We, The Animasochists, in order to enrage weebs the world over, plumb the zeniths of the anime industry, piss and moan, provide for the public stress levels, warn the uninitiated, and secure the curses of dogshit anime to ourselves and our readers, do ordain and establish this article for The Animasochists.
In a miracle comeback worthy of a generic sports anime, we are back in a more reasonable time frame for this year’s Golden Slaine Awards - we’re “only” 4 months late, instead of 8. (What happened to the 2013 Throwbacks? They’ve, uhh, been delayed. We’d blame budget problems, but we don’t have a budget.)
If anyone was worried that 2018 was a good year for anime, fear not! We’re here to reassure you that, like every other year, it was shit. Not as shit as 2017, but we’ve got plenty of flaming hot garbage to rage about. All the usual awful trends came out to play, and we’re ready to dunk on them, so strap in and let’s all get mad.
***NON-SERIOUS POST ALERT***
Loser: Darling in the FranXX - Oh Trigger, you blessed us with shows like Kill la Kill, Kiznaiver, and Little Witch Academia. In many people’s eyes, you could do no wrong; even if you had released a few duds, it wouldn’t shake the fan’s loyalty.
And for the first half of it’s run Darling in the FranXX promised to be another interesting show from you, but it started to show it’s cracks faster than we could’ve imagined. Still, the people stuck with it through every new plot detail, and if you had just stopped around episode 15, the average anime fan would have been happy with you.
But of course, this is the motherfucking Slaines, and no one is allowed to have nice things. In the latter half of the series, the show unravels faster than the characters’ relationships, and accelerates its own plot so fast that everyone’s heads spun by the end. Not only did they bait-and-switch by pulling a stupid new villain out of their asses in episode 20, but they heavily, heavy-handedly, and clumsily ripped off many better shows in the finale - from Gunbuster (see above) to Evangelion to Gurren Lagann, and every other show Gainax/Trigger ever had a hand in.
Junji Ito Collection - Junji Ito is arguably one of the most famous (infamous?) mangaka of the 20th and 21st century. His works inspire terror, disgust, and perverse fascination in most readers. The announcement that a selection of his works were receiving an adaption was thus met with cautious intrigue and optimism. How would an anime adapt “Fashion Model,” “Glyceride,” and “Long Dream,” among countless other stories?
Of course, when the studio adapting it is DEEN, the answer becomes: “Terribly.” Right from the first episode, Junji Ito Collection shatters any optimistic expectations by reducing Ito’s work to ugly, brown, slideshow-esque images that lose all sense of dread and fear from the original. The potential was there to create something truly memorable and terrifying, given competence, direction, and actual effort put into it. DEEN, of course, dedicated none of these to the project.
Anime allows visible movement, camerawork, and music — something that manga lacks. If done correctly, Ito’s works could successfully make the transition to anime through a careful consideration of these crucial aspects. Many scary anime series build upon their manga’s foundations through direction, camerawork, and use of sound and music; some are even an improvement. Junji Ito Collection, on the other hand, revels in disappointment. The only thing scary here is the knowledge that watching it brings you five hours closer to death - though after watching it, death might be a relief.
Full Metal Panic: Invisible Victory - Imagine our surprise when of all things, Full Metal Panic came back from what seemed like the dead to grace us again with its presence. It had been 13 years since the previous FMP series had left us, so the hype was palpable for it to bring us back to the glorious heights it had taken us before. And while the writing quality had not faded one bit in the intervening years, it was the production quality that failed to live up to its seniors. It’s a goddamn shame that when we’re talking about a show so reliant on detailed mechs, ultra-modern ships, and other military vehicles, the presentation fell off so badly. Near the end, it was clear how badly studio Xebec had stretched in trying to keep the quality up. Not only that, but the character designs started to suffer as a whole as well, with distorted and distracting characters showing up more and more until it became almost the norm. While FMP never fell to the depths of another show that returned after a long hiatus - Berserk - its problems were very similar. Please, anime studios, please take care of these properties.
Grand Blue Dreaming - You might see this show here and wonder, “Huh, I thought was a decent show” or maybe “It was OK, why is it disappointing?” Well, to borrow a quote, “Happiness and disappointment are functions of expectations.” Yes, Grand Blue Dreaming may have been decent, but the manga is unilaterally beloved by almost all who have encountered it. Indeed, many members of AniTAY were incredibly hyped for this, based on all that we had read from it. And it just... didn’t click. One of the challenges in translating manga to the small screen, especially with comedy, is timing. Panels, transitions, and punchlines are often placed just so to elicit the perfect reaction. Sometimes, anime may look good but not even close to its predecessor, because of its requirement to be in motion. And sadly, Grand Blue Dreaming fell flat to the legions of manga fans because of these issues. It came in with the hype of an all time classic, and left as, at best, just another comedy.
Cutie Honey Universe - The most disappointing thing about Cutie Honey Universe has to do with when it aired. The show was a part of the Spring 2018 season and followed the Winter season’s Devilman: Crybaby. Where Devilman saw Masaaki Yuasa successfully modernize the classic manga while keeping the soul and themes of the source material, Cutie Honey Universe feels like if someone saw the original manga and all the dated, offensive material and decided to leave it unchanged for a modern audience. Where Devilman’s use of violence and sex is designed to make the viewer uncomfortable and adds to the show’s tone and themes, Cutie Honey Universe’s actively fights against whatever semblance of tone it has. Go Nagai deserved better than to see his perverted, repulsive old man and kid characters keeping the same 1973 humour in 2018. In one episode, Honey disguises herself as a statue. The old man and kid see her and her boobs and instantly pounce. Watching Cutie Honey Universe felt like being groped by a perverted elderly man and child as you’re powerless to move for fear of revealing yourself - revealing that you actually, consciously, chose to watch Cutie Honey Universe. Maybe it was naïveté in expecting an adaptation close to the level of Devilman: Crybaby; not this. Not this.
Loser: Full Metal Panic: Invisible Victory - In a year relatively light on sequels, this show carried the (admittedly dubious) honor of being the most-anticipated sequel to come back. People were hyped, hyped, for the return of FMP, and for very good reason. While the shows that aired from 2003-2005 had left us in a reasonable location for an ending, it was clear there was more meat on the bone for the story to continue. It’s such a goddamn shame that while the writing held up its end of the bargain, the art and animation budget let us all down. This is particularly egregious on a series that needs the art to be top notch, what with all the amazing kinds of tech that require such intimate attention to detail. But it didn’t stop there, as character designs and in-between animation frames were forced to be scrimped on as well, making the whole show look messier and messier as it went along. Hopefully we won’t need to wait 13 more years for another season, but please let it be in the hands of a more capable studio that can manage a budget.
High School DxD Hero - It’s been said that your favourite trash either dies young or lives long enough to become actual trash. DxD still isn’t dead. It’s hard to get mad at DxD for being bad. You almost assume that it being bad is entirely on purpose and by feeling it’s bad you feel like you’re missing the joke. We pose that, in fact, High School DxD Hero is just that bad.
When you go into DxD, you accept that what you’re in for is fanservice schlock, only marginally held together by the underpinnings of a plot following the source material. For the most part, Hero manages this, but it commits the ultimate sin of animated schlock: It switched studios and had its budget cut. DxD Hero completely changes up the character designs, and the overall animation quality manages to somehow limp along through the season as most fans are left frantically trying to rationalize if this is good or bad trash now. Ultimately it’s a by-the-numbers sequel that does little to improve on its predecessors and instead backslides into less than ideal trash.
Overlord II/III - The first season of Overlord introduced us to Ainz and his team of NPCs in the great tomb of Nazarick as well as slowly fleshing out the new world Ainz has found himself in. The villains of the first season were all stomped into the ground by the stupidly overleveled protagonist, and they all really deserved it. In season 2, Ainz is barely featured, while the art slips a bit - not a real deal breaker at this point, but then comes the 3rd season, when the animation quality dips as hard as Ainz avoiding Shalltear’s advances. To be fair, you’d avoid her too if her insides looked like this:
On top of all that, Ainz goes from stomping people that truly deserve it to being an absolute evil tyrant somewhere between seasons 1 and 3, and as a result becomes way less fun to watch as he succeeds in his plans. (More about that below, in Worst Villain.)
Free! Dive to the Future - Free! has always toed the line between being overly anime-dramatic and staying within reason, but this season took it way too far. New storylines were just nonsensical for competitive swimming and not at all believable. Add in some classic stupid, tropey behavior like friends “protecting” friends from other people because anime or characters losing their swimming capability somehow for idiotic reasons, and it’s just a mess. It’s a shame, because these characters moving to college would have had a lot of more interesting storylines to potentially follow, and yet it fell to the same old nonsense as every sports anime before it.
Tokyo Ghoul:Re - So you’ve watched the first anime season of Tokyo Ghoul, suffered through the catastrophe that was Tokyo Ghoul Root A, and for whatever reason you decided to come back for another round of punishment - or perhaps you’re hoping that these 3rd and 4th seasons will help you understand what the fuck is going on at this point. There’s a problem there: Tokyo Ghoul:Re is a sequel to the original Tokyo Ghoul manga… which Root A decided to completely scrap and go with it’s own story, complete with an original ending (leaving over 70 chapters of story unaccounted for). We’re almost certain the producers of this anime are actively fucking with its fan base at this point and just decided to completely give up on trying to make sense or tell a coherent story.
SPECIAL MENTION:.Maerchen Maedchen - We’ll cut right to the chase: it took Hoods Entertainment nearly a year and a half to finish the last two episodes of Maerchen Maedchen. Up until that point, the show was left without an ending, dangling off a cliff, unallowed to live or die. Those last two episodes kept getting delayed, and delayed, and delayed to the point that it became a meme among the Animasochists and the larger anime community alike. Though the ending is out now, and surprisingly serviceable considering the delay, this does not excuse the fact that it took over a whole calendar year for that ending to come out. The animation was only a minor improvement over the first ten episodes, leaving us wondering: What was Hoods doing in the interim? Deciding how best to further sully Tomohiro Matsu’s work? Fucking around with their underpaid and overworked animators as they put out the grossly mediocre 3D Kanojo: Real Girl? Regardless, the time it took to put Maerchen Maedchen out of its misery easily earns it a special mention among the year’s (or year and a half’s…) worst endings.
Loser-est:.Banana Fish - The problems with Banana Fish’s ending extend far beyond the last episode of the series. Around half way through, our protagonist Ash Lynx dispatches one of his major rivals in a knife battle, getting stabbed in the process (keep this in mind for later). After this the following 9 episodes gets stuck in a cycle which can be boiled down to:
- Ash’s love interest Eiji gets kidnapped/captured by one of his enemies
- Ash tries to save Eiji/Trades himself for Eiji and is the imprisoned
- Ash gets raped by older men and/or gravely injured.
- Ash escapes and recovers from his trauma (on his own or with the aid of his allies).
While this ruins a majority of the tension that the first half of the series worked hard to build up, it pales in comparison to the final 2 episodes. In one last attempt at raising the stakes, Ash lines up to face the main villain, Dino Golzine, who groomed Ash and treated him as a sex toy for most of his life. The audience can finally expect a final grand showdown with the distinct possibility of several character deaths on both sides.
Instead, Foxx, the mercenary that Golzine hired turns around, shoots him, and claims Final Boss rights. Ash and his group then cleanly kill all of the highly trained mercenaries with zero casualties on their side, ending with Ash killing Foxx with a power drill to the stomach. He then goes to save his ally, who is hanging off the side of a building holding all the research they were trying to find. But while trying to save him, Ash makes him drop the Banana Fish into a fire, destroying it - which is really a metaphor for the progression of the entire show.
But of course, Foxx wasn’t really dead and comes back to finish Ash for good… only to be killed by Golzine (reminder: he was shot and left to die at the end of the previous episode). Yes, the elderly old man with a gunshot wound manages to get up and kill the mercenary that shot him. To add insult to injury, as Ash stands up to face him, he unceremoniously succumbs to his wounds and falls off the building into a the same giant fire that the show threw its plot into.
Now, while most of the bad guys get their comeuppance, the story had one final bit of ass-hattery to dump on us. While Eiji gets ready to fly home, Ash receives a letter from him, decides that he loves Eiji, and makes a mad dash to the airport where they are reunited to live happily ever after… NOPE, just kidding! That might have been acceptable, and we can’t have that in a show like this. Instead, a minor villain turns up out of nowhere and stabs Ash, who decides to just walk back to the library and die like a bitch. To add even more insult to injury, the show ends ambiguously with Ash just “having a nap” in the library. The manga has another chapter following the ending of the anime that shows Eiji’s reaction to the news and how he never finds love again, while the anime makes it look like Ash just rejected Eiji’s letter, while the latter stays blissfully ignorant about his love’s violent end. Fuck this show.
Loser-er:.Darling in the FranXX - As we’ve already mentioned, Franxx takes inspiration throughout its run from many other well-regarded shows that have come before it - to varying degrees of success. It can be said that the difference between an homage and a ripoff is how well it works. After all, there’s no such thing as an original story anymore, only original presentation. But by the last few episodes, Franxx was not only just outright stealing both, but doing a piss poor job in the process.
In episode 19 we are treated to a lengthy flashback episode which goes into explaining the lore of the world as we head into the next episode for the final assault on the Klaxosaur Queen’s lair… just for the last 4 minutes of the episode to jump the shark so hard it flew off into orbit. If you were wondering why they ended up in space in a show set entirely on Earth, it’s because they killed off most of the previous villains without any regard for consistent story telling.
Stealing from D&D, there’s a minor Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies moment, pictured above. After that, with Zero Two left catatonic after the battle with the Klaxosaur, they steal from super sentai by having Hiro, his friends, the surviving pilots, and the other rival squad all team up. They fly off into space with a giant Klaxosaur mecha to prevent the new enemies, the VIRM, from destroying all life on Earth. Then it turns out that Zero Two isn’t really out of the show, because just like in Evangelion, Hiro works out that her soul (or something) is fighting inside the Strelizia Apus, and during the battle Zero Two possesses the giant fucking mecha.
And that’s not even the dumbest thing to happen in this last stretch of episodes, because next it steals from Buso Renkin as Hiro and Zero Two go floating through space to go finish off the VIRM, which takes literal years. And they don’t even really fix things themselves - back on Earth, the entire rest of the cast decide to hold hands and pray, in a scene stolen from Earthbound, allowing the Strelizia Apus to win the final battle. No you didn’t misread that: the cast that got left behind on Earth prayed the final villains away.
