Every year, dozens upon dozens of anime release to the world and, sadly, a lot of them aren’t that great. While some become award-winning series, others fall victim to either rushed creation, ill timing and/or lack of care/polish. These anime tend to be series that have the potential to be incredible but fail to deliver and become disappointments. Here at Honey Anime we try to watch every anime—regardless of how good or bad it is—and while we usually highlight the best of the best, we don’t ignore the series that just made us sigh. Here is our look at the Top 10 Disappointing Anime of 2021. Some of these series might surprise you that they made our list but when you read our thoughts, it will dawn on you why they just weren’t what we had hoped for like many other anime viewers out there.
10. Shaman King (2021)
Once every 500 years, a special supernatural tournament is held that tests those who are considered shaman warriors. Using their special abilities, these shamans duke it out to see which will be crowned the newest Shaman King! You Asakura is still a newbie shaman but alongside a young boy named Manta Oyamada he plans on showing the world that what matters in the Shaman Fight isn’t how long you’ve been a shaman but how much skill you possess. This first entry on our list of the Top 10 Disappointing Anime of 2021 might surprise many Shaman King aficionados but, hear us out. Shaman King 2021 is a remake of the original 2001 version and while it does look sharper and still has that shounen element we love, it also feels like an unnecessary remake. Shaman King 2021 plays it safe by being just a bit more focused on its manga origins and that makes it almost identical to the original series. When we first heard Shaman King was being remade, we were jumping for joy like many of the original fans were. Sadly, the end result is just a simple remake that goes for updated visuals without anything else significant.
9. Blue Reflection Ray
Reflectors, special people who are able to manipulate memories and emotions via Fragments to save individuals who are falling victim to despair and weakness. Two types of Reflectors exist, red and blue ones who each have differing opinions on how to help a person from becoming overwhelmed by negative emotions. Shy student Ruka Hanari is about to have a chance encounter with a Reflector and show she has the aptitude to become one herself. However, can Ruka overcome her own weaknesses and despairs to save those who are in worse affairs then herself? As otaku, we loved the Blue Reflection games as they blended a nice mix of emotional narratives with fun JRPG elements. When the anime was announced, we expected the same quality of greatness now in animation form but ended up getting a rushed anime that just fails to deliver the same greatness from the gaming franchise. Overall, even if you consider yourself a fan of Blue Reflection, we highly advise skipping the animation as it will put a new form of despair in you that no Reflector will be able to stop.
8. Subarashiki Kono Sekai The Animation (The World Ends with You The Animation)
Never without his headphones, young Neku Sakuraba drowns out the annoyances of the world with music and sound. This lifestyle choice has made Neku a bit of an introvert and has pushed away friends and family to the young Neku. However, after a chance event occurs in Shibuya, Neku ends up a participant in the deadly Reaper’s Game and must learn to team up with allies or become permanently erased from the world. Can Neku find the ability to open up to others and allow their sounds to reach him or will he be erased by the Noise… When The World Ends with You was announced to become an anime we made some noise here at Honey’s Anime. The online world shouted for joy as one of the most legendary action RPGs would become an animation and from the earlier stills/trailers it looked incredible. Unfortunately for us fans, The World Ends with You The Animation turned into a rushed train wreck that looked visually appealing but lacked the same nuances found in the game it was based on. 2021 wasn’t kind to anime adaptations based on various video games and The World Ends with You The Animation is yet another example of that…
7. Blade Runner: Black Lotus
Waking up without a name or memory, a young woman finds herself in the strange landscape that is Los Angeles 2032. After brief flashes of memory finally begin to restore in her mind, the young woman remembers her name as Elie and soon realizes she’s not a normal human being. Remembering that she was hunted by strange individuals, Elie seeks out two strangers and begins her mission to regain her lost memories and kill those who tried to kill her. Blade Runner: Black Lotus should have been one of the better anime to release in 2021. Co-released by Adult Swim and Crunchyroll, Blade Runner: Black Lotus was a well-anticipated release of the fall 2021 season but the end result isn’t really wowing fans or us. Despite an interesting story that ties in with the original movie and other anime works, Black Lotus fails with so ho-hum visuals and sometimes boring fights. The series isn’t completely over yet—and we do plan on reviewing it when it finishes—but right now, many consider Blade Runner: Black Lotus to be one of the more disappointing releases of this anime season.
6. Muv-Luv Alternative
Humanity has begun to tire after their nearly 30-year war with the aliens known as the BETA and has begun to believe the end is nigh. Elsewhere, high schooler Takeru Shirogane awakens and remembers that he has seen the future of humanity and how plans to stop the BETA ended with failure. In a desperate attempt to prevent the end of man, Takeru tries to retrace his steps as he rejoins the soldiers battling the BETA and undo the failure called Alternative IV. Based on the visual novel series, Muv-Luv Alternative was an anime we longed anticipated here at Honey’s Anime and found ourselves sighing when the series finally began airing. Muv-Luv Alternative isn’t a bad series and really doesn’t fail to be intriguing but it also skips a lot of what made the VN so immersive and tries to condense the story into only 12 episodes. We wanted more from Muv-Luv Alternative and so far we really feel this anime adaptation is only mediocre.
