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The List
7 Notorious Animation Meltdowns

by Lynzee Loveridge,

There's a lot of variables that can cause an anime television production to go off schedule and affect the quality of a show. Poor animation quality is not always, or even usually a reflection of the staff's skill level. It's most often the result of trying to meet crazy deadlines while overworked. Sometimes bits get outsourced to a secondary studio that may have less oversight, animation gets recycled, or audiences end up with an "episode 16.5" recap to buy time. And sometimes all those worst variables come together and create a truly notorious sequence of animation that lives well beyond a few off-model heads.

Cabbage Quality (Brighter than the Dawning Blue) Brighter than the Dawning Blue is a romantic fantasy anime based on an eroge of the same name. It's typical for its genre; a pretty average guy has a tsundere childhood friend and his not-actually sister as love interests, but the main heroine is an alien. The gang all hangs out at the family restaurant where a few of the characters work. In one episode, Natsuki Takamizawa goes to cut cabbage for a dish, but it infamously appeared in the episode as just a green sphere. The sequence gained so much attention that it now lives on as an in-joke in other anime series where cabbage will be shown hyper-realistic instead.

Sailor Moon Crystal Season One Finale Sailor Moon Crystal's first two seasons had their fair share of detractors. The show attempted to closely resemble Naoko Takeuchi's original art but even with episodes airing biweekly, they couldn't manage to keep any characters on-model. Perhaps most disappointing was Sailor Moon's final battle with Queen Metalia that consisted of little more than a two-frame loop of spinning animation.

Car Chase (Polyphonica) Searching around the internet reveals that Polyphonica has quite a number of questionable animation moments, but none are as well known its truly awful car chase scene. The seven and a half minute sequence includes so many weird size and perspective discrepancies that it looks like bad deviantart fodder. Cause and effect cease to exist, no one ever looks the same, and animating a car slowing down is the equivalent of just playing a previous shot in reverse.

Riding a Bike (DYNAMIC CHORD) DYNAMIC CHORD was already competing with many other male idol ensembles, but this probably wasn't the way it wanted to stand out. For whatever reason, this series was plagued with oversights that ranged from buildings overtaking the sidewalk to gravity-defying bike rides. In one episode, one of the idols is trying to get somewhere in a hurry and, when faced with a full flight of stairs, doesn't hesitate to just levitate right up them.

Nose Diving (Märchen Mädchen) This is a story that isn't even finished. Märchen Mädchen premiered in January, but its final two episodes were delayed until this coming December after earlier production delays pushed it out past its broadcast window. The ninth episode was delayed two weeks to improve animation quality, but the show had already made a name for itself with its quality control problems, and episode nine itself took things from bad to worse.

Just All of It (Hand Shakers) Hand Shakers gets bonus points for combining truly atrocious color design, PlayStation 2 era CGI, and set designs that lead to nowhere. One popular example of its lunacy is the apartment that appears to exist within a castle tower and has a fake-out closet. The anime's first episode is enough to leave a lasting impression. I'll never get those infinite CG chains out of my head.

Flashback (Mekaku City Actors) The opening sequence of episode nine was completely replaced by Shaft after its initial airing on TV, and the two sequences look nothing alike. The initial version was entirely in CGI and served as a flashback. Characters barely resembled themselves and their expressions were smoothed over in a derpy kind of way.

The new poll: Which female character is scariest when she's mad?

The old poll: Which character has the coolest monster form?

  1. Alucard (Hellsing)
  2. Sayaka Miki (Puella Magi Madoka Magica)
  3. Nyanko-sensei (Natsume Yuujinchou)
  4. Eren (Attack on Titan)
  5. Sadao Maou (The Devil Is a Part-Timer!)
  6. Sesshomaru (Inuyasha)
  7. Haku (Spirited Away)
  8. Chopper (One Piece)
  9. Abel Nightroad (Trinity Blood)
  10. Annie (Attack on Titan)

When she isn't compiling lists of tropes, topics, and characters, Lynzee works as the Managing Interest Editor for Anime News Network and posts pictures of her sons on Twitter @ANN_Lynzee.

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