Several characters just straight up get shafted in this ending. Ikuno gets aged up and left to die a lonely lesbian death, Kokoro and Mitsuru get to pump out several children even though their previous relationship got erased by a mind wipe (which got ignored because space). The best thing that happened to any of these characters was Futoshi growing a manly mustache and getting paired up with some character never previously introduced, so she probably had a better personality than most of the principal cast. Meanwhile, after Hiro and Zero Two win the final battle and die off in space, they get reincarnated and live happily with no fucking consequences despite the whole show prior to this implying a tragic bittersweet ending for the pair.
The closing episodes of this show blatantly lift from a laundry list of better mecha anime. The finale itself practically has entire set pieces plagiarized from the ending of Gunbuster. Even worse, because Franxx is just taking these elements from shows that were built around their structures and dropping them into its own story, it lurches wildly between tonal beats, pulling twist after twist that are never properly set up nor adequately employed.
Loser:.Ulysses: Jeanne d’Arc and the Alchemist Knight - This steaming pile of dung some jerk passed off as an anime is ostensibly about the Hundred Years War from the French side, if alchemy and faires and the Holy Grail were all real, and it all hinged on a moron in a floppy hat and a loli in a blasphemous costume. It’s all terrible, but was more or less internally consistent until the ending, in which “protagonist” Montmorency (who turns out to actually be Gilles de Rais, but the show spares us serial child murder… for now) is possessed by an ancient Sumerian god and SUMMONS LOVECRAFTIAN HORRORS FROM BEYOND SPACE. You know, just like what happened in the real Hundred Years War. Of course this all gets wrapped up in short order with the Power and Love and Friendship, etc. It tries to pull a happy ending out of its ass, but the only real happy ending would have been their entire world being devoured, thus ridding us of every last douchebag in it.
Magical Girl Site - Last year we had the joy of discussing a lovely little anime known as elDLIVE, and the associated problems of anime-only endings - specifically, that if the manga you’re adapting kills off the majority of the cast as a twist, you probably shouldn’t go out of your way to change this in the anime; anyone who enjoyed the story enough to want to read the manga is going to get blindsided.
Magical Girl Site goes several steps further; everyone surviving is just the beginning of the plothole circus. It almost looks like the beginning of a party-wipe when the main character’s love interest heroically sacrifices herself, by using up her remaining lifespan to power a shield to protect the girls from dying. Unfortunately, the tragedy of her death is instantly negated - she comes back not even five minutes later, as one of the main villains, chasing Aya down and trying to kill her. Upon being caught, Aya uses the power of yuri love and her teleporter gun (yes, really) to shoot part of her own life span into her (yes, really), bringing her back to life for a super saccharine ending.
But that’s a better ending than everyone dying, right? Well, sort of, except that the anime then decides to showcase Aya’s abusive older brother getting chained up, tortured and sodomised by a corrupt male officer as the final scene. TIMING!
Bloom Into You - Recent years have taught us to approach any yuri romance drama with caution, but Bloom Into You blew that prejudice to smithereens right out of the gate. The first laser-guided drama bomb dropped by the end of the first episode, and then they kept dropping them in the smoking crater of the viewers’ hearts. What started as a pretty mellow show quickly escalated into deep character study and brought excellent character development, both of levels rarely seen in romance shows of recent years. It shows Touko’s internal struggle on her path to be just like her deceased sister, despite having the opposite personality, just as deftly as it explores the difficulty people around her have in accepting it.
But as the last few episodes prepare us for the grand finale, where the whole student council would participate in the school play, which itself is an allegory of Touko’s life. But guess what? It never happens. Not only do they decide to rewrite the play’s ending in the first half of the last episode, but then Yuu and Touko go on a pointless date in aquarium just to finish the series during their ride home on the train - no play, no resolution, not even a hint of closure. After all those bombs at the beginning, the biggest thing Bloom Into You dropped was the ball.
Conception - In a show that boils down to lewd hand-holding to save the kingdom, the ending stacks up multiple piles of bullshit it expects you to swallow. The whole show is awful, but after seducing the 12 maidens (and a bonus girl) of the zodiac to have his ghost children to fight off a great evil, he goes to face the final boss which will lead to his death. So he and his 13 child soldiers and harem of girls go off to fight the final boss:
Who turns out to be Ainz Ooal Gown’s rapey cousin.
The last Impurity tries to kill Itsuki, but ends up getting his shot intercepted by Alfie, one of the few passable characters in the show. Why did they kill her off? So that the other 12 maidens can use the power of love to turn their children into a goddamned fucking mecha out of nowhere.
After beating the main villain with this bullshit power-up, Itsuki is allowed to leave the world he was isekai’d into and go home… but of course he takes his entire harem with him and marries all 14 of them. If you think I’ve miscounted then you obviously didn’t know that Alfie is resurrected with no explanation and even Mana, the perverted trash panda, is turned into a human girl just to rub salt into every single wound you will have for the rest of your lifetime.
FLCL Alternative - FLCL Progressive was a pretty cool sequel to the original FLCL; while it never lives up to the original, it’s definitely a fun watch with a decent end (as far as FLCL goes, anyway). Of course, Haruko coming back with her bizarre alien fuckery on a group of suspecting teens was going to be a mainstay of both of the new series, so FLCL: Alternative should potentially have been lined up for something similarly good.
So of course, they had to turn round and double down on giving a Gainax ending for Alternative that leaves only endless frustration with absolutely fuck-all resolved. Having just been told by her best and oldest friend, Pets, that she’s a terrible person and that they should never have been friends, our main character Kana is left abandoned by her as she leaves Earth to go to Mars. With Medical Mechanica (the series’ villains) destroying her town and the rest of the world, she goes practically nuclear declaring her love for everyone (but most of all Pets), throwing Haruko and the Medical Mechanica plant into a wormhole... then it simply cuts to her living life normally with her other friends. To pour salt into the wound, Alternative is heavily implied to be a prequel to the original series - but with no real conclusion, it abandons that idea completely, making any of the foreshadowing they tried to include utterly pointless.
UzaMaid! - After stringing the viewer along with the ‘mystery’ of why the titular maid has an eyepatch and quit the JSDF, they finally reveal her backstory in the last ten minutes. She lost her Air Force pilot father when she was young, her mom told her he had “gone to the sky”, so she joined the Air Force herself in a vain attempt to find him. After finally making it in and getting her first flight, she obviously discovered he wasn’t up there
Then, at some random point after that, she “contracted an illness” and “gradually lost sight” in her right eye, eventually leading to total blindness in it. And that’s all the detail we get on it. She lost her eye with GODDAMNED GENERIC ANIME COUGH, had to quit being a pilot, was walking around town on medical leave, saw Misha playing with her mom, and fell in love with the single-digit-aged girl, because she’s a horrendous paedophile.
The show then tries to spin itself into a happy ending more or less out of nowhere. The small child has gotten a modicum of character development, but in all the wrong ways - she suddenly no longer hates her disgusting, predatory maid with every fiber of her being. Even in the face of continued overt proposals and offers to somehow bear her children (we’re not gonna ask how she intends to do that), Misha fails to reach the levels of rancor she initially had, even though Kamoi’s paedophilia, stalking, sexual harassment, and overall creepiness have only escalated. Meanwhile, Misha still only calls her stepdad by name, despite him trying to get her to call him ‘dad’, ‘papa’, or any other endearing pet name that a child would normally call their parent. He gets totally shafted while the horrific pedophile is more or less accepted into the family, all while happy music is played. HOW IS THIS A HAPPY ENDING?!
Loser-est:.Goblin Slayer - Those of us who follow light novels and manga always have a mixed reaction when an adaptation is announced. It’s a combination of “I can see how good this could be...” and “But it’s probably going to suck.” For particularly well-regarded works, that dichotomy is only stronger, so when we heard Goblin Slayer was up for this, it damn near maxed out.
Goblin Slayer is very highly regarded for being an incredible Dark Fantasy, only a little below the famed level of Berserk, as well as being a stellar attempt at showing exactly what a world which follows a D&D-style alignment-based morality system would be like. This show should have been a smash hit, and the biggest reasons for it not being so are often due to strange and seemingly amateur decisions made by the team adapting it.
The most obvious of these is the switching of the first two arcs of the story. Originally, the raid on Cow Girl’s farm was the first novel’s climax. Goblin Slayer, who had previously been effectively an outcast of the guild, disregards the fact that he is poorly regarded and asks the Adventurers for help. He successfully applies his knowledge to allow the group to repel the goblins, gaining respect from those who had disdained him. He also finds that there are people who will choose to stand with him and help even without compensation, a novelty in his up-until-now solitary existence. The story then moved on to Water Town, where these first elements of his return to humanity through the efforts of his friends are built upon.
In the anime, these structures are reversed, undermining the deeper progression of the characters and story. While superficially enhancing the action scenes, this created a shitload of plot holes. The Water Town arc was supposed to demonstrate Goblin Slayer becoming accepted by the other Adventurers after the raid, as well as coming to consider his party as more than just allies of convenience. Instead, these interactions come before the events which justify them. There were also many lesser callbacks that just got eviscerated in this process; many of these required other events to achieve their emotional impact, and those events either came much later or were excised entirely. Many fight scenes, like the Beholder and the Goblin Lord, were also toned down, seemingly for the sole purpose of not overshadowing the raid on the farm - which is just as ass-backwards as moving it to the end in the first place.
From a story perspective, switching the arcs is a waste. Had the Water Town arc not had a suitable plot beat to serve as the end of an anime cour, or even simply one not as powerful as the farm raid, a case could be made for the change. But that arc provides the light novel equivalent of a mic drop: after rejecting Sword Maiden’s desperate advances upon him, our main character offers her salvation of a different sort as he walks out of the scene, saying he’ll come kill goblins for her whenever she needs him to - even in the deepest areas of her mind where she’s been having to face her terror all alone - because he is Goblin Slayer.
They also entirely skipped the part that sets the series apart from its contemporaries: the gods themselves. In the source material, the world is a living D&D game that the gods play. Priestess was the goddess Illusion’s player character, and Goblin Slayer is an amusing wildcard because he’s so prepared that the gods don’t get to roll anything when he acts. They kept the dice motif, but they missed why it was there to begin with.
Yet for all the focus on action, the adaptation shat the bed there too. After the outrage at the incredibly cringey (but entirely accurate) representation of the atrocities goblins commit regularly from the first episode, the anime staff seem to have shied away from the equally gory stuff that happens later. They also cut out all instances of goblins talking aside from the Goblin Lord, reducing them to unintelligent beasts rather than a brutally cunning threat that requires someone like Goblin Slayer to cull them. Hell, in the original, Goblin Lord himself was living proof that Goblin Slayer is in no way paranoid or exaggerating the threat. They dumbed down the important fights, emphasized the large-scale but relatively low-stakes farm raid, and skimped on the budget for what should have been an incredibly cool Beholder fight. For a show that seemed to only care about the action, they got almost all the action wrong.
To make matters worse, all this moving and snipping of dialogue utterly guts the pervading theme of the source material. Where the manga adaptation improved on the LN and improved the overall flow, the anime version seems to have zeroed in on the least important aspect: the fight scenes. It also missed almost all the humor that made the bleak world tolerable. It’s like someone went “oh it’s a dark fantasy, it must be all about the fight scenes, let’s just do those!” In doing so, they missed the actual point: Goblin Slayer isn’t about a dude killing goblins.
It’s about a man who fights to protect what he loves, but has become so obsessed with the fighting he’s forgotten his original goal. It’s about that man being pulled back from the fight and finding new loved ones. It’s about the world coming to see that he’s not crazy, the things he’s been fighting really are as bad as he claims. It’s about him and the people around him repairing their relationships and beginning new ones. It’s about Goblin Slayer as a person, not just a fighter. What an absolute disgrace of an adaptation.
Loser-er:.Last Period: The Journey to the End of the Despair - A prime example of satire gone wrong, Last Period attempts to make fun of pretty much every aspect of mobile gacha games, by playing them completely straight, and being even more invested in them than even the worst games. It tries to play it off as humor with a designated fourth-wall-breaking character, but as we’ve discussed in previous years, pointing out how bad a thing you’re doing is doesn’t excuse you from doing it. It takes all the worst parts of actual gacha games - and there’s several specific references on top of the generic genre-defining overarching concepts - and makes them a thousand times worse, to the active detriment of both the story and the overall experience. It’s a shitty comedy with insufferable characters and gaping plot holes, and we’d rather play the grindiest, most unrewarding gacha games than watch another minute of this horseshit.
Loser: Maerchen Maedchen - To understand Maerchen Maedchen, one needs to understand the background of the light novel. It was written by the late Tomohiro Matsu, author of Listen to Me, Girls. I Am Your Father! and Mayoi Neko Overrun!. On May 2nd, 2016, Matsu passed away from liver cancer, leaving Maerchen Maedchen unfinished. Hoods Entertainment probably picked up Maerchen Maedchen in hopes of paying tribute to Matsu; the resulting anime is not only an awful adaptation, but a depressing reminder that an author never truly has full control of their work once they put it out into the world. The anime suffers from horrendous animation stemming from mismanagement and poor production practices. Though it keeps the light novel’s story mostly intact, the god-awful production prevents the plot from having any impact. Moreover, it took the studio almost a year and a half to finish and release the final two episodes of the show (which, unsurprisingly, are also shoddily done). So, not only is Maerchen Maedchen’s production legendarily disastrous, but the show remained without an ending for an entire calendar year, suspended in limbo as Hoods Entertainment played with it, undecided on when to end its suffering. We deserved better than this, the anime industry deserved better than this, and Tomohiro Matsu deserved better than this. Rest in peace.
Space Fishing - An adaptation of a mobile game, Space Fishing was in trouble the moment it opened by explaining that they had put several giant fishbowls in space because the world’s oceans could no longer support life, and it just went downhill from there. Space Fishing was so bad that it managed to kill off the game it was based on, with them shutting down its servers after the anime finished airing.
