Five Years of GLORIO: The Worst Crap We’ve Ever Reviewed

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On a fateful day in July 2012, we created our first post. Shoujo Hitler was bad, but much worse was our first impressions of the anime adaptation of Kingdom that went up shortly thereafter. It’s five years later and anime is still bad, but somehow someway we are still here, carrying out our solemn duty to warn you about it. Yay us!

Jel wanted to celebrate the fifth anniversary of this godforsaken blog by reminiscing about all the positive surprises we’ve come across over the years, but I refused to let the occasion pass without at least mentioning the copious helpings of utter rubbish we’ve had to stomach. What a celebration this would be without remembering our collective savaging of Recently, My Sister is Unusual – as far as I know the only time the entire Glorio crew came together to work on a single review? What about the two years of Random Manga Theatre that nearly drove Iro to the edge of sanity? Or all the times we’ve been called ‘ignorant whiners with dark souls’, ‘people that stink up anime for everyone else’ or ‘[providing] tangible value for the reader’? What about whatever the fuck this is? Anyways, if you’ve read the title of this feature, you know what you’re in for. Let’s go! Or not.

The ending of Oreimo

Revisit Jel and Zigg‘s collective breakdown here.

Future sociologists will have essays to write on how an why Oreimo came to get all that attention it never once deserved. Tsukuasa Fushimi’s ghastly opus on family values more disturbing than the Bluth’s was a masterclass in self-congratulatory shit stirring, consistently teetering on the edge between its twin destinies as the vanguard of anime’s downfall or as its last man standing. Yet when the time finally arrived to tear off the mask and pick one of the dozens of sides it has splintered the anime fandom into to side with, Oreimo managed to churn out a finale so mind-boggling it managed to satisfy absolutely no one. In one final, three-episode blaze of misery, alpha milquetoast protagonist Kyousuke planted one knife after the other in his veritable gauntlet run of potential suitors as Fushimi effortlessly threw every single member of Oreimo‘s far more beloved supporting cast under a bus to fan the flames of his own twisted hangups. Sardonic dark horse Kuroneko got her heart broken into a million pieces, precocious childhood friend Manami was beaten up so badly you could see the straw flying out of her sleeves, heck – even some of the side characters were given a chance to confess their feelings to Kyousuke just so he could crush them under his foot like cigarette butts. Where incest reigned, dignity lay dying.

Expect it didn’t, because as it turned out, Oreimo didn’t even have the stones to actually eat the cake it bent the laws of good taste over backwards to have. In what has to be one of the most incomprehensible copouts in anime history, the Kousakas decide to call off their forbidden fling after a few months, eventually returning to being strangers living in complete denial. What. The. Fuck. After crossing every single line imaginable, burning every shred of dignity it ever had at the altar of its own deranged delusions, Oreimo managed to reject even the deplorable inhabitants of anime fandom’s filthiest gutter – and for seemingly no other reason than to hammer one final nail in its own coffin. In the end, there was only ever one discussion this finale did lay to rest. After this garbage fire, no one’s ever gonna argue anymore that Oreimo was secretly anime’s Manchurian candidate. Rather than destroying the tired and true skeevy harem genre with its metafictional commentary, it spawned an all new, even skeevier genre of insipid anime rom-coms – and Tsukasa Fushimi will do everything in his power to make sure you remember.

Quote: “Enough. Enough words, enough time spent out of my life. These final episodes should put paid to any rumours of Oreimo being a clever parody or genre deconstruction. They reveal it for what it is, a creepy, warped otaku hymn stuffed with tired stereotypes and blatant wish fulfillment fantasy. Bury it in seven graves and let it rot. And let’s all move on for good.”Zigg

Final Fantasy: All The Bravest

Marvel at Jel‘s ability to write over 1000 words on a game that consists entirely of watching bars fill up here.

Thanks to the successful revival of Final Fantasy XIV and all the effort they put into XV, Square-Enix are generally back on gamers’ good side nowadays, but things used to be very different. Back in 2013, everything the company said and did gave off the impression of a smouldering train wreck with a horde of screaming monkeys at the wheel, a sentient pile of dollar bills completely out of touch with its audience and the legacy it’s squandering. All The Bravest was the absolute low point of this era, a mobile game met with so much salt it even got us to briefly venture into reviewing video games for a change.

Jel, being the responsible adult of the bunch, took one for the team and poured four of his hard-working American dollars into this obvious scam. He returned with a portrait of a cynical cash grab plagued by boring, repetitive gameplay, a non-existent story, lazily recycled assets and abusive micro-transaction mechanics so transparantly dodgy it makes that Nigerian prince in your inbox look positively trustworthy. All the Bravest‘s insult to anyone’s time and intellect may have been but a flash in the pan in the vicious outrage machine that is the gaming community – but for once, it made us feel right at home in a dog pile.

