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Top 5 Awful Anime

Hold onto your butts - - this week we're highlighting the best of the worst!

Previous Lists... Top 2D Fighting Games *** Top Soundtracks *** Top Miyazaki Movies *** Top Forgotten Fighting Games ***Top Manliest Men *** Top Ninjas *** Top Mecha

Strap yourselves in, Vice-troop - - this week’s TOP 5 is gonna be an especially rough one.

I happen to be a big fan of movies that are so terrible that they somehow manage to wrap around the scale from awful to awesome. That certain balance of idiotic incompetency and enthusiasm that makes movies like THE ROOM, TROLL 2, PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, and Nic Cage’s THE WICKER MAN.

As such, this week we’re counting down the best of the worst - - anime so bad that they’re actually great.


This 12 episode TV series is kind of a one trick pony. You slog through 11 torturous episodes for an absolutely insane and unexpectedly violent conclusion. This one is better viewed through clips on YouTube than watched in its entirety. If SCHOOL DAYS was one 40 minute OVA, its length would still be pushing it, so 12 half-hour episodes is really just asking way too much. Plus, its ugly. Just awful to look at.

That said, the conclusion is so nuts, so batshit insane, so out-of-the-blue surprising and so utterly stupid that it’s totally worth looking into. This series has been described as a “subversive satire of the harem genre” by some more generous/naive critics. Don’t be fooled. SCHOOL DAYS is garbage. Hilarious garbage.


There are a few ways that a show can worm into this “so bad, it’s good” category. MUSASHI GUNDOH does a few things badly, but there is no question that the hilariously incompetent animation is what propels it into amazingly watchable territory.

That horse's face. THAT HORSE'S FACE!
That horse's face. THAT HORSE'S FACE!

I’ve watched a lot of bad anime in my day, and I’ve seen a lot of ugly animation. A lot of lazy, corner-cutting bullshit, sloppy movements, dull fight scenes, and poor drawings. Still, nothing can touch the absolute idiotic incompetence of MUSASHI GUNDOH. Every drawing is ugly and every “fight” amounts to some awkward stumbling and wooshing lines in the background. And that’s best-case scenario.

Worst case looks something like this:

Every fight is hilarious and the higher the stakes the funnier it gets. Its moment after shocking-moment of things that will make you say, “Wait, what? Seriously!?” Unfortunately, it can also be pretty dull between these scenes. Luckily, the payoff is totally worth it.


Ah, good ol' Go Nagai. This guy has brought a smile to this bitter old face on more occasions than I can count. He’s certainly not known for subtlety or self-control, or even good taste, but he has actually made some important contributions to the world of Japanese cartoons and comics. This is the man behind classics like DEVILMAN and MAZINGER Z, but BLACK LION will make you forget all about every good decision he ever made. This is an uproarious disaster of an OVA in classic Nagai fashion.

So, the short synopsis: there’s an evil samurai named Ginnai Doma who, according to legend, cannot be killed. A plucky young team of ninjas lead by a determined little guy named Shishimaru decides to take him on, motivated by revenge or justice... or who cares.

This is a fairly standard anime setup so far, right?

Ginnai is referring to his overheated robot core. But that goes without saying, right?
Ginnai is referring to his overheated robot core. But that goes without saying, right?

Well... SPOILER ALERT! Shit gets real weird.

It becomes clear pretty quickly that Ginnai Doma is at least part machine, and his robot (I guess?) minions use absurdly anachronistic weapons like machine guns and laser canons. Then, a bit later, it becomes absolutely clear that he is entirely machine when HIS DAMN ROBOT- TERMINATOR-SKULL HEAD LAUNCHES OFF OF HIS BODY while laughing and yelling “YOU CAN'T RUN AWAY!"

Believe it or not, things actually get even more ridiculous from here.

It’s one of the most hilarious and jaw-dropping 10 minutes of anime I’ve ever seen. Everyone should see this shit. Just be ready for a lot of blood and eyeballs, and some of the most insultingly stupid twists you could ever imagine.

Oh, and an atomic blast that solves every conflict in the show.