Grand Blue Dreaming - We touched on this in the Most Disappointing section, but so much was lost in the transition from the page to the screen, from a manga that is one of the funniest comedies in recent times. The manga has an exquisite sense of design, particularly in its paneling and transitions between pages in building up a joke you might still see coming, and even still, the delivery exceeds expectations. Beloved parts of the manga like the famous “Titan faces” just had little to no chance of ever meeting the same level of quality because of the change from static to moving. In hindsight, a manga this expertly crafted to deliver the maximum of laughs at every turn had little chance of meeting those expectations as an anime, but that it missed the mark so thoroughly as to be utterly forgettable is a goddamned travesty.
Cutie Honey Universe - Cutie Honey is a classic manga that, though not perfect, has a devoted cult following - one large enough to warrant an adaptation in 2018. Cutie Honey Universe is what happens when one tries to adapt a 40-year-old manga without bringing its ideas 40 years into the future. Like was mentioned in the Most Disappointing section, the jokes and tone feel horribly mismatched, not only to each other but also to the current cultural climate. Blatant perverts played off as humour and characters getting their clothes ripped off in a fight for pure titillation feel dated, unfunny, and frankly lazy. Watching Honey halfheartedly fight off the old man and the kid as they endlessly grope her is uncomfortable at best and repulsive at worst. Though Honey as a character and a heroine is serviceable, it is these moments that add to the adaptation’s entirely-too-inconsistent tone. Add in a healthy dose of art and animation that looks like a potato coloured with Rose Art crayons, and you have the poster child for How to Improperly Adapt A 40-Year Old Manga: A Tone-Deaf Guide. This poor adaptation is all the more egregious considering that Hideaki Anno’s own Re: Cutie Honey dropped in 2004 and blows this turd clean out of the water. Though Anno’s shot at Go Nagai’s work is not perfect, it certainly tries harder than Cutie Honey Universe. Go watch that instead. Watch anything else, really. Cutie Honey Universe is only worth your time if you want a lesson in how not to adapt a classic manga.
Lightning Round #1: Budget Woes (Backstreet Girls; My Sister, My Writer; Junji Ito Collection; Full Metal Panic: Invisible Victory) - This is the first of several short bursts of bullshit we’re going to cover without much detail, because we have several groups of shows that committed the same mistakes and frankly don’t deserve as much attention as the massive stinkers. In this case, these four shows suffer from lesser-but-similar budgeting problems as Maerchen Maedchen, and we’ve sorted them by approximate degree of intensity for your convenience.
Backstreet Girls: Basically a slideshow. We hesitate to even call this an anime; it’s more akin to a motion comic.
My Sister, My Writer: Funny, usually the blood-curdling incest shows are lovingly animated for max FPS so you can watch them one-handed. Somehow, this one doesn’t even give you the courtesy of having decent production quality, to the point that the show didn’t even last half an episode before going hideously off-model. Even the animators working on the show started taking their own names off the credits and replacing them with things like “I’m Screwed” and “Help Us”. We can only assume they kept them hostage to shit out the full 10 episodes. (Batshit Bonus: the blurays uncensored things by removing light beams and steam, but kept all of the off-model animation fuckups! Glorious.)
Junji Ito Collection: You’d think one of the most beloved horror mangaka of all time would merit a decent animation budget. Instead, we’re treated to art that is not only worse than Junji Ito’s original, but lacks any of the terror, nuance, or psychological depth of the source. Junji Ito Collection looks like if someone erased half of Ito’s original drawings and spilled nine-day-old public pool washroom mop water over them. Here’s hoping the execs responsible for this travesty get haunted. Who even thought this was okay?
...Of course it was.
Full Metal Panic: Invisible Budget: Xebec completely shat the bed here. You kept the fans waiting for all this time, and then put together a shoestring budget and a C-team of animators for one of the most high-concept, high-tech near-future war shows out there? Come the fuck on.
Lightning Round #2: Compression (The Master of Ragnarok & Blesser of Einherjar, Island, Hakyu Hoshin Engi) - Another pack of bite-sized takes on shitshows. While most adaptations suffer in some way from leaving content on the cutting room floor,in 2018 we had a trifecta of severe cases, each adapting from a different type of media.
Master of Ragnarok compressed 7 volumes of light novel into 12 episodes of anime. This obviously came at the expense of many cuts - usually little things like, say, the entire first half of volume 1. The anime starts mid-battle with his harem already established and no explanation. Special Note: This show could have also been featured in Budget Woes.
Island, being an omnibus adaptation of a visual novel, blitzed through every girl’s route in a single episode each, then gave the fell-off-a-cliff’s-notes version of the final route for the rest. On top of this, they added several scenes of filler with the girls at the beach and added 3 completely new characters that didn’t appear in the original material (and also killing one of them off in a really clumsy attempt to invoke drama). They even went through the trouble of giving the final arc a whole new opening theme and practically treated it as a full-on after story… but, again, all of this took place in a single cour.
Finally, the black sheep of the group, Hakyu Hoshin Engi was a remake/reboot of an earlier series that ended up being a completely different and much less coherent show. Even those of us who watched the original didn’t understand what was going on.
Loser-est: How Not To Summon A Demon Lord - This show is basically The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly in terms of fanservice. The elf wearing next to nothing so often is about what you’d expect from a trashy isekai - and don’t get us wrong, we enjoyed the show, but it’s 100% a trashy isekai. The catgirl wearing very little is The Bad in comparison, but the two main girls aren’t what we’re here to rag on. No, it’s The Ugly.
You might have guessed it was Krebskrum, but no, even that’s okay compared to the guild master. She’s an X00-year-old loli with an obviously non-childish mentality, and walks around in dental floss and tissues that she attempts to pass off as a dress. How is she meant to command any respect like that? Also, while the others have some excuse for their various levels of undress, the guild master never bothers giving any kind of reason as to why she’s wearing leftover bra straps as an outfit. She’s really what pushes the fanservice in the show beyond the pale, and you could put her in real clothes and not change anything. Hell, even just a nightgown would be less ridiculous than what she wears on a daily basis.
Also, this happens. No, we’re not going to give any context for this, because there’s no context that could possibly save it. (Trust us, you didn’t want the ‘YOU WA SHOCK!’ joke we were contemplating anyway..)
Loser-er: Killing Bites - So we have half-human hybrids battling in a big tournament where the one with the sharpest fangs wins, so we should expect some bloody and crazy action right? Well, that is in the show too, but the difference between the male and female combatants is night and day. Where the men turning into frightening monsters, the girls… turn into scantily-clad but mostly human figures.
By the way, before this dress up scene, Hitomi (right) had her panties stolen by Eruza (Left), and she runs across the school flashing the protagonist several times. But this is all before the battle actually starts and that’s where they turn the fanservice up to 11.
Oh boy, here we go. The girls barely wear anything, with the worst offenders being a literal bunny girl and Eruza (the cheetah) at the top of this section. Seriously, we’re pretty sure the writer wanted all the girls to be as naked as he could possibly manage while still being broadcasted... but then there’s also a sex offender snake-man who spends a good portion of his episode attempting to rape Hitomi and Eruza. After taking him down, the girls started fighting each other, another animal girl pops up and sprays pheromones all over them, causing them to just hump each other for a good portion of the next episode.
(That’s not how pheromones work! That’s not how ANY OF THIS WORKS!) Also, we can’t be certain, but we’re going to hazard a guess that the animation team were listening to the Bloodhound Gang on repeat during the production of this show.
Loser: My Sister, My Writer - Quick, imagine what an anime called My Sister, My Writer would have in terms of fan service. Did you picture incest? How about a character named Ahegao Double-Peace Sensei? Did plenty of boobs and butts come to mind? Well, friends, My Sister, My Writer has all that and more. What makes the show’s fanservice so egregious stems from its complete lack of self-awareness of how bad its fanservice is. Take the pictures above and below this write-up, for instance. Which one of these two do you think is the main character’s little sister? Hint: it isn’t the one calling him “onii-chan.” My Sister, My Writer throws every trashy trope turd at the wall to see what sticks, from fake little sisters to real little sisters, childhood friends to twins, sensual older ladies to buxom libido-laden hentai artists. It fails on every account because of the poor quality of its writing, its inability to see its own ridiculousness, and, perhaps most importantly, its piss-poor production quality that removes any lasting sense of possible arousal from these scenes. When your characters are consistently off-model and move like someone learning how to drive a standard car for the first time, titillation is utterly impossible. All this combines to make My Sister, My Writer a boner-killer in spite of its wholehearted attempt to elicit any sort of sexual feelings out of viewers. You’re better off watching hentai, which at least doesn’t have light bars and steam covering the important bits.
Love To-Lie-Angle - A yuri anime! With an ecchi tag! This is already a recipe for success, right? Wrong. Excusing the fact that Love To-Lie-Angle is a 3-minute short (which already hinders its ability to actually be sexy), the actual fan-service parts of the show are painfully tasteless. Like My Sister My Writer, it throws everything at the wall in an attempt to appeal to as wide a viewership as possible, only this time with all girls. Add in that the show feels like it snorted a fat line of cocaine before opening credits and it becomes completely unwatchable and entirely unsexy. Each episode crams in so much “content” and “plot” that it is impossible to linger on anything for too long for fear of seeing the (very apparent) cracks at the seams. Chibi-style art and limited actual movement leaves the show feeling cheap and unnecessary. The weirdest part is that the #1 most frequent victim of censorship isn’t any girl’s body parts, but rather the Comic Relief Slut’s vibrators that she leaves all over the house. Don’t even watch this show to laugh at how bad it is, it isn’t worth the 36 minutes you’ll never get back.
UzaMaid! - While the events that actually happen are traumatic enough, Misha would be scarred for life if she could see any of Kamoi’s fantasies. We know this because we are scarred for life after seeing them. For some reason, the show keeps trying to show off Kamoi as some sort of target for lust, focusing way too long on her abs, legs, and breasts way too often - even though she’s only interested in little girls, so it’s even more disrespectful to the person in question than usual. We’re a little torn on that, because she deserves absolutely no respect, but putting a horrific monster in a bikini is gross either way.
The Ryuo’s Work Is Never Done! - Oh anime, you just can’t stop sexualizing minors, can you? This show needs a visit from Chris Hansen, stat. Though there is some semblance of an underlying heart, it is undermined by rampant fanservice centered around prepubescent (like, ages 9 and under) girls and their high-school age shogi coach. There are shower mishaps, kisses on the cheek, marriage pacts, and all manner of ‘fun’ designed to really bring out the creep in all of us. What the show fails to realize, though, is that the only creepy one in the room is it. It misses the top spots on our list because it apparently tones things down from its light-novel source material, but that does not excuse the fact that this is fucking gross, completely unsettling, and not worth your time - unless you need an affirmation of just how fucking gross and completely unsettling these types of shows are.
Alice or Alice - The level of fanservice some of these shows expect us to tolerate is beyond the pale. Nobody stops to give a second glance when a klutz gets covered by cream, milk, or any other white liquid in the kitchen, or if flying, spherical rabbits attack small girls trying to change into their swimsuits. Sexy reindeer costumes are the norm for Christmas and the length of the skirts in idol group skits would put you into jail for indecency. But everything is a-okay for the sake of comedy, right? No. No, it fucking isn’t. Even under the incorrect assumption that any of this garbage fire was acceptable to begin with, the art is at odds with itself, typically maintaining a chibi-esque artstyle that jarringly transitions to more a more “traditional” style for the fanservice scenes. We don’t need to see underage girls in lewd scenarios, and we certainly don’t want to be reminded of their age through an immature art style that directly undermines the show’s “goal” of (uncomfortable) titillation.
Overlord II/III - LIZARD FUCKING. *Ainz drops mic, casts Disintegrate on audience*
Loser-est: Kaname Asagiri (Magical Girl Site) - Aya Asagiri starts the show at the lowest point of her life, being constantly bullied at school (whose acts include paying someone to attempt to rape her). So it’s just lovely when you see her go home to her family, and you meet Kaname, her wonderful older brother... whose hobbies include studying, boasting his superiority to the rest of humanity, and bursting into Aya’s room and mercilessly beating the shit out of her.
Fortunately, from this point onwards - armed with her magical “stick” that lets her teleport objects and people, and guarded by her new friend Tsuyuno Yatsumaru - Kaname doesn’t dare touch her anymore. Unfortunately, this only causes his resentment and pent up frustrations to go into overdrive, leading him to seek out even more ways to be an absolute piece of shit.
After accidently seducing one of the magical girls, Nijimi Anazawa, and tricking her into revealing all of the secrets about the Magical Girl Site, he then puts a plan in motion to inflict maximum suffering. Starting with stealing Nijimi’s “Stick”...
...Oh whoops, forgot to mention that Nijimi’s “Stick” takes the form of her goddamned panties, which let the wearer forcibly control anyone - a power he demonstrates by making a guy stab himself to death. Once that’s over with, he meets up with Nijimi, enslaves her, and tracks down the rest of the magical girls, who he then enslaves them as part of his plan to steal all their “Sticks” and torture Aya in new, creative ways. Thankfully his plan is foiled by Nijimi being snapped out of the mind control and forcing a broken bottle into his throat before being killed by him herself.
As mentioned in worst ending above, this character is such a cunt that the only way this show can have karma bite him back hard enough after all of the actions listed above is to have a police officer capture him while the girls are all under his paralysis command, lock him in his basement, and violently rape him in the final scene of the show. It’s like that one Sublime song, only much, much creepier.
Loser-er: Takio Minato (Doreiku the Animation) - Minato is a typical teenager with an inferiority complex. In his mind everybody is laughing behind his back and every woman is a slut who will go out with anybody except him. Minato would use any means necessary to achieve his goals, so when opportunity knocks in the form of the device called SCM, it’s like a gift from the heavens to him. He doubt the so-called slave making device, but after testing it in his club, he immediately sets out to enslave everybody who has this device. His plan is plain and simple, he just needs to abuse the rules built into the system. Minato picked up on the fact that if you defeat somebody who already has any slaves, all rights both over the loser and his/her slaves are transferred to the winner. In a surprisingly intelligent move (compared to the actions of the rest of the cast), he plays the waiting game. After Setagaya enslaves almost everybody else, Minato strikes, obtaining around twenty slaves.
So what does he do with his new (sub-)human resources? He moves to an unused school in the woods with enough space to keep his new pets, where he gets his jollies with a makeshift airsoft shooting range, on running targets in underwear, and a dozen girls to choose from for his more intimate and sick desires. It’s depressingly appropriate that a horny teenager halfway (or more) to being an incel made such banal choices, both in strategy and end goal. Even when he pretty much won, he was still a huge loser.
