Monday, January 2, 2012

Year in Review: The 12 Returns of Christmas

Happy New Year, folks! I just came back from the first line of Christmas present returns—that "P90X Workout" package was a horrible idea—but unfortunately I will never ever have the receipts required to get back the precious time I wasted on a bunch of anime shows the past year. I suppose it's blood payment for attempting to brave the elements and watch shows that were as bad as Yosuga no Sora, Asobi ni Ikuyo!, and KissxSis. Hopefully you all won't make the same mistakes I made with these 12 Shows A-Sucking.

12. Fractale

Remember the big stink about Fractale and its online distribution? What were we thinking? It felt like Yutaka Yamamoto was trying to make some sort of Ghibli movie with this noitaminA entry, then felt like sprinkling a bit of The Secret of Blue Water into the recipe. Kaboom! The result was a stew of regurgitated villains and unpalatable scenarios served over a bed of messages about social deterioration. I hate to be so severe, but perhaps a less annoying character than Nessa would have helped.

11. Mayo Chiki!

A girl masquerading as another girl's butler has her identity exposed (in an implausible explosion of clothing from just a slight push) by a gynophobic high-school boy, only for the butler's sadistic mistress to tease the two of them to death by putting them both through the wringer with embarrassing situations. I wouldn't be so mad about this sort of harem show except that IT'S OBVIOUS SUBARU'S A GIRL. We're not dense, anime writers.

10. Majikoi ~ Oh! Samurai Girls 

In reality, this show is as much a samurai drama as Dog Days was a show about war. While it could have been viewed as a harmless harem show, there's no real way that an anime adaption of an eroge could ever be viewed as a good show, could it? The comedy was, at times, horrendously childish and perverted, but the big strike against it is that it took a ton of shine off of Hiroshi Kamiya's acting career. Huge step back, my man.

9. R-15

The vicious circle continues with yet another harem show, and I'm surprised I didn't put this as the worst. I mean, a borderline pornographic story about a genius pornography-writing kid? Is this some sort of biography for 20% of the anime producers out there? The situations always ended up with some perverted twist, making me wonder if all of these students at "Inspiration Academy" are geniuses to the point of being social morons.

8. Twin Angel: Twinkle Paradise

I'm willing to say it if others cannot—the "magical-girl" genre is dead. Sailor Moon set the bar, and Puella Magi Madoka Magica destroyed the only measuring device left. Twin Angel thought it could sneak in an appeal to viewers as a clone of the former, but there's so much sugar (and milk—I'm looking at you, Blue Angel) in the characters that there is zero appeal. It doesn't help that this is all for selling pachislot machines.

7. Dragon Crisis!

Dragon Crisis! could have done so much better with its gimmick of relics and secret organizations, but instead turned into some "Episode X is the Beach Episode!" series where the weak male lead somehow grows a spine amongst all of the females that gather about him, leading to his (not all that) impressive upset of the alpha male. I'm convinced this was made just so people could hear Rie Kugimiya yell out "Ryûji!" again.

6. Onii-chan no Koto Nanka Zenzen Suki Ja Nai'n Dakara Ne!
(I Don't Like You At All, Big Brother!)

Hard to say if this show was green-lighted due to OreImo's modest success in Japan, but Onii-chan no Koto should never see the light of day over here. (Luckily, it looks like no one will get to see Episode 10 again.) Incest comedy aside, the show flirted with too much porn humor to really justify watching, and the designs left the characters scarily thin. Incest comedy included, it just plain sucked.

5. Freezing

The main character is a tall blonde woman with a heavy rack and glasses who is cold and ruthless in battle, often getting her clothes shredded in the process, yet who is terribly afraid of being touched and ends up falling in love with the "Shinji" of the series. If that doesn't scream "patrilineality", then I'm not sure what does. If you want a show with males commanding females to fight like scantily-clad Pokemon, be my guest.

4. Manyû Hiken-chô

I'll give Manyû Hiken-chô a lower ranking due to its abnormal amount of over-the-top ridiculousness (probably the same reason Rio: Rainbow Gate! isn't in this listing) and its head-shaking obsession with breasts, but that doesn't excuse it for being a bad anime. Yes, the show tries to sell us the moral of "Size isn't everything", but must we go through 12 episodes of breast growth and blinding censor beams just to learn it?

 3. Hen Zemi

I could have easily added the utterly inane 30-sai no Hoken Taiiku (Health & P.E. for 30-Year-Olds) to this entry, but Hen Zemi takes the cake for managing to gross me out completely. Yeah, plenty of shows out there have penis and poop jokes, but not many have shows devoted to raising fruit flies in one's ear canal, fart sniffing, urination into beer bottles, and watching one's girlfriend get willingly violated by another. Now, who's up for tea?

2. The Qwaser of Stigmata II

Remember that Russian warrior-boy Sasha who got all his energy by sucking on a nubile maiden's oppai in the first series? Well, he gets to do it again, but this time he's cross-dressing and masquerading as a student in an Eastern orthodox academy! Big difference! Who the hell cares why he's doing it and what "soma" and "Qwaser" mean—behind those censor bars, it's a transvestite sucking on boobies! Oh, AND HE'S 13 YEARS OLD. Sickos.

1. We, Without Wings

All that needs to be said about Oretachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai is on its Wikipedia page. Of course, reading the page you may notice that about 75% of the page is devoid of detail. No episode reviews, no detailed character descriptions, nothing. That's how excruciatingly painful this series was—no one really cares whether or not this show gets preserves for posterity, not even the show's biggest fans.

From what we can pick out of the show, the three main protagonists all jump between their Earth-bound bodies and some far-off land where they are knights battling an unknown force. That might be entertaining in some way, if you wanted to envision this story as a clone of Haruki Murakami's Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, but that would mean that the underlying story actually had content.

What went wrong with the show?
  1. Too many characters. At last count, 54 named characters appeared in this 11-episode show, and all had to be given names when they were introduced, like some episode of Case Closed. Really, guys, there's no need to give the minor characters names, unless you want us to forget about them even faster.
  2. That damned television set. What the hell is the first three minutes of the show about? This boom-voiced television announcer welcomes us to the show each week by putting the main heroines in some erotic game or segment that would normally run at 3AM with D-list celebrity actors goggling at gravure idols. Is this really how low you want to stoop to get attention?
  3. That annoying overweight rapper guy. Seriously, rap isn't cool in anime. In fact, just about all of the acting in this show sucks.
  4. The quality problem when it comes to animation. Uninspired and stooping to the use of police tape for censoring.
  5. A song about "d()cks" in Episode 7 while the male cast has a cake fight. And no, I don't mean "ducks".
  6. The idea that both Crunchyroll and Funimation thought this show was good enough for online screening, while actual good shows like AnoHana were left off the list.
Of note, I actually listed this behind a few shows back when I ranked the worst shows of Spring, but after a few more screenings, I got even sicker from the content. At least companies were wise not to include bad shows like Qwaser of Stigmata and Hen Zemi on their listings. We, Without Wings deserves to be ignored by its initial Wikipedia page creators, and hopefully time will bury this pathetic show.


  1. No Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere? This list invalid. (Not really, but Horizon was several times worse than Fractale or Freezing, two titles where you at least understood what they were going for.)

  2. Trust me; Horizon was a close #13. Felt I didn't watch enough of it to get a feeling for it. I wanted to include Fractale for its underwhelming finish and the fact that even noitaminA titles can suck. Freezing's there due to the near-pornographic depiction of women and the severe imbalance in power.