Hooooly shit. This is one of those mind-blowing, once-in-a-lifetime, unbelievably-offensive, “How did this get made?” anime that you’ll have a hard time believing is real even while you’re watching it. MADBULL 34 is a nightmare from which you just can’t seem to wake up. And is if that weren’t enough, the dub is also completely batshit insane, over the top and somehow even more offensive than the original. Thank you, Manga Video.

MADBULL 34 is set on the exotic, hard boiled, rough and tumble streets of New York City. So obviously, it goes without saying that our hero is a mustachioed macho scumbag named Sleepy with a bloodlust matched only by his buttlust. Faces are blown off, heads are severed, crotches are assaulted, boobs abound, racial stereotypes are plentiful, and naked dudes flex through chains.

And believe it or not, that’s really just the tip of the iceberg.

I'm not sure if it's clear that the guy throwing a punch is dressed like a nun. He is.
I'm not sure if it's clear that the guy throwing a punch is dressed like a nun. He is.

Since every moment of MADBULL 34 is absurd and obscene for one reason or another, I wont attempt to describe every single maddening detail. Suffice it to say, whoever you are, you will likely be offended by this series. Let’s be honest, this is pretty deplorable stuff, but there’s just nothing else like it. It absolutely blows my mind that this was painstakingly animated (some episodes don’t look half bad!) and then licensed and brought to America.

Sometimes there just aren't any words that can do an image justice.
Sometimes there just aren't any words that can do an image justice.

It’s also notable that Sleepy is one of the manliest men to grace an animation cell (just shy of our TOP 5 list). He’s a wall of meat with a cookie duster mustache the size of your forearm, and a crotch full of grenades. That’s right, in one particularly stirring scene, Sleepy removes his pants to reveal a bushel of grenades pinned to his pubic hair. If that’s not a real man, I don’t know what is.


Where to begin with this one… BATTLE ROYAL HIGH SCHOOL is about 8 movies at once. It almost feels like the stream of consciousness ramblings of a syphilitic nerd, trying to fit every genre he’s ever enjoyed into 60 mind-bending minutes. It seems an impossible task, but they’ve done it. They’ve finally done it with this one.

This movie has: a karate guy in a tiger mask (with a king from another universe trapped inside him), a swarm of evil mutant creatures, heroic space knights in the tradition of the POWER RANGERS, a loner with a magical sword, a sweet girl with a crush whose face eventually explodes into monsters, and everything else that’s ever been a glimmer of an idea in the back of a 12 \-year-old's mind. It’s almost a crash course on the tropes of the ‘80s OVA.

It’s a bit like PROJECT A-KO but, unlike A-KO, I’m not sure if this is a joke…

Okay, come on. How awesome is this?
Okay, come on. How awesome is this?

The nice surprise about BATTLE ROYAL HIGH SCHOOL is that it’s pretty damn well animated!

It’s an older style and looks like it, but there’s a ton of detail, nice character design, great movement, well done over-the-top gory shit, and impressive effects animation throughout. This movie is perfect “gif fodder”, if you will. It’s a bit like stumbling onto the best anime tumblr ever.

It looks nice, the characters are actually pretty charming, and there are some effective surprises and laughs. It’s a shame it isn’t just a bit better!

Right, and this happens also for some reason.
Right, and this happens also for some reason.

Unlike some of the earlier entries on this list, it’s actually enjoyable to sit through all of BATTLE ROYAL HIGH SCHOOL. There’s always another gag or absurd twist around the corner so it’s never dull, and the high quality of the animation makes the short 60 minutes quite easy on the eyes, as well. This movie is like a nice summer fling - - lots of fun while it lasts, but not much substance.


I could watch BAOH every day for a year and not get sick of it. I’m so fond of this stupid little OVA that I almost hesitate to call it bad… and then I remember everything that actually happens in its 48 minutes.

Yeah, BAOH is bad... but in a really good way!

It is worth mentioning that this is based on a manga by the one and only Hirohiko Araki, the brilliant mind behind JOJO’S BIZARRE ADVENTURE, and you can kind-of tell at times. The poses he puts his main character Ikaru in have that distinct JOJO flare, and there are, in fact, some cool moments in BAOH. It’s just clear that he hadn’t quite found his voice yet and, as a result, BAOH comes off as a second-rate GUYVER in many ways.

