If there’s one thing this blogging journey has taught me, is that I’m weirder than I thought. I’m definitely not the “average” MAL user. Not only am I a completely different demographic in almost every respect, but I find the ratings baffling. I don’t often agree with them, even though they’re normalized over thousands of viewers, but I also am too close to them to be an outlier or contrarian.

Often when I see someone begin an anime discussion with: ” unpopular opinion” or “controversial take”, they go on to say something that sounds like a really obvious statement of fact to me. Inversely, I have chats with anime lovers where they seem to take all these notions for granted and I’m left wondering which one of us is insane… (It’s usually both…)

In all my time on WordPress, I’ve met a lot of lovely people who I’ve shared some interests with but so far I don’t really know anyone who I can say has similar tastes to mine. We share a couple of titles in common but that’s about it. Boy, this has been a long walk to get to nowhere in particular. If you got weird tastes and everyone is constantly questioning them, I sympathize!

This means that like me, you’ve probably gathered a collection of shows you love while most people were significantly less impressed.

By the way, you are seeing this post as it unfolds. As I write this, I have not yet gone to see which of my favorite animes are maligned by the masses, so we are going to discover them together. There may be some swearing and unladylike bitterness. Should be fun! (I guess pretty boy shows galore – general viewers hate pretty boy shows)

In no particular order:

***I’m using AniList scores for this.

5 .World Conquest Zvezda Plot

Anime Zvezda fight
how can you not love this???

I recently discovered and delighted in this little show, and was flabbergasted by how unpopular it was. Not only did no one watch it, but those that did were not exactly smitten. I scored this at what I thought was a conservative 8.7, although on pure personal enjoyment it would have been higher yet the average AniList score is a pitiful 6.8. I still can’t understand this….

4. Black Butler II

Alois trancy
you are not helping your case…

Ok so this one comes as no surprise. I think I’m the only person I know that loved the second season of Black Butler. Come at me! I’ve heard them all. This said the average score for this is 6.7 (only 1% lower than Zvezda) which is rather surprising considering the unbridled hate the mere mention of this show elicits in people.

Again, I love Black Butler II. I’m not ashamed…much…

3. Humanity Has Declined

Humanty has declined
I guess it is a little repetitive

Humanity has declined was one of my favourite shows that I watched last year. I went on and on about it and I still love it. I can see the problems with certain plot elements and like any highly stylized and allegorical work, enjoyment is highly subjective. However, to me, it was close to perfect. Admittedly, a lot of people enjoyed this, at least when compared to the two previous shows. Still, it stands at a modest 7.7. A noticeable gap when compared to my own experience.

This made the list because one of my close friends, who I generally have very similar tastes with, dropped this after the first episode saying it was unbearable… It made me sad. I pretended it didn’t though.

2. Anime-Gataris

Chuuni anime gataris
what do you mean *too much*

I dunno guys. To me this show was a harmless tongue in cheek take on your standard school slice of life/cute girl anime. It was rather hit or miss but it did hit on several occasions which is more than I can say for a lot of similar series. But man do that masses disagree.

At an average 6.2 score, it’s the lowest rated show on this list. (Scores sort of average out with so many users, but anything below 6.5 should be considered physically painful to watch!) I mean I can see where this show failed, I just can’t see why it failed harder than so many others I consider barely watchable. 

Honorable mentions

91 Days

A lot of people did in fact enjoy this show but the more general reception was mixed. I adored the slow burn, classic crime drama feel of the series. The production was uneven but did wonders with a restrained budget and the execution stayed true to itself to the very last seconds. It remains a very unique anime experience and for that alone, it deserves better than the mediocre 7.5 rating is has. In my opinion

Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens

My recent post on the subject enlightened my to just how mixed the reception of this anime was. Although I understand why some people enjoyed it less, I’m still surprised. Especially considering that a lot of the complaints can be applied to some classically beloved series. It currently stands at 7.1 tying it with A Sister’s All you Need and the very controversial Darling and the Franxx. Why did I choose those particular shows for comparison? I have no idea…

1. Yuru Yuri

bloody yuru yuri

Didn’t see that one coming, did you? Well I didn’t…. The hecks guys… Yuru Yuri is my favourite cgdct show. I really loved it a lot and would watch another season anytime. Like right now! When I look at my list, I see that cute girl shows seem to average out a bit higher than most other shows I watch so I figured I would be one with the people for once… (Lots of people love Steins Gate like I do…)

Nope: 7.4. Sure it’s not *bad* but it’s hardly great. And this show is great. You should watch it. Then rate it real high to even out the curb!

