Before the best comes the worst! 2014 was full of crap. Home to such wonders as Shirobako which promises (and advertises itself) to be a realistic depiction of the anime industry but instead ended up being a neat idea at attracting new employees to the industry with loads of factually wrong bullshit and mass amounts of cute girls (also factually wrong bullshit). Hell, even the ‘hardships’ the characters face in it are totally made up or, the few that are realistic, are shown in an incorrect half-true sort of fashion. I might not work in the industry but I clearly know more about how it works than anyone who worked on the writing for this shit, and that’s sad.
Anyway, a shit list would be one thing – but I decided to go with a “top disappointments” list this time around, though keep in mind some of these are ALSO total trash and would likely top a shit list anyway. There were quite a few shows I was looking forward to that ended up not only being awful, but also left me feeling just complete and utter disappointment in the series, the staff, and in the end the fans as well for acting like these things were any good. These are the five that had the biggest disparity between what I expected and what I actually ended up getting, and really the more I think about it a few of them also ended up essentially being the shittiest shows the year had to offer.
5. Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de aru (Ending)
I’m actually focusing heavily on this aspect of the show in my review for it which will be up in the near future, so I’ll try not to waste too much time going on about this. Anyway, YuYuYu was a fantastic show from start to the finish…of the penultimate episode. The ending of this series is disappointing and terrible both in my personal view as well as objectively, and we all know people like using that word wrong – but it’s true. On a technical level, on a writing level, on a basic rules of fiction level, on a consistency level, on every level this show fucked up horribly in the final episode. After 11 episodes and a fucking prequel developing everything very blatantly and only capable of going a certain direction to a certain end and foreshadowing everything going in that same direction to that same end – it all gets tossed out the window in the first 45 seconds of the final episode after the OP and continues to plummet into totally fucking stupid from there.
I really can’t say much without spoiling a lot of things about the show, but I can say that there’s really – in the end – nothing actually to spoil, and that’s kind of the problem. The show goes right back to how it started with absolutely no progress because of a deus ex machina and because the girls and events in the final episode are all twisted in such an out of character and inconsistent way that absolutely nothing is changed. The main plot was never concluded because the entire main cast turned into selfish pieces of shit, the character stories were filled with asspulls especially one POINTLESS one in the final episode that lasted about 6 minutes and was ‘fixed’ in that same time frame after making huge drama over it thanks to ‘tears’ magically fixing it, even the direction and pacing and so many things about that final ep were awful and inconsistent and just plain fucking shit and well, no, I really can’t say more outside of that (obviously not spoiler-free) review that will be up later. It seems to me like the writer got forced into making all this shit up at the last second (explaining all the inconsistent writing, out of character characters, and the plot having no closure whatsoever) because the higher-ups or director realized his ending would have made it impossible to milk the series.
This was a show I was going to give a 10 and was so fucking excited to see the new episode each week, it was so fucking good and never did anything but get better and better. That’s why that horrible shit non-ending is one of the biggest disappointments of the year for me and anyone else who watched this and isn’t fucking retarded.
4. Space Brothers (Ending)
Just like the above, this is only the ENDING that was disappointing, the rest of Space Bros was really good for the most part. It had plenty of problems but it was still worth watching and overall a pretty good, unique, and even quite touching show, but the ending was fucking terrible and defeated the entire point of the show existing. Just like YuYuYu, there simply was no ending, but that’s not the main issue. A show called Space Brothers, promising the viewer that at some point these two will go to space together. A show about two brothers working for JAXA (Japan’s version of NASA), one already an astronaut who even makes it to the moon in the show, and the other trying to work his way up so they can both go on a mission together. Everything in this show is about achieving the title – having the brothers go to space together, even showing us this story through their entire life – not just as adults but how they got and chased this dream as children. Even higher-ups and others working for a spot in the difficult space program try to help get them in space together throughout. The ENTIRE POINT of the show is to make that happen. It doesn’t. Not only that, but the one brother never leaves Earth’s atmosphere whatsoever. Along with that, the romance sub-stories for both brothers never went anywhere, even at the end we were given no implication or hint of any progress.
This was a really fun, unique, and very interesting show aside the massive amount of recap (especially later on when eps would start having 5+ minute recaps every single episode) and some shit that was irrelevant to the plot making it incredibly boring at times, but overall it was an 8 or 9 – sometimes even bordering a 10. But that entire ending just made all 99 episodes, yes, NINETY NINE episodes, completely fucking pointless and just pure wasted time. We got to see these brothers and other characters go through so fucking much and develop so realistically and then it’s all thrown away out of nowhere. This wasn’t just a disappointment, but was genuinely pretty sad.
