Anime List

5 Lowest Rated Anime: They Still Have Something Going for Them

How does talking about my 5 Lowest Rated Anime fit in on a site celebrating anime? I’ll get to that. But first: Is toxic fandom getting you down? Are you tired of getting excited when you see a review of a series you love, only to find that the review calls the latest episode a “dumpster fire?” Hey, me, too! And we’re not alone. I just read a post called “When Anime Fans Hate Anime” on Irina’s site I Drink and Watch Anime. In it, she discussed the state of some anime fan discussions.

Because simply cursing the dark just adds to the toxicity, and since I Drink and Watch Anime is not known for doing such things, Irina suggested a great idea to off-set this rampant negativity:

Go to your MAL or AniList or Excel, or brain, whatever you use to keep track of your anime. Pick the 5 shows you personally rated the lowest (but still remember) and say something nice about them.

When Anime Fans Hate Anime

That sounds like a great idea! So I’m going to do just that. But first, I hope you’ll be interested to see how this idea plays right into the theme for Crow’s World of Anime.

Celebrating Anime, Even My 5 Lowest Rated Anime

I’ve talked before about why I chose celebrating anime as the theme for this site. Aside from the personal anecdotes in that post, you might be interested to learn that there’s a scientific perspective on why people get so hyped up on negativity. It has to do with becoming addicted to their own neurochemicals. David Brin had a wonderful article on the topic. After reading that article, I not only had a better understanding of why folks become so strong in their condemnation of whatever. I understand why I did it, too. That article changed my perspective.

So in brief, I celebrate anime because I want more celebration in the world. Anime has given me a lot of enjoyment, and I’m grateful for that. I want to share that enjoyment with my readers. That’s why I’ve settled on my current format of picking my favorite quote and favorite moment from an episode. Occasionally, I use different formats, but I think the format that talks about my favorite quote and moment helps keep me focused on the positive.

5 Lowest Rated Anime

I’m going to use my profile at My Anime list to pick my 5 lowest rated anime series. I’m going to list them in descending order, so that the series that I like the least is last. I should also note that there are series that I like even less than these, but I didn’t finish them. These are the 5 lowest rated anime series that I finished. I figure talking about the ones I dropped would be unfair to the creative teams behind those series.

I think that some of these will be easy. At least one is going to be a serious challenge. Let’s see where we end up!

5. Clockwork Planet

5 Lowest Rated Anime: Clockwork Planet was number 5

Screenshot from the Crunchyroll stream.

This show actually had several things I liked about it. In no particular order, they were:

  1. The OP was exceedingly pleasant. I’m not being euphemistic at all! I really enjoyed it.
  2. RyuZU’s character design was super easy on the eyes.
  3. The world in this series represented something unique: It took place in a reproduction Earth created from clockwork gears and springs. It even toyed with the idea that energy behaved differently in that world.
  4. I had no complaints about the show’s animation. Some of it looked great.

4. Dies Irae

5 Lowest Rated Anime: Dies Irae was number 4

Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

I actually reviewed this series as it aired. Thinking about this series makes me realize something. This isn’t an easy exercise! My instinct is not to praise this show! But if I can get past that instinct, I can see the wisdom of trying to find the positive. Because this show, too, has them.

  1. This show had another seriously enjoyable OP. The tone and reliance on guitars gave the show a distinct feel.
  2. Amazingly, it had an even better fit with the ED. The ED veered toward heavy metal, and talk about embodying the show’s vibe!
  3. One of my favorite villains was Eleonore von Wittenburg. She might actually be one of my favorite all-time villains. The way she dominated every scene she appeared in impressed me. She exuded a silent menace that I thought was wildly effective.
  4. Costume Design: It’s hard to go wrong with a Nazi ascetic if you want your characters to scream EVIL. In fact, it felt reassuring to see Nazis recognized as evil.

3. Taboo Tattoo

Taboo Tattoo was number 3.

Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

This was another series I reviewed. I struggled even harder than I did for Dies Irae to think of positive things to say. But once again, I found that I could! Here’re the things I liked about the series:

  1. YAFO: I’m trying to have fun with acronyms. This one’s Yet Another Fun OP. Taboo Tattoo’s OP hit me just right. I had a lot of fun watching it and it seemed to be a good fit for the series.
  2. The fight choreography seemed solid. The series featured a lot of close-quarters combat. This might be the series strongest point, in fact.
  3. After I made my peace with the name, Bluesy Fluesy’s character grew on me. I thought she worked well as a protagonist.

2. The Promised Neverland Season 2

The Promised Neverland Season 2 was number 2.

Capture from the Funimation stream.

Wow. I reviewed this series, too. Actually, I collaborated on the reviews with Irina. I feel like I let her down towards the end. But I’m not going to talk about that or why it’s number 2 on this list. I’m going to say what I liked about it.

One little bit of trivia: I’d initially graded his as high as a 7. Irina even asked if I was sure. Turns out, I wasn’t. I eventually downgraded it to a 3.

  1. YAFO: Might as well keep the streak going! The Promised Neverland Season’s opening sounded catchy and did a great job showcasing the characters.
  2. The opening episodes felt dramatically solid. In fact, the first several episodes did a good job of chronicling what happened to the children after The Promised Neverland.
  3. The cast was interesting and nostalgic. I really enjoyed watching Mujika. The idea of a demon having a blood type that meant she didn’t need to eat kids worked well. It was also nice to see Emma, Ray, Norman, Gilda, Don, Phil, and even Isabella again.
  4. The dragon we got to see in episode 11 pegged the cool-ometer at 11 (and it only goes to 10).

1. School Days

5 Lowest Rated Anime: School Days was number 1

Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

And now we come to the ultimate test. I rated this series lower than any other series I finished by giving it a solid 1. I know that Dewbond, on his site Shallow Dives in Anime, had good things to say about this series in his post School Days: Talk to Me, Just Talk to Me. But I’ve never had a lower opinion of a series than I did when I finished this one.

Will I be able to complete the exercise that Irina gave the community? Can I actually say something positive about this series? Let’s see if I can pull it off (with honesty):

  1. The show offered a different take on the harem genre. I’m all for tweaking tropes. I’ll give this series full credit for not being cliche in that regard.
  2. The show showcased a realistic portrayal of teenage behavior. I’m not talking about the ending. But at a lot of points throughout the series, it showed teens being teens in an almost painfully realistic way. Gotta give the series credit for that.

There Was Something About Each of My 5 Lowest Rated Anime

As an experiment, I have to declare this “mental exercise” a success. I watched myself as I struggled to think of nice things to say, especially with School Days. I was interested to see if how I felt about the series changed if I listed positive things about it. With a series like Clockwork Planet, I remembered the positives and almost forgot the negatives. If I really tried, I could remember what I hadn’t liked about the show. But my feelings had veered from negative to neutral.

The change was even more pronounced with School Days. It’s like I felt I’d carried the weight of hatred of that series for years. Forcing myself to think of what the show contributed helped me put down that burden. It’s not like I’m a cheerleader for the show now. I’m sticking by my grade of 1. But I no longer feel in the least bit inclined to argue the point. Forcing myself to think about the positive restored a balance in my perception.

I suspect that’s the point. Focusing on the negative has a, well, negative effect! It feeds on itself. But that’s a negative way of saying it, isn’t it? Maybe I should instead say something different. Like forcing myself to be honest about what the show offers, positive and negative, allowed me to see the show as it is. I can celebrate the positives without denying the negatives. And I don’t have to exhaust myself by maintaining an active hatred for a series that probably didn’t deserve it in the first place.

What were some of your least favorite series? What nice things can you say about them? I’d love to know what you think!

Copyright 2022 Terrance A. Crow. All rights reserved.

