So Bad It's Horrible/Anime

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Ignore for a few moments the great Subbing Versus Dubbing debate among the anime fandom. There are certain shows or works in that medium that fail on their own merits and prove that being So Bad It's Horrible is not exclusive to any one side of the Pacific. You know it's bad when even fans looking for a Widget Series exclaim "WTF?!?!?" after viewing. Feel free to curse these titles, anime haters — the fans don't bother defending them, anyway.

Important Note: Merely being offensive in its subject matter is not enough to justify a work as So Bad It's Horrible. Hard as it is to imagine at times, there is a market for all types of deviancy (no matter how small a niche it is). It has to fail to appeal even to that niche to qualify as this.

Second Important Note: An anime isn't horrible just because Professor Otaku, Don East or any other Caustic Critic reviewed it. There needs to be independent evidence, such as actual, professional reviews, to list it. (Though once it is listed, they can provide the detailed review(s).)

Third Important Note: If the only So Bad It's Horrible thing about the anime is its dub, please add it to the list that already exists at So Bad It's Horrible/Voice Acting instead of listing it here.

Examples (more-or-less in alphabetical order):
  • The adaptation of Otome Game Amnesia is an even worse adaptation of a Visual Novel than Togainu no Chi (see below). In an attempt to keep with the mystery of the original game the producers decided to keep the No Name Given Amnesiac Heroine nature of the protagonist, but somewhere in the translation they transformed her into a absolutely flat Too Dumb to Live creature no one wanted to root for. The love interests, already sketchy by the standards of the genre, became full psycho here and their routes got overload with heaps of misogyny that was not present in the original work (not that the original game was misogyny-free, mind, but the anime turned it Up to Eleven). The plot is made unnecessarily convoluted to avoid Road Cones, and ends with one of the most wallbangey plot "twist" in recent anime history. The designs and the animation are of incredibly low quality, even for Otome VN adaptation standards. But the most baffling thing is that, because the original game was translated and officially released outside Japan, this series received a full, legitimate English Blue-ray release as a promotional accompaniment, to the rage of fans on both sides of the pond who considered this anime unworthy of that much effort.
  • Art of Fighting had an absolute mess of a 45-minute OVA, with a ridiculous story, depressingly predictable plot twists, and not one interesting or likable character. Heck, the one thing you'd expect it to be able to deliver (spectacular fights) falls flat. And from a video game player's point of view, it has nothing to do with the story of the games beyond the premise of "Yuri gets kidnapped, Ryo and Robert try to save her", none of the signature special moves appear and Ryo has black hair for some reason.
    • Fun fact: The voice for Yuri Sakazaki in this clunker is J-pop singer Ayumi Hamasaki, who made her first (and thankfully only) voice acting role.
  • The Cosmopolitan Prayers, a.k.a. Cos Prayers (not "Cosplayers", Cosprayers). The broken English in the title is the least of its problems. The characters are incredibly idiotic, inconsistent, and one-dimensional. The girl who loves the male lead makes out with the main (female) protagonist, and the other girl also likes the guy, and there is no motivation for the Triang Relations. There is random unnecessary Fan Service alongside loads of rape imagery which makes anything potentially titillating just plain creepy. There are no transitions — one minute, everyone's chained up in a cave; the next, they're on a pier fighting with tennis rackets (a power upgrade, by the way). It has a plot that must have been thrown together between rounds and the conflict and characters never give the audience any reason to care. It culminates in an extremely lazy Gainax Ending with singing and, seriously. The whole thing was made by the company M.O.E. (Masters of Entertainment), but they don't show their mastery here.
    • To add insult to injury, there's two spinoff shows which portray this as bad in the Recursive Canon, to the point where in the second series, it turns out the identity of Cosprayers's writer is kept secret from the public eye.
  • The anime adaptation of the otome game series Diabolik Lovers tries excessively hard to be a Guilty Pleasure but fails mostly due to being based in a game that has the premise of "All your romantic interests are Vampire Bastard Boyfriends who all are to sexually abuse you into loving them". While this quite skeevy premise based in the sexualization of Domestic Abuse and Stockholm Syndrome is barely tolerated, the anime doesn't help matters by dumbing the heroine and the plot even more than in the games. Read a sporking of the first season, if you dare.
