Wow. It's been a while, hasn't it?
So, I haven't been watching that much anime for the past few months or so. Even though this current season of anime (Spring 2018) and the upcoming season are full of sequels and season threes of anime that I adore such as Steins;Gate, FLCL, Attack on Titan, Full Metal Panic!, and My Hero Academia, I decided that attempting to keep up with the tireless march of the anime seasons was too much for me.
I had finally become burned out after 4 straight years of trying to fully envelop myself in the world of anime. So I thought it was high time to take a bit of a break. But with this newly acquired time, I could now process and analyze what I had watched over the years. In doing so, I more or less re-remembered the feelings I had about some anime that I was never able to adequately explore.
Now, here is where I would like to note that I already have done one of these "Overrated Anime" lists. So before you go wondering where some of more famous titles are, go check out my other overrated list.
And before I get too ahead of myself...
Rules of my List:
1.) No Anime Films: This isn't by any means a new rule, so I'd expect you guys to know this'd be on here for reasons I have previously stated in literally every other list that I've written.
2.) No Repeats: Going back to what I just said, if it's not on this list, it's probably on my older one.
3.) No Rankings: I believe all of these anime to be overrated in one way or another. Why rank them?
4.) No Bandwagoning: This is kind of a new one and I'll explain what I mean by this rule. What I mean is that some of the larger, more controversial titles that are beloved by many usually end up receiving equal amounts of backlash from critics that are quick to hate and berate things that are popular. Some anime that fall into this category are Sword Art Online, Tokyo Ghoul, Yuri!!! On Ice, Akame Ga Kill!, and essentially any shounen currently in existence.
I'll do my best to steer away from titles such as these. However, there WILL BE one exception. Also, as with every other list, I'm only including stuff that I've personally finished.
Please Note!! I greatly enjoyed an overwhelming majority of the anime that I have selected for this list. Most of them are great. However, I'm not sure if they're quite the shining stars of perfection that some members of the community appear to brand them as being.
So, to prevent me form boring you for much longer (hopefully), lets get this show on the road!
This is the sole series on this list that could be considered a series on which I bandwagoned.
Mirai Nikki has been panned repeatedly since its release. Although, as much flack as I see hurled at this mess, I see just as much, if not more of a retaliation defending this series for the supposed masterwork of storytelling and plot conception that it is.
Since most of what I have to say has already been iterated in one fashion or another, I'll try and be brief with my scrutiny:
This series is akin to a 7-year old attempting to make their own lunch. Instead of what a more sensible, mature person would do, the kid just throws a bunch of what looks good into a bowl and eats the concoction with a spatula, claiming that it's delicious. In other words, this series has way too much superfluous plot material and a whole assortment of poorly conceived twists fisted into its story for it to be the least bit cohesive.
It didn't help that Yuuki was also a rather dry main character who relied far too often on Yuno to act as his crutch.
This series is also cringe city. The amount of needlessly grisly imagery and distasteful backstories was overbearing. I don't mean that because it was hard to stomach (at least in the conventional meaning), but because of how it bogged down an already meandering story with fruitless shock value.
Sure, this series did propel Yanderes into the anime forefront with the advent of Yuno Gasai and her juggernaut personality, but that's all this series actually accomplished in my mind.
This series is the token series that has me somewhat stumped as to why I think it's overrated.
Anybody who has watched any amount of television will likely be able to say that there has been at least one show that they have seen or a video that they have watched that failed to live up to the expectations it was given.
I understand that this entire article is essentially about anime that didn't meet my lofty expectations, but I mean this differently. What I mean is that Nozaki-kun simply didn't jive with me in the fashion I expected it would.
The characters were lovable, the comedy was adequate at the absolute least, the art met my standards, and it was overall a fun ride...but that was it.
I think the other thing that detracted from my experience was the fact that there was a looming, ever-present, and subconscious comparison my brain was making to another comedic, reverse harem. That series is of course Ouran High School Host Club. No matter how hard I tried, the uncontrollable Ouran comparisons could not be silenced and it hindered my viewing experience, dramatically.
For all that Nozaki-kun did correctly, I thought Ouran not only did it better, but first, too. I know this is a terrible way to view it, but for the longest time, I thought of Nozaki-kun as a poor man's Ouran for audiences that wanted a less androgynous female lead. And for all you asking, yes - I think differently now.
However, even with my changed stance, the hype and praise this series garnered both commercially and from my friends shot my expectation bar through the stratosphere. Unfortunately, the above average series that Nozaki-kun came out to be ventured nowhere near the pinnacle of my inflated expectations.
It should be evident to anybody that a person's taste in media is about as subjective as something can get. Konosuba is a classic example of how subjectivity can cloud somebody's view - in this case, mine.
To clear things up, Konosuba - and let's just throw Nichijou and Miss Kobayashi back in here while I'm at it - are iconic examples of comedy done correctly in anime. The character chemistry is totally present, the premise is solid, the scripting is executed well, and the character quirks are a wonderful source of laughter for the most part.
