Tuesday’s Top 5: Disappointments 2018

Tuesday's Top 5

More Top 5 lists for 2018 and now we’re diving into shows that I, for whatever reason, had some kind of expectations of and for whatever reason they left me feeling a little disappointed. I started this sort of list in 2016 where Kiznaiver took my top spot and did my second list in 2017 where Sword Oratoria swept the floor (that one actually hurt a lot) and I’ve been wondering which titles would end up on the list in 2018 because there have been a number of shows I really was looking forward to this year.

Now, as always, this is a personal list. These are shows I started watching and I had expectations for them that they didn’t quite meet. In some cases, they are actually still reasonable anime in their own way, but they didn’t end up being as good as I hoped.

So, without further delay let us get into the shows that decide to crush my hopes under heel in 2018 and then I’d love to know what shows ended up disappointing you this year. What did you wait for with baited breath only to have the wind knocked out of your sails (and there is a mixed metaphor and a half)?

Please Note – Potential spoilers below.

Honourable mentions this week go to: Devils’ Line and Record of Grancrest War

Number 5: My Hero Academia Season 3

And yes, I know My Hero Academia season 3 is actually not a bad anime. I am well aware of that. However, season 2 was an amazing season. It kept me thrilled from start to finish even though it had a tournament arc for half its run time (which normally is something I can’t stand). Season 2 worked and blew me away and cemented a real fondness for this show inside of me. And then season 3 happened. It wasn’t bad, but a lot of the thrill and fun seemed to be missing as things came across more than a little flat. Season 3 had its moments. Certainly All Might’s final fight was one of the truly epic moments of any shounen anime (I say with authority despite not watching a lot of them). But looking at the season as a whole, there were definitely more episodes I walked away from wanting more and that’s why I’ve given My Hero Academia my number 5 spot on the list for disappointments.

Number 4: Junji Ito Collection

Maybe it is just that horror doesn’t translate very well from the manga to the screen, but really this one was talked up a lot and I even checked out a lot of the art behind some of these stories online before hand and I was really kind looking forward to a solid horror anime (something we get so few of). Instead I got a fairly weak viewing experience with a few oddities, a little bit of eye-brow raising, and a few grotesque moments, but nothing that really managed to hit me with a major horror vibe. It was all just a little ordinary to be honest and while some of the concepts were cool, the execution was lacking. This one gains a place simply because it is a genre I love, there was so much hype about the source, and ultimately it just didn’t deliver much of anything.

Number 3: Devilman Crybaby

Maybe it was just that the internet exploded with hype after the release of this one, and maybe it was because again the source was fairly well spoken of, but this Netflix release really underwhelmed. It wasn’t strictly speaking bad, but at the same time, after watching it I ended up fairly indifferent to it. I get that it was over the top violence and sex and the conclusion they were aiming for, it all works in its own way, but I just didn’t feel it. The characters weren’t developed enough and I felt like the show spent too long trying to tell me things that I was meant to be feeling rather than giving me a reason to believe they were true. Basically I ended up thinking ‘is that it’ rather than being blown away by this one and that’s probably a good reason why I shouldn’t pay attention to internet hype.

Number 2: Angels of Death

Really, this one shouldn’t be too much of a shocker. Again, fans of the source really talked this one right up and then it kind of went splat. It wasn’t the obvious game dialogue, the shifting tone, the characterisation that didn’t sit right or even the plot that just didn’t seem to be connecting that ended up killing this for me. Nope, what killed it was that episode one promised me one tone and idea and then it was all taken away and replaced by other elements that were nowhere near as good. What had been intriguing in episode one evaporated leaving me with only elements that bored and even the fans of the source seemed to go quiet once the anime started rolling out so I guess a lot of people found the adaptation a little less than amazing (that said I do know a number of people who made it through this one, well done). Also, another fine example of why I shouldn’t listen to internet hype because I might have low-key enjoyed this if I had gone in expecting nothing.

