December 26 is the worst day of the year because it is the furthest away from Christmas. So as is tradition, I shall use this most terrible of days to commemorate the worst moments in anime this year. I quite like writing this post, as did I enjoy writing 2012, 2011 and 2010‘s versions, because they’re quite cathartic. This year I had a surprising number of contenders despite me not seeing as many anime as I did in 2012. In fact there were so many bad moments in anime this year that there were some anime I wanted to mention but couldn’t find the right moment in it that represented my dislike. Sorry Valvrave and Maou-sama. You were both bad anime that I watched a lot of and resent for having done so, but I couldn’t find the perfect scene in either to represent my dislike.
10: Boring giant walrus fight
I finished a grand total of one anime series from the winter season this year, and that was Inferno Cop which barely counts. Maoyuu Maou Yuusha was the one that came with the most hype, being billed as the spiritual successor to Spice and Wolf. It had the same staff and same medieval romantic duo with economics except with macroeconomics rather than microeconomics. It ended up being terribly boring altogether, and the moment that summed this up most was the Knight’s fight with a giant walrus. It was a dramatic fight to the death between the leaders of warring factions with an absurdly powerful lady knight on one side and a giant walrus on the other, fought on a bridge of ice. Yet somehow it managed to make this scene boring. Commendable in a way, but was the final straw that made me drop the show.
9: Guillotine Gorilla
The only moment you will see on both the best and the worst moments of the year. For as amazing as that moment was, it was also the moment Samurai Flamenco completely abandoned the story it was building and turned into complete nonsense. Ever since that moment it has been a different show, and a far worse show at that. It is the definitive anime jumping the shark moment. I am still waiting for the camera to pull back. It has to happen eventually. It just has to.
8: CG Battleship Girls
Arpeggio of Blue Steel was a new experience for me. It was the first time I had read the manga before the anime adaptation came out. I was determined not to be That Guy. The very kind of guy who I criticise for being manga purists. Arpeggio of Blue Steel is not a great manga. What I like about it comes more from the ideas that the execution. A good director, or even a half-decent director, could make massive improvements. So in swoops Seiji Kishi and a fully CG animated production that both looks awful, is terribly paced, has awful dialogue, and what they did try to change only ended up making the process worse. Thanks Kishi and thanks CG animation. You’ve made me into That Guy. The Arpeggio of Blue Steel manga is way better than the anime.
7: Walking Slowly
I wish someone told the director of Flowers of Evil that more than one thing is allowed to happen in an episode. It’s too late now. Flowers of Evil has already been ruined. Not by the rotoscoping, as ugly as that animation method may be. By the fucking awful pacing. You could cut down what was given to us in Flowers of Evil to an acceptable 30 minute anime maybe. I know some people liked the scene of the lead two walking home very slowly, but for me that took the single best scene in possibly the entire year with the classroom destruction at the end of the previous episode and sapped away all the goodwill it had built up. I would call the 7 minute long walking scene a surprisingly good joke as a parody of self-important navel gazing artsy film bullshit but even for a joke it went on too long.
6: Rapist Trannies
Was there a spate of highly publicised sexual assault committed by transsexuals in Japan sometime in the 1970s? I can’t think of a better reason to explain how bafflingly common this trope is. Gargantia had a good premise, good start and good end but the middle was filled with so much vapid crap that it drained the enjoyment of the series overall. Not only did it seem like the writers weren’t talking to each other so the theme got completely muddled, its comedy went from unfunny to just plain offensive. It’s funny because Ledo got raped by trannies. Aren’t men who dress like women weird. They clearly do it because they want to have sex with men but I wouldn’t have sex with them because that would be gay so they rape you instead lol my sides.
5: Falling Off Buildings Gives You Colds
Possibly the most bizarre awful moment of the year came courtesy of Galilei Donna. If you haven’t seen it, in episode 4 the little girl falls off a 6 story high building. Not a light fall, like a proper crash and thump. So what happens, some broken bones? Nasty gashes on her leg or head? No instead she gets what appears to be a cold. Falling off a building gave her the dreaded anime cold where she had to lie in bed while someone put a wet towel on her forehead. Then she was cured by a tramp. In a way I’m not that mad about this scene because it now allows me to endlessly use the joke that when someone has a cold, it was clearly caused by them falling off a tall building. That’s what anime told me, so it must be true.
