So continuing on from my last post, this post is going to be an extension of that. Instead of just characters, I thought it would be interesting to compile a list of manga and anime that are quite popular, but I don’t like. Like last time, I’m going to be using MAL’s rankings to determine popularity and once again, I will only be looking at the top 500 in each category, and I will only list manga and anime I have at least watched a few episodes or read a few volumes. I’m also going to split this into two parts, so people know if I’m talking about the manga or the anime and where exactly it ranks in each category.

Manga

Surprisingly, most of the manga near the top are actual stuff I’ve read and enjoyed so this has been quite a delightful surprise. (I guess because ranking are determined by average score rather than sheer numbers of who read what and added them onto favourites like with characters, it is much more balanced). Nonetheless, there are still a few manga which I personally feel are overrated (in the literal sense that I think their average score is too high):


Fruits Basket
ranked 83 (with an average score of 8.58) on MAL
my score: 3

Well this really isn’t too surprising to anyone who knows me well, but here it is, probably the manga I believe is the most overrated. Oh there are much worse manga out there, but most of them aren’t as universally praised as Fruits Basket. Maybe I’m extra hard on FB because of all the hype surrounding it. I kept buying volumes until volume 3 expecting it to pick up or show me something, but it never really did. Also, as you guys know from the previous post, I’m not really a fan of the main heroine. I’m one of those people that has to like the main character in a slice-of-life/romance series to actually enjoy it (otherwise I simple don’t care if Miss Sweet Thing #5 is getting all the boys or if she accidentally tripped before class), so Tohru being boring and a total doormat was already enough to make me drop this series, but honestly, there really isn’t much substance elsewhere either. Not only Tohru, but the whole cast is one archetype after another: mysterious gentle boy, hot headed main love interest, super girly cross dressing boy, older pervert, other clingy girl, etc. Just nothing really exceptional here, so I just don’t understand why everyone was so gaga over this thing when it’s nothing really special or unique.


Let Dai
ranked 101 (with an average score of 8.55) on MAL
my score: unranked, but if I had to give it a score right now it would be 6

You may be wondering by what I mean by “unranked but if I had to give it a score right now it would be 6”. It means I haven’t finished reading it and as a personal preference, I prefer not to give scores to manga and anime on MAL until I’ve finished with them (or dropped them permanently) as sometimes a bad ending really changes my perception of a good series and some series start off pretty mediocre but end on a really great note. 6 is definitely not a bad score, to be sure; it means it’s basically ok and that’s exactly how I feel about Let Dai right now. It’s just ok, not good enough to warrant majority of the scores being 8-10. My main problem with this series is I cannot take the romance at all seriously. I just cannot grasp why the main character, Jaehee, has such intense feelings for Dai. So much to the point that he is willing to abandon his mother and forsake the fact that Dai’s friends were the ones responsible for his girlfriend’s rape. For a series that is trying hard to be psychological and heavy on character building, this is really unforgivable. Maybe my perception will change at the end, but so far, it hasn’t impressed me.


id
ranked 256 (with an average score of 8.36) on MAL
my score: unranked but if I had to give it a score right now it would be 5

Where to begin? At first, this had quite a bit of potential to be good. It was funny and it felt like an RPG in manga format, but then a few chapters in and the problems start showing up. First is the main character, Id. He’s good at everything; from sheer power to swordsplay to magic, he does it best. And correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought Mary Sues, or in this case Marty Stus, are bad? Like nobody likes them bad. Yet here we have pretty much a classic example of a Marty Stu and it doesn’t bother people? :| Oh and I’m not exaggerating. See at least characters like Ichigo from Bleach and Luffy from One Piece, actually fail from time to time and they aren’t great at every single thing (Ichigo sucks at the in-universe magic and Luffy’s victories either make sense in the logic of the story or are pulled off with the help of other characters). Id here? He takes out a top grade dark sorcerer that the most powerful magician couldn’t even so much as scratch. Sure, it’s sort of alluded to why he is so overpowered, but even people like him are awed by him. It’s really taken to a ridiculous degree here. And this is coming from someone who tends to like a bit of Mary Sue and Marty Stu in their manga. After all, it is quite satisfying when the hero or heroine rises to the challenge and proves him/herself. The problem, for me, is when no other characters can compare to this single character. Ichigo is amazingly strong, but a lot of the captains are painted as equally so. Same with Luffy, he may be really strong, but so are Zoro and Sanji. Id? Nobody can touch him. All the other characters are incredibly underpowered compared to him. Which brings me to my next point. The female characters seem to only be there to look pretty or to be in awe of Id. Neither one has done anything extra-ordinary so far. While Id may make everyone look weak in comparison to him, the male characters still do get a few moments to shine here and there. This is a major pet peeve of mine. I hate it when female characters are introduced just to stand by and look stary eyed at the heroes. Outside of that, I can’t say the story is very interesting either. The big mystery is basically who or what Id exactly is, but I don’t really care all that much because it will probably turn out to be something like the ultimate being or other such rubbish. This manga is tethering very close to being permanently dropped too.

