When I decided to do the 12 Days of Anime again this year, I definitely didn’t see myself writing a post based around a word I despise. Yes, I am talking about the term overrated (and, by relation, underrated, which tomorrow’s post focuses on). Whether we are talking about 2018 or 2008, every year is always dominated by that handful of “popular” shows. Despite the majority of them usually being at least decent, once they reach a certain level of popularity, perceived quality doesn’t matter. The negative aspects surrounding a show usually disappear at this point, and the majority of people watch the series because everyone else is watching and talking about it.
Anyways, 2018 has three definitive examples of what I define as an overrated series and two borderline cases I will also touch on.
My Hero Academia
The quite obvious elephant in the room. My Hero Academia, at this point, could be described as the most popular series in the world without much contesting.
I can and will fully admit that I personally enjoy the show, and it does have positive aspects. That being said, with the exception of a few excellent episodes, nothing really stands out about the series. I see My Hero Academia as a combination of tropes and series before it. A powerless young boy with an overly-ambitious goal, training and tournament arcs, the hero’s journey formula, and a suffocating focus on the power of “friendship” and “fighting together.” You name it, this show has it.
Another personal issue I have with My Hero Academia is the cast size. Sure, you could make the argument that there are only six or seven truly “main” characters, but that is still a significant amount. Flesh that out to also include the entirety of class 1-A and we are now somewhere in the mid-20s. And don’t even get me started on the sheer amount of named characters the series has (hundreds). Having to share screentime between the core twenty plus is exhausting, but omitting it creates a lack of general background and development for everyone outside the core five. Since this is the case with My Hero Academia, I would rather they just focus on these main characters and not even make the attempt.
Honestly, I don’t have a whole lot to say about Overlord. For all of the praise the series tends to get (and it got a lot with two seasons airing this year), I saw it as nothing more than an average Isekai anime. It features the usual boring main character, who gets transported into his favorite video game’s world and becomes ridiculously overpowered (obviously). None of the characters are fleshed out, besides the fact we know they are all loyal to or in love with our main character. The OST and voice acting are just simply there, and its visuals also either average or below in the case of CGI. Of course, these are just the opinions of someone who has only seen the first season. But despite these “flaws,” no one so much as bats an eye at them due to Overlord‘s popularity.
Darling in the FranXX
Or, should I call it Zero Two in the HOUSE? Almost the entirety of the discussion surrounding this series devolved into Zero Two gifs and fan art by the time it ended. To be honest, I never finished Darling in the FranXX myself. After the first twelve episodes, I put it on hold and have yet to come back. From my memory of the first half, it had a couple very similar issues as the two previously mentioned shows. Mainly, characters with no development and an assortment of similarities to other series. Separately though, Darling in the FranXX suffered heavily from jumbled ideas and the lack of a cohesive plot. But hey, Zero Two is cute — I can say that much.
Attack on Titan
While arguably just as, if not more popular than the series already mentioned in this post, Attack on Titan is actually extremely well-written. For being a manga adaptation, I think the anime did a good job of including enough world-building and backstory. The character development is also a little above average. But alas, the series still makes this list, because damn is it huge. The real should be can any globally recognized name be just as good as it is popular?
Being the most recent series on this list (and still airing), my position on Goblin Slayer is undecided, hence why it made this list anyways. After the controversial first episode, Goblin Slayer had a lot of discussion surrounding it. This almost made it appear as a surefire overrated-list entry, but the conversation has since died down. Again, I don’t understand the popularity, instead viewing it as another average show.
Compared to this one, I’m going to have a lot more fun with my next post. I really don’t like writing negatively-focused stuff, or about series that I don’t enjoy, but sometimes it’s necessary. Look forward to tomorrow’s Underrated 2018 Anime.