Jonathan's 20 Worst Anime: 10-1

Hello darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk to you again
Because a vision softly creeping

Play time over, time to look at the ten worst fucking shows I have ever seen in my life so far. Holy shit who thought this garbage was okay. And I'm sorry GATE and Mahouka are not here I have not seen enough of them but yes they are the worst goddamn things.

I am convinced the early 2000s were the drunken haze years of the anime industry. Nobody had any idea what the fuck they were doing. OVAs were fading out, and full TV series were becoming more and more common. At the same time, there was a question of what the hot thing was, as EVA's influence was starting to wain a little and more shows tried to actively dismiss its influence (see Gaogaigar). The western licensing scene was even crazier, as the success of televised anime on western channels opened the flood gates for dubbing companies to try and find the next Dragonball Z or Pokemon. A big problem was that these companies rarely paid attention to what they were picking up. If it was popular, they would try throwing it at us, because nobody thought those weird anime things would be a big success before, yet Z-fighters and pocket monsters ruled the world. This was like the early PS2 era of anime, where everyone was throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticked.

Zatch Bell was one of the things that did not stick.

I cannot begin to describe to you how much this series sucked, and you can't blame it entirely on the hack job dubbing, because some of the original material was even worse. As annoying as Parco was in the English dub, at least he wasn't singing about tits, and we were also spared up-skirt shots of little boys. Manga creator Makoto Raiku tried making a successful shonen battle series and succeeded, but the guy's style was kind of the worst thing. His art exploded with ugly gonks for comedic effect, which is fine, except many of those gonks were major characters. Costume design was HORRIFIC, and it robbed some of the surprisingly dark story elements of any weight or power. There's some comedy to be had from a bunch of demon children acting like idiots with their human handlers, but it all gets very old, very fast. The series has so many groaner jokes that get repeated so often, and the dub script did not help matters. If you think Japanese puns are bad, you should see what the dubbing company had to replace them with. Yesh.

The only two characters worth a damn in the series, Sherry and Brago, can't even escape unscathed. Brago looks like a pedophile's BDSM fantasy mixed with an edgy DBZ fan character. Despite the awesome that is the well dressed badass Sherry, Brago is impossible to take seriously, despite his powers. Everyone else is just obnoxious, main duo of Zatch and Kiyo included. Kiyo is just all around generic, while Zatch rarely manages to grow as a character and remains a dumb child for most the run. A large part of the problem is the long episode count, which drags out simple stories to absurd lengths. Bleach, Naruto, and DBZ managed to get away with it to some extent (SOME) due to the strength of the characters, but Zatch Bell doesn't have that same quality.

The story is paper thin, the characters are annoying and I wish death on the majority of them, the entire style of the series is one of the ugliest atrocities I have bore witness to, and the comedy is about as funny as watching dolphins get cut open. Zatch Bell is the shonen battle equivalent of jangling keys in a baby's face, and I am shocked this anime ran for three goddamn years. Even for the early 2000s, this was inexcusable. FMA was airing at the same time, so I know incredible stuff could still be found. But Zatch Bell lasted for three goddamn years. This turd got multiple videogames, and Demon Detective Neuro couldn't even get to the Sicks arc. Fuck everything.

I was surprised just how much I loathed this piece of garbage. Samurai 7 is yet another stain on the “good” name of GONZO, a studio famous mainly for being the anime studio version of a game of dice. You never knew if you would win big or get stabbed in the knee by an enraged participant. GONZO is practically bi-polar, and Samurai 7's reception is similar. Some people like it, some people hate it. I definitely hate it. Oh, I hate it so, so much.

This is basically a weird fantasy and mech version of The Seven Samurai, and also stupid and bad and horrible. The recipe is there for a good series (and kudos on the quality dub work), but our two lead characters are selfish, awful idiots who don't actually grow as people, while the actually interesting samurai get cast to the wayside or get story development in exposition dumps, if any at all. What was with anime in the early 2000s and casting horrible, whiny shitheel kids as leads? Sure, they're relatable on some level, but there's a point where they become reprehensible, and that's almost the entire run of this show. Its ironic, because GONZO also adapted Linebarrels of Iron, a great series about a shitty kid who actually has a character arc where he realizes he's being the worst thing ever and aims to become a proper hero. But Shitheap here is so petty and obnoxious, with his main character trait being envy of the other samurai because he's so worthless. The fact that some of them die for his sorry ass only adds to my seething loathing.

The CG does not help. GONZO loves bad CG, and trying to combine CG mechs and normal sized, 2D sword fighters does not work. At all. What little action we get that's not snore inducing is horribly portrayed, and usually with the characters we don't actually get development for. The story is a mess plot wise and thematically, and by the time it was ending, I was just glad that soon I would be free of the anger this thing caused in me. It is simply astounding how such a brilliantly simple idea of Seven Samurai with mechs went wrong so, so fast. It's a real shame, especially with the lovely world and character designs. Still, you can only polish a turd so much.