Anime

Once again, the rankings surprised me as most of the anime was stuff I actually enjoyed or I hadn’t watched, so not much to list here as well. Which is surprising because the character rankings were pretty meh all around. I guess the rating system really is more balanced than just adding together the number of people who have added so and so to their favourites.


Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
ranked 251 (with an average score of 8.22) on MAL
my score: 7

This anime isn’t so much bad as really underwhelming. I did give it a 7 because it made me chuckle a few times, but I don’t really see why everyone loves it. It dragged for me in a few places and I don’t think I’m going to be watching any more seasons. It just really didn’t do it for me. The characters are all some kind of gag and thus very shallow, so there isn’t anyone to get attached to and there is no real plot since it’s basically a gag anime. I mean it’s cool when it makes references to anime and game culture. The psyche locks from the Phoenix Wright games definitely put a smile on my face, but it’s not really enough for me to think it deserves an 8, let alone a 9 or 10. It’s good, but definitely not great.


Lucky * Star
ranked 281 (with an average score of 8.19) on MAL
my score: 4

If Fruits Basket is the most overrated manga in my opinion, then Lucky Star is the most overrated anime. There is not much to say except that it is a major snooze fest. I couldn’t even finish it because it just could not hold my attention. I seriously have to question how 4 girls talking about random things like food and summer vacation is entertainment. The girls aren’t even that interesting. They seem to be liked for very superficial reasons (i.e. Konata like to play dating sims, Miyuki is a meganekko, etc.). I am genuinely perplexed by why this is so popular. There isn’t even any guys around, so there is no romance, nor romantic wish fulfilment. It’s not even funny like Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei.


Elfen Lied
ranked 297 (with an average score of 8.18) on MAL
my score: 7

spoilers for this anime ahead!
Elfen Lied was one of my earlier anime (at a time when I started to watch a lot more anime) and looking back, I really did rate it a tad bit too high. I’d say it’s more 6 material now that I’ve seen more and have a better scope of what kinds of anime are out there. The gorgeous opening song probably helped as did my excitement at watching a “mature” anime. That said, I was never a fan of Lucy and the romance was already bothering me back when I first finished it. Thinking about it now, I can’t help but feel the anime is rated a bit higher than it deserves. I never felt it was 8 material to begin with and now I think I may have been too generous with even a 7. My big problem is how the author is trying to sell Lucy to the audience. He’s trying to downplay her crazy murderous personality by introducing a super moe version that acts super innocent and resembles a 5 year old in thought processes. This really rubs me the wrong way. If you can’t deal with a messed up love interest, then don’t write one like that. Just make a regular romcom. Furthermore, you really want to bring in such luggage into this relationship as Lucy being the murderer of Kouta’s parents? I haven’t read the manga and the anime ends before Kouta pieces everything together, but from how it is set up and how the anime was going, I would be surprised if Kouta rejects Lucy. But if he doesn’t reject her, then that means he ok with living with someone so unstable that she felt threatened by Kouta loving anyone but her. Or they could go down the route of redeeming her, but I have to question the authenticity of such a move. The anime went to painstaking lengths to show us that Lucy is pretty damn messed up. It’s hard to imagine that her ~love~ for Kouta could heal her to such an extent. Outside of that, the anime was a pretty typical harem anime with a few added sci-fi twits to try and mask up the mediocrity of the majority of the show. The cousin is the jealous clingy other girl and I recall Nana annoyed me to no end as well. Really, the sci-fi aspects have potential but at it’s core it’s just a mediocre harem anime and I’m disappointed people can’t see that. If it had focused on Lucy and just Lucy and cut out the romance and the stupid alternate personality, then it could have lived up to its interesting premise.

Like last time, I hope I don’t offend anyone. These are my honest feelings. I guess that sounds a bit hollow since I am voluntarily picking a fight here by writing why I don’t like these shows when I know they have a large following. But I do not think I’m just picking at them because it’s cool to hate on what’s popular. In fact, I’m quite proud that the manga and anime series that I personally think highly of were rated highly on MAL. 2oth Century Boys is at number 3, Full Metal Alchemist at 4, and One Piece at 7. Even the relatively obscure Basara (which I’m sure you all know is my all time favourite manga) managed to earn the 131st place. I’m happy to see that. I love seeing good stories being praised. I like knowing I’m not alone in thinking these are great manga. So with that in mind, I hope everyone understands that I criticism these shows not because it’s hip to hate on popular things, but because I am genuinely disappointed they are universally praised as I don’t really see them as good stories/entertainment. Of course, like last time, I hope to hear from people who do not agree. Even if we may not agree, I enjoy having a friendly debate/conversation on these topics. :)

–SW

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