Top 10 Anime Flops of 2018 [Best Recommendations]

Anime was not a mistake, only 2018 was. So, with that in mind, let’s look at our favorite animated medium’s 10 most absolute and unadulterated failures from this past year. Whether it’s because of bad story, art direction, animation or cinematography doesn’t matter. As a website that prides itself on promoting the principles of diversity, we welcome all forms of crap equally.

10. Juushinki Pandora (Last Hope)

  • Episodes: 26
  • Aired: March 2018 – September 2018

China and Shoji Kawamori post-Aquarion are 2 things that the anime industry should probably stop collaborating with. It seems like every year they try to make it work and every year they embarrass themselves. So yeah, putting those two in one production was a pretty sucky move that predictably led to a pretty sucky show. If we had to say nice things about it, well… uh. The colors are pretty, the mech designs were decent too and if we really had to stretch at least it’s not as bad as the other Chinese-Japanese co-productions of recent memory.

The rest of the series is a bunch of dry glacially slow worldbuilding without any semblance of character or personality meant to build a world that isn’t the least bit interesting, all building up to a disappointing climax. We’re assuming it was disappointing anyway, we missed it due to being bored to sleep.

9. Märchen Mädchen (Maerchen Maedchen)

  • Episodes: 10
  • Aired: January 2018 – March 2018

The worst thing a cute girls anime can be missing is cute girls, but the second worst thing is episodes. Despite having 8 sponsors, this show apparently couldn’t staff any even remotely competent talent for even a single aspect of its creation. Ass-pull plotlines, amateur-hour art and animation, annoying music and even worse voice direction are all series staples. But tailing in a race is much less embarrassing than being unable to make it to the finish line and this turd couldn’t even do that much. Despite having—again—8 sponsors, the previously reasonably consistent studio Hoods Entertainment failed to deliver the last 2 episodes of the show.

Sure, they said they were doing it to make the last 2 episodes actually good, and we do have to give them points for that, but that was almost a year ago, and no word has been shared since. Are we sure this wasn’t just a big money laundering scheme?

8. Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku (Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody)

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: January 2018 – March 2018

In certain ways, 2018 was a great year for the maligned isekai genre. Overlord had a very well-received season, How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord showed us how NOT to fall into the more tasteless aspects of isekai, That Time I got Reincarnated as a Slime had strong characterization and even Sword Art Online came up with a few interesting ideas. But the genre has also had its characteristic low points, which Death March showcases both in its content and worse, the fact that it’s not even the only isekai on this list.

There are a lot of red flags for a terrible isekai anime: An overpowered protagonist, a harem of shallow supporting love interests, horrible fight choreography, a cast written as tropes first and characters second, a focus on power-fantasy at the expense of narrative and more. This show saw all those red flags and decided to turn them into a slalom course. Its extreme aversion to characterization, plot progression, and meaningful stakes combines with its constantly off-model animation and a grating soundtrack that we swear uses a clown horn as an instrument to create one of the year's most taxing experiences.

7. Lord of Vermilion: Guren no Ou (Lord of Vermilion: The Crimson King)

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: July 2018 - September 2018

Remember the early 2000’s when card game anime were the coolest thing on tv? Well, Lord of Vermillion doesn’t because it clearly didn’t learn a single lesson from the greats like Yu-Gi-Oh and WIXOSS. It seemingly never aspired to anything beyond showing the same generic hero’s journey we’ve seen a million times with a presentation that was laughably pathetic.

Yeah, these card game anime have never exactly been high art, but at least they new how to have fun with themselves. No cheesy one-liners and over-the-top high-concept fantasy can be found in Vermillion though, that might actually be interesting and that’s something it clearly does not want to be. Plus, look at that main character. What sort of card anime hero has normal looking hair? It probably jumped up a spot or two just for that.

6. RErideD: Tokigoe no Derrida (RErideD: Derrida, who leaps through time)

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: September 2018 – November 2018

We called Lord of Vermillion laughably pathetic, but RErideD would be better described as depressingly pathetic. Takuya Satou had a pretty bad year in 2018, with his classic show Steins;Gate receiving a disappointing sequel without his involvement and his original show was, well… this.

