Original post by Boogie Knight
For many people, anime was a marvelous window into a whole new world with different aesthetics and narratives which provided a nice break from the tired and stale tropes used in the movies one grew up with. However, watch enough anime and over time one will learn that the medium is just as susceptible to the foibles and utter incompetence which make a creative business rather bland. Thankfully, I learned this early on when I first got into watching anime, and the experience saved me from turning into a stereotypical weeabo. So, with the end of the year upon us, I’d like to share the five worst anime I have seen thus far, and let us hope the new year provides more of the good stuff.
5. Tenchi Muyo! OAV 3
The original two OAVs where first introduced to many Western fans through the Toonami block. This also introduced fans to the harem anime genre, though it was probably best remembered for freely mixing genres of sci-fi, comedy, romance, and so on. Unfortunately, the Toonami airing seemed to have cut out an epilogue which introduced a rival for Tenchi with similar abilities and one of the powers that be warning the rival against fighting him. Between that and what we did see in the Toonami run, some very promising raising of the stakes were hinted at. Plenty of hardcore fans couldn’t wait for a continuation of the OAV series, eager to see what directions the story might take them.
But wait they did, for about seven years. What we got was the closest anime will ever get to The Phantom Menace. The third OAV was a failure on many levels, and not just for having a worse case of Venom Syndrome than even Spider-Man 3. Reducing “Z” to little more than a bookend was a bad call. He could have been a straightforward rival, he could have tried to recruit Tenchi into his cause of revolt against the powers, or he could have become buds with Tenchi and merely going through the motions of rivalry when the girls are looking. In the first episode there was hints at a potentially good episode with normal people finding out about Tenchi’s living situation, but this goes nowhere, not even as a way of showing how far Tenchi has been separated from the “real world.”
Problems not only arise from what was missing, but from what was put in. Adding a new girl in a new season of a harem anime is par for the course, but I can’t bring myself to like Noike. Heaven knows the creators tried their hardest to make us think she was awesome. She was partners with Mihoshi, adopted into the Jurai royal family, and even has that female half of Kagato rattling around in her head (long story, and even when explained it makes no sense). If they had to add a new girl, a girl who was partners with Mihoshi would be okay, if she was a normal person we could relate to, all the better. The only problem is that for years we already had such a girl called Kiyone Makibi. While talking about Noike, it’s worth bringing up that the most action we get throughout the entire OAV is the semi transparent nudes of Ryoko and Ayeka, while the actual anime shortchanges the viewer, not even relegating the perfunctory fanservice to a single episode where it might at least have the cover of context. And while there is a bathing scene, Noike never shows the goods because she’s so damn special she’s above getting naked like every other gals character in the previous OAVs.
Apparently, a good chunk of the OAV involved characters who were part of the GXP spin-off series, which I did not watch because it was a spin-off. And there was a sister who Tenchi never knew he had who appears, then vanishes, and doesn’t do a thing to advance anything which only leaves the question of what the whole point of the character was. Another reason why OAV 3 was a complete clusterfuck has to do with information that was never available within the anime, but in doujinshi that was a vanity project of one of the creators. You never make side stuff essential to knowing what the hell is going on! You can incorporate ideas, even copy and paste side stuff into the main series, but never make fucking doujinshi essential reading to knowing what the hell is going on. On the other hand, a comedy can be given a lot of latitude if a nonsensical plot at least connects on joke to another, but the crux of the problem is that the third OAV just isn’t funny in the slightest. Oh, and while it’s normal for fans to reflexively reject new VAs, turning Ryoko from femme fatale to wannabe Etna was very unbecoming.
Few experiences are as agonizing as hating something that one dearly wants to like. Squandered potential and bad ideas define an anime which had plenty to bring to the table. Whatever the future of the franchise may be, there’s not much hope for it. To be blunt I hope that everybody just walks away from the mess and develop new properties to build up and eventually botch.
4. Fencer of Minerva.
Criticizing an anime released in the 90s for having a bad dub is like complaining about silent movies not having recorded dialogue. Yet, Fencer of Minerva manages to have the single worst dub I have ever heard. The dialogue belongs with the speeches of mass murdering despots in the compendium of most horrid things ever uttered by the human mouth. The dub was literally physically painful to listen to.
And for good measure, the whole thing was creepy as hell. John Norman’s Gor novels are the fantasies of a bad writer venting frustrations at women who resemble old girlfriends. Someone in Japan apparently found a copy of his drivel and thought, “Gotta get me some of that!” Thus, we get the complete subjugation of the female sex which makes Analogue: A Hate Story the Disney version as the cherry on the sludge sundae which is Fencer of Minerva.
