fourth episode I’d started fast-forwarding through his scenes.

Aldnoah.Zero Season 2 – Bad, but not bad enough to make my worst list, largely because it somehow managed to conclude it’s love triangle in a way that made perfect sense while also not being at all what anyone was expecting. I thought the first season was pretty bad, too, but at least it had some semblance of logical progression, whereas this seemed like the staff had no clue as to how to get from point A to point B. Would’ve at least been interesting if they’d stuck to the dramatic conclusion of the first season, although I doubt it would’ve turned out any better.

Blood Blockade Battlefront – Another series that I wish was better. This had some truly great episodes, but I had almost no interest in the story involving the twins, as fun as it was to have Rie Kugimiya talking to herself in their scenes.

Idolm@ster Cinderella Girls – Turned out to be surprisingly decent, and, in fact, was one of the series I liked better than most this year. However, the cast was bloated off the bat and this was only made worse in the second season. Also, wow, so subtle – Cinderella Project vs. Project Crone? Good one. And did we really have to have that creepy combo of twelve year old trying to be sexy while also being cast to play a kindergartener? Yuck! Her gravure scene with her sister right at the end just made it worse. Wish we’d had more of characters like Minami or Kirarin rather than having spent time on Rika.

Comical Psychosomatic Medicine – Did anyone watch this? I know my husband did, since I likely only watched the entire thing because it was one of the only shows that season we watched together, but I haven’t seen anyone else talk about this. It was fine; sometimes it was quite funny, even.

Gakkou-Gurashi – Just missed the cut for my top ten, this was a well-constructed horror show that unfortunately didn’t quite stick the landing and also had a completely egregious fanservice episode shoehorned in. If your characters are going to have blobby baby heads, I really don’t want to see their jiggly cleavage, thank you! But for the most part this was the sort of horror I like – slow-boil, where a lot of the scare comes from what is left unsaid and unseen.

Shimoneta  – Much better than I expected. It started off a bit rough, with the stupid equivalency of sexual harassment and rape with having access to erotica and sex education, but it settled down into a funny and sharp critique of social attitudes about sex and sexuality, and censorship. But not only did it have a good sense of humor, I really loved its heroine, Kajo, whose exuberant promotion of sexual knowledge was depicted earnestly instead of the gross/creepy way that is the norm for teenaged female anime characters who don’t blush about hand-holding. In yet another year where girls were either thinking they were SO PERV for wanting to hold hands or chucking themselves clothesless at boys who kept saying “no”, she was such a breath of fresh air.

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25 Responses to The Bottom Three Anime of 2015, and All the Rest

  1. Rae says:

    Agreed with DP. I had a lot of issues with the story feeling lackluster and how the female character were treated. I did like the OST though. It worked a lot of better as a movie/OVA than series imho.

    • A Day Without Me says:

      Yeah, the OST was pretty solid, and I did really enjoy the visual style… I’ve heard from other folks that as a short OAV it worked a lot better, so I am still open to checking that out. This was, though, really one of the few shows this year that I felt this persistent sense of “are we watching the same thing???” when looking at other’s reactions, so its a bit nice to learn that I’m not alone in my opinion on it.

      • Rae says:

        Agreed, I mentioned it elsewhere but it ended up having a bit of a flame war on whether or not I *really* knew whether or not female characters were treated poorly or not in anime =|

  2. JekoJeko says:

    Hmm. Gakkou Gurashi!’s fanservice episode, if you don’t give it the label ‘fanservice’ the moment you see a little more of their tits, contains some of the most pivotal moments for the show, and also represents how, at that point in the story, these four girls had achieved the height (on the roof, fittingly) of stereotypical high school slice-of-life living, further emphasised by Miki finally embracing the point of Yuki’s delusion during this extreme example of it. Did you think the fanservice in Hanasaku Iroha was also egregious?

    It’s a bit of a shame that this blog hosts another of those critics that criticises tits on screen for being tits, and doesn’t stop to question if they mean anything more. Feels like the internet’s going backwards again.

    • A Day Without Me says:

      Yeahhhh the blogger who listed Prison School and Triage-X in their top ten for 2015 just instantly hates the second boobage shows up on-screen. You are *so* onto something here.

      • JekoJeko says:

        I am. You’re trying to let genre do the analysis for you, and it’s failing. You provide no justification for the fanservice being an issue other than a note that the characters have ‘blobby baby heads’. You permit fanservice in an ecchi show and immediately dismiss it elsewhere, despite the fact that the character with the ‘blobbiest baby head’ in GG! has almost no cleavage to show. Can you, say, not go to the beach for fear of seeing all those ten-year-old girls running around in bathing suits? If that’s not a problem, Gakkou Gurashi!’s pool episode can’t be one either.

        Try grounding your criticism in aspects of the show itself, rather than responding to my comments with pure self-indulgent sass. It gets you nowhere.

