Over the years, a significant number of animes have been receiving universal praise and has managed to gain a strong and loyal fan base. But with praise, there also comes controversy. Due to a number of anime titles receiving positive receptions, a good number of potential viewers are going to be inclined to check them out. There are some that become fans, and there are those that don’t buy into the hype thus labeling some of these anime titles as overrated.
Today’s list will explore some of the top overrated animes by a good portion of anime fans. So get your flame coats ready as we count down to what would consider as the most overrated anime in history.
10. Dragon Ball Z
- Episodes: 291
- Aired: Apr 1989 – Jan 1996
To kick off this list, we have Dragon Ball Z. What can we say about it that hasn’t already been said? It has high-octane action and a huge cast of characters fans can enjoy. However, a majority of its criticism on why people don’t buy into the hype is the length of the series and how it is used. How many episodes can we endure of simply just powering up one’s energy level to the max or charging up a Kamehameha? The pace really hurts the progression and just puts in too much tension than necessary.
Thankfully, a lot of what this series has been criticized for can be easily worked around. For starters, people can just read the manga where the fights are at a much faster pace, or just watch Kai (the re-mastered series), which goes with the pace of the manga and cuts out the fillers such as the Garlic Jr. saga.
- Episodes: 276
- Aired: Apr 1997 - Nov 2002
For some of you reading this list, we can’t deny it feels awkward to put Pokemon on this list. To some fans, Pokemon is a classic example of what you see is what you get. Many fans of all ages see it as a good representation of its source material and the theme songs in the English version are rather catchy and still hold up after 20 years. Plus, this series has been going for that long to show something is being done rather well, right? We can’t say whether or not it is right or wrong, but we need to point out why this show is accused of being overrated.
For starters, people tend to see the show as formulaic and repetitive. How many times can Team Rocket attempt to take over the world by stealing Ash’s Pokemon only to fail to blast off into the sky? Due to the monotony of this show, some viewers who can’t get into it just can’t see if the show has any direction or any point to it at all.
Next, some fans have accused Ash of not being a good example as the main hero. Some fans come in with the expectation that he represents the ultimate underdog story but tends to come up short in the league tournaments. Though some praise Pokemon for teaching that losing is a reality of life and you have to keep working hard. There are others who watch anime or any other entertainment, that wish to escape reality by wanting a character that is larger than life as if he were Superman or Goku and feel Ash doesn’t fit that mold.
8. Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Apr 2013 – Sept 2013
This hit series has received a lot of praise from fans for its originality, its presentation of a dark world, and its fast paced action. However, there are both fans and anime authorities alike, who have criticized it. One notable critic is Gundam creator Tomino Yoshiyuki, who has praised Iseyama-sensei for basing the story on his personal experiences with bullying but has criticized the art style, as ugly as pornography. Maybe even before or after Tomino-sensei’s comments, there have been some who feel the animation has been inconsistent with its quality and feel the designs are too rough (it is an ugly world after all).
Beyond the animation, some people feel that within its huge cast of characters, there are only two that are remotely appealing while the rest are accused of being annoying and are of no use or contribution. Some people don’t like Eren because he can come across as emo and needs to rely on Mikasa and Levi to save him in numerous instances, despite his own abilities. In addition, some see his motivations and origins to be trendy with other Shounen heroes.
In contrast to Mikasa’s popularity, some find her to be the walking definition of a Mary Sue. How she is a natural at her job and how she can maintain her cool in combat. Last, there have been moments where the pace of the show tends to be up and down, and many viewers accuse the show of not finding a balance between the drama, action, comedy, etc.
7. One Punch Man
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Oct 2015 – Dec 2015
Some of you readers are thinking that we've got to be kidding, right? Its popularity is undeniable. However, some people tend to think that this anime is overrated because they disagree with the notion of it being praised as the best anime ever when it is meant to be a parody of the Shounen genre. Some critics accuse the fan base of taking what’s meant to be a joke, as serious as Shakespeare.
Saitama is intended to be a Gary Stu but the thing is, the series does a great job of showing why he became the way he is with a hard workout routine (while parodying the notion of hard work in the genre). But the majority of the criticism is not just the series, just the way people praise it. For the past twenty years, everyone has been talking about Goku vs. Superman, the latest bandwagon is that Saitama can kick both their asses and this claim is one of the biggest reasons why this series is accused of being overrated.
6. One Piece
- Episodes: 758 (As of Oct 2016)
- Aired: Oct 1999 - Present
Though Naruto reigns supreme as the number one hit from Shounen Jump around the world, in its native Japan, One Piece presently reigns supreme. It has gained praised for its character development, action, and comedy. However, some of its core criticisms have been superficial. Many people bash it for its simple character designs. Some say it doesn’t feel Japanese enough and comes across as too childish, which fans can easily defend that it’s all simply an artistic choice and the show (at heart) is intended for children.
But beyond those simple nitpickings, another fraction of anime fans are likely turned off by its length. For starters, it is a highly filler dominant show and regardless of the quality of the original manga, many anime with filler episodes tend to be unproductive. In addition, due to the length of the series, many people who try to watch it can’t seem to comprehend the direction of the show with no ending in sight. Last, the pace of the series can feel slow at times and a good number of fans are subjected to have (an understandable) tolerance for various types of pacing and episode lengths.
For some fans, 13 episodes are enough. For others, 25 to 50 episodes is the ideal length of an anime series. Finally, there are those that can binge watch more than 500 episodes. One last example of what people find overrated about One Piece is that they find Luffy to be too much of a done to death archetype of a Shounen hero. To put it in a nutshell, he’s your typical young man with a big dream and when the going gets tough, put on your plot armor.
