The isekai genre has dominated anime for the last half-decade. It’s easy to see why: fans love the power fantasy element and how the shows portray the feeling of being sent into a video game. Ever since Sword Art Online was released, anime studios have been working to provide their own take on the popular genre.
To be fair, most of these series have gained their own audiences over the years — but just because they have a fanbase doesn’t mean they’re quality shows. Too often, there are series that have a great reputation even though the quality just isn’t there.
10/10 In Another World With My Smartphone Offers Nothing New To The Isekai World
In Another World With My Smartphone
A magical smartphone that allows its owner to access Google and Wikipedia even in another world is definitely a useful item to have, but no one should be building an entire series around it as they did in the series In Another World With My Smartphone. This series managed to find a fanbase that was big enough to guarantee it a second season.
Considering how many great anime series never receive a second season, how Smartphone managed to get one is a mystery. Smartphone offers nothing new to the genre and is instead just a very basic harem anime.
9/10 The World’s Finest Assassin Doesn’t Do Enough With Its Premise
The World’s Finest Assassin Gets Reincarnated Into Another World As An Aristocrat
World’s Finest Assassin managed to amass a fanbase with how different its opening premise is. It’s not about some kid being dragged into another world. Instead, the protagonist is an old man who was a former assassin and has been assigned a crucial mission: kill off the Hero of this new world after they defeat the demon lord.
World’s Finest Assassin immediately pulls people in with its protagonist, but unfortunately, that’s where much of the creativity stops. The characters surrounding Lugh are all types that fans would have seen before. It can potentially develop into something more later on, but for now, it’s simply mediocre.
8/10 Sword Art Online Is The Most Overrated Anime Of All Time
Sword Art Online
These days, there are fans who complain about the popularity of Sword Art Online, but it’s too late now; the franchise’s influence has already been felt in the anime industry. It’s the first isekai series to get multiple seasons of adaptations, and it inspired the isekai trend fans are stuck with today.
But no matter how influential it is, Sword Art Online isn’t very good. People talk about how great things were before ALO, but even back then, the show wasn’t sure what kind of series it wanted to be. While the Alicization season has moments of greatness, the original season is responsible for popularizing many of the terrible isekai tropes fans see today.
7/10 Digimon Relies On Nostalgie More Than Quality
Digimon Adventure isn’t a bad series by any means. It’s even the only Digimon series with a remake. It was many millennials’ first experience with anime, appearing alongside traditional Western cartoons on Saturday mornings. But while the series is good, it’s certainly not as amazing as people claim. Like many series people watched as children, the show was aimed at a certain audience.
When people look back on Digimon, it’s their fond memories they think about and how the series made them feel rather than an objective measure of quality. There are plenty of other Digimon anime that are better that don’t get nearly the respect, like Digimon Tamers and even Digimon Ghost Stories.
6/10 Gate Is Just A Long Propaganda Ad
Gate starts when a group of Japanese Self-Defense Force members is forced to travel to an alternate world. There, they attempt to learn about this newly-discovered world, where all manner of fantasy races and creatures live.
Gate would be a fine enough isekai series on its own, but it doesn’t take long before anyone watching realizes the problem. It’s a blatant propaganda ad, so much so that Japan even used it as part of their recruitment efforts for a time. Some of the series’ characters were mascots for that specific purpose, which isn’t exactly why most people tune in to watch a series.
5/10 Reincarnated As A Slime Eliminates Any Sense Of Dramatic Tension
That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime
Reincarnated as a Slime had a unique premise when it first aired several years ago. A man from the real world is reincarnated into another world as a slime creature, where he gains a number of strange powers and friends along the way. The big problem with this series is that Rimuru is simply too strong.
By the end of the first season, almost nothing is capable of threatening Rimuru. By the end of the second, Rimuru literally hands off the arc villain to one of his subordinates to deal with. People who are tuning in at this point aren’t doing so because of any dramatic tension about what might happen next.
4/10 Shield Hero Loses Its Intrigue In The Second Season
The Rising Of The Shield Hero
Rising of the Shield Hero‘s first season involves Naofumi’s distrust of people around him because of how he was betrayed. Even after he comes to trust his partners Raphtalia and Filo, he still doesn’t trust the country that wronged him. This is the driving conflict for much of the first season, and a large part of what set the story apart.
By the second season though, that conflict has been resolved. Everything that made Naofumi interesting has been replaced with a considerably more generic fantasy universe. While there are still some interesting elements to the series remaining, even fans almost universally prefer season one.
3/10 The Familiar of Zero Has A Protagonist No One Likes
The Familiar Of Zero
The Familiar of Zero is an isekai from before the isekai genre had really caught on. It was a massive success, running for four seasons and some OVAs, indicating the level of popularity the genre would have in the future. The protagonist was a young mage named Louise who accidentally summoned a human named Saito to her world when she was practicing to summon a familiar.
Familiar of Zero tries to set up a romance between the two characters, but Louise treats Saito terribly. She’s rude and abusive to him, and when they first meet, she tries to cast a spell on him to keep him from talking. She fails, but that behavior is exactly why the series is so difficult to watch.
2/10 Cautious Hero Has Exactly One Joke
The Hero Is Overpowered But Overly Cautious
A hero who constantly takes every encounter seriously and tries to use all of his strength to win fights is a cool idea. But Cautious Hero pushes the joke past being funny into being overused all in the first episode.
Cautious Hero gets to the point where the character being overly cautious is making him less effective, as he’s always spamming his most powerful move against even the weakest enemies. That’s just wasting MP. Cautious Hero season one had a ton of potential, but making him overcautious to such a degree was exhausting.
1/10 Arifureta Is A Basic Revenge Storyline
Arifureta was hyped up as the next great series coming out of White Fox, a talented anime studio. But right out the gate, people noticed problems with the series. The animation is mid-tier at best, and that’s just the start. Then people started paying attention to the story.
Arifureta‘s protagonist was once a sweet guy with weak powers until he was betrayed by some of his classmates. Trapped at the bottom of the dungeon his classmates were traveling in, he gains newfound powers and an attitude to go with it. It doesn’t take long to see through an obvious and basic revenge storyline.
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