I wonder how many of you even remember what Inuyasha is. Before the filler string of Naruto, before the arrancar arc of Bleach, there was Inuyasha. It was based on a manga by a manga legend, and it was genuinely one of the worst things that the western anime world has ever liked. Worse than Sword Art Online. Worse than Parasyte. Hell, worse than Naruto Hurricane Chronicles, and that series outright has gif animation and early 2000s CG in it. Inuyasha isn't just a cheaply produced production, it's a series that should have been mercy killed years before it ended.

Inuyasha started off good, amazingly enough. It followed a high school girl named Kagome traveling to Warring States Japan and searching for the shards of a sacred jewel that gave powers to demons. Along side her was the titular Inuyasha, a half-dog demon guy who was pinned to a tree for fifty years, scorned by someone he once loved. The series had drama, emotion, comedy, and great character dynamics, not to mention a very effective villain in Nuraku, a dirty schemer responsible for all the tragedies of the show.

Hey, remember how Aizen in Bleach started out as one of the coolest shonen villains ever and then became one of the most hated because he wouldn't fucking die? Nuraku is the 1.0 version of him. Inuyasha fell apart quickly because it just. Wouldn't. End. IT WOULD NOT END. Plot contrivances kept rearing their head to keep dead characters in the story, filler episodes were everywhere, and character development was practically a foreign concept after awhile. Worse yet, the production values dive bombed as the series just kept reusing the same animation over and over for Inuyasha's wind scar, a one shot kill move that wiped all tension out of every given conflict constantly. Everyone had exactly one move except Shippo, who contributed nothing because comedy. This series lasted ONE-HUNDERD SIXTY-SEVEN GODDAMN EPISODES AND THE VAST MAJORITY OF IT IS THE SAME STORY BEATS REPEATED OVER AND OVER AND OVER WITH THE SAME HANDFUL OF CHARACTERS OH DEAR GOD MAKE THE MEMORIES STOP WHY WON'T KIKIYO JUST DIE FOREVER ALREADY CALL A FUCKING EXERCIST

There are so many good ideas here, especially the wonderful Band of Seven and their surprisingly strong arc (if you can overlook the crossdressing member being a walking collection of every negative queer stereotype in the book), but the series desperately needed to stop at some point. It ended up a zombie that didn't even get to finish the manga's story until a second series years later everyone quickly forgot. They say brevity is the soul of wit, and that definitely applies here. Inuyasha's story makes Bleach's arrancar arc look like a masterpiece in pacing, and that arc was so drawn out that it cut the reader base nearly in half.

Like we could go through a bad anime list without the girl who brought us to prom. The Dragon Ball series will forever be apart of anime culture east and west for better or worse, and mostly for worse. That's not to say there isn't anything to like about the monster franchise. Au contraire, Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z dominated the world because they latched into certain childhood obsessions and made some really entertaining stories in the process, despite their shows dragging on until the end of all things.

But at least we can all agree that GT is a steaming load!

Toei, lovers of money and crusher of all hopes and dreams, decided to keep the money machine working by fueling it with brand new Dragon Ball, despite having no manga to draw from. But that has never stopped a greedy company before, so they went ahead and made brand new episodes after DBZ with an age reversed Goku and a return to basics premise with a planet hopping concept to invoke the feel of the original series.

They failed miserably. They failed soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo bad you guys. So bad. The first few episodes of GT were so boring that Toonami decided not to air them at all so they could get to the more DBZ like stuff. And make no mistake, these episodes are boring. You can't just turn things back after Z's ridiculous spectacle, especially in the half-assed way they did with an old Dragon Ball bad guy wishing Goku was a kid with cursed dragonballs that never existed before now because money. There are some good ideas (that guy who turns people into dolls was creepy as hell, for example), but everything they tried ended up not working because two of the main trio for this series are now mostly associated with violent murders (TRUNKS CHOPPED FREIZA IN HALF WITH A SWORD, WHY IS HE SO NICE AND BLAND NOW).

But the DBZ stuff ended up being just as bad because Goku was depowered, so they had to make up a Super Sayian 4 to write themselves out of it …and it was lame. That form was the entire reason anyone cared about this series and it was the lamest thing, trading out god power for monkey power. Oh, watch out, Goku is really hairy now! Did not help every single villain but one of the dark dragons failed to inspire any sense of danger or power. Baby was a particular disappointment, promising to be a new type of bad guy with body possession powers and a genius intellect, but he proved to be one of the least threatening DB characters ever. And opening a gateway to hell? You realize how power levels in this series work, right? Vegeta could one shot almost every single one of those bad guys by himself.

Lame is really the best way to describe GT. It doesn't have the balls to take things further, trying to play it safe. But it plays it so safe that it fails to remember what made the original works so good and loved. There is no life here, and the few new ideas they do have are bad fanfiction fodder stuff. Not even Dragonball fanatics like GT, and they still love Dragon Ball Z! Think about that for a moment.

