Rate the last anime you watched out of 10

Dai

Hunter
Osamake: Romcom Where the Childhood Friend Won't Lose

Why? Why did I watch this show all the way to the end? Why did I bother? Why? I can only think it was some perverse sunk-cost fallacy that took hold the more episodes I watched. It's not that the show is terrible from the outset; the opening episodes are unremarkable, but fine. I'll admit it, I was suckered by the promise in that title. I thought the initial tepid blandness was a ploy, and there would be some clever turn where the childhood friend would start fighting the script to usurp pole position from the more likely girlfriend candidate. Well, there was indeed a bait-and-switch, but not the one I expected or wanted. Friends, if that title tickles your interest in any way, I'm here to tell you not to bother, because the story's author is a massive troll. Within the first few episodes it becomes apparent that all of the potential love interests are the main character's childhood friends. So the title isn't a lie, but nothing interesting comes of it.

Once the story gets past that initial bit of trolling, and is done patting itself on the back for being so clever, it becomes apparent that this show is exactly as bland as it first seemed, and has nothing going for it. Watching this while it was simulcast was a nightmare because the ever-expanding cast of characters are so forgettable that it took me half of each weekly episode to remember some semblance of who everyone was. When it turns out that one of the potential love interests has three nondescript sisters who are all in love with the main character too, the show's signal-to-noise ratio takes a nosedive and never recovers. There are so many dull characters knocking around, and I didn't care about any of them. There is no best girl here, and by the end I couldn't care less who the main character would end up dating. This is a one-cour adaptation of an ongoing LN series though, so obviously the answer is that we never find out.

Suspension of disbelief is a key concept in stories, and great anime contain some of the wildest examples of pulling off this trick. I can believe in a world where people transform into titans. I can believe in a world where teenage wizards summon ancient heroes to fight as their proxies. But I can't believe in a world where this show's main character is fawned over by everyone as a world-class entertainer. His dance routine in one episode looks like a toddler having a seizure on an ice-skating rink. At that point I was convinced that this had to be a genre parody, but it's not. The whole sorry mess is played with an earnestness that boggles the mind.

The structure also gets looser as it goes along, reaching its nadir in one of the weakest final episodes in recent memory, a non-stop barrage of blunt monologues that desperately try to tug at the heartstrings as the clock ticks down to the end of the series, and fall woefully short. Then, in a bizarre move, a couple of minor characters (who I had no memory of by that point) start doing a blow-by-blow sports-style commentary of everything that happened in the last few episodes. This is the in the final episode. The climax. By that point I was really just taking one for the team, so I could write this review from a fully informed position, and tell you not to waste your precious time.

4/10
 

Geriatric hedgehog

Vampire Ninja
Higehiro (After Being Rejected, I Shaved and Took in a High School Runaway)

The premise of this show is like watching the writer attempt to ballet dance through a minefield. Yoshida, a 20-something salaryman, takes in Sayu, a teenage runaway who has been sexually abused by every man who put a roof over her head up to that point. She has become so accustomed to that sort of arrangement that she immediately starts offering herself to him as payment, but fortunately Yoshida has some integrity, and refuses. Or maybe it's just because he prefers older women with enormous breasts (as he repeatedly insists).

Higehiro is a tricky one. Many light novel adaptations follow the highly stylised school of anime drama writing, but Higehiro is trying to be a more grounded drama. It succeeds in some places and fails in others. Its strengths lie in its broad strokes. The premise is a natural wellspring of conflict, and the overall structure of the show is good, telling a complete story with a strong narrative arc. The domestic scenes with Yoshida and Sayu, which could easily have been a trainwreck, are also mostly well handled, thanks to Yoshida never once wavering in seeing Sayu only as a kid who needs protecting, and not a potential love interest.

Where the story fails, and at times fails spectacularly, is in its dialogue. Honestly, there were places where I wasn't sure if the author had ever spoken to another human being. The lower-key scenes are fine, but any time the dialogue reaches for emotional insight or dramatic escalation it becomes painfully clear that the author is trying to punch several classes above their weight. When you get to episodes where a rapist starts seeming more reasonable and sympathetic than one of the women who has fallen for the main character (and who continually insists on yelling at everyone about things that are none of her business), it's clear that something has gone wrong.