The only thing worse than the ending was the fans “defending” it by saying there was going to be a continuation and claiming this was a fact, yet nothing anywhere official implied this on any level – and here we are pretty far later on still with absolutely no rumors or hints or implications of any continuation. A bunch of delusional fans who pretended the ending wasn’t bad because of some imagined-up “promised continuation” that never was planned at any point. Now, it could happen someday, but in no way has it been mentioned by anyone involved.
3. Atelier Escha & Logy
This is something I had a bad feeling about once it was announced, but I was still very excited to watch. When it got announced, I was mostly bothered by the fact it was starting in the middle of the only trilogy in modern Atelier to have a serious story without any explanation of the prior game’s very important and relevant plot. Aside that, I figured the worst that could happen is an influx of new and incredibly obnoxious fans (to the already obnoxious and unbearable vocal fanbase that somehow attaches it to anything good) and the show might be kind of sub-par but at least fun to watch, what with me being a MASSIVE Atelier fanboy and all. I was hoping for far too much, apparently, as this series fails horribly both as an adaptation and as an anime in general.
The art is, without any exaggeration, identical to low-budget hentai in the nineties, with animation that is arguably even worse. That really isn’t all that surprising given how much fanservice they tried forcing in out of nowhere, maybe they were planning on just making it porn. It is unbelievably terrible looking as an anime in general, let alone one that released in 2014. On top of that the character designs were butchered, with half the cast barely resembling themselves and the rest having breasts at least 3 sizes larger (most notably Escha). This is one of the worst looking legitimate anime series that I’ve ever seen and I’m not even remotely cherrypicking, I wish I was though.
The writing is also surprisingly terrible, which makes no sense given the game has so much side content and a good story to adapt . Yet instead of using any of that they opted to make most of the series up and ditch the majority of the original material. Apparently whatever they could pull out of their asses was better than any content in the actual game, or so they believed. I’d understand maybe embellishing the main story given they so stupidly jumped in at the MIDDLE of a story by not animating Ayesha first, but why is there so much made up stuff here? The game is FULL of content aside the main story in the form of both side quests and, as you’d expect from an Atelier game, a damn lot of side stories and events for every character in the game. On top of that, all the character’s personalities are only half intact. Hell, maybe it wasn’t made up and they just butchered it all so bad and somehow pooped out some of the most pathetic attempts at writing imaginable that I just couldn’t tell it was supposed to be anything similar.
This show evoked memories of the Valkyria Chronicles anime, I really can’t decide which is fucking worse. Nothing to like here, just so bad it’s not even funny quality art and animation mixed with some pathetic fanfic-tier writing mixed with the jerkoff fantasies of the staff being tossed in at random intervals.
Episode 1 had me so excited and into it I spread the shit out of it to anyone I could, now I feel so terrible for it I should probably go to a confessional and ask for forgiveness. Aldnoah began with an exceptional first episode with crazy events, well handled character introductions, and a great set-up for a fantastic series to come – with a main character blowing the fuck up in the final moments of the episode. It was her, it was definitely her, but no, it wasn’t, because Urobuchi is so much a caricature of himself that he’s now pretending not to do the things he does because he does the things he does too often to do them without being caught doing them so he didn’t do them for once and it came off worse than if he just did them. That sentence is bad on purpose because I wanted to be cheeky.
The princess, the entire reason this series is able to exist – as the entire plot only begins because of her death – never fucking dies. She’s been blown up by a rocket, choked out, and shot in the face. Nothing stops her and none of her survival is explained really at all except for the fact that having a wheelchair apparently heals bullet wounds to the head. The first death is the big problem though as, again, it’s what kicks off the entire story – without it none of the events in the entire series, even next season, would happen. The “explanations” they give only serve to create an even bigger inexplicable plot hole that is also impossible to ignore.
That’s far from the only problem with the show, but if it’s not obvious it’s my biggest gripe. The show suffers in plenty of other ways as well though, for example totally wasting Cruhteo – who, from episode 1, had the potential to be the very best character in the show and the driving force of an outstanding and fairly unique story. Instead they decided to make this a generic underdog tale with pointless twists (as the results are always retconned anyway), and unlikable, magical children who fight far better than trained military soldiers who tend to stand still and hold the trigger down before being killed. That’s another big issue with this show, the kids win every fight through simply ‘not being retarded’. There are no big surprise super smart strategies or cool ideas, they just don’t stand still and keep shooting in hopes that THIS bullet won’t be worthless like the last 400 rounds they’ve pumped out. This also works the other way – all the opponents are incredibly stupid.