Quote: “Whether intentional or not – I’m guessing they’re not that clever – [All The Bravest’s three-hour-long respawn timer] kind of activates it’s own meta [Active Time Battle] system where you, as the player, are made to wait your turn to play again. I don’t I have to tell you what a horrible idea that is.”Jel

Kamen Rider Wizard in Magic Land

Read Aqua and Zigg’s original review here.

It remains a bit of a mystery how exactly Zigg and I managed to make it through enough of Kamen Rider Wizard to even get to the point where we’d have to watch the movie. It was a lousy show, plagued by predictable plot beats, generic characters, soulless acting and most of all, a seemingly overwhelming disinterest in anything it attempted to do. So what better way to summarise these noble ambitions than to fart out a two-hour movie as a final insult to all the many people who did try and succeed to turn a year-long, cheaply produced toy commercial into worthwhile watching? Kamen Rider Wizard in Magic Land boasted all the flaws of its perishable predecessor. With a cast phoning it in even more egregiously than usual, plot twists pulled straight out of nowhere, infantile humour, nauseating special effects and world-building thin as the 35 mm film they wasted on this drivel, it ticks off more than enough boxes to justify its place on this list already. But talking about this movie without mentioning that a significant part of it revolves around firebombing magic ATM machines? That the villain’s entire plan revolves around the assumption that a muggle in a world of magic would get so jealous he’d want to commit genocide out of petty spite? That it ends with our hero actually siding said the mass-murdering maniac and destroying a beautiful utopia to appease this one dude’s whining? That would be the sole disgrace this feature’s been able to avert.

Quote: “[Kamen Rider Wizard in Magic Land is] one final reminder of why Haruto Souma is by far and wide the worst Kamen Rider to have ever punched a monster so hard it explodes.” – Aqua

Literally anything with the words ‘onii-chan’ or ‘imouto’ in its title

Revisit the best these past years have had to offer in low-budget cartoons for kiddie fiddlers and our opinions on them right here. Or here. Or here. Look we’re not very good at consistent tagging, okay?

Have you ever stopped for a minute and considered the fact that teenage boys wanting to bang their sisters is a common enough trope in anime now that we’ve just accepted it as one of its defining characteristics? That Crunchyroll, the most popular purveyor of Asian pop culture in the whole wide world would willingly market something called “As Long As There’s Love, It Doesn’t Matter If He’s My Older Brother” as a legitimate thing actual people could be interested in watching? Without even a hint of rightful indignation? How exactly did we get to a point where one of the greatest taboos in the world has become a cliché in a medium so conservative it still struggles with the notion that Japan might have been up to some reprehensible business during its last great wars?

You could argue the whole imouto craze was already on its way back to the oblivion where it belongs when this blog was founded, but it’s still hard to deny that whatever forces are watching over us seriously botched the exorcism. Like bad creepypasta, incest-themed anime are wont to make their unwarranted return at least once a year. With premises ranging from the mundane (twins reunite after six years, fall in love) to the utterly ludicrous (girl gets possessed by lesbian ghost, has to wear a magic chastity belt that will kill her if she doesn’t try to get into her brother’s pants), these shows always have us pumped to whip out the best metaphors in our arsenals, but that doesn’t change the fact that they never had any right to exist in the first place.

Quote: “Things that are better than this show include invasive surgery, a brief spell in jail or being burnt at the stake. Things that have more wit and character than this show include rocks, several of the larger varieties of spore and the sucking, empty void of deep space.” Zigg, on OniAi

Shougeki Gouraigan

Revisit the only post ever written about this godawful mess of a show here.

An action-packed romantic comedy is what they called it, but a complete enigma is what it actually is. Shougeki Gouraigan is the Garzey’s Wing of tokusatsu, a final monument to a once beloved visionary’s definitely fall from grace and the cinematic equivalent of a raving lunatic screaming jokes into a ravine and hoping it’ll start laughing. Forget the plot, cause it doesn’t matter. Shougeki Gouraigan is a result of an unsettling one-night-stand between Keita Amemiya, creator of the Garo franchise, Toshiki Inoue, a man who likes to throw people off bridges. Unfortunately, while it could have inherited at least some redeeming value from one of its spiritual fathers, the only things this travesty has in common with Garo are copious, gratuitous helpings of both camp and nudity. Everything else is unadulterated Inoue-brand nonsense, which, for the uninitiated, includes:

  • in one episode, the bad guy killing a dude by drowning him in money.
  • in another one, a woman being somehow masturbated to death using a remote.
  • an entire subplot about a girl in a Victorian-era paperboy costume trying to be a main character. This has no bearing on the plot whatsoever and somehow involves the character meeting her evil clone and turning into a plastic butterfly on a stick at some point.
  • the main character’s friend’s boyfriend being a man wearing a giant papier machée mask. This is never brought up again.
  • the line ‘We’ve got to be enemies! It’s the proof of our former friendship!”, which is actually uttered with a straight face.
  • none of this, somehow, being as hilarious as it sounds.

