Are you a loyal anime fan? Do you stand by those shows which have brought you joy?

Lately, I’ve read a few think pieces on how people’s preconceptions can colour our enjoyment of a show. How going into an anime with preconceived notions or expectations based on other people’s experiences, inevitably affects what we end up getting out of our watching experience. But what about the reverse case scenario.

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it’s a reverse harem!

Have you ever stumbled across a title you’d never heard of before and thoroughly enjoyed, only to discover that your hidden gem is widely reviled by the anime community? Do you remain faithful to your new love or do you disavow it? Are you suddenly ashamed to admit you enjoyed the show? Do you go as far as downgrading it in your own mind, admitting to yourself that is was indeed riddled with flaws, or do you feel compelled to defend it against accusations you don’t really believe are true?

What if you thought a title was really so-so but endlessly see it described as a classic, a masterpiece, an undeniable work of art? Do you pretend to like it? Do you add it to your top 10 lists just to fit in? Do you avoid giving any opinion or at least try to soften the blow with excuses like: “I was really young when I saw that”?

I know I do.

Rini 2020 (6)

It’s stupid of course. I end up getting nonsense recommendations for new shows because it’s based on skewed data. Or I find myself sitting through movies or shows I know I won’t enjoy because I somehow didn’t manage to scrape together the microscopic amount of courage required to admit that I don’t like a particular director or studio. On the flip side, I also can’t gush over whatever silly, stupid little show is making me super happy at the moment because I’m afraid people will judge me. Despite the fact that I know no one cares about my anime tastes, at least not enough to actually have them affect their opinion of me.

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yes, yes tell me more of this awnimou you like so much – everyone I know

I want to watch shows I like – and I want those types of shows to get made, but people won’t know that unless I tell them. So? Well…As my own feeble attempt at some kind of earnestness, I give you my top 9 animes I’m either ashamed of liking or embarrassed of not getting. Let’s all celebrate our lack of good taste together!

In random order:

😊 The Royal Tutor

I’m not as stupid as I look. I realize this show is just a lighthearted excuse to bring together a flock of beautifully drawn bishies and cash in on the hormonal audience ready to devour it. The animation is minimal, the historic setting is laughable and characters and storyline are all more or less surface level but that’s not what this show was for… It’s paced well, the easy humour may be uninspired but it’s familiar and comforting. What it did do, it did well. The pretty pretty characters are super likeable for all their lack of developments and by golly I would watch another season the second it came out. I would leave work early and everything.

 Sakamoto desu ka

When this show came out there was so much hype, even I heard of it. This was recommended to me by just about everybody – the one friend that watches anime, blogs, youtubers even MAL. Everyone told me that this is comedy gold – one of the most hilarious shows to come out in recent years and well, I didn’t get it… My sense of humour is important to me, it’s the one quality I’m actually proud of. I am quick with a laugh and need very little to find the funny in a situation and although Sakamoto wasn’t bad I just didn’t find it that funny and ended up dropping it after 6 episodes or so. I’m very worried that I’m growing dull.

😊 Black Butler II

Black butler, in all its iterations, has long been a guilty pleasure of mine. I am honestly ashamed of liking this show so much. It’s just sooooo emo and gothicky and teenage angsty and I love all of  it. At least it’s fairly popular except I’m a black sheep even among Black Butler fans because my clear favourite is season 2. Most fans will stop talking to me at this point, I understand. But, I adore Alois, I think he’s the perfect embodiment of the cheesy gaudy charm that BB brings to the table and the sarcastic ending was the best. Soo yeah – I’m a lost cause.

 My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU

People love this show, I see artwork from it all over the place and I will admit it’s quite pretty. It also has the word SNAFU in the title which is automatic extra points in my book. But everything else never resonated with me. The comedy fell flat, the drama felt fabricated the pace was off and the characters were irrational. I fluctuated between bored and depressed throughout most of it yet still felt the need to watch both seasons, waiting for it to finally pick up. It did not. I did like the orange haired girl’s front cross strap bra thingy….