  • The Eien no Aselia: Spirit of Eternity Sword OAV adaptation. The game's great; the OAV... not so much. The plot is nothing like that of the game. The pacing is horrible, the animation below average, and the background music is copypasted from the game. The characters have almost no resemblance to their video game counterparts. It's as if the staff made this anime on a lunch break. Thankfully, it's only two episodes long.
  • The OVA adaptation of Eiken is particularly infamous. Originally a very generic harem manga whose main gimmick is that it takes place in a World of Buxom where almost every female character sport enormous Gag Boobs (and the biggest set is attached to a 12-year old girl with all the implied sexualization), it evidently appealed to someone given that it lasted 18 tomes. Its OVA adaptation, on the other side, takes all the Fanservice and the Gainaxing Up to Eleven, but it's done so ineptly that it becomes Nausea Fuel. That the plot is incredibly nonsensical even for ecchi comedy standards, that the characters are all either dull or unlikable, and that the voice acting in both Japanese or English is very grating [1] only adds to the disaster. The reviewers of THEM Anime aren't very fond of this OVA, and they aren't the only ones.
  • Garzey's Wing, a 1996 OVA set in the world of Byston Well. It's got wooden dialog, almost no localization, and even less effort actually put into dubbing it. It also has an utterly generic story that, despite featuring such weirdness as people's souls being kidnapped by giant geese and soldiers riding freakin' velociraptors, utterly fails to entertain. Sage and Spoony are willing to share their review with you. The former refers to it as "the Battlefield Earth of Anime". Another review on ANN can be read here, also referring it as the Battlefield Earth of Anime and also comparing the dub to an Ed Wood production. The review from the Gundamn! podcast agreed that it was the worst thing Yoshiyuki Tomino ever directed.
  • Genma Wars, a spinoff of Harmageddon, of all things. There are two major reasons why this series from 2002 failed so very, very hard:
    • The Gratuitous Rape. Now, to be fair, the series is predicated on one sexual assault: A young woman offers herself up to the Evil King to save her clan from raiders, and conceives half-breed twins. But then, one of the twins is taken to eke out a miserable existence among the Evil King's subjects. After he grows up and leaves the King's castle, he meets a woman and, after being at least somewhat friendly and decent to her, decides to assault her, too. Without so much as a "get away you bastard", she doesn't fight him off or anything. She doesn't even seem to understand the way that she was violated, and pontificates to the effect of, "It felt like his life force was entering me..."
    • The horrible, horrible animation. It is so cheap, so awful, and so very digital. For example: the "good" Wild Child twin has a wolf for a guide after his mother perishes, and he can talk! The problem? His jaw flaps up and down in a most ridiculously limited fashion, and the English dub assigned him a ridiculous Speech-Impaired Animal voice.
  • Gilgamesh, the adaptation of Shotaro Ishinomori's manga of the same name (itself a very loose interpretation of The Epic of Gilgamesh), is so removed of the original manga on plot and characterization that can be called In Name Only. The plot advances at a glacial pace and only seems to move to give Info Dumps, and dresses it with loads of gratuitous darkness, a finale ripped off from Neon Genesis Evangelion, and load of Squicky content including an incest subplot that tries to play it for romance. Also, the visual style is dour and dull, even for the dark tone the series is told: the colous palette is overload with gray tones, the character design is simplistic and of extremely low quality, and the animation quality is incredibly bad, with frequent lapses on Limited Animation that make the whole thing even more dour and boring. To round the turd, the music is amateurish and unmemorable.
  • The anime adaptation of Himegoto was the first and last time somebody attempted to adapt a manga from the Otokonoko Genre. Terrible character design in Off-Model animation (even in the opening!), a cast full of unlikable, mostly flat characters that don't even mesh well between themselves, horrible and disturbing "fan-service", a plot based in using the Wholesome Crossdresser nature of its protagonist to set up Double Standards running galore ("the main character is actually male, so is OK that girls mistreat him!") with a sense of humor based in humiliate the protagonist into Dude, Not Funny extremes, hideously high pitched voice acting even for the male characters that are not crosdressers...
