I know this is always a controversial topic whenever it is brought up, but it needs to be said just as much as the good anime of the year need to be told. Not every anime can have critical appeal, be entertaining or be popular. There are shows like Pupa that stand out within a year, shows that do show up and attempt to be more than they are and fall flat. One’s that you need to warn people about or give disclaimers for. You can’t have the good without at the very least some bad. So here are my least favourite anime of 2016!
10. Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri 2nd Season/Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There! Fire Dragon Arc
Fantasy fulfillment never felt so shallow and patriotic, GATE makes me semi-sick when I start to think about it. We are watching a stereotype of what people think an otaku is go through some fantasy fulfillment quests checking off a list as it goes along. There are very blunt and straightforward characters, like the infamous Rory Mercury who has as much depth as Belle’s Magical World and the other characters are not much better. The villains are cookie cutter and just not fun to watch in the slightest, not even Tyuule can stir interest in her trying to overthrow and ruin Zolzal. To the series credit though I honestly do like some of its scenes regarding Itami and Tuka when they are pretending to be father and daughter. It was sweet and at times well executed with some scenes you couldn’t help but shake off the cynicism to smile. GATE has competence in there, but it is hidden by this thick veneer of patriotism and shallow pandering that almost smothers all the good will I had for it in its decent to meh opening season.
9. Gakusen Toshi Asterisk 2nd Season/The Asterisk War: The Academy City on the Water
Gakusen Toshi Asterisk is bland and generic that is for certain. It has problems making the characters it has relatable to the viewing audience and it forgoes character development or depth in this second season to focus on fights. They may be flashy, but without direction in its fight choreography and cinematography most of the fights fall flat. Many praise Asterisk for at the very least having entertaining fights, but most of the times I struggle to find the artistry in its fights. The lens flares, the broad strokes, the lack of interesting angles in moments, these fights look really cookie cutter when compared to some of the more kinetic fights found in battle shounens like Naruto, One Piece, Hunter x Hunter 2011 (most of which have a budget that is spread thin mind you). There are better ways for you to enjoy fights and be invested in the characters fighting them, but Asterisk is just not interested in giving you a well-rounded experience and instead attempts to set up yet another sequel in its final episodes rather than build off the prior events.
Bakuon is just a cash grab of an idea, girls on motorcycles. At the very least Rolling girls had some nice animation and interesting story choices to go off of, Bakuon has none of that in the slightest. It adheres to some referential motorcycle humour that you won’t get if you don’t know the content making a lot of the show only for a specific niche group of viewers. They explain some of the jokes which inadvertently ruins the joke, but sometimes the visual comedy comes off so well it bypasses that niche to be enjoyed by a broader audience. Bakuon has talent behind its staff, but the pandering goes to extremes in moments and you know that this series was merely just to cash in the moe aesthetic without adding anything or making it even remotely rewatchable for those not into moe or motorcycles. It makes it fall flat on its face when it could easily have escaped its fate in my bottom 10.
Travesty is the one word that best describes the mess that is Rewrite. I watched this one on good faith from someone enjoying the visual novel and saying that it has a lot of potential to be good. I can see its potential to be good, but the rushed nature of it, the long bouts of confusing exposition or even sequencing of events makes this just one big mess of character motivations. I lost the ability to discern what I enjoyed about the show and it did a fart joke…that is modern day Adam Sandler levels of comedy! I tried to enjoy it because there is actually some very interesting things within its story and the characters begin to have depth, yet it throws it all away in the end. I found myself wondering what it was I truly watched, and I realized that what I watched was one of the worst wastes of potential all year.
6. Seisen Cerberus: Ryuukoku no Fatalités
I never thought Dragon Heart in anime format would be this terrible. Can I just have Sean Connery as a dragon again? Seisen Cerberus is the random scraps from good fantasy outings, I mean take your pick and you will find a lot tropes exploited here. It creates one of the most bland fantasy adventures in a long time with a dreadful animation style that I still wonder if it was worth advertising the game with this type of crap. Yes another video game adaptation makes onto this list much like one of my least favourite anime last year, Gunslinger Stratos. At least this bland fare never turned ultimately confusing with some elements honestly didn’t mind in the grand scheme of things.
5. Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu/Girls Beyond the Wasteland
Shoujo-tachi was dead on arrival. Usually I’m okay with unoriginal material, but Shoujo-tachi made me care about that for once…I hate it even more for that. It should be about the execution, and to its credit Shoujo-tachi does have a goal to reach with its story that could make it heartfelt. I mean Orange had an easily digestible story, unoriginal in a lot of ways when looking at romance, but it still managed to execute itself well enough to not be bogged down by its painting by the numbers in moments. Shoujo-tachi on the other hand is bogged down by its predictability because you know exactly how everything is going to end, it’s just how it tries to prolong it shows the desperation of the studio to make this thing work in its runtime. A lot of scenes are trivial, many pointless, and almost all the scenes regarding some characters are just rehashed creating a never-ending cycle of by the numbers romance writing. It tried to be something akin to Shirobako and others of its brethren, but those aspirations quickly deflate in its opening episode.
4. Mayoiga/The Lost Village
See if you told me Mayoiga would have been on the bottom of my year list when I originally saw the PVs for it, I would have told you that you were crazy. Now after having watched it, my one reaction is how disappointed I am in its team. There is something here, there is potential here! The ideas it has range from good and intriguing to at least decent when on paper. The execution of everything was exactly what I should have seen coming with the director of Another attempting another horror. No, this was not as funny since I feel you can see it try to be insane and stupid. Trying too hard to make itself a bad b-horror film when I would say it actually has some good elements in the beginning clashed far too much making me wonder if they had any idea of what they were doing. This is not parodying the previous work in my opinion since Another was just so much more rewatchable for having that saving grace of it not actually being planned on being so bad. Like Final Destination, Another deserves a watch for its surprisingly unintentional dark humour that if you let can easily make you laugh. Mayoiga should just be forgotten by the time next year rolls around.
3. Big Order
The beautiful trainwreck of the year that made me laugh away the pain, Big Order edges out Mayoiga for a spot in the bottom three of the year for me. With at least Mayoiga you could say you can see the potential it had to be a competent work, Big Order just baffles how it even got greenlit. There are so many problems with not only the technical side of the series, but just about anything regarding its narrative that was so terrible and insulting that it’s hard to take it seriously. The worst kind of Stockholm syndrome, weird design choices, and an attempt to capitalize on Mirai Nikki make this thing just that much worse and earned it this prestigious spot.
2. Scared Rider Xechs
I never knew we needed an awkwardly handled Power Rangers show. I mean I honestly had no idea what was going on at all when I was watching it as its pacing and scenes never flowed together creating one of the hardest series of the year to follow. Politics, weird quirks, poorly animated combat and design scheme that felt like a Hot Topic knock off. Scared Rider Xechs managed to out horrible the previous two and one could say that is an achievement all on its own.
1. Ao Oni the Animation
I don’t think I have witnessed anything, and I mean anything, more painful to watch than Ao Oni the Animation this year. Based off the cult classic RPGmaker game, Ao Oni, this weird short attempts to use gore along with bland as heck comedy to shameful results. Studio Deen has a problem with recently ending up in my worst anime of the year, but the last time I saw something this bad was with the travesty that was Pupa that crapped on all its good will. Ao Oni almost lost Studio Deen’s good will yet again after such a spectacular opening with the year with shows like Konosuba and Shouwa Genroku. They still want to make a serious film after this mess and I really hope that it turns out better.
As much as I may love some anime this year, the overwhelming number of anime that missed the mark is just too much to be ignored. I have quite a few anime that also deserve to be on this list, but I either gave myself a break for once and didn’t finish them or they were slightly better than the ones on this list. Let’s see what the finally tally is for the seasons: Winter has 2, Spring comes out of the gate swinging with 5, Summer has 2, and Fall comes in strong with only 1. That single Fall show however could end up on my list of least favourite shows of all time. So do you think I am being a bit too harsh on these shows? What show could you not sit through this year? Feel free to leave a comment down below and don’t forget to have yourself a great day!