14 Anime With Good Premises That Crash And Burn Horribly

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!


  • 1
    1,567 VOTES

    Masamune Never Gets Revenge In 'Masamune-kun's Revenge'

    Premise: When Masamune Makabe asks out his crush, Aki Adagaki, he's turned down in the most humiliating way possible. To get revenge, he loses a ton of weight and changes his image in the hopes of winning her affection - with the intention of dumping her right back. 

    Why It Disappointed: Not only does Masamune never get his revenge, he also never specifically decides to forgo it. Instead, the story peters out into oblivion, ending with a school play in which nothing is actually resolved. The show has some great moments, particularly when Masamune reflects on how his history of being bullied has impacted his self-esteem, but those moments are fleeting. The central conflict is never resolved, new characters crop up at the last minute and add nothing to the overall story, and the whole thing falls flat. Could this be resolved with a second season? Sure - but so far, there's no sign that one is forthcoming.

  • Premise: Thousands of people are trapped in a virtual reality game called Sword Art Online. To escape and get back to their lives, they must clear the game - but the catch is, if they die in-game, they also die in real life. 

    Why It Disappointed: Sword Art Online can't be said to have failed entirely - it's a wildly popular show, and it had some truly great moments. But what could have been a great show turned into one with some serious flaws that are hard to overlook. Kirito's personality is bland and poorly developed. There's a harem setup that isn't capitalized on, frustrating both viewers who don't enjoy harem anime at all, and viewers who like it and want to the trope used effectively. Asuna, who starts off as a strong hero, is reduced to a damsel in distress by the end of the first series. Kirito's sister (technically his cousin, but raised as his sister) turns out to be in love with him, blasting fans with an incestuous sub plot out of nowhere.

  • 3
    366 VOTES

    'Fractale' Boasts A Beautiful Setting But Little Else

    Premise: In a setting that vaguely resembles Ireland, technology so advanced the average person no longer has to work or struggle for survival. However, things are not as simple and idyllic as they appear.

    Why It Disappointed: After setting up a lush and beautiful world that seems ripe for exploring, the series just falls short. The romance subplot isn't very interesting and most of the characters are lackluster and forgettable. Plus, most of the mysteries of the Fractale System remain unexplained. The world is ambitious and scenic, but that's it.

    In fact, the artist responsible for the original manga, claimed the televised version was boring.

  • 'Sunday Without God' Turns An Existential Concept Into An Aimless Slice Of Life Show 
    Photo: Madhouse

    Premise: God abandons humanity, so no one can be born, and no one can die. Characters who already faced death continue to endure in a zombie-like existence. A group known as Grave Keepers are tasked with putting the dead to rest. 

    Why It Disappointed: Rather than explore the unique premise, Sunday Without God opts for multiple disconnected arcs that have little to do with each other or the show as a whole. The anime focuses on a school instead of the real meat - anime zombies.

  • 5
    1,040 VOTES

    Season Two Of 'Aldnoah.Zero' Gets Worse With Time

    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 Disappointed: 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. 

  • 6
    260 VOTES

    'L/R: Licensed By Royalty' Can't Settle On A Genre

    'L/R: Licensed By Royalty' Can't Settle On A Genre
    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 Disappointed: 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.