10 Shonen Anime That Didn’t Understand Its Target Audience (And How)
Shonen anime is one of the most praised and beloved genres in the anime community. It’s enjoyed by all sorts of demographics, despite being aimed at young boys, and it’s outlasted many other types of series in terms of relevance and popularity.
Unfortunately, not all shonen series are created equal. Some second seasons disappoint audiences who were so excited to welcome the new content with open arms, and some new premise falls flat or goes so far as to make audiences feel uncomfortable. There are also perfectly decent series that turn for the worse, apparently because the creators just didn’t understand what the anime community really wanted from their show.
ten Stale & Overdone: Isekai Cheat Magician
Isekai Cheat MagicianThe main flaw of was that it made little or no effort to develop the concept of the classic isekai protagonist. The battles all result in the main character using their extremely mastered skills to destroy an enemy, leaving little to no stakes. If anything went wrong in a fight, his female harem of supporting characters would come to his aid.
It could have had some sense of character development and importance if said supporting characters were less outdated and stereotypical. Globally, Isekai Cheat Magician doesn’t understand what isekai watchers really want: stakes, excitement and involvement.
9 Fumbling The Horror: The Promised Neverland, Season 2
The promised never-never landMuch of the hype was created by fans of the manga, so when the second season butchered the source material, the response from the community wasn’t pretty.
The promised imaginary countryThe first season was praised for the atmosphere of tension and horror it managed to create, and the second season was unable to follow up on that delivery. The season’s plot was very rushed, which hurt the key investment sentiment of many shows, especially those with a horror twist.
8 Ultimate Discomfort: Design
Rather than just poor execution on a relatively promising premise, Design raises the bar on the terrible isekai with a disturbing and uncomfortable concept from the start. The idea is that the protagonist has been chosen to procreate with a handful of girls to create super-powered children who can save the world.
Each female lead is little more than eye candy, and the setup, while meant to induce excitement, made most people uncomfortable with its enforced intimacy and eugenics premise. . Design fails as an isekai and as an ecchi anime because of this.
seven Uncomfortable Relationships: Do you love your mother and her two-hit multi-target attacks?
The premise of this series was that the protagonist travels to another world with his mother, who is blessed with extremely powerful attacks while he gets almost nothing. Do you love your mother and her two-hit multi-target attacks? had the potential to be a funny and maybe even heartfelt comedy about a mother and son getting together in the weird setting of a fantasy isekai, but it fell completely flat.
The plot is oversaturated with overused tropes and comedies that tend to fall flat. To make matters worse, the relationship between the protagonist and his mother is quite uncomfortable and too much of a harem dynamic for a mother-son bond to be in play.
6 Heinous Protagonist of the Harem: Master of Ragnarok and Blesser of Einherjar
The Master of Ragnarok suffers from the usual ailments of bad isekai, amplified by a factor of 10. He spends so much time creating an overpowered, constantly praised protagonist that he forgets the most important aspect of creating a good self-inserted character: sympathy.
He also suffers from the tendency to tell instead of show; claiming that the protagonist has the most amazing leadership skills and the most charismatic demeanor, which is hardly believable without any evidence from the plot itself. Likewise, the harem of girls who serve as secondary characters has hardly been developed, making them uninteresting and sometimes even irritating to have on screen.
5 The blandness of stereotypes: the seven senses of reunion
The Seven Senses of Re’Union is another series that struggles with the problems often encountered by self-inserted isekai. The anime was adapted from a series of light novels that were rather lengthy, which resulted in much of the story being cut off and development being very rushed. This fact, coupled with a chronic case of character blandness, makes it very difficult to attach to the story.
The Seven Senses of Re’Union isn’t necessarily the worst isekai ever made, but it certainly stings with wasted potential when it comes to adapting a fairly successful light novel. Rather than a series that could stand on its own, Meeting has often been criticized by the fanbase as taking the most interesting concepts from Sword Art Online and Anohana and shoot them down.
4 Trustworthy Secondary Characters: Hajimete No Gal
Hajimete No Gal was meant to be a dreamy, thrilling romance between a nerdy boy and a popular girl, and it certainly had the potential to create such an experience. Unfortunately, most of the show ended up being uncomfortable, cringe-worthy, and hard to watch. One of the main causes was the introduction of mediocre, dull, and often irritating secondary characters. The relationship between the protagonist and the female lead was interesting and even entertaining early in the season.
However, the girls introduced to serve as a harem and a challenge to the protagonists’ romantic relationship did little to raise the story’s stakes and instead were very irritating and frustrating to have on screen. On top of that, the protagonist’s nerdy friends are often seen saying very awful and uncomfortable statements. It was probably an attempt to create comic relief in the form of capitalizing on the idea that they are social outcasts, but it ended up being extremely hard to bear.
3 The Storytelling Falls Flat: The Assassin’s Pride
Assassin’s Pride, while having the potential to be a good isekai, suffers from a simple case of bad writing. It attempts to create a meaningful connection between two of the main characters; he tries to shock the viewer with more agonizing and darker scenes; he attempts to excite his audience with a strong protagonist to imagine himself. All these attempts unfortunately fail. There’s little to no chemistry between the main protagonists, which is a problem as the romance between them was supposed to be a major selling point of the show.
The characters are not only bland but inconsistent throughout the series, making it difficult to bond with them, as the viewer has no concrete idea of who they are as people. Assassin’s Pride doesn’t take enough time to establish its stakes and characters and fails to serve its audience like a good isekai.
2 Strange Ending Choice: Darling in the Franxx
Darling in the Franxx is by no means a terrible or even bad sight. However, it is often viewed by the community as wasted potential. It managed to create a huge amount of excitement when it aired, and for good reason. The characters, while not necessarily hugely developed, were certainly very endearing. The visuals were gorgeous, and the series had the charm of an epic mecha romance and anime.
The ending, however, was confusing, convoluted, and a great twist from the start of the series. It seemed like an odd decision to change a formula that had worked so well, and a misunderstanding on the part of the writers about what viewers really wanted from the show.
1 CGI Hell: Berserk
The manga version of Berserk has long been hailed within the community as offering some of the finest art ever seen in a hit seinen series. It was quite shocking to her fanbase when an adaptation came out in 2016 that looked less than pleasant. It was made entirely with hard-to-watch and extremely bad 3D animation.
The art style seemed like a very odd choice for this show, but more than that, it was hugely off-putting to the show’s original fans, who of course would have been most excited about the creation of the adaptation.
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