31 thoughts on “5 Lowest Rated Anime: They Still Have Something Going for Them

  1. Definitely a very fun premise. I like it because in practice I do feel like even the worst shows I’ve ever seen have some positive elements. i’ve yet to watch something that truly had no redeeming values. Off the top my least favorite 5 anime that I’ve seen and their redeeming factors would be

    5. Dimension W – It still had really good animation. I thought the time travel concept was cool even if I wasn’t a fan of the execution and “Loser” made for an amazing rival. The reasoning for why he calls himself that as his title was also cool.

    4. FLCL – This one had some nice fights and I did like the idea of going for more of an abstract plot.

    3. Kino’s Journey (Original) – I did like a lot of the stories. Due to the anthology slot if I just watched my favorite ones I enjoyed quite a few of the episodes.

    2. Attack on Titan – Despite the violence I thought the dub was fantastic and there are a lot of memorable moments, particularly in season 1.

    1. Pop Team Epic – ……………………………………………….It was cool….that they used experimental techniques to train new animators. Admittedly this one’s the toughest for me, but there were some catchy songs too.

    1. Good effort on Pop Team Epic! Well, on all of them, actually, but Pop Team Epic in particular. I really wish I could have gotten into the humor, because it was clear they were trying for something very different.

  2. I haven nothing nice to say about “School Days,” so in the spirit of this post- I won’t say anything about it. But “The Promised Neverland” season DID have some redeeming qualities. Yes; the first handful of episodes were really good- in the spirit of the first season. And the animation(even the stills they used in the final episode) was as consistent as ever.
    Ultimately; I appreciate your post and the positive message it sends- it makes me realize that even bad anime have their shining points. It’s something I’ve also struggled to see in the past. So thank you for helping me!

    1. We need to both thank Irina, I think. Her challenge seems to have inspired folks — myself included!

      It’s almost a relief, isn’t it? It’s like knowing I don’t have to be negative is one less burden.

  3. I dropped Clockworkplanet pretty much immediately, because I didn’t like the camera in that one. I’m completely neutral on show. I do think the character designs are nice. I’ve never felt that I miss out, but I also don’t feel like I’ve made a lucky escape.

    Diaes Irae: Haven’t seen much of that either. My thought process went like this: ah evil nazis; I’m out. I’m Austrian, so I have a rather special relationship to the topic. And anime doesn’t seem to have moved on from WW2 in the way Germany and Austria have, which makes viewing sometimes… strange. There’s depicting Germany as this lovable doofus in Hetalia, for example. Yeah, no. And then there are the evil Nazis of Diaes Irae form… It’s not that I mind simplified evil villain with a Nazi aesthetic,but they tend to crop up in shows I don’t like. By the way, I had to drop Muv Luv Alternative after the first episode because the evil-aliens-invade-our-beautiful-lands got under my skin as nationalist propaganda. I didn’t actually watch far enough into DI to tell if they were going to demonise the villains or if they were going for a dark romanticist angle; I didn’t care either way and opted out. I did thing what little I saw was pretty enough, though.

    Taboo Tattoo: I dropped it, but I don’t remember why. I remember being sort of okay with what I’ve seen, though.

    I didn’t think PN2 was all that bad. It had laughable writing from the half-way point, sure, but some of it was entertaining enough. It’s probably the poster-book show of wasted potential, but once you get over that, there’s some interesting imagery there, and some nice world building, even if only in hints (there’s also some dodgy world building, but you can’t have it all).

    And I actually liked School Days. It wasn’t amazing or anything. I tried to watch it once without knowing anything about it, but after clicking play it didn’t really grab me, so I closed the window. I later learned about the nice boat, and much, much later tried again, and what do you know it was better than expected. It’s hardly a master piece, but I can appreciate what the show’s doing, and it kind of worked for me. I’ve heard people say that SchD is a love-it-or-hate-it type of show, but I neither love nor hate it. I’ll never watch it again, but I don’t regret watching it, and I wasn’t bored. I sometimes wonder how I would have reacted to the show unprepared. But that nice boat has sailed.

