ByZuleika Boekhoudt, writer at
I love horror, gore and 80/90s anime. Twitter: @Z_L_B | Facebook: @fanimeblog
Zuleika Boekhoudt

Like any other genre, anime has a few series that fans and critics alike consider pretty bad. However, to truly understand and enjoy Japanese animation, sometimes you should give those said shows a chance.

You see, series that have acquired the reputation of being "bad anime" aren't necessarily forgettable shows. In contrary, it means that these series usually have something — whether horrible animation, clichés or crazy exchanges — that has earned them their notoriety. In the end, some of these series may not only be entertaining, you might even enjoy them, as well. So here are 10 traditionally bad series that are still worth watching.

1. Pupa

'Pupa' [Credit: Studio Deen]
'Pupa' [Credit: Studio Deen]
  • Number of Episodes: 12
  • Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Psychological
  • Year of Release: 2014
  • Why It's Bad: A very short - 4 minutes per episode - censored anime with a lot of inconsistency. Overall it's a disservice to the horror genre.

One of the worst rated anime on My Anime List is the funny, yet disturbing Pupa. The 12-episode-anime follows Utsutsu and his younger sister, Yume. One day the siblings contract the mysterious virus known as Pupa. As a result, Yume begins to sprout grotesque wings and gains a limitless desire for flesh, either animal or human.

Her brother Utsutsu, who is only partially affected, gets regenerative powers. To protect the world from his sister, Utsutsu sacrifices his own body to feed Yume's unrelenting hunger.

2. Mad Bull 34

'Mad Bull 34' [Credit: Magic Bus]
'Mad Bull 34' [Credit: Magic Bus]
  • Number of Episodes: 4
  • Genre: Action, Comedy, Police
  • Year of Release: 1991
  • Why It's Bad: The anime highlights cliches and the dark past of '90s American pop culture. Racial slurs and offensive humor are the key themes in the series.

What do you get when you put a rookie with a loud-mouth, over-the-top cop? Hmmm Rush Hour? No, because Mad Bull 34 did it first. This anime follows police officer Daizaburo "Eddie" Ban as he joins New York City's toughest precinct, the 34th. As it turns out, his partner is no other than the infamous John Estes, a.k.a. Mad Bull to everyone else.

Mad Bull solves crimes using extreme violence and vile behavior almost always lands him in hot water with the higher-ups. Despite, Mad Bull's extreme and questionable methods he always has a good reason for what he does. Together Mad Bull and Eddie try to make the streets of New York a safer place for everyone.

3. Garzey's Wing

'Garzey's Wing' [Credit: U.S. Manga Corps]
'Garzey's Wing' [Credit: U.S. Manga Corps]
  • Number of Episodes: 3
  • Genre: Adventure, Fantasy
  • Year of Release: 1996
  • Why It's Bad: The English dubbed version has the dub quality of 80s Ninja English dub movies.

Like any other senior in high school, Chris’s biggest problem was getting into a good college. But as luck would have it, his spirit is hijacked by an unknown entity and transported into an ancient world.

Arriving in this mysterious world, Chris gets swept into a battle between two tribes, the Metomeus and the Ashigaba Army. Until recently, the Ashigaba Army people have been enslaved by the Metomeus Tribe. Now Chris must lead the enslaved tribe to freedom, all but trying not to die in the hands of his new enemies.

4. Mars Of Destruction

'Mars of Destruction' [Credit: Idea Factory]
'Mars of Destruction' [Credit: Idea Factory]
  • Number of Episodes: 1
  • Genre: Action, Horror, Science Fiction
  • Year of Release: 2005
  • Why It's Bad: A peaked plot, out of sequence fighting sequences and a moody main character are few of the things wrong with this anime.

The story centers around the aliens called “Ancients” appearing around Tokyo. Its up to three young girls and a troubled boy wearing a MARS, otherwise known as a weapon suit, to fight these Ancients and find out exactly what they are. Although short and suffering from low-budget animation, Mars of Destruction does try to make a decent pitch for an anime series.

5. Bubblegum Crisis

'Bubblegum Crisis' [Credit: Artmic]
'Bubblegum Crisis' [Credit: Artmic]
  • Number of Episodes: 8
  • Genre: Adventure, Mecha, Sci-Fi, Shounen
  • Year of Release: 1987
  • Why It's Bad: Leaves many key plots out, making the viewer guess what is actually going on.

The late '80s and early '90s were a great time for cyberpunk anime. These series featured everything from flying cars to advance A.I. Regarded as a pioneer of cyber punk anime, Bubblegum Crisis premiered in the late '80s to much praise from both and fans and critics.

