5 Anime Series that had a Great Premise but Ended Up Shit.

In the millions of anime series that you’ve watched, you’ll probably have come across quite a few that got you all excited and steaming in your pants because they started out so good, so intriguing and so creative. The ideas were unorthodox, far-removed from the usual romantic comedies, shounen powerups and other lame-o-cliches. But inevitably, the writers, for some reason, would fuck up the show.

Here are my top 5 shows that were seemingly really awesome but turned out so bad, it’s like going to bed with a hot supermodel only to find that she not only was a HE but had AIDS, syphillis and hair lice all together.

1. Heroic Age

Anyone still remember this? With the flood of anime series, Heroic Age seems an eternity ago, but it was like, just 1 and slightly more years ago.

How it seemed Awesome
Heroic Age started off like some awesome Starcraft meets Greek Mythology plus giant epic titans show, with the equivalents of Zerg, Protoss, Xel’Naga etc and of course, humans with super powers. The show had lots of references and allusions to Greek Mythology, surprise, since Age, the main character himself, was supposed to be Hercules. There are giant space-opera scale battles, big explosions, and a diva capable of astral projection.

So what went wrong?
The main powerful dudes, the Heroic tribe, were all too fucking strong and cancelled each other out. Each fight didn’t have an end, nobody got hurt cos their armour ratings were like over 9000 and even planets got crushed while they rolled around doing some WWF impersonation. The rest of the show was ok I guess, but the Zerg-wannabes were fucking useless and just cannon fodder.

2. Shakugan no Shana

Otakus dig this loli show a lot, but there lies the problem.

How it seemed awesome
The first episode introduced it as some magical fantasy action with some serious twists on reality. We learnt that the world was not what it seemed to be, there were monsters around which in their battles with the good guys, the flame haze, would cause a lot of death and destruction. But the people who died didn’t get replaced, and instead just faded from existence. The main character Yuuji was revealed to be dead already but living on like a little candle flame ready to go anytime. The fragility of human life seemed to be a strong theme in the series. Both the baddies and the flame haze had cool names too.

So what went wrong?
Somehow, it became a love triangle comedy harem with lots of lolicon lovers. Wow. Only one or two great episodes sporadically popped up in the 2 seasons. Yuuji was not very fragile after all and probably typed in "it’s a good day to die" before starring in the series. The animation was shit as well.

3. Chaos Head

Sure, it’s from a girlgame so can’t be that good but still, the first few eps starred the most insane main character ever.

How it seemed awesome
Looking at the NEET problem in Japan and actually making sure there was no humour in the situation, Chaos Head appeared to be the sad story of a boy who’s batshit insane and also very otaku. Sounds like a documentary describing lots of people I know eh? Throw in creepy serial murders and unexplainable mysteries and we have something never done before in anime history.

So what went wrong?
In the middle of the series, people started appearing with huge chunks of exposition thrown in, which revealed that it was all some lame-ass doomsday project yadayadawayawaya. That’s not cool at all. Throw in stupid weapons which materialise Mai-otome style and we get a recipe for disaster.

4. Coyote Ragtime Show
I could go on about this forever, but just read this.

How it seemed awesome
12 hot gothloli maid cyborgs each armed with a different world war 2 era weapon and named after the 12 months? Awesomeness overkill! Add to that a promise of 3-way battle royale between the police, thieves and evil killers, intelligent Ocean’s 11 style break-ins and outs, and cool animals like the sandworms from Dune. The first episode was a legend in the history of anime.

So what went wrong?
The imba 12 maid killers suddenly turned into horrible miss-bots. They couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn from 3 cm after episode 1. Wow, that just kills all the fun. There were no more sandworms appearing after episode 1. The police were useless. The strategies the thieves resorted to basically amounted to "We’re too cool for plans" and just rushing in. WTF.

5. Ghost Hound
Written by Masamune Shirou when we all thought he was awesome.

How it seemed awesome
Dudes, it’s Masamune Shirou, he made Ghost in the Shell, arguably the best anime, at least one of. But later we learnt that GitS was only great because of SAC of course. Ghost Hound proved to be real captivating and strange, exploring paranormal phenomenon without the usual Japanese flashiness. It was almost creepy.

So what went wrong?
Like all subsequent Shirow stories, the pace was a problem. Slow. Too slow. Too many episodes whiz by with nothing happening!. I have yet to watch past episode 10, and I’ve been promising myself to marathon it. The other Shirow show, Metalreal, suffers from the same problem.

20 Responses to “5 Anime Series that had a Great Premise but Ended Up Shit.”


  • I hear you. Except for Shana, I agree.

  • I see what you did there, but the title is misleading. I think Heroic Age is still great by the end but you are right that they didn’t cash in on the premise. It could have been an over 9000 show instead of just a show with over 9000 bugs and some over 9000 characters.

    Rest I pretty much agree except Real Drive, which actually improves on the pacing problem because it is now a situational family show with some comedy and random sex thing throw in.

  • I agree with Heroic Age, fights were epicly long. Shana I disagree with. The main one I can thing of is Pumpkin Scissors which just became boring in the end.

  • Persona Trinity Soul. Definitely just stick to the games.

  • Of your 5, I’ve only seen Shana and I agree Shana is a great show so long as you never watch a single episode of it. It was way more interesting anticipating what they’d do with it than it was to see how it all panned out…put me to sleep quite often.