    I sometimes wonder what my lowest rated anime are, but back when I deleted my MAL there were over 800 shows on it, and that was years ago… The shows I actively dislike the most are actually usually shows that are pretty easy to say good things about, and thus I wouldn’t have rated them that lowly. For example:

    Your Lie in April: Awful treatment of trauma; not a good take on competition in music; visuals too busy; comic violence is strangely bloody (which could have worked in another show, but didn’t here) – but: really good music performances, some nice side characters, and a really cute kid.

    I won’t only say nice things about shows I dislike, but I will bring up the positives if I can. That’s complicated, though, because sometimes the positives can make the negatives hit harder. For example:

    Orange: One of the best portrayals of depression and suicide I have seen is followed up with a rote power-of-friendship ending. The positives far outweight the negatives, but due to the heights of the positives the momentum of the fall leaves a huge devastating crater on impact. I’ve been happy to read that the show has helped other people, actually. For me the effect of watching the show was: so you understand what it’s like, show, but you don’t have a solution either and present me with this drivel. I get it. It really is hopeless. If I’d seen the show while I was suicidal, it would have re-inforced the idea for me that it’s better to die than to have friends. It was really visceral. So in the wake of the show I was really happy to read positive comments about it from people who went through darker times. And when I was speaking up about that it wasn’t to rag on the show, but because I thought if anyone else like me is out there they should know they’re not alone in their perception of the show.

    I’m never really sure how I come across, but I generally like the balanced approach best. You do slip, sometimes, though. Well it *is* a balancing act.

    1. I’m fascinated by how a single work of fiction can hit some notes perfectly, and yet fumble others.

      The example you gave of Your Lie in April illustrates this. I watched it while my daughter attended a piano conservatory. It had recitals that reminded me a lot of what I saw in that anime. So for me, that part felt comfortable and compelling. But like you said, the treatment of trauma felt… off.

      Still, I liked the struggle the main character went through. Abuse robbed him of his talent; seeing how those who cared about him reacted worked for me.

      About Orange… I wasn’t able to watch it. High School and I didn’t get along. Still, I get your perspective. And in truth, it makes me want to be more aware of what I write. I’m writing my latest review of Fruits Basket as I’m writing this. There’s a lot about Akito that I want to say, from my perspective as a pragmatic father and protector. But trying to be aware of how what I say might affect people forces me to reconsider and at least be more precise.

      I don’t want to cause anyone grief unless I have to.

      And the discussion of what would constitute “have to” is about a novel long…

      1. So that’s what fear feels like!

        If I go into MAL and do an advanced search, showing only TV shows then sorting by score ascending, I get these as the bottom 5:

        5. Ladyspo: Looks like YouTube has the first five episodes; not a great sign!
        4. Forest Fairy Five: It’s on Crunchyroll!
        3. Pupa: Hard to tell; MAL says 12 eps, but I can only find a live action movie on Amazon or an anime movie in RottenTomatoes (which, admittedly, isn’t a streaming service…)
        2. Vampire Holmes: Kinda a cool title, but can’t find it streaming.
        1. Ex-Arm: Crunchyroll

        I could actually find all of them, but not on legal sites!

        That’s a scary-looking list…

        I took a quick glance at Ladyspo on Youtube. Now I know why one reviewer said it was a PowerPoint of an anime. It looked like slowing moving pans over a visual novel! On the plus side…

        You know, I’m not sure there’s another post in here! Or maybe I need to work my way up to it!

  4. I might have to do this now. I just started using MAL within the past year though, so not everything I’ve ever watched is in there yet (time and effort you know?). But I like this exercise.

    I actually kinda liked Dies Irae, though it did have more to do with the music than anything else. And von Wittenberg. I loved how the action was put with the couple of famous “dies irae” classical pieces. I reviewed that show but I don’t wanna go get the link to paste here right now. But it’s on my site if you’re interested.

  5. School days was absolutely TRAMATIC to watch. Especially towards the end.

    Least favorite Anime..Lets see.

    Highschool DxD- didn’t like the nature of the harem.
    Aldnoah zero- Didn’t like the ending.
    Dragonball Z Remake of Vegita and Goku vs Brolly- Turned brolly into a victim with daddy issues instead of his usual twisted origin story.
    Dragonball Super- didn’t capture the intensity of the z series.