The 8-episode series takes place in 2032, seven years after the Second Great Kanto Earthquake that split Tokyo in two. As a result of the earthquake, companies started building Boomers - synthetic life forms - to speed up the construction of Tokyo. Although the purpose of the Boomers was to serve humans, some criminals have turned them into deadly weapons. Now, it is up to the Knight Sabers, an all-female group of mercenaries, to save Tokyo.

6. Elfen Lied

'Elfen Lied' [Credit: Sentai Filmworks]
'Elfen Lied' [Credit: Sentai Filmworks]
  • Number of Episodes: 13
  • Genre: Action, Drama, Horror, Psychological, Supernatural
  • Year of Release: 2004
  • Why It's Bad: Bloodshed and dismemberment are central to the story, which could turn some people off.

Although the animation style isn't as eerie as other anime in the horror genre, it is, however, full of bloodshed, gore, and PG nudity. Elfen Lied tells the story of Lucy, who is a Diclonius (or a special breed of human) that escapes a research facility leaving a pile of blood and guts along the way. In her childish like state, she meets two college students, Kouta and his cousin Yuka, who unknowingly take care of Lucy, unaware of her murderous tendencies.

However, the researcher who experimented on Lucy is hot on her trail and will do anything to get her back.

7. Blood-C

'Blood-C' [Credit: Funimation]
'Blood-C' [Credit: Funimation]
  • Number of Episodes: 12
  • Genre: Action, Horror, School, Supernatural, Vampire
  • Year of Release: 2011
  • Why It's Bad: Bloodshed and dismemberment are central to the story, which could turn some people off.

Similar to the other anime in the Blood series, Blood-C follows Saya Kisaragi in her quest to vanquish every monster that threatens her quiet little village. One common element that can ruin a show is the characters, and unfortunately, Blood-C suffers from this. Talk about melodramatic characters that you wish had been eaten by a monster already. What will annoy you the most, however, is that someone can be singing after witnessing someone being devoured by a demon. Why don’t you crack already?

8. Ghost Stories English Dubbed Version

'Ghost Stories' [Credit: Discotek Media]
'Ghost Stories' [Credit: Discotek Media]
  • Number of Episodes: 20
  • Genre: Mystery, Horror, Supernatural
  • Year of Release: 2000
  • Why It's Bad: The script for the English version was completely revised. As a result, the series could be classified as a fandub.

What was supposed to be an anime to make the hair stand up on the back of your neck has quickly gained a reputation as one of the funniest horror anime — or at least the English dub version has.

Ghost Stories revolves around a group of kids that want to exorcise vengeful ghosts that were tied to buildings in the town, and are now being riled up with new urbanization.

9. School Days

'School Days' [Credit: Discotek Media]
'School Days' [Credit: Discotek Media]
  • Number of Episodes: 12
  • Genre: Harem, Drama, Romance, School
  • Year of Release: 2007
  • Why It's Bad: The male lead, Makoto Ito, is so despicable that you can't continue watching. Words such as uncaring, selfish, shameless and stupid come to mind when describing Makoto.

High school student Makoto Ito only has eyes for the beautiful Kotonoha Katsura. However, the feeling isn't mutual. In reality, Kotonoha doesn't even know that Makoto exists.

In an attempt to catch her eye, Makoto asks his close friend, Sekai Saionji, to help him. Although they may be friends, the fact is that Sekai is in love with Makoto, and so begins the complicated love triangle between Makoto, Sekai and Kotonoha, which no one will get out unscathed.

10. Clannad

'Clannad' [Credit: Sentai Filmworks]
'Clannad' [Credit: Sentai Filmworks]
  • Number of Episodes: 23
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance, School, Slice of Life, Supernatural
  • Year of Release: 2007
  • Why It's Bad: Several supporting characters aren't fully-fledged out and thus not making a substantial impact on the plot. Plus, the pacing is very slow to the point that the series becomes tedious.

Clannad follows troubled high schooler Tomoya Okazaki, who believes that he won't amount to anything in life. Along with his friend, he skips schools and wastes his days away. However, when he meets Nagisa Furukawa and some of the other girls in his school, he sets out to help them out in every way possible. Soon, Tomoya realizes that life isn't as meaningless as he thought.

While some of these series have earned their less than glorious reputation, you are not forced to watch them, or any other that you might consider as bad. However, these bad series might change, or even broaden, your opinion about anime. Ultimately, watching bad anime is a journey to truly become an anime fan.

What other anime do you consider bad but still worth watching?


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