Actually, I’ve gone over all of this in my post about the first 5 episodes of the show rather thoroughly. Every battle is fucking stupid. Every character is fucking stupid. Every plot development, device, and event is fucking stupid and full of plotholes. This whole show is fucking stupid – and not in the enjoyable “shut your brain off” kind of way. I really wanted to love it too.
Oh, can’t forget the incredible motivations of the antagonists either. Being bad because you’re bad has never looked so bad.
Psycho Pass 2
I wasn’t sure about this overtaking Aldnoah, but then I remembered I almost made it through the entire first season of that somehow so it couldn’t possibly be the worst. Plus it had it’s positives, like the OST and art. This though. This is pure shit in every aspect. Psycho Pass 2 is essentially The Coneheads set in a dystopian city with a new main character who can only be described as “an obnoxious cunt” and an old cast best explained as not the old cast at all. The first season of Psycho Pass was an incredible ride with fantastic writing, great animation and art, really great world building, a great cast, and Akane Tsunemori – who is still one of my favorite ever lead characters. Somehow they managed to fuck absolutely all of that up.
The art is fucking terrible and the budget must be a tenth of what it was for the first season, there’s just no other explanation for this looking as bad as it does. The animation is barely above total shit and the quality of the art rivals the “QUALITY” scenes from Shaft shows, yet is almost a constant here. On top of that, and honestly more importantly, are the character designs. Everyone has an incredibly large forehead and cone shaped head. Everyone. I have never seen anything like this in any show and somehow a sequel to one of the better looking shows in the medium ends up with it. This is no exaggeration and this is not cherrypicking, the pre-airing designs showed them with equally egg-shaped heads and every scene in the anime consistently has them. It’s no mistake, it’s not an aspect ratio problem, it’s just really what they decided on going with.
Basic human anatomy wasn’t the only problem though. Akane became a fairly annoying character somehow. Remember how incredibly well her visual design was used (especially her eyes) to portray her emotions and showcase how different she was from the extremely jaded team she was on? Remember how her innocence was a key point in her entire development and even where she ended up in the end? Well, now she’s just fine working for the Sibyl System and has no real mind to change it, her only facial expression is “numb”, and her speech – both in how the lines are delivered and in the actual things she says – is that of a “hardened vet” rather than someone struggling to come to terms with living in this society and hoping for change. She’s just become a generic and jaded hardass with no redeeming features and no personality or humanity to her. I kind of get what they were going for, but it doesn’t work – it just makes what was originally one of the best lead females in anime an unlikable cliche with no emotions and no actual ‘character’, which is really weird given the whole reason she existed originally was to bring all that to a group of police who lacked it. Sadly, she is NOT the only returning character who seems to be total shit compared to how they used to be, but she’s easily the worst example of such.
I don’t want this to go on forever, so next I’d just like to quickly mention two more things. Oh, and a quick reminder about eggs.
1. The writing. The story is fucking stupid this time around and far too focused on a singular bad guy from the get go, it makes it feel like a super hero comic with a big villain. He even leaves his signature all over and his big evil plans are all fucking stupid. It really doesn’t help that the initials he leaves behind are “W.C.”, which if you’ve ever played an MMO with Japanese people, you’d know typically is shorthand for going to the bathroom (Water Closet). The edge-factor right in episode one is off the charts and feels like it’s trying real hard to come off as this cool edgy grimdark series with all it’s might. The script is no exception either.
2. This should be obvious to anyone who tried watching this: Mika. Mika is a new character, an inspector working under Akane, yet all she does is constantly undermine Akane. I’ve made sure that this is STILL TRUE and has not waned further into the show. She is a never relenting piece of shit who argues with her boss, chooses to bitch about her orders instead of doing them, and is constantly complaining that Akane doesn’t get everyone killed just so she doesn’t have to actually work. She is obnoxious, she has absolutely ZERO redeeming qualities (she’s not even cute to look at), and she serves absolutely no purpose in the series but to be an annoyance. Originally I thought she was there to take over Akane’s position (that I went over just a bit ago) from season 1 now that Akane was lacking all those aspects she use to have and this girl was a fresh new recruit with an idyllic view of what the job held. But no, she’s just a bitch.
Psycho Pass 2 is offensively bad. It truly is. The fact it’s a sequel to such a fantastic fucking show just makes it all the more disgusting that it even exists. Unlikable lifeless eggheads for characters, shitty overall animation and art quality, a GODAWFUL opening song (seriously, one of the worst OPs in the past 5 years at least – even worse if you include the video), and a stupid story. I can’t think of anything else this year that comes close to beating this out for the biggest disappointment AND the shittiest anime of 2014.
All that’s left is the Anime of the Year and some runners-up, and that should follow this within a day or so.