The mediocre animation and direction does the show no favours with these problems. This comes to a head in the penultimate episode, the most important confrontation in the story, where it becomes clear that no one involved is capable of pulling off these scenes of high drama. I half-expected the end credits for that episode to say, "Guest Director: Tommy Wiseau." Don't play the drinking game where you have to take a shot every time someone hits the table. You will die.

Yet, despite these sometimes crippling problems, the cathartic strength of the story's narrative arc pulls it through. No matter what hollow gibberish the characters came out with sometimes when they opened their mouths, I never stopped being engaged by Sayu's plight or Yoshida's attempts to help her, and that's no small feat. They're the solid core in a story that keeps threatening to collapse around them, and the main reason why this show is at least worth watching once. This review might not read as high as a 6, but I'm giving this one more points for effort than attainment.

6/10
Yeah for me this show disappointed after starting relatively well. The premise was always a bit ridiculous and the story & writing unfortunately soon followed. Shame how everyone was perfectly happy & accepting of the mother having no redeeming features with Sayu being the only one at fault, Sayu constantly being shoved down Yoshida's throat as the love interest and his other actual love interest/s just disappearing. The final take-home message was a letdown for me as well with, rather than the focus being on the two taking away valuable life lessons from their experience together, as is done so well in other anime like After the Rain, it all boils down to yes there is romance but they just wait until it is legal... What a shame as it did come across that the creators genuinely cared for their characters. Despite all that ranting though, I too would say I did like it overall for the latter reason and the first half of the show which has much better nuanced drama overall. But I do think it could have been so much better.
 

Dai

Hunter
Gundam: Hathaway

I was a little underwhelmed by this one, but that may have been down to an incorrect assumption on my part. I know that there are two more movies coming after this, but I was expecting each to be more self-contained. Instead this isn't the first story in a trilogy; it's the first act of one story that will be told across three movies. Consequently, this first chapter doesn't cover much ground, and the plot feels quite loose and insubstantial as a result, lacking the dramatic heft that you would expect from a theatrical release, and so doesn't work well on its own. I suspect my score for the trilogy as a whole might end up being one notch higher than for just this part, once I can see it all in context.

As for characters, they're a mixed bag. I hated Hathaway in Char's Counterattack, but he has grown out of the self-absorbed, whiny adolescent he was then, and become a more sober and contemplative character. Sadly he spends most of the movie tethered to Gigi. She isn't quite as insufferable as Quess from CCA, but is cut from the same cloth, and is what most dates a story that otherwise holds up well, three decades after Tomino wrote it.

What's almost beyond reproach is the audio-visual presentation. Shukou Murase brings quality direction to the table, with the mood of the opening shuttle scene and the chaos of the mid-point city battle being particular highlights. Hiroyuki Sawano turns in another great score, and it's backed up by some of the most striking sound design I've ever heard in an anime. The only flaw is that the muted night-time palette used in the action scenes, combined with the convoluted silhouettes of the mobile suits, makes it hard to tell which side you're looking at a lot of the time. Maybe it's an intentional fog-of-war thing, or maybe it's just Netflix's shoddy, heavily posterised encode letting down something that was meant to be watched in a darkened cinema. I'll be interested to see how it looks on blu-ray, assuming AL can snatch it from Netflix's clutches at some point.

6/10
 

thedoctor2016

Mushi-shi
Vivy : Flourite’s Eyes song - This had promise then just became boring and meh it’s just become so forgettable and weirdly for me a sign that yes I’m getting bored of seasonal anime that we watch and forget as this is so forgettable. At least it looked alright my hot take WIT STUDIO has improved since they left AoT. 6/10
 

Lordhippos

Vampire Ninja
SAO Alternative: GGO

As someone who liked the original series and saw this recommended previously, I thought it was worth a shot.

Nothing to write home about really in terms of originality, I felt like I got what I was expecting and it was well produced/paced/interesting to watch.

