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Top 10 Anime That Are All Style and No Substance

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Written by Alex Crilly-Mckean They’re easy on the eyes but that’s about it. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we are counting down our picks for the top ten anime that are all style and no substance. For this list, we’ll be looking at the anime that may excel when it comes to art design and animation, but are sorely lacking with it comes to depth. We’re not saying that these anime are bad, but their appeal for us is really only surface-level.
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Top 10 Anime That Are All Style and No Substance


They’re easy on the eyes but that’s about it. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we are counting down our picks for the top ten anime that are all style and no substance.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the anime that may excel when it comes to art design and animation, but are sorely lacking with it comes to depth. We’re not saying that these anime are bad, but their appeal for us is really only surface-level.

#10: “Mekakucity Actors” (2014)


You always have to be careful with anime that are based on music, sometimes they come out rather well and other times they are just lacking. Which is a real shame when it comes to this show, given how it was created by Shaft, the guys that brought us the absolutely stunning Madoka Magica and Bakemonogatari. As you can see their penchant for beautiful animation shines through here, as the Mekakushi Dan’s ocular abilities really light up the screen. But beyond that, this adaptation really doesn’t bring anything revolutionary to the table.



#9: “Myriad Colors Phantom World” (2016)


Oooh boy, you really screwed the pooch on this one didn’t you Kyoto Animation? The studio has found great success by giving us series that happily blend the mundane the supernatural as well as plenty of feels to ensure an enjoyable viewing experience. They did give us Hyouka, Nichijou, Free, K-On and Haruhi Suzumiya after all. This one on the other hand is unanimously panned. It may look appealing from the outset, but it soon becomes clear that Phantom World is nothing but an endless stream of clichés. Inadvertent harems, boring male lead, ‘accidental’ fan-service, the list goes on.



8: “Katsugeki TOUKEN RANBU” (2017)


It’s an interesting premise, especially for the reverse harem genre. Legendary swords that turn into sexy young men, what could go wrong? Especially if its animated by the likes of Ufotable, you know, those talented people that brought us the Fate series? Sounds like an ideal match up given how gorgeously rendered battle scenes are their bread and butter. Their latest efforts with Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu certainly prove that. It’s just a shame that the show forces flat character development and expects such a strong emotional response in return.



#7: “Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl” (2011)


Much like how it’s eccentric female lead claims to be an alien, the animation here is out of this world, doing a stellar job at selling the show’s themes of reflection and desire to hide from the real world. We’re not saying the anime is without its tender moments, it just pushes it a bit when it tries to be quirky. Erio’s insistence on being an extra-terrestrial certainly makes up the crux of the show’s emotional core…but then you have the rest of the cast’s oddball attributes, including her mother’s MILF-ish antics, and before you know it the series has more misses than hits under its belt.



#6: “Gundam: Reconguista in G” (2014-15)


Please understand, we have the highest respect for Yoshiyuki Tomino. The man gave us Mobile Suit Gundam, Char Aznable, and kickstarted a whole new wave of mecha anime that are still inspiring new shows to this very day. We good? Good. Anyway G-Reco is…a beautiful, beautiful mess. The visuals are stunning, especially when it comes the Gundam battles. It’s just a shame the story suffers for it. Half the time we have no idea what’s going on, and when we do it just comes across as sloppy and doesn’t warrant the effort of getting invested.



#5: “Sword Oratoria: Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? On the Side” (2017)


God that title is way too long. Despite being an original story, the fact it shares the same world as the original DanMachi series means there are bound to be comparisons. Given how the adventures of Bell and Hestia weren’t exactly ground-breaking, there was a relatively low bar for this show to meet. It didn’t reach it. Aside from some decently animated fight scenes, the pacing in this series is all over the place, the characters are forgettable and it has an ending that makes zero sense. This one really should have stayed lost in a dungeon.



#4: “Karas” (2005-07)


What’s the plot of the series? What are the motivations of the characters? What the hell is happening? Who cares, these fight scenes are off the freaking chain! Granted we do get some small measure of a narrative trickling through every now and again, but let’s be honest, you are watching this anime for one reason and one reason only; to see a cybernetic samurai kick the crap out mechanical monsters in some of the most breath-taking CGI you’re likely to see. The other stuff can just take a backseat.



#3: “Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress” (2016)


Mankind has been brought to extinction. The only way to defend themselves from the threat of the monsters at their door is with giant super structures. Of course, they can’t hold out forever, but luckily for humanity, our revenge-driven lead character might just have found a way to save everyone, but in the process must become what he most despises. Oh, we’re sorry, did you think this was Attack on Titan? Nope, just an obvious rip off that desperately wishes it was. But hey, at least it looks pretty.



#2: “Kiznaiver” (2016)


We loooooove Studio Trigger. Their characters are always memorable, their stories are never far from being batshit insane, and their animation is top tier. When it comes to this little project however…well at least the animation still holds up. Unfortunately, everything else about Kiznaiver is really underwhelming. We certainly get the intention; a show about being able to understand and express emotion and pain through other people. However, the execution is pretty poor, ensuing this series will never stand shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Gurren Lagann and Kill la Kill.



#1: “K” (2012)


Aka the anime where the character’s astoundingly animated hair has more charm and personality than the rest of the cast. With its various interweaving stories about rival gangs, murder, conspiracies and smouldering bishonen gazes, it might seem like a series you could really sink your teeth into. As it stands, the glorious way their hair shimmers in the moonlight is the only thing this series has going for it. Too many characters with not enough time to properly define themselves, poor pacing, a lacklustre resolution, this series really is only skin deep…
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