Loser: Jean de Craon (Ulysses) - Jean the Redbeard is the grandfather to series main character and utter loser Montmorency, and he’s a truly spectacular piece of shit. When his grandson asks for troops to help, y’know, win the war for France, Jean agrees, on the condition that Montmorency marry his cousin, Charlotte… who, by the way, he’s been keeping in a tower since she was roughly 10 years old. Then we get some glorious flashbacks and learn that Charlotte is just the latest in a line of several potential “fiancees” he more or less kidnapped and held captive, but the previous girls all died of sorrow. Oh, and he also told his then-prepubescent grandson that getting the cousin marriage would be a lot easier if the boy knocked his cousin up and made it a fait accompli. Classy individual, Jean de Craon. He eventually sends the soldiers, but only after Charlotte convinces him that cousin-boning did indeed occur. We can only imagine how the deployment condition affected troop morale.
Taiyo Mitsuboshi (Happy Sugar Life) - Oh god, this kid. He starts off as the main girl’s coworker at one of her jobs and develops a crush on her quite quickly, but she turns him down for her true love at home. He is disheartened by this, but then, just to rub sand in the jellyfish sting, he gets kidnapped and raped by their boss for about a week. Literally locked in a wardrobe. Satou eventually saves him while she’s blackmailing her boss into oblivion, but by then the damage is done and Taiyo can’t even stand to look at a woman anymore. That is, until he finds the wanted poster of Shio and flips into being a laser-targeted pedo missile who decided to dedicate his entire life to her. Now, to this guy’s credit, around halfway through the show he does try to stop being a crazy rabid stalker obsessed with finding a child to be his angel, but then Satou turns up and waves a piece of her clothing under his nose. So of course he simply submits to Satou so that he can meet his angel and lock her up somewhere safe. After helping Satou conduct her plans he is rewarded… by being told to go to the wrong apartment and getting bound, gagged and raped by Satou’s aunt (See: Worst Female)
Den Onuma (Killing Bites) - Most of the contestants of killing bites are monsters in one way or another but god damn does this double trouser snake come out as the worst. We wish we were kidding. The reptile faction not only specialise in the dirtiest of tactics to win but the twin-peened human/cobra brute plans on raping and murdering every female contestant he can find, and he goes into great detail about how much he’s going to do it. If it wasn’t for a honey badger’s habit of attacking the genitals first, he may have succeeded.
Keera Greenwood (How Not to Summon a Demon Lord) - As the antagonist for the second major arc of the show, Keera’s only real character trait is being head over heels in love with Diablo’s companion Shera Greenwood. And if that same last name didn’t ring several alarm bells, then you’re not prepared for our Squick section this year. He asks Shera to return to the kingdom under the guise of trying to prevent a war between the Elven kingdom and the Humans. While he initially appears to be less of an utter shitbag, he quickly drops all pretenses and decides to just use his magical and terrible flute playing to Pied-Piper Shera into returning to the elven kingdom with him so he can incest the everloving fuck out of her.
Instead of going straight back to the safety of his homeland, he decides to make camp on the outskirts of the forest and gloat at Shera about how much he is going to bone her, then sets a clothes-eating slime on her because he’s the kind of guy that obviously couldn’t undo a bra if he had an instruction book.
Now, while Diablo disrupts his plan before he can go through with it, Keera is, of course, spared execution at Shera’s request. Fortunately, a passing lord and his army perform a drive-by decapitation on him before he can return home and start plotting his next fucked up scheme.
Takanori Mikado (Re’Union) - While every character in the main cast of Re’Union is a terrible person, Takanori is just the worst. Being jealous that your best friend seems to be all buddy-buddy with the little girl from your childhood you thought dead is not a valid reason to constantly treat him like shit and try to take her from him. This is in no way productive! If you just reformed Subaru with them from the get-go instead of being all antagonistic, you would have saved yourself, your friends, and the viewers a lot of pain, suffering, and wasted time.
Itsuki Yuge (Conception) - Itsuki is the doormat to end all doormats, a living void of charisma that doesn’t get past second base with any of the girls he magically impregnates. If it wasn’t for one other character in the show (see the immediately next entry), he would be the worst excuse for a character of any isekai.
Also, of all the female characters in the entire show… HE FUCKS THE RACCOON.
Loser-est: Mana (Conception) - And here she is. The one, the only, the raccoon. Mana spends the entirety of Conception either making horribly obvious sexual puns and innuendos or directly helping Istuki “impregnate” the various girls of the show. Now we know what you’re thinking: “oh cool, she’s a wingwoman for Itsuki!” Well, dear Slaines reader, things aren’t that simple. Mana is a manipulative bitch, more often than not choosing the worst possible methods to get Itsuki around whatever girl happens to be next on their radar. From kidnapping a girl and holding her hostage until she agrees to get with Itsuki to outright telling Itsuki false or altered information, Mana never once presents herself as sympathetic or even likeable. She is perverted, not only in her aforementioned constant innuendos but in her relentless insistence that Itsuki needs to take every female within his immediate vicinity to Pound Town, Bone Junction, or any other sex-themed place you can think of. She constantly refers to a Kama Sutra-like book of how to woo and have sex with women for Itsuki, usually offering advice that is at worst a criminal offence and at best the kind of advice your drunk friend gives you after you’ve definitely lost your shot. To make matters worse: she can literally sense and seek out virgin girls. Mana is a predator, and not just because she’s an animal. She is the worst stain on a show that is entirely made up of stains. And that’s just her as a raccoon.
Near the end of the series, Itsuki is down on his luck and… well… to make a long story short: he fucks the raccoon. And then he feels better because for a show called Conception, the only action he actually gets is from a fucking raccoon. And he and all the girls get transported back to his world. Including Mana, who is now a human! Which means it’s totally not weird for viewers to want to bang her! Except it is, because she was a raccoon. A perverted, predatory, manipulative, awful, worst-of-the-worst racoon. (And just for good measure, she’s also an Impurity, so she’s literally part of the problem in the first place.) Mana deserves nothing less than to be punted into the stratosphere - preferably, the Gunslinger Stratos-phere.
Loser-er: Alicia Crystella (How Not to Summon a Demon Lord) - All anime rely, to varying degrees and effectiveness, on story tropes. Our friend Alicia here is a trope we affectionately(?) call the Horrendous Backstabbing Bitch. She appears to be an ally of our main characters when she is first introduced, all sweetness and light, then SHOCK AND HORROR, it turns out she’s an evil twat. Except it’s not a shock, because it was telegraphed so hard Samuel Morse’s descendants could feel it. Her entire motivation for getting along and helping Diablo and crew is to help Rem birth a (second) demon lord so that she can sell out Rem and her newly birthed cookie monster to a group of Fallen (Demon) hating Paladins that want to torture and murder them. All of this so she can then backstab those paladins and join the Fallen’s army. Holy shit, we don’t even know which faction she hasn’t backstabbed at this point.
Speaking of backstabbing, her plan almost works due to Rem being nearly killed in the process and making Krebskrum go berserk in the middle of the city. If the show had committed to letting Rem die in this moment, she may have ended up at the top of this category, but no. To top it off, after her plan fails horribly and she tries to commit suicide in front of Diablo’s group, they basically forgive her and let her back in the team (and his bed). Apparently nobody taught Diablo not to stick his dick in crazy.
And why did Alicia, a Paladin no less, turn rogue on our heroes and attempt to bring an army of Fallen to genocide the six races of world (which very much includes herself)? Because she, as the kids say, is fucking cray cray. Oh, and also because her noble parents were control freaks that forced her to do everything their way. Alicia just wants to watch the world burn. We however would rather see her burn. At the stake.
Loser: Ahegao W Peace (My Sister, My Writer) - Yes, her boobs apparently took up 97% of the show’s animation budget, but there’s more to it than that. Of all the members of Yuu Nagami’s harem in this piece of shit show, Ahegao W Peace takes not just the cake but the whole fucking bakery with it. For a bit of backdrop, let’s do a quick rundown of her competition:
- Mai Himuro: Yuu’s classmate, stalker, and fellow LN author, who gets frequently annoyed at the fact he interacts with other girls (instead of giving her the D).
- Sakura Minazuki: A voice actress that loves “his” LN about sister fucking so much that she wants to be his little sister (and get the D).
- Reika Shinozaki: Yuu’s publisher, who spends equal time forcing him to grope her tits, ‘to be less of a virgin’, and calling him about business while she’s in the bath (often leading with that fact).
- Suzuka Nagami: Yuu’s little sister… we’ll get to that in Squickiest Relationship, cause damn.
So being worse than all of the above, Ahegao W Peace - we’ll be using her full name because she insists on it - is the Illustrator for “Yuu’s” Light Novel “This is the Tale of a Little Sister Who Loves Her Brother Too Much to Cope”. Her primary character traits are ‘bounciness’, being a massive airhead, spurting out every perverted thought that enters her mind, and apparently being the only person to give Goblin Slayer’s first episode a 10/10:
She frequently hands out her pornographic drawings to anyone, regardless of whether or not they asked to see it. She specialises in producing the most depraved of smut, to the point that her character arc later in the show goes out of its way to show that when she doesn’t draw porn or rape her artwork gets demonstrously worse (to the point where we could believe she was actually on the animation team for this anime). But everything works out fine, because when she releases her smut at a convention, she sells out so hard that everyone else agrees that she’s fine to keep being herself. “Be yourself” is usually a positive message, but if you’re Ahegao W Peace, please don’t be yourself.
(“Cultural” note: Her pen name, because there’s no way in hell “Ahegao W Peace” is her real name, is itself a multi-layered reference to degrading rape porn, because of course it is.)
(Secondary “cultural” note: Yes, we know exactly what her name means and its connotations. Keep in mind that trying to explain it in the comments means admitting that you do, too.)
The Aunt (Happy Sugar Life) - Satou’s aunt in Happy Sugar Life is presumed dead for half the show’s run, but her influence on Satou’s mental state probably contributed to most of its events. Auntie (who is never named) is obsessed with love, which includes letting as many men as possible do whatever they like to her - and we mean whatever they like. This warped perception on love sets Satou down her dark journey to find her own meaning of love. But this is all before we meet her in the show itself, where she turns out to be very alive, and the scariest character in the entire series to boot.
Her first act on screen is to pin down a male police officer and offer herself to him - in front of Satou, Satou’s best friend, and the police officer’s female partner, who all look on in shock at her.
But she isn’t just a nymphomaniac and a creep; she actively aids her niece in whatever she does for love (and by “whatever she does” we mean Satou keeps a prepubescent girl locked up in the apartment of a man she murdered and chopped up). In fact, she does so to such an extent that at the end of the series she happily goes to prison for burning down her home, all to help Satou fake her own death.
Oh, and let’s not forget that she lives in an apartment block, so her act of arson definitely kills several people - including a teenage boy who she had captured and raped earlier that day. He escaped, but is almost certainly traumatized in multiple ways - and after watching this twisted show, so are we.
Kamoi Tsubame (UzaMaid!) - The relentless, unrepentant paedophile is not a winner in the Worst Female category this year. This bears repeating: THE RELENTLESS, UNREPENTANT PAEDOHPILE IS NOT A WINNER IN THE WORST FEMALE CATEGORY THIS YEAR. Holy fucking shit. Kamoi is a creepy, horrible paedophile, the ideal (ugh) uber-skilled stalker protagonist of a hentai doujin, and an indiscriminate, filthy pervert. But somehow, because she’s female and this is Japan, it gets played for laughs.
There aren’t enough words to describe how goddamned creepy Kamoi is. Instead, let us mention that a character with practically no redeeming qualities, a masochistic, self-loathing semi-NEET stalker who is in love with her, seems like a tolerable comic relief character in comparison. Absolutely everything Kamoi does is riddled with disgusting ulterior motives, and unfortunately, the viewer is “treated” to vivid shots of all her demented fantasies about performing romantic and/or sexual acts upon Misha, who in her mind will eventually fall in love with her - preferably before her first period.
No, seriously. This is her primary relationship criteria. She also sports a complete lack of self-awareness that this is any sort of problem, despite both Misha and Midorin constantly telling her she’s fucked up and wrong. She also gets absolutely no character development, continuing to be an unrepentant creeper all the way through the end credits.
Akina Hinatsuru (The Ryuo’s Work Is Never Done!) - Being a parent is one of the most rewarding and horrifying things all at the same time. At a certain age, you just hope your kids will find their life partner and fly out from the nest, so you can enjoy your remaining days in peace. Almost every mother would freak out if she found that her nine year old daughter ran away from home to pursue a career of being a professional shogi player under the lead of sixteen year old boy. But for Akina Hinatsuru, said boy’s master vouching for him was enough to shatter her fear. She allows her only daughter to live alone with a teenage boy, in his home on the other side of the country.
After a few months, Ai’s parents finally decide to check on their daughter’s progress, but a simple match is not enough to evaluate it... so ‘proper’ matches with opponents stronger than their daughter are prepared. Winning means Ai has a chance to survive and climb ranks in the world of professional shogi players, but losing would mean that her teenage master has to take responsibility for what he did and marry her. Any sane parent would consider these terms utter lunacy, especially for a mother planning for her nine-year-old daughter’s future, but everyone in the show seems to accept them without much of a second thought.
Kokoro (Darling in the Franxx) - Mere minutes after promising that she’ll never abandon her partner, with the two of them up until now being possibly the only non-dysfunctional pairing of the group, she takes the opportunity to jump ship to the brooding asshole who has been going out of his way to reject everyone. No warning to her partner, no softening of the blow, she comes right out with this and drops him in front of everyone else, leaving him confused, distraught, and publicly embarrassed. Obviously she has every right to make her own choices, but the way she goes about it is reprehensible in the most stereotypical way. It’s not what she did, it’s how she did it, and she did it horribly.
Jashin-chan (Dropkick on My Devil!!) - When the main character of your show is a literal devil you’d expect her to be evil, but Jashin-chan isn’t just evil - she’s outright unpleasant in every manner, She treats her best friend as a human ATM machine and ruins everything she touches. It would be funny if it wasn’t so mean spirited half the time.
