Rumors Rumors: Anime that’s got a bad rap

Some anime are just bad news. Every anime blog has mentioned it, and nothing of what they are saying is good. Your friends or family might have told you about it and they heard from a friend’s, little brother’s, classmate that it was a no-good, very-bad anime. Or maybe the anime just has a shifty look in it’s eyes? But you’re not a closed minded Otaku, you believe in treating all anime with fairness, and maybe it’s not really the anime’s fault. Maybe they just grew up in a bad family environment, or they just happened to fall in with the wrong crowd. Whatever the case, even if you got to know these anime, would it even end well? I mean, if these anime aren’t popular, there’s a good reason for it, right?

boys whispering
That anime’s eyes look a little shifty

Sometimes an anime can get a bad rap, and it’s not always because it is a low quality series. There are a lot of reasons an anime’s reputation can go down. It could have non-mainstream character relationships that don’t go well with the points of view or social structure of the era it was created in. It could have been released at a time when it’s style of anime wasn’t very popular. It could have more depth then what the majority of anime watchers were ready for at the time of it’s release. Or it could even be too light-hearted silly fun for the self perceived maturity level of the anime watchers. Though some of the anime in this post are now popular or at least known, with all of these anime, I have experienced someone strongly cautioning me against watching the series. Needless to say, I didn’t listen to them and I’m very glad I watched these anime anyway.

group whispering
Cautioned against watching anime

Revolutionary Girl Utena: Pervy

Utena with a sword
Nothing like I expected

I think the series that I have heard the most negative opinions about would definitely have to be Revolutionary Girl Utena. Though there was a lot of publicity around it in the early 2000’s, it was not popular with the anime watching crowd around me when I first started watching anime at about that same time. I’m not sure if it was because every anime fan I knew at the time was a guy, but they sure had a lot to say about how bad the series was. The most common opinion was that it was “pervy”. No one really went into detail about what exactly it was that made the series “pervy” at most people would make some nasty comments about yuri anime, but it was a often reiterated comment. Though it’s taken me a really long time to get around to it, I finally started watching RGU a couple weeks ago, and I was really surprised. It’s honestly nothing like I thought it would be. It’s both very artistic and also a bit silly. Strangely enough, it kind of reminds me of a much tamer version of Kill la Kill. The characters are over the top, the scenery can at times be psychedelic (it even has a floating up-side-down castle!) and it kind of makes fun of magic girl anime. While Kill la Kill is very in your face about making fun of Battle Girl anime, RGU is much more subtle about their jabs at magic girl anime. This anime is so far from what I was expecting, I was delightfully surprised, and I’m really enjoying it. I can’t believe I waited so long to watch this little gem!

Kiki’s Delivery Service: Crappy

kiki flying with seagulls
Adorable Ghibli classic

I think this is probably the most unexpected point of view of this adorable Ghibli studio classic, particularly because it came from Ghibli studio fans, but just about no one liked Kiki’s Delivery Service. Again, maybe it was just the people in the anime watching community around me, but almost no one liked this film. The general opinion was that it was a “crappy” movie and the lowest quality movie the studio had ever made. This was years ago and at the time I was going through my Ghibli studio phase, so needless to say, I completely ignored what everyone else said and watched the movie as soon as I could get my hands on it. And I loved it! To this day, KDS is one of my favorite anime movies. It’s just so darn cute! I’m still confused about why people would think the movie was low quality, the animation is just as good as any of the studio’s productions, the story is similar to other fantastical films Ghibli has made, and it’s no more childish than My Neighbor Totoro or Ponyo. So why this film was so unpopular is still a mystery to me.

Kino’s Journey: Weird/Makes no sense

Kino on a motorcycle
Philosophy major’s favorite anime

Okay, I have to admit, I do kind of understand why Kino’s Journey (the original) might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Every episode is started with a Haiku. It’s a continuous series of episodes about a traveler that goes from one strange country to another every three days. The anime has almost no continuation from one episode to the next. It’s almost like every episode of the anime presses Re-Start, and it starts from the beginning in a new country. Many of the stories in this anime have a mind bending cyclical structure to them. If your favorite subject is philosophy, this is the anime for you. It covers some oddly serious topics like the morality of the death sentence, the nature of generosity, the pointlessness of a never ending task, and even the automation of humans out of relevancy. Yeah, so maybe this one isn’t the the action packed explosion fest of some other anime, but that’s why I liked it so much. And, that’s why I found it so disappointing that no one I watched it with (at my anime watching birthday party) liked it at all. Pretty much everyone just shrugged as said it was weird, or that it didn’t make any sense.

Flint the Time Detective: Stupid

flint and friends
Not exactly an intellectual triumph

Flint the Time Detective is certainly not a deep or insightful anime, but it is fun and easy to watch, though there are some used book store shoppers that might think otherwise. It was at a favorite used book store that I spotted an old DVD of Flint the Time Detective. I held it up to my brother. I think I said something like, “Flint the Time Detective! Do you remember this? It’s so good.” My brother chuckled a bit and mentioned what a reasonable price it was. And then some random shopper came up behind us and said, “That? It’s really stupid!”. Before I could even process how weird it was that some random person recognized FTTD, I automatically defended with a “Yeah, it’s stupid good!”. My brother burst out laughing and Mr. Random wandered off dejected. And yeah, I have to admit that Flint the Time Detective is not exactly an intellectual triumph, but that’s kind of missing the point. It’s just good silly fun, without any pretension or overly deep story telling.

Do you have any favorite anime that everyone told you was a no good, very bad anime? Leave a comment below!

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11 thoughts on “Rumors Rumors: Anime that’s got a bad rap

    1. I know! I still don’t get why so many people in the anime community around me were so against that movie. Most people from the internet seemed to like Kiki’s Delivery Service, I couldn’t find any problem with it, I just don’t get why the anime watching community near me were so hateful. I mean, they liked all the other Ghibli films, I don’t get what was wrong with this one. Maybe it’s just a Northwest thing?

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Wait, there’s an anti-fandom for Kiki’s Delivery Service? It’s not my favorite Ghibli movie, but that’s legitimately surprising. I’ve seen the original Kino’s Journey multiple times and the people who say it doesn’t make sense just don’t get it or it could be too cerebral for them. Wow, I have actually seen Flint the Time Detective back in the day when it was on Fox Kids alongside Digimon. That was a weird show, but some parts got very inaccurate with the history and I’m not talking about time travelers or the monsters.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Sure thing. I’ve read some of Fiddletwix’s reviews and was reminded about some of the historical aspects. The Colombus one is all kinds of problematic in hindsight if you know the real story about that person. I do wonder if the stuff I like has a bad rap in terms of anime. Back then, I used to be obsessed with reading reviews to watch or avoid a series.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I think this is a valuable post because it reminds us that, while we can listen to and take note of the opinions of others, in order to have an informed view about an anime series or feature, we need to see it for ourselves…because anime, like all art, is subjective.

    I never saw the original series of Kino’s Journey, just the re-boot…and while I didn’t “hate” it, I thought it was underdeveloped and a missed opportunity. The original series, however, sounds interesting…and any series that begins each episode with a haiku would get my attention!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Exactly! Just because a series is labeled a “bad anime” doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t like it.
      As for the original Kino’s Journey, I highly recommend it! It’s not very fast paced or action packed, but it is very thought provoking.

      Liked by 3 people

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