Yeah, I'm putting down a series of shorts on this list, fight me in real life and not online. The good thing about shorts is that they're short. Even if they're bad, they take such little time that you can easily forget them. At least, in theory. Bad knows no bounds or limits, just look at Military. This is an adaptation of a gag manga about anime girls who are tasked with protecting a kid who's dad ended up accidentally joining the army, and instead of making jokes based around the absurdity of soldiers hanging around a Japanese high school ala Full Metal Panic, the creator of the series decided to make “”””””””””””””””””””jokes””””””””””””””””””” about pedophilia, masochism, and boobies.

Military enrages me. I want this show to be scrubbed from the cultural landscape, and it sort of already is, but we really need to be perfectionists about this. There is nothing redeemable about this trash. It's nothing but a collection of gags so terrible that even Happy Madison would pass on them, and their last film was basically an MRA love letter. Want to see an older guy walk in on a little girl peeing while trying to avoid being murdered and not just explaining someone is trying to murder him but having the fuckboy freak out and creating an insane situation where it looks like he's trying to abduct her? No? Well fuck you! Want to see a grown man walked around and abused by a little girl because he loves pain and humiliation? I actually like masochism jokes and even I was disgusted. Oh, how about a running gag where a teenage boy sees something erotic, then blood explodes from his nose while he screams “PORNO” in engrish? It's just as tired and grating as it sounds.

Every gag is either gross and offensive, or not actually a joke, but just things happening. The absurd tech the girls take out never really have a joke to them, they're just big and weird and that's funny or something. It's not absurd enough to be comedic on its own, and in a medium exploding with ridiculous action shows and visual pun gag series, giant tank isn't going to cut it as a gag. The awful production values and weird coloring only make the series unpleasant to look at, and not just unpleasant for the writing. It's a pathetic mess that should have never been adapted, nor written and drawn as a comic in the first place. It's further proof that the more focused your interests become, the duller your art may end up. If you can't convey your love or humor to an audience not familiar with the subject matter, or even for the target audience, you've failed on a whole new level.

Are you ready for this real shit!? Because when it's time to talk about the real shit, there's only one studio you need to look at. Pierrot's little baby studio, ARMS, is infamous for producing some high grade fecal matter, which isn't surprising as they were a product of the OVA boom. Their primary reason for existence was to animate tittles and flying gore, which made things awkward when the OVA market started to weaken around the time they came about. Whoops. But they are responsible for some interesting video animation stuff, primarily giving the world the incredibly mixed but poorly treated Yasuomi Umetsu (someone please give this man another stupid action movie to direct). They're also the go to company for exploitative crap, like Queens Blade. However, you may notice that's not on here. No, there is much worse on ARMS' resume, even up into the modern day.

ISUCA is a manga adaptation made in 2015 that looks like it was made in 2001. It is shockingly cheap and phoned in, which is understandable because the material they had to work with was garbage, even by ARMS' standards. Remember, these people animated Queens Blade. This is worse than that. ISUCA's entire premise is dated, even by the time it started getting published in 2009. It's a generic evil demons pop up in modern Japan stuff, and most of it at a high school because of course they would. The main character is a spineless wuss with no actual characteristics, the main heroine is a horribly unlikable tsundere, her sister is a horribly unlikable creepy sex doll, there's an older woman acting as a parental figure and is any of this starting to sound familiar? Okay, the penguin is changed for the only good character of the show in cat girl Tama, but you get what I mean. This is pure uninspired early 2000s derivative cash-in trash filled with slap dash and soulless version of the EVA archetypes, but with added titty and gore.

But man, the series goes above and beyond in being creepy rape fetish sludge. The first episode has the heroine trapped by electricity that puts a fire in her pants, and not a literal one. And she's in her underwear the whole time. I've described that fucking scene many times, but it must be repeated. The entire show tries to use shock value from sexualized violence and ridiculous gore, but the awful animation and generic character designs suck that shock out before it can even happen. The 80s and 90s OVA boom didn't have to worry about TV censorship, they could go absolutely crazy, but ISUCA was stuck not being as gross and horrible as it could have been, which I would have defended because at least then maybe we'd get a monster that didn't look like a TMNT reject or the car from Who Framed Roger Rabbit. That car eats people, by the by.

But god if this wasn't a bore. ARMS has a weird talent for making their worst shows a chore to sit through. After awhile, all the shock wears off and they just become empty and flaccid. Nothing, not even the worst elements, engage anymore, and ISUCA fits that to a tee. Despite introducing a villain who's entire personality can be summed up as sadistic blood lust, nothing of any interest or impact happens for the longest time, and the show just stops with a cliffhanger that will probably never get resolved, thankfully. This entire show's existence is a waste of everyone's time, including the people who made it. They could have been letting Umetsu do something besides work on credits! Seriously, someone please give this man another director job. I need more of his incredibly detailed action, even if it means more weird young girl and old guy romances. He should see a therapist about that. Galilei Donna could have been good with a second cour, damn it!

