Like when you tell your parents you are going to cooking school instead of accepting your full ride to MIT, there are some anime series out there that waste their potential just like people do. Sometimes it is everybody’s fault. Sometimes it the writers, or the time constraints, or the creative decisions, or the directing. However, every time you run into a series the piques your interest with its plot, it is just heart-breaking when it doesn’t live up.
No anime fan should be able to sit there and think on how they could have done a particular anime so much better.
The Lost Village
The ending of The Lost Village may or may not have (but definitely did) spark the idea for this list. They built a cool concept, one that was able to tempt the viewer into watching in hopes of either a survival-based, possibly village-building anime or a real gore fest. Even when neither of those things happened, you stayed invested to learn about the horrible pasts of all the semi-unique characters. Then you only get half of the back stories, the plot barely wraps up, and the show ends while half the characters leave and half of them stay in the village. It even introduces what you expect is the villain in one of the last episodes, but never goes any further into her motives than “daddy issues”.
Essentially, its twelve episode run was like climbing the first hill of a rollercoaster, then being told the ride is over before cresting. It is a show that definitely feels like it should have been twice as long, but even then, leaves no hope for a second season. For an anime about how people are supposed to deal with their issues, a lot of people sure didn’t.
Sword Art Online
For gamers and MMO fans, Sword Art Online started out with tons of potential. It provided an interesting concept the could be explored in a lot of different ways. Unfortunately they chose to not do that and just focused on the story of Kirito, their very own Gary Stu who was the most special, strongest person ever and beautiful women all swoon at the sight of his short, wimpy frame.
Even then, though, the anime completely shifted directions during the second half of the first season and continued to spiral into the second season. They even made Gary Stu into a woman because boobs.
You know how sometimes an anime series seems like one big advertisement for a manga? That is pretty much what Gantz is, expect for it drifts away from the really brutal plot of the manga for a story that is half as interesting. The animation is beautiful enough, but it would have been better used to watch Izumi tear through Shinjuku or Kaze fist some guy’s face instead of limping through some lame plot arc about a pair of seriel killers with about as much personality as a pair of socks.
In Angel Beats, you are introduced to this wide array of characters, some more interesting than others, and not unlike The Lost Village, looked forward to hearing their heart-breaking backstories. Unfortunately, you get not even half that and suddenly in the last two episodes, the series is in a frantic sprint to a cop-out ending. It tells a story, but it could have done more. It actually did end up doing more, you just have to go buy the manga, visual novel, light novels, ect.
Contrary to the rumors, you should also note that Angel Beats was never meant to be a longer series.
By the end of the anime, you feel a bit like a wounded warrior asking his best friend to just end it already. It is no longer interesting and there is really nothing left to explore, but it just goes on. Then it ends. It ends with a big “fuck you” to everyone that didn’t read a manga because they don’t know what happens. Thanks, Future Diary.
Eden of the East
Eden of the East had the potential to become a real masterpiece. It had interesting and fun characters, a unique premise with just the right amount of mystery to keep things intriguing, and some truly beautiful animation. Then you know what happened? It threw all of that away. By the end, you have barely any idea what is going on and nothing really gets wrapped up. Think the two movies will help clear things up? Nope!