Like any other form of popular fiction, the success of anime often spawns sequels or, better yet, a franchise. It wouldn’t be surprising if anime and manga creators dream of making the next mega-bestseller and merchandising giant like One Piece.
Unfortunately, not all of these anime come close to their ideal happy ending, or turn into flops of epic proportions. This is what has happened to these series, either because they were ahead of their time or because they were hopelessly bad from the start.
10 Certain Scientific Accelerator – Index Did Not Expand (Again)
A Certain Scientific Index has the strange problem of being constantly overshadowed by its spinoff series Railgun. Over and over again, Index tried to step out of Mikoto Misaka’s shadow, but fell short. This was the case again with A Certain Scientific Accelerator, starring Accelerator, Mikoto’s level 5 rival, and her clone Last Order.
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Accelerator introduced himself as the dark and uptight side of Index, as he followed the titular antihero during his redemption arc. While Accelerator isn’t bad at all, it was disappointing enough that it didn’t inspire strong reactions from new viewers and make fans of the franchise wonder when Railgun will return.
9 Stars Align – Canceled in the middle of its first half
At the height of sports anime, the tennis-focused Stars Align was an unexpected success. The anime had the makings of a successful sports drama, like Haikyuu, mostly because of its cast of well-trained tennis players and a story that balanced their athletic and normal lives. Unfortunately, Stars Align was prematurely canceled before it could connect with the public.
Star Align was going to run 24 episodes, but for unspecified reasons, the production committee abruptly canceled it midway through the first 12-episode run. This explains the strange ending, more crowded and rushed than satisfying. Director Kazuki Akane wants to finish the story properly and has promised to find a solution.
8 Interspecies Reviews – Episode 1 Barely Passed
Interspecies Reviewers is an adult fantasy comedy in which heroes rate and rate the women they sleep with, regardless of their mythical race. The premise alone is enough to get negative press, and that’s exactly what happened with the anime. It wasn’t long before Interspecies Reviewers was taken off the air, denying it the opportunity to grow significantly.
Despite this controversy, and probably because of it, Interspecies Reviewers became an underground hit, and was even released on DVD by Right Stuff. Although Interspecies Review ers enjoys a cult following, it is highly unlikely that it will return to television screens and streaming services any time soon.
7 Cutey Honey – A Long History of False Beginnings
Cutey Honey is a nostalgic favorite who codified the magical genre as it is known today, making her inconsistent story strange in hindsight. The original 1973 anime was canceled after its liberal use of nudity for makeovers and comedy sparked controversy. Similarly, its successor, the 1994 original animated video (OVA), New Cutey Honey, only aired 8 of the 12 episodes due to production difficulties.
The same fate ran his reboots, remakes and even a live action movie. They did pretty well, but they never worked. Honey Kisaragi’s heroic adventures as a butt-kicking magical girl may have been groundbreaking for the anime, but they were never able to stay in the limelight long enough to establish a solid franchise and a following.
6 Berserk (2016) – A CGI stain on a classic’s legacy
Berserk is one of the best dark fantasies ever made, which makes his latest anime a shame. Although Studio 4C’s Berserk: The Golden Age Arc was well received, the film trilogy underperformed financially, leading to the rights being shifted to GEMBA and Millepensee. This pretty much ended the resurgence of Berserk in the 2010s, while also tarnishing the reputation of the revered manga.
Berserk (2016) was so poorly made and received that to this day it is still the laughing stock of the anime community. To add salt to the wounds, this was the first time the arches from Conviction and Hawk of the Millennium Empire were adapted, making a terrible first impression for some of the best-known events from the original manga.
5 F-Zero: GP Legend – The reason Nintendo doesn’t make anime
Those wondering why Nintendo isn’t adapting more games to anime have to look no further than F-Zero: GP Legend. Released in 2003, this anime was intended to be an updated introduction of Captain Falcon of SNES fame to a new generation. Unfortunately, GP Legend failed and killed two birds with one stone.
This failure not only put an end to production of the F-Zero games, it also put an end to Nintendo’s interest in making more anime. Any anime-related plans other than the already successful Pokémon were quickly scrapped, and this mandate seems to be in effect even today. As for Captain Falcon, he has not been seen beyond the Super Smash Bros. lineups.
4 Victory Gundam – The Gundam that almost wiped out the franchise
Like all Mobile Suit Gundam anime, Victory Gundam was made in the hopes of becoming a smash hit selling tons of mockups. Instead, Uso Ewin’s journey in his mobile suit was so depressing, even by Gundam standards, that it plunged television ratings, demolished interest in the original Universal Century and, worst of all, had the lowest merchandise sales in Gundam history.
To save the franchise, which was suddenly in jeopardy, the producers removed Gundam from the universal timeline and prioritized the cool Gundams above all else. The change paid off, and while Gundam eventually regained ground and even revisited the Universal Century, Victory Gundam continues to be ignored by fans and creators, to the point where it did not receive an English dub or DVD release during years.
3 The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya – Bad luck and a time loop buried an anime icon
It’s more of a failure to maintain a franchise than to establish one, but Haruhi’s downfall was so meteoric and unprecedented at the time that it deserves mention. Aside from the polarization of season two and her infamous Endless Eight arc, which fell short of expectations at best, Haruhi’s growth and the franchise’s potential were hampered by countless outside forces.
Some of them are: an incoherent light novel and manga release schedule that weakened fan interest, Kyoto Animation’s shift to making original anime instead of adaptations, the demotion of Har uhi’s biggest executive supporter, Atushi Ito, and many more. All this made Haruhi fall into oblivion and was abandoned by her creators, despite her great popularity.
2 EX-ARM – Declaring War on Sci-Fi and Shamefully Losing
With an incredibly bad trailer that dared to challenge the entire sci-fi genre, EX-ARM was dead on arrival. Ignoring the spin-off story that is indistinguishable from any ’90s throwaway cyberpunk OVA, EX-ARM is just plain ugly. EX-ARM was directed by Yoshikatsu Kimura and animated by Visual Flight studio and, if it wasn’t obvious, they both have no experience in digital anime.
It’s obvious that the creators were very confident that EX-ARM would become the next Ghost in the Shell, but their arrogance struck them back in a ridiculous way. Following universal ridicule and accusations of homophobia due to a censored and / or poorly animated kiss, it is highly unlikely that the planned EX-ARM franchise will continue, let alone be mentioned again. The only reason EX-ARM is not number one is that it is still being issued and its overall failure is yet to be determined.
1 Gundress – The biggest failure in anime history
Based on some sweet notes and character designs and highlights from Ghost in the Shell creator Masamune Shirow, Gundress was an overly ambitious attempt to create a new multimedia sci-fi franchise. Despite being an original property, Gundress risked it all and had tons of supplemental material made (such as manga, audio dramas, and video games) in case the film was successful.
However, the production was such a nightmare that Gundress was released incomplete in Japanese theaters, leaving the pencil tests as is. A VHS tape of the entire film was promised to the public, although very few, if any, made use of this promotion. After losing millions of dollars, the producers sued animation studio Orca. Unless EX-ARM says otherwise, there is currently no bomb anime as great as Gundress.