You know you've fucked up royally when you've done a worse job that Koichi Ohata, the man who directed M.D Geist, one of the worst anime ever produced. I mean, the guy directed the fucking Burst Angel series, and all his Ikki Tousen seasons are at least passable, smutty fun. But season one of this infamous high school titty fighter show was directed by Takashi Watanabe, known for Boogiepop Phantom, Slayers, and Kino's Journey movie. This man is not a bad director by any means, but as the years have rolled on, he's attached his name to some serious garbage. However, Ikki Tousen somehow sticks out as the worst for baffling reasons. As insane as it sounds, this adaptation of a bad ecchi manga actually disgraces the source material.

The first season of Ikki Tousen is why you know about Ikki Tousen. It is truly the worst abomination ARMS has ever shat out. It's somehow both boring and endlessly frustrating at the same time. I'm still not sure how something like this even happened, and how this wasn't the product of the man who made a series about a gay genocidal super soldier killing the entire world for no reason. That guy directed the “good” seasons. The premise of the show is that the Romance of the Three Kingdoms is happening in modern day Japan with high school students, but they're also all aware of it because they're reincarnations of those characters, meaning they should be able to NOT do the stupid and pointless war shit because why the fuck does it matter in modern day Japan and don't think about that and look at that naked anime titty. The show instantly falls apart from premise alone, but it gets so, so much worse.

Every character is either boring, despicable, or obnoxious. Lead girl Hakufu is basically girl Goku with a severe learning disability (like, she literally has the mindset of a four year old child, yet is still constantly sexualized), her cousin is a personality devoid guy character, true villain Saji is practically a rapist with a ridiculous obsession with using people as pawns for no discernible reason besides evil, Ryomou's entire time in the show is spent getting owned by other girls (way to waste your sadist character, guys!), Gakushu is just one of the worst characters in concept alone, there's a random final battle with a character who appears out of nowhere that doesn't have a reason to actually fight anyone, Hakufu's mom only exists for bad jokes and to confuse the only character who's not a monster (I simply call him “Basics guy” because he likes the basics, apparently), and I could go on and on. Toutaku sort of works like a cheesy villain, but having this crazy murderous kid express any sort of sexuality is weird and uncomfortable for everyone involved.

The plot makes absolutely no fucking sense due to the broken concept, but even with that ignored, character motivation is poorly explored, and there doesn't seem to be a real reason for these characters to fight anyone besides “but the ancestors did that!!!” The humor is so bad that it actually manages to numb my soul, and most of the dialog besides that is exposition hat undercuts what character development we do get because it spells everything out. It is necessary to make sense of the ridiculous political plot, but it's so contrived and needlessly complex that it just confuses even more, especially because most of these conflicts don't matter in this season at all, and get dropped in future season anyways so there can be more actual titty fighting. This war is so overly thought out that it makes Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle's political dealings look like point A to B stuff.

It's also shockingly cheap, even for ARMS. The animation is either poor, shown in still frames, or involves incredibly boring combat techniques that require almost no movement whatsoever. Ryomou's fights all revolve around her wrapping herself around someone and then just holding there for several minutes until they fall or she gets dunked on for the millionth time. And the music, oh dear god the horrible music. The opening is especially atrocious, one of the worst theme songs any show has ever had. It's a mixture of bad 90s pop production in an endless loop and some truly lifeless singing with a random rap chorus. Nothing about this show is engaging, with exception to one character who might have saved it on some level.

I genuinely like Ryofu quite a bit. She's a bisexual schemer and badass in charge of her own sexuality, has a loving relationship with her girlfriend, and has one of the few designs that has some life to it (I also like Ryomou's maid attire ...which she rarely wears). There is the possibility for a strong character here, and she might be in the original manga with a story line based around a terminal illness and her and her girlfriend actually getting a meaningful end together.

In the anime, Ryofu's girlfriend is raped by two men and dies off screen.

Her lesbian girlfriend is raped and killed off screen.

Let me stress, this season did not have the involvement of the man who made MD Geist. The man who directed Boogiepop Phantom and Slayers, and a goddamn Kino's Journey movie, a film apart of one of the most thoughtful and moving anime franchises in existence, thought it was a good idea to change a tragic double suicide that would have at least had both characters keep their agency, and instead have a lesbian character die after being raped by men.

The rape happens in the manga too (it's by no means high art), but she doesn't fucking die from it. She still has a purpose and an ending to her story in the manga. But not here! And it leads to a confusing, pointless fight with Hakufu and the crazy kid bad guy because revenge, despite Hakufu not having anything to do with anything because she has the brain of a hamster. AND IF THAT WASN'T FUCKING ENOUGH, THE ANIME ADDS A SCENE WHERE RYOFU OUTRIGHT RAPES RYOMOU INSTEAD OF JUST COUPING A FEEL. LIKE, SHE LICKS HER FINGERS AFTER AND WE GET A SLOW PAN OF RYOMOU'S PARALYZED BODY COVERED IN SWEAT WITH HER PANTIES PULLED DOWN.

And the fucked up thing is that this fucking scene is the high point because it's one of the few parts that engaged me on any level. I despise this show. So much.