5. Neon Genesis Evangelion
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Oct 1995 – Mar 1996
This list cannot deny one of the most controversial series in all of anime history, Neon Genesis Evangelion. It still continues to be a popular anime in its native land. Ever since people could discuss this anime on Internet forums, even to this day, this anime is still controversial for the same reasons. The classic example being that Shinji doesn’t fit the traditional definition of a hero and/or protagonist, along with being criticized for being whiny and for simply not being a man.
Other reasons for which people find Eva overrated is that the story is difficult to follow due to the multiple directions it has with the TV series ending, the original movie ending, and the Rebuild movie series. In addition, many people also find confusion with the religious connections (when in fact, the staff admitted the religious symbols were meant for style and have no substance) and the psychology to the show. Its unorthodox structure may have created a strong fan base, but it has also been accused of being its undoing which is why people are still split about this anime to this very day.
- Episodes: 201
- Aired: Apr 2006 – Mar 2010
Gintama may be a comedy and a lot of people tend to enjoy it for simply what it is, but do people need to go as far as calling it the best anime ever? That is where the series leads to being labeled as overrated. A majority of its criticisms are very disputable but understandable. Like One Punch Man, Gintama is mostly a parody-driven anime and tends to be episodic.
A majority of anime and its appeal is its serialized storylines, and Gintama is one of the very few exceptions to this (supposed) notion. Some people want their anime to have a direction with where it is going and Gintama is just too all over the place to have a coherent story and/or development. If anything, Gintama is mostly a victim of not fitting people’s image of what an anime should be and is not for people who like comedy. This anime makes fans evaluate and discuss what makes a quality anime, and we should take an anime for what it is, and on the same token, not label it as the best anime of all time.
- Episodes: 366
- Aired: Oct 2004 – Mar 2012
Coming in at a strong third, is another hit title from Shounen Jump, Bleach by Kubo Tite. Many fans praise it for its action and its unique artistic qualities. So how come there are some people who don’t buy into it? A majority of the criticism tend to be superficial but worthy of discussion. Even though Bleach has some qualities that come across as original, some people find the presentation to be your typical Shounen title and a majority of these critics are probably not Shounen fans, to begin with.
However, the main reason why people are turned off from this show is because it tends to be filler dominated, and the series ultimately has no direction with its character development. Sometimes, story arcs go on longer than what some people feel is necessary, wondering what direction it's going, which is why some people don’t buy into the series.
2. Naruto: Shippuden
- Episodes: 478 (As of Oct 2016)
- Aired: Feb 2007 - Present
Naruto is another series mostly praised for its creative action sequences and diverse cast of characters, but can its praises outweigh what it has been criticized for? A majority of what turns people off from this hit series is mostly its length and ultimately, its pace. Too many episodes are one thing, but how those episodes are used is the problem for some viewers. One notable example is that the series relies too much on flashbacks and too many are inserted in critical moments of the series, consequently unbalancing the pace. This was done repeatedly when Team Naruto fought Orochimaru’s team during the chase for Sasuke.
One classic criticism this show gets is that a lot of people don’t see the ninja aspects of the Naruto character. Most people have images of ninjas wearing dark clothing and working in concealment. However, Naruto seems to be something of an antithesis of what people think ninja are. He wears an orange jumpsuit that makes him stand out like a sore thumb and has a pretty loud personality. For someone who wants to be the best ninja in the world, he’s sure doing a bad job at it. What makes Naruto overrated can ultimately be its own article but we got one more anime to cover so we’ll leave it here.
1. Sword Art Online
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Jun 2012 – Dec 2012
At number one, we put in the RPG inspired anime, Sword Art Online. Though constantly praised for the relationship between Kirito and Asuna, the two main leads, it is accused of lacking in its remaining qualities. The action is criticized for being uninspiring and having no sense of danger. Kirito is defined as the ultimate example of a Gary Stu and due to how overpowered Kirito is, he is a very boring and unrelatable character. Viewers who are authorities on MMORPGs feel it is not a good representation of the genre because there is not much you can do on your own. Eventually, the series is just reduced to your typical fanservice driven harem anime, and viewers are turned off with how females are exploited.
Many viewers express disappointment with how Asuna is downgraded from a strong female character to a typical damsel in distress who needs to rely on Kirito. Another constant criticism as pointed out in other anime is, of course, pacing. While Naruto and Dragon Ball Z tend to be slow with its pacing, SAO is the opposite by having too many time skips between episodes which, overall, hurts the plot and character development.
Honey’s Anime totally gets why some of these titles are seen in high regard to fans, and we also acknowledge some of its flaws. As shared on this list, many criticisms on what people find overrated all follow a formula. Some people can be superficial in their accusations, while others have a deeper reasoning.
A common criticism that has been repeated on this list has mostly been due to length and/or pace, but there are good reasons why some anime tend to have fillers. With Naruto, the reason why it doesn’t take season breaks when it is caught up with the manga is probably because Studio Pierrot does not want to lose its time slot, which is Wednesday night, a time when people are likely to watch TV.
Overall, should an anime’s flaws (whether there is a good reason or not) really outshine the qualities they have been highlighted for? A good number of fans are split if there can really be such a balance which is probably why some titles are labeled as overrated. What do you think? Do you agree with our list? Or do you have something different to share? If so, please give your thoughts in the comments.