Anime Underground

The 10 Most Overrated Story Arcs In Anime History 

Anna Lindwasser
Updated June 14, 2019 8k votes 1.8k voters 15.1k views 10 items

List Rules Vote up the anime arcs that get far more credit than they deserve.

Some anime arcs get more credit than they deserve. Overrated anime arcs aren't always terrible, sometimes they simply aren't the best the show has to offer. This can be said of the Provisional Hero License Arc in My Hero Academia. - while there's little inherently wrong with it, it doesn't rank among the best because the stakes are far lower than the rest of the series. At other times, the arc is actually a disaster - the Pharaoh's Memories arc in Yu-Gi-Oh! is an excruciating tangle of nonsense that sells its fascinating content short with bad pacing, continuity failures, and uneven art.

Which anime arc is truly the most overrated? That's up to you. 

Yu-Gi-Oh! is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The 10 Most Overrated Story Arcs In Anime History
Photo:  Studio Gallop

The penultimate arc of a long-running series should aim to be one of the most emotionally resonant segments, but the Pharaoh's Memories arc is a disjointed mess. While it's great to learn about the Egyptian backstory, it doesn't make up for all the other problems that riddled the arc. The pacing is terrible, and it makes it impossible to keep track with the plot. The ultimate villain, Zorc, is more laughable than threatening, and is far less memorable than earlier villains like Pegasus. The arc also demonstrates the show's failure to incorporate its filler arcs into the rest of the series - Yami Yugi undergoes a lot of character development during the DOMA arc that's completely reversed here. 

Yu-Gi-Oh! has been hit or miss from the start - some episodes are amazing, while others are total nonsense. It's not surprising that the end is a disaster, but it is disappointing. 

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Sword Art Online is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The 10 Most Overrated Story Arcs In Anime History
Photo:  A-1 Pictures

For many people, the beginning of Sword Art Online is the best part - and compared to any scene where Asuna is in a cage with Nobuyuki Sugou, it's pretty great. But on its own, it falls a little flat. While it's effective at establishing the world of the MMORPG the characters are trapped in, it doesn't do a great job of establishing an interesting protagonist.

The focus on Kirito being a beta tester takes up way too much space for a detail that doesn't end up being terribly important later on, and it can sometimes feel like a stand-in for a personality. Also, watching him repeatedly prove how much better he is at gaming than the various female players he encounters is predictable at best, and mildly sexist at worst. Kirito will ultimately experience more character development, especially during the first arc of Sword Art Online II, but the Aincrad arc is part of why some viewers write him off as featureless.

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Attack on Titan is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The 10 Most Overrated Story Arcs In Anime History
Photo:  Wit Studio

Attack on Titan is arguably an overrated series as a whole, but one arc stands out as being more overrated than others. The Female Titan arc, which closed out the first season, was somewhat intriguing because it introduced the idea that Titans could be intelligent. The problem was that it ended on a cliffhanger - viewers find out that Annie was the Titan, but there's no indication whatsoever as to what her motivation was - only a series of vague flashbacks to her childhood that provided few, if any, comprehensible clues. Cliffhangers work when you have a hint or two to consider while you're waiting for the next part, something this arc failed to provide. 

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Pokémon is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The 10 Most Overrated Story Arcs In Anime History
Photo:  OLM

Origins is an offshoot of the Pokémon universe that's based on the original video games. While this is an awesome concept for fans of the games, the actual series is pretty forgettable. 

It's not that Origins is terrible, but the story it tells isn't intrinsically better than the series proper just because the protagonist is named Red and not Ash. Muted colors don't make the story more mature or more interesting. The Pokémon themselves lack personality, and so does Red. It's also a little unsettling to watch Professor Oak be cavalier with his grandson's feelings - you don't talk about how wonderful a gravely injured child's rival is in comparison to him while he's laying in bed unable to get up. If viewers are supposed to respect the professor, that scene made it difficult. 

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