Fractale is a goddamn insult. It was so bad that the person creating the manga adaptation publicly complained about how poor the material was. I've whined about this trash on Heavy Storms before, but I cannot stress enough the endless wells of hatred I have for this show. This is disgusting. This is vile. This is insulting. This is one of the worst sci-fi stories ever written. This belongs among the names of the worst of the worst in this medium. This is the fucking Atlas Shrugged of anime, and  don't mean in that it's Objectivist garbage, but that it's blunt propaganda based around ignorance, idiocy, and stereotyping people different from you. This thing is a borderline farce, but it actually believes the crap it spews. Hell, it even throws out motherfucking rape as back story, and makes it more about the guy attracted to the girl freaking out she's not a virgin.

I hate, hate, HATE this rancid, backwards, hateful, judgmental, egotistic, idiotic, misogynistic, preachy, well produced vomiting of xenophobia and anti-science. Fractale is a show about a twerp named Clain who's wrapped into a terrorist organization that's trying to free the world from the Fractale system, basically the super internet, and gains an AI partner free of the system while helping a girl he gets a crush on escape an evil technology cult that runs the world. What it's actually about is people whining that the internet sucks away all individuality and free will for eleven episodes and saying we should have stopped all technological advancement in the 30s or so because easy mass communication and access to all the world's vast collected knowledge will make everyone dumb puppets for a crazy religion that worships a satellite in the sky.

I think you can see where my hatred comes from.

Fractale's entire narrative is basically one long, smug baby boomer think-piece about those silly millennials, but with more murder and rape. It's also really shitty and justifying its supposed heroes. The rebels Clain joins with are supposed to be the more peaceful, lead humanity down the path with teaching guys, but one of the first things we see them do after the initial Ghibli comedy antics is slaughter a bunch of innocent people in the middle of a Fractale upgrade that leaves them completely defenseless. The bad guys we see later that blackmail a group of people into their army don't seem that much worse in comparison, so the series has to make them worse by having their villain use the Fractale system to properly lead an attack. Cause the internet is evil and that's what Fractale is and if you use it you are evil, who don't you silly kids eat your cereal or buy houses :)))))))).

The show is genuinely gorgeous, mind you. It's one of the most beautiful looking anime I have ever seen, and the JRPG like soundtrack is a great touch. Even scene direction is strong, and would have made the series salvageable if the script and politics weren't so vile. It also manages to fail as propaganda by actually raising good points on the contrary they never have an argument for, like one episode ending by revealing the bad guy of the week was crippled and could only live as a human being through the Fractale system. It never gets brought back up again. He was just bad because Fractale, I guess. How dare he want to have human contact and communication he was unable to have in the real world!

But then there's all the creepy misogynistic stuff. The show seems to be trying to have feminist themes based around criticizing objectification of women, but it's all so cartoonish and horrifying that it feels more like the writer was just a creeper. The cloning reveal and disposal of useless girls comes close to working, but its barely explored. There's a lot of hinting that all the women of the cult are rape victims, but its never explored, or they make that back story hinted as justification for them victimizing other girls, which could have been thoughtful commentary if it didn't have such bad writers. It reads more like a dark porn story than actual commentary or criticism. And then you hit our heroine's back story, where we have a creepy smiling fucker lick her face as he explains that he fucking raped her as a child, leading to her having a mental break and murdering the bastard while Clain has goddamn hallucinations based around the shocking revelation that the girl he love is used goods. He shows no actual attempt to understand or emphasize with her pain or trauma, it's instantly all about him loving someone who isn't a virgin.

This show just makes me hate, hate, hate, HATE. I hope everyone who write this show never works again (except Okada, she is forgiven as she always is). Nothing has ever made me so angry before, not even Hungry Joker or my number one. This show is truly, truly one of the worst stories we have ever produced as a species.

Okay, enough mad, time for some glad. It's time for the most spectacular mess of a show I have ever seen. Magical Warfare is an experience. If you haven't listened to our hour and a half episode of Heavy Storms on it, you should, because you can actually hear the point where I lose my sanity. Magical Warfare is a light novel adaptation, and the most baffling I have ever seen. This wasn't just a result of adapting a work that wasn't ready yet, there are so many bizarre decisions and events in this series that I'm not sure you can entirely blame the original work. This show is so bad that it wraps back around into good, and then bad again, and then it might have ended with Fry becoming his own grandfather. It's that special sort of train wreck you rarely see in the televised world outside game or reality shows.

Now stay with me here, because describing the plot of this show is like explaining quantum mechanics. So, there's this generic light novel protagonist named Takeshi, who lives in a house where his mom and brother stare at him with deep wells of anger. This is the first scene we see with him in the entire show, implying this happens to him every day.

You might want to get some booze, things only get worse from here.

After a bunch of wizard people try to murder him and the Rukia-ripoff of the show (short, support focused powers, obsessed with her big brother and pudding, incredibly awkward yet egotistic, ect), he gets taken to magic school after showing magic powers, which is good because him and his friends would probably be murdered otherwise. His best friends include an idiot shonen protagonist who looks like Gilgamesh, and a blond tsundere with shape-shifting and illusion powers that are completely useless, and her entire role in the show is to suffer from PTSD after an attempted rape in her childhood and to give Takeshi's brother Gekko a reason to be evil. Progressive!

