The quality of animation in anime saw a huge leap forward throughout the late 90s and early 2000s, with long-running series such as Dragon Ball Z and Pokémon seeing a noticeable improvement in the years since their debut episodes. That said, this tangible advancement in visual quality hasn’t stopped some anime shows from dropping the ball from time to time.
For the most part, this drop is limited to a one-off scene and, therefore, doesn’t reflect the overall quality of the anime as a whole. More often than not, however, that one scene is enough to stick in its audience’s mind, often longer than scenes intended to showcase the animation budget.
Updated on January 22, 2023 by Ajay Aravind: Anime cinematography has come a long way since the early days of Yu Yu Hakusho and Hajime no Ippo. Recent shows like Chainsaw Man have taken animation to a whole other level, creating a brand-new benchmark for the medium. Then again, not every show is perfect, which is why we’ve taken the trouble to update this list of great anime with terrible animation.
10 The Battle Between Goku And Beerus In Dragon Ball Super Looks Substandard At Best
One of the most notorious cases of bad animation in a good series occurred during Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods’ translation into the Dragon Ball Super anime. Watching the battle between Goku and Beerus on King Kai’s planet makes it painfully obvious that the studio was trying to rush their product out the door.
Goku looked like he had just stepped out of the sketchbook of someone with only a basic idea of what a Saiyan should look like. Thankfully, the animation quality quickly picked back up after this scene. Still, it’s hard to forget the haunting version of Goku that got his butt kicked by Beerus.
9 Berserk’s New Style Didn’t Quite Go Down Well With The Fandom
Berserk went into a near 20-year-long hiatus that left anyone unfamiliar with the source material on the edge of their seats. Following Griffith’s betrayal of Guts and the Band of the Hawk, the series finally returned in 2016 with an updated aesthetic. Unfortunately, this style was neither consistent nor well-liked among the audience.
While the traditionally animated segments of the new series were fantastic, it was brought down by the use of very dated CGI effects alongside them. Modern anime uses CGI combined with traditional animation all the time. However, in Berserk’s case, it ended up diminishing the overall quality by several notches, rather than elevating the action to new heights.
8 Dororo Saw A Noticeable Quality Decline In The First Dozen Or So Episodes
Dororo’s remake has some fairly good animations in the early episodes, though there is a noticeable decline in the first dozen or so episodes when compared to the pilot. This decline reached its lowest point by far during episode 15, “The Story of the Scene From Hell”.
It almost seems like the studio simply used colored storyboard sketches and turned them into a flipbook instead of actually animating the episode. Even Hyakkimaru suffered as a result — one particular scene of the protagonist running through the woods looks incredibly awkward by modern anime standards.
7 xxxHOLiC Is Often Bogged Down By Stilted Movements And Repetitive Animation
CLAMP’s manga and anime series have a huge cult following, in no small part due to their unique art style that is instantly recognizable and the reception of the likes of Cardcaptor Sakura. xxxHOLiC chronicles the adventures of a high-schooler named Kimihiro Watanuki, who genuinely dislikes being able to perceive spiritual entities.
As good as CLAMP’s oeuvre has been in the past, xxxHOLiC is often bogged down by its animation quality, with stilted movements and repetitive animations. In addition, the grotesque character models look more at home in a horror series than in a supernatural fantasy show.
6 Junji Ito Collection Failed To Capture The Mangaka’s Notoriously Nightmarish Vision
The nightmarish works of Junji Ito are some of the best horror manga stories around. His Uzumaki and The Enigma of Amigara Fault are considered some of the best of all time. Many fans leaped out of their seats in excitement when they heard that a few of Junji Ito’s short stories would be getting an anime adaptation.
Unfortunately for the fandom, the Junji Ito Collection‘s animation simply wasn’t able to capture the creep factor that made his manga narratives so iconic. On the other hand, Gyo, an OVA loosely based on Ito’s long-form stories, did a much better job at animating his unique perspective.
5 Voices Of A Distant Star Is Nowhere Near As Good As Makoto Shinkai’s Later Works
The movies of Makoto Shinkai, like Your Name and Weathering With You, have some of the finest animation around. This isn’t surprising given that they are big-budget feature films. However, not all of Shinkai’s works have this same quality, particularly Voices of a Distant Star.
To give credit to Shinkai, this OVA short film was composed and animated entirely by Shinkai himself on his home computer — it shows just how far he was willing to go to bring his vision to life. And yet, the animation quality in Voices of a Distant Star is nowhere near as good as his later works, especially after he obtained access to a full animation studio.
4 Pokémon’s First Season Is A Particularly Noteworthy Example Of Slipshod Animation
It’s hard to fault a series like Pokémon for its animation quality, largely due to the fact that it was released slightly before the second golden age of anime. That being said, there are times when it’s hard to ignore certain aspects of the animation’s dip in quality, vis a vis its first season.
The most noticeable examples of quality loss occur in the expressions of certain Pokémon when the scene isn’t focusing on their reactions, as evidenced by Pikachu’s face. If he isn’t a part of the active dialogue, Pikachu tends to have this dead-eyed stare that makes him look possessed and removes any sense of realism from his character.
3 The Seven Deadly Sins Saw A Drop In Animation Quality Around Season 3
Dragon Ball Super may have been infamous for its animation quality decline, but The Seven Deadly Sins is right up there with it. Created by Nakaba Suzuki, the manga went on to spawn a global franchise incorporating video games, movies, and three whole anime seasons.
Although the first couple of seasons of The Seven Deadly Sins were fantastic, Season 3 and the introduction of Escanor saw the quality drop horribly. In the final battle between Escanor and Meliodas, there are some laughably awful moments that look about as good as the worst animation in Dororo.
2 One-Punch Man’s Season 2 Was Notably Worse Than Its Predecessor
The first season of One-Punch Man was brilliantly animated, and had a concise enough story that left the fandom waiting for more. When it was announced that Season 2 would be animated by a different studio, there was some worry that the quality would decline from its first season.
As expected, this is exactly what happened. It wasn’t that season 2 was badly animated by any means, but it was a noticeable dip in quality between the two seasons and was jarring for anyone watching them back-to-back. Then again, One-Punch Man might just get back on track with Season 3.
1 Overlord’s CGI Goat Demons Looked Like Something Out Of A High School Art Studio
Overlord began as a light novel in 2010, before the story’s popularity naturally gave rise to a manga adaptation. The anime version, produced by Madhouse, includes a total of 52 episodes split between four seasons. For the majority of Overlord’s run, the animation quality was fairly good, capturing the more fantastical elements rather well.
However, all that went out the window when Einz summoned the Young Ones — bizarre, tentacled CGI goat demons that looked like something out of a high school art studio. While the scene itself was horrifying, the weak quality of the animation impaired what was supposed to be an impactful moment in the story.
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