Wait, why is there not a single cute boy show on this list? I smell shenanigans.

I’m sure we’ve all been there. Going about our lives believing in the absolute truth that our favorite show is universally beloved and then grim reality sets in. It’s ok. You can tell me all about it. I won’t laugh at you.

anime lauging

57 thoughts

  1. A Sister’s All you Need was great! How dare anyone not love it? I loved the first 2/3 of Darling in the Franxx, confused though it was, and I refuse to let the misery that was the ending ruin it for me.

    I think Boogiepop (2019) was worth much more than the 7.15 that MAL gave it,.

    1. To be honest I’m kind of surprised it’s that high. A lot of people were grimbling during the season…

  2. Greatly agree with Humanity Has Declined, extremely underrated series. It’s one of my favourite comedies ever. I had an experience similar to the one you described quite recently too, where a friend of mine dropped it saying that they couldn’t stand it one bit, which was rather disappointing.

  3. For MAL to mean anything it needs to renormalize its ratings. Kind of like college where if you didn’t get an A you really didn’t do so well and if you didn’t at least get a B you are a failure. Let’s generate a bell curve distribution with 5.0 being the mean. THEN getting a 7, 8, or 9 would mean something.

    I really enjoyed H2O: Footprints in the Sand despite the poorly done fanservice. The buildup was slow but the last third of the season had some twists. It had me crying at the end. MAL only gave it a 7.18 and not that many people watched it.

      1. It just got a blu-ray release by Funimation, so I was like “Oh yeah, I enjoyed that”

        Another I liked was .hack/sign, which is like the Sega Dreamcast of MMO Isekai Anime. Slow as fuck, but the relationship betwene the two leads was worth it in the end.

  4. Yeah, average user ratings are pretty much a loose guideline, at best, and sometimes not even that useful. On MAL, for instance, season 2 of Euphonium has a higher rating than season 1, even though I’ve never once talked to someone who watched both seasons who thinks season 2 is actually better (not saying there isn’t someone out there, just that I’ve never met them). So I basically take them with a very, very small grain of salt. Out of my top ten favorite TV anime, the two lowest-rated on MAL are Yuki Yuna (7.46) and Gunslinger Girl (7.50), which are both comically low ratings to me (no offense to “I Can’t Understand What My Husband is Saying,” which I enjoyed, but there’s no way it should have a higher rating than both of those).

  5. I loved HTR. I thought it was very good. 😮 Excellent post!! I don’t think I’ve seen of these except Yuru Yuri season one and I liked it. Felt it was pretty decent for what it was.

  6. If someone hates Humanity has Declined, I don’t think they quite understood it. That series was probably one of the most clever anime I’ve watched!

    Also, I got a big place in my heart for Animegataris. I think most people thought it was a specific type of show, dropped it, rated it low, and then never got to the twist to see what this show was really about. All three of us Backloggers still reference at least once a week that twist in this show. Freaking genius. I’ve not seen another anime pull off something like that still.

  7. I’m with the majority on not enjoying Anime-Gataris. Although, I have a friend who hates it passionately, and it still baffles me how he could hate it as much as he does explaining it to me for several minutes.

    I can’t really think off that many anime I like that are badly rated. The ones I’m going to list haven’t been seen by that many, but I still count them! One that comes to mind is Satellite Girl, and Milk Cow which has a 6.02 on MAL. I think that’s a bit low for something that’s both odd, and very charming. Another one would be The SoulTaker: Tamashii-gari at a 6.45 on MAL which I also feel should be a little higher, but since the series can be confusing, and weird the low rating makes sense to me.

    Hello Harinezumi: Satsui no Ryoubun sits at a 6.46 on MAL which I find questionable. For a stand alone OVA it’s surprisingly good mystery. Don’t know why the rating is low for it. Kekkou Kamen at a 5.83 which is a 4 episode echhi OVA so that one is more forgivable for people disliking it. However, it still shouldn’t be that low considering everything else that’s rated higher than it that I dislike a lot more.

    The last one is Yuugen Kaisha is by Madhouse sits at a 6.55. It’s is a very entertaining 4 episode OVA. It’s formulaic & episodic, but it’s purely entertaining to watch. Should be watched by more viewers, than again not many users on MAL bother seeing much older animes considering a lot of these haven’t been seen by that many people.