The show ignores the characters actually learning magic or having cool fights between all the wizards in the ruined alternate timeline hellscape city the school is located in, instead having dumb story arcs about the Ghost Trailers. That's the name of the bad guys. I'm serious. They brainwashed not-Rukia's brother and now he's a violent murderer who gets one-shot by a guy who has no real magical training at all in the first major arc, and then gets beaten again after actually remember he can make giant ice castles and destroy buildings, and he's good again so whatever. Also, the good wizards aren't actually good and brainwash some minor villains (one I affectionately nicknamed “Taco”) and supposedly do this regularly to bolster their ranks ...but this was pointless for these minor villains because they just give them back in a failed hostage exchange. So they were mind raped for no reason at all. Their dickery also acts as the main motivation of the antagonist, but the “who's the REAL evil one” thing falls apart instantly because the Ghost Trailers do the same shit plus also mass genocide.

I have described the first half, which would only make this show an honorable mention at worst. It's the second half where things go completely mad. See, our main character has this magic sword that is also a girl because aren't magical anime swords always anime girls? Well, this magical sword fucks with him because she don't need no man no how and he has to fight her to get control of her. Remember this, it will be important later. Well, the magic anime girl sword waifu also has this power to give people visions of the future, and she basically spoils all the major events of the show, and also shows a scene where not-Rukia chases pudding while in her PJs and gets injured. The next day, she falls down the stairs to go get pudding.

A relatable character.

This future dream stuff is central to everything that happens from here. But we'll get there. Oh, we'll get there. First, the Ghost Trailers. They are dumb. Nothing they do makes sense. They want to win a war but never actually make significant progress or moves until their leader wakes up, they ask him what to do, and he basically goes “why the fuck are you guys not murdering the other guys what the fuck, I was in a coma and the murder stops, the fuck guys.” Paraphrased. But boy, when they decide to actually do something, they just SLAUGHTER the school, with minor characters murdered all over the place, including that perfectly nice person who accidentally triggered Takeshi's not girlfriend and never got a chance to apologize. Shit also reached the non-magic real world too, and we see people horrifically vaporized and buildings blown up. But we don't focus on that because we're focused on Takeshi and friends. AND OH MY.



Not-Gilgamesh has his sister taken away by the good wizards to be apart of some sort of super secret magical training program, but doesn't care that much because everyone is dying horribly (so understandable). Not-Rukia gets nothing to do besides deliver a macguffin, sadly. But Takeshi and not-girlfriend?


Takashi's brother Gekko is goddamn insane. He was accidentally thrown in front of a car and got a bum leg for it, and it happened while he was mad that Takeshi was dating not-girlfriend, whom he loved (the tragic irony being they were just pretending so men would leave her alone). So he's basically super mad he got cock-blocked and also pushed in front of a car. So he constantly stares daggers at Takeshi whenever he gets the chance, and wonders what he's doing when he's not around because nothing else but his hate matters to him. Okay.

The kid is basically a combination of Medaka Box's Kumagawa and Nic Cage in Deadfall. And it's incredible. The minute he shows up on screen, nothing else matters. He is an explosion just waiting to happen, and every character understands that instantly. Takeshi is on the edge of losing his shit whenever Gekko enters the room. That's justified. He joins the bad guys, gets OP speed powers, and proceeds to just DESTROY his brother. And it's so incredible. The laughter, the smugness, the lash outs. When he tries to kidnap not-girlfriend, he has officially stopped giving a shit as she's freaking out that the guy she loved is on the floor bleeding out. He's like a bored child trying to convince his friend to play tag with him. It's supposed to be terrifying but it's just hilarious. And the faces. THE FACES.

And then the series just loses its goddamn mind. Turns out the magic sword was owned by Takeshi's mom, she's known about the magic stuff and never told her kids, and thought this was a good idea because the sword showed that Gekko would become a crazy monster man. Except that only happened because she reacted to the dream ...WHICH IS WHY EVERY SINGLE VISION COMES TRUE (except for not-Rukia's pudding run, her love for pudding is a universal constant). Because the magic sword shows people a vision, they make it happen by reacting to the vision. Takeshi falls for the same shit too, getting a vision that Gekko kills their mom and he ends up fighting him. You'll never guess what happens.

During all this, not-girlfriend is kidnapped by the bad guys, she does nothing of importance, there's a fight with Taco that doesn't matter or add to the story in any way, and nothing is accomplished. It's not till round two with Gekko that everything finally gets spilled, and ...I don't even know where to begin.



Okay, so Gekko has the magic sword now, and it's implied he raped it because when we see it in girl form, it's visibly terrified and covered in chains. Meaning there is a canonical moment in this show where a crazy man makes a girl in a magic sword his BDSM slave. He brags about effectively NTRing his brother by taking said sword and making it do what he says.

