Seriously think about that question too.
So I was reading this AV Club article the other day regarding good shows that you never want to revisit, and it got me thinking about the modifications to my favorite anime list that I made this year (aka I took an axe to the goddamn thing). Now I’ve been using that whole “only put in anime you want to rewatch” rule for about two years now, but I’ve just recently been getting a lot more strict with it. After all, if you have too many favorites, then the definition of the word becomes tarnished. Plus, when you get down to it, I really don’t want to rewatch stuff like Rage of Bahamut or Patlabor 2 in the near future, even though I still like them (and for some reason, own them).
It’s something I don’t think people keep in mind when making lists regarding what their favorite anime actually are. I’ve actually seen separate forum discussions regarding what anime are truly the best and what anime they’re most likely to rewatch, and all I can say in response is “why are you making those two topics mutually exclusive?”. This isn’t rocket science or anything. If you like something, you’d want to see it again. Tastes change over time, and what was special then is probably not special now. It’s a natural part of the human condition, and anyone tries to deny it is just being stubborn. And honestly, I have no problem with it after experiencing bitter disappointment at revisits over a thousand times since starting this blog.
Since I don’t have the time to do that Twelve Days of Anime thing this year, along with this being a topic I’ve wanted to talk about for a while but never had the chance to do so, this is going to be my compromise: a list of twelve anime I loved in the past, but never want to revisit. There’s obviously a lot more than just these (even with some of them being more categories than actual shows), but they’re the ones that I think best represent my feelings on “man I liked this in the past, but it’s best left in the past”. To all those who are afraid if Gundam Seed or Saikano doesn’t hold up by today’s standards, you’d be hard-pressed to match the awkward position that my picks for what doesn’t hold up puts me in.
So with all that said, let’s get started, and feel free to come clean with your own picks after reading this thing in either the comments section or your own post in general.
12. Code Geass
I’m not gonna lie to you guys: this anime was college for me. Ever since a friend of mine introduced me to the show on Adult Swim, I got to acquiring the DVDs and watched it over and over again. At the time, I wasn’t really used to anime’s craziness and my standards had been set so low by the dozens of shitty harem/romantic comedy anime I indulged in as a kid, along with hating every mecha-related thing I got a glimpse of (maybe you had to grow up with Transformers to get the appeal of giant robots) so when this show with a smart protagonist with a magic eye got introduced to me, I was really blown away. And the fact that it had limitations just made the challenges Lelouch faced even cooler.
The reasons why I don’t like this anymore have been said plenty of times before, but just in case, let’s go over it again. I no longer like anime-isms. Not that I’m against their usage, but Geass (and Sunrise in general, especially lately) takes it way too far to the point of jarring tonal shifts, like that episode where Arthur steals Zero’s helmet, which I always thought was stupid and boring even back then. I wasn’t really big into how the Geass power stuff ended up getting sidelined over time, nor did I like where they ended up going with it. But the other reason I don’t get into Geass anymore is because the story is very padded and very messy. The second season in general was just rehashing the first season until Shirley died, and even before that Lelouch of the Revival thing was announced, that ending was pure bullshit. I’m supposed to sympathize with Lelouch’s goal to take all the hatred into him and release it with his death? Uh, no. There are so many holes in that plan to begin with, plus it doesn’t change the fact that Lelouch basically slaughtered millions of innocents even before becoming Emperor and how am I supposed to sympathize with that?
But hey, that’s just the second season, right? What about the first season? Don’t you usually not care about whether the sequel is good as long as the first season is amazing? Well, the first season still has good moments (the Battle of Narita, the finale where Lelouch and Suzaku confront each other), but man the number episodes in-between them are just too many and too boring to me now, kinda like one of those Netflix shows that order too many episodes for the premise they’ve been set with. Plus, I’m just over that sort of story now. I mean if you were to ask me to choose between the stupidity in Geass or the stupidity in Guilty Crown, I’m obviously going to choose the latter. The one with no self-awareness regarding its idiocy whatsoever. Because in anime, self-awareness is equivalent to cancer.
I dunno, am I the only one who thinks this show has aged really poorly over time? I mean yes, even to this day, a lot of anime fans seem to follow that inherently flawed mindset that as long as what’s up ahead looks interesting, they can excuse any kind of crap thrown in front of them as long as it’s not atrocious. That was the main reason why I loved this show too. All this alchemy/immortal gangster/it’s so cool stuff looked like it was going somewhere interesting, so I marathoned the entire thing in a day and…it didn’t really do that. Just a load of low attention span pandering and whatnot. But hey, I was a very unexperienced kid at the time, having never watched a Guy Ritchie movie in his life. As such, I just ate up all the unique coolness like it was no tomorrow.