Number 1: SAO Alternative: Gun Gale online

This one should be no surprise to people who have followed my posts. I love SAO. I really do. I was a little wary when I found out this spin-off was going to be set in GGO, my least favourite of the SAO worlds. Then I started it and met the characters and discovered the lack of anything resembling a forward moving plot. While I appreciate there’s an audience for pink bunny girls with guns playing a game in a kind of slice of life style thing with a story slowly developing in the background but four episodes in I was bored, still didn’t know where it was going, and didn’t really have any reason to watch. SAO Alternative went the way of Sword Oratoria in 2017. A spin-off for a show I loved that just missed everything about the original that I loved.

And that is my list done but next week I’ll turn it around and look at the shows that caught me by surprise. Where my expectations were zero and I ended up having a great time. In the meantime, remember to let me know in the comments which shows left you disappointed in 2018?

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Karandi James
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Get Your Tomatoes Ready Because Here We Have the Worst Anime of the Summer 2018 Season

If you missed it, earlier today the best of the season came out so if you would rather celebrate the successes of the season than wallow in, or jeer at, the misfires I recommend you check it out. In the meantime, a reminder that worst anime of the season is still an anime good enough to be watched through. Voters are asked not to vote for shows they haven’t watched. So while the anime in the list below and as the voters choice are problematic, there are most definitely worse anime out there.

Without any further ado, let’s get into the list.

Worst Story – 100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams

100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams

I almost gave this to The Master of Ragnarok, but then I realised there was a show that did even worse with its premise. Despite the set up being that the Princess has to wake up the princes, other than the very first prince, none of the princes are actually sleeping. Couple this with the fact that I got to the end of this and still have no idea what the overall goal is given the characters just seem to wander around and react to stuff, and basically the story is all but missing in action. A thin excuse to encounter various ‘prince’ types so that fans of the game can get all excited to see their favourite character for the two seconds of screen time they get before the main characters move on.

Worst Visuals – Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion

Angolmois Episode 10 Teruhi

The filter is hideous. There’s no way to sugar coat it. When you have ugly character designs, a bland colour palette and then over the top of the lot you put that filter that just makes everything look like we’re watching it through smudged glasses that keep moving, this anime well and truly deserves the label of worst visuals for the season. While there are some good moments in the story, you do have to accept it is just going to be truly disgusting to look at.

Worst Opening – 100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams

100 Sleeping Princes Episode 4

Seriously, this one is a thin excuse to pan over the cast of various princes we’ll encounter. The music is dull and borderline put me to sleep and the slow pan with almost zero animation over various characters, most of which we’ll encounter once at best throughout the season and then never hear from again, and to be honest I skipped this opening more often than I watched it.

Worst Character – The Cast of the Master of Ragnarok tied with Mineta (My Hero Academia)

Mineta had to be here. Seriously, if someone could just go through every episode of My Hero Academia and erase the bug from existence, I’d be really, really happy. There isn’t one scene he is in that is actually necessary and he contributes nothing. However, he does eat screen time on what I’m guessing someone thought were comedic moments but mostly I’m just left disgusted with his presence and he’s becoming increasingly annoying as the franchise continues. That said, it would be a mistake not to mention the incredibly bland and undeveloped cast from The Master of Ragnarok. And yes, I know that is two seasons in a row where I’ve given the title of worst character to an entire cast, but trust me, they earned it.

And now…

Worst Anime of the Spring 2018 Season – The Master of Ragnarok

Ragnarok9d

Yep, there were plenty of shows I liked less than this one, however I dropped them and didn’t finish watching. That just left this one on my list to leave as the worst of the season. Angels of Death got an early drop, Holmes of Kyoto hung in a bit longer but bored me to tears and so I gave up. Other early drops include Island and Lord of Vermillion (which definitely deserves a mention). Still, Ragnarok set up what could have been an interesting enough story, did absolutely nothing with it, and then totally flubbed its ending. It really deserves this placement.