She’s only this low because she is frequently beaten into a bloody pulp for her cuntish actions by the girl that summoned her…. Yeah, she’s not even powerful enough to back up her terrible behavior.
Loser-est: Zushioumaru Sumida (Doreiku the Animation) - What would you do if you could enslave anyone you ever wanted? What would you do if you knew that winning a duel against another person wearing this SCM device will grant you this privilege? Would you keep your moral standards, or would you sink into depravity, using your slaves as toys in fucked-up game to gain more of them?
Zushioumaru had a perfectly fine life and his only worry was to be home in time for food. His loving and caring family gave him everything, but that still didn’t stop him from running away to pursue his love at first sight - which he lost right away. That got him into a part of town he’d never been to before, and wandering around only brought fatigue and wounds. Professor Sumida found him almost unconscious, took him in and treated his wounds. For that, Zushioumaru was eternally grateful and decided to stay with the professor, helping him with his brain research. The goal was to create a device called SCM (Slave Control Method), an innovative tool for training pets, and Zushioumaru was a key part into making it real. This device enhances the part of the brain that governs the feeling of obedience, rendering previous training methods obsolete. Sumida’s colleague Tsubaki Setagaya was of a different opinion: using this device only on pets was wasting valuable potential in his eyes, so he stole all the data about SCM as well as one of the prototypes. He then deleted the data on the server and disappeared.
When Professor Sumida found out, he was devastated. Zushioumaru took the second prototype, put it on and wandered around town. He was trying to use a built-in SCM function which tells you if another user with an SCM is in proximity in order to find Setagaya. When he returned home empty-pawed, he was welcomed by the professor’s hanging corpse. Having nothing left and feeling responsible for what is about to happen, Zushioumaru went to the town again to stroll around in the hopes of finding Setagaya, both to take revenge and to get back the SCM, which would probably never have been built without him. But seriously, where else would you get a cooperative and smart dog like Zushioumaru to help you with the research? This whole show would not exist without the SCMs and the devices wouldn’t exist without him, so he’s solely responsible for this atrocity, which he basically caused by chasing some tail. Woof!
Loser-er: Yūgo Tani (Killing Bites) - Having lost in the first round due to underestimating the protagonist, Yugo sits out the Destroyal tournament. Like all the other “Brutes” in Killing Bites, Yugo is a half-human hybrid who can transform into a goddamn lion man, but due to his injuries (to both his body and his pride) he is forced to act as a bodyguard to the series’ primary villains, Yoko and Yozan Mitsukado.
Yoko’s Modus Operandi throughout the series is to be a massive bitch throughout the entire tournament. This includes mocking every other contestant with a smug look on her face, claiming she is better than everyone else because her grandfather’s company is in charge, and outright cheating by using a banned animal in the tournament, all for the sake of winning at any cost.
Now, you may be thinking, “Wait, what does Yugo have to do with this?” Well, after the Mitsukado faction get absolutely demolished through a mix of overpowered animal powers and blind luck, Yoko is left pulling her hair out in an extremely satisfying defeat. This is when the show decides to kick her while she’s at her lowest and somehow make you feel sorry for her. Yugo, with the backing of the other factions in the Killing Bites, murders her grandfather right in front of her and then in full-on lion fashion decides to claim Yoko as his mate. This fairly explicit rape scene was utterly unnecessary and made us feel sympathy for this humongous bitch, and we hate it just that extra little bit more for that. Damn you, Lion.
Loser: Goblins (Goblin Slayer) - Goblins are often portrayed as the weakest of monsters across various types of media, but they’re also frequently described as horrible little humanoid masses of evil hellbent on theft, rape, and murder. Goblin Slayer shows what happens when goblins are exactly as evil as the stories claim, and to great effect - perhaps too great. The initial showcase of the goblins’ evil caused a massive shitstorm in the anime community for its graphic depictions of violence and vileness, both physical and sexual, toward a group of female adventurers that let their guard down and got captured by the little green bastards.
Even so, because they’re considered individually weak, the threat they pose is often ignored or downplayed in-universe by everyone except Goblin Slayer himself. People are so dismissive of goblins - despite an apparently massive amount of beginner adventurer casualties - that many don’t even believe the Guild staff after the goblins overtly make themselves known as a serious threat by way of massive invasion. Goblin Slayer is portrayed as obsessive throughout the show mostly because that’s how society views him, but it becomes obvious that he’s exactly right about how much of a problem goblins really are.
Uchika Hanesaki (Hanebado) - Relying on parenting advice from anime is never a good idea. Most of the time, anime parents are either one of the worst villains in the series, or simply not present, which isn’t setting a great example. Parents should be there for the kids, be their role models, raising them with manners, and guide them through life so that they can support their parents and their own family when they grow older.
Uchika Hanesaki does none of these things.
She is a badminton prodigy and is raising her kid in the same way, which is not a bad thing on its own. But when her daughter loses a match after being assaulted by her opponent, who purposely transmitted her cold to even out the match, does she support her daughter? Of course not. Instead she abandons her, leaves the country entirely, and settles in Europe to find another badminton prodigy girl and raise her under her wings. We get that results in competitive sports are important, but she’s your very own daughter, dammit. Get your priorities together! This whole situation sends her daughter into spiral of self-blame mixed with a desperate attempt to improve, just to get her mother back. But when her mother doesn’t return, it backfires into her just hating badminton altogether. That’s not at all the right way to handle your kids’ failure. Get your shit together!
The True Secret Villains (Darling in the Franxx) - Franxx had a perfectly good set of villains. Fucking dinosaurs taking revenge for using them as fossil fuels? Fuck yeah, we can get behind that. But then, around episode 20, it’s revealed that the dinos AND the humans were being manipulated by… someone.
...Yeah, someone. Look, we’re not saying it was aliens, bu—
GOD FUCKING DAMMIT.
Cartaphilus (The Ancient Magus’ Bride) - Being immortal can really suck, especially when you’re cursed to forever rot from the inside out. But somewhere along the way, while killing people for survival, Cartaphilus decided to experiment on people as much as possible in various fucked up and horrific ways. He hit all the usual things like turning a major character’s master into a chimera (a la Fullmetal Alchemist), attempting to sell sentient creatures at an auction, kidnapping the main character, and attempting to force his curse into her instead - we got enough of that from Elias. Moreover, his repeated bemoaning of his fate and just wanting to die are exhausting and monotonous. We know your suffering, we know you want to die (we want you to die, too) but you don’t have to be such a dick about it.
Ainz Ooal Gown (Overlord II/III) - When this shit first went down, Ainz was not necessarily a terrible villain, or arguably a villain at all, at least for the first season. However, in Overlord II and III, he turns all of his plans up several notches; he’s gone from being a reasonable shut-in trying to deal with a roleplay gone way too real, to becoming an evil, murderous tyrant. Starting from season 2, he decides to enslave an entire race of Lizardmen pretty much entirely for shits and giggles. After that, he basically manipulates a group of freelance adventures to come raid his tomb - and then once they do break in, he gets really fucking angry that they broke in. He decides to turn two of them into nests for parasites, mind-rapes the paladin to test the power of divine magic, and finally captures and rips apart the group’s spellcaster to recycle her body parts. He then devolves into a Saturday morning cartoon villain, but with no Saturday morning cartoon hero powerful enough to stop him, he’s just cartoonishly evil with no comeuppance of any kind in sight.
Lightning Round #3: Conceptual Villains - None of these are quite as egregious as the others, but this year had a surprising amount of villains that aren’t exactly people.
Alcohol (Grand Blue Dreaming) - Ah alcohol, the cause and solution to all of life’s problems. If there’s something bad happening to the protagonists of Grand Blue Dreaming, 99 times out of 100, it’s because they were drunk. Which is often because they’re dumber than rocks, and yet this never stops them. WARNING: Do not try to keep up with their drinking IRL. They are superhuman alcohol consuming machines. (Presumably their BAC stays low simply because of how much highly pressurized blood resides in every anime character.)
Crushing Debt (Last Period) - The one thing the main cast of Last Period could not seem to escape was debt caused by a mix of the world’s gacha system and their own stupidity. Even after the tenth one-star character, they keep rolling the gacha until they’re flat broke, and this happens to them multiple times. They manage to spend a whole episode filthy stinking rich in the middle of the series, but by the time 23 minutes were up they had squandered it all. We’re sure it’s supposed to be some sort of metaphor, but Last Period is bankrupt morally as well as economically, so fuck it.
Japanese Media’s Imouto Trend (My Sister, My Writer) - After Eromanga Sensei last year, we thought we had reached the bottom of the barrel, but this show proves that beneath that barrel is a little sister calling you “Onii-chan”. We fear it may be imoutos all the way down.
Puberty (Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai) - Voices changing, hair growing in weird places, disappearing from people’s minds, splitting into two physical personalities, isn’t puberty great? Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai takes the idea of puberty and turns it into a sci-fi concept that manifests differently in each member of its core cast. Though it makes for a great hook and exploration of the show’s key themes, puberty itself nonetheless remains a shameless and relentless villain in the lives of developing teens male and female alike.
Loser-est: Satou Pendragon (Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody) - As he points out in the show, Satou really isn’t a lolicon. He does not try to do any of this. In fact, he tries to avoid it; it’s just that sometimes he forgets to toggle off his maxed-out swag skill before going to bed. But the mostly-passive collection of lolis (and other women too, but a disproportionate number of lolis) is the smallest part of Satou’s ridiculousness. He’s not only the type of character that has the RPG skill mechanics turned on in his fantasy world, he’s running it in debug mode. When the actual inhabitants have to grind out skill increases the hard way, and other reincarnators get their standard cheat or two and a reset button if they’re lucky, he starts with a Meteor Swarm button, and he only has to vaguely do something tangentially related to a skill to unlock it for himself - not to mention he has enough available points to instantly max it out. Perhaps worst of all, he can do this DURING COMBAT: “Ah, my enemy is using poison.” [Skill: Poison Resistance unlocked] *maxes out Poison Resistance, is now immune to poison* *smugs his way through no-selling a fight he was completely unprepared for three seconds earlier* What a fucking godmoder.
And to make it worse, he picks up various titles more often than he does lolis, and these titles MATTER. The Hero title allows you to kill things only a Hero can kill. The Natural Predator of Dragons title… makes an entire race of belligerent dragons on their way to attack you suddenly fall to the ground and pretend to be dead in the hope the random 25 15 year old will leave them the fuck alone. (Then again, his first act in the world was to kill their God…) And while whatever is granting the titles is throwing shade at him, by way of giving him some passive-aggressive titles, it’s just nowhere near enough. [Title unlocked: Salty Bitch] Oh, fuck off.
Loser-er: Diablo (How Not to Summon a Demon Lord) - The way in which Diablo’s OP nature manifests exists in two distinct ways, which are bad enough on their own but also overlap for maximum bullshit. First, he was OP before he ever got isekai’d. In the game that serves as his excuse for familiarity with the world he ends up in, he was already a player character regarded as an endgame activity by other players. His stats and equipment allowed him to act as the final boss of his own dungeon, thus his conceit about being a Demon Lord. These things came with him when he was ‘summoned’ - such as the ring which can reflect all magic cast on him, which takes effect before he’s even fully brought into existence and bounces the slave-binding part of the spell back on the two girls. Why did the summoning half work? Because fuck you, that’s why, but that’s only one of his toys.
The second facet amplifies his OP-ness to even greater heights. The understanding of magic in the ‘real’ game world is way below the common level of the ‘game’ game world. Elemental magic is regarded as useless, though its true potential is above the level most magicians reach in the game-made-real, while the go-to there is Summoning magic, which is Elemental magic’s more complicated, less useful cousin in the game. Although the real practice isn’t as gimped by limitations, the magicians deploying it are still drastically underleveled by Diablo’s standards and it’s still more complicated than the straightforward powerblasts he can unleash.
Oh, and as an extra cherry on top, the reason he got so powerful in the game in the first place? He’s really skilled at analysing an enemy on the fly and adapting his combat style to counter theirs, including a previous Demon Lord in the game. Shame he can’t say the same about speaking normally to women.
Loser: Kogarashi Fuyuzora (Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs) - This motherfucker has a Deus Ex Machina for every situation, except it’s usually a Spiritus Ex Machina. He was born with some sort of wacky inherent trait that makes ghosts love him and find him easy to possess. He spent most of his childhood possessed by a revolving lantern door of spooks, who each trained him in their profession/hobby before passing on. So he was forced to study under the ghost of a master sushi chef, the ghost of an olympic ping-pong coach, the ghosts of several combat experts, etc. Even worse, he eventually got fed up with all this and fucked off to a monastery, where he was trained to become a combat exorcist who punches ghosts into the afterlife. It’s even worse in the manga, but thankfully the anime doesn’t get to the parts where he becomes one of the three most powerful entities in Japan. Still, he’s absolutely ridiculous, and nobody stands a ghost of a chance against him. (OH COME ON.) ...Sorry, we were briefly possessed by the ghosts of a manzai comedy duo.
Hitomi Uzaki (Killing Bites) - She’s a goddamned honey badger, and she’s even more powerful than honey badger memes would have you believe. A lion roars in her face? She laughs and beats his face in minutes after! Her skin is effectively bullet-, claw-, and fang-proof, She has immunity to powerful poisons and venom. The only reason she doesn’t win the whole thing is that she passes out after beating a pangolin brute (a class that was so overpowered it was actually banned from the Destroyal tournament) to death with her own severed arm. Of all the animals in this show, Hitomi has the sharpest fangs.
Ainz Ooal Gown (Overlord II/III) - The final arc of the show begins with Ainz up and declaring war on a city if they refuse to submit to him. Then he walks out onto the battlefield, kills 70,000 soldiers in an instant, and uses their corpses to summon invincible eldritch horrors. After this, he meets up with a character who is allied with the city, and gives him the typical villain choice to submit or he’ll kill everyone. When he predictably refuses, Ainz randomly starts pulling out top-end spells which are completely wasted on a warrior of only this caliber: he casts Time Stop followed by Power Word: Kill on him. Ainz is so powerful in this world that now, having crossed into full-on villain territory, we don’t even have the satisfaction of seeing him lose anymore. Any future season will likely be just him steamrolling the rest of the kingdoms and killing more characters far more likable than him.