An apocalyptic time travel story that’s so ugly and boring it’s like the studio was measuring its success based on how few people watched it rather than how many. Plenty of characters contribute nothing, the story jumps from one plot point to another with no logical cohesion, the 2D line art and incorporated CG both look lazy and the entire show exudes a lack of caring from the entire creative team that makes us wonder why we should care when it seems the creators can’t even be bothered. It’s unenjoyable, uninspired, uncreative and unwatchable. It’s an un-anime.

5. Hyakuren no Haou to Seiyaku no Valkyria (The Master of Ragnarok & Blesser of Einherjar)

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: July 2018 – September 2018

"Some urban legends are best left untested," says J-Novel Club's plot synopsis for this show's source material, and we feel that's even more true for isekai anime. We could come up for more clever ways to explain how bad it is, but this show does nothing but copy from the generic isekai playbook, so why should we waste our originality on it? Even the gimmick of this show—that the hero has his smartphone—is just a creatively bankrupt retread of an idea that wasn't even interesting to begin with. Okay, there is one differentiating element in this show, which can be found in the form of the female cast. No, not because they’re written as anything more than sex trophies for the hero, but instead the fact that through the nonsensical customs of the fantasy world our protagonist rules over, the harem members are all considered his little sisters, taking them from just your average narrative sex objects to pseudo-incestual narrative sex objects. But naturally, it gets worse.

At one point, our hero discovers that human trafficking is an accepted form of commerce in this land (which again, he rules over) by coming across a slaver selling a woman and her pre-pubescent daughter out in the street. Our hero, who has the power to abolish slavery completely, decides to take action by “freeing” the two. We put “freeing” in quotes because what the show actually shows him doing is buying the slaves and taking them to do forced labor at his castle. He tells them he’s going to be really nice about it though, and that’s apparently more than enough for the show to frame his actions as unflinchingly charitable, even though he’s still making them slaves and has given his money to the slave trader, thereby supporting his business. But even if that’s not already enough shit for you, one of these slaves ends up joining the harem later and spoiler alert: It’s not the mom. You know you’re a top 5 contender for worst of the year when you take things from plain old bad to offensive.

4. Conception

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: October 2018 – December 2018

Speaking of offensive, Spike Chunsoft only saw fit to make a single obscure OVA adaptation for the Zero Escape series, yet they gave crappy old Conception its own full length tv series. And what a series it was. The-chosen-one main character is tasked with having children with a bunch of anime girl tropes, one of which is his cousin; his chosen-one ability is being able to have threesomes and nothing else; characters go off-model during minute-long still shots; the dungeon-crawling gameplay from the source material is completely absent and one of the girls in the harem (because, of course, this is another harem show) is wooed by the protagonist kidnapping her and waiting for Stockholm syndrome to set in.

Frankly, we could keep going for a while about all the stupid parts of this show, but that would just be a play-by-play of the series from start to finish. It’s a bad game that was turned into an even worse anime and that’s about all there is to say.

3. Ulysses: Jehanne Darc to Renkin no Kishi (Ulysses: Jeanne d'Arc and the Alchemist Knight)

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: October 2018 – December 2018

Another adaptation, not from a game this time, but instead of real-life history. This show follows our hero Montmorency, who is apparently inspired by Baron Gilles de Rais, a medieval French Marshal known for having been a notorious serial rapist and killer of children. You probably won’t be surprised to learn that this broadcast tv show plays pretty fast and loose with its historical inspiration. It is set in the 100-year war that made de Rais famous, only here, he and his real-life cohort Joan of Arc are children attending school with several other important figures from her famous story.

Of course, said figures have all been gender-bent into hot anime girls in order to create—you guessed it—yet another creepy harem show. No rape or incest here, surprisingly, but we would definitely consider taking that over the nonsensical writing where character actions are motivated solely by the will of the plot and scenes are constantly being dragged out at a snail’s pace. As for the animation, it can’t even really be considered bad, it’s more like unfinished in places. When we first saw a shot of two chalices being clanked together only for the beer within them to rise from the impact and then stay suspended in the air never to come down, we knew that Conception was among the worst shows of its season. So, you can imagine our shock when the fall 2018 season turned out to have an even worse offering sitting right under our noses.