5. Cestvs: The Roman Fighter
Slave warrior Cestvs seeks freedom from constant fights and constantly risking his life in every battle. Cestvs is told if he can obtain 100 victories, he will be freed but can he accomplish such a feat. In 54 AD people like Cestvs are tools for entertainment and the minute they fail to deliver, they are cast aside like sheep. With the desire for freedom driving his soul, Cestvs enter into the ring of combat despite the high risk of death… Cestvs: The Roman Fighter sounded like an incredibly original anime idea using the Roman days as the backdrop. Sadly, this fighting anime dropped the ball on many levels. Not only is the animation stiff and dated but the story itself doesn’t feel compelling. Cestvs isn’t the worst thing we’ve seen in 2021—the rest of this list proves that—but it didn’t make us want more Roman-themed anime.
4. Scarlet Nexus
The Others, strange monsters that appeared from up above and began feeding on human brains. A group called the OSF or Other Suppression Force is formed to fight Others and stop humanity from becoming their source of nourishment. The Scarlet Guardians were formed by the OSF as a means to battle the Others using their unique psionic abilities. After being saved as a child by a psionic, Yuito Sumeragi now wishes to also become a Scarlet Guardian. Yuito will soon learn however that there is a massive secret being held in the Scarlet Guardians, one that could change everything about his world and that of his current enemy. Scarlet Nexus was a big anime being toted this 2021 as it was released when the game was also launched! By definition, Scarlet Nexus should have been a homerun for studio Sunrise with all of this press coverage but in the end, even we here at Honey’s Anime dropped the series. Scarlet Nexus was a huge disappointment—especially considering how awesome the game is—and one that shows even with a lot of press/ad love, an anime can still fail to be great.
3. Megaton-kyuu Musashi
Yamato Ichidaji has lived what seemed like an ordinary and peaceful life in his small town. Yet, when Yamato ends up being tested by a stranger in a street brawl he discovers this peaceful existence is a giant lie. Years ago, humanity was attacked by an alien threat called the Dracters and faced near extinction. However, the remaining humans that haven’t been brainwashed into believing everything is normal are fighting the alien menace using giant robots. Yamato, alongside several other students, will soon be thrown into the Rogue, Earth’s final chance at defeating the Dracters and returning the world back to normal. Megaton-kyuu Muashi went through some strange issues upon release. Not only did it not get streamed on sites like Funimation and Crunchyroll but it was met with delays that made it almost forgettable by mecha fans. Despite how awesome the robot action scenes are, Megaton-kyuu Musashi just fails to be an exciting series and misses the mark more often than not. Megaton-kyuu Musashi even has plans to be adapted into a game which makes us scratch our heads wondering how this mediocre anime has such ambitions despite it not being that amazing in the first place.
2. Yakusoku no Neverland 2nd Season (The Promised Neverland Season 2)
After making their grand escape from Grace Field House, Emma, Ray, and the other kids now have a new world to survive…the demon world itself. Filled with dangers and those who wish to hunt them down for their escape, the kids will need to become even cleverer if they wish to survive and find a way to the human world. Led by strange notes and a mysterious set of “allies” Emma will soon realize that as horrible Grace Field House was, this new land isn’t much better. After an almost award-winning first season, The Promised Neverland Season 2 should have followed suit and become an even better season than the first. Sadly, season 2 ended up being a prime example of why anime fans want adaptations to be almost mirror images of their source material. The Promised Neverland Season 2 cuts out significant elements from the manga—some quite important for story purposes—and the animation also looks significantly worse than season 1’s. Studio CloverWorks usually presents some incredible anime but The Promised Neverland Season 2 isn’t one of them and almost ruins one of our favorite psychological horror series ever written. We encourage season 1 fans to just read the manga—which ended not too long ago—to fully enjoy the greatness that is The Promised Neverland.
16-year old Akira Natsume was killed after a truck hit him in 2014. When Akira awakens, he discovers two major events have occurred. The year is now 2030 and Akira’s body is no longer human! Akira’s mind has been placed inside a special device dubbed the EX-ARM and this unit is meant to aid a special police unit. The life Akira once knew is over but following the guidance of his brother, Akira knows that he has a new mission in life that he must fulfill. Every now and again we have joy when we see a lesser-known manga get taken by an anime studio and adapted into a full-fledged series. In the case of Ex-Arm, we wished it would have stayed an obscure manga as this is possibly the worst anime ever released. With a score of 2.95 on MAL, it has joined the ranks of being one of the lowest-rated series alongside Mars of Destruction and Skelter Heaven. Even if you love Ex-Arm’s manga and love bad anime, you need to avoid Ex-Arm like a plague!
It always pains us when an anime series fails to live up to our hopes but that unfortunately is something that befalls various anime from time to time. With so many anime constantly releasing, no one can expect stellar series to air all the time. We can only hope and pray that studios learn from the mistakes of these various anime and try to avoid them in future works. We listed our Top 10 Disappointing Anime of 2021 but did you have any thoughts of other shows that should have made this list? Maybe you disagree with an anime on here and felt it shouldn’t have been considered a disappointment. Comment below with your thoughts as we always love hearing from you readers out there! For even more anime articles and Top 10 lists keep stuck to our anime-fueled hive here at Honey’s Anime!
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