But yeah, now that I’ve got loads of experience underneath my belt regarding exploitation, gangsters, anime, and how to handle huge casts of character in general, Baccano! is pretty lame by comparison. None of the characters have any personal flaws or really anything interesting to them other than being badass with the occasional token tragic past, and the whole time-jumping mechanic is more of a glorified padding mechanism rather than a successful way to tell three stories (of which only one is actually exciting) at the same time. It still astonishes me how many people want a sequel to Baccano given how horribly Durarara turned out when it returned, along with the later light novels just being complete shit in general. No seriously. Read what happens in the later volumes and groan at how convoluted and anticlimactic everything comes off as. Light novel writing at its finest, people.
10. Anything Gen Urobuchi-related
I don’t have a problem with Urobuchi or anything, but I really don’t like how ever since he became big, people started to pay more attention to anime writers – as in, they only watch an anime because he’s writing it. It’s a terrible practice because it means you’re going to judge the show more for who made it over what it actually is, and even if you don’t, you’re still going to hold them to impossible standards whilst ignoring other writers who may actually be turning out something good in their once-in-a-blue-moon phase. Also, I don’t like how people only paid attention to Thunderbolt Fantasy because it was written by Urobuchi – and before any of you guys say it was because it was made available on Crunchyroll’s anime selection, how many of you guys actually watched that thing without knowing it was him who made it? I personally didn’t even know it existed until someone told me.
But back to Urobuchi’s actual anime like Madoka and Psycho-Pass (aka the only anime he’s written that people still consider to be good), Madoka is very simple: I don’t like magical girls, I don’t care for the mental torture of magical girls, and blablabla. Psycho-Pass, I still like the show and all, but I’d rather watch a live-action crime drama like Hannibal or The Wire or something to that effect these days. It doesn’t do anything all that special animation-wise, and a lot has already been said about its unsubtle themes and all that stuff, so I won’t go into too much detail about it.
As for his other anime…well they fucking suck. I don’t care about Thunderbolt Fantasy. I don’t care about Expelled from Paradise. I don’t regret not watching Aldnoah Zero. I just really don’t care about the guy one way or the other. He’s there. He exists. Next anime.
9. Fullmetal Alchemist
While Code Geass (and Clannad) were my go-to anime during college, Fullmetal Alchemist was my go-to anime during high school. My brother and I would watch this show all the time, enjoying all the creativity regarding alchemy that was new to our young minds. However, I lost interest in ever rewatching the original around college, and while that love would soon be reinvigorated when we ended up marathoning Brotherhood together as it was getting released in the States, I never wanted to rewatch the show after finishing it (unlike my brother, although he doesn’t watch it or anime in general anymore either). Part of the problem is that both anime adaptations are slow to start. Not on the level of something like that recent Ushio & Tora adaptation, but it really does take a while for them to get to all that exciting stuff that Fullmetal Alchemist is actually known for whether it be the harsh outlook on war or the immigration issues. On top of that, the humor was never funny. I’ve never laughed at anything Hiromu Arakawa has ever been involved in, and if I did, it was because the English voice actors (because I’ve never watched FMA in Japanese) were saying the lines so hilariously.
But I think the main reason why I could never summon up interest to ever rewatch Fullmetal Alchemist is the same reason why I never really got into something like The Last Airbender cartoon: because I just don’t do those sort of long epic shonen-esque tales. Don’t get me wrong: they’re pretty good. However, a lot of what makes them so good is the momentum combined with their unpredictability, and once you know what’s going to happen, while there is a lot to come back to, I don’t want to watch that many episodes to do so in the process. It’s kind of hard to explain in words, but the bottom-line is that I’d rather just leave FMA and other similar shows I’ve enjoyed previously in the past.
8. Casshern Sins
And while we’re at it, why don’t we throw in Number 7 as well?
7. Infinite Ryvius
Now both these shows, I have a bit of a hard time describing why I don’t ever want to watch ’em again because it’s been so long that I can’t remember what it felt like to watch either Casshern or Ryvius in the first place. Both shows are slow burns, that much can’t be denied. Casshern is very repetitively episodic in its first half (and for some reason, it wasn’t nearly as well-received when it aired on Adult Swim as fucking Deadman Wonderland) and Ryvius is basically an anime version of a Netflix miniseries. It’s also true that I don’t care much for the sci-fi genre to begin with, which both series are definitely part of. However, the real killer for me is that whenever I think about the stories that these two shows convey, I just can’t think of anything all that special about them. And if a show isn’t special, why revisit it?