Finally, Reader’s Choice

With 103 votes, making it the most votes ever for a worst of the season, the competition was pretty much won early on, but a last minute rally behind a show that really stuffed its ending brought us to a tie (won’t they be so proud). Anyway, the results of the readers poll:

worst-of.jpg

And so we have a tie between Angels of Death and The Master of Ragnarok.

Angels of Death took a very early lead in the poll. I think the disappointment factor may have played a role given how hyped up the show was before it began airing. Then, after the final episode of Master of Ragnarok, its votes took off and it caught up. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who felt that I’d held out hoping the show would get better only for the final episode to kick me in the teeth.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to vote.

Summer 2018 was definitely not the highlight of the anime year, but we still had some fun titles to watch. As we move into Autumn, let’s keep our fingers crossed for something amazing, and if not, we can always vote for it being the worst of the season.


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Karandi James

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Angels of Death Episode 4: This Is The End

That minor nagging voice from last week telling me this might get better has now been dragged out and beaten to death by common sense. Angels of Death is boring which is the most irredeemable thing something made for entertainment can ever be.

Angel4a

I love psychological horror. I love bad horror. Cheesy dialogue. Cliche set ups. Standard horror settings. Angels of Death has all the ingredients to engage me as a viewer regardless of whether it did it well or in a terrible King’s Game kind of way. And yet since about midway through the first episode I’ve been kind of bored and just waiting and hoping that somehow this would improve.

Episode 4 is no exception and I’m pretty sure I knew four minutes in that I wasn’t continuing beyond this episode. Yet another floor boss is introduced and we get the usual tongue licking the lips to show she’s unbalanced (though later we’ll also get the mismatched eye thing too) and then maniacal ear-grating laughter. This by itself isn’t the end of a show but lets look at every character other than Rachel so far.

Angel4d

We meet Zack in episode one and he kills bird and laughs maniacally. Great, he’s crazy, better run. We meet the Doctor who pins Rachel down and throws his head back and laughs crazily before getting skewered on Zack’s scythe. We then meet Eddie. Now in Eddie’s defence, he was more of a giggler than a laugher but the point remains that other than giggling and ranting about his love for Rachel from the shadows, we once again have an extremely shallow characterisation that somehow is supposed to be thrilling.

Maybe I’m just missing something but all I feel while watching Rachel stare blankly at walls before commenting that there is something there or nothing is bored. All I feel when I see Zack getting electrocuted in a chair he idiotically sat on is exasperated. And all I feel when the show ends on a cliffhanger with Rachel potentially about to be done in by poison gas is weary.

Angel4c

For me, watching anime is fun and engaging. In that sense, I think I’d rather go back and watch Record of Grancrest War than even one more episode of this (not that I intend to do that).

However, next week I’ve decided to finally start a formal rewatch of Yuri on Ice, as opposed to just binge watching it whenever I’m feeling a bit down, and I’m going to review the episodes again, hopefully a little more objectively than I did the first time (though honestly, given Yuri and Victor are smiling at me from the wall next to my computer, I somehow doubt it). Anyway, if you want to join me, I’ll be covering episodes 1 and 2 next week instead of watching anymore of Angels of Death.

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Angels of Death Episode 3: Surrender to Game Style Dialogue and Repetition

Episode 3 continues with the mediocrity and makes it clear that no one really thought through how this would play out as an anime. I’d like to say I was done with this, but there’s this minor nagging voice in my head telling me it might get better.

Angel3c

There’s not much positive to say about episode 3 of this. The creepy atmosphere kind of developed in episode 1 is completely gone at this point. While we’re still wandering around dark levels of a hospital, the environment is so different at this point it is impossible to really think that and instead we’re just in kind of a generic creepy place. However other than a lack of decent lighting, there’s little to actually give you a sense of creepiness. Oh look there’s running water and grave stones. But that’s not enough and it doesn’t evoke anything as we watch the characters stumble around in this episode.

