15 Worst Anime With The Best First Impressions
15 Worst Anime With The Best First Impressions
Anime watchers always search for the best shows the medium has to offer. With the amount of produced series escalating with every season, the fierce competition forces anime creators to impress fans in the show's first moments. The infamous "three-episode rule" is a principle many fans use to quickly determine a series' worthiness in its first three episodes, making an outstanding launch even more crucial for an anime's success.
However, some shows that manage to hook the audience on first impressions can go downhill rapidly, leaving an already invested audience gravely disappointed. These anime series seemed intriguing based on their premise, first few episodes, or even held a high bar of quality for an entire season. Yet, they all suffered a disastrous setback, destroying their reputation.
Updated on March 27th, 2023 by Maria Remizova: The production of an anime series is a long, tedious process that can diverge off track even after a strong start. Hopeful viewers often latch onto shows with compelling premises or promising first episodes only to find themselves sourly disappointed by the time the credits roll. This list was updated to include even more series that seemed outstanding at first glance but lost their footing by the end.
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15 NieR: Automata
Praised as one of the most tightly written and compelling action RPGs on the market, NieR: Automata seemed like a perfect candidate for an anime adaptation. The game's devoted fanbase was ecstatic after the series' announcement in early 2022, looking forward to revisiting its post-apocalyptic world in a new format.
Unfortunately, the sky-high bar set by the rest of the franchise wasn’t met in the show’s underwhelming first episode. To make matters even worse, NieR faced persistent broadcast delays due to COVID-19, crushing fans' hopes down further.
14 Darling In The Franxx
Coming from the famed staff of Studio Trigger, Darling in the Franxx launched to become an instant hit. At first glance, it had every signature element Trigger fans adore, from bombastic action and stellar visuals to bizarrely compelling premises and mysteries.
Yet, the longer the show ran, the more convoluted and nonsensical its plot turned, resolving none of the raised questions and dedicating most of its screentime to tedious slice-of-life drama. The show's catastrophically unsatisfying ending was the final nail in the coffin of Darling in the Franxx's popularity.
13 The God Of High School
The God of High School seemed to have everything going on for it to ensure the series' success. Based on an incredibly popular webtoon and handled by MAPPA, a studio synonymous with quality, The God of High School had myriads of hopeful eyes glued to the screens upon its release.
Unfortunately, things began to fall apart pretty quickly. After the first three episodes, it was apparent that the show was more concerned with explosive yet meaningless action than the complex storytelling that made the original so incredible.
At first glance, Glasslip had the potential to become an up-and-coming slice-of-life sensation. A glassblowing club is an intriguing environment for this type of story, and the supernatural element teased in the series' first episode suggested that Glasslip had more depth than its genre contemporaries.
Yet, the fans' hopes shattered in no time. Glasslip failed as both a supernatural mystery and a compelling slice-of-life. The paranormal mystery ended up leading nowhere. With the mystery forgotten, the show's cast proved to be too bland and melodramatic to make fans care.
11 Eden Of The East
The first few episodes of Eden of the East feel like a buildup to an exciting spectacle. It starts with a man waking up with no memories of who he is or how he got here, a gun clenched in one hand and a cellphone with an 8.2 billion yen balance in the other.
Unfortunately, Eden of the East's bland story ends up disappointing viewers in just 11 episodes, never reaching a proper climax. By the end of it, the show's promising beginning feels like a waste of potential.
10 Kabaneri Of The Iron Fortress
Many argue that Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress had a rough start, as it was often accused of ripping off the much more well-established survival action series Attack on Titan. However, the aspects that set Kabaneri apart were enough to hook the fans.
Kabaneri's first few episodes were extremely promising, introducing viewers to a gory, zombie-infested steampunk world, sleek animation, and memorable characters. Unfortunately, the more the show progressed, the less sense its plot made. Becoming more confusing and convoluted with each episode, Kabaneri failed to repeat the massive success of its famous counterpart.
9 Kado: The Right Answer
The emergence of Kado: The Right Answer, a witty and thought-provoking anime about Japanese bureaucrats trying to communicate with an extraterrestrial civilization, was a celebratory occasion for sci-fi buffs. Kado sparked eager discussions within its fanbase, engaging people in its mature science fiction storyline.
