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?

33 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Top 5: Disappointments 2018

  1. Most of these I ended up not finishing which in the end shows my disappointment. I really wanted something great from Angels of Death and it was just eh for me. Also Gungale I did stop watching pretty quickly when the gun started talking to her. I just couldn’t handle the meandering plot anymore. I was sad too since I wanted a good anime with a good female lead.

    1. I just wanted something so different from what GGO delivered I couldn’t help but be disappointed in it. As I said in the post, I had much the same issue with Sword Oratorio the year before. It just didn’t give me what I was looking for from it’s franchise.

    1. Season 3 of MHA isn’t actually bad, but with the expectations built up from season 2 it just couldn’t hold up. I just wanted more from it than it ever managed to deliver.

  2. I don’t think I actually had any real disappointments this year – the ones I grumbled about a lot did have enough high points to not be total busts, unlike The Reflection from last year (which does have a few redeeming points, but not enough to save it). Off the top of my head, Mahou Shoujo Ore was flawed yet it was just so fun, Mahoutsukai no Yome was sweet but got me kind of close to boredom near the end (the OVA trio was the high point of the series), not to mention it took a few turns that were unexpected (in a bad way) and Angolmois started out great, got bad in the middle and then came back up slightly to finish.

    …Then there’s SSSS.Gridman. I can never make up my mind about that show, because sometimes I want to grumble about it because the writing was weak/there were zero consequences and sometimes I can push those flaws aside, because it actually felt entertaining. Currently, the show’s on a track record of exactly three episodes on both sides (generally I feel better about even-numbered episodes), so only time will tell as to whether I remember it fondly…

  3. I’ve already aired my grievances about the Ito Junji Collection so here’s hoping next year we finally get a decent horror anime.

    I’ve haven’t watched/didn’t finish watching the rest, but those are good points to bring up. Sometimes a follow up season doesn’t match up to the original and that’s for sure disappointing, probably even more then a brand new series falling flat.

    1. It is because you have expectations once it is a follow up season. New series have the advantage of you not expecting anything from them so as long as they are reasonable, you’ll probably enjoy.

  4. I got the Gun Gale manga in a promotion and was bothered instantly by how obvious the plot looked. Character development is important, but when the protagonist is a screaming wimp, it’s a little too easy IMHO.

    1. I never really connected with her character at all and didn’t watch enough to see where future developments would take her. Still, I think they could have done more with the idea (or been a bit more subtle about it).

  5. I agree with most all of these, besides SAOGGO, cause I had no expectations to begin with. Franchises have no power over me, so I was able to enjoy it for the camp action story it was.
    I don’t know if it’s the worst disappointment, but this year definitely firmed in my mind that Tokyo Ghoul is unsalvageable garbage. That’s kind of a shame, considering how nice the first season looked visually (when not censored).
    Besides that, Hinamatsuri’s last episode kinda didn’t land with me. As much as I love Hinamatsuri, taking a trip to China after the emotional climax felt even more extra than it already was. I get that was part of the joke, but it was just too long to feel like a joke, but too sudden to feel emotional in comparison to the main series.

    1. After season 2, I had no expectations for Tokyo Ghoul so wasn’t disappointed so much as just kind of wondering why I even bothered trying.

      1. I had hopes the visuals would at least be cool… red, black and purple all look nice and edgy! But to my surprise, the visuals were some of the worst I had ever seen! Still frame action shots!
        Story wise, I also read the manga… which was not as transcendent as the rabid fans made it out to be. It was too convoluted to make me care about even a single character over the course of 200+ chapters… Just awful!

  6. I totally agree with My hero Academia. For me, my problem with the season was It had too much competition/tests. They forgot all about the villains. I did enjoy Gun Agake online though. Llenn was super cute and awesome.

    1. We definitely needed more villains in My Hero Academia.
      And yeah, plenty of people liked GGO. It just wasn’t for me and it wasn’t what I wanted from more SAO.