Angel3a

If we add to that the ongoing lack of chemistry between the two main characters and that the giggling floor owner this week was a pumpkin headed kid with some romance delusion that was insufficiently explained to have any impact, there’s just not much to hold onto as the show forces us through one game mechanic filled set piece to the next. Whether it is Rachel drawing the audience’s attention to the torch, the notes, or even the final fight sequence which reminded me of playing King’s Quest where if you didn’t have ‘this’ item you were doomed to failure, this show doesn’t sit well as an anime but really does look like someone playing a game and it isn’t doing the show any favours.

Angel3e

Also, lack of anything else to pay attention to has me wondering how Zack’s mouth even works given he has a bandage clean over it and yet he manages to speak just fine and it opens and closes.  I guess he could have cut a slit but then wouldn’t we occasionally see lips instead of bandage that somehow seems to move perfectly with his mouth. This is the kind of thing that only distracts me when I’m slightly bored while watching, and I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the emotion the show was going for.

Honestly, I should drop this and if I have any sense this will be the last episode I watch. However, I somehow suspect next week curiosity as to whether it can improve will get the better of me. We’ll see.

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Karandi James

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Angels of Death Episode 2: When It Feels Like You Are Watching A Play Through Rather Than An Anime

While the first episode of Angels of Death was intriguing in its atmosphere, episode 2 kind of just walks us through a level with mediocre results.

Angel2a

Continuing on directly from the end of episode 1, episode 2 ends with Zack refusing to kill Rachel because of the bored look on her face but promises to kill her if she can show him a better look. Then changes his mind and promises to do so if she helps him leave the building (though apparently he entered it voluntarily because he was told he could kill people). It is all a bit convoluted and unexplained and the mysterious announcements have kind of disappeared and in exchange we have Rachel finding notes from an unnamed giggler who won’t show up until the end of the episode.

Angel2d

What this means is we spend most of this episode listening to Rachel make some sort of observation about the world, Zack react, usually over the top angrily with a snarl in his voice, Rachel calmly explain something, and then they go to look at the next thing. It’s all very much like watching someone play a really dull point and click adventure and all of the tension and atmosphere that was kind of promised in episode one has evaporated entirely. Which of course isn’t helped along by Zack who rotates between dumb, loud and violent, or suspicious depending on which roll of the dive the writers decided to go with for his next reaction.

Angel2c

We even get a ‘cut scene’ style sequence when he goes on a rampage destroying the grave stones. I’m sure someone thought that music and laughter gave it some kind of edgy tone but mostly it was just a cringe worthy sequence in amongst what was a pretty boring episode.

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Angels of Death Episode 1: Here’s This Season’s Edgy Show

Rachel has woken up in a strange building without much in the way of memories. After talking to a type-writer she gets into the elevator just as she hears an announcement that calls the girl in the basement a sacrifice. After that, things get weird.

Angel1d

There’s something inherently creepy about hospitals, basements, and isolation and Angels of Death capitalises on all of these elements to set up what could be quite an interesting story. The problem being that so far the two encounters Rachel has had with other characters has them being comically over the top in their psychotic natures to the point where any tension that may have been constructed by the setting and some of the interesting visual choices is more or less instantly shattered.

Angel1a

That isn’t to say that there might not be some fun to be had with this series. But for something labelled as psychological horror I’d kind of want a little bit more than the cackling scythe wielding guy seems to offer or the duplicitous doctor that doesn’t do such a great job of keeping his crazy in check.

Angel1c

Still, with a setting this interesting, I’m willing to give the show a little more time to set up its story and to see where this intends to go. There was a lot of chatter about this one prior to the season and while I have attempted to avoid spoilers I must admit I’m a little curious. However, judging this episode on its own, it is fairly average. Great setting and establishment of atmosphere, fairly ordinary to poor characterisation so far.

What do you think of this first episode of Angels of Death?


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Karandi James

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