A guy is NTR'ed by a magic sword girl and his brother.

It's only going to get crazier from here.

So, the two fight and all, and as that happens, a the principle we thought died appears and does something that seems to help the bad guy, and then we find out the bad guy has the same picture of the mom Takeshi has, meaning he actually IS Takeshi. That's simple enough to understand, maybe some sort of stable loop thing being set up. Except why would the other wizards help the guy leading the evil wizards???? Oh, and what does that spell do? She's setting up the conditions for Takeshi and Gekko to collide so hard that they travel back in time, Takeshi starts to freak out when he sees his young mom and the bad guy (BUT IF THEY'RE THE SAME PERSON WHY DID HE GO BACK TO A TIME WHERE HE IS STILL THERE, AND BY HIM I MEAN HIMSELF????) AND THEN GEKKO APPEARS, IS ALREADY FRIENDS WITH EVERYONE, AND IS ALL LIKE “OH HEY BRO HOW'S IT GOING” WHILE SMILING LIKE A SMUG SHITHEAD AND TAKESHI SERIOUSLY LOOKS LIKE HE'S GONE JUST AS MAD AS I AM









Magical Warfare.

Also the production was shit.

This show is why I never plan to ever let people decide what I review for a Christmas gift ever again. See, I once offered this service to someone in a Secret Santa exchange, and they decided I would review a twenty-six or so episode anime series called Shuffle.

If you've known me for awhile, then you knew this fucking show would probably be at top. Now, Fractale is offensive, idiotic, and endlessly rage inducing, Magical Warfare is a disaster of unimaginable proportions, and Ikki Tousen is somehow both equally boring and disgusting. But not a damn one of them comes close to the sheer bad that is Shuffle. Based on a visual novel “”””””””””””””inspired”””””””””””””” by the works of Key, Shuffle is a mixture of some of my least favorite things in anime. Magical bullshit tossed in for easy drama? Check. Every girl being an obnoxious cliché? Yup! Sexualized loli character? She also gets shirtless the most (kill me). Generic nice guy protagonist? Oh yeah. Terrible pervert sidekick? Yeah. Harem series? Yes. Never ending will they or won't they bullshit? THE ENTIRE FIRST HALF OF THE SERIES.

This show fucking broke me by the end. It actually surprised me too, because that second half is where all the story is stuffed, and it's a whole new type of bad. It's like they found a terrible Tenchi Myuo ripoff (or a terrible spinoff, knowing the “quality” of that franchise) and a terrible Key wannabe show, then decided to smoosh them together and get all the pathetic otaku money. The premise of Shuffle is that gods and demons exists and the future rulers of Heaven and Hell have both decided that they really want to jump the bones of a random mortal. Main character Rin has no discernible characteristics beyond “is nice” and gets a harem of girls after him, including Satan's girl Rina, God's daughter Sia, his childhood friends Kaede and Asa, and also a little girl named Rimu because anime is terrible. Hyjinks ensue for the first half of the series as everyone keeps trying to push the main character with one of the girls, they all try getting along at certain points, and we have an incredibly boring first half finish with teasing that Sia is going to win out but nothing comes from it because the creators of this anime wanted to prolong our suffering.

The first half seriously has some of the worst comedy I have ever seen in an anime. It's not because the jokes lack structure or are particularly offensive (though I am offended they keep fucking finding reasons to get the loli's shirt wet or to get her shirtless, not to mention how fucking creepy God and Satan are when it comes to pushing their daughters on the guy through sex appeal), it's that there is absolutely nothing funny in them. At all. At best, it's tired sitcom and harem comedy cliches, like the dumbass dad or the girl being bad at cooking. Cause women are usually only good for cooking! HAHAHAHAHA KILL ME. But at worst, there's not actually a joke to be found. Oh, there are elements of a joke, but the joke tends to get lost in a cheesecake moment or in utter confusion where nobody seemed to know why this scene even existed in the first place.

That first half is an endless switching between painful and boring, but it's the second half where the shit really hits the fan and paints the room in green and brown. See, because Shuffle was a visual novel with multiple female characters wanting to fuck the player character, there were routes for each character. Because the writers forgot to actually explore any of those routes in the first half (THAT FUCKING BEACH EPISODE WAS SO NECESSARY), the second half goes by each route, arc by arc. Except Rina's, who's gets mentioned at the end of the loli's because the writers needed room for the mother of all ending arcs. Which was probably the only good call they made through this entire production.

The loli's arc has sad science experiment bullshit, personality devoid Sia suddenly has a freakout with her second personality's aggressive attempts to get into the main character's pants that was never built up or even hinted at before, and Rina just has a sad realization of how she met the main character before and her own cloning blues that could have been one of the few good elements of the show IF THEY ACTUALLY EXPLORED IT. Really, this is all filler compared to the final arc which combines together the stories of Kaede and Asa.

