Annoying anime for health and fitness
September 27, 2015 7:56 PM   Subscribe

I get a much better daily workout on the stationary bike while watching anime that I kind of hate. I need recommendations for more series to watch that I won't like too much. Important additional details below the fold.

My daily workout includes over 1 hour of pedaling on a stationary bike. For distraction I've been watching anime series, and I've realized that I tend to increase the resistance and pedal harder when particular scenes or characters are annoying.

What's worked so far are harem shows. They make me want to bash my head on a brick wall. So I pedal harder to tune out the fan service, and when the scenes are over I slow down again. Until the next inevitable fan service bit. And even where the fan service is not the point of these shows, they're going to keep happening. Basically, I'm interval training. It's helping me log better ride times and faster recovery when I'm outside and doing real-world bicycling.

So what have you hate-watched, or made you say, "I don't know why I'm watching it, it would be good except for [thing]"? (Whatever [thing] was that pushed the wrong buttons for you -- if it happens frequently enough, it will probably qualify.)

Some recent viewings include: "Monster Girl Musume" (that worked really well), "Cat Planet Cuties" (not as well). Currently I'm watching "Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In a Dungeon" (working pretty well). The shows have to have decent production quality and some merit to them, either despite or because of of whatever tropes make them annoying. When a show completely sucks, there's nothing to latch onto and I tune out entirely. My usual anime watching outside of exercise time is pretty random... I usually watch with my wife and she usually picks the series we watch each season. I'm slowly working through all 300+ episodes of Gintama when I just want to spin rather than get a more serious workout.

To help narrow things down:
  1. I'm only interested in TV series, since the 24-minute showtime is a convenient workout unit, and having 12-24-52-etc. episodes to watch means I spend less time searching for what to watch next. Prefer already-complete series, since I'm going to be watching over a dozen episodes of stuff a week.
  2. My household has paid accounts with Crunchyroll or Funimation, which makes shows on those sites more convenient for me.
  3. I would really, really like some variety and hopefully a break from witnessing the endlessly inventive ways anime objectifies women. I latched onto harem anime because they frequently have some interesting world-building or storylines or slapstick comedy worked in around the fanservice, but the tropes have gotten monotonous fast and I need new things to dislike.
  4. No porn. If my standards are this low, please respect that I have any standards at all.
  5. Subbed, not dubbed.
posted by ardgedee to Media & Arts (23 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Highschool of the Dead? I remember it being pretty high on the fanservice level, and there's the obligatory beach episode.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 8:11 PM on September 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

MetaFilter's own Steven Den Beste blogs about anime (among other things) at chizumatic, with lots of mentions of shows he doesn't like and what it is exactly that he doesn't like about them.
posted by Bruce H. at 8:13 PM on September 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Gokusen? It's SO FULL OF CLICHES. And it's super formulaic! But it's also pretty funny in parts. I don't see that it's on Crunchyroll or Funimation, but I might not be looking in the right place.
posted by wintersweet at 8:16 PM on September 27, 2015

School Days will definitely make you want to feel the burn to blot out the awful.
posted by jackbishop at 8:18 PM on September 27, 2015

Oh man, you want hatewatch shows? Lemme give you some hatewatch shows (all ones that I actually finished, God help me):

Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei. And you thought "My Immortal" had some unfortunate Mary Sues. Bonus points for frothing, utterly unrestrained racism against Chinese people. Protip: root for the villains; it's more fun that way.

Captain Earth. Or: one more reason why we don't trust Bones to do mecha shows anymore. Infuriating pacing and plotting paired with utterly undeservedly good animation.

Akuma no Riddle. Up the resistance on your bike every time you notice a plothole; lower it every time they drop a plot thread. You'd think that yuri + action would be easy to pull off, but it's been fourteen years since Noir already and nobody's even come close. Then again, quality work from Diomedea might be a bit much to ask.

Rolling☆Girls. Starts weird, gets boring. A goddamn waste of talent in every possible respect. Gets points for being so infuriatingly close to good that I wound up forcing myself to get around to watching the last episode a full month after it aired.

Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku no Zvezda. See above, but with gratuitous Russian and needlessly fetish-driven character designs. Nice use of Kansai-ben, though.

Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha. I'm a sucker for things that toy with Shinto in modern contexts, so this was a must-watch. Nice character designs, too. Only problem is that the manga was ongoing at the time, so the pacing goes to hell in about eighty minutes or so. Oops!

Kamichu! See above, but without the good character designs.