2. Ore ga Suki nano wa Imouto dakedo Imouto ja Nai (My Sister, My Writer)

  • Episodes: 10
  • Aired: October 2018 – December 2018

When you’re resorting to ripping off Eromanga-sensei, you should probably take that as a sign that you should just stop. For most shows, this would be where we would say that the staff should have known that, but we can't in this case because it turns out that at least one member of this anime’s creative team hid a plea for help in the show’s end credits. So yeah, not even the people responsible for this mound of incest-driven feculence shaped into an effigy approximating an anime like it, and that’s plainly apparent in how little care was put into the horrible visuals. We’d say they go off-model a lot, but we frankly have no idea what they’re supposed to look like on-model.

The writing also matches the presentation perfectly, as it follows the exploits of Yuu, an aspiring novelist in high school whose sister Suzuka is secretly the greatest light novel author ever, best known for penning a book about a girl who wants to jump her brother’s bones. Suzuka also has an incredibly obvious but somehow secret crush on her brother and constantly tries to get him into sexual situations, because we can only have so many runner-ups for worst anime of the year that don’t include incest.

Anyway, Suzuka gets her brother to pretend to be the real author of her best-selling incest romance novel (there’s something you’re only going to hear in a worst of the year series) which results in every woman around Yuu constantly stripping down and throwing themselves at him out of admiration for his ability as an author, just like it would in real life. And if you’re wondering if anything else happens in the show, then we can assure you that you’re giving it too much credit.

1. Shichisei no Subaru (Seven Senses of the Re'Union)

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: July 2018 – September 2018

What could be considered a bigger flop for 2018 than the show that sold the least amount of Blu-rays for any series’ first volume? And we’re not talking about just the worst selling of the year. At 58 copies sold, Shichisei no Subaru is the worst performing first volume of any anime in history and it’s hard to argue that it doesn’t deserve it. Sure, there have been shows with worse animation, uglier backgrounds and more hateable characters (albeit very few) but those other ones can probably at the very least make a solid claim to having some level of originality, not something that can be said for Subaru. To the untrained eye it may seem innocent enough: a group of friends who ran the strongest guild in a VRMMO as kids until the untimely death of one of their members discover the proverbial ghost of said dead member in a newer MMO game and must get the band back together to find the meaning behind this discovery and potentially stop an evil organization using the game for nefarious deeds. Those with less experience with anime may indeed see it as a simple (if not incredibly badly written and animated) show that’s at least inoffensive.

But as many of you more seasoned otaku have no-doubt figured out already, that description sounds a lot like an unholy fusion of Anohana and Sword Art Online, but to be clear, the issue isn’t that it resembles it, it’s that that’s exactly what it is. Putting aside the fact that those two stories’ tones clash far beyond any reasonable measure, this show does not have a single original bone in its horribly drawn body. Beat for beat, every single development in the story can be accurately predicted by anyone with a good memory of those other 2 anime, despite no characters’ motivation actually fitting with their actions. The worst examples of this are the villains, who kidnapped an actual little girl because they wanted to have the best guild in a video game. And speaking of little girls, if you didn’t already have enough reasons to hate this show, know that while it was being made, its producer Yo-Kyo was arrested for kidnapping an actual teenage girl in real life. How much guild EXP do you think he got for that one?

A great anime becomes more endearing the more you know understand it, that’s true for all great media, but Shichisei no Subaru only becomes increasingly repugnant the more you know about it. And for that reason, it’s the only show that can safely be called the worst of 2018.

Final Thoughts

Whether it was for lazy, offensive, or even criminal reasons, 2018 gave us a ton of anime to dislike. Let us know what you thought the biggest flops of 2018 were in the comments below and let’s all hope that 2019 will be better.

…But it probably won’t be.

CONCEPTION-Ore-no-kodomo-wo-Undekure-Wallpaper-500x496 Top 10 Anime Flops of 2018 [Best Recommendations]


Author: Will Bertazzo Lambert

I’m a 22 year old writer from Winnipeg, Manitoba who does fiction, media critique and everything in between, currently studying English and rhetoric. I have influences ranging all the way from Henry James, to Stephen Greenblatt to Nintendo Power and after years of fanatical devotion to the coverage of anime and video games, I've finally tossed my hat into the ring and decided to give writing a try for myself. Will this be the dawn of a lifelong career or a small footnote on an otherwise unrelated life? Only time will tell, but I would like nothing more than to have you join me on the journey to discovering the answer.

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