But I can only ingest so much mindlessness and fuckery before I can physically feel my brain cells begin to disintegrate. Well-done comedy/slice-of-life anime are a dime a dozen, but I can only tolerate so much of them at a time. That's why I mentioned Miss Kobayashi and Nichijou a few sentences back; they both fall into that category.
However, Konosuba makes it on this list for a two reasons while the former two do not:
1.) Fanservice. Though admittedly not as suspect as say, No Game No Life, Konosuba does retain its own fair share of pointless fanservice that I could've done without. Unless an anime's core function is to flaunt exorbitant amounts of fanservice, I usually view it as a detriment and find it needlessly tacked on.
2.) Over-reliance on character quirks. While I mentioned beforehand that I enjoyed the quirks of the characters in Konosuba, that's where over half of the comedy stems from. I can only laugh at one of Megumin's overly enthused "EXPLOOOOSIONs" and Darkness being clobbered with random objects to the point of orgasming so many times before it runs dry.
Now don't get me wrong, I really did enjoy both seasons of Konosuba. I just wish there was a slight bit more comedic variation to keep me chuckling to myself. But do keep in mind that this is coming from the mouth of a guy with a low ceiling when it comes to tolerating slice-of-life/comedy anime. So take from this what you will.
Let me get one thing straight.
Serial Experiments Lain is iconic, a game-changer, and a masterpiece in terms of the delivery of an abstract, philosophical concept along the lines of other high rollers in the 1990s like Neon Genesis Evangelion and the original Ghost in the Shell film.
The slow, but consistent pacing, evident lack of dialogue, and select imagery are all deliberate and effective mechanisms in generating a vacant ambiance. The way Lain tells its story allows for not only personal interpretation, but the complete absorption of the intricate motifs being fed to the audience.
That being said, while I know it's done on purpose, Lain is lacking in legitimate visual content.
Even though a sizable portion of viewers may not fully understand or even recognize the potent, overarching themes in both Eva and GITS, both anime have enough on-screen action and plot material to entertain those less enticed by the deeper meanings.
I believe that a remarkable amount of Lain's entertainment value stems solely from it's philosophical mind-bending abilities.
In other words, Lain can become excruciatingly boring to even the most invested of viewers. As brilliant as I believe this series to be, I recall accidentally shutting my eyes at a few points during this series because absolutely nothing was happening.
Moreover, this makes it so audience members who can't process abstract conceptualization or who can't quite connect all of Lain's numerous, thematic dots get absolutely nothing out of the series.
So while Serial Experiments Lain may be a huge step for anime, I don't believe that it's 100% flawless.
This series should be infinitely easier to explain as to why it is making an appearance on here.
Once again, I'm a gigantic Clannad fan. I love this series to pieces. Also, I'm only placing the initial season on here because Clannad: After Story is damn near perfect.
But getting back on schedule, Clannad has happened upon the same issue that series like Angel Beats! and Fairy Tail have found themselves a part of. And if you know my current stances on those two anime, you might know where I'm going with this.
At this point in my anime-watching career, my sight has cleared up and I can stare right past the nostalgia that I have with some anime and see them for what they truly are.
So what is Clannad, exactly?
It's an extremely entertaining and fairly well-oiled slice-of-life/romance anime. It made me laugh, it made me depressed, and it just made me feel and care in general. But the more I peer further and further into the heart of this series, I can't help but find that it isn't really anything more than that.
I would like to mention that, in the past, I have said that an anime doesn't need to be revolutionary or flip the paradigm to be astronomically better than others of its same genre. And while Clannad is executed splendidly, I don't believe it's enough to rocket it to some unknown horizon. I've witnessed many others who believe this series to be the high king of slice-of-life romances. However, my opinion is that those fans are only partially correct.
What aids the first season of Clannad in its superstardom is its connection to After Story. The second season of Clannad is the true rock star here. But there comes a point where one has to separate and distinguish the individual seasons for what they do alone, and I think that Clannad's first season doesn't pull as far away from the pack as others believe it does.
Ugh. This fuckin' show.
Addmanrcace did a commendable job at reviewing this series a while back without spoiling anything and was a great deal more gentle with his criticism than what I'm about to be. So I suggest you eventually read his review.
However, the brief praise he presents it with is warranted. Gakkougurashi easily has one of the most gripping pilot episodes of any anime I've ever watched. What is revealed to the viewers by the end opens up countless doors of potential for the series to utilize and explore.
Then what happens? Oh, yeah. Nothing! Nothing else of interest happens!
Somehow, because this series throws a one-time, monolithic wrench-of-a-twist in at the end of the initial episode, it deserves to be recognized as some award worthy innovation in anime.
I watched The Anime Man - whom I can stand less and less of by the second - praise the snot out of this series for it's genius juxtaposition of its opposing setting and genre.