It’s pretty embarrassing really. Good thing Amemiya learnt from his mistake and never let Inoue near one of his franchises agai– oh dear lord.

Quote: “You’d think a show so hell-bent on being mature can treat its audience like actual adults, but Shougeki Gouraigan!! begs to differ.” Aqua

Aldnoah.Zero

Read our original coverage here

No “worst of” list without an ambitious vanity project that crashed and burned spectacularly, and no better place to find one of these than in the mecha genre. The genre that once was all but synonymous with anime as a whole has now struggling for relevance for years, and in the words of our very own mecha connaisseur, Gee-Man, Aldnoah.Zero embodies every single one of the problems that have been plaguing the genre recently – it’s relentlessly melodramatic, shamelessly recycles tired old chestnuts and spends half of its airtime stalling for more. It lures viewers in with big names and bigger promises, only to have its entire crew phoning it in, or in Gen Urobuchi’s case, taking credit for minimal actual involvement. It wastes too much effort on showing the heroes being good and the villains being evil, without looking at the people behind those vague, Manichean roles. Oh, and of course it rips off Gundam, too. Can’t have a shitty mecha anime without it constantly reminding you of other, better mecha anime.

Aldnoah.Zero is a series of provocative, yet ultimately meaningless plot twists held together by a trite semblance of a plot. It relies entirely on the supposedly tragic dynamic between three intensely unlikeable main characters who have little to no chemistry together: one an insufferably stoic asshole who can do everything, one a whiny punching bag who screws up everything, and one a girl who gets bait-and-switch assassinated at least once every other episode – preferably while naked. Their motives are so nebulous, so incomprehensibly overwrought the show would rather ignore them altogether, moving characters around to set up the next shocking twist without considering for a second how utterly incompetent they must look in the process. Wait, our villain needs to have a reason for the things he does? Quick, make something up about how he – a nobleman, for crying out loud – is being oppressed by the very emperor he serves so he started a war between his planet and earth and is now trying to win said war in name of the emperor so his planet can take their natural resources and this will somehow punish the emperor by… giving him more resources to deny his people? Wait, what? Who the fuck looked at this script and thought they could hype this up to be the next big thing?

Quote: “Prior to Aldnoah.Zero’s airing, an interview from one of the staff said that their goal was to create a work that could live up to the legacy of Gundam and become a new part of the mecha zeitgeist. In some ways, Aldnoah has certainly done that. If you compare it to the likes of Gundam Seed, it has most certainly succeeded at reaching such ignoble lows.” Gee

Pandora in the Crimson Shell: Ghost Urn

Beware of savage crap and revisit our thoughts here

Criticism is a strange thing. Most of the time, a critic won’t just hate something because its quantifiable properties are lacking in comparison to other works within its medium or genre. As our dislike for Aldnoah.Zero shows, personal pet peeves or disappointment may play a role as well, amplifying its flaws and completely blotting out whatever redeeming value the work may actually have. Pandora in the Crimson Shell, on the other hand, is just objectively awful. With its loud, non-sequitur humour, plethora of silly faces and all-in pandering to the ridiculous fetishes of yesteryear (Maids! Catgirls! Playboy bunnies! Transhumanism!), feels like a blast from a past no one is nostalgic for, garish colours and godawful character designs included. Yet the most dated thing about it is that Pandora in the Crimson Shell seems to have completely missed the memo that it’s totally fine for anime to be blatantly sleazy now. The ludicrous explanation this show carts out to justify why it forces viewers to watch two tween robots fingering each other is utterly pathetic, and it ends up even more disturbing as a result. While most modern anime at least have the dignity to wear their skeeze with pride, Pandora in the Crimson Shell frames its disturbing fantasies entirely within the innocence and idiocy of a wacky action comedy that could be believably edited down to appeal to 8-year-olds. It’s an episode of Hidamari Sketch with two minutes of snuff film spliced in. That is, if Hidamari Sketch had all the charm of a bed bug, all the artistic vision of a piece of driftwood and an animation budget in the single digits.