  • Thanks for reminding me of the only show I ever dropped after only one episode. I was trying to think of what it was the other day but couldn’t remember. I’m talking about Coyote Ragtime Show of course.

  • I agree with all of these except for Shakugan no Shana, which was never good. It was pretty much always the same loli-filled generic shounen action series from the first episode. Good if you like that sort of thing, but geez, it’s not hard to find other series from the same genre which are less generic and less humdrum.

    I’m still trying to figure out just how Chaos Head went wrong. It had massive potential to be a really engrossing mystery, as it was to start off with, but all the answers turned out to be so disappointing. “And the perpetrator of the NewGen murders is *drumroll* *opens envelop*… random side character #143.”

  • Agreed. Chaos Head was especially a real disappointment. I enjoyed it as much as I did Code Geass, waiting for each episode to turn up, till the whole thing went batshit insane. It trashed a perfectly good premise.

    And Shana is hot, yes she is.

  • I have to agree on GhostHound, the only show I saw on your list. It doesn’t go anywhere. You didn’t mention that the director and screenwriter for this series were the same as for “Serial Experiments Lain”, so coupled with Shirow this should have been the most amazing show EVAR, but it wasn’t.

  • I remember heroic age, it just got boring in the middle when that dude just tore through bugs like we tear through paper.

    I marathoned ghost hound successfully!!! The mood of the show really got to me but I guess that’s about it.

  • @Double: Except both of those shows were always borderline batshit insane. Some people just took longer to realize it and before they could adapt to the realization it was already too late.

    @Loba: Hero tribe was kind of like if an adminstrator had logged into a game of Starcraft with his own custom unit and started using his tool kit to wreak havoc on the other players.

    @Sorrow-Kun: I was interested in Chaos Head until Klash told me not to bother. He had always hated the anime adaptation from day one and more or less implied to me that it was on the fast track to failure.

  • The ending to Chaos; HEAd just felt like some Power Rangers spoof. Especially since the colors of each girl were more or less like the main colors from PR.
    As for Shakugan no Shana, I think its J.C. Staff’s problem *hides from J.C. Staff fanboys*
    The studio seems to have a terrible pacing problem. Same happened with To Aru Majutsu no Index.
    Too much exposition, too little explosions.

  • Of the 5, I watched 3, and I disagree regrding Shana. I find the 2nd season greatly improved, in terms of animation. An added bonus would be da hotlmoelolicious Shana. Oh yeah.

    For Chaos;Head, the other reason why I didn’t like it was because of the male lead. He’s too damn whiny for god’s sake. Heroic age felt like space wrestling yeah :D

  • The Shana novels are a love triangle fest too, don’t blame JC Staff for that :p

    “The studio seems to have a terrible pacing problem. Same happened with To Aru Majutsu no Index.
    Too much exposition, too little explosions.”

    Seems fine to me, they are going at a good clip, only now starting volume 4 at episode 15 – 13 more volumes to adapt!

    Toradora is blazing through the novels though, finished volume 6 already and its only at 9 volumes in Japan, and with no end in sight, here we come anime original ending.

  • The first eight episodes of Shana were epic. The next eight episodes sucked royally. The final eight kind of split the difference.

    I haven’t seen the second series but I’m given to understand that there’s a stretch from eps 4 or so to about ep 11 which is an utter waste of time.

    What I wanted from the series was for it to be an SF horror show. What the mangaka apparently wanted was to tell a story about high school romance. The goth-horror was just a bit of paint to make this series different from all the other series about high school romance.

    If the whole series had been like the first eight episodes, it would have been one of the best ever.

  • Shana’s first season was pretty much a lolicon show. It got slightly better in season 2 though. If the silly love comedy bits were left out it would’ve made the whole show much much better.

    I had to laugh at the SAC part because I find myself favoring that over all the other GITS things. I have to agree about RD, too. I kinda liked the whole premise but it just doesnt grab my attention as much as other IG works have.

    One other show I thought would be good was Bus Gamer. Starts off with a business game with lives and lots of money of stake and before the players stood a looming conspiracy. Too bad it became shitty the moment episode 2 comes in.

    Also, Freedom. Well, okay, maybe not. 6 episodes of awesomeness but with a crappy rushed ending. Come on Nissin, wtf?

  • Heroic Age was enjoyable in that, if you watched it once per week, you’d get enough pacing out of it to enjoy it. Sure there were some absurd moments, but that was the whole point ever since episode 1. Giant mythical Godzilla monsters duking it out. That was the main draw of the show, if you didn’t see that, you were watching it wrong.

    As I recall, people did get hurt and defeated. The bald guy was defeated and joined the human side, the batshit loli killed the purple smoke guy, then she managed to send everyone out into a netherworld.

  • You know, for c;h, beyond the plot (which I thought was adapted horribly), the main reason why it fails so much is the QUALITY. It was basically in every fucking episode and made my eyes bleed. Many times, in fact.

  • I drop Shana at after the 1st boss. I think its just me.
    I gave up on chaos head after epi 1. I dun like NEETS.
    I enjoyed heroic age though, the tribal warfare was quite intresting. Btw the worms are like slaves to the silver trbe. Didn’t like the graduating theory though, the golden tribe left, and the silver follows their idol.

  • Shana would have been awesome if not for the overdose on the romance part… and the anime version of Shana looked like crap compared to the manga and novel version.

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