😊 Alien 9

OK – I can’t explain this one. It’s a mess of a show but I lurve it so much. One of the few series I’ve both watched and read and reread. I could defend it to you guys. The intriguing parasitic/symbiotic alien aspect with a sort of magical girl deconstruction feel. The jarring violence and real suspense but in all honestly even those high points aren’t fully realized. I can’t tell you why it’s better than people think it is but it is. I’m going to go watch it right now.

 Azumanga Daioh

I like the Slice of Life and Comedy genres quite a lot (although looking at this list, maybe I don’t?) and Azumanga Daioh is considered by many, a classic. The intro should be! It has its moments to be sure but I just didn’t find it that funny. That aside, what really put me off was the use of a teacher’s predatory and continual sexual harassment of students as a running gag. The show treats it as cute and funny that an adult teacher is clearly trying to grope or see his students naked all the time. I’m afraid that I’m being a stick in the mud or that I somehow missed the distinction between ridiculing bad behaviour rather than humanizing it, but it always skived me out and I just couldn’t shake the feeling. Apparently, I’m the only one who has a problem with this. This scene always made me laugh though: 

😊 Cheer Boys!!

I’ve written a post about this unsubtle cash grab of a show and how I can’t seem to hate it. In fact I’ll just say it, I really like it. It’s indefensible so I won’t even try to but sometimes we just want empty calories. This show won’t bring anything new. There are so many better sports animes out there and you should watch them all before this one. But once you’re done with all the “good” shows….

 Spirited Away

Yes, yes, I know – Ghibli, yes genius, yes Myazaki, yes I think he’s really hot, yes this movie is brimming with wonder and charm… I can see the quality but, I mean, so what? Do I remember anything about Chihiro as a person? About any character at all? I don’t, they just didn’t leave a mark on me. I can clearly see the images of what people and things looked like but they have no personalities beyond that for me. I would show this to a small child or an animation student who wants to admire the technical know-how and maybe I should rewatch it. I just didn’t find in it the depth or meaning of earlier titles like Mononoke or the graceful ache of Totoro and I would write more except I don’t remember anything about it…

😊 Cute High Earth Defense Club Love!

Let’s end it on a happy note. Eminareviews named this as the anime she was embarrassed of liking and it suddenly dawned on me that maybe I should be embarrassed too. Sure, the jokes are super easy and the premise is paper thin but what can I tell you guys, this show had me smiling from start to finish. I realize that given the fact that Shinji Takamatsu (of Daily Lives of High School Boys and Gintama fame) was behind this, expectations may have been sky high for some and disappointment was inevitable. I also see that the writers went for some low hanging fruit here, and that they would have been capable of much subtler and more cutting humor but just because it’s a little lazy doesn’t mean it’s not funny. Season 2, now that was not funny….

This is one of the disadvantages of wine: it makes a man mistake words for thought

Suggested drink: Confidence Builder, alternatively you can throw it in the other person’s face but that would be such a waste…

  • Every time someone tells you your favorite anime is derivative – drink
  • Every time some says “I use to like that show before I knew more about anime” – drink
  • Every time someone gets real nitpicky about an unimportant aspect of your favourite show, like the color palette for example – drink
  • Every time someone says you should what X instead – it’s so much better – drink
  • Every time someone tells you, you’ll get it when you learn a bit about… – drink
  • Every time someone tells you the manga was better – drink
  • Every time someone says, well I’m more into story driven narratives – drink
  • Every time someone tells you it’s a poor man’s version of… – drink
  • Every time someone accuses your show of being cliché – drink
  • Every time someone accuses your show of being pretentious – drink
  • Every time someone says aren’t cartoons for children? – go home

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61 thoughts

  1. My favourite anime is Spirited away. I have watched it so many times. I have never heard of a few of your titles but I am now going to check them out. Thank you for a great article x

    1. I admit, it may have gone over my head but Spirited Away is a wonderful movie. I hope you find something you like 🙂

  2. Lately I’ve been searching for opinions on shows and films, both good and bad because it’s always invigorating learning about the way other people view the same work of art. Being transparent and honest about your opinions is often very rewarding. No one should have to feel ashamed for liking or disliking anything, in my opinion. Nice entry!