Quote: “It’s a disgusting, breathtakingly corrupt parade of gross, mindless fantasies writ large onto a screen which I swear would have started bleeding if I’d left it on a second longer. This thing is straight up evil and the purest expression of the warped mindset which sits at the dark beating heart of a portion of the anime fandom.” Zigg

Diabolik Lovers

Revisit Gee, Marlin and Zigg getting in trouble for kink-shaming here

The Glorio Blog has a long and proud tradition of pissing off positively minuscule sections of the anime fandom. Over the course of five years, we’ve received flack from self-avowed pedophiles, angry light novel fans rallying against the pretentious elites, and a whole cavalcade of alt-right trolls and assorted Holocaust deniers. Yet one of the weirdest criticisms we’ve gotten so far is the one slamming our hatchet job of a review of Diabolik Lovers as ‘kink-shaming’. And I have to say, well, yeah. If your kink is a complete disregard for the very fundamentals of kink, I believe we have a right to shame it. There’s nothing safe, sane or consensual about this deeply misogynistic tale of six vampire brothers keeping a girl prisoner in their poorly-lit mansion and abusing, assaulting and demeaning her to their heart’s – or lack thereof – content. Whatever merits it may have as a fictional space where people can safely live out fantasies that have no place in an actual relationship get buried in a veritable avalanche of tonal and characterisation issues. Even within the boundaries of its own fictional world, Diabolik Lovers is not a fantasy. Our cardboard cutout heroine can’t enter into it and safely walk away from of her own accord. Her blood-sucking suitors aren’t caring lovers playing it rough for their mutual enjoyment, but literal monsters treating her as nothing more that their personal plaything. And that’s where we have to draw the line. Fiction serves to take us to places we can’t go in real life, obviously, but a story that so explicitly avoids responsibility for the ramifications of its noxious message has no right to air on television for everyone to see. Don’t go confusing a woman’s right to sexual agency with a right to be used for whatever disturbing fantasy some hack writer might want to force onto her.

Quote: “This is not a show for decent people. To be honest, this shouldn’t be a show for any people” Marlin

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A bunch of manga for pedophiles

Like this one. And this one. And this one. And this one, too, I guess. What about this one? Or this one? Oh, and can’t forget this one, of course.

People who’ve been following our blog since the days of its infancy may remember Random Manga Theatre, a weekly feature that starred our resident grumpy old man Irothtin subjecting himself to whatever manga a click on some shady scanlation website’s random manga button would lead him. The results were often fascinating to say the least. While Iro’s diligence introduced us to perennial Glorio blog favourites like Banana no Nana and Crimsons – think every hot-blooded shounen manga ever, expect everyone is a fish – or even to some manga that would become anime later down the line, it’s once again the sheer heaps of eldrich horror hiding behind those algorithms that will live on in infamy. Select pulls from Iro’s two-year pilgrimage through the gutters of the seventh art include a rom-com about an unlucky everydude who just can’t help ending up in embarrassing situations with his 11-year-old neighbour who looks twice her age, a story about a salaryman being transformed into a grade school girl and going lingerie shopping with her little lesbian elementary school friends; and something involving a “holy city of loli”. Feel free to think up how the story continues for yourself, but I can assure you, what actually happens will be a thousand times worse.

In any case, that means that if we were to consider Iro’s shenanigans as cold, hard science, at least seven percent of all manga caters exclusively to kiddie fiddlers – a rather disproportionate number, to say the least. The sheer lengths manga – and per extension, anime – will go to to justify its normalising of some incredibly ghastly turn-ons are one thing, but even more baffling is the fact that most of the resulting tripe is so incredibly boring. How utterly incompetent does a medium have to be if it can cheerfully violate the greatest taboos in human society and solicit only yawns as a response? Guilty pleasures are so rare in manga because it treats the absolutely outrageous with the same self-congratulating apathy as it would the oldest tropes in the book. How did such nonsense as a girl who wants to bone her older brother turning into a cat when she sneezes, or a high school zombie who needs to keep herself animate with thoughts of underage hanky-panky become so commonplace to begin with, you may ask. Perhaps because they keep treating it like it’s the most normal thing in the world?

Quote: I don’t think horrible screaming counts as a quote, but I always laugh when Iro urged Elementary School Introduction to be “cleansed with the holy flames of ten thousand suns”.

Psycho-Pass 2

Witness the hilarity here, first in the Roundup, afterwards in its very own posts!