However, the fact of the matter is that after the shocker that is the first episode, the twist is rarely ever utilized again. It's just strategically placed in the background on the occasion to remind the viewer that it's still there. The writers never took any risks, the infinite subplots that could've been used are never even teased, and it just ends up being a stinking heap of dirge and could-have-beens.
If you're ever to watch this series, just understand that it's not nearly as interesting or well-conceived as it masquerades as being.
I have such a love/hate relationship with this series.
On one hand, it takes a huge risk by trying to accomplish something I've never seen done in anime: Telling a story of a realistic, grounded, innocent, middle school romance.
And to the surprise of many, it fuckin' succeeded!
The relationship between the two leads was gradual and believable, the communicative aspects of the series are illustrated as realistically as possible, ENTIRE FAMILIES WERE ACTUALLY PRESENT, and I appreciated the usage of text conversations to convey subtleties.
So, if I think it was such a success, then why is it here?
Well, for the same general reason that Serial Experiments Lain is on this list.
In order to portray a situation as realistically as one can, some sacrifices have to be made. The main toll Tsuki Ga Kirei paid was in my attention span. Tsuki Ga Kirei expertly and meticulously depicts the nuances of a budding first romance. But the reality is that a good portion of first romances are conveyed through awkward staring and just sitting slightly closer to one another than normal.
This meant that there is an overabundance of down time onscreen - time that is just spent documenting the exceedingly ordinary lives of a few middle school kids. Now, I don't know about you, but I found myself constantly begging the series to make something happen. I'm glad that there's finally a series that accurately depicts an innocent crush story, but the truth is that a story like that just isn't insanely interesting.
...and don't even get me started on the repugnant misuse of CG in this series.
Here is a series that I have the polar opposite relationship with than that of a series like Nozaki-kun. When it comes to Elfen Lied, I can't pinpoint why I like it as much as I do.
I can understand why it rose to such popularity, though.
Not only did Elfen Lied have mainstream success, but it was also a walking billboard that advertised itself as everything that is socially unacceptable to do in an anime. The series is saturated with gratuitous nudity, graphic violence, horrifyingly inhumane character backstories, and even a puppy abuse scene.
It's a series that doesn't give a flying rat's ass about what anybody thinks and not only does it flaunt it, but it thrives on it.
When I first watched this series, I was awestruck. It was such a foreign experience to me to have an anime essentially bitch slap me with every episode that I watched.
People eat this type of stuff up! I sure did on the onset, and people constantly use this series as an example of a dark, compelling, gritty story meant for adults that illustrates the extreme consequences of mental trauma.
...But does it really do that? I don't think so.
Elfen Lied is the kingpin when it comes to needlessly dark and mature anime. 90% of the nudity in this series serves no legitimate purpose, the plot is devoid of tact and is heavily reliant of convenience, the dialogue is borderline intolerable, the characters are just empty vessels, and the entire series is pointlessly dark.
What it comes down to is that this series is entirely reliant on its shock value to be enjoyable. Does it succeed in that category? To me, it'a a reluctant "yes."
I still like this series, but I believe that it's far from the stiflingly dark, psychological lens into the human psyche that some still think it is. It's bloody good fun (bad pun #1), but that's about it.
Just to clear things up, this series is my favorite series on this list...and I greatly enjoyed Clannad and Konosuba. Also, I haven't read a single word of the original material.
Like I explained with Attack on Titan on my previous list, One Punch Man deserved every drop of praise that it squeezed out from the community. The characters are playful satires on worn out tropes (as is the entire series), the premise is pure fun, the art and animation is mind-numbingly good, the OP was the pump-up anthem of the year, and this series is the epitome of an underdog success story with its origin being a poorly drawn web comic.
However, the main issue I have with this series is that I believe it almost shoots itself in the foot with its premise. Because Saitama can literally obliterate anything with a single, well placed punch, the outcome of every battle he's involved with is already decided from the beginning. No matter how imposing or how unconventionally powerful an adversary may be, Saitama is always a fist away from outright winning.
Even the most stereotypical of shounen anime at least try to make it appear as if it's possible that the main character may lose, regardless of the fact that they'll always win because the plot demands it. With One Punch Man, there just isn't that possibility.
Honestly, the most fun I had while watching One Punch Man was when other heroes such as Genos or Puri-Puri Prisoner were the ones duking it out with a baddie.
So while it deserves its praise and is a fantastic overall series (I'm curious to see what they do with the upcoming second season), I think its glaring predictability hurts this series a tad more than others believe it does.
That was latest compiling of anime that I think earned a hair too much praise...
...or a fuckload too much in a few cases.
Regardless, I hope I didn't anger too many readers. I hope to write a little more frequently than this in the future, but we'll see what happens.
No matter what, keep watching anime, keep being groovy, and stay tuned for more!