  3. Black Butler II was a hot mess but somehow Alois captured my heart lol. The funny thing is, I was talking crap about Alois almost every episode until the moment Claude killed him, and I was like, “How could you do this to my baby?!”

  4. I forgot one! InuYasha, which was the first time I actively watched an anime, releasing it was an anime. I mean, I’ve seen others before, but didn’t really think of it different than a regular cartoon.

  5. I’m a lost cause too. My anime tastes are, well, unusual. I prefer very few long running anime’s. I get so bored so easily. But I have watched all of two long running anime’s, ones that legit everyone knows: Yu gi Oh and Naruto. I watched these much later in life than your typical anime watcher. I was 20 for Yugi and 22 for Naruto. Anyway, my personal fav is GoSick. I know no one who has watched that one, so yea. LOL

  6. My anime confessions:
    * I HATED Steins: Gate. Idk, maybe it was just me? I thought Okabe was such a jerk and the plot was too confusing and poorly paced for me to follow. I dropped it after 10 episodes
    * “Cute girl” anime (K-On, Chuunibyo, Lucky Star etc.) is amazing. Some people are just haters 😅
    * I still have not seen a single episode of One-Punch Man. But I guess people hate this series now, so maybe I dodged a bullet there…?
    * I hate JoJo and all JoJo memes, please just stop
    * My Hero Academia’s latest season is amazing, I don’t care what anyone else says
    * I liked the TV Evangelion ending better than the movie 😬

    1. I also love original Eva ending. Actually I agree with everything except Steins which is still one of my all time favourite games

  7. Just looked thru the MAL top 100 anime and didn’t find any I didn’t like. (There are a few I haven’t seen.)

    I really enjoyed Yosuga no Sora and everyone tells me its trash and it got a 6.45 on MAL. Go suck eggs. Domestic na Kanojo left me feeling completely flat but I remember people singing its praises. Ah well.

  8. I really like that list format, complete with emoticons and a four-panel barrage of cropped gifs. That was some neat shit.

    Umi Monogatari is the series for me that most coincides with this topic (aside from all the low ratings I gave to highly-rated series because I’m cynical). I watched it out of sheer curiosity and I ended up thinking it was pretty good! Then I go to MAL and it’s ranked within the 5000’s in terms of average score and I’m like, “????????????” I couldn’t wrap my head around what people didn’t like about it… it’s kind of bland? Maybe? I thought it was good, and I’m proud to say I haven’t been swayed by any serious discussions of it (it’s not a popular anime regardless). Great piece!

  9. I don’t really tend to let reviews sway me one way or the other. I disagree with many on a bunch of big anime (I really didn’t care for FLCL and I greatly enjoyed Dragon Ball GT) so I’m used to not necessarily being with the majority. That being said, I usually won’t try to get people to change sides either. If I’m in a group and everyone is bashing Sword Art Online (This happens almost daily in my anime group) I don’t go out of my way to defend it. Everyone already knows I’m a fan and where we stand on that and just agree to disagree. If anything I have fun egging people on in these cases a bit by pointing out some weaknesses myself, but I definitely do let people know I’m a fan from the start

  10. I like what I like and don’t much care about anyone else’s opinion on the matter of my taste. . .

        1. I’m not entirely sure about that. Most politicians are of a certain age and they craft a career out if caring about other people’s opinions

          1. Craft careers out of pretending to care, perhaps? (It might surprise you how frequently–at least here in the States–lawmakers exempt themselves from the laws they pass. . .why would they do so if they truly believed those laws would propagate the public good?)

