How To Know That You Have Fallen Out Of Love With An Anime

It is a tale as old as time. An anime comes along and knocks you over with its charm or an exciting premise and then as the story continues some of the magic begins to fade.

I love starting a new anime. There’s a fresh feeling that all possibilities are open and even if I go in suspecting I’m not going to like something; I plan on giving it a chance to show me what it can do. Sometimes it doesn’t work out and I’ll move on and other times I’ll be curious but largely on the fence about a show. However there’s always that moment, particularly in long running shows, when I start to wonder if maybe I’ve fallen out of love with the anime.

SAO Alicisation - the moment I knew I had fallen out of love with the SAO franchise.
Not really but SAO and I definitely had a break up between GGO and then Alicization.

Sometimes it is just inevitable. You get older but the anime, particularly if it is a long running one, is still catering to a younger audience and so you just move on. Often though you have to wonder just what has changed. Why doesn’t the anime still have that spark for you? Have you become to jaded or expect too much? Was it never really that good to begin with and you are now seeing the flaws? Or is it more that there really has been a dip in quality?

Either way, you can’t help but feel genuinely disappointed in an anime that you expected to love forever when the newest season rolls out and your response is somewhere between tepid and indifferent.



I think the anime that first did this to me while I was watching it was Death Note. I loved Death Note. I still do, up to a point. And that point is that critical moment where one of the main characters is ultimately killed. For me that is kind of the end of the story and I would have been satisfied with that outcome because the duel between the two genius characters, Light and L, had been resolved and one had become victorious. Sure there were other plot threads to explore but none of them were as interesting.

Death Note L
Curious how many anime seem to continue after their central conflict seems resolved.

That the ultimate final episode did have a wonderful conclusion doesn’t really change the fact that the final leg of this series is a slog to watch and by and large when I rewatch Death Note I skip from the climax between the two characters to the final two episodes or I just stop watching once we get to that point.

It isn’t that the writing suddenly got worse or that the anime lost sight of its tone or themes. It is just that for me the most interesting part of Death Note was the mental cat and mouse between Light and L. Without that, despite new characters coming along and introducing new conflicts and intrigues and even a look at how the events would change the world, I just never felt as connected to the anime as I had early on. The change in OP’s didn’t help either with the second one being one that I skip every time.

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Usually though it is the second or third series where this disconnect occurs for me. Or possibly the various spin-offs of a franchise that feels like it has gone passed its use-by date. Sword Art Online was one where I went through all the stages of a legitimate break-up. I loved the Aincrad arc, didn’t mind Fairy Dance though wanted a better villain. Phantom Bullet and Mother Rosario both had their moments but also had aspects I was starting to feel a little tired by.

The movie Ordinal Scale was fun but lacked something. Then we had the spin-off with Gun Gale Online which utterly fell flat for me as I was pretty much bored from start to whenever it was I dropped it. Finally we moved into Alicization which so many people talked up online as being the best thing that could happen to SAO and then I watched week after week and waited for the brilliance to appear and when we got to the end of the first season of it (and oh boy, that ending) I realised I was done. Sword Art Online and I were going to part here.

Sword Art Online Alicization - Episode 24 - Cliff hanger
Sorry Kirito, I just can’t.

That said, I still love the original arcs and I still go back and watch particularly the Aincrad Arc and quite happily recommend it to others to watch. My feelings about the later direction of the franchise haven’t made me dislike the earlier entries. Though I do have to wonder if I’d watched Alicization back when I ran into Aincrad would I have liked it more or would I have still felt it was bloated, poorly paced, and ultimately didn’t do enough with any of its cast? And that’s really hard to say.

Food Wars was another show that I actually really loved initially for its zany and over-the-top food reactions and just the intensity of the cast. Yet rinse and repeat is what killed it for me. The consequence for every encounter seems to be expulsion from a school that seems to not actually focus on teaching but more just whittling down the student numbers and given everyone who gets in can already cook masterfully it seems relatively pointless as a concern given they could all open perfectly functional restaurants already.

More than that, when you are already creating amazing wonders in the kitchen and the reactions of the tasters are already pretty orgasmic in season one there’s really no where to go. You can’t dial up the over-the-top any higher so you end up just making longer arcs and filling time with backstories of side characters but everything else just stays the same. Food Wars didn’t get worse. Season 2 is just more of season one and the little bit of season 3 I tried was more of the same again. I just had already had my fill and so moved on.

food wars4
Oh no… You’ll only be a perfectly fine chef one day and you might even lose the chip on your shoulder.

Most recently, The Promised Neverland Season 2 has left me feeling… not quite disappointed but more a little bit like we’ve drifted apart. What I wanted from a second season of Neverland hasn’t been delivered and while I am sure some fans are still loving it for me the spark and magic that hit during season one have been absolutely absent for most of the duration of season 2.

How anime fans react when a follow-up lets them down varies. Some feel betrayed or angry. Others will feel that even the previous seasons are now tainted because of it. Others still simply sigh and move on realising another franchise has gone in a different direction.

Ultimately, it will depend on why you are falling out of love. Something like One Punch Man changing studios had a bit impact on how the second season played out and there were definitely some fans who fell out of love very quickly with what that delivered. However sometimes it is simply that the show moves in a direction you didn’t anticipate or want.