Everything about Kado show started with great promise, but it quickly turned into a trainwreck and destroyed the audience's hopes. Kado seemingly lost confidence in its narrative abilities, ditching the sophisticated sci-fi narrative halfway through and bringing in redundant battle shonen tropes. Expectedly, fans weren't ecstatic about how the show played out.
8 The Detective Is Already Dead
Based on the title and promotional material alone, The Detective Is Already Dead promised potential viewers an intriguing detective drama with a sophisticated plotline and inventive characters. However, everyone who has decided to give The Detective Is Already Dead a shot quickly learned not to judge the book by its cover.
The Detective Is Already Dead lowers the audience's expectations by revealing its true nature early on. Behind a clever, intriguing facade of a gorgeous mystery series hides a raunchy, sleep-inducing comedy full of awkward fanservice. Disappointing as it is, The Detective Is Already Dead left most fans infuriated.
An intriguing premise is not enough to make an anime series great, as the idea is worthless without proper execution. Charlotte is one of anime's most notorious examples of an incredible premise that fell apart quickly, leaving the viewers disappointed.
Charlotte tried to give it all to its hungry viewers, luring them into a world of mysterious people with superpowers. Unfortunately, the series bit off more than it could chew. It spent the first half seemingly establishing the story's plot and characters through episodic anecdotes and failing to cram the entire convoluted plot in the remaining half.
The political mystery series Babylon gripped the audience with its profound first few episodes, earning countless praises for its magnificent cinematography and clever, investing plot. The show's first half continues to build up the viewers’ expectations.
Beyond a few low points, Babylon remains a mature and thematically dense sociopolitical mystery. However, all of its greatness turns into absurdity in the second half. After a short break in broadcasting, Babylon returns as a prosaic and nonsensical political thriller, with people in power turning into madmen and all characters losing any sense of relatability.
5 The Promised Neverland
The first season of the psychological mystery shonen The Promised Neverland took the anime community by storm. The suspenseful, dramatic story of a group of orphans uncovering twisted, cruel secrets in their seemingly harmless facility was gripping and showed great promise.
Manga fans only confirmed the anime watchers’ high expectations, promising even more excitement to come in season two. Unfortunately, The Promised Neverland's second season left everyone disappointed. It turned into a disaster, cutting out some of the most beloved parts of the manga and rushing the plot.
Once considered one of Shonen Jump's "big three," Bleach started extremely strong, introducing fans to inventive power systems, incredible, relatable characters, and intricate world-building. The famed Soul Society arc is, to this day, considered one of the best story arcs in battle shonen history, and fans still reminisce about its greatness.
Nevertheless, Bleach's fame was short-lived compared to its counterparts, One Piece and Naruto. Many fans started to notice the plot's redundancy after the Soul Society arc, pointing out the story's lack of creativity. Over time, Bleach sank into oblivion, doomed by its gradual decrease in quality.
3 Wonder Egg Priority
Wonder Egg Priority was considered a brilliant hidden gem at the beginning of the Winter 2021 season. Gorgeous in its art style and thought-provoking themes, this show promised to be the next dark magical girl phenomenon, even darker and more complex than its predecessors.
Unfortunately, the promise of greatness was never fulfilled, as Wonder Egg Priority's demise lay in its inability to treat its heavy themes with nuance and subtlety. Soon, the viewers stopped understanding what the series was trying to say. The way Wonder Egg Priority handled such difficult subjects as suicide, self-harm, and abuse became uncomfortably insensitive.
2 The Rolling Girls
The Rolling Girls' first episodes were an explosion of vivid color and endless enthusiasm, luring the audience with a promise of even more exciting things to come. The series follows four girls on their journey through a dystopian post-war Japan, which was broken into ten different criminal-led nations.
The intrigue of The Rolling Girls' premise is short-lived as episode three shifts the focus to completely different characters and ultimately shatters the fans' dreams of clever worldbuilding and vibrant adventures. As the show's energy dies down, it becomes a disappointing letdown.
1 Guilty Crown
Guilty Crown was capable of hooking the viewers within its first moments, as the audience could not turn their eyes away from the majestic action blossoming on-screen. This series had the production resources to become the next acclaimed masterpiece.
Guilty Crown brought together some of the industry's most talented animators, composers, and writers to create something truly special. Nevertheless, Guilty Crown's messy character writing and nonsensical mecha plotline ruined its chance for greatness. Remembered as a massive disappointment, this series turned out to be bland eye candy with no real substance.
NEXT: 10 Terrible Mecha Anime Fans Grew To Love