  • Ijime ("Bullying"), a short OAV that was released for free by shōjo manga magazine Ciao (that alone should speak volumes). While ostensibly created to create awareness about childhood bullying, the combination of inept treatment of the theme (with a bullying scene that plays a lot like a gang rape), terrible designs from the depths of the Uncanny Valley, flat animation and terrible voice acting killed what was probably a good idea in the bud. No wonder it was the only Ciao Ciao TV OAV that wasn't expanded into a miniseries.
  • There are a myriad of reasons on why the 2007 film version of Jo Jo's Bizarre Adventure Phantom Blood has not been released on home video. Terrible animation quality (even lower than contemporary TV series, despite this being a film for theatres) that reduced the awesome combats of the manga to boring fistfights, Compressed Adaptation Up to Eleven that nipped off so many things its plot actually made no sense at all and either reduced the characters to cardbord versions of their manga selves (Dio becomes a Generic Doomsday Villain and Johnathan is just as flat) or just nipped them off (Speedwagon infamously), mediocrily mixed audio, and the poster tries to pass off an image of Joseph as if of Johnathan. Hirohiko Araki wasted no time in disown this turd.
  • Koi Koi 7 takes a manga with an interesting premise (a young man gets an Unwanted Harem of Cyborg girls and soon gets involved in the net of conspirations surrounding them), and manages to ruin it by compressing the plot so much it leaves no space for things like character development, meaningful actions or internal coherence. The animation quality is shockingly bad and takes pleasure in ripping off characters and mecha designs from Gundam. And the audio is equally terrible too: it becomes very obvious that everybody, from the music composer to the seiyuus, is phoning their performances, giving us a painfully bland soundtrack and voice acting so terrible it actually hurts.
  • When the time for an animated adaptation of the light novel series Mahou Sensou came, they had the terrible misfortune of having being animated by Studio Madhouse when they were in the middle of a restructuration, and it showed. The plot was reduced at its most generic form who got a lot of plot holes added, the characters were written at their most unpleasant, the animation was flat and boring, and they decided to avoid a Gecko Ending by picking a Gainax Ending instead. The resultant trainwreck was so despised that even the author of the original novels disowned it.
  • The animated adaptation of manga Makai Tensho, which was renamed Ninja Resurrection in a transparent attempt to market in the US as a sequel to Ninja Scroll despite being completely unrelated, has horrible no-name voice acting that makes the words "Tokugawa Shogunate" a Brown Note, extremely gross and misogynistic fanservice, and a nonsensical plot about Amakusa with a Devil in Plain Sight Evil Chancellor leading to the pointlessly squicky resurrection of Amakusa into Satan where his new evil cronies begin slaughtering townspeople...and on top of all that, the series finally ends there due to people wisely avoiding any further trick-marketing.
    • Some could argue that the series ended just as it was about to get good (it actually ends as the antagonist groups leap off-screen, implying a big showdown and/or massacre to come). It also features Mataemon Araki, the only likable character by virtue of being a gigantic badass who kills ninjas with Combat Tentacles entrails. He has barely three lines, but is somehow one of the most fleshed-out and interesting characters.
  • Master of Martial Hearts clearly tries to be a shocking deconstruction of the Panty Fighter genre, not unlike what School Days was to harem anime or Funny Games was to slasher films. In practice, it's four episodes of fanservice with only a vague hint of You Bastard (so it's less thematically clear than Funny Games), then one episode of awful things happening to characters who, while bland, weren't really that objectionable (so no catharsis like when the selfish and shortsighted protagonists of School Days came to ruin).
  • The OVA series Mars of Destruction tried to be Darker and Edgier in the vein of Neon Genesis Evangelion but failed in every account. Whatever plot it has is generic and forgettable, and so are the characters too. The animation and the fighting scenes aren't any better, and at times it seems to just be a PowerPoint presentation of screenshots. Fun fact: this series was created by Idea Factory (who produced the videogame this was adapted from) and directed by the so called Ed Wood of anime, Yoshiteru Satou. Between this one, and the animated adaptation of Tenkuu Danzai Skelter+Heaven (which was equally bad, but at least has slightly better visuals), Idea Factory was disabused of the notion of becoming an anime studio and limit themselves to video games creation, and when the time came to produce an adaptation of their hit game series Hyperdimension Neptunia, they kept Satou out of the process.
