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6.2k voters

20 Anime Series That Went Off the Deep End Partway Through

Updated February 22, 2021 20.7k votes 6.2k voters 256.3k views20 items

List RulesVote up the anime series that most suffered around the halfway point, seriously going off the deep end in terms of quality and tone.

There's a ton of anime out there that suffers from sudden tone switches or unexpected decisions about halfway through. We've all been there. You're watching some awesome anime, enjoying yourself when bam! Suddenly those things you thought were giant robots are actually protohumans, that love interest you thought was nice is trying to kill you, and that cute little girl has just been killed by her daddy for science. Some anime shows recover from it, some even get better. But most end up irreparably damaged, scarring viewers everywhere. 

Now, before you start rattling off the long list you probably have of anime that suffered halfway through and pissed you off, know that you're not alone. Some of the anime shows that really stick with you are either the series that went bad or ones that threw a wicked curveball. In fact, these unexpected left turns are often what make an anime famous!

So, why don't you help decide which is the most guilty of this? Check out the shows on this list and vote up the ones you think are anime series that jumped the shark or otherwise went off the rails. And if you're still angry after reading, remember to take a deep breath.

Also, be aware, there are serious spoilers ahead.

  • Photo: TNK
    Did you think you were watching a nice little slice of life anime involving school drama, a love triangle, and an earnest coming of age? Think again, sucker. The series might start that way, but halfway through, the deplorable main character starts sleeping with just about every girl in the school even though he has a girlfriend. Then there's rape, unexpected pregnancy, and, eventually, a grisly murder. If you don't hate at least one character by the end of this, you're doing something wrong.
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  • Photo: Manglobe
    If you're a fan of Superjail, you might also be a fan of Deadman Wonderland. Prisoners in a rather wacky prison are forced to face off against each other in strange trials and fights that result in death and dismemberment. Sounds fascinating, right? Well, when it's revealed that a resistance movement is brewing, the focus stops being on the fights, the prison, and the mystery. Instead, the story is all about the resistance. Everyone teams up to destroy the powers that be, creating a perfect plan and then... they all die. Pretty much everyone perishes in the attempt. And that's it. Fans are left with a cliffhanger for which a resolution is very, very unlikely.
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  • Photo: A-1 Pictures
    Okay, so let's talk about Sword Art Online. This story has an amazing beginning, a premise that pulls you in right away, and a quest that you're absolutely ready to embark on. You fall in love with characters, you get totally invested. And then that second half happens. Asuna, one of the greatest fighters anywhere, is suddenly locked in a cage, and there's a random love triangle. This may be the most complained about second half of a show in anime history. 
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  • Photo: Gainax / Tatsunoko Production
    There's no way anyone could see this plot twist coming. What starts as a fairly run of the mill mech anime starts to get religious and weird in a hurry. One of the characters is mind-raped, there's death, and what you think are robots aren't actually robots. Of course, things get really gory too. And the ending completes the special delivery of strangeness, with everyone clapping and inexplicably saying, "Congratulations Shinji!" And if you think the subsequent movies will shed some extra light on the plot of all this, you might be surprised and confused. Mostly confused. 
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