Look, not every anime you watch is going to be amazing. Everyone has their own way of deciding when to drop a show, but what if we told you there were a few red flags that let you know in advance if you’re watching a bad anime or not? Obviously, this isn’t accurate 100% of the time, but you should at least have a general idea after reading the following tips.

1. It’s Consistently Boring

Hinako Note – I watched it so you don’t have to. (Photo Credit: Passione)

A lot of people swear by the three-episode rule. Simply: watch three episodes and if you’re not hooked, drop it. However, there’s a chance that the show is just a slow starter. Look at Steins Gate, for instance.

Instead, just keep watching until you realize you don’t care. If this happens in episode one, that’s fine. If it doesn’t happen at all, great! With so many shows coming out each season, there’s no reason to spend time on a show that doesn’t care about keeping you interested.

2. You Feel Like You’ve Seen It Before

Toei Animation

This one’s a little tricky, since some anime (like Konosuba and One Punch Man) play with your expectations. However, if you start a show and find it’s just a rehashed plot with some minor tweaks (In Another World With My Smartphone, we’re looking at you), why bother? Let’s face it: if the basic premise is predictable, how likely is it to surprise you at the end?

3. The Characters Are Predictable, Unlikeable, or “Tropey”

Kirito sword art online
A-1 Pictures

How many times have you heard “I’m just a regular, 14-year old student at INSERT SCHOOL NAME HERE”? Sure, anime tends to be targeted towards at a younger audience, but that’s no excuse for a poorly written cast of characters. This is a particular problem in harem shows: there’s almost certainly an angry girl who secretly likes you, a cool girl who hides a dark secret, a rebellious one, an imouto-type, and so on.

Believe us: this doesn’t have to be the case. Just look at Clannad or The Kawaii Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behaviour: both shows have a varied cast, with every character given the necessary room to grow, despite initial appearances.

4. It Hits You With Fanservice Right Out Of The Gate

Highschool of the dead
I mean come on. (Photo Creidt: Madhouse)

You’re three minutes into the first episode and whoops! You’ve accidentally fallen onto a girl’s chest. That’s so awkward! She’s likely about to kick you into the stratosphere and guess what? You should do the same to this show.

Pandering to audiences with fanservice in episode one is anime’s way of saying “We don’t actually have much of a plot, so please keep watching”. This poses a new dilemma, though: if people keep watching, it’s because they liked the fanservice, so the writers will keep adding more in until suddenly you’re watching Eromanga Sensei at 3AM and wondering where your life went wrong.

This medium has so much potential and there’s literally a show for every single person out there. With this in mind, there’s no reason to settle for less than the absolute best. Hopefully, after reading this, you’ll be able to accept that a given show is bad, and move on.

Ian Garland

Just an ordinary guy who woke up one day in the magical world of anime reviews. Check them out... or don't, i-it's not like he likes you or anything...

View all posts