10 Classic Anime That Just Don’t Hold Up Anymore

Every fan has at least one anime they adored as a child, considered a classic, and upon a re-watch, realized it is either highly outdated or was simply never that great in the first place. Nostalgia is a powerful feeling that often colors a fan’s memories with rose-tinted lenses.

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Animation has also evolved considerably in the past 20 years, and more care is given to creating faithful adaptations of fan-favorite manga than in the past. Several older anime classics, particularly some from the early 2000s, don’t hold up to modern standards of both animation and narrative quality.

10/10 Fruits Basket (2001) Has Been Bested By Its Reboot

The original Fruits Basket is a classic shojo anime from the early 2000s which adapted the incredibly popular manga series. The story follows Tohru Honda, a young girl grieving the loss of her mother, who meets and interacts with members of the mysterious Sohma family.

Fruits Basket is a wholesome, adorable series with an art style that screams the late ’90s and early 2000s. Unfortunately, the series only ran for one season and never had the opportunity to offer fans a satisfying conclusion. The series was also known for leaning more into the comedy and less into the serious moments covered in the manga. Luckily for fans, a more faithful reboot was made in 2019, effectively taking the place of the original anime on any fan’s list of classics.

9/10 Saint Seiya Suffered In Its Translation

Saint Seiya is sure to regain some relevance with the release of the Netflix live-action adaptation in 2023, which somehow features Sean Bean. An old classic, Saint Seiya boasts a fantastic soundtrack and compelling story that follows Seiya, one of five warriors known as the Saints, who don sacred sets of armor derived from constellations.

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The Saint Seiya anime falls prey to the same flaws of many of the anime of its time, which include inconsistent animation and an overbearing amount of filler. The American release, known as Knights Of The Zodiac, also suffered from rewrites, a new soundtrack, and censorship to allow it to appeal to a younger American audience. A fully 3D remake, Knights Of The Zodiac (2019), also met poor reception and fans long for a series that will do the original justice.

8/10 One Piece’s Earlier Arcs Have Become Outdated

The One Piece anime (1999) has been airing for over 20 years. One Piece brings nostalgia to many fans who watched the series during their childhood and either picked it back up at a later age or never stopped watching. While more recent arcs have received greater care and higher-quality animation, One Piece’s earlier episodes and arcs can’t compare.

One Piece suffers from a couple of key issues. Firstly, the earlier animation is not as smooth as in more recent episodes, and the contrast can be somewhat jarring. The more significant problem for fans would likely be the pacing, as the series contains a lot of filler to prevent it from overtaking the manga. This has resulted in a very bloated series that could benefit greatly from a reboot.

7/10 Lucky Star Is No Longer Relevant

Lucky Star was a popular comic strip, manga, and anime series in the early-mid 2000s. Following the lives of Konata Izumi and her three friends, the series follows their high school misadventures and shenanigans.

While Lucky Star represented the anime fan culture of the time and operated as a guilty pleasure for many fans, Lucky Star hasn’t been able to maintain its popularity with age. The best reason for this is likely the reliance on relevant pop culture references of the time, which are no longer relevant and now alienate potential new fans.

6/10 Fate/Stay Night Does Not Measure Up To Its Prequel

A quintessential 2000s anime, Fate/stay night is overshadowed by the visual novel it is based on and the prequel anime, Fate/zero. The story follows Shirou as he is dragged into the Fifth Holy Grail War, a battle royale in which seven mages summon magical Servants to fight for them.

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The original visual novel operates on a choose-your-own-adventure mechanic with three diverging paths the player can take. On the other hand, the Fate/stay night anime was forced to either pick one route or attempt to merge all three. It went with the latter, which resulted in a bit of a mess.

5/10 Sailor Moon Was Due For A Reboot

Sailor Moon (1992) suffers from the same issue as many older classics: an overabundance of filler and a less-than-faithful adaptation. The beloved ’90s anime is officially 30 years old, and it forever changed the landscape of the magical girl genre. The American release of Sailor Moon especially suffered from many cringe-worthy changes to appeal to a younger American audience.

Due to these issues, Sailor Moon received a recent reboot, Sailor Moon Crystal, in an attempt to create a more faithful adaptation with modern animation. However, the writing and animation were too inconsistent, and the series was canceled after three seasons.

4/10 The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya Has Not Been Treated Kindly By Age

The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya is another classic from the early 2000s that hasn’t aged well. The slice-of-life anime earned itself a reasonably dedicated fan base, partly due to the extremely catchy credit sequence and accompanying dance. The series was unfortunately canceled after just two seasons and never had a chance to conclude properly.

Bogged down by an overreliance on exposition, a lack of character development, and too much fan service, The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya is pretty flawed. The series did not live up to its previous hype and hasn’t managed to stand the test of time.

3/10 Gundam Wing Offers Little Beyond Nostalgia

The Gundam franchise has been going strong since the late 1970s with many TV iterations, and it is a staple of the mecha genre. Many anime fans born in the ’90s grew up watching Gundam Wing (1995), the sixth installment in the series and the installment credited with popularizing the franchise in North America.

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Gundam Wing introduced a new generation of teenage Gundam protagonists, and it was known for ramping up teen angst and melodrama. This contributed to a reputation for weaker writing and uninteresting main characters, in addition to its clunky animation.

2/10 Bleach Has Fallen Behind Its Rivals

Part of Shonen Jump’s original Big Three, alongside One Piece and Naruto, Bleach has fallen behind the other two as time has gone on. The show doesn’t offer the same re-watch value and is now overshadowed by its successors. Once again, too much filler and poor animation quality hold this anime back.

Bleach follows Ichigo Kurosaki, a seemingly ordinary high schooler thrust into the perilous role of a Soul Reaper. The series is still beloved by many, but it is also unfortunately known for repetitive and messy writing along with weak pacing.

1/10 Trigun Has Since Become Overshadowed By A Close Cousin

Trigun (1998) is a classic anime that played a role in helping popularize the medium in the U.S. Vash the Stampede is a famous gunman boasting a large bounty, and, as a result, he is constantly fighting off various bounty hunters. Trigun has lost some relevance due to being overshadowed by another extremely popular space western anime, Cowboy Bebop.

Trigun fans can rejoice as a new anime titled Trigun Stampede will join the Crunchyroll roster in 2023. A trailer was released in July and was met with significant hype.

NEXT: 10 Saddest Anime That Are Already Modern Classics

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