Guide to Bad Anime

Guide to Bad Anime


Have you ever thought it would be great to be able to tell what anime are bad without even needing to watch the first episode? Well, do I have a surprise for you. It’s time for DoubleSama’s Guide to Bad Anime!

By following this guide, you’ll be able to determine the quality of an anime in just three simple steps! But be wary, some bad anime attempt to disguise themselves and blend in with the crowd just like a parasite, titan shifter, or demon (from Parasyte, Attack on Titan, and Devilman respectively).

The three steps you need to take are to inspect the title of the anime, the appearance of the protagonist, and genres associated with the series.

1. Title

The title of an anime can tell you a lot about the series as a whole. For example, the title Naruto tells us that the series is about some kid named Naruto, or JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure tells us that someone named JoJo is going to have an adventure that’s bizarre.

However, to determine whether an anime is going to be bad or not, we need to read a little bit deeper into the title. By this, I mean we need to look at the length of the title. If a title is overly long and complicated, there’s a 100% chance a light novel is the source material.

While having a light novel as the source material doesn’t automatically mean an anime is going to be bad, it also doesn’t guarantee that the product will be high quality. In the end, anyone can write a light novel with minimal effort or experience.

That said, if a light novel adaptation also has an overly long and complicated title, things aren’t looking good for that anime. One example of a title like this is WorldEnd: What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us? which is 81 characters long. 81.

Unfortunately, there are some decent anime which also have overly long and complicated names as well, like My Mental Choices Are Completely Interfering With My School Romantic Comedy, so you shouldn’t solely use the length of the title to determine the quality of an anime, but it’s a good place to start.

You can also look for the word “isekai” within the Japanese version of the title, but once again, there are cases of good anime doing this as well as bad, so don’t use this as the only way to tell them apart.

2. Protagonist

The appearance of the protagonist is the second thing you should look for after the length of the title, although this one is a bit trickier. There’s a certain character style which we can call the “standard anime protagonist style” and that’s what you’re looking for.

While it’s true that just about every bad anime has a protagonist who belongs in this category, there are also a large number of good, or even great, anime which also have protagonists who look like this. Because of this fact, like the length of the title, this metric should never be used on its own for determining anime quality.

One of the most famous examples of a “standard anime protagonist” is Kirito from Sword Art Online (pictured below with Kanade from My Mental Choices Are Completely Interfering With My School Romantic Comedy, Touya from In Another World With My Smartphone, and Satou from Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody.)

Protagonists Kanade, Touya, Kirito, and Satou from various anime
Kanade, Touya, Kirito, and Satou

The reason anime with protagonists who look like this are generally bad is because not only do all of these characters have the same, bland appearance, they have the same, bland personalities as well. There’s an extremely high chance they’re going to be spineless “white knights,” no matter how edgy their clothes look.

3. Genre

The third and final thing to look at before making your decision about whether an anime is bad or not are the genre tags.

Generally speaking, “comedy” is a good tag to have if the anime in question failed either, or both, of the previous tests. This has the potential to mean that although it looks like it will be bad, it looks bad on purpose and is actually good. Alternatively, the “parody” tag is an even better option if your anime failed both previous tests.

However, even if the anime in question is tagged as “comedy” watch out for the dreaded “harem” tag. As with everything else I’ve mentioned, this tag alone doesn’t automatically mean an anime is bad, but if an anime has this tag and failed the first two tests, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Genre tags for the anime In Another World With My Smartphone from MyAnimeList
Genre tags for In Another World With My Smartphone


So now that you’re armed with knowledge, you shouldn’t have to fear bad anime as long as you use what you’ve learned here today along with a little bit of common sense. So let’s quickly review today’s material.

  1. Overly long and complicated light novel titles are a bad sign.
  2. Standard anime protagonists are also a bad sign.
  3. The “comedy” and “parody” genres are good signs, but the “harem” genre is dangerous.

Finally, I mentioned common sense. If you come across an anime called In Another World With My Smartphone, remember that it’s bad. In cases such as this, the criteria listed above doesn’t even need to be assessed because we can tell from the title that it’s going to be bad anyway.

While following this guide won’t protect you from every bad anime, it will drastically reduce the number you’re exposed to. Remember, exposure to bad anime is the number one killer of anime fans.

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2 Replies to “Guide to Bad Anime”

  1. Another world smartphone is awful… couldn’t make it pass episode 1 without retching. What the people said about it was totally true. I just put myself up to the barfing test months ago.

    SAO redeemed itself while smartphone didn’t. Don’t know who made that but watch it if you want to make fun of it with friends and yeah I’ll post this here lol.

    1. In Another World With My Smartphone was indeed a terrible anime. It was made by Production Reed, which is a studio that made a lot of movies for series in the 80s, 90s, and early 00s. I’m a bit surprised that they’re still around.

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