  7. I’m with you on SAOA:GGO and MHA3 – the latter in particular. That’s the only two that I watched.

    To fill out to five… I guess I’d have to go with:

    Music Girls – established an interesting alternate take on idol anime, and then did precisely nothing with it. Instead we got CGDCT who just happened to be idols. (It wasn’t even really an idol anime much of time.)

    Tada Never Falls in Love – great scenario and setup – botched execution. It’s worst sin though was trying to sell us an ending that matched the scenario but that the execution hadn’t set up.

    Real Girl – Three for three on “great scenario and set up, failed on execution and follow through”… Though of the three it tried the hardest and came the closest.

    1. I think both Tada and Real Girl had issues, but I think I preferred Tada Never Falls In Love’s attempt more than Real Girl’s. Neither actually managed to quite achieve what they set out to do, but I had more fun with Tada.

  8. I’ll agree with BHA3 (It’s like we’re still collaborating), though only because the previous seasons had the arrow veering upward and the third season had the arrow shifting in every which direction.

    I’ll also throw in Koi Ameagari only because I was reading the manga before the anime adaptation was announced and I was very much looking forward to seeing what they would do with the series in animated form. Didn’t turn out badly (about as well as the manga is, actually), but it left a bit of a bitter feeling. I expected something more and it instead gave me “Just as much.”

    1. That one was talked up a lot and I did start it during my brief subscription to Amazon but I just couldn’t get into it. It wasn’t bad, but not overly appealing to me. Then I ended my subscription and never saw the end and that doesn’t really bother me.

    1. Really wanted so much more from it and it was so talked up before it came out. As I said, I’m not sure if it didn’t work in animated form because it just didn’t translate from still images, but I remember in episode reviews my biggest issue was that nothing ever got enough time to develop to have an impact. It was just here’s an idea, twist, end, usually in the space of half an episode before we’d just to something completely different. It never even had the chance to really have an impact.

  9. The only one of these I even watched was Gun Gale Online–and it was one of my favorites of the year! I loved how these characters could be in this massive online game but not really care a fig about what the other players were doing–they just carved out their own little fiefdom[s] and pursued their chosen group activities as if the other players didn’t really exist. . .bravo!

    1. It is a case though where the spin off doesn’t need to be a spin off. It literally could have been its own story in its own world and just done what it wanted to do.

      1. I think you’ve got a good point here. I am not a huge fan of SAO myself, and enjoyed GGO Alternative more than I thought I would, but that’s because it was so different than the normal world of SAO. But it really could have been a completely separate story, and not really suffered at all.

        1. SAO and GGO seemed to take vastly different approaches (and while people who didn’t like SAO that much probably appreciated that, people who really loved SAO were faced with something that seemed to just miss the point of what they liked). Now, GGO isn’t bad in and of itself, but essentially the first four episodes are a slice of life drama about a girl with a height complex playing a game. There’s no plot or drive and while I’m told there’s plot later, sitting through four episodes of girl playing game was more than enough to make me stop watching. After waiting for a return of SAO and then getting GGO, it was definitely a personal disappointment and one that I felt quite strongly. While Alicization is far from perfect, I’m loving the return to SAO and I’ll put up with a lot more stuffing about because I like the characters and even in episode 1 they have set up a conflict and goals. It might still end up disappointing, but so far I’m enjoying it far more than GGO.

          1. Kind of feels more like a cash grab by writing a spin-off associated with a popular franchise, rather than trying to write an original story.

          2. I’m actually okay with trying to get a leg up by association (it is a tried and true approach really). But the audience for GGO is so different from SAO (and yes, there will be some cross overs) that it just feels in this instance like it would have been better served trying to forge its own identity.

      2. I’ve never watched SAO, so I really can’t offer an informed opinion on your contention. But since you’ve seen both, I’ll trust your judgment. (The premise of SAO didn’t really appeal to me, so I never bothered watching. . .)

        1. And I think that’s the point. GGO appeals to quite a different audience because of its approach to characters and narrative inside a game. And if they’d separated GGO entirely and made the genre clear, I would probably have never started it simply because, like you with SAO, the premise wouldn’t have appealed to me.

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