Let me preface this post by saying it was super hard for me to find 5 anime I thought I would hate and still watched at all. I’m something of a gerbil-faced optimist when it comes to anime and I tend to maintain the mindset that if it qualifies as anime, I will probably find something to like about it. Despite the fact that over the years I have developed some clear preferences and pet peeves.

I will admit, this attitude has let me down a couple of times but still, I rather give shows the benefit of the doubt. And that’s because of series like these. Animes that on paper shouldn’t appeal to me and yet, I ended up really enjoying!

5. My Love Story

I’m putting this at the bottom of the list because, to be honest, I did have high hopes for this show before watching it. But even then, I couldn’t explain why. My Love Story is a classic romantic comedy with a heavy focus on romance. And no matter how many times I convince myself that I should try to appreciate the genre more, I rarely end up finding a show that I really like. I don’t hate them but it’s just not for me.

Except for My Love Story. I had a wonderful time with the anime from the first episode to the last and I would have watched way more. I tried to figure out what sets this particular show apart but all I could come up with is that it’s about nice people being nice to each other and I thought it was nice…

4. Hyouka

Hyouka is the reason I’m writing this post in the first place. I wrote in my review for the series that I wasn’t expecting to like it. You can go read that post for the details but basically, the characters didn’t appeal to me (in concept not in design. in design most of what Kyoto animation has created appeals to me), what I knew of the plot left me dubious and nothing of what I knew around the series was really getting me excited to watch it.

But I did watch it. And I really liked it. Like a whole lot. I still can’t explain it as on paper, Hyouka is still a show I shouldn’t like. It’s full of elements and tropes I don’t usually go for and there’s no particular thing I can point to that makes the series particularly suited for me. But here you have it. It’s a great show and I like great anime I guess!

3. Aoharu x Machinegun

Ok, so Aoharu x Machinegun is not necessarily a great series, unlike my earlier entries. And I fully understand if you watched it and didn’t really get into it. Heck,. I was pretty sure it wasn’t my thing either. Aoharu has this strange mishmash of weird tropes and character eccentricities. It sometimes feels like the writers were throwing everything at the wall just to see what sticks and it can get a bit messy because of that.

Add in the fact that I had little interest in airsoft (I sort of developed one) and the main character’s personal arc had me thinking this was going to turn into a soap opera at any minute, and you have a recipe for an anime I’m watching entirely out of morbid curiosity. I expected this show to be at best, entirely forgettable for me.

But like barely two episodes in and I was having fun. Honest to goodness fun. (I had a similar experience with Prince of Stride but I think Aoharu is a bit more fun so it makes the list). Sure, the show is still messy and I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone, or even to most people but man, I had a blast. I would watch a second season anytime!

2. Cautious Hero: The Hero Is Overpowered but Overly Cautious

For a while there it seemed like Isekai was all that was coming out. And for a while, I was watching all of them. I think I got a bit of genre fatigue because, at one point, even the big names were starting to really get on my nerves. This is too bad because there are a lot of isekai I love.

And this is when someone recommended Cautious Hero to me. Not only was it an Isekai, but it seemed like one of those power fantasy, fanservice heavy schlocks that are a dime a dozen and all sort of start to look the same after a while. Boy, I sound way more bitter than I feel. I should say, I usually like the fanservice stuff more since it doesn’t take itself seriously but like I said, at that point, I had watched so many in a row. I really would never have given Cautious Hero a second glance if it hadn’t been personally and warmly recommended.

And you know what. I laughed so much while watching this show. And it was on purpose like I was laughing at the actual jokes and not in a campy so bad it’s good sort of way. Cautious Hero is well-paced, for me, the humour really landed and the fanservice felt flirty and fun rather than obstructive or invasive. I had a great time with this show, I’m really glad someone told me to watch it.

1. Given

Ok, so on paper Given is a collection of my red flags. In fact, this is not a show I thought I wouldn’t like, it’s a show I knew I wouldn’t like. You see Given is a romance (uhg) drama (oh man…) dealing with teenagers trying to overcome trauma (blegh). I’m being glib. You can craft a masterpiece of a story within those parameters. It’s just that for me, the masterpieces are extremely rare and the rest is almost impossible to sit through.

But it’s not just the depressing premise and run-of-the-mill designs that were giving me pause. It’s the fact that I read the Given manga. I had already finished several volumes when the series came out. And I had dropped it. I did not like Given at all. Why was I even watching the show?

Well, fittingly, I started watching Given because of the music. I really liked the music I had heard in the trailers and when Karandi and I decided to do a collab on the show, I figured I would be able to listen and appreciate the soundtrack.

I ended up appreciating a heck of a lot more. Given was my surprise show of the season. I fell in love with it and couldn’t wait for the next episode. It remains the series that pops into my head whenever I consider dropping a show from my watch list sight unseen. You never know my brain whispers, remember how much you liked Given…

There you have it, these are 5 anime that keep me watching, well pretty much everything I come across. That’s not actually a good thing. I have to start being more selective. But sometimes even unappealing anime turns out to be really good!!! I would have been bummed if I missed out on any of these shows. (Well realistically I wouldn’t even realize I’m missing out on anything. There are probably hundreds of series I would like that I have never even heard of…)

Are there any anime that you thought you weren’t going to enjoy but ended up really liking? Do you know why?

