This has become something of a tradition for me. Every year for the past 4 years on the day after Christmas, I go down and list the moments from anime this year that irritated me the most. Not necessarily the worst moments from anime because that would require me to get through more than 1 episode of crap like Rail Wars, but the moments for me personally symbolised the suckiest moments in anime I watched in 2014. Every year I sit down to write them and think that actually I didn’t watch too many bad anime this year and this list might be difficult to form, but when I start to go through the titles the rage picks up as I recall the horrible moments that doomed each anime. Then I write them all out, smashing my keyboard furiously as pure rage pours through my fingertips until I feel drained yet emotionally satisfied. It’s a cleansing experience. So join me as I rid my body of anger before 2015 begins.
10: Nobunagun – Perv on your clones
For pure creep factor, this scene from Nobunagun is truly skin-crawling. It might have been an incredibly effective as a psycho stalker villain in a science fiction series, but as a mentor character’s method of motivation it didn’t seem to understand how fucked up it was. Our main character was doing her training montage episode when the trainer decided a unique method of motivation. He was able to create clones so he created some of our teenage girl main character. He then proceeded to take one and then start to strip them slowly in front of our main character. What made it even creepier was the clones were completely lifeless, like Ayanami Rei dolls. The episode eventually ended with the mentor sharing pictures of the girl in a bikini with her fellow soldiers. He had made a clone, dressed it in a bikini and then modified it slightly to give it larger boobs. Yup, that’s not horribly creepy at all.
9: Reconguista – world is not square
This moment became something of a flash point between detractors and fans of Reconguista. A character randomly blurted out that the world is not square in the middle of a space mecha battle with seemingly no reason or logical connection to anything anyone else had said during the scene. Fans tried to explain that what it meant but that wasn’t so much the problem. You could come to the conclusion yourself that it was something to do with everything is not as you think it is. The issue is it made no sense whatsoever for that character to say it at that specific moment in time. It’s the same problem as King Gainer in that nobody seems to be responding to what anyone else says, but instead responding to the happy little fairies in their head to the point that none of the dialogue makes any sense. Watching that first double episode of Reconguista was like having midgets in my brain in tiny pneumatic drills. It was as bafflingly awful as it was headache inducing.
8: Argevollen – animation going to pot
Watching Argevollen’s animation slowly but surely get worse and worse with each episode was a depressing experience. I can imagine the staff sitting there, working with this small team on a 26 episode mecha TV series inspired by early Gundam anime. The show never really looked that good to begin with, but perhaps the show would find its audience and it could really go somewhere. But as the first few episodes rolled out, they realised how dire their position was. The show was generating zero buzz and the sale predictions were abysmal. Moral is slowly sapped from those working on the show. They know their reputations aren’t going to be helped working on this show. The show won’t be a success. Staff members jump ship as soon as they possibly can and those left watch as the funding dries up. But as they already agreed to this 2 cours length, they’re stuck farting out poorly animated episodes where nobody has the energy or drive to improve them. Argevollen wasn’t a good anime, but the most depressing part of the whole thing was feeling sorry for the people stuck working on something that was long since categorised as a failure.
7: Dai Shogun – existing
Every year on these posts I usually toss in the worst first episode I saw this year, more as a complementary nod than any actual anger. The worst deserve to be recognised, even if very superficially. Dai Shogun is this year’s lucky winner, but even by worst first episode standards Dai Shogun is amazing. Everything about it is shockingly incompetent to the point that I can barely believe this thing even exists. From its literally non-existent animation to awful characters and story to NO REALLY NO ANIMATION THEY LITERALLY JUST SHAKE THE SCREEN ON STILL IMAGES EACH EPISODE!!! Dai Shogun is the worst anime I have seen this decade.
6: Noragami – mopey mopey
Remember those early episodes of Bleach? This cool story about a bunch of hip teenagers fighting supernatural creatures that were representations of the worries of the dead, before it eventually became Every Shounen Battle Anime Ever? That was the early episodes of Noragami, except possibly better. Better animation, better characters, better humour, not quite as good music but otherwise it was great. But it took even less time to completely lose its sense of humour than Bleach did by introducing that whiny blonde kid. Suddenly the lighthearted show turned into endless teenage angst and moping and angst and more bloody moping. I really liked those early episodes of Noragami but the speed at which is set about destroying all the humour it had was remarkable.
