It’s been fun this last year. Anime has been generally quite good and we just had our wonderful Christmas meals and a big comfort sleep after a massive dinner and too much chocolate. But before we enter the new year, there is one final cleansing exercise we must all embark on. On the day furthest from Christmas, as I have done in 2015, and 2014, and even 2013, even even 2012, as too in 2011, and even 2010, we must list the worst moments in anime in 2016.
10: Battery boredom
Every year since Noitamina started, one of their anime has been in my top 10 for that year. 2015 only just about got one in on a technicality with the Psycho Pass movie being technically produced as part of Noitamina despite not airing in the timeslot. But 2016 is definitely the first year where there’s nothing. OK part of this is down to The Great Passage airing on Amazon and therefore everyone forgetting it exists. Erased and Kabaneri will appear later on this list. But Battery was possibly the most disappointing because it tried nothing. At least the others tried something. Battery was just the most boring, least ambitious project ever conceived for the timeslot and failed miserably. It’s hard to get mad about the show in question because it was such a non-entity, but in a poor year for Noitamina, the fact they went with this compounded the problem that much more for me.
9: Bakuon bike washing
Bakuon was legitimately funny. It had a slightly off-colour, anarchic sense of humour that you don’t see in these sorts of anime, and normally not with as much success as the early episodes had. But then it was clear it had run out of ideas, and depressingly early on as well. What felt like an author trying to write a motorbike manga and using cute girls to sell it, turned into a cute girl manga that just used fanservice due to it being devoid of ideas. The moment I gave up was when they decided the best course of action was to soap up the girls, put them in bikinis, and have them rub their bodies all over their bikes. OK cool Bakuon, thanks for letting me know you have run out of ideas and are now being a creepy young teenage girl pinup magazine. I can stop watching you now.
8: Grimgar screaming at small boobs
I understand why Ranta exists in Grimgar. You want someone in that group of wet blankets to cause havoc, create tension, and move the story forward. I understand that you don’t want the entire cast to consist of nice people otherwise conflict can’t happen. But god damn was Ranta too much for me, perhaps partly because I didn’t feel like the show shared my level of dislike for him. The moment that did it for me was when they were in the pub with their female party members and he said one of the ladies had small boobs. When she asked him not to say that, he started screeching and yelling about how tiny her tits were to this pub packed full of fellow adventurers. Worse, it felt like the anime was treating this as a hilarious joke rather than a humiliating experience for a person currently going through loss. I just couldn’t stand to watch anymore of him after that.
7: Magical Girl Raising Project killing Winterprison
Early on in Magical Girl Raising Project I developed a theory that this was all about capitalism. Fav was representative of the cruel, unfeeling corporate middle managers of capitalism, selling you dreams then crushing them under the weight of societal expectations. The early deaths of the NEET and the one who asked too many questions were representative of that. But after that they started killing characters with a different aim in mind: To draw out the most depression in the cast. Let’s kill off one of each duo. Split Snow White and her boyfriend. Split the two angel twins. Split High Speed and Ninja Tchits. Split the lesbian couple. Give them tragic stories that make it more depressing when they die. I’ve heard the term misery porn be directed at Madoka before but it’s something I don’t buy because it was always working towards an overall theme. In Magical Girl Raising Project, any belief that there was a theme was dumped when they started killing in this manner. Load of misery porn rubbish.
6: ReLife solving problems via head patting
I was interested in the set up for ReLife originally. Yeah sure it had production values so low it looked like it was a low budget anime from the early 00’s, but who cares if the story is compelling, right? But nope, I swiftly realised all it had was lame, unoriginal teen drama. Leaving aside the undercurrent in the story that apparently all men want to bone teenage girls and only the law prevents them from doing so (although that could be one of the moments of suck from this year alone), the part that irritated me most about the show was that when we reached climactic parts of the character arcs, the issues were solved via a quick head pat from the main character. Like his 10+ years out of school taught him that all ladies need is a pat on the head like they’re all pets and all their problems will be cured. Why do so many people like this boring piece of forgettable rubbish? Why did this anime that should have been completely lost under piles of much more interesting, ambitious anime get so many viewers? I don’t get it.