17 thoughts

  1. It’s definitely good when a title really ends up surprising you in a positive way like that. I can’t think of many off the top because for the most part if something really looks like I’m not going to like it then I keep putting off watching it until it just never ends up making the cut. I think the best example for me would be Kanon. It’s one of those really emotional/tragic kind of shows and I don’t really tend to like anything that gets really sad. This one pulled it off pretty well though and I felt like each of the characters got their big moments before things got too sad. I still would tend to avoid shows in the sad genre but that one was good.

    1. I was under the impression that I was the last person to see Hyouka because everyone I talk to seems to have watched it. But I do agree, it’s wonderful and should be more popular

    1. Interesting. I think Madoka is one of the anime I watched very early on when I didn’t have much feel for anime in general

  2. I really enjoyed Hyouka -it seemed to have a thread of droll humour running through it that is a rare thing in anime and just added something special to the series. And, despite the fact that I am not really a fan of yaoi, I thought Given was one of the best things in anime that I watched last year…a really well crafted story with (mostly) well-developed characters.

  3. “Hate” is obviously hyperbole, so no worries there. “5 Anime I thought I wouldn’t like very much, and then enjoyed much more than expected,” doesn’t have the same punch, and a lot more words in it that don’t really say anything important. One could, maybe, go with a more simple, “5 Anime I enjoyed more than expected,” but that’s rather drab and also has a different cut-off point. The title’s fine, I’d say.

    For my watching habits, I could actually point towards a particular watching habit: “Top 5 anime I dropped after one episode (max), and later picked up again to find they were enjoyable.” Problem is to remember enough of those. There’s, of course, “Granbelm”. I decided to drop the show after the first episode, and I only watched the second episode after reading your review. And it ended up much, much better than I thought it would.

    I dropped Mirai Nikki after one episode: I’m not into death game shows, per se. I wasn’t that interested in the diary concept. And I hated the design of the God. So other people would recommend the show, and I got back to it, and it was good cheesy fun. These days, I hear many people talk negatively about the ending. I remember actually thinking the ending was actually pretty smart, but I’m not sure I’d agree with myself now, since I can’t remember the ending at all.

    Alderamin On the Sky had character designs that weren’t my cup of tea and I didn’t have the best track record with war stories, so I quit on it after one episode. I heard good things about the show from someone I didn’t expect to like the show I thought it would be, so I got back to it out of curiosity, and ended up quite enjoying. I wish I could tell you more about it. I think the main character was a pragmatist who hated war? That, or something similar. Something I didn’t expect.

    A Sister’s All You Need starts with a joke about sis-con anime I didn’t really find all that funny, the main character, framed through this, didn’t appeal to me either, and I was out right after that. Well, other people spoke well about the show, and I liked the pictures I saw, so I gave it another show, and… the writer wrote that scene specifically to troll his editor, which makes the scene a lot more funny in retrospect, and the show itself has no actual sis-con in it (though some related material) and is actually a thoughtful and subtle romance between manga-sales rivals. That’s probably the most positive reaction I’ve had out the ones I can remember.

    So that’s four. I know there are more, but I can’t remember them right now. For what it’s woth I recently rewatched Kamisama Dolls. Why do I think of this now? Well, it’s not a show I dropped, or a show I thought I wouldn’t enjoy – but it was a show that ended up much more subtle and intricated than I gave it credit for. I remember it was episode four that made me open up my eyes. Something happened that I… didn’t expect until much later into the show, maybe near the climax. Not in episode four. And then developments actually spun this intricate web of a village with hidden power that tends to break its children, and you can’t really leave behind even if you leave it and intend to not go back. Oh, and there’s Kuuko, voiced by Miyuki Sawashiro, daughter of a policeman and a fearless chaos voeuyer without any special mecha-related powers holding her own. The show’s hardly perfect, but on second view it was even better than remembered it being, probably because I paid proper attention from the beginning (I didn’t remember the plot).

      1. I’m not really sure how much you’d like it. It’s a pretty straightforward romance show; I suppose a lot depends on how you deal with the humour, and whether it can add enough spice? I’d say if you don’t see the appeal after one episode, there’s no point in going any further. For me, it was the very first scene that turned me off. It’s worth pushing past that.

  4. And thus there is hope for us as reviewers yet! If we can enjoy something we were pretty certain we would dislike (at the most generous level)? Then we are definitely moving in the right directions as Reviewers!

    Hmmm… Do I have anything I liked despite thinking I’d probably hate it? Probably. But nothing springs to mind. Mostly because I’m picking my reviews so that I stack the deck as it were, picking things I’m sure to like…

    Which sadly means I’m your mirror universe counterpart… Give me enough time and I’ll have the beard to prove it… Because I have my list if titles I thought I’d like, but didn’t. Sad. But thats what happens when you budget your reviews by stacking the deck seemingly in your favor. Sometimes the house still wins.

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