This gesture is classic Araki. Other awesome things include fingerless gloves and lightning arms.
This gesture is classic Araki. Other awesome things include fingerless gloves and lightning arms.

Luckily for us, Araki seems to be compensating for all of BAOH’s shortcomings with copious amounts of insanity and cartoon violence that only a disturbed mind destined for greatness could cook up. And the whole thing actually looks pretty damn good! It’s a nice bit of 80's cheese with plenty of classic anime stank all over it.

Brace yourself for melting faces, bisected dudes, and mind numbing lapses in judgment from every character. And of course, faceless badguy minions that seem to be more gelatinous bloodbags than human beings.

This guy is just one big Kool-Aid Jammer as far as Baoh is concerned.
This guy is just one big Kool-Aid Jammer as far as Baoh is concerned.

Summarizing the “plot” of BAOH really feels like a joke, but the short version is there’s a parasite implanted into poor innocent Ikaru’s brain and it gives him powers and occasionally transforms him into a blue guy. Also, he has a psychic girlfriend who’s about 10 years too young for him, and she has some sort of cutesy animal mascot that I try to pretend doesn’t exist. Evil scientists and assassins come after them and a lot of people die in hilarious ways.

The real joy in BAOH is all the “WTF?” moments.

For instance, when the first of several assassins finds Ikaru and his underage girlfriend sitting on a park bench, he stabs him in the stomach and then stands quietly and watches as Ikaru slowly stumbles across the street, then asks to borrow a motorcycle then finally drives away. Presumably, this assassin has been told this kid has super powers, but that isn’t even an issue. Ikaru uses the super power of walking and stealing to evade his attacker, after which, the assassin turns towards the camera and says, “Damn!” as if he was completely outsmarted.

Alright, this is an awful lot like that screen shot from Black Lion...
Alright, this is an awful lot like that screen shot from Black Lion...

There are countless completely bonkers sequences and memorably out-of-control situations. BAOH is a blast from start to finish, with a few genuinely entertaining, well-animated fights (complete with pauses to announce the name of the moves BAOH is using) and a bunch of unintentionally hilarious garbage in between.

If you’re able to loosen up and appreciate anime from a somewhat ironic standpoint, then BAOH will make your day.

This man is my favorite. He looks ridiculous, and he spends most the OVA describing what Baoh is doing at the top of his lungs.
This man is my favorite. He looks ridiculous, and he spends most the OVA describing what Baoh is doing at the top of his lungs.

Now, there you have it - - five of the finest in hot wet steaming anime garbage.

I love these stupid shows and, with the right group of friends and the right attitude, I think you guys could too. If you’ve got other awesomely bad suggestions, go on and leave 'em in the comment section below.

Alex Eckman-Lawn is an illustrator and comic artists from Philadelphia. Check out his site - - - rumble with his Tumblr - - - and hit up his Twitter: @alexeckmanlawn

Kuma_From_Argentinaon March 18, 2013 at 12:18 p.m.

2 really bad that I know are Voltage Fighter Gowkaizer (that embodies everything bad with Anime in the early 90's) and Violence Jack (The third OVA will make you puke, no matter what you try or what you think about your ability to endure horrible images, the Tokyo Underground City OVA of Violence Jack will make you puke)

Kino88on March 18, 2013 at 1:19 p.m.

Elfen Lied was pretty awful but.... I watched it all

also Gurren Lahgan may be one of the dumbest mecha anime ever maid.....and I loved it

and although I may have said this before on one of Tom's review,s Special A class was a guilty pleasure for me....

Sonata moderator on March 18, 2013 at 1:38 p.m.
@Kuma_From_Argentina: Agreed no Awful anime list is complete without Voltage Fighter Gowcaiser.
sickVisionz moderator on March 18, 2013 at 1:53 p.m.
You are bat s**t insane for putting School Days on here.
Destinyheroknighton March 18, 2013 at 2:01 p.m.