        • A Day Without Me says:

          Try harder, bro. Your insults are pretty adorable, though. Maybe next time try leading with something less condescending if you were actually interested in debating something from the get-go? With a little ganbatte, I know you can do it!

          But, in all seriousness, dude, I would’ve been willing to take you seriously if you’d not come out of the gate with cheapo and not particularly intelligent stabs at insults. You lost me when you got snippy solely because you interpreted me as not digging fanservice.

          • JekoJeko says:

            I often lead with something condescending. It separates the guys who know what they’re talking about and the guys who will post the above to get out of having to do their self-appointed internet job properly.

            You’ve just shown yourself to be the kind of salty, over-sensitive blogger who doesn’t get on well with anything that doesn’t wipe their bottom gently. Thanks.

  3. ITS A GUNDAMU says:

    I didnt like Death Parade either!

    • A Day Without Me says:

      I guess more people didn’t than seemed to be the case!

    • omo says:

      Me three:

      > and I’m honestly pissed at it for not being much better since the raw material had a lot of potential.

      Basically. My dislike comes mostly for this. I actually really enjoyed the Death Billiard short and then I started Death Parade and…it goes into stuff I just didn’t sign up for.

      • A Day Without Me says:

        I’ve been meaning to give Death Billiards a go for literally years, and folks who didn’t like Parade saying they did really enjoy Billiards might be the push I needed. One of my issues I didn’t go into (since I didn’t want to write a huge amount about each show) with Parade was that the overarching plot didn’t do anything for me, so Billiards one-shot nature would probably better suit me. Maybe I’m reading too much into what you said, but it sounds like the plot may’ve been an issue for you, too?

  4. anon says:

    I’m really surprised to see Cinderella Girls on your list at all since you seem to talk a lot about not liking idol shows. I thought it was an ok show, but I think you’re right that it spent too much time on characters who weren’t very good. I didn’t like the girls they stuck Rin with as her second idol unit at all…

    • A Day Without Me says:

      Yeah! I can understand your surprise… I’m still pretty skeptical about them as a whole, and I’ve disliked more than I’ve liked (mulling it over, I really enjoyed AKB0048, but I didn’t like Love Live or Wake Up Girls! or even something like Macross Frontier), but I am glad I gave Cinderella Girls a go, and I think I’m a little more willing to try idol shows going forward than I was before. If someone asked me if I’d rather watch an idol show or, hmm, a mech show, I’d still pick the mech show without knowing any additional details.

      I didn’t dislike the new girls Rin was thrown in with, but I didn’t find them compelling, either. The show was just trying to cover WAY too much ground in too little time, and we’d barely had time to spend with New Generations as a trio before they were shuffling it up! Same for Love Laika =/ The only one I think it worked for was Riina and Miku, maybe because it was more about Riina finally getting what it was she was trying to do/trying to be.

  5. idolc@ster says: S2 not bad enough for the worst? really???????????????

    • A Day Without Me says:

      Pretty sad, huh?! I’m guessing you may’ve really liked the first season? I know S2 was a big letdown for a lot of A.Z’s fans, hence my asking. I didn’t like the first season, either, but I do think it sucks for the fans that it flamed out so spectacularly.

      • idolc@ster says:

        i did really like it………………. i was sad that they killed asseylum, but then I was mad that they brought her and inaho back. so stupid. they shouldve staid dead and just had lemrina pretend to be her the whole time, i didnt like her as much but it wouldnt of been stupid………………..

  6. Artemis says:

    I agree with some of these choices/comments and disagree with others. It doesn’t piss me off though. I’m sure this all sounds horribly cliche and all the rest of it, but I truly think it’s just fine (and even good) for people to have differing opinions – but especially when you can back them up in a reasonable and intelligent manner, at which you’re obviously extremely capable.

    • A Day Without Me says:

      Thank you! I appreciate your faith in my abilities. I did expect at least someone to be upset over my sentiments toward Death Parade, as it was widely enjoyed and my issues with it were to do with its treatment of its female cast, a potentially devastating combo! But I’ve instead come to realize that there were apparently more folks who felt that it didn’t quite measure up to snuff for them.

      For my part, I don’t think it sounds cliche at all to be fine with people having differing opinions. It’d be so boring if everyone agreed, and, honestly, even for shows I didn’t like, I like to read what people who liked it have to say about it. Sometimes, even, it gives me an angle I hadn’t considered, and I even occasionally end up re-visiting something and trying it again.

  7. zer0 spider says:

    I don’t get why women even bother with anime. You always get mad about the stupidest shit. Why watch if you always hate everything?

  8. zer0 spider says:

    This is why anime has gotten so shitty. Stupid bitches like you just want shit like Free and Amnesia and Tamako Market, but you get so mad the second anime actually has women who act like women like in Death Parade, or if there’s some fanservice. Go back to fucking Twilight. Dumbass.

    • A Day Without Me says:

      That is an interesting opinion! But maybe, if you don’t like so much anime, you shouldn’t bother with it yourself? Just a suggestion!

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