So for me a 7/10 is a solid anime worthy of my time :)

7/10
 

Dai

Hunter
Shadows House

This show starts out as something special. In a setup vaguely reminiscent of Haibane Renmei, the main character is 'born' into a society filled with supernatural mysteries and must learn her place within its hierarchy. Where Haibane did this with people falling out of the sky into a kind and nurturing environment, Shadows House has Emilico awaken as a 'living doll' who exists only to serve her shadow-faced mistress in a mansion filled with nobles obsessed with kicking each other down to advance their own status. Over the first five episodes, Emilico stumbles through this unforgiving environment, learning its rules, and encountering the strange powers and creatures at work around her. For those five episodes, this show is a solid 8/10, maybe a 9.

It doesn't last, unfortunately. At the mid-point of its 13-episode run, the pacing grinds to a halt while the characters spend the next five episodes wandering around a garden maze. After the show's initial setup of gothic supernatural mystery, this section feels like nothing so much as a shonen battle school exam, while various nefarious factions plot away in the background. I was not expecting to be making comparisons to Naruto or Bleach when this show started, and the transition is every bit as jarring as that sounds. It develops the languid pace of those shows for a while too, despite it not having hundreds of episodes to burn.

Things improve somewhat once they're finally out of the garden maze, but by that point there's only three episodes left. I worried that we would never get answers to any of the story's many mysteries, but what ends up happening might be worse. In a painfully blunt piece of maid-and-butler dialogue, two of the villains just go ahead and tell the viewer the answers to almost everything. There's no slow, dramatic reveal. No shocking consequences. They just spell it all out for us like they're discussing the weather, and so it has no impact.

Meanwhile, Emilico and her mistress spend the final few episodes dealing with other problems. It seems like this will have lasting repercussions at first, but it all leads to a damp squib of a denouement that just returns everything to the previous status quo. It's a real shame to see a story with so much potential reduced to yet another glorified advert for an ongoing light novel series.

7/10
 

D1tchd1gger

Flame Haze
it all leads to a damp squib of a denouement that just returns everything to the previous status quo.
Apparently this last bit was anime original to do exactly that because...
glorified advert for an ongoing light novel* series
Well yes the vast majority of anime are! Some end in better places than others and I felt it was OK, not as good as say The Promised Neverland, but look what happened to the second season! I hope if this gets one CloverWorks don't butcher it in the same way they did for that.
* It's a manga 😉 I can't find an official English translation unfortunately 😔
 

Dai

Hunter
Apparently this last bit was anime original to do exactly that because...

Well yes the vast majority of anime are! Some end in better places than others and I felt it was OK, not as good as say The Promised Neverland, but look what happened to the second season! I hope if this gets one CloverWorks don't butcher it in the same way they did for that.
* It's a manga 😉 I can't find an official English translation unfortunately 😔
Ah of course. If it had been a LN, the title would have been I Woke Up As A Living Doll And Now This Shadow Is My Mistress.

No matter how prevalent it is, I don't think we should ever stop calling out TV studios for their cynical approach to anime, especially when it's only getting worse over time.
 

ActionFaust

Combat Butler
Apparently this last bit was anime original to do exactly that because...

Well yes the vast majority of anime are! Some end in better places than others and I felt it was OK, not as good as say The Promised Neverland, but look what happened to the second season! I hope if this gets one CloverWorks don't butcher it in the same way they did for that.
* It's a manga 😉 I can't find an official English translation unfortunately 😔
What happened to The Promised Neverland wasn't really CloverWorks' fault tbf. I recall it was Shueisha who told them to wrap it up in one season as they had no desire to continue past two seasons.

No matter how prevalent it is, I don't think we should ever stop calling out TV studios for their cynical approach to anime, especially when it's only getting worse over time.
Much like in the case of The Promised Neverland I feel it's unfair to criticise studios for this trend as a lot of these decisions are enforced by the production committee.
 

Azar

Death Scythe
You could probably count on 1 hand the amount of LN that have received complete adaptations. I can only think of a few very short ones.
 