5: The real Kiznaiver were the friends we made along the way
Really Kiznaiver? This was the big reveal? This was the main theme of the whole story we were leading towards? The story that’s usually just a joke? We learned that teenagers have feelings and that friends are good? That’s really the dramatic story you were trying to tell? I understand Japanese culture is supposed to less inclined to talking about feelings, but you acted like these teens didn’t even realise they all had feelings at all, and that this was some kind of grand revelation. Then you finish up on the revelation that the real goal of the Kiznaiver project was to get them to make friends? Go fuck a bag of nails Kiznaiver.
4: Realising I don’t actually like Jojo’s
This is less a moment of anger and more a slow, depressing realisation. At the time of writing I’m about 10 episodes into Diamond is Unbreakable, watching at the pace of about 1 episode every month, and I can’t move any faster. Every time I watch an episode I lose the will to watch any more. Battle Tendency is legitimately one of my top 10 anime of all time, but Stardust Crusaders wouldn’t make my top 100 and Diamond is Unbreakable wouldn’t be anywhere near either. Not only that, but everything I’ve read makes it sound like later seasons of Jojo’s are similar in structure to those two season. These one-off stand battles with overly long explanations and plots leading to nowhere as we turn slowly on the stop in an endless parade of episodic battles. It turns out I don’t actually like Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. I only really like Battle Tendency.
3: Kabaneri why does anyone follow Biba
Biba was a terrible character. Not in the Ranta way where he was just a bad person who I personally disliked watching, but a badly created character whose inconsistencies ruined what was otherwise turning out to be a simple but well executed story. A man who wanted to force the world to confront the kabane but left no room for counterattack for those he made confront. A man who built a following based entirely on his daddy issues and maintained his following even when that became clear. A following that by all rights should have realised his words didn’t match his actions anymore but instead acted stupidly evil without apparent goals. Why oh why did you have to bring Biba into this story? You were doing so well without him!
2: Erased conversation on the roof
I had heard about the disappointment of Erased’s ending and figured I was prepared for it. Sure the reveal of the killer was the lamest thing ever as logical elimination would have only led to this conclusion long ago, so I was saved the tragedy of waiting for some final act twist. What I wasn’t prepared for was the coma, the rehabilitation, the final conversation on the roof with him blabbing on about spiders webs and that this kid he taught for like one year was his reason for living. The entire scene made no sense in regards to any of the character motivations, felt completely out of place, and would have been better without the entire timeskip part. What’s worse is this whole moment threw the rest of the series into question and made me realise how poorly realised the whole thing was. Why couldn’t the story just been about saving this one girl from abusive parents because in this go-around he actually paid attention to her suffering? Why did we need the whole future part in the first place? Why did he go back? What did the teenage girl have to do with anything except for author wish fulfillment allowing their self-insert to have schoolgirls like them? Why did we only spend half an episode saving the other victims? Was this whole story just some kid solving young girls problems? Was I tricked into watching a Key show? Argh!
1: Big Order ribbon pregnancy
I liked Future Diary. I feel that’s worth mentioning before I launch into just how terrible a show Big Order was on so many levels. Future Diary was dumb, but kept characterization consistent and followed its own internal logic perfectly and kept to its story threads as required. Big Order did none of that and instead wallowed in its own stupidity without the recourse of it following its own rules because it consistently broke them. Perhaps the dumbest moments of all, and one of the dumbest moments in all of anime history, was the scene with the ribbon pregnancy. There was this psychic girl that apparently became pregnant if you grabbed her hair ribbons. So our main character grabs them accidentally and she suddenly has a 9 month old baby ready to emerge in her belly. Then we follow some deranged series of events where in the middle of battle he remembers he’s now a dad or something and it’s all taken weirdly seriously for what a mind-blowing dumb moment it is. That is until the next episode where I guess the author saw a butterfly in the window and got bored of writing that storyline and the whole storyline is dropped with one line of the girl saying “lol guess I’m not pregnant anymore”. Normally the worst moments of the year are saved for anime that I had such high hopes for only for them to be crushed, but Big Order is a special exception because holy shit was that the single stupidest plot point of any anime ever.