5: Fate/Stay Night – 20 mins of Rin walking around doing nothing
I feel stupid because I fell for the hype. The type/moon fanbase jumping up and down in anticipation for Unlimited Blade Works managed to sweep me up in its excitement and caused some serious memory loss on my part. Specifically making me forget that I didn’t like Fate/Zero parts that didn’t include Rider or Waver, or how it came from an obnoxiously overly wordy visual novel. When the first episode aired it had somehow become one of my most anticipated first episodes of the season. 45 excruciatingly boring minutes later which featured Rin walking around the school engaging in tedious conversations that felt like being trapped at your boring neighbour’s dinner party with people you barely know and don’t particularly like but you’re forced to engage in meaningless small talk anyway WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA!?! Who thinks this is fun? Who thinks this is a good way to start an anime? How can you think Unlimited Boring Words is good writing?
4: Aldnoah Zero – Princess dies again
Spoilers here for Aldnoah Zero, but you should read anyway because fuck this anime. This goddamn show is so cheap in trying to generate drama and provoke a reaction from the audience that it killed its perfect princess 3 times. I can accept the first death. OK it’s a bit fridge-y to create this perfect beautiful light of my life princess and then assassinate her, but bringing her back made for an interesting twist that drove the early plot. But then they fake-killed her again later on in the series, ending an episode with her apparently dying. But then whoop start of the next episode she’s alive again because screw continuing the plot let’s just make the viewer feel like something dramatic has happened when actually we’ve effectively maintained the status quo. Then at the end of the series they do it again. For three times in the same anime they kill the princess. And even then, judging by the promo material for next season, she’s been fake-killed again. Fuck you Aldnoah Zero you cheap piece of shit.
3: Pilot’s Love Song – Sacrifice myself for nothing
For last year’s post I had a bit of a theme going. Scenes in which they were trying to make you cry but in the context of the show made no sense and were done purely as a shock tactic to get an emotional reaction out of you. The Key method of storytelling. This year didn’t have so many of these moments thankfully, but there was one. One brain-meltingly stupid moment that really deserves to be thrown into the spotlight and laughed at as someone pulls down its pants. So in this anime nobody watched called A Pilot’s Love Song, this guy and this girl were getting along and probably gonna fuck. But then when they were flying as a duo their plane was hit and he was injured. But instead of jumping out of the plane with his parachute, he told the girl to jump out and he’d stay behind. He had a parachute too. He could have jumped out. They could have both been OK. But nope, this show had spent too much time erecting a death flag that it wasn’t going to pull out now despite the fact it was the most avoidable death if he didn’t completely pointlessly sacrifice himself. This moment was supposed to be the emotional gut punch at the halfway point to get you excited for the rest of the series. It instead made me drop the show.
2: Mahouka – The speech
A rundown of 2014’s shittiest moments wouldn’t be complete without some mention of my token hatewatch for the year. Mahouka turned into an experiment for me in trying to understand why such a thing could become so popular. It could just be another power fantasy in which multiple characters fawn over an overpowered self-insert made remarkable only through how truly overpowered he was. But it was the speech in episode 4 that showed the much more worrying side. In that scene a main character and his sister sit in their penthouse suite at their highly prestigious elite school and complained about how all the unprivileged folks with no magic power were just workshite jealous plebs who didn’t understand how hard it was to have money and power and magic and how dare they want to try level the playing field somewhat for those without magic. And these were the supposed heroes of our story! This is the type of literature becoming popular amongst otaku audiences in Japan and boy do I hope it doesn’t become a more noticeable trend.
1: Psycho Pass – Nessun Dorma
It was going to take something quite special to top American Tea Party-level themes in an anime, but at least I didn’t expect Mahouka to be good. At least Mahouka wasn’t a sequel to an anime I really enjoyed. God fucking damnit Psycho Pass Season 2. There are so many fundamental problems with this season, only half of which can be blamed purely on calling it a sequel to Psycho Pass. There wasn’t a single moment that perfectly captured all of its problems, so instead I’ll pick the dumbest moment of the series. When Akane shows up at a burning hotel full of illegal immigrants chopped up and disguised as wild animals after businessmen are fed their innards and all killed afterwards…christ even typing that I can already come up with several reasons why that whole sequence was stupid. But the crowning moment was when they handed Akane her grandmother’s ear in a box. A character introduced solely to torture her later to get a reaction out of the main character, whose torture then ended up being completely irrelevant to the plot since Akane basically ignores that thread in later episodes. Cheap shock factor, much like the ones done by Aldnoah Zero.
Then, to top it all off, they started playing Nessun Dorma. At that point it felt almost like parody. Like a set of canes and top hats would be thrown from the side of the stage and they would break into a dance number. It became a parody of what people thought the first season of Psycho Pass was. It was supposed to be shocking. All I felt was second-hand embarrassment for the people who came up with this plot thread along with the faint hope that maybe none of this will be relevant at all to the upcoming movie.