My neeEEEEEeext moment-su comes in the FOOOOOOOoooOOOOORM of the single most anooooOOOying way of speaking I’ve ever had the UUUUUUNpleasant luck to come acrossssu. The way Hajime-su spoke was like living in that episOOOOODE in Kaiji where he had that drill boring into his earsu. It wasn’t until a month or so AAAAAAAaaaaAAAAAfter Gatchaman Crowds ended and I saw someone end a tweet in -su and an involuntary spasm of hAAAAAAAAte shot through my body that I reEEeeealised how much that character had gotten UUUUUUUUuuunder my skinsu. This sEEEEEEEms to be a new thing for Kenji nAAAAAAAkamurasu. Tsuritama had characters jUUUUUUUst like this with Haru and he too dragged that anime downsu. As much as a lOOOOOOOOve his style, if Nakamura’s next anime has another character in the sAAAAAaaaaAAAAAAme vein then I’m just going to stoOOOOOoooop watching after the first episodesu.
3: Oh no you did exactly what I asked
There’s going to be a bit of a re-occurring theme with my top 3 moments. The first of which comes from Kotoura-san. Its first episode was a big shocker at the time. Completely unexpected manic depression isn’t what you normally expect from a 4-koma adaptation. I kinda knew that the shine would wear off Kotoura-san, but I wasn’t aware how quickly that would be. Asides from all the humour coming from sexually harassing Kotoura, how they decided to create dramatic tear-jerking drama was just awful. There was this one scene where a rival girl got jealous of Kotoura stealing this guy’s attention, so she told a bunch of thugs to beat up the guy. Then the thugs went and beat up the guy and told the girl what they had done. She said “oh no you beat up the guy I can’t believe this happened”. She told the fucking guys to do it now she’s acting like it came from nowhere? I don’t even know how you can write a scene like that and not instantly think “god I’m a bad writer, I should change that”.
2: Make my daughter happy
Keeping on this trend of absolutely terrible ways of creating tear-jerking drama, let’s turn out attention to one of the stupidest anime of the year. Now I know some dumber things involving stealth bombers happened later on in Coppelion, but I never reached that point. Instead I gave up in the episode involving the criminal family trying to raise a kid in the radiated area. The mother had just sacrificed herself to save the daughter. The daughter is understandably pretty disappointed her mum died so she asks her rescuers to save her remaining parent. They go off to save the dad and find him close to death. The rescuers tell the dad they can bring him back and save him but instead he goes “no, don’t save me, I just want my daughter to be happy”. So they leave him. I’m not sure about you guys, but something that would probably make me happy after my mum died is if you saved my dad, who I just specifically asked for you to save. But nope, gotta have completely fucking pointless tragedy because fuck logic we’re trying to be dramatic here.
1: Piggybacks forgive all
The winner though goes to the end of the first arc for Sunday Without God. We have a little girl who was picked up by an older guy who repeatedly bullied her. Kicked her off bridges unceremoniously, hit her several times, and was generally a massive asshole to her. But then at the end of the arc it was revealed that he was her dad all along. He then gave her a piggyback ride, then he died and she cried. Never mind that he abandoned her for 12 years and was an asshole for the rest of the time they were together, it’s really sad because the little girl cried.
All throughout this year I’ve been slowly coming to terms with what it is I hate about these sorts of scenes. The one that really got to me two years ago was the end of Ano Hana where everyone randomly starting bawling crying and screeching why their sob story was the most tragic, no matter how poorly explained or trashy or generally stupid the reason was. People found it super emotional and made them cry, but when pushed for why it made them cry I heard a lot of people say “I’m not really sure why, all of them were crying so it got to me”. It’s such a lazy method of drawing emotion. People keep falling for this too, which is part of the reason why its been bugging me so much. I understand why. Seeing other people cry makes you cry too. That does not make it a good story. Stop falling for it. Please.