Ash Lynx (Banana Fish) - Ash goes through an absolutely ridiculous amount of suffering throughout his life. From the age of seven he is brutally raped by older men including the mob boss Dino Golzine. The writer seems to think this quota of suffering is more than enough reasons to make Ash a fucking superhuman. He has an IQ of over 200, has marksmanship that would make John Wick blush, has over half the people he meets want to sleep with him (usually forcefully as mentioned above), magically gets over clinical anorexia and the associated weakness and emaciation in less than 24 hours, and survives almost everything his enemies throw at him, from bullets to knife wounds to a HELICOPTER MINIGUN. No, we’re not kidding: he gets gunned down by a minigun mounted on a helicopter, and survives. (The fact that he gets bodied by some rando with a knife at the very end is only made more confusing by all of this.)
Juri Yukawa (Kokkoku) - Kokkoku spends 90% of its run with all the characters moving around in a time stop, trying to save their family from a crazy cult/gang worshipping the ability to stop time. But Juri’s power isn’t the one to stop time itself. No, that’s just a magical artifact the family had lying around. Juri gains the power to literally PUNCH PEOPLE OUT OF THE PLOT. Yes, her knuckle sandwiches can actually toss people out of the time freeze, supposedly ejecting them back into normality. She’s basically One Punch Man with how quickly and decisively she deletes people from the story.
Now, the frozen time zone has guardians that show up to murder the ever-living fuck out of anyone that tries to harm someone else. Normally that doesn’t affect her, because supposedly she’s just ejecting people, not actually harming them. But we come to find out that she can actually fight those guardians, which means she’s so powerful that no one in the series can stand up to her by the end. Even the main villain couldn’t stop her; Juri punches him directly into a womb, reincarnating him as a baby. (Okay, it’s a crystal, not a womb, but c’mon.) In the end, she ejected absolutely everyone else, and got stranded in the stasis alone for months until she eventually randomly wandered into a god, who just dropped her off back in reality. It turned out the only thing she couldn’t punch was herself.
Suzuka Nagami (My Sister, My Writer) - A recipe for the “ideal” little sister in anime: one part middle-schooler, one part (supposedly) attractive, one part tsun, three parts dere, and eight parts perfect Mary Sue. Bake in an oven of poor-taste lewd scenarios with an older brother in which she always finds herself in compromising positions and viola, you have yourself one Suzuka Nagami. The titular sister of My Sister, My Writer is designed as the “loveable” center of the show - and when your show includes a character like Ahegao W Peace-sensei, that’s not a hard title to achieve. Suzuka is perfect at everything she does: she writes an award-winning light novel, is top of her class in grades, and is the student-council president, to boot. She dotes lovingly on her doorstop, personality-level-of-a-rock brother, all the while attempting to woo him. Suzuka’s OP-ness comes not from her overwhelming physical strength or through having some god-tier level item, but from her ability to assimilate every little sister trope into one inhuman, predicatible, manufactured being. If imouto shows are your thing, then perhaps Suzuka is right up your alley - just know that your sick attraction to her only makes her more powerful. Run before it’s too late, before she makes the jump into every show. Oh no, it’s too late - she’s right behind you! AAAAAAA-
Special Mention: Crunchyroll-chan x Funimation-san x Sony-sama: Streaming NTR - We have a tradition here at the slaines of assigning certain categories a joke winner. This year, however, the actual winner is too serious to put a gag here. We just needed to leave a nod, and a tear, for the breakup that shook the entire streaming world.
Loser-est: Ikuno and Ichigo and Goro (Darling in the FranXX) - It’s quite telling that the relationships in Franxx were all so bad that we felt we couldn’t just lump them all together and have the show in general be the ‘winner’ here. No, we wanted to give each one specific attention. A larger cause of debate was trying to rank each relationship in terms of being more terrible. We each had our own picks. Ultimately, Ichigo, Goro and Ikuno ‘won’ due to the combination of Ikuno being sadly shafted (in more than one metaphorical way) with no hope for a good end for her, and Goro really deserving better. Not only does Ikuno have to be forced into a pseudo-heterosexual relationship while she has to watch her crush pine for another, but when she finally does get the chance to thrust her ass in Ichigo’s direction, the piloting attempt is a complete failure due to Ichigo being so sexually uninterested, her panties were probably drier than a dessicant factory. It’s a rejection not only of her affections but also any chance of Ikuno being able to stay away from the scary trouser snakes that always seem to be behind her.
Loser-er: Futoshi and Kokoro and Mitsuru (Darling in the FranXX) - Our second ‘winner’ only reaches second place due to the fact that everyone involved actually ends up happy, even if they had no right to. Aside from Mitsuru and Kokoro being generally terrible people that end up together and becoming slightly less terrible, Futoshi deals with his public rejection pretty well and potentially ends up with the healthiest relationship of any of the characters; he shacks up with a girl that we never see before the finale, meaning she might not be as much of a fuckup as the main cast. Oh, and that bit about Kokoro and Mitsuru becoming less terrible? They do actually seem to be a good couple, possibly mostly due to Mitsuru getting over being a broody asshat (and also probably being homosexual, because that’s apparently a choice in Franxx, unless you’re Ikuno). But no couple in the world is good enough together than they can shack up, get pregnant, get married, BE MINDWIPED OF ANY MEMORY OF THEIR RELATIONSHIP, and then get back together with minimal angst. Franxx inserted unnecessary angst into every other aspect of the show, so why is it missing from the one place you’d expect it to be? Especially since Hiro getting mindwiped is what turned Mitsuru from a needy little puppy into the My Chemical Romance fanboy we know and mock.
Loser: Everyone Else (Darling in the FranXX) - And although we said we weren’t going to lump them all together, we’re going to lump all the remaining Franxx relationships together. That’s primarily because while none of them are as actively insulting as the previous two, none of them are actually good. We have 02 being dedicated to a shota memory to such a degree that she almost cucks that boy’s older self… with himself. And once she realises who he is, she then teases him and runs away from him alternately until she finally dies and ascends into being a Diebuster ripoff. The sexiest girl in the entire show, and the only one who knows what sexuality is, and she might blow Hiro’s mind but she certainly doesn’t manage anything else.
Then there’s Zorome and Miku, the two high schoolers who hook up due to a lack of options and go their separate ways as soon as college beckons. But with no college here, their eventual breakup is likely to be far less low-key, assuming they do break up instead of remaining together due to a lack of emotional maturity (not entirely their fault to be fair) and growing increasingly resentful.
We also have Dr. Franxx, who remains oblivious to the feeling of love until he sees the Klaxosaur Princess, a blue, tailed, horned, shark-toothed, tentacled loli, who proceeds to bite his arm off. Oh, and Nana and Hachi, two apparently immortal ‘young’ adults - Nana who had to be mindwiped after losing her former piloting partner and being overcome with grief, and Hachi, who is tormented by his inability to have emotional reactions to things and remembers the events Nana was made to forget, and still feels guilty about them. Yeah, that’s a promising relationship.
And finally, we have VIRM wanting to fuck all other life in existence. Archetypal Nice Space Aliens, in that they’ll tell you they’ll take care of you and treat you well, but if you turn them down they suddenly get really pissy and decide to violently screw you anyway.
P.S.: Goro deserved better.
Doreiku the Animation - Seiya has a perfectly functioning and healthy relationship with Julia. They love each other, live together, and do all the other things happy couples normally do, like going on holidays, dates and other romantic stuff... but everything costs money. For that reason, Seiya continues his work as a host in a club, where Ayaka is a habitual customer. After learning about SCM - a device to turn other people into slaves - he decides to duel Ayaka, as making her his slave will ensure steady income. The game is simply rock-paper-scissors; he’ll play rock, and she promised to play scissors. The surprise was that she knew about SCMs and played paper instead, reversing the slave-master hierarchy on him. That opens new possibilities for Ayaka, who is madly in love with him. Even though she confirms what Seiya thinks about her (see the above screenshot), she moves herself into Seiya’s apartment anyway. She also forces him to break up with Julia.
This forces Julia to look for a new place to live, and her coworker refers her to a friend’s house. Unfortunately, that coworker’s friend has a son, who has a pair of SCMs of his own. He enslaves Julia, who has no idea what the SCMs even are, the same way he’s enslaved several other women, and for the same reason: in order to bring in some cash to buy his mother out of prostitution. Julia is moved by this and falls for the kid, presumably because her taste in men is still garbage. It’s not much of a stretch, she just traded in her scumbag who treats women as piggy banks for a younger version...
Conception - Look, all of Itsuki’s “relationships” are based on Mana’s scummy, often criminal advice/actions. None of these girls have any reason to actually like this guy. For them to forsake their entire world to come to his is utter lunacy, which means it’s nothing more than wish fulfillment. But if you’re going to fulfill a wish, why would you also bring along the worst character? On the other hand, they did avoid Itsuki’s worst-case scenario - by coming to another world, he’s permanently dodged the child support for all those kids he popped out of the girls he and Mana brainwashed.
Also, this bears repeating: He fucks the raccoon.
Island - Our “hero” Setsuna finds himself the object of affection of three girls, whom he deals with in true Fruit of Grisaia fashion; solving each of their problems and backstory in an incredibly short amount of time after meeting them all. First off he “saves” the blonde tsundere Karen from getting married and takes her to go meet her mother who lives on the mainland… after stopping Karen from leaving the island just 2 episodes before hand. (It turns out her mother was already dead, so they give up and go home.)
There’s also the island’s miko (who tries to murder him within 10 minutes of meeting him) whose problem turns out to be that she wants MC-kun to impregnate her so she can travel back in time and give birth to herself, all before she dies on her 17th birthday. She also looks like this:
And then we have Rinne, who is scared of getting a tan and thinks she will die from a virus if she is exposed to the sun (but she lives on a tropical island with her backyard being a goddamn beach). The show very much hints that he will end up with Rinne in the end, but in a massive curveball he takes the 4th option and marries her mum in the last episode. (And that’s not just because Rinne’s mom has got it going on, unless by “it” you mean “paradoxical bullshit”. More on this in the Squick section, it’s a doozy.)
Seven Senses of the Re`Union - What do you get when you mix two dudes trying to date a dead virtual loli, the childhood friend whose entire character is defined by her unrequited love for the lead protagonist, and a yandere chick who turns on her friends due to a misunderstanding with the object of her affection (and totally gets forgiven for it afterwards)? Unfortunately, much like the show itself, we have no answers, or even a good punchline here. (And comparing it to Punch Line is just unfair.)
Loser-est: My Sister, My Writer - Following in the sticky, squelching footsteps of ‘greats’ such as Eromanga Sensei, OreImo and A Little Sister’s All You Need, the latest trashy imouto show My Sister, My Writer follows the very much biologically-related Nagami siblings and their increasingly disturbing relationship. Right from the very first episode, the show makes it clear that Suzuka undoubtedly wants to get a piece of her very much biologically-related brother’s “writing pen.” Both the show’s plot and the various, grossly enabling secondary characters proceed to put Suzuka and Yuu in nearly every ecchi imouto trope under the sun. Sunscreen on the beach, pretending to be lovers, bath time, shower time, “I can feel my soul leaving my body from watching this” time, no incestuous stone is left unturned.
Yuu’s slow realization that not only does he love little sisters, but he loves his little sister is framed as some grand character development when it really just made us want to pick up the phone and dial 911, a therapist, our mothers, really anyone who can help us work through having suffered this steaming pile of imouto feces. Suzuka on her own is a serviceable character, but falls into every trope in the imouto handbook, which makes sense considering she causes her older brother to fall in love with her, we guess. Incest is gross, incest is not wincest, and My Sister, My Writer stands as one of the worst in the putrid genre in which it resides.
And It turns out Suzuka and Yuu aren’t the only inscestuous pair in the show. Sakura, a member of his harem, has an older brother who really loves his little sister. She absolutely hates it… but still insists that she be allowed to call Yuu her “Onii-chan”.
Loser-er: Island - Look, everyone can enjoy a good romance and a harem is a nice guilty pleasure, but here at the Slaines we are obligated to mention:
DO NOT MIX TIME TRAVEL WITH A LOVE STORY AND/OR INCEST.
Holy fuck, we were not expecting the hard left turn from the first half of this mediocre piece of crap. The show starts out with our 20-something protagonist seducing the daughters of the island’s 3 major families, who they swear are all legal.
Fuck you, Island.
But even with the questionable ages of the female cast, the main girl our protagonist Setsuna seems to fall for is the hat-wearing Rinne - so much so that when she dies halfway through the series he decides to freeze himself to go to the future to save her life. And that’s where he meets the 100% definitely not of age Rinné (but not renamed) in a future post apocalypse. After Rinné helps him build a time machine to get back and save Rinne he decides to leave her with a ‘parting gift’.
But if you thought a 23 year old sleeping with a 13 year old was enough squick for one show, you’re in for something else when he gets back to the past (sort of). He immediately hits it off with all of the girls again, solving all their problems in record times, and gets ready to hook up with past Rinne… just before he realises that her mother is future Rinné and that he nearly just banged his own daughter.
Editor’s Note: We will not be fielding any questions on how any of that works vis-a-vis the timeline. Fuck time travel, fuck Setsuna, fuck Island.
Loser: UzaMaid! - We don’t understand how Kamoi walks freely under the light of the sun. She should be in a cell for multiple lifetimes. Misha first meets her when she’s climbed the utility pole outside Misha’s bedroom window, creepily leering at her. She actually did call the police. In a just and kind world, that would have been the end of it and we’d have a touching, heartwarming comedy about a little girl and her stepfather coming together as a family. Instead, she applies to be a maid at their house, the dad somehow accepts without at all listening to his daughter’s warnings, and despite multiple completely illegal acts that he sees firsthand, she is allowed to continue in that position.
There is actually a male pervert in one episode who gets arrested and taken away, presumably for a very long time, while Kamoi continues her rampage unchecked. The dude didn’t even actually do anything, unlike her; he just made creepy comments on Definitely Not Instagram asking little girls for “low-angle” shots. (It’s telling that that seems innocent compared to what Kamoi perpetrates EVERY SINGLE EPISODE.) Meanwhile, Kamoi gets to grope, strip, and generally harass a wide swath of little girls, and nobody with any power or responsibility so much as bats an eye.
Happy Sugar Life - You can say a lot about the relationships in Happy Sugar Life, but let us just preface this with the fact that the healthiest relationship in the entire show is the one between Satou and Shio. They have an absolutely wonderful home life with Satou working so hard to maintain their perfect life style. It’s honestly heartwarming… wait, which category are we in again?
