Top 10 Anime That Caused Major Outrage
VOICE OVER: Ashley Bowman
WRITTEN BY: Garrett Alden
Anime is serious business. Welcome to WatchMojo and today we'll be counting down our picks for the top 10 anime that caused outrage.
For this list, we'll be looking at the anime series whose content led to backlash from viewers and/or fans. Remember this is by no means our opinion, we're just highlighting some of the drama that stemmed from these shows.
Top 10 Anime That Caused Outrage
Anime is serious business. Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 anime that caused outrage.
For this list, we’ll be looking at the anime series whose content led to backlash from viewers and/or fans. Remember this is by no means our opinion, we’re just highlighting some of the drama that stemmed from these shows.
#10: “SSSS.Gridman” (2018)
A mecha anime that heavily pays tribute to the original 90s tokusatsu series, “SSSS.GRIDMAN” found itself being accused of straight up plagiarism. Animator Masami Obari claimed that the show depicted a near shot for shot remake of a scene from “Gravion.” But fans were quit to defend it saying it was nothing more than a homage. “SSSS.GRIDMAN” also drew controversy offscreen, when the company that owns the rights to it banned fan works based on the show such as doujinshi from being created, despite it being a major part of the anime industry. Imagine the audacity of denying fans their Rikka Doujins! Scumbags.
#9: “Hetalia: Axis Powers” (2009-15)
This comedy series follows human versions of various countries. While that basic idea is harmless enough, the fact that the show focuses primarily on the Axis Powers and Allied Forces during the First and Second World Wars makes things rather dicey. The premise drew harsh criticism and outrage particularly from South Korea, where people protested for it’s cancelation. Although the show avoids touchier subjects, there are still those who find regimes of countries that committed those undiscussed atrocities being portrayed as cutesy characters to be in terrible taste.
#8: “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure” (1993-94)
We all love a good “JoJo” reference but this reference in the 90s OVA might not have been the best of ideas. In the “Stardust Crusaders” storyline of the manga, everyone’s favorite yellow vampire Dio Brando is seen reading a book with random squiggly lines in it as he vows to kill Jotaro. However, in this version of the anime, the animators unknowingly used text from the Qur’an to fit the Arabic setting. Because of this gaff, some Muslims were offended that the anime associated Islam with the kind of terroristic practices employed by Dio Brando.
#7: “The Rising of the Shield Hero” (2019-)
Another in a long line of Isekai anime, or shows where a hero is reborn or awakens in a fantasy world, “The Rising of the Shield Hero” drew controversy in its very first episode. The protagonist, Naofumi, begins his new life already disadvantaged, but then finds himself robbed and with a false accusation of rape leveled at him; further marring his reputation. Thus started a great debate between those who thought this was in poor taste following the meetoo movement, and those who argued that these kind of situations really do happen in real life. But lets be honest, we all know how we feel about Malty Melromarc.
#6: “Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac” (2019)
Although this anime hasn’t even aired yet, it’s already proven to be contentious. The reveal trailer shows that one of the franchise’s iconic characters, Andromeda Shun, has been changed from an androgynous man to a woman. Series producer Eugene Son has defended the change as being more inclusive towards women who like the series, but he’s come under fire by those who like the character as they originally were; citing the idea that turning a feminine man into a woman is more reductive than inclusive.
#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.