I’ll start with Casshern first. Casshern Sins is basically a story about technology with a post-apocalyptic bent. Robots have basically become as fragile as humans in this world, and part of the appeal in addition to the show’s unique visual style is the mystery regarding what the fuck actually happened. As I’ve said before, mysteries lose all appeal the instant you know the mystery, and thus you need to have a story that keeps the mystery as the setting rather than the focus, or have a lot more to the mystery than the actual mystery in order to stay intriguing in the long run. Unfortunately, while what Casshern adds to alleviate that problem is good, I don’t think it’s good enough to be anymore than decent at best. There are a lot of other products out there that deal with technology that I find more intriguing (Kaiba for instance), Casshern’s angst gets a bit old after a while, and overall it’s just a well-executed product that doesn’t really shine any higher than that.
As for Ryvius…it’s basically Lord of the Flies with all the technology stuff being in the background for some serious psychological issues akin to something like Bokurano and whatnot (which is also in the “I don’t need to see it again” camp). I’ve got to be honest, I’m not a big Lord of the Flies fan in general. Don’t really care about the whole loss of innocence/socio-political/child psychology stuff the way most people seem to. It’s well-executed here and it makes sure that every characters get its time in the sun and all that, but I don’t think that’s enough for me to rewatch it. I like stories to have more of a unique identity in addition to being executed well, like how Danganronpa marries anime tropes with this same sort of psychological storytelling in order to create a product that’s overall messier and doesn’t always treat its topics with respect, but in exchange it gives me something I didn’t know I wanted and can’t really get anywhere else. It’s pretty much the same reason why the Persona games improved and broke out in popularity starting with 3. The earlier installments may have been more mature, but the tradeoff when these later installments came about was more than worth it.
So yeah, the big takeaway is that I don’t care about what Ryvius or Casshern Sins accomplishes the way most people do. I can get into it. I just don’t love it. I don’t think the execution is enough to make it special and I don’t find the anime flavor it gives in regards to character tropes and visuals to be all that engaging either. It’s just one of those difference in opinion things that doesn’t work out in my favor.
6. Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo
Let me ask you guys something: would you rather watch this anime or would you rather read the original book? I’m just asking hypothetically, because I haven’t actually read the book yet, but I do know it focuses on the actual Count and his psychological issues and such. Albert is fine as a protagonist in this show, but he doesn’t really go through much of an arc beyond having his values and beliefs crumble around him through the Count’s revenge – which we don’t get too much of an insight of until the last third or so. And that pretty much sums up why I don’t want to Gankutsuou ever again: because it feels like the unique anime flavor given to the original story from the whole futuristic aesthetic to the visual style to the involvement of the supernatural just takes away from the bite without replacing it with something else. If you’re going to go anime with this sort of subject matter, I want it to be used as more than just a way to ease the audience into your story, along with having a goddamn mecha fight for no reason at all. I want the actual story to actually examine its anime-ism in a post-modern way or lend itself to the original tale in a way that breathes all new life into it like Julie Taymor’s movie adaptation of Titus – which admittedly is hard given how Monte Cristo is considered one of the greatest novels around.
As it is though, Gankutsuou is fun, but yeah it’s not exactly the movie version of Titus, it’s not exactly the 1996 version of Hamlet, and it doesn’t really use its anime nature for anything more than being an aesthetic to make fun of like what Aoi Bungaku did for its stories (and even then, that anime could have stood to be a little more faithful). Without the changes actually giving a unique flavor that adds to the story, all you’re left with is just a very basic tale with good characters and twists you could see coming a mile away.
I did read the manga before I watched this anime, which sort of ruined it for me, but that’s not the reason why I don’t want to watch Monster again. I don’t want to watch it again because, once again, it’s far longer than it has to be. A good chunk of the characters aren’t really necessary, and while that was more acceptable to my younger self, my older self prefers some tighter writing. And would rather just watch Hannibal again, even though it’s slightly longer despite being cancelled too soon. Not really much to say about this one since alot of people have already gone over why they don’t hold Monster in such high esteem anymore for similar reasons. Feel sorry for the people who wanted to own the entire series though, especially given how all the dubbing was finished.
4. ANY Anime Comedy With The Exception of Great Teacher Onizuka
I don’t like anime humor. I did not grow up with anime humor besides Takahashi stuff, which no longer appeals to me. I grew up laughing at the dubs of certain anime and I enjoy the humor in anime games (moreso when they’re dubbed), but that’s not the same thing. I mean when you get down to it, even a good chunk of Great Teacher Onizuka only works because of its laughably camp English dub. But that’s not the only reason why I don’t like anime comedies. To tell you the truth, I don’t like over-the-top comedies in general, particularly the highly self-aware ones. Arrested Development, Zombieland, Superjail, Metallica, Venture Brothers, Archer, Edgar Wright films, a good chunk of the Zucker Brothers/Jim Abrahms stuff…I just don’t like how they’re clearly in on the joke to the point that there’s no contrast in the humor. And when there’s no contrast between what’s expected to what’s actually happening, I find it very difficult to laugh at something.