Hoo boy. This one. Psycho-Pass was far from a perfect show, that’s for sure, but at the very least in managed to tell a cohesive story in a world governed by credible, consistent rules. When series creator Gen Urobuchi was working on a movie adaptation, however, the suits ordered a second season to be produced without his supervision, and that’s where it’s all came crashing down the hill. Comparing lacklustre sequels to bad fan fiction is often the weapon of critics with nothing better to say, but in this case the label more than fits. Psycho-Pass 2 tosses out the fundamental laws of its own world along with its predecessor’s intellectual depth, delivers all the same content in a different, thinner wrapping, and pumps up the franchise’s tenacious penchant for senseless violence and misogyny into utterly meaningless orgies of ridiculous brutality conducted by a villainous duo so thoroughly risible their heinous actions make the first season’s infamous “spooky boogie” gaffe sound like something straight out of The Wire. Toss in a nosedive in the animation department and a handful of insufferable new additions to the cast, and you end up with a sequel with as much redeeming value as a Chainsmokers gig on top of an active volcano. Psycho-Pass 2 existed only to stir up some hype for the then upcoming movie, but ended up nearly killing the franchise instead.

Quote: “The only thing Psycho-Pass 2 is seemingly trying to achieve is not to expand and improve on its predecessor, but to stretch it, cut it up and toy with it, to poke holes in its fundamentals and to see just how far you can take it and still call it Psycho-Pass. It’s not Psycho-Pass. It’s a sick joke dressed in a mask cut from the face of Psycho-Pass‘s corpse. It’s a patchwork, pseudo-intellectual ghost with an enormous ego and no idea what it’s talking about.”Aqua

Sword Art Online

Once again descend into the depths of despair with Iro, Zigg, Jel and whoever else felt masochistic enough at the moment here

What else is there even left to say about this one? Many terrible anime have invited pretenders and imitators over the years, but only one has spawned an entire genre. Sword Art Online is the alpha and omega of the nefarious concoction of vapid rom-com platitudes, escapist power fantasies and paint-by-numbers world building we nowadays deride as the isekai genre. It’s the ultimate bad anime because it is the ultimate embodiment of everything that makes anime bad. Substituting gaming lingo and stock tropes for having to put actual thought into your setting? Basing your entire story around a series of contrivances meant to make the main character look flawless and everyone else completely infatuated with him? Weird cybersex? You name it, this show is guilty as charged.

Nevertheless, regarded over the course of these past five years, it’s hard to deny that Sword Art Online does compare favourably next to its many, many copycats. The production values are top notch, and hey, at the very least the thing has a coherent narrative structure. So why then did we elect to feature this one on this… ehm, feature, in stead of, say, Is It Wrong To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon? Well, for one, there’s the whole thing where as the codifier of everything we hate it’s bound to catch the lion’s share of the flack. Big trees catch the woodsman’s axe, as they say. Plus, those of you who weren’t around back when we were actually covering it may not know this but… this show kind of drove us insane. I mean, how else would you explain this? For the longest time, Sword Art Online was both this blog’s arch-nemesis and its punch line. The Edison to our Tesla. The Hunt to our Lauda. The Tetsuo to our Kaneda. That is, until Tsukasa Fushimi raised his ugly head again.

Quote: The sheer anger and anguish that boils up within me at even the slightest mention of this pandemonic clusterfuck of blather has exceded my objective gripes with the show itself. My pitch-black hatred for this show has become synonymous with my seething disgust for the anime industry as a whole, my draconic intolerance for for every single cliché in its book and most of all, my outright refusal to be part of a braindead audience that will watch and buy show after show after show of this festering piffle that dares call itself entertainment. Congratulations, Sword Art Online, you have made me hate anime.Aqua

Eromanga-sensei

Experience the #HATEWATCH in all its glory right here

Oh, Sword Art Online. You were doing so well.

Quote: “In the ancient philosophical work, The Republic, it is described that a perfectly just person, one that pursues justice for its own ends and not for self-profit, would be seen as the most unjust person alive. He would be derided, mocked, and eventually killed. The perfectly unjust man, however would be seen as a paragon of virtue. His commitment to injustice would be so perfect that no one would ever think him to be unjust, otherwise by exposing his injustice he would be open to being punished, and thus be treated justly. In the same way, I think Tsukasa Fushimi is the perfectly satirical man. How else could he craft such a complete piece of garbage and be wholly unaware of how terrible it is? My only rationale – indeed, the only rationale that would keep me sane – is this hope, that Fushimi is making a work of garbage so magnificent that no one would ever doubt that it is just a complete work of garbage and nothing more. Society has corroded to a point where this work is acceptable and Fushimi is rubbing that fact in our faces by making this work and being successful while doing it.”Marlin

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