Higashi no Eden. This is something of a more unpopular opinion, but this show is wasted potential incarnate. Also, the manic pixie dreamguy thing wears thin in about two episodes, and the ending stretches believability, and then some.
posted by fifthrider at 8:32 PM on September 27, 2015 [4 favorites]

Oh, and one more for good measure:

Darker than Black: Ryuusei no Gemini. A.k.a. "Chinese Electric Batman 2: Alcoholism Edition." Take an action show that riffs cleverly on lesser-used vampire tropes, take away the main character's abilities, turn him into a useless drunk, gut the plot, and try to make us care about a new protagonist whose sole special move (summoning a PTRD from thin air; not kidding at all) is so ludicrously situational that even the writers can't figure out a way to use it more than once or twice.
posted by fifthrider at 8:45 PM on September 27, 2015 [3 favorites]

And as soon as I hit post I remember this one:

Tokyo Majin Gakuen Kenpucho: Tou. (And its sequel.) Not so much an "ensemble cast" as a "crowd of borrowed stereotypes from a half dozen or more genres, crudely mashed together." Think: the Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny, but utterly self-serious.
posted by fifthrider at 9:01 PM on September 27, 2015

Revolutionary Girl Utena?

Tenchi Muyo

Ranma ½
posted by nickggully at 9:04 PM on September 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Revolutionary Girl Utena is good!!!! Watch that one another time.

I would recommend, for generic hate-watchy shounen, Black Bullet, which was generic, badly paced loli gone wrong, but kind of entertaining in a horrific "what will happen next" way, or Akame ga Kill, which was kind of interesting but too formulaic for me (both are offensive to gay people/women but probably not as bad as your harem shows).
posted by clarinet at 9:23 PM on September 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

Princess Tutu might qualify. It's about a girl who's actually a duck who transforms into a ballerina and sometimes back into a duck because she loves some awkward delicate kid in what I guess is a mix between the Nutcracker and Swan Lake.
posted by Hermione Granger at 9:27 PM on September 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Black Bullet was prime bathos; definitely a must-watch for real trainwreck connoisseurs.

Princess Tutu and Utena, however, are legitimate classics and absolutely do not belong in a hatewatch playlist.
posted by fifthrider at 9:32 PM on September 27, 2015 [6 favorites]

Nisekoi is on Crunchyroll and I think it would definitely work for you. It's about a high school guy who has to "pretend" to be a boyfriend to a girl...and stuff happens. It's also definitely a harem anime.
posted by QueenHawkeye at 9:37 PM on September 27, 2015

Bikini Warriors is wall-to-wall fan service and stupidity. Unfortunately it's only 5 minute episodes, but there are 12 of them now. That would give you an hour of going-full-speed, I think.

I really liked Yuushibu (real name "Yuusha ni Narenakatta Ore wa Shibushibu Shuushoku o Ketsui Shimashita") but it sounds like it would fit your bill. Definitely a harem show and definitely loads of fan service. For instance, a recurring character is an old man who comes to the store every day to buy one lightbulb and to grope Nova's ass. Oddly enough, she doesn't seem to mind. (His vehicle looks like something out of Star Trek, and fans of the show suspect that he's a perverted version of Picard.)

Absolute Duo made a hater out of me. Everything was fine until the blonde from the UK showed up and then the story went completely into the toilet. The bunny-ear teacher was another serious failure. However, I think you'd begin hating even earlier than that, probably about half way through the first episode.

Rio - Rainbow Gate is one of the stupidest concepts to ever be turned into an anime. They began with the character art from a popular Pachinko machine, and built an anime around her. Loads of fan service and an absolutely moronic plot, from beginning to end. It might give you a heart attack, it's so bad.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:10 PM on September 27, 2015

I just remembered another one:

Hagure Yuusha no Aestetica is everything I think you love to hate. The male lead, Akatsuki, is the worst kind of Marty Stu, for one thing. The female lead, Miu, is preposterously stacked, and has lots of fan service scenes. IIRC the first time we see her she's naked, and we get an eyeful of her breasts. He's been carrying her around in a bag and this is the first time he lets her out.

One of Akatsuki's favorite tricks is to steal the underwear off of a girl while she's fully clothed, just to annoy her. He also tends to try to rape Miu when he's asleep.

Akatsuki is so damned arrogant that I kept hoping someone, anyone, would come along to take him down a couple of notches, but it never happened. Instead, he managed to collect a three-girl harem along the way, all of whom really should have hated him. (Oh, and one of them is a loli, just to add some further squick.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:31 PM on September 27, 2015

I gotta stop doing this:

Majikoi is seriously annoying. Four girls and three guys have been friends since they were really young. The protagonist is Yamato. All the girls are in love with him and want to have sex with him. The other two guys admire him. The term "Marty Stu" might have been invented for him.

So which girl does he like? Despite the fact that all four are world-class beauties and spend a lot of time naked, he actually wants a fifth one, who is older and who seems to me to be something of a battleaxe.