Yeah, okay, that was bullshit. In reality, every single relationship between every named character in this show is fucked up beyond belief. Let’s start with Satou, whose emotional abuse from her aunt has left her a broken psychopath who will mentally destroy and/or murder anyone that gets in her way. Shio was abandoned by her mother in the middle of a city after she murdered the man who raped, abused, and forced her to marry him when she was only 16. Her brother, Asahi, was also physically abused by their father after Shio and his mother ran away. After his father is murdered, Asahi is left homeless and searches the streets endlessly for his lost sister in an attempt to fix his broken home. As a result of her abandonment and Satou’s paranoia, Shio is locked away in an apartment and not allowed to see the outside so that no one can find her and take her away from Satou.
And believe it or not, we’re only just getting started, because every character that comes into contact with Satou and Shio ends up going insane by the end of the show, or more so if they were already twisted to start with. Satou’s coworker Taiyo Mitsuboshi (See above) ends up getting raped by 2 women and becomes a paedophile. Satou’s teacher actively tries to sleep with her until she takes action to stop him (read: shows up in front of his wife and child and starts stripping). But then there’s Shoko, Satou’s best friend and the person who wants to help her the most. She tries her best to stay close to her and help her as best she can, but can’t seem to find out her secrets.
And when she finally does find out that Satou has been hiding a child in her home, she is brutally murdered and used as a prop for Satou and Shio faking their deaths. In the end, Satou discards her like an old used-up doll. And even after ALL of this, Satou and Shou do not get their happy ending, as Satou sacrifices her life for her one true love, leaving Shio to continue the cycle as the next broken little psychopath.
Banana Fish - This show never lets up on Ash, constantly letting us know that from the age of 7 the world has been fucking him in the arse figuratively and literally. He gets sold into sex slavery before he can even get to middle school, and Dino Golzine, the mafia boss that grooms him for close to a decade, likes to persistently remind Ash and the audience of that fact. You would think that Ash’s trousers contained a singularity that inevitably attracts every ugly rapist bastard in the city of New York directly to his asshole.
Alice or Alice - The fanservice of this show was probably not enough to get any attention, so they decided to spice it up a bit with loli twincest. Not only does the purposely-unnamed main protagonist have two adorable younger twin sisters who share a crush on him, but all the other girls they pick up on the way - on the street, in a café or even in a popup competitive café - call him “Onii-chan” to express their love. Also, in case the sisters perving on their brother wasn’t enough, it only took a single sip of sweet saké for one twin to turn on her sister and start fondling her breasts. All of Alice or Alice’s relationships are supposed to come off as entertaining and arousing, but instead read as off-putting, gross, and entirely unarousing, making this show a failure in every respect.
Conception - Though we mentioned how Mana tends to be the cause of the general squickiness of the various relationships of Conception, really every relationship in the show could fit into this category. A loli baker, Stockholm Syndrome girl (the one Itsuki and Mana kidnap and force to get impregnated), a girl who carries a coffin on her back because she thinks she’s dying, and that’s just the first three that immediately spring to mind. The show tries to present these relationships as funny, satirical, parodic, or any manner of self-aware in order to mask how ridiculous and uncomfortable they are; it fails because of how ridiculous and uncomfortable they are.
And once again: he fucks the raccoon. Add on Itsuki’s complete lack of personality or likeability, and Mana being present at every step of the way (whether we want her to or not, and we definitely do not), and Conception’s romances make us wish we were never conceived.
Sunohara-sou no Kanrinin-san - Aki Shiina is a cute boy with a feminine look. Terrorized by his older sister, he decides to switch schools so he can live far away from her. Upon arriving at his new dormitory, he’s again wrongly identified as a girl and forced to take a bath with Ayaka Sunohara - a caretaker in the dormitory. Even though she realizes her mistake, the bath continues. From there, it’s one sexual assault after another upon Aki. The other three
sex offenders inhabitants of the dormitory are: Yuzu Yukimoto, student council president at Aki’s school with a flat chest complex; vice president Sumire Yamanashi, who holds a burning passion for Yuzu, and lastly Yuri Kazami, another creep student council member who secretly takes pictures of Yuzu with various level of decency to sell to the drooling Sumire and forces Aki to crossdress just to bring up the “happy” memories of his older sister.
The Master of Ragnarok & Blesser of Einherjar - This show would have been bad enough as a trashy harem if it were just the fact that this timid civilian from Japan somehow made his way into multiple Norse warrior maidens’ pants rather than having his tripes ripped out and feasted upon for luck like what should have happened. But no, this show went beyond the usual harem bullshit, even more than just having the token thirsty lolis - every single woman in his harem calls him either ‘father’ or ‘brother’. It’s one big adoptive ‘incestuous’ orgy, and it’s a fucking disgrace.
Loser-est: Darling in the Franxx - Okay, so, first off you’re putting teens who have ostensibly grown up together in sexually charged situations, even if they don’t know anything about sex. Even if they didn’t know why, their bodies would be reacting. Or not as the case may be, given people who grow up together often don’t find each other attractive as sexual partners. If piloting is really about sexual chemistry, you’d do better raising them in mono-gendered isolation until they hit puberty, force-feeding them contraceptives and then locking them in the cockpits together before sending in a cleaning team of post-menopausal women in hazmat suits.
Anyway, these kids have been raised together for most of their lives, yet when one of them appears to become suddenly distant, none of the rest seem to notice. When another goes from a gentle and grateful (and possibly gay) boy to an ill-tempered, mean-spirited manlet, none of the rest seem to care. And let’s not forget the obviously depressed (and certainly gay) girl with the hots for the team leader - again, no-one notices or cares. This show was basically “Zero Two and those other wastes of space (and sometimes Goro)”. It’s difficult to really care about them because they don’t ever seem to care about each other. Hell, the introduction to our main hero is him being unfairly rejected and hated because of something outside his control, and when he seeks to do something about it, this only leads to more drama. Nobody ever said love is easy, but the way this sets up the interpersonal relationships, it’d make more sense if the show was like Evangelion and had the mechs powered by teenage angst.
Another massive failure of the show was the introduction of the non-traditional teams. With the focus on the difficulty of a lesbian forced into a heterosexual partnership being a plot element, you’d think the appearance of teams which reject that paradigm and yet successfully function would be something the show explored... but no. No solace for poor Ikuno, no deeper message about acceptance of different relationships. For a studio that took something as unremarkable as wearing clothes and built an examination and criticism of the restrictive demands of society exerted through fashion, vanity, and moral norms to try taking on something as profound as sexuality and say absolutely nothing - indeed arguably supporting a damaging status quo - is, franxxly, shocking.
Loser-er: Seven Senses of the Re`Union (Shichisei no Subaru) - Remember everything we said about Gamers! last year? Well, we don’t take it back, but holy hell, Seven Senses makes the cast dynamic of Gamers! almost palatable by comparison. Between main lead Haruto and the four-eyed asshole Takanori fighting over who gets to date the dead 5-year-old loli, to the utter Bechdel test failures of both Satsuki (whose entire existence is defined by her unrequited love for Haruto) and Nozomi (who goes full villain over seeing Takanori with another woman), none of these characters interact in anything approaching an enjoyable manner. It’s either a miracle or a plothole that the story moves forward in spite of them. Seriously, the whole Subaru guild are meant to be the best most unbeatable squad of players in the whole damn game (which includes permadeath) and they get beaten by the big raid boss in episode 1 and get their support (the aforementioned dead loli) killed in the process.
To add to this, the one character that isn’t terrible is the purple-haired ninja, who’s also the only reason the show’s plot ever moves forward. Buuuuut it’s revealed towards the end that she’s the 7th member of their guild… even though she never turns up in the flashbacks or anything and none of the other characters seem to know who the fuck she is. It’s almost like they wanted to cut her out of the show but couldn’t figure out a way to move the story along without her, and it’s janky as all hell.
Loser: Conception - So we’ve spent a lot of space in this Slaines shitting on the various relationships in Conception. None of Itsuki’s relationships with the various girls he “impregnates” are wholesome, natural, or even enjoyable. They all stem from situations that are either pervertedly contrived by Mana, stumbled into by Itsuki, or outright pandering to fetishes and tastes that the writers think will appeal to their perverted demographic. Nonetheless, there are other cast dynamics in Conception that are just as bad as the central relationships.
The children of Itsuki and whatever partner he happens to rope into “intercourse” run from annoying to non-existent. The show’s central conceit is Itsuki and a lover produce these “Star Children” to help our protagonist travel through the world’s central dungeon and defeat the encroaching evil. The problem is that the children are never given any development besides one key personality trait and various skills in battle. There is no sense of connection between them and either Itsuki or their mother, and no sense of connection between the children themselves besides dialogue clearly written to elicit “relationships” without any of the genuineness that relationships need. To top it off, the show spends more time with Itsuki as he “woos” and “charms” these women than on action, adventure, or any real payoff with the children. They are a leftover mechanic from the game of which the show expects the viewers to fill in the blanks. Frankly, we wish Itsuki had been shooting blanks instead (from… his hands…? Look, this show’s premise is FUCKING STUPID).
Moreover, the sparse male cast of Conception are either entirely unmemorable or infamous for all the wrong reasons. The key culprit of this is Narcisstes, a man who constantly flirts between wanting to battle Istuki and wanting to have jackhammer sex with him. The majority of an entire episode is devoted to him repeatedly verbally harassing and making overt sexual advances on Itsuki that slowly wear the protagonist down to the point that he might actually be gay? Which would, admittedly, be a neat twist on what the show had done until this point. Instead, Itsuki has “sex” with one of the Star Maidens by the end of the episode, and more importantly Narcisstes’ advances are entirely rapey and played off as jokes when they really shouldn’t be in 2018. It is okay to have naturally homosexual or queer characters in your works, and they don’t have to feel like filthy stereotypes. The other male characters in the show are entirely unmemorable and completely uninteresting, which says more than anything we could say.
You may have noticed most of our discussion of “cast dynamic” has been how characters interact with Itsuki. That’s because there are no significant relationship developments outside of Itsuki x whoeverthefuck, so there is little to say on this matter. Moreover, this leaves Conception feeling shallow in terms of having a web of relationships and interactions considering its large cast. Instead, they are all window dressings and objects for the male gaze and for Itsuki’s “sword.” The only dynamic thing about watching Conception is the range of negative reactions we had while watching.
My Sister, My Writer - No one in My Sister, My Writer feels like a real person. Yuu is a doormat MC on the verge of being so dull he’s braindead, Suzuka is the amalgamation of nearly every imouto cliche in one monstrous form, the secondary cast of girls fill in those imouto and light novel trends that Suzuka couldn’t embody, and Ahegao Double-Peace Sensei is… well, see the Worst Female section for our thoughts. Together, this ragtag group of insufferables combines to create some of the worst interactions and dialogues we’ve had the displeasure of watching in years. Between repeated instances of “mishaps” that usually end with someone on top of Yuu or Yuu on top of someone, dialogue loaded with much-too-obvious innuendos, or by-the-books dialogue ripped from an AI machine designed to write shitty light novels, My Sister, My Writer’s cast feel less like fleshed-out people than humanoid aliens whose only knowledge of humans came from imouto light novels. We would like to say that this dangerous concoction of awful would produce something enjoyable for how bad it is, but we can’t even go that far. They aren’t funny, they aren’t likeable, and they certainly aren’t worth your time or attention. Go watch OreImo or Eromanga-sensei. (Or, you know, watch something GOOD.) (Are we allowed to say that?) (No, we are not, but MSMW is so bad we’re willing to overlook it.)
Ulysses: Jeanne d’Arc and the Alchemist Knight - A good cast dynamic requires well-built relationships between characters you care about, and writers skillfully playing them off each other in a way that serves to both help the story and deepen characterization. Ulysses, believe it or not, doesn’t do any of that. To be fair, it’s hard to establish such a dynamic when your cast mostly consists of an herbivore dumbass and the fetish blow-up dolls that are inexplicably in love with him. Virtually every female character is motivated strictly by her ability to fawn over or otherwise service Montmorency, which might be more tolerable if he weren’t such a goddamned waste of space. Meanwhile, most male characters are either incompetent, a raging asshole, an incompetent raging asshole, or dressed as a girl for comedy’s sake. These are not the building blocks of a memorable cast; like everything else about this show, it’s a fetid, putrid pile of horseshit.
Last Period: The Journey to the End of the Despair - Even if you can get past the enemy goon squad of goobers, the main villainess being one of the party’s support crew, and the obnoxious Fourth Wall-chan, Last Period has several major casting mistakes. The primary squad of heroes absolutely cannot get their acts together; there’s a painful tsundere heroine that never goes dere, a musclehead with no character development, and a starry-eyed hero who never learns from his mistakes. But if that wasn’t enough for you, hoo boy, does this show have more awful people waiting! Every single village mayor is an exact copy of each other, being an obvious riff on the “we only made one sprite” joke that falls depressingly flat. They’re also all high-octane douchenozzles, hellbent on the exploitation, ignorance, and/or destruction of the towns that sustain them, in addition to constantly trying to rip off, entrap, or assassinate the “heroes,” both subtly and overtly.
But perhaps the creme-de-la-crap of this shitheap are the gacha summons. The main party is so useless and inept that they have to resort to summoning temporary allies from an incredibly obnoxious, out-of-place, ill-conceived, and often flat-out counterproductive traveling gacha wagon. Yes, really - there’s an itinerant rip-off artist in a fortune-teller’s wagon following them around, scamming them out of money they frequently haven’t even earned yet. Also, to add injury to insult, they almost always summon utterly useless wastes of space - characters that are not only worse in combat than the main party, but one-note to the degree of often being literal palette swaps. They then stick around to be annoying and pad out time by reacting rather than having anything interesting to say. It’s almost like they were trying to parody Golden Sun in addition to mobile gacha games, and it’s not at all a good look for the show.
