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12 Anime With Good Premises That Crash And Burn Horribly  

Anna Lindwasser
2.9k votes 1.1k voters 22k views 12 items

List Rules Vote up the anime that looked good, but ended up disastrous.

One of the most disappointing experiences one can have as an anime fan is encountering a show with a good premise but bad execution. The summaries sound great; the first few episodes are fun, but eventually, you realize certain anime programs just don't hold up

For example, Moyashimon has a cool premise, but the show makes Tadayasu's ability to talk to microbes pretty underwhelming.  And while the characters in Sword Art Online get trapped in a virtual reality that's super advanced, the female heroine is reduced to a glorified damsel in distress. Both shows have great potential, but they fall short.

It's not like viewers can't enjoy these anime after realizing the shows don't live up to their potential, but it's hard to think about them without getting at least a little upset. Let's commiserate!

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'L/R: Licensed By Royalty' Can't Settle On A Genre
'L/R: Licensed By Royalty' Can... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list 12 Anime With Good Premises That Crash And Burn Horribly
Photo:  TNK

Premise: James Bond meets Cowboy Bebop in L/R: Licensed by Royalty as the protagonists defend the royal family from harm and fight against a conspiracy. Everything is set to modern rock music. 

Why It Tanked: The second half of the series tries to get dark, serious, and complicated, but it isn't able to do so with any degree of nuance. The first half is a bit better; some jokes land, but the episodes are also pretty random. They don't effectively advance the plot. 

Moreover, a lot of the series' soundtrack is full of oddly done covers. It even seems as if the show uses Bryan Adams's "Summer of 69," possibly without permission. 

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Moyashimon is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list 12 Anime With Good Premises That Crash And Burn Horribly
Photo:  Telecom Animation Film

Premise: A young man named Tadayasu can see and communicate with microbes, including bacteria, viruses, human cells, and more. Think Cells at Work, but in reverse.

Why It Tanked: Tadayasu doesn't use his powers in very innovative ways. For instance, he counts making sake as one of his biggest accomplishments in the series. Clearly, though, people can make sake without needing to see microbes.

Tadayasu's abilities add a cute aesthetic to the series, but plotwise, they're wholly unimportant. It's like if Light Yagami used his Death Note to take notes in math class, or if Shinichi Izumi got rid of Migi with antibiotics in episode two of Parasyte

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Rewrite is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list 12 Anime With Good Premises That Crash And Burn Horribly
Photo:  8bit

Premise: Kotarou Tennouji tries to live an ordinary, pleasure-filled life in a mysterious, greenery-filled city called Kazamatsuri. Kotarou is able to "rewrite" any part of his body and become incredibly powerful, though. And his high school's Occult Club seeks his talents. 

Why It Tanked: Rewrite suffers from lazy and unconvincing characterization. Nearly every character has a generically sad backstory that doesn't explain much about them or contribute meaningfully to the story. Plus, most of the storylines play out through flashbacks.

To make things worse, the show careens from cutesy humor to grim horror without warning.

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Season Two Of 'Aldnoah.Zero' Gets Worse With Time
Season Two Of 'Aldnoah.Zero' G... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list 12 Anime With Good Premises That Crash And Burn Horribly
Photo:  A-1 Pictures

Premise: After humans realize they can teleport to Mars, they find an incredible alien power and declare war on the section of humanity that remains on Earth. Though they eventually reach an uneasy peace, a second conflict erupts, and it's up to Inaho Kaizuka and his fellow high school friends to fight.

Why It Tanked: The first season of Aldnoah.Zero is well regarded, but the second season? Not so much. The protagonist, who was once a relatable underdog, gains godlike powers that drain the story of its tension.

The soundtrack and art decrease in quality, and characters frequently make illogical choices. To some, these issues weren't exclusive to the second season. In fact, they allegedly started after the first three episodes, when Katsuhiko Takayama started writing the scripts instead of the original creator, Gen Urobuchi. 

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