3. Ninja Resurrection
This was the anime which sobered me up to the reality that anime can suck just like anything else. Ninja Scroll was one of the most awesome action films of all time, anime or otherwise, and naturally anything connected to Ninja Scroll would benefit from the goodwill. While Ninja Resurrection takes inspiration from the same novels, and has a main character with some similarities, the two anime are as different as can be. Ninja Scroll has some dark subject matter, but Resurrection assaults the viewer with senseless violence and nobody to honestly root for. That the series was never finished only indicates that even the individuals involved in bringing the anime to life thought they were making a piece of crap.
Ninja Resurrection covers an interesting, if somewhat bleak point in history when the shogunate instituted harsh policies which persecuted Christians within Japan. However, as a number of these stories seem to do, they go off in this bizarre supernatural direction which leaves the viewer scratching their head wondering if the historical context is just an excuse for demons and such to pop up. A little sad when Samurai Champloo is the anime which comes to mind which tackled the subject best, but even as an action piece Ninja Resurrection fails to raise the pulse. One particular case of violence really turned my stomach and twice the anime rubbed it in my face to make sure I couldn’t selectively forget it. If anyone tries to get you to watch Ninja Resurrection, just watch Ninja Scroll again and save yourself the misery.
2. Elfen Lied
This anime gets plugged every so often, and I think the main reason is Elfen Lied being the initiation of many viewers to an ultraviolent anime which was one big downer. And since they were teenagers at the time, excessive violence and being an oppressive downer were signs of maturity. I’ve only seen it within the last year and have been able to look at it with more grown up eyes and found myself in horror.
Starts out simple enough, naked girl with weird high tech stuff on her slaughtering soldiers with her mind, but there was the apparent subplot with a secretary or assistant trying to get the coffee just right for a man. All hell breaking loose doesn’t trouble her one bit as she remains fixated on pleasing this guy. Soldiers ineffectively struggle to stop the mysterious mass murderer from escaping, and the assistant steps into harms way and naked girl doesn’t hesitate to add her to the body count. Her dying words about the coffee for the superior who looks on in horror, and I assume this scene was to make it clear to the audience that naked girl is a violent lunatic more than a wronged party unleashing vengeance on her captors. Coleman Francis can rest easy knowing that someone has carried on the tradition of making coffee an important plot point.
The bloodthirsty nudist escapes, but a blow to the head turns her into a drooling idiot with the mental age of a toddler. What transpires is one of the clumsiest narrative messes as one contrivance and unsettling scene is put before the audience in the saddest attempt to delay the inevitable and just deal with the obvious plot twist hinted at in the first episode. Two amnesiacs in one anime just might be the laziest device ever employed to keep the real plot from happening.
A bleak worldview doesn’t automatically make Elfen Lied bad, but goodness what we get seems to come more from a goal of creating maximum drama rather than a perspective shaped by getting kicked around by life. The brutality and excessive cruelty of various scenes results in an anime which is defined by bad taste.
How much do I hate Eiken? The only way I could hate Eiken more is if it poisoned my stepfather in his sleep and married my mother. I’m not gonna lie and say I never enjoyed a stupid anime which existed solely for the purpose of shameless titillation. Still, it’s hard to think of another anime which has absolutely no redeeming qualities. Sad thing is, if the twisted mind behind it really tried, the damned thing could have been a brilliant parody, or even a satire addressing the excesses of media images or the external qualities which spark initial attraction and the bullshit people come up with after the fact to justify the attraction.
Then again, I might well be tormenting myself in the fruitless exercise of trying to turn something mind numbingly stupid into sublime genius. The horrendous proportions and atrocious depictions of the female form are like the scribbles of small children or primitive cultures who worship alien gods waiting for the stars to be right. Let this sink in for a moment: Eiken’s freakishly proportioned women make the Dead or Alive franchise’s inflated figures not so bad by comparison.
Adding insult to injury, this semi-pornographic peepshow parades as a romantic comedy while it presents the male and female leads with so little chemistry and no personalities to speak of… their lameness almost makes them perfect for each other in their War on Quality. While aping a few things that the creator of the original manga might have seen in better stuff, Eiken just goes through the motions without anything that could honestly be called romance. Two people being this stupid together isn’t true love, at best it’s the prologue of a Maury Povich babydaddy episode. Of course a lot of this could be forgiven if this piece of crap was at least funny, or at least presented an amusing diversion.
I did a bit of research, and apparently the original manga has at least fourteen volumes with over a hundred chapters total. Somehow there are enough people reading it for the unholy thing to have lasted as long as it has. Duke Nukem Forever you can chalk up to one little adventure in bad taste, but for the manga to have lasted so long a number of people had to have kept supporting. This might be the true horror: Eiken can be one of the worst anime ever, but there are enough people who just don’t care.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, these are the five worst anime I have ever seen thus far. Wait patiently, and I’ll come up with the five best anime I have seen in 2012. Feel free to comment below or email me: email@example.com