  11. I never finished the Royal Tutor, but I remember actually liking that dorky little show. The city had the added bonus of being a carbon copy of Vienna, so I kept thinking I was there, and there, and there… And it’s really surreal to see anime characters in this setting. I was thinking: so that’s what it feels like (location scouting is a thing; there have to be people watching anime who recognise their neighbourhoods in anime).

    Generally, I’m with you when like things, but I don’t have quite the same hit-rate with your dislikes (I didn’t get Sakamoto either). Well, Cheer Danshi was really good for half its run, and then it sort of fell apart for me. I’ve never heard anyone say bad things about Alien 9 (it’s probably the type of show that’s not likely to catch your attention if you’re not predisposed to like it – loved it, wish there were more episodes).

    I was reading your number one title and thought to myself, as long as we’re keeping it to season 1, and then I read that final line. Heh. I adored the show. It came at a time where this little spurt of silliness was the closest thing to a traditional magical girl show out there. Tongue-in-cheek and full of affection for the genre. What’s not to love?

    The year when I was personally most out of touch with anime fandom was 2015: My anime of the year was Rolling Girls, a show that disappointed nearly everyone who watched it (but which people are slowly re-discovering – which makes me happy), and everyone liked Death Parade which I personally found pretty, pretentious, and problmatic (I don’t normally use the word “problematic”, but I liked the alliteration).

    I think I’m also the only person I know who likes Dog and Scissors.

    On the flip side, I can’t stand Your Lie in April. It’s an aweful treatment of trauma, takes music as an opportunity for competition for granted and thus it’s fundamental attitude towards those competitions is skewed, and then there was that scene where they decided to use percussion for no reason (and it didn’t fit the music). It’s also overdirected, too colourful, and so on and so on. I could rant forever.

    Last season, I’d say, the least popular show I actually liked was Actors: Song Connection.

    Finally, I’m actually more likely to rag on a show if it’s very popular, because then I don’t feel like I’m punching down. That explains why I’m generally less harsh on Sword Art Online than My Hero Academia, even though I like the latter a lot more. I suppose I’m a champion of balance or something?

    In any case, you like what you like, and if you can admit that yourself you’ll have more fun watching anime.

    1. I haven’t seen RollerGirls or Dog and Scissors but I also didn’t much like Death Parade or Lie…

  12. Notably, the only time Boueibu has been embarrassing for me is when I had to say the English localised title to the guy running the counter at the geek goods store (I mentioned it in a post at one point). (…and yet I’ve managed to buy worse with the straightest of faces – 7th Garden, for instance, may be categorised as ecchi, but it’s also extremely entertaining outside of that!)

    Also notably, Sakamoto and Boueibu are both directed by Takamatsu (not sure if you noticed that, since you mentioned this detail for one but not the other), so he’s definitely on to something if he’s out to embarrass you…

    …but yeah, you don’t have to be ashamed of what you like, so long as you can justify why and be reasonable about it to others. That’s what blogs and such are for.

    1. Most people liked these titles. In fact I know they are well made and written, it’s simple a personal thing.

  13. I’m actually guilty of liking a few of these as well. I haven’t seen The Royal Tutor, Alien 9 or Azumanga Daioh but I’m adding them to my list!
    I have to say that I can totally understand why you didn’t like Sakamoto. Some situations were so absurd that I had to question my own sanity for sitting through it.
    I dropped Black Butler back in season 1. It wasn’t that I didn’t like it or found it uninteresting, it just got a bit tedious.
    My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU was alright but I agree with the pacing and I was super confused with the romantic pairing so I dropped that too.
    Cheer Boys, however, was an utter delight to watch and I LOVED IT!! So fun! So precious! Cute High Earth Defense Club Love was also a surprising gem and I’m 60% sure it was meant to be a Maho Shoujo x Power Rangers parody.
    I’m actually not a huge Ghibli fan (prepares for oncoming outrage) but I did enjoy Spirited Away and I’m not ashamed to admit it’s solely because of a dragon!

