While 2021 was generally a great year for anime as the industry tried to recover from the COVID related issues plaguing the industry, there were still a lot of stinkers among the bunch. It is time we name and shame the worst anime of 2021!
Before starting the list, let us first discuss the criteria that these anime were selected with. For one, the anime should have started and ended in the year 2021. If the anime started in 2020 or continued on past 2021, it wasn’t included in the list. Sorry Platinum End haters, I am one of you, but it doesn’t belong in the list just yet. There is a lot of personal bias that seeps here from time to time, but that’s how lists go. Let’s now take a look at the worst anime 2021 featured!
#10- Fena: Pirate Princess
Production IG, Adventure/Action/Comedy, 12 Episodes
The worst anime of 2021 list will start with anime that weren’t really bad but were extremely disappointing for whatever reasons. If disappointing anime is what you’re looking for, you can’t do better than Fena Pirate Princess. Fena started off as an anime with tremendous potential, combining Disney-esque princess story vibes with a pirate anime aesthetic to make a promising anime that aimed for anime of the year in the best category, not the worst.
However, things went sour very quick as the show adapted pacing that ruined the entire Eden storyline alongside character developments and plot progression that were atrociously bad and put a dent on the burgeoning reputation that the show was developing slowly but surely. An awful ending put an end to any good that the show ever did, and we’ve got another casualty of studio interference on our hands. We covered this show extensively here, so you can read my opinions turn sour as the show goes on in real-time! Read the full review of the show here.
#9- Demon Slayer- Mugen Train Arc
ufotable, Action/Supernatural, 7 Episodes
Perhaps the most controversial placement on this list of worst anime of 2021 is this right here. You can read the extended version of why I despise the anime version of the Mugen Train Movie this much on our website, as I also covered every episode of this atrocity here. However, for the purpose of this list, what got this show included here was the sheer useless and unnecessary nature of it. The Demon Slayer Mugen Train Arc version of the story simply did not need to exist.
It didn’t change much from the movie offering, with only a few lines of dialogue and camera angles showing even the slightest amount of update. It was a shameless cash-grab by the studio to cash in on the popularity of the series by putting out material that they already had earlier without doing anything to make it even slightly more appealing. Why was this necessary? The movie was the highest-earning anime movie of all time in Japan and Overseas. Did the studio really think that many people didn’t watch the movie that they needed an anime?
#8- The Night Beyond The Tricornered Window
Zero-G, Boys Love/Mystery/Thriller, 12 Episodes
Other than Demon Slayer, The Night Beyond The Tricornered Window might be the anime with the most redeeming qualities on this list. Some of the mystery components work, and when the show paid attention to the Boys Love aspect, it worked well. What didn’t work was how the show didn’t know what it wanted to be, and instead, it became nothing. Neither the mystery nor the Boys Love part of the story meshed well with each other, and thus the show didn’t feel like it had much of an identity. When you do too many things not very well, you might as well do nothing.
#7- Peach Boy Riverside
Asahi Production, Fantasy, 12 Episodes
We are officially starting the actually bad part of the worst anime of 2021, beginning with this little disaster right here. Peach Boy Riverside committed two crimes that landed it here, both of them being indictments of the current studio driven anime industry. For whatever reason, the series aired all of its episodes in a random order that didn’t make any sense and destroyed any sense of coherence and mystery it had. Add that on top of it being a terrible adaptation of the source material and some awful animation, and you got Peach Boy Riverside.
#6- Redo Of Healer
TNK, Adventure/Drama/Ecchi, 12 Episodes
This might have been the most infamous anime in all of 2021, and it deserves that and so much more. Redo Of Healer is disgusting and not the good kind. It exploits the public’s natural hatred and general discomfort with sexual crimes in a mostly clueless and matter of fact manner. The story wouldn’t even be any interesting if it didn’t have all that naturally offensive material. It didn’t make it higher on this list because I admire the tenacity, and it was genuinely engaging for quite a while if you stuck with it.
#5- I’m Standing On A Million Lives Season 2
Maho Film, Isekai/Adventure/Fantasy, 12 Episodes
2021 did a lot for Isekais across the board, especially towards the start and the end. There were some great shows of this genre, like Mushoku Tensei and World’s Finest Assassin. Forces were at work to uphold the generic and abundant nature of these shows, and that movement was spearheaded by I’m Standing On A Million Lives Season 2. No one can watch all the Isekais that are released in a year because there isn’t enough time in the world to accomplish that, but I’m still quite sure that this was the worst one.
Somehow, I’m Standing On A Million Lives Season 2 was worse than the first season, which I go over more in my full review of the series here. There were a lot of nonsensical events and faux-deep philosophy that was as relevant and made as little sense as anything in this show, which was not much. The characters sucked, the story was generic, the animation was bad and the less said about the soundtrack, the better.
#4- Scarlet Nexus
Sunrise, Action/Sci-Fi, 26 Episodes
Whoever thought it was a good idea to make anime based on video games rather than the other way around needs a good smack on the head. Scarlet Nexus is underwhelming, and I don’t know why anyone would decide to suffer through this entire season. It has some awful writing, pacing, and animation, but that doesn’t necessarily make it worse than every other anime on this list. What pushed it over the edge is that someone somewhere decided that it needed to go on for 26 episodes instead of the usual 12. Now that’s the type of confidence I wish I had in anything I did, especially if it was this bad.
#3- Deep Insanity: The Lost Child
Silver Link, Sci-Fi, 12 Episodes
Opinions differ, but being boring is much worse than being actively bad in any scenario. If something is bad, you can at least point and laugh at it and have a good time while pointing at the ridiculous nature of it. Anything boring is just dreadful and leaves no redeeming qualities in any piece of media, no matter how hard you try to make it so. My point here is that Deep Insanity The Lost Child is a dreadfully boring show that hates its viewers passionately.
It was an idea that was good on paper and frankly deceiving on previews, but this show actually looked interesting for a while there. Then people watched it, and it was all downhill from there. It does things with no discernable rhyme or reason, relies on an annoying character that does nothing for far too long, and has some atrocious animation. However, its biggest crime remains it being boring.
Visual Flight, Sci-Fi/Action, 12 Episodes
If all the big and famous studios in the world collaborated with a singular purpose in mind- to make the worst anime of all time, it still wouldn’t be as phenomenally awful as Ex Arm is. Whether it is the worst animation of all time, the worst use of CGI in animation since the last Berserk adaptation, or the awful storytelling, it is hard to do anything as bad as the anime studio did with Ex-Arm. But you all knew this was going to be here before you started reading this list. The real question is, what could be worse than the worst anime ever created?
#1- The Promised Neverland Season 2
CloverWorks, Mystery/Sci-Fi/Suspense, 12 Episodes
Not only was The Promised Neverland Season 2 soul-crushingly awful in almost every aspect of storytelling, but it also destroyed the future of one of the best shows to air on our screens for quite a while. There aren’t words in the English language harsh enough to describe how this season of Promised Neverland treated its source material. This season spat on the manga, burned it to ashes, and then spread the ashes all across the world to make sure that no one would ever touch the series ever again. What’s worse than possibly the worst anime ever? The absolute worst sequel to any anime ever.
There’s the list! I’m sure I forgot to include something bad, or maybe you disagree with some of these picks. Let me know in the comments!
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