What defines a good anime series? And how do you know for sure that it’s bad?
I’ll be answering these questions for you in the most objective way possible.
So it should apply to everyone, no matter what your tastes are.
In general, there are 4 points worth mentioning to judge a “good” or “bad” anime show…
4 Signs An Anime Is REALLY Good:
1. Does it make you curious to watch more?
What good is an anime series if it doesn’t make you curious to watch more?
Or it can’t drive enough suspense that leaves you dying to watch the next episode?
To me – an anime that does this REALLY well is Higurashi: When The Cry.
This anime is NUTS. It’s full of so many unpredictable plots, twists, turns and episodes.
After something crazy happens, you’re left wondering WTF will happen next. Because it’s full of so much suspense, cliffhangers, and jaw-dropping moments.
And there’s no way to see any of it coming most the time.
A good anime makes you curious to watch more after all is said and done.
Without this one element, it’s likely the anime you’re watching is bad or not worth your time.
2. Do you like it, despite any obvious flaws or clichés?
Not every anime is completely unique, as with many things in life in general.
So you’re bound to find clichés here and there. Or things you don’t like. Even if the anime itself is enjoyable or interesting.
So far this has proven to be still true in 2018.
A good example is: How NOT To Summon A Demon Lord.
Just by looking at the image above, there are obvious clichés.
Even if that’s part of the anime’s charm (it’s an Ecchi, comedy).
Despite this though, it’s a surprisingly good series (I usually avoid Ecchi shows). So that says a lot coming from me.
But the point is this:
If you CAN’T bear to watch an anime without wanting to smash your head off the wall (because the flaws are so bad), you should avoid it.
Or else you’ll waste your time and energy trying to enjoy something that doesn’t suit your tastes.
It never works out when you try to force yourself to “like” an anime series, ever.
3. The 25% rule
What is the 25% rule? (I made it up).
It goes like this:
If you can’t get through 25% of an anime series…
- It’s either a mismatch for your tastes.
- It’s boring or takes too long to make a point.
- It’s REALLY BAD. Like 3/10-bad.
- Or it’s a long series like One Piece (the early episodes are lackluster).
Most anime aren’t that long (25 episodes in general). Sometimes 12 (especially these days).
So 25% is more than enough to decide whether it’s good or bad.
And on the extreme side – no more than 40% if it’s a 25+ episode series.
But If you can’t get through 25% of an anime series in general… Most of the time you have to assume it’s bad, or it’s not worth the time and energy.
So far that’s been my experience and it’s not often that it fails me.
Sometimes this is tricky though
But usually, you have to “at least” watch 25% to determine an animes worth.
That’s a good starting point.
4. Does it “spark” your emotions?
It doesn’t have to make you cry or anything soppy like that. “Crying” is just 1 part of a good anime series.
But to me – a “good” anime has to make you feel something. And spark your emotions in some way or another.
Otherwise what good is it?
It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about:
- Making you laugh.
- Pissing you off.
- Absolute shock.
- Making you nervous for the characters safety (etc).
- Or face-palming yourself (because you can’t believe what’s happening).
If it’s a top-notch series like Clannad, Violet Evergarden or whatever else, a good anime will make you feel something for it.
You’ll be able to connect to the characters, relate to the story, have empathy, or just laugh your ass off.
Or any other variation of the emotions an anime can make you feel.
If an anime can’t do that, it’s probably awful.
Maybe not awful in a“universal” sense, but just not good enough for your own personal criteria.
What about elements like characters and animation?
I don’t bring this up for good reason when it comes to knowing if an anime is good.
Elements like characters and animation are mostly subjective and more complex.
We all have our own tastes and interests when it comes to:
- Types of characters.
And all things related. These things are mostly “additions” to the 4 points made in this post.
So what things would you say makes an anime BAD?
If I did have to mention a few “extra” things that make an anime awful…
Here’s a shortlist of what that looks like:
- Too many clichés for the sake of it.
- Unnecessary fan-service (when it’s out of context).
- Lazy animation and lack of effort.
- A rip-off from other anime series done badly. There’s nothing worse than this.
- Not memorable enough. A good anime has to be memorable.
- Nothing stands out or catches your eye.
- It’s hard to relate to the characters (because they’re badly written).
- Or they’re so far out of touch from reality you can’t take it seriously.
If you can add more “bad signs” or good signs of an anime series, what do you recommend?