The Otaku-Rage is Strong With This One
While it is fair to say that the anime community has a higher threshold as far as controversial topics are concerned, the medium has still faced its fair share of fanboy frenzy, with these five anime managing to significantly stir the pot. Some of the after-effects of these are still being felt!
#5: “Death Note” (2006-07)
Given that it’s a series whose protagonist is a genius supernatural serial killer, “Death Note” was bound to attract some controversy. Whoever’s name is written in the eponymous notebook with their face in mind will die of a heart attack. The premise has inspired a number of copycats who have written down names in their very own Death Note, most of which have come from students. The idea that media can influence negative or violent behaviors in those that view it has been a hotly debated topic, and “Death Note” happens to be one of the most prominent anime examples for some.
#4: “Neon Genesis Evangelion” (1995-96)
A highly influential mecha anime series, whether you think all of its symbolism was deep and meaningful or pretentious dreck, “Neon Genesis Evangelion” concluded its polarizing original run with an even more divisive finale. After their animation budget ran out, the production team delivered two surreal episodes that were so bizarre and difficult to understand for some that the creators received death threats and even had their animation studio vandalized. Studio Gainax would later “fix” the conclusion with “End of Evangelion.”
#3: “Sword Art Online: Alicization” (2018-)
Arguably one of the most influential isekai anime, Sword Art Online’s third season, “Alicization” featured an especially disturbing scene where Eugeo is forced to watch as his two female friends are nearly raped. The series is no stranger to outrage, as this wasn’t the first time sexual assault was used as a plot point. This established pattern and treatment of its female characters has drawn ire from some fans, and the original novels author Reki Kawahara would later apologize for his decade old writing, stating that he will be more mindful in the future.
#2: “Pokémon” (1997-)
Given how long it’s been on the air, the “Pokémon” anime was bound to cause outrage at some point, but it actually only took 38 episodes in before it became infamous. The episode follows the gang as they digitize themselves to stop Team Rocket. An explosion onscreen caused a flashing strobe like effect, which gave at least 600 people in Japan, most of them children, seizures. The incident caused a severe backlash, and while it didn’t end the juggernaut of a franchise, it did lead to more stringent restrictions when showing flashing lights in all anime, to prevent a similar incident from happening in the future.
#1: “Goblin Slayer” (2018)
New viewers who watched “Goblin Slayer” expected a typical lighthearted fantasy adventure series, given the colorful designs and the previews leading up to its debut. However, they were shocked to find that the first episode sees the primary heroine’s party of adventurers either brutally killed, tortured, or raped. While not the first anime on our list to display sexual violence, or violence in general, “Goblin Slayer” is by far the most explicit in its depiction of it. Ultimately, the series earned a warning beforehand about its content to prevent similar distress from viewers. Heaven forbid if they watch Berserk.
Be sure to check out the video below to see our picks for the Top 10 Shows Cancelled Over Controversy.