The 13 Most Disappointing Anime Of 2021
In 2021, plenty of amazing anime debuted. Sadly, not everything that came out of the year was amazing. Some of it was actually pretty terrible - or at least it didn't live up to expectations. Let's take a look at some of the most disappointing anime of 2021. These entries are not necessarily the worst anime of 2021 - many are decent, but were disappointing because they failed to execute on great premises, or seemed poised to be smash hits before they began airing.
The most noteworthy example is Season 2 of The Promised Neverland, which vastly disappointed fans by failing to adapt huge chunks of the manga and creating a nonsensical, rushed ending. There's also Wonder Egg Priority, which tried to take on heavier content than it could handle, and suffered from major production issues. And who else was disappointed by nonexistent animation in The Way of the Househusband?
- 11,089 VOTES
The Promised Neverland Season 2Photo: The Promised Neverland / CloverWorks
The Promised Neverland was one of the most beloved series in recent history, so when its second season was announced, fans were hyped. Unfortunately, the second season was a huge disappointment.
The first problem was that it cut out huge portions of the manga - the Goldy Pond arc was excised entirely. While an anime doesn't have to follow its source material to the letter, removing major chunks with no explanation and nothing meaningful to replace them is rarely a good move.
But manga readers weren't the only people who were disappointed by this ending. It didn't work for anime-onlys either. The ending was incredibly rushed, barely made sense, and was ultimately resolved far too easily. Even if you didn't know what was missing, you could tell that something was.
- 2307 VOTESPhoto: Platinum End / Signal.MD
Platinum End is still airing, so it's possible that it could redeem itself and become the awesome series that fans were hoping for - but that seems unlikely.
The anime is based on a manga by Takeshi Obata and Tsugumi Ohba - the artist and writer behind Death Note. For that reason, many fans had high expectations. But so far, Platinum End has fallen flat. The series follows a young man who tries to take his own life, but ends up being rescued by an angel and conscripted into a survival game where the winner becomes God.
In some ways, the story provides an interesting contrast to the creator's earlier works. While Light Yagami was a relatively sheltered kid who upended his own life to become God, Mirai is desperately trying to cling to his humanity and morality through immense suffering, and is being forced into the God position. That could be cool, but Mirai's personality also seems depthless and lacking in complexity.
Also, the plot seems far less well-crafted than Death Note. In general, it just seems lackluster by comparison.
- 3431 VOTESPhoto: The Detective Is Already Dead / ENGI
One of the reasons that The Detective Is Already Dead didn't do well in the US had to do with timing and availability. It streamed exclusively on Funimation, which meant it wasn't available to anime fans who stick to Crunchyroll, Netflix, or other platforms. Also, the light novels weren't available in English prior to the release, so a lot of fans had never heard of it at all. It was set up from the beginning to be under-watched. That could have made it a hidden gem... but because of structural problems, it's not.
In order to fit two volumes' worth of content into a one-cour anime, the creators cut a ton of content and focused on two main storylines. However, some of this extra content is actually necessary to the core of the plot, and needed to be referenced later. Also, the series mixed up the plot and included Volume 2 plotlines in the middle of Volume 1's plot. This created confusion and resulted in incoherency. While certainly not the worst offender on this list, it was a disappointing series.
- 4447 VOTESPhoto: Wonder Egg Priority / CloverWorks
When Wonder Egg Priority was first coming out, many people thought it was going to be one of the best anime of the year. It had a lot to recommend it. The art and animation were beautiful, and the story seemed fresh and innovative. It dealt with serious topics that anime rarely touched upon such as gender identity, suicide, eating disorders, and more.
The series handled those sensitive topics poorly. While some instances were well-done, others seemed hastily thrown in for drama. The fact that all of the characters experiencing extreme pain were female brings up questions of how the series views women and girls. The series seems to revel in their anguish, and it also seems to blame them for it. Some of the plot points that were revealed towards the end, such as the introduction of Frill, were clumsily handled and made the whole story feel like a morass of hopelessness and misery.
Perhaps the series would have been able to get its message across more clearly if not for its production issues, which resulted in a planned episode being replaced by a clip show and a new special episode being planned to resolve the story. It did seem like the creators bit off more than they could chew, content-wise.
- 5335 VOTESPhoto: Yasuke / MAPPA
When Yasuke was first announced, it was met with almost universal excitement. It was a collaboration between LeSean Thomas of Legend of Korra fame, and Studio MAPPA, one of the best anime studios working today. It also starred LaKeith Stanfield as the titular voice actor. The story centered around a real historical figure - an African man who ended up serving as a samurai under Oda Nobunaga during the Sengoku period. With such a great premise, few people thought it could fail.
Sadly, the execution was pretty lackluster. Sure, the art and animation were awesome, but that was about it. The anime was only six episodes long, which is half the length of a typical one-cour anime. This wasn't nearly enough time to contain the story, so the whole thing felt rushed and convoluted. Also, while some fans appreciated the introduction of magic and mecha, others were really hoping for a more grounded, historical take on the content. Even some who enjoyed those additions felt that they were introduced with little explanation and didn't fit the rest of the story.
Hopefully, this won't be the final take on the story of Yasuke - the real historical material is fascinating, and it deserves another adaptation.
- 6567 VOTES
Sometimes, bad animation can totally ruin an anime. That's what happened with Record of Ragnarok. The premise is awesome - all the gods of the world get together to decide whether to let humanity continue, then decide to destroy it. In order to save mankind from extinction, 13 human warriors must face off against 13 gods in an epic tournament.
That's the kind of story that requires stellar animation. Most of the appeal is in the fights, so the fights had better look amazing. If they do, action fans will love it... but if they don't, the series won't appeal to anyone. Likely due to constraints created by the pandemic, the animation was awful. Full of weird transitions and characters who hardly move or emote, it looked like something slapped together in Windows Movie Maker.