  • Mechander Robo, a 1970's series created in the wave of imitators for Mazinger Z exclusively to promote a toy of the same name by the then dying toy company Bullmark. A total failure even for toyetic and for 70's animation standards, full of generic and flat characters (where the only notable one was the Token Black), with a very dull plot that was unnecessarily extended midway after the point it should have be ended, and the show relied extensively in Stock Footage and recycled animation. No even the incredibly cool design of the Mechander was enough to drive interest to the series, and is probably that this abysmal production actually hampered the popularity of the toy. This anime was the gravestone for Bullmark, to the point that while the Bullmark Mechander Robo toy became a part of Japanese otaku culture, the anime was still mocked to this day.
  • The 4-part ova adaptation of yaoi manga Okane ga Nai. Take a manga particularly infamous for its plotline (which mixes Rape Is Love and Protagonist-Centered Morality at their worst) and for its terrible anatomy, animate it by amping up those bad qualities, and you get this waste of animated cells. Terrible art, all the fanservice is based on uncomfortable rapey imagery (there is probably not even one consensual sex scene in the whole run), and despite being a yaoi series manages to be terribly homophobic. It's widely believed that most of the stereotypes of the genre come from this series, and because of being yaoi and somewhat notorious it obfuscates online searches for the 90's J-drama of the same name many colleges use on their curriculum.
  • Ousama Game The Animation quickly became the Snark Bait series in Japan and abroad for the 2017 season for virtue of its Idiot Plot alone (not that the low quality of its animation and its extremely generic character design and soundtrack helped to its perception). For some reason the geniuses who decided to adapt this web novel and its sequel decided to begin to tell the story from the sequel first, leading to waste several episodes in a conflict that viewers that have not read the original work simultaneously had no context to place it within but that also they know where the thing was going to lead. They also stripped the plot to its bare bones, with the consequence that the characters were left as more or less brain-dead morons and a villain full of incompetence that still manages to win because the good guys are really that dim. The plot pace was terrible, with the plot of the original novel being told in Flashback Cuts while the story of the sequel is running concurrently, the sexual content added to "spice" the plot made the story more ridiculous instead, and the cherry in this sundae of suck is that the anime ends in a Shocking Swerve that doubles as a Cliffhanger and renders the whole plot All for Nothing. The result was the worst adaptation of anything in the Deadly Game Genre, widely mocked on both sides of the pond.
  • Pilot Candidate/Candidate for Goddess: Horribly-integrated CGI even for its era, plot holes practically from the start ("Only men can be Goddess pilots... except for the lady here... and we're not going to hint on why"), and Zero Enna is possibly the most aggressively unlikable Shonen or Seinen protagonist ever. He's like Ash Ketchum crossed with Amuro Ray, only without the redeeming qualities of either and with a failed attempt at Hot-Blooded. The greatest failing, however, is that every piece of the story is incomplete. Several characters and concepts are introduced but never explored, each battle is an unfollowable mess with key points missing, and while the focus on cadets should make for an interesting angle, the main characters are barely involved with the plot. And to top it all off, even though the story is too thin and weak to support twelve episodes, it still has a Gecko Ending with And the Adventure Continues overtones. The only positive quality this anime has is its soundtrack, which incongruously is of far better quality than the rest of the series.
    • Interestingly, the series was based on a slightly longer manga by the author of D.N.Angel, but the company who animated the series declared itself bankrupt after releasing the last episode as an OVA. It also made the author very hesitant to allow D.N.Angel to get an anime adaptation. Eventually, Xebec (producer of this series and of Martian Successor Nadesico) made a competent adaptation.
    • The version shown in America had, in top of the above problems, an awful dub, and was edited to comply with Toonami standards (back when Toonami was an afternoon action block) in a way that made the series even more nonsensical. For some inexplicable reason, this version was the one broadcast in Adult Swim, from where was pulled after the sixth chapter. One [AS] bumper declared "Pilot Candidate: never again".
    • Locomotion, a (now disappeared) Latin-American animation channel, gave the series a very good dub into Spanish, but that only means that the series had very nice voices saying the terrible lines of the nonsensical plot. They gave it a first run in prime time, and then, years later, a second run just in time for the closing of the channel.