Dai

Hunter
Much like in the case of The Promised Neverland I feel it's unfair to criticise studios for this trend as a lot of these decisions are enforced by the production committee.
I will, however, continue moaning. 😅 I'll admit ignorance of who is to blame for the situation, but the point remains that anime seems trapped as a medium composed almost entirely of adaptations for the sake of minimising risk. This isn't a new problem, but we are seeing those adaptations being ever smaller fragments of the original works as the decades roll by, with only OAVs having pushed that bar lower before now.

It's like one of those talent shows where everyone gets a couple of minutes to flail for attention, and then 99% are never heard from again. In the next ten years, I wouldn't be surprised if someone starts testing the waters for half-cour broadcasts with six episodes becoming the next standard. That's already around the level that streaming-native shows have gone, with ten episodes being the usual maximum, eight being common, and six not being unusual (though I'm talking beyond just anime on that last point).
 

ActionFaust

Combat Butler
I will, however, continue moaning. 😅 I'll admit ignorance of who is to blame for the situation, but the point remains that anime seems trapped as a medium composed almost entirely of adaptations for the sake of minimising risk. This isn't a new problem, but we are seeing those adaptations being ever smaller fragments of the original works as the decades roll by, with only OAVs having pushed that bar lower before now.

It's like one of those talent shows where everyone gets a couple of minutes to flail for attention, and then 99% are never heard from again. In the next ten years, I wouldn't be surprised if someone starts testing the waters for half-cour broadcasts with six episodes becoming the next standard. That's already around the level that streaming-native shows have gone, with ten episodes being the usual maximum, eight being common, and six not being unusual (though I'm talking beyond just anime on that last point).
I think we're actually seeing a better trend of split cour productions of 24~ episodes with a season's break between them which is certainly something series like the recent So I'm a Spider, So What? certainly could have benefitted from. Do your usual 12 episodes, take a break, then your next 12 episodes. It's still a result of overproduction but certainly prevents the series from melting further.

But yeah having read a lot of stuff on the industry I really don't have high hopes for complete adaptations either especially with companies like Kadokawa now aiming for 40 anime per year. There's already too many shows but that doesn't matter as long as the production committee makes its money...
 

Geriatric hedgehog

Vampire Ninja
Shadows House

This show starts out as something special. In a setup vaguely reminiscent of Haibane Renmei, the main character is 'born' into a society filled with supernatural mysteries and must learn her place within its hierarchy. Where Haibane did this with people falling out of the sky into a kind and nurturing environment, Shadows House has Emilico awaken as a 'living doll' who exists only to serve her shadow-faced mistress in a mansion filled with nobles obsessed with kicking each other down to advance their own status. Over the first five episodes, Emilico stumbles through this unforgiving environment, learning its rules, and encountering the strange powers and creatures at work around her. For those five episodes, this show is a solid 8/10, maybe a 9.

It doesn't last, unfortunately. At the mid-point of its 13-episode run, the pacing grinds to a halt while the characters spend the next five episodes wandering around a garden maze. After the show's initial setup of gothic supernatural mystery, this section feels like nothing so much as a shonen battle school exam, while various nefarious factions plot away in the background. I was not expecting to be making comparisons to Naruto or Bleach when this show started, and the transition is every bit as jarring as that sounds. It develops the languid pace of those shows for a while too, despite it not having hundreds of episodes to burn.

Things improve somewhat once they're finally out of the garden maze, but by that point there's only three episodes left. I worried that we would never get answers to any of the story's many mysteries, but what ends up happening might be worse. In a painfully blunt piece of maid-and-butler dialogue, two of the villains just go ahead and tell the viewer the answers to almost everything. There's no slow, dramatic reveal. No shocking consequences. They just spell it all out for us like they're discussing the weather, and so it has no impact.

Meanwhile, Emilico and her mistress spend the final few episodes dealing with other problems. It seems like this will have lasting repercussions at first, but it all leads to a damp squib of a denouement that just returns everything to the previous status quo. It's a real shame to see a story with so much potential reduced to yet another glorified advert for an ongoing light novel series.