I disagree, School Days should be on the list :)

I can't believe Mad Bull 34 is number three, it should be number one.

Really surprise Garzey's Wing isn't on here

sotyfan16on March 18, 2013 at 2:17 p.m.


I still love how I have made a comparison of School Days to English literature that no one else (as far as I've seen) has made.

Kuma_From_Argentinaon March 18, 2013 at 2:18 p.m.

@Kino88: Elfen Lied is saved by it's opening....

And dont you dare mess with Tengen Toppa! From a critical standpoint is a genius deconstruction of the Super Robot Tropes and then turns into a Reconstruction.... is a work of art

AlexEL staff on March 18, 2013 at 3:13 p.m.

@Destinyheroknight: Oh, I've got plans for Garzey's Wing, don't you worry...! good call though.

Gowkaizer was definitely in the running! I just feel like it falls more into the straight up BAD anime category instead of awesomely bad. it's a fine line.

Friezaon March 18, 2013 at 4:41 p.m.

If I was making this list, School Days would not be on it. It was actually a good anime.

zaldaron March 18, 2013 at 7:07 p.m.

Yeah sorry school days is a good deconstruction of the harem genre and how you find the art looking like shit I don't understand...this is host club now THAT has some terrible animation. Oh and no awful anime list is complete without puni puni poemi is not correct. You want to see a terrible anime with bad art, an insulting story, and no redeeming qualities? Watch that one.

Kuma_From_Argentinaon March 18, 2013 at 7:12 p.m.

@zaldar: Ouran Host Club may have some choppy animation, but is funny as hell!

Destinyheroknighton March 18, 2013 at 7:53 p.m.


Puni Puni Poemi isn't that bad, it not even in my top 50 (man, can't believe I watch so much bad anime)

Anyway, I would watch that before I watch School Days

Dream moderator on March 18, 2013 at 8:32 p.m.

School Days is a gem compared to the stuff I've sampled for Ani-Crap thus far. :P

AlexEL staff on March 18, 2013 at 9:31 p.m.

@zaldar: here's the thing, this is a list of anime thats AWESOMELY bad, as in so bad they're good. i actually enjoy watching these. I'm not looking for things with no redeeming qualities at all.

CapeBarneson March 18, 2013 at 10:21 p.m.

Judging from Bennett the Sage's review of Baoh, I guess that is why Araki himself never approved of a Jojo anime (until recently. Actually, I don't know how the TV show came about XD)

"and a crotch full of grenades." One of my favorite scenes.

I'm surprised though, at the lack of MD Geist. I still say that "it set the standard for 'so bad it's awesome' anime way too high." Emphasis on the awesome :)

Donwunon March 19, 2013 at 12:28 p.m.

Okay if this is a "its so bad it has to be seen" list i'd thrown in Master of Martial Hearts

takashichea moderator is online on March 20, 2013 at 1:01 a.m.

I don't really have a worst list of anime because I always ask my friends to recommend good series.

AlexEL staff on March 20, 2013 at 11:40 a.m.

@CapeBarnes: M.D. Geist definitely deserves to be on here, possibly in the number one spot. I figured i'd give you guys a break since i JUST wrote about how awful/amazing it is in the TOP 5 MANLIEST. You definitely get the spirit of the list though!

haven't seen it but you have intrigued me...WAIT A MINUTE, i totally have seen one episode of this garbage! it is a hilarious pile of shit! good call, man! this is the show where girls literally punch each other's clothes off.

YotaruVegetaon March 21, 2013 at 6:31 p.m.

I hope all the youngsters who say "Naruto's awful" or whatever realized that they are spoiled. If Naruto is your bottom, you are so lucky.

@Kino88: Gurren Lagaan is a maid anime? :)

@Kuma_From_Argentina: I curse whoever introduced the word deconstruction to anime fans. Gurren Lagaan was good, silly fun that had heart.

@takashichea: You've never disagreed with your friends on what's good?

MarioRedfieldon March 21, 2013 at 7:43 p.m.

@Kino88: I do have to agree GL seems pretty ridiculous even though I've never seen it. I literally couldn't disagree more with you on Elfen Lied though

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