  14. I tend to be pretty up-front about what I liked or didn’t like and my reasons and there are definitely times when I don’t like something everyone else seems to love (often when an anime is classes as a comedy and all I find it is incredibly annoying). Most of the time people don’t care, though they do occasionally try to convince me I’m wrong and of course such-and-such an anime is actually brilliant and I should give it another go. I find that fairly harmless and I like that people are passionate about their anime. I did lose a few followers on my blog after my first review of Kaguya-Sama Love is War where I essentially pointed out that I couldn’t stand the entire central premise of the story. I don’t think these were followers who ever interacted with me but there was a noticeable dip right after that post published and quite a lot of comments explaining to me why I’d ‘missed the point’.
    I kind of feel though that the whole point of writing about anime the way most bloggers do is to express an opinion about them. If we change or censor our opinion based on perceived reader opinion we’d all end up sounding pretty much the same. Though there is a difference between expressing an opinion and belittling someone else’s view.

    1. Really, I didn’t think there were ever any direct consequences like that. This is a new side of blogging for me.

      1. I usually don’t see that kind of backlash. Occasionally an individual will unfollow me and sometimes even send me a message as to why (though that is like maybe four times within a year). However, apparently disliking Kaguya was a step too far for some people. As I said, I don’t think anyone who stopped following had ever really engaged in comments or discussion because I didn’t notice anyone I usually interact with missing, but the numbers definitely dipped right after that.

  15. I have the exact same opinion as you on Spirited Away, except I was a small child who just stumbled upon it late at night, and didn’t even finish it. From what I remember I found the characters lacking depth and the story kind of unfocused. I definitely need to give it a fair chance someday, I think it’s revered a lot because of it’s allegorical merit. From what I’ve heard it’s something that appeals to childish wonder but also grows with the audience and can be enjoyed deeper through acknowledging more of the film’s context and content.

    I mean nothing is experienced in a vacuum and things would be bland and dysfunctional if we all held the same opinions so I think there’s no shame in any of the opinions expressed in this one.

    And also because your drinking game sounds like you’re taking shots (at me, not the drinking kind… you might be taking those) because I think I’m guilty of such claims. I think these are good introductory phrases to ideas or perspectives then a say all be all. I think it’s fine to say “X is the poor man’s y” if that’s you going yo, this is my stance and then proceed to elaborate different aspects or elements of why one vibes better with you. I do think it’s obnoxious if you’re using it dismissively and just refusing to engage or acknowledge a show or it’s merit simply because it’s “pretentious” or something like that. I feel like there’s a difference depending on how willing your open to communication and discussion but maybe I’m wrong…. I might have to go delete a lot of stuff then…

    1. My drinking game is designed to allow you to drink! I encourage everyone to use those sentences as much as possible!

      You were a clear headed child!

  16. What other people think of what you like shouldn’t matter. I know it does sometimes, but it *shouldn’t* — and that’s something I think everyone could stand to learn.

    Conversations are much more interesting when people have varied experiences to talk about! I’d much rather hear a variety of viewpoints about a variety of different things rather than have everyone nodding along about [insert popular thing here] without contributing anything particularly interesting to the discussion.

    In my own group of friends, I tend to be that odd one out — with video games rather than anime, but the concept stands. It’s sometimes hard to make them listen to the things I have to say about stuff they’re unfamiliar with while they’re all (still) talking about The Witcher 3 or whatever. (I thought The Witcher 3 was OK, but it’s by no means in my top games of all time or anything — but that’s just my taste.)

    There’s an affirmation I found a while back that I find helpful to refer back to now and then. It was posted on Twitter by a user called @timrattray originally; I don’t follow them or anything (I think I caught it as a RT), so I don’t know if it was the person’s original thought and I don’t have the original tweet link or anything, but it goes like this:

    “It’s not worth getting caught up on the opinions that people who barely know you have of you. You know who you are, you know what you believe in, and the opinion of somebody else doesn’t change that truth.”