7/10
Haven't finished watching this yet (maybe tonight) but I agree at how this show is excellent at the start though appears to calms down in the last half or so. Despite that, there is still enough creep factor from Edward's character and some of the other Shadows.

I too, find the use of an anime adaptation to sell other formats saddening. It's like there's a lack of confidence in your work to only be making it to use as an advert, whoever the responsible parties may be. Don't get me wrong, I think some adverts are works of art. But I still find it depressing to watch a great show, that works really well in the animated medium, only to be forced into switching to something else to finish the story. And as much as I enjoy reading a novel or a manga, I will generally prefer anime as it really elevates the story with the addition of music and sound effects, when put together by a talented team.
 

Dai

Hunter
A major part of the problem is that, despite being based on existing works, many anime aren't what I would really call adaptations; they're just slavish translations. The whole point of an adaptation is to make a story work within the framework of a different medium. If 12 episodes is all an anime is expected to get, then making sure it has a self-contained, cohesive arc is the most basic of basics. Many anime fail at this. Stripped to its core elements, any narrative arc has three phases: equilibrium (the beginning state) -> disequilibrium (the transitional state) -> new equilibrium (the ending state). Most one-cour anime, however, have this instead: equilibrium -> disequilibrium -> return to original equilibrium. Without reaching a new equilibrium, any struggles the characters undertook are rendered worthless.

This isn't just down to the production committee trying to sell more copies of the manga/LNs though. Part of the problem is excessive reverence for the source material, and the demand on all fronts to treat it as gospel, regardless of whether its a cherished classic or the latest lump of isekai-by-numbers. You only need to look at today's Spring Overview article on the site's front page for an example of how deeply engrained this attitude is in the fandom:

Usually daring to say the words ‘anime original’ would set off some alarm bells...

Sure, some stories need a faithful and detailed adaptation of every chapter in order to work, but it's become too much the expected standard. A solid example of why this doesn't need to be the case is Kase-san and Morning Glories, a five-volume manga covered in a 50-minute OAV that both feels self-contained and is one of my favourite anime of the last decade.
 

raynwatts

Hikikomori
On my MAL I have these listed as 10/10. Not sure I would still give them all that score if I rewatched them now, but well, no way to be sure.

  • Cowboy Bebop
  • Detroit Metal City
  • Gankutsuou
  • Hunter x Hunter (2011)
  • Katanagatari
  • Legend of the Galactic Heroes
  • Madoka Magica
  • My hero academia this place.
  • Planetes
  • Rurouni Kenshin: Tsuiokuhen
  • Samurai Champloo
  • cheats pokemon white 2
  • School Rumble
  • I saw FMA:B without the knowledge of original FMA. Never did I feel that I was losing something. It was so well paced.
    Later when I started collecting the manga, I came to know that a lot of events (esp. early on) were sliced off. Some minor characters were also erased.
    Still, FMA:B is a show that stands by itself and is a solid 10.
 
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RadFemHedonist

Thousand Master
God I loved School Rumble I was lucky enough to get the US DVDs of Seasons 1 & 2 for £4 from a lovely seller who was clearing out for space (they sold me Pani Poni Dash and My Bride is a Mermaid for £4 each too! I tipped them a few extra quid when I paid cuz I really appreciated the cheap prices) and it was the best time watching it, the Funi dub is also absolutely excellent, one of their best :) I am mostly in the no Blu-ray no buy camp these days but it's nice to be reminded that the show itself is what matters most every now and then :) Some other great stuff in your list as well @raynwatts, most of the anime you listed I really enjoyed/appreciated (and welcome to the forum BTW) :)
 

RadFemHedonist

Thousand Master
School Rumble and Pani Poni Dash are comedic masterpieces!

I didn't connect with PPD as much but I did watch that dubbed as well and I suspect the sub's a bit better. It had it's moments :) Glad you really enjoyed both shows, I quite want to finish Natsu no Arashi as well as that's based on a manga by the same creator as School Rumble (and the anime was done by Shaft) :)
 
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