15 Anime That Just Didn’t Age WellThis post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
Just like any piece of media, anime is (to an extent) a capsule of its time.
That being said, once a few years have passed and the community changes, some previously legendary shows can feel rather subpar.
Maybe it’s because the animation looks terrible by today’s standards. Or because the show turned sour because of its conclusion. But it’s a trend we’ve seen over and over again: time can truly ruin some shows.
And if you’re curious, here’s a few of the series that I feel just may not hold up so well on future re-weatches.
15. Akame ga Kill
I remember really enjoying Akame ga Kill when it first started airing. In fact, I think I even gave it a 10/10.
But upon rewatching the series, my opinions have changed dramatically.
It came out in 2014 and shocked the community with an excessive amount of brutality, as no character was ever safe from getting the Game of Thrones treatment.
However, when you look at it today and compare it to something like Attack on Titan, it just feels like an anime made for cheap thrills.
I guess the modern teenager might have to find a different show to get that edgelord fix.
14. The Promised Neverland
This one might seem a bit odd as the series only recently concluded, but hear me out.
Whenever you hear someone talking about the Promised Neverland two years ago, it was nothing but high praise for a masterpiece that came out of nowhere.
However, the second season wet the bed so extensively that you rarely hear anything good about the series anymore.
Even though the first season still remains as an S-class show, the finale has forever tainted the franchise – and the story that it tried to tell.
13. Fullmetal Alchemist (2006)
Fullmetal Alchemist has the exact opposite issue compared to the previous pick.
The second FMA iteration called Brotherhood was simply too good to pass up.
Both versions were set in the same universe, though. At the time when the original Fullmetal Alchemist was being broadcast, the source material had not been finished.
This means that it drops off quite sharply in terms of quality in the second half, and some characters that we all loved in Brotherhood simply never got introduced.
The original still has a unique charm as it is a bit darker than Brotherhood, but it pales in comparison as a whole.
12. Lucky Star
When Lucky Star first aired in 2007 it casted a wide net on the audience, pulling us all in with pop-culture references and jokes that gave the show its soul.
However, anyone under the age of 18 will likely miss a big portion of the jokes and references that made the show so great in the first place.
Unlike a show like Gintama that has countless seasons and movies that you can watch across multiple time periods, Lucky Star is stuck as a time capsule to the 2000s.
11. Mysterious Girlfriend X
I don’t know whether the lockdown just made me an extreme germophobe, but I cannot watch this show with the same enjoyment that I did a few years back.
It’s your classic high school romance with a dandere male lead and an unorthodox female lead.
However, their relationship literally starts with the dude tasting her spit, which was kind of weird back in the day… and possibly a death wish by today’s standards.
Plus, the girl carries scissors in her underwear.
She’s just begging to get some sort of infection.
I’m not going to sit here and act like the original Naruto didn’t have some of the most amazing scenes in the entire series. It did.
However, everything inbetween is somewhat hard to watch.
This is largely due to the show retconning anything and everything in the show.
Remember when Kakashi had to do like 50 hand signs in order to summon one stupid water dragon that burst like a bubble on impact?
Or when Sakura was credited as having the best chakra control?
Or when Naruto told Neji that it doesn’t matter who you were and that destiny wasn’t a thing?
Boy, I could make an entire article on just the number of all the retcons in this show.
I honestly feel really sad putting this masterpiece on a list such as this. But I think this is where it belongs.
Not because the show was bad by any means. But rather because most people today would never finish it.
The show is brilliant, but it’s also ridiculously slow, with certain parts just being a bunch of mini-stories that barely interacted with each other.
Being that seasonal anime is all the rage these days, the slow burn & meticulous design of Monster simply doesn’t work nearly as well as it once did.
8. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
I think there are two main reasons why this series doesn’t stack nearly as well these days compared to its initial release in the mid-2000s.
First, a lot of the tropes that were used in the series have become so saturated that it’s mind numbing to sit through.
Every other show is set in high school, and every fourth anime has a god or god-like figure as a character.
Secondly, I don’t think anyone could forgive the absolute war crime that was the second season.
You have to be a true die-hard fan to endure the Endless Eight arc. And I simply think that there’s too much good anime for one to waste time on watching eight nearly identical episodes.
7. Golden Boy
While watching this show, you can just tell that it was amazing for its time – being the late 90s there was actually a ton of crazy good anime back then.
But boy is it difficult to watch today.
It goes without saying that the animation is quite an eyesore. And the audio mixing leaves much to be desired.
Plus, the themes of the show are a bit harder to swallow these days.
You know, themes like not understanding what a computer does, or thinking that all your colleagues want to sleep with you from the get go.
And that’s just the first episode.
The only thing that has changed for the better is our acceptance of female nipples. So at least it’s not all bad news.
6. Darling in the Franxx
Even though this is a relatively modern show, I feel like it’s ancient.
It started off pretty decent, but quickly fell into the loop of every mech anime from the 2000s.
From galactic battles, to a story so convoluted and forced that you really have to question the studio’s intentions, Darling in the Franxx just feels like a poor man’s Gurren Lagann that had no business being made in the late 2010s.
Had the show stayed rooted in its character exploration, it would have been well off. But alas, it just had to get messy.
5. Future Diary
Future Diary basically suffers from its own success, as it solidified too many tropes that it’s difficult to actually watch the original anymore.
For example, the pink-haired yandere with a tragic/messed up past is an archetype you see so often these days, that Yuno just feels like another drop in the bucket. Even though she was one of the original yandere.
Plus the crybaby male protagonist is just as common.
And the concept of a battle royal game in real life has been done to death in recent years.
So rewatching the show now just feels like a trope bingo game.
It honestly feels like God just decided that Berserk’s story will never be adequately adapted.
With newer versions being a clunky CGI mess, one can only look towards the 1997 version with the vein hope of getting caught up on the lore.
However, no matter how good the source material is, a 20+ year gap is hard to overlook.
Most of the fights look like PowerPoint presentations. And the beautiful and daunting illustrations present in the manga just don’t hit with even 10% of their force in the anime adaptation.
Not to mention that it would be quite a wild ride to guess how PC culture would react if the series did ever get an adequate adaptation.
3. Love Hina
You would be hard pressed to find a person who would enjoy this show if they watched it for the first time today.
Being that it aired in the year 2000, everyone kind of gave its generic cast a pass, since there wasn’t a lot of anime to compare it with.
However, from a modern perspective this show feels like a museum for harem tropes.
Not only is it trope-heavy, but the tropes were also done in a bad way.
The characters simply aren’t that likable. And most of the episodes just feel like filler, because nothing ever happens.
2. Dragon Ball Z
You cannot look me in the orthographic eye and tell me that right now, in modern times, the original Dragon Ball Z doesn’t look awful when compared to modern action anime.
And don’t get me wrong here. DBZ was absolutely legendary for its time.
But it’s only relevant today because of nostalgia and sequels that polished everything that was wrong with it.
Fights would often devolve to just some lines appearing on the screen, as the characters were “moving too fast” and certain frames were constantly reused in order to save time.
Not to mention how drawn-out everything was.
The series had almost 300 episodes, and yet that still paled in comparison to most modern series with a tenth of its length.
1. Sword Art Online
I know I sound like a broken record, but everything in this show has become so mainstream that I can’t for the life of me watch the original anymore.
Isekai shows have to go over the moon these days to seem interesting. And overpowered MCs have to be written perfectly to be likable.
The original Sword Art Online has none of that. It’s the modern anime laughing stock for a reason.
God I just hate the original Kirito with a passion.
Honestly, the SAO abridged series is ten times better. There, I said it.