Loser: Dances with the Dragons - To call what some people at a studio vomited out upon a keyboard and used for what could very loosely be called the plot of this show “writing” is an insult and affront to any and all literature and screenwriting ever done. If this series did have an actual script at some point, some poor overworked runner must’ve dropped it and turned it in with all the pages mixed up. The story is goddamn incomprehensible, even on multiple viewings (and God help you if you sat through this shit more than once). It’s never clear what’s happening or why, and when you get close to an explanation, we cut to a new scene with no attempt to transition. Every time a new episode starts, it feels like you must’ve skipped a week or two, because you’re missing context for what they’re talking about. Nope, you didn’t miss an episode, they just forgot to write parts of this one. Most of the dialogue feels like it was either written by a computer program, or by an 11 year old boy. Or perhaps a computer programmed to think like an 11 year old boy.
Rarely in its excruciating 12 episodes does Dances with Dragons make anything approaching sense. Even when you can determine what’s going on, you wish you hadn’t. Case in point: the scene shown below in that lovely gif. The show wants to give you the villain’s tragic backstory, which is an old chestnut where a rich kid gets kidnapped by an underground resistance movement, held prisoner, falls in love with the leaders daughter, watches her get raped by the country’s dictator, is forced on a death march during which said love interest kills herself, then, starving, he EATS HER. HE FUCKING EATS THE GIRL. FUCKING HELL.
You know, standard fare. It could be a decent explanation for villainy. But the flashbacks that show this lovely tale are interspersed randomly and with no transition or explanation over multiple episodes, so for all the viewer knows, this is some random sideline adventure involving cannibalism. This series is an incoherent hot mess. And nobody even dances with a dragon! What a ripoff. Don’t even try to watch this, we beg of you.
Ulysses: Jeanne d’Arc and the Alchemist Knight - We can picture the genesis of this show. The anime studio executive asks: “Hey, we need to adapt another shitty light novel IP. Anybody got anything insulting to the intelligence?” A studio underling answers: “Well, there is this Ulysses show. It turns Jeanne d’Arc into a magical loli who needs the constant help of a man to save France using superpowers she can only get by kissing him.” The executive suspiciously asks: “Wait, Jeanne d’Arc? Like, Joan of Arc, the French saint? The actually canonized saint people legit pray to for guidance?” The underling casually responds: “Yeah, her. Here she just wants to save France so she can get that alchemist D. Oh, and the Alchemist is actually Gilles de Rais, famous serial child murderer.” The executive exclaims: “Excellent! Are there stupid magical powers that never really make sense or follow their own rules?” The underling gleefully answers: “Boy, are there. That’s not even mentioning the helmet that possesses the MC’s childhood friend with the ghost of her dad, turning her into a berserker with incredible underboob on her costume.” “Fantastic,” the executive coos, rubbing his hands together dementedly, “how does it end?” “Well,” the underling concludes, “as fitting for a show set in the Hundred Years War, it ends with Sumerian gods and horrors from another dimension.” The executive nearly soils his pants in exultation: “GLORIOUS! Fast track this garbage immediately! And make damn sure every non-loli character is stacked! STACKED I SAY!”
This script was better written and had more realistic and distinct character voices than Ulysses itself. You’re welcome.
Seven Senses of the Re`Union (Shichisei no Subaru) - What do you get when you cross Sword Art Online with Anohana? Absolute garbage. Two male characters fight constantly over who gets to win the affections of the dead 5-year-old. Two women are defined entirely by the men they love. But the biggest writing failure occurs in the main mechanic of the game the characters are playing.
Death in Re’Union results in a person’s complete loss of access to the game. This is a great way to completely lose your playerbase, and would never actually work in reality. To make matters worse, this never becomes relevant. Nobody important ever dies, and although they had an opportunity to make it matter when the lead protagonist is about to die, they do some extradimensional timey wimey bullshit to bring him back to the moment before he got stabbed. A good show could theoretically have come out of Re’Union’s ideas, but this ain’t it chief.
The Master of Ragnarok & Blesser of Einherjar - What should have been an interesting setting devolves instantly into shitty wish-fulfillment. People with amazing track records and personalities undergo immediate and complete character assassination upon meeting the protagonist, turning into fawning, submissive shadows of their former selves when exposed to his kingly aura or what-the-fuck-ever bullshit he can suddenly flip on at a moment’s notice, but usually doesn’t because he’s still a typical herbivorous shitbag isekai protagonist. We’d love to have put this in Worst Adaptation, but the writing was just as big a pile of steaming garbage in all of these regards in the light novels.
Last Period: The Journey to the End of the Despair - Again and again and again, doing a terrible, tired cliche, then going “look at the cliche we just did! Isn’t it SO TERRIBLE when a show does that? Wink, wink, nudge nudge!” DOESN’T MAKE IT OKAY FOR YOU TO DO IT. Having a character whose entire existence is unexplained in-universe and exists solely to break the fourth wall is also a fucking terrible idea. A tip for budding writers: when writing satire, first make sure you understand satire.
Once again, there were 5 shows made in China in 2018. They’re all godawful. Aguu in particular would quite possibly have swept the entire list if we hadn’t quarantined the lot of them.
Aguu: Tensai Ningyou
Gin no Guardian 2
Hitori no Shita 2
Hu Li Zhi Sheng
Ling Qi 2
Studio DEEN is, for some incomprehensible reason, ‘helping’ some Chinese writers and studios create anime for Japanese broadcast. Personally, we think China should have slammed the metaphorical door in DEEN’s metaphorical face. Metaphorically.
5) Island - In the above picture: we, the viewers and Animasochists are the girl, fallen on top of this adult mans genitals, and Island is the man, relentlessly shoving its junk into our face. And really, that’s all we need to say.
But we’ll say more, of course! This one had it all, folks. Time travel incest? Check. A rushed and botched adaptation of a beloved source material? Check. An insufferable MC with few, if any, redeeming factors? Check. Island ticks nearly every box of what makes a crappy anime, and yet somehow it was only the fifth-worst show we watched this year. We’ve expounded on many aspects of Island throughout these awards, so let’s just recap some highlights. Setsuna travels through time to try and bang his future daughter, but is actually in love with her mother. Setsuna also has to fend off a loli miko who turns into a big tiddy onee-san miko and a tsundere high schooler with mommy problems. Along the way, we are treated to situations and conclusions that make no sense without context. It’s almost as if adapting a 40+-hour visual novel into a 12-episode anime was a bad idea.
Studio feel has a rocky track record, producing such highs as My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO, Tsukigakirei, and, well, Island. Even the serviceable and sometimes striking visuals could not save this show from being an utter, timeline-defying dumpster fire. Island has no redeeming qualities. We don’t even recommend turning off your brain and watching it for fun - you won’t find any here. Watch Steins;Gate or Clannad instead to get your VN-to-anime fix. Let’s let Island drift out to sea, never to return, lost to the world as it deserves.
4) Seven Senses of the Re`Union - Oh ye Gods, this show. While Re’Union didn’t quite make it into every Slaine category, it was a definite contender for nearly all of them. Unfortunately, there were enough shows for some categories that Re’Union didn’t quite make the cut. Some of us hated it so much we would have been glad to give it our version of the old “My Hero Academia at the Crunchyroll Anime Awards” treatment, but that was just not to be.
That said, boy what a shitshow this was. A cast that for the life of them just could not get along, fighting over who gets to date the dead loli, girls whose entire existence is defined by their unrequited love, a protagonist who absolutely refused to die by the power of alternate dimensions and time travelling bullshit, the list goes on. Not even the game they’re playing makes any sense. Re’Union has permadeath - that is, if a player dies in the game, their account is deleted and they will be unable to create another account. They die, and that’s it, they’re done. Not only would no game that does this ever be able to maintain a large enough user base to be profitable, but it never has any impact on the plot. Ever. They could have went somewhere with this, and almost did, but backed out of killing off the main character’s virtual avatar at the last second.
And to add to this, the game narrows its potential player base even more by only allowing people with special powers to play - so Re’Union is very exclusive, features permadeath and the developers have faked the death of a prepubescent girl just to abduct her for the aforementioned special power.
3) Ulysses: Jeanne d’Arc and the Alchemist Knight - It’s a show with a stupid and possibly blasphemous premise, hideous writing, stupid characters, blatant fanservice, and a non-sequitur ending. Any other year, this anime equivalent of explosive diarrhea would’ve taken Worst Show by a wide margin. But hey, no rapes, so it only places third. Did I mention the protagonist “has to” stick his tongue in the mouth of a 12/13 year old girl to power her up? A girl who the creators decided should dress like this?
And no, that isn’t skin toned, that’s literally just two pieces of fabric that barely cover her torso. This is probably the worst thing that anyone has ever done to Jeanne d’Arc, and that’s including the British burning her at the stake. Dear God, what a year.
2) My Sister, My Writer - This show takes all the little sister anime tropes to its logical extreme and tries to parody and self-reference them, while failing miserably to be at all funny or entertaining. Every single character is awful, the animation fell off model before the first episode ended, and even when the Blurays that were released later tried to fix the animation fuckups with the power of hindsight, it still looked like garbage made back in 2003. We didn’t edit that picture; half of that episode was animated sideways. What a shitshow.
P.S. The two OVAs released with the Bluray featured Ahegao W Peace getting some new VR technology. In the first, she isekais the cast into a game where the protagonist has to do what the girls say, mostly so they can all attempt to rape him without consequence. In the second, she sends him into a Saw/Die Hard parody where he has to bring his little sister to orgasm to disarm the traps. These OVAs aren’t even factored into the decisions behind placement in the Slaines, we just wanted to bring them up because they’re so damn awful. FUCK YOU, MSMW.
Lightning Round #4: We’re totally cheating this year. There are three shows that richly deserve the bottom spot, and trying to argue which was actually the bottom threatened to turn our usual discussions into a brawl. So we compromised: ALL THREE of these shows are, collectively, THE WORST SHOW OF 2018. For the sake of what little fairness remains, we are presenting them in alphabetical order.
1a) Conception - We have dedicated a lot of words to how much of an utter shit pile Conception is. Its premise probably could have worked if it had been adapted the right way - and we’re not saying Conception could never ever have been good, BUT WHY DIDN’T YOU ADAPT THE BETTER RECEIVED SECOND GAME?!
The first game was a piece of shit so bad it never even got a western release, even after the second game was released and mostly praised! Who the fuck was this anime even for? Its attempts at humour never landed. It was too vile and raunchy for the average anime viewer, but simultaneously too flaccid to please any fans of ecchi. It was too ugly for fans of animation, and anyone who wanted to have even one character to get attached to were met with placeholders from scrapped JPRGs. And then on top of all of this, they gutted most of the potential “action” scenes (and have the fucking balls to tell you to go to the website to find out more) to put focus on him stumbling in to each of the girls’ beds for the majority of each episode. When we got to the ending and the show had to remember to take down the final boss, all of the mechanics we presume were in the game had to be shoe-horned in the most ass-backwards way imaginable.
You could have made this a hentai, but then it would have had even more issues because of the fact that the girls are effectively blackmailed into having sex with a plank of wood to save the world. There’s no way we can think of spinning this positively, and there’s definitely better ideas than Conception that you could probably do a much better story with. (We don’t even review hentai here, but if had been one, we could have avoided watching it in the first place.)
But the absolute worst of all, with all the things this ceasepool did terribly, is that not only did he fuck the raccoon… THE RACCOON IS THE ONLY CHARACTER HE ACTUALLY FUCKS.
1b) Doreiku the Animation - We mentioned this before, but let us reiterate: Anime Was A Mistake. If you are outraged by Goblin Slayer, Sword Art Online: Alicization, or The Rising of the Shield Hero, we would like to wholeheartedly discourage you from watching Doreiku, as themes like slavery and full-fledged rape are the bread and butter of this show. The first rape scene is nine minutes into the first episode, and the show goes downhill from there. Welcome to the world where SCM (Slave Control Method) exists! It brings out the absolute worst character traits humanity has to offer. It tests what the human stomach can bear - unabashed slavery, brutal rape, tying women’s hands in barbed wire, chaining people up, and forcing slaves to swallow sharp objects. Even niche interests like gun nuts get their share of awful shit, thanks to the airsoft shooting range of running slaves, all stripped to their underwear. This show doesn’t think twice about using themes like prostitution or violence toward women to set up a scene, just to top it off with something even more horrible. Not only should the studio involved have hell to pay for this atrocity, but the beating they receive should echo back not just through three generations of their families but throughout the entire history of art itself, all the way back to that first cave-douche who thought it would be a good idea to take a piece of coal and draw pictographs on cave walls. Fuck Doreiku.
1c) UzaMaid! - HOW DARE YOU. We screamed at this show in impotent rage as it assailed our senses and sensibilities.
HOW DARE YOU. We wailed powerlessly into the night as Kamoi set up hidden cameras, assaulted young girls out on the street, and made an innocent maiden’s life a living hell.
HOW DARE YOU. We lamented her fate, and that of our own for suffering through this godawful shitshow.
HOW DARE YOU. We screeched in utter bafflement as it made a mockery of decency and all that is good in the world.
HOW DARE YOU. We wept, huddled in a ball, shivering in the cold, dark emptiness of life, as the show spun everything that had happened as a happy ending.
HOW DARE YOU. We furiously typed scathing summaries of the horrors we’d glimpsed, a mere fraction of the pain we’d experienced being transferred to the page, because nobody should even know what this show is like.
HOW DARE YOU. We wished, a futile hope, that this show could be unmade after the fact.
HOW DARE YOU. We fell into a fitful nightmare, haunted by the fact that it receives some positive reviews, and that the studio responsible for its conception lives.
HOW DARE YOU. We live the rest of our days in abject terror, dreading the possibility that someday, somehow, this horrific blight upon anime might receive a sequel.
But that’s a horror story for another day. Just be glad you didn’t watch any of… okay, be glad you didn’t watch all of these shows, to suffer as we did. ...You didn’t right? RIGHT?!
By the way, we’ve got something extra special for you this year. In addition to all the normal ways this year was shit, it just so happened to have so many shows feature rape, that we had to step back and count them. We sat through a grand total of 7 shows featuring rape, either on-screen or described, over the course of the year. (It feels like more, somehow, having written it. Maybe it’s the density of rapes per show that makes it feel so much worse?) It’s little wonder we’re worn out by the end of this.
BUT FEAR NOT,
For like bile rising from the pit of your stomach as you realize all is lost,
Like your blood pressure rising as anime proves itself a mistake again and again and again,
Like a massive ice phoenix made of the frozen tears of anime fans worldwide,
The Slaines will rise again next year!
—Love, The Animasochists