Meanwhile, there is a semblance of a story, which really reeks. And there are a lot of group bath scenes!

Moving right along: Rio - Rainbow Gate is on Crunchyroll.

Does squick work for you as an exercise motivator? How about Chu-bra? It's about a middle-school girl who starts a school club about girls' underwear. She spends all her time scoping out the other girls to see if their underwear fits properly, among other things.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:03 AM on September 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions so far... I'll consider everything, but I really am hoping for less hentai, not more.

And hey, "Princess Tutu" might work. Tezuka is a hero to me, but he definitely did his share of weird/cringeworthy stuff and I don't mind admitting that his career was not all gold.
posted by ardgedee at 5:29 AM on September 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

Himouto! Umaru-chan and Yuru Yuri are probably hatewatch-worthy. I secretly like Yuru Yuri, though I will never actually admit it.

If you ever want something non-anime and live action to hatewatch, you can't go wrong with Under the Dome.

And Kamichu! is a great series.
posted by Gev at 5:42 AM on September 28, 2015

If you want a break from harem anime, a friend recently told me that Yu-Gi-Oh! is on Netflix. It's long and monotonous, and there are a lot of speeches about friendship (I think especially in the English dub, which is the only version I've ever watched). If you pedal really hard every time they go on about the power of friendship you should get into great shape.

Working!! might also be a good one (not sure on the availability of that). It's more slice-of-life than harem but the main character has this creepy obsession with cute things that he loudly insists isn't lolicon. It really isn't, but sometimes you wonder. It's pretty PG-rated.

Someone above mentioned Tenchi Muyo!. There's like 5 Tenchi series and some of them are better than others -- Universe is actually worth watching. GXP and Tokyo are the worst ones so far as annoying harem tropes.

Another terrible recommendation is Girls und Panzer, a story about schoolgirls driving tanks in competition. It's not harem, all the characters are female, but the plot is nonsense and even the lesbian potential couldn't keep me going on that one.

The Magic Knight Rayearth anime reuses tons of footage and there is a ton of running down corridors that you could probably use as an excuse to pedal faster.

In conclusions why do I watch so much terrible anime.
posted by possibilityleft at 7:08 AM on September 28, 2015

I hesitate to suggest this, but have you considered picking up one of the long running ones like Naruto or Fairy Tail? There's a sort of penrose staircase of narrative that will make you just curious enough to find out what happens next, but the filler and dragged out scenes can be absolutely brutal.
posted by lucidium at 4:51 PM on September 28, 2015

Another non-harem recommendation: Senki Zesshou Symphogear: Meteoroid-Falling, Burning, and Disappear, Then.... The premise is already ridiculous: girls whose singing creates "Symphogear" armor and weapons are recruited by secret government agents to fight some kind of amorphous aliens, and the aliens are secretly being controlled by an evil scientist to blow up the moon. Or something along those lines. Even if you manage to accept that, there's the non-Symphogear guy who can punch out the aliens anyway because he "watches action movies." And the terrible, terrible English voice acting. And the side character who keeps exclaiming "This is crazy! It's just like an anime!" And the occasional low-budget QUALITY animation (I think all their money went into the songs and character design).

I wanted to like it. It should have been everything I like in an anime. Girls and Panzer, Lyrical Nanoha, Gurren Lagann, those were all great. (possibilityearth, what are you talking about, drifting tanks on a city-sized aircraft carrier is not nonsense, it is brilliance.) But I just could not care about Symphogear.

It has at least one sequel with an equally long and silly title, which I dropped after the first episode because that god-awful "This isn't an anime" girl was already in it.

I haven't watched Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei, but read others' episode reviews. It is a harem, but it's also a lazy example of right-wing/Ayn-Rand politics, where ultra-competent magic-wielding high-schoolers get to be better than everyone else by author fiat. If you actually want to be tempted to yell at the screen for 26 episodes, I think this would work.

Oh yeah! Kakumeiki Valvrave. Dropped it after one episode because generic mecha crossed with generic vampires are not my thing, but it's the origin of the Let's Keep Going And See What Happens meme, so it must have done something right wrong weird. Guilty Crown and Aldnoah.Zero are two other sci-fi anime with large casts and plots that go completely off the rails.
posted by Rangi at 5:01 PM on September 28, 2015

Hoo boy Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei - increase resistance every time Miyuki says "Onii-sama", lower it every time you get pointless exposition about magic technology.

Some of the anime derived from otome games might just be annoying enough: Uta no Prince Sama series, or Kamigami no Asobi. Although I found the latter more ridiculous than annoying. Uta no Prince Sama has an incredibly annoