It’s so bad, it’s good. This classification can be applied to many different things in life —cheap American Chinese food buffets, reality TV, and yes, even to anime. The majority of the time, viewers only wish to devote themselves to top-notch anime, dropping a show immediately if it doesn’t meet their high exceptions. But occasionally, a show can not just miss expectations, but blow them up so completely, that it is addicting to watch. Like a car crash, it becomes impossible to look away from the impending mess of a show.
The anime listed below is the best of the worst; shows that shamelessly compound trope upon trope, or use ridiculously over-the-top scenario, or have been dubbed and subbed horribly beyond recognition. They are infamous, and rightfully so. Watching just a few minutes of any of these anime will have viewers in a mix of disbelief and awe. So sit down, buckle up, and prepare to learn about the ten shows that are so shockingly awful, they have to be seen.
10. Musashi Gundoh
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Apr 9, 2006 to Oct 8, 2006
This anime is beloved. The first and only anime ever produced by ACC Production (and after watching Musashi Gundoh, it makes sense why the company decided not to attempt to make any more), the show is set in feudal Japan, samurai wield guns instead of swords. The premise itself is not flawed. However, the animation turns any hope this anime had of being taken seriously into a joke.
Firstly, the quality of animation is comedically poor. While sometimes, anime with lazy animation can disrupt the world a show tries to create, in Musashi Gundoh, there are no attempts. Instead of drawn backgrounds, photographs were occasionally used. In the show, it was not uncommon for audio to completely fail when matching up with the animation itself. Anime can often be recognized in a split second by their intro songs; in the case of Musashi Gundoh, this holds true as well, as some of the distinctive lyrics include “We’re ghost busters.”
A perfect example of an artistic failure so grand that it must be witnessed, Musashi Gundoh starts the list of ten best worst anime.
9. Popee the Performer
- Episodes: 39
- Aired: 2001 to 2006
The star of the show is a clown dressed in bunny ears and what looks like a cross between a children’s onesie and Where’s Waldo. Mixing slapstick comedy with gore, and aiming to remain a show more geared towards children, Popee the Performer already has all of the ingredients to cook up an epic disaster. Set at a circus in the middle of the desert, each episode focuses on the characters preparing for their acts, which always eventually dissolves into full-out brawls with each other.
Perhaps the biggest laugh in Popee the Performer is the anime’s quality; a forced CGI with psychedelic backgrounds and lots of blood. Lacking plot and likable characters, all that the anime has going for it is it’s disastrous humor. In the duration of each short episode, the actions repeat themselves time after time, and yet regardless of the monotony, each time the deterioration is out-right hilarious to watch.
8. Mars of Destruction
- Episodes: 1 (OVA)
- Aired: Jul 8, 2005
The plot follows a group of girls and Takeru, who wields the Mars suit, as they attempt to fight aliens. The plot is inconsequential. It has no effect on the anime as a whole. Almost nothing is given an explanation. As far as fantasy/sci-fi anime goes, this one is excellent for achieving an incredible amount of unintentional humor as well. Just around 20 minutes long, it is an absolute must see.
When watching, viewers keep expecting for there to be development or for a realistic reality to occur. It never does. The attempts to include surprises in the anime’s plot are laughable. The actions of the characters are unbelievable, such as how poorly the girls react to danger. Lacking an opening and ending theme, not even the music can save this train wreck. But it is perfect as just the scrambled mess that it is. Despite trying to be serious, the flaws in Mars of Destruction are simply so awful that they’re purely entertaining.
7. Onara Gorou
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jul 3, 2016 to Sep 24, 2016
Onara Gorou is an anime perfect for the viewer who wants to spend thirteen episodes devoted to the story of a fart. That theme, simply on its own, should be a marker for the type of anime that Onara Gorou is. Right from the start, expectations should not be high. There is nothing to say about the plot or the audio or the design, because honestly? It is the story of a fart. Is there really much to be expected with a premise like that?
With short episodes, the impact hits quick. While some people question why they might ever waste time watching an anime devoted solely to the adventures of an admirable fart, others recognize the true potential in a show like Onara Gorou. It is the dream of every fart joking 5th grader that ever existed in the world, but rest assured; while it’s not the most sophisticated of tastes to suit a master’s palette, Onara Gorou is a guaranteed good time.
6. Byston Well Monogatari: Garzey no Tsubasa (Garzey’s Wings)
- Episodes: 3
- Aired: Sep 21, 1996 to Apr 9, 1997
Chris used to be a normal high school student whose biggest problem was getting into college. Yet suddenly, his life is disrupted by wings of light, and he is inserted into a world facing a bloody revolution. He has to learn how to survive in a world like this, but unfortunately for him, the anime world he is whisked away to makes no sense, is given no backstory, and is altogether one big fail that can only be appreciated for its hilarity.
A classic example of having English dubs that enhance the inadvertent comedic effect, Garzey no Tsubasa’s dialogue is stiff and erratic, and more or less unbelievable. It ensures that nearly every scene ends in laughter. Inhuman and monotonous-sounding, like typing in sentences into Google Translate and having a voice attempt to read them aloud, each character is lackluster and robotic. While some may call watching Garzey no Tsubasa a waste of time, it is undoubtedly one of the funniest things to experience watching.
5. Ghost Stories (Gakkou no Kaidan)
- Episodes: 19
- Aired: Oct 22, 2000 to Mar 25, 2001
Ghost Stories is a prime example of the difference that can exist between dubbed and original version of anime. The plot follows Satsuki and Keiichirou Miyanoshita, siblings who recently moved to a new town following the death of their mother. While initially they did not believe the rumors that their new school was haunted, they quickly find out the truth.
While the original anime had intended to be serious, the reworked English version completely ignored that intent and focused on comedy instead. The voice actors were given a liberal listen to of the script, as long as the dialogue matched the animation of the characters, and the results are comedic genius. Listening to the dubs might possibly make a viewer laugh until they die, and from then, they can only hope that they remain haunting as a ghost in a show as entertaining as Ghost Stories.
4. Manyuu Hikenchou
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jul 11, 2011 to Sep 26, 2011
In an alternate feudal Japan, in which the Tokugawa Shogunate won against the Meiji empire, breast size determines political power. If that premise alone doesn’t say enough about the quality of this anime, nothing will. In this world, the Manyuu clan was gifted with the powerful ability to decrease an enemy’s breast size. However, the heroine of the anime, Chifusa, is disgusted by the practice and deserts the clan, taking the scrolls which bestow the power along with her.
The only focus of Manyuu Hikenchou is on breasts. The anime devotes 12 full episodes to it. And the show’s writers are dedicated, relentlessly providing no content other than this. It may sound like a bad joke, and it is. But somehow the sheer ridiculousness of the idea alone makes the anime entertaining, and a must watch TV show.
3. Oedo-sen e Youkoso (Miracle Train)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Oct 5, 2009 to Dec 28, 2009
If you’ve ever been interested in watching a reverse-harem anime focusing on trains then Oedo-sen e Youkoso is the perfect anime. In this anime, troubled girls unknowingly board a magical train filled with handsome men that are actually the personification of different train stops. The production quality of this anime is surprisingly good, but the comedy comes from the sheer focus on sexy train stations.
In a strange way, there is no better way to learn practical history about the Tokyo underground railways than from charming anime men. Perhaps that educational intent merely heightens the hilarity of the show. Not only does Oedo-sen e Youkoso have a ridiculous concept, but it also executes it with complete sincerity. Oedo-sen e Youkoso is a guarantee for a good time. Viewers be warned: traveling from Shinjuku to Shibuya will never be the same after watching this anime
- Episodes: 1 (OVA)
- Aired: Dec 8, 2004
The world, sometime in the future, is threatened by a mysterious object, and the Alta Mira Agency must take action by choosing one girl to train in secret, and protect everyone. Completed by the same production company that produced Mars of Destruction, conveniently listed above as another prime example of hilariously bad anime, Skelter+Heaven is a short burst of comedy. While only 19 minutes long, somehow in that short amount of time, mass destruction of every expectation for a successful anime occurs.
Mixing poor CGI usage (one word: CGI squid tentacles), thoughtless plot concepts, and lazy designing, with most of the characters looking the same except for hair color, Skelter+Heaven is a perfect example of an anime that is so horribly done that it must be watched. The world’s impending doom has never been as entertaining as this.
1. Sushi Police
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jan 7, 2016 to Mar 31, 2016
No sushi restaurant is safe from the Sushi Police. Consisting of Honda, Kawasaki, and Suzuki, the special task force is dedicated to searching for, and eliminating, any restaurant found guilty of selling incorrect versions of sushi. The group is ruthless when eradicating any aberrations they find. While the premise of the show itself is hilarious, what makes it even better is that the concept was based on an actual proposal by a Japanese politician to create a real Sushi Police, that would monitor the quality of Japanese cuisine.
Each short episode follows the crew as they attempt to keep Japanese traditional food pure. That premise alone is silly and ridiculous enough to be both awful and entertaining at the same time. The other aspects of the anime, such as production quality and audio, are passable, but not bad enough to be laughable. However, on its own, the theme of Sushi Police is comedic enough to make it one of the best of the worst. After all, this is a show about a special police force dedicated to sushi.
In cases like the anime listed above, it is okay to take a step away from only watching serious anime with a heart-wrenching plot or lyrical dialogue. These shows promise not to disappoint. Their abundant flaws are precisely the reason why these anime are so beloved. With shows as entertaining as the ones listed above, you can laughing for seasons upon seasons. Are there shows worse than those that placed on the list above? Is that even possible? Let us know in the comments below!