    1. Traumatic was close to my experience! That’s why this mental exercise was so interesting. It forced me to reevaluate my perspective.

      Aldnoah Zero’s ending hit me wrong, too. But man, when it was on, it was on. I really liked the portrayal of Asseylum Vers Allusia. She really seemed to execute the role well.

      1. My primary issue was the main character working his butt off to rescue the princess only to have her marry some no-name character who didn’t contribute ANYTHING to the resolution of the war. That on top of the second main character being crapped on for most of his life and by pushing hard to become the best, he’s finally recognized as a prince in the kingdom only to lose and get thrown in prison. Couldn’t stomach it. If you’re going to borrow from Gundam, at least keep the elements that made it good there.

  6. I am old enough that I watched the original Speed Racer series as a child, so my tastes are enough more bizarre than normal people. My first “straight from Japan” anime was the VHS tapes of Eva, so there are a lot of fine shows that I find “mid-tier” that I probably should not.

    I hated Texhnolyze despite it being interesting and different because I have fought chronic depression all my life and it is one depressing show.

    OniAi was mostly a generic mildly echi harem show and was fine until the end, where (spoiler) he secretly admits that he loves and desires his sister (who wants him as a lover) who does not realize that they are not related but HE is protecting her from all who could have sexual interest in her including him. The incest bothered me but the “my sister is going to stay a virgin all her life” just pissed me off; why is it any business of his?

    I liked the characters of Maken-Ki! but then the bad guys started raping people and I was out.

    1. Speed Racer was one of the first I watched, too. I still remember wondering why Speed didn’t just roll off the tracks when a roller coaster was going to plow into him!

      I remember thinking his car was seriously cool!

  7. School Days is your Shinmai!

    I own it on Blu-ray, cause honestly/ I fucking love that series, for what it did, what it tried, and how it really is a car wreck of character interactions and relationships. It’s more than it’s ending, and a great little character study. But I can see why people absolutely hate it.

    1. “School Days is your Shinmai!”

      I think there’s a lot of truth in that!

      And it took a good portion of the anime community to make me even think about reconsidering!

        1. No. I fought hard enough to get through it the first time!

          That said, we’ll see. My views haven’t changed in a couple of decades, but sometimes new information of an exercise like this can jar my thinking.

          Kinda like smacking an old television!

  8. Awww – thanks for playing along. I also didn’t enjoy School Days much and in no small part because it’s adapted from a game I really liked a lot.

  9. Funny story about School Days. Back in high school a couple of my friends tricked a kid to watching it under the guise it would be a simple slice of life romance show. Imagine his look when he found out the truth behind the ending 😂😂😂

    For me I guess I would say:

    – Guilty Crown had a nice soundtrack and the twist with the hero turning evil was hilarious
    – Bleach’s ending song “Alones” is pretty good
    – Aho Girl had some decent animation and a well-grounded protagonist
    – No Game No Life had some good gaming scenes, and the playing cards shown in the show were awesome-looking
    – 5 Centimeters Per Second is the story of my life… ish

    1. That poor kid!

      And interesting list. I really, really wanted to like Guilty Crown, and I ended up focusing on the positives. Loved Inori’s animation, and you mentioned the soundtrack. Hiroyuki Sawano wrote that, didn’t he? He’s one of my favorite modern composers.

  10. I’m going to have to have a real think about something nice to say about these shows. It’ll probably centre around character design and OPs. Story will not feature here. Anyhow here are my five lowest rated.

    1. Ulysses: Jeanne d’Arc and the Alchemist Knight
    2. Plunderer
    3. Conception
    4. Shironeko Project ZERO CHRONICLE
    5. SSSS. Gridman

    Incidentally, TPN season 2 was next…

      1. Also, I gave Clockwork Planet a 5 out of 10, because it was just about fine. I tend to rate lower when something rubs me the wrong way from a story point of view.

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