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!
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…
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!
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!
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.
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?