  8. That was a unique list. I’m not familiar with every series or movie and what scores they get on those databases. If I were to do something like this involving anime projects that most people don’t care about, they’d be (in no particular order)…

    Kimba the White Lion
    Kurogane Communication
    Yugo the Negotiator
    Now and Then Here and There

  9. Aw, I love Zvezda and Humantiy Has Declined, and I like Yuru Yuri quite a bit. The only Black Butler I’ve seen so far is Book of Circus; season 2 is Okada written, which doesn’t tell me whether I’d like it at all. Ramens I’ve dropped too quickly (not even 5 minutes) to have any opinion about. 91 Days was excellent. Animegataris I dropped after one too many episodes bored me, but when it does work it’s great, and some of the pictures I’ve seen make me wish I’d stuck it out.

    Also, A Sister’s All You Need is actually a pretty good show. I dropped it after the opening sequence, but I kept seeing pictures and they were pretty, so I tried again… and it wasn’t at all what I imagined. Much more subtle in its emotional moments than I thought it would be, and the little-sister fetish is mostly confined to the books the main character writes.

    My list would probably include:

    Dog and Scissors: A sado-maso bestiality show about reading and writing books may be a bit of a fringe experience, and it’s typically read-the-source incomplete, which means a lot of it goes nowhere. But it does understand both writing and reading, some of it is over-the-top stupid in the funny way, and the dog’s adorable. MAL: 6.67

    Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge: A really sweet romance on the background of a survival game shounen fighter that’s also a fetish parade from start to finish, and it all works together and makes sense. You have to face your inner creep. One of worst-selling anime on DVD, too (didn’t even sell 1000 copies last I checked). MAL: 6:81

    Rolling Girls: Girl without any special talents tries to replace her hospitalised super-hero sister and answers her requests. Three other girls join. They mostly fail at anything they try, but inspire people to solve their own problems. Watching this in 2015 was a strange experienced. I loved the first two episodes, and so did everyone else. And then… well, it wasn’t the colourful over-the-top shounen fighter it looked like. People became more and more disappointed, as I grew to love the show more and more. People seem to slowly discover the show’s strengths; I’ve seen more than a few reviews giving the show a second chance and liking it. MAL: 6.63

  10. Well, I like Pupa and we all know what kind of score that little masterpiece has. (3.68) Then there’s Magical Girl Site (6.55), King’s Game (5.17) and Evil or Live (6.00) I suppose this says something about me. Or not. I like trash maybe. Idk, I tend not to look at ratings. Heck I don’t even read reviews very often, if at all, before I watch something. Ratings are just overrated.

  11. I rather enjoyed Zvezda but there were too many lolis running around in clothing designed to be sexually appealing. Not “scantily clad because that’s how they live” – the show could be about nudists or maybe she lived 300 years ago in Tahiti and not bother me. But unclad in the style of outfits I’d really prefer seeing on someone at least old enough to vote.

    So I dropped it because I kept asking myself “Why is she dressed like that? It certainly isn’t utilitarian.” But of course, I knew what the answer was and that was irritating me. Kind of like a tiny picker in your socks that forces you to take off otherwise comfortable boots.

    1. Wasn’t there just one whose actually a seemingly immortal being 100s of years old? I need to pay better attention to these shows.
      I actually wrote in my review that I found it amazing how the characters could have such riske costumed yet not feel sexualized.

      1. She looks almost exactly like the stripper I had for my bachelor party – except she was as old as I was and had some curves.

        The loli that is really centuries old is a common trope. Gate and Monogatari did it well with Rory and Shinobu. Didn’t leave my daddy/teacher/spidey senses tingling.

        I think another trope is “I’m dressed like a stripper seconds before I let my boobs pop out but this is just normal clothing.” It takes a helluva suspension of disbelief for that one to fly.

        1. I keep trying to like a response here and it won’t let me unless i open it in Reader then track it down in – Conversations. If I didn’t put a like on a comment here it isn’t because I didn’t like it, it is because I am on your actual site and not in reader.

          Funny that it does let me post comments here but not likes. Maybe a Java problem with WP?

  12. Well you know where I stand on Black Butler 2 but I love how enthused you remain about it.
    That said, I kind of get where you are coming from. With a score of 5.17, King’s Game is kind of trashed on MAL (just read the reviews). I love this one as a B Grade Horror entry. It is undeniably terrible and yet fantastically fun to watch and I had a blast with it. That said, I understand why a lot of people didn’t like it, but still, personal enjoyment is sometimes more important than scores and popular opinion.
    Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens is also highly underrated in general (or not really spoken about enough), but again I kind of get why it didn’t appeal to the masses. However, it was one of my favourites from the year and one I thoroughly enjoyed and really hope it gets a follow up season, which it probably won’t.