This is where the show starts to come to life and sort of work. Asa is the only one of the girls the main character seems to have any chemistry with, mainly because the two have a significant history that's well established and explored. They even have dates and feel like a real couple. Her winning in the end was a smart move, because even the awful writers realized she was the only one of these people that was in any way an actual person and not a ball of Key magical bullshit.

Except for Kaede.

Oh yes, Kaede.

She is, without a doubt, the single best part of this entire trainwreck. And the worst.

Kaede appears in the first half to be a doormat that serves the main character, despite him finding it slightly creepy. She just seems to be a normal waifu archetype and nothing more.

Until you reach her arc in the second half.

Oh yes, Kaede's arc. Her arc.

Kaede is clinically insane. Like, she needs to desperately see a doctor. See, her mother died when she was young, as did the main character's parents. Through reasons too stupid to explain, MC took the blame for the accident that lead to this loss, and Kaede fucking snapped. She regularly tried to murder the guy, while both of them were still children (the fucking stairs scene you have no idea), and then eventually found out he lied. She felt so much grief that she snapped again in the complete opposite direction. She's a full blown, crazy as a juggalo yandere that gives Asa a fucking heart attack after completely losing her shit and threatens to murder her, and the faces the animators gave her are Higurashi levels of lunacy.

It actually gets worse, because her arc is realizing that MC won't love her, but she's going to keep loving him, even though she feels like she's not worthy of his love. Someone please take this girl to a doctor, she's making Yuno Gasai look ...well, not as crazy.

This story is an absolute mess. Kaede is treated as an actual character and not the hilarious joke she actually is. Up until all of this, she's just the boring, seemingly perfect girl that could easily be forgotten because of the erratic personalities around her, outside one or two creepy vibes. When she is focused on and given actual definition, it's so ridiculous that it feels more at home in a trashy manga about serial killers than an actual drama. It's at least a bad I can stomach, mind you.

But Asa's story is still going, and I had thought she'd be the one character free of magical or tragic bullshit.

I really should have known better.

She's a human/demon hybrid, as her mom is a cat person, and this somehow means she has too much magical bullshit in her body and it's killing her or something. Humans can't handle the magic bullshit or whatever, fuck you. So now we have this incredibly idiotic non-conflict where she needs to let out magical powers, but won't because of poorly explained guilt complex shoved in here out of nowhere, and her mom won't help because her mom is a goddamn idiot who thinks the MC has to solve it because she loves him more (?????????). They end up kissing after a big argument about absolutely nothing, this gets rid of her excess magical bullshit or something, and then they're an item while the angel girl suggests that he have a harem because you can do that in heaven OH MY GOD THE MORMONS WERE RIGHT.

I cannot accurately describe the hate I felt during this ending. It is so, so awful. It is built on a conflict that only exists because the characters refuse to act like people, and it pushes aside relationships the cast have to push the bullshit harem stuff some more because the conflict has to come back around to “ARE THEY GOING TO FUCK!?!?!?” As much as I rag on Key (and they fucking deserve it), they understand there are things more important than teenagers dating. This show does not. Air is a fucking trash pile, but that last arc could have worked in a completely different context because it tapped in so well into the connections of family. In most every Key show, I can at least point and see one good idea realized in some way.

But Shuffle is so up its own ass with harem shenanigans and cliched archetypes that it actually feels like it's too scared to do anything too human or relatable. The ideas at play aren't fantastical enough to be abstract or interesting just by their strangeness. People with multiple personalities exist. People with toxic ideas of love and hate exist. People suffering from incurable illness exist. The cloning thing doesn't, but the show actually runs scared from that concept and writes it off by skipping an entire major route. If you want the audience to give a shit, you need to look at these things in a more human way. You can't be afraid to challenge Kaede's damaging views of herself and those around her. You can't be afraid to explore the problems Sia's second personality causes her outside a single arc. You can't be afraid to really explore the strain Asa's condition has on not only her relationship with her friends, but with her deeply caring mother.

You can't be afraid to actually be human. To be real. To be meaningful. No matter how bullshit Key gets, they understand that you have to keep that emotional human core somewhere. Without it, absolutely nothing would work.

It's hard to give a shit when you decide development is stringing together a bunch of cliches, ten making the drama reliant on idiotic magical bullshit that feels like a slap to the face towards anyone capable of simple thought. Books can get away with abstract ideas for major conflicts because of the nature of that medium relying so heavily on abstraction, and the same goes for visual novels. But once you make an anime or film, those ideas need to be reworked so they're believable in this new context that relies on definition and form. Also, have actual fucking character moments and not tired a decade ago harem shenanigans. Put in some fucking effort.

There's so little to enjoy from this series, and what is enjoyable is ruined by gross, stupid endings. There's a good show buried in Shuffle, but by its very premise, it was doomed from the start of the project. That sure didn't stop the staff from going the extra mile to make some truly, truly legendary garbage.

Fuck this show, didn't even have the decency to remain entertaining by the end. How things could have been improved if Kaede just up and fucking murdered everyone.


  1. "No sooner did Jonathan finish his last word when a portal opened up and sucked him into The Negative Zone, doomed to be trapped there for eternity..."


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