Whatever the reason, when you fall out of a love with a beloved series it definitely leaves you disappointed. Fortunately, there will be something else to fall in love with very soon as the new season rolls out.

Images in this article from:

  • Sword Art Online Alicization. Dir. M Ono. A-1 Pictures. 2018.
  • The Promised Neverland Season 2. Dir. M Kanbe. Cloverworks. 2021.
  • Food Wars. Dir. Y Yonetani. J.C. Staff. 2015.
  • Death Note. Dir. T Araki. Madhouse. 2006.


Contribution

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Join the discussion in the comments.

Karandi James


13 thoughts on “How To Know That You Have Fallen Out Of Love With An Anime

  1. Agreed with SAO’s ending. It was time for that to end. It was very lost. I actually liked GGO. I felt it added to that world in an interesting way. Maybe it’s just me and sadistic characters…

    If you’ve watched all the way through Tokyo Ghoul you’ll think the same thing. First season, nonpareil. Second and third seasons, disaster. There’s such a thing as too much!

    1. I still don’t know why they took Tokyo Ghoul in th e direction they did. It was such a good concept and story to explore a nd yet they just kept over complicating it.

  2. I don’t know about falling out of love with anime, but anime fatigue is certainly thing that can make you feel like you’ve had enough. Then something comes a long that reminds why you love it and all is good again. Variety helps a lot too though – sick of Isekai show or harm comedies? Go watch a slice of life show or a mecha drama.

    But this is true of any interest or hobby – for example, sometimes I get burned out watching up to 20 hours of wrestling a week or I watch too may films from one country and don’t want to hear that language or see that same setting again, At least I have enough interest that allow me to escape from one and hide within the other.

    Will I ever fall out of love with anime? Honestly, I hope not! 🙂

    1. The post wasn’t necessarily about falling out of live with amime in general, but with a specific story that you just kind of lise interest or detach from.

      1. Well, I can safely say I haven’t fallen out of “live” with “amime” nor did I ever “lise” interest in it either. 😛 😉

        (Yes, that was a deflection from me not being fully awake and reading the post properly… :-/ )

        1. Mobile phones are sometimes fun when trying to type (and I’ve never understood why auto-correct prefers live over love).
          Definitely prefer dealing with my blog comments on my computer but sometimes it just isn’t practical.

  3. I think the most disappointed I’ve been was season 3 of Encouragement of Climb. Season 1 was a short with episodes roughly 3 minutes long, and the writing was superb, really making the most of the limited time. Season 2 expanded to episodes roughly 15 or so minutes long, allowing for much more polish on the storyline and deeper character exploration. Then came season 3, where for some ridiculous reason the writers decided that the girls had to fall to bickering and be subject to insipid misunderstandings that might have actually made sense in the first season, but by the third were completely unrealistic with the characters’ understanding of each other. This had become one of my very favorite anime shows, period, so the sudden turn of events in season 3 broke my heart. I stopped watching somewhere around ep 6 or 7, and literally sat at my computer crying as I gave up on it. That show gave me comfort, happiness, and even a little hope, and they stole it all away from me. It hurt. It still hurts.

    1. Stories that add drama or have characters acting stupidly for the sake of continuing always annoy me. I wish people knew where to let things en d.

  4. Agree with you on Promised Neverland. I’m not sure how they could have kept the tension up, There may be a curse involved in having a phenomenal first season and being unable to keep it up.

    Death Note lost me right when they inserted the supposedly genius female FBI agent and had her behave uber-stupidly just to make the stupidly behaving villain look smarter than she. No forgiveness for that sort of thing.

    For me, the greatest disappointment of all was Darling in the FranXXX. Started out wonderfully but as time want on they domesticated Zero Two, aborted the plot around Ikuno’s sexuality, and couldn’t decide what kind of show it wanted to be. I was hoping for a variation on Brave New World but that died in its infancy. Seemed to drift between dystopian fiction, mecha, teenage angst/lust, genocide against the natives, attacking the Death Star, and then drifted off into a hashed up version of Evangelion before ending with a scene copied directly from “What Dreams May Come.”

    1. Darling in the Franxx very much lost me as well. There was great potential and some interesting ideas but basically it ended up just being a mesd.

  5. Interesting that you mention SAO as I dropped the series at a similar point. I enjoyed the first arc, even dipped into the light novels a bit, but Alicization is where it lost me. The beginning was horribly slow and I got sick of all the over the top, mustache twirling villains. It’s a shame, as I think the concept of having people exist as sentient AIs in a virtual world is fascinating, but they didn’t do enough with the idea to keep me invested.

    I’m feeling similarly about The Promised Neverland, especially with this most recent batch of episodes. As a manga reader, I feel let down that so many arcs were just skipped, and I don’t think the new season is good enough on its own to justify all the changes. I don’t think that invalidates how good the first season or the manga is, but I don’t think I can recommend the anime anymore for new viewers.

    1. Yeah, the second season of Neverland is watchable but that is about as positive as I can be about it. Whereas season one I was happy to sing the praises of and recommend to most people. I also really liked tge idea of the AIs in Alicization but poor pacing and characterisation ultimately left me less than engaged.

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