  • Pupa, a horror manga about a brother and sister who become infected by a virus, is known for its disturbing gore. Its anime adaptation, however, sabotages any potential the manga had with its short runtime (each episode is four minutes long), making a proper adaptation of the story impossible. Instead, it offers a butchered storyline, horrible pacing, terrible character development, and baffling censorship in its TV airing, which destroys the manga's horror appeal. Anime News Network gave it a "Flushable" score in its Shell Life review, and Marow of Anime Viking called it the worst anime he has ever seen.
  • Root Search, a 1980s OVA with stiff animation; unlikable, poorly-developed characters; and a pretentious and incoherent plot ripped off from Alien (it was even released under several misleading Alien-related titles in several markets). Here's a review.
  • Are you a fan of the famous shooter SiN? You are probably still furious for the existence of Sin: The Movie and still pretending that it didn't exist (not that difficult since it achieved Canon Discontinuity when SiN Episodes: Emergence was released). Everything in this was wrong, beginning with the title (it was called "The Movie" despite being a 2-episode miniseries), it tried to cheaply retcon aspect of the game, has terribly lame Canon Foreigners, has a bland plot filled with holes, and its animation and art was mediocre at best. It was a product to cheap cash on the popularity of the game, and truly cheap it was.
  • The Thunder Prince. A Cliché Storm that makes Inheritance Cycle look original, it contains inconsistent character designs that make Jack Chick's shittier illustrations look like Dave Gibbons', and a spectacularly gory scene of the sidekick monkey playing around with the constituent humors of a snake's eyeballs, which the creators felt the need to Flash Back to for no apparent reason. The Big Bad undergoes instantaneous Badass Decay, and the back of the tape gives away the ending.
  • The anime adaptation of Togainu no Chi has been panned by fans of the original game for good reason. Admittedly, given the nature of the game and its multi-route system, some elements had to be removed for the censors, but it still doesn't excuse the fact that so many things were removed from the story, people being introduced to the series for the first time didn't know what the hell was going on. Terrible animation (to the point that Episode 12 nearly completely consisted of animation recycling), constant deviation from character styling, and a mediocre script combined to make a fairly celebrated BL game into an animated train wreck.
  • That the famous Visual Novel Tsukihime needed to streamline and sanitize a bit its plot for its animated adaptation, given the content and nature of the game, was expected. What was not expected at all was the butchering of the storyline (where plot points were introduced and then forgotten or decontextualized), the atrocious pacing, the astonishingly low quality of the animation (where a character falling was accomplished by merely moving a cell down), and the incredibly dull and boring soundtrack (where only the opening song has some sort of quality). The result was a 12-episode mess that only got worse in localization, and you get the kind of series the fans of its source deny their existence. Rubbing salt in the wound was that the manga adaptation, who followed the same route the anime adapted, was infinitely better done and is universally loved by the fandom.
  • When Transformers Kiss Players was announced, most American fans generally chuckled at the concept of girls kissing Transformers to bond with them and power them up... but the manga scans depicted vore, blatantly suggestive scenes (such as the Legions' infamous "penis-tongues" and the endless stream of implied-rape imagery), the misogynistic antics of Atari Hitotonari, and late teenagers appearing to be eight years old (and before you ask, they were purposefully drawn that way, it's not an artifact of the art style). American fans were left disgusted and the Japanese fans feared this would've set a very poor example for the perception of anime in the West. As a result, most fans tuned out. Not even a retool to make the series Lighter and Softer, with the fanservice drastically toned down (albeit the girls were still drawn in the same Puni Plush style their made them look half their actual age) and the plot streamlined to actually makes sense, could help them. The TF Wiki has the details on the concept and how badly it was executed.
    • It's sad because They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot. The EDC, led by Marissa Faireborne, alongside the Autobots in an Evangelion-ish battle against mutated cyborg beasts and what turns out to be a Gambit Roulette by the creator of the technology? If they'd made a serious effort instead of just going for shock value (which the creator admits to), then this could have been a worthy addition to the Transformers saga.
  • And yet, Kiss Players wasn't even the worst Japanese Transformers product. That "honor" is shared with Transformers: Super Link (known as Transformers: Energon in the West) Very thin plot (even for toyetic franchise standards) that's even repetitive within self to boot, stock footage galore, horrible animation, characterization decay, an English dub that killed what already little sense the original dialogs had, and the worst sin of all, not even selling the toys well. The TF Wiki has details on the many ways this series failed to deliver.
  1. The English dub has a place in the voice acting section of So Bad It's Horrible