    This is true for so many aspects of life… including the things you enjoy and want to talk about.

    1. It’s not only about what other people think though. Sometimes it’s all internalized. Like wow “do I have horrible tastes”? – I mean the answer is yea but you know…

      1. Ask yourself where that idea comes from, though. If you clearly and obviously like something and you’re asking yourself if you have “horrible taste”… where did that definition of “horrible taste” come from if it’s clearly not from your own *actual* tastes? It must have come from somewhere or someone else.

        If you *genuinely* thought liking the thing meant you had horrible taste, you wouldn’t like the thing in the first place. It more likely stems from fear of what other people would think if they found out.

        Once you identify where worries over your own tastes come from, you can start to take steps towards taking full ownership over what you’re interested in.

        1. Oh yeah – I know it’s entirely fear of missing out on anime I would enjoy more. I have idiotic FOMO, I know it. It’s completely meaningless of course.

  17. The same can really be said about video games as well whenever you find something that you really like but its hated in the community or hated something that the community loves.
    Parasite Eve The 3rd Birthday for example it was widely loathed in the community for its confusing and error written story and they do have a solid base on it and i played it as well and i see their points where they are coming from.
    The game has solid graphics,animation and good gameplay and it was also the first in the series to include voice acting too and the voice acting wasn’t too bad either. But the unneeded fanservice was another big complaint as well too as the game is notable for its serious and bloody storyline and Aya the main character never used her appearance to seduce anybody. (During the game Aya’s clothing becomes more torn apart and revealing and this causes you to lose health more quickly from enemy hits so that too is another hindrance).
    But as the game that killed the Parasite Eve series far from it as it hadn’t got a new release since 2001 and personally i didn’t find it to be horrendous but not great either.
    Another game that is pretty dividing in the Square Enix community is Final Fantasy XV alot of the story was good but there was alot of stuff that wasn’t explained in the original game that it had to be released as DLC to clear up the plotholes. And the gameplay itself yeah the real time gameplay has come along way from Final Fantasy 13 but it can be button mashing at times too. And there was parts in the game that was meant to be explorable like Alitissa but due to production issues it wasn’t.
    The remaining dlc was cancelled much to the dismay of fans as there was even more story to be explored but the reason why it was cancelled was due to the director leaving Square Enix and starting his own studio but at least it was cleared up in the form of novels you can get on Amazon or the Square Enix store.
    Finally there’s Kingdom Hearts 3 now theres alot of things i liked about the game and some things that i didn’t. In Arrendelle you spent a little too much time finding Olaf’s body parts. The lack of Final Fantasy characters and its ironic as well too since Kingdom Hearts’s core element is not only Disney but also Square Enix IP’s as well too like The World Ends With You. And the Disney Rides too in the game is so overpowered it made combat easier than it already should be.
    At least Squall,Yuffie,Aerith and Cid are coming back in the Re:mind dlc.
    Other goods things that can be said about Kingdom Hearts 3 is the Pirates Of The Caribbean world being more interesting to explore and being able to travel on a pirate ship being like a actual pirate. It finally wraps up a decade worth of plots in the series and its one of the most creative games in the series by far and the best looking too.
    So in a way i can see why fans can be divided about certain entries in the series but it also should be important to keep an open mind to figure out and do your own research to see why is it really bad pr is it really over exageration and there could be some good things said about the entry.

    1. Plus Kingdom Hearts 3 didn’t had as much activities to take part in as in previous games and it was focused on more style than substance too at times.

  18. Oh, I wasn’t a fan of Sakamoto Desu Ka either! I’ve never met someone who didn’t like it (physically and digitally) so, thanks! I don’t feel as lonely for not liking it as much as the masses now.

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