    1. It’s not like you’re going to get a perfect anime…of course there are always faults but sometimes it seems some get judged particularly hard

  13. Omg Yuru Yuri is the best I love that anime!! I’d love another season of those adorable girls! Also whilst season two of Black Butler doesn’t compare to the manga I still really enjoyed it! I like the fact that they had to take an original story approach and I think it was an interesting take on the series, especially the ending of it!

  14. I’m a little intrigued by your decision to go with Anilist ratings rather than MAL scores, especially considering MAL scores have a MUCH higher volume of user ratings (I checked throughout this list) and tends to rate the things you listed better than Anilist does (I checked throughout the list). Was there any reason why you chose to do so?

    At the same time, I find the use of numbers as a basis of mediocrity only strengthened by its relative comparison. With Yuru Yuri, while it has a 74% average on Anilist, it’s also #425 highest rated on the site (from its anime page), with Humanity Has Declined being #275 highest-rated on the site and 91 Days being #384 highest-rated on the site. While the site doesn’t seem to list things stupendously low for their ranking all-time, I looked up Glasslip, which was almost universally panned by MAL, and it has a 49% average rating, which is worse than its 5.53 average rating on MAL, and it’s currently sitting at #8706 (on MAL).

    I think I understand the decision to label these as “Badly Rated” or “mediocre” based on the scores alone, kind of in the mindset of “Why are these scored in the 7’s?! They should be in the 8 or 9’s!” But I think if you dig deeper into how they’re scored in comparison to others, this post is somewhat misleading. I could see Animegataris being good for this type of list because it’s rated fairly low even in comparison to its peers, but the rest I don’t really believe are “badly-rated.” Depends on how you look at it.

    1. The reason is in short – lazyness. My MAL list is very out of date so I used my AniList instead… Mediocre means average – right?

      As for the list I think I mentionned it was purely based on my personal experience not on objective factors.
      91 Days received a lot of bad press in it’s season. And MAL has more than a few scortching reviews to go along with it’s great ones. As for Humanity has declined, I explained the choice.

      Basically the scores get normalized at 7 to 8.5 across the platform. as such objectively fine scores such as 6 are in fact most likely associated with series that were not well received whereas an average of 9 is extremely rare.

      But I do think this is a pretty accurate list of shows I enjoyed considerably more than the average viewer.

  15. Yuru Yuri is frigging great, I don’t know how anyone could dislike it. It’s pretty much the comfiest show I’ve ever watched.

    And this whole post is why I simply don’t pay any attention to scores any more, whether they’re user reviews or “professional” critics. User reviews too often veer to extremes — particularly if there’s been any sort of controversy over the work, and ESPECIALLY in games, where review-bombing is a pretty frequent occurrence — and I’ve pretty firmly established over the course of the last decade or so that my tastes most certainly do not align with those of most “professional” critics out there. And that’s fine, I’m happy with who I am.

    On top of that, I have long felt that scores are unhelpful as they’re an attempt to measure something inherently unmeasurable, but that’s a whole other discussion!

  16. I believe that I’ve mentioned this before, but I absolutely loved World Conquest Zvezda Plot! It was funny, unpredictable, and heartwarming. 8.7 is too low; 6.8 is insulting! I reviewed Anime-Gataris, praising its willingness to dive deep into the fandom’s collective mindset–and its courage to then actually display its finds! Admit it, that’s how we wish we could act. . .I also reviewed 91 Days, which impressed me with its gorgeous artwork and nuanced storytelling. As for Yuru Yuri, I can’t believe its not more popular! (Although I am confused as to why you’re trying to pass Akari off as Mehera-chan in that pic. . .)

    The main reason that shows I like aren’t more popular is that I’m a devoted slice-of-life fan, and most folks just seem to get bored too easily to follow a simple story without a mess of gimmicks involved. . .

    1. I think people just lie. Slice of Life must get some pretty good views as it remains one of the most consistently made genres in the medium

  17. Samurai Flamenco, an easy 9/10 for me which the unwashed masses collectively rated a paltry 6.96, forever etching in me class contempt towards aniMALs.

    It seems they would reserve such high marks for Clannad — in my furious youth, I had deemed it unworthy of the 1/10 MAL forced me to give it, for absence of a lower grade. Such ingenious programming!

    However, they did rate Zvezda a solid 7.15, so maybe there is hope for them after all…

  18. Yeah, I stopped paying any attention to MAL when I found some of my favourite shows were scoring in the 6 out of 10 range. What this obviously means is, EVERYBODY HAS TERRIBLE TASTE EXCEPT ME! Ahem…

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