Basically, I like humor where the stupidest shit is taken completely seriously. It doesn’t have to be like Guilty Crown or anything, but even stuff like National Lampoon’s Vacation and Kung Fu Hustle had their characters treat the stupidity like it was natural despite being obviously light-hearted in tone. And if you’re going to do self-aware humor, it has to be a setup for some other joke – not the joke. Most comedies these days, and especially anime ones, just do that stupid “make something weird happen and then yell that it’s happening”, which just makes me want to slap the writer in the face.
Also, sexual harassment is not funny. Over-exaggerated faces are not funny. And don’t even get me started on jokes that only an anime nerd would understand. Anime is just a fucking hobby for me. It’s not some exclusive club where I gain certain rights upon reaching a level of weeb-ness.
3. Kino’s Journey
While good for a light novel, let’s be honest: the philosophy in Kino’s Journey is not that great compared to real novels or other philosophical anime in general. A lot of it mostly relies on the idea and the twists to carry it, it’s not that adventurous a series, and you’re mostly just watching this girl and her talking motorcycle observe a country’s philosophy, how fucked up it is, and then leave like it’s nobody’s business with a few twists here and there. It’s basically the difference between the mildly interesting episodic storytelling in Samurai Champloo and the “way more interesting, if flawed at points” episodic storytelling in Cowboy Bebop. Also by god, does this thing succumb to its light novel nature as time goes on. First the sequels were shit. Then what I read of what happens later in the original novels were laughable.
Like all light novel “classics”, I’m not denying its impact, but we should probably leave it behind forever. It’s fine as an entry point, but when you grow older and you desire higher quality storytelling, you definitely wouldn’t find Kino’s Journey to be all that satisfying. I certainly don’t anymore, plus I could never watch that show without the dub for reasons I’m still not quite sure on. It’s okay. I like it fine. But I think I’d get more engaging philosophy out of Kill la Kill than I would Kino.
While most anime fans have at least heard of Genshiken, this new generation has mostly treated it as a relic of its time that they’ve never actually seen. And to be honest, I can’t really blame them too much, because Genshiken has not aged well over the years. I mean the animation was always horrible and the sequels were pretty eh, but comparing the otaku crowd now to how they were back then, it’s pretty clear to see why today’s folks can’t seem to relate to it.
But that’s just regarding them. The main reason I don’t want to watch Genshiken ever again is because slice-of-life no longer appeals to me as a method of storytelling the way it did back when I was in love with stuff like Kiki’s Delivery Service. And Genshiken is very slice-of-life-y, only having drama when it was necessary. It’s still of good quality when it focuses on Saki and the actual otaku culture and all that, but these days I like my fiction to have more of an edge than just what Saki represents. Pretty self-explanatory reason. Still prefer it to the recent well-received slice-of-life crop, but for me and the characters themselves, Genshiken ended when I left college.
1. Samurai Flamenco
I’m going to make a statement that I’m sure is controversial for both fans and haters of this show alike: this show isn’t so special these days, and you guys who are pushing its unique nature are trying way too hard to get it recognized. Hell, it wasn’t until the last third or so of this show when it really got special to begin with regarding its “realistic” superhero-storytelling, mostly being a bunch of good ideas that aren’t quite as executed as well as they could have been before then. The animation is garbage, the tale of a guy wanting to be a hero only for said tale to become real isn’t anything new, it has pacing problems, and the things it has to say regarding what it means to be a hero (ex. Concrete Revolutio) has evolved even further since its release to the point that it can’t quite match up.
Is the writing still good? Sure, but that doesn’t automatically make it exciting to watch. Ever since finishing this show, I haven’t been motivated to rewatch a single episode once despite it being on Netflix, and I don’t think I ever will. It’s a decent entry in today’s superhero boom, especially given the large number of cut-and-paste stories surrounding it, but that’s all it is. If anything, I’d rather watch Tiger & Bunny again than watch Flamenco. As such, I can’t think of a better anime to represent the number one spot on the list of anime I loved, but never want to revisit than the underground hit of 2014.
So how about it guys? What are some anime that you remember liking, but don’t want to revisit?
- Runner-ups for this list are Samurai Champloo, Space Dandy, Macross DYRL, The Big O, and Garo: The Carved Seal of Flames.
- Anime I wouldn’t mind rewatching but would no longer go out of my way to see include: Kill la Kill, Satoshi Kon anime, FMP Fumoffu, Sound Euphonium, any of the Danganronpa shows, and most of Studio Ghibli’s output.
- I’m unsure if Jojo is an anime I used to love but don’t want to rewatch, or a show that I only enjoyed because everyone else was doing so back when it first came out.
- And of course I get the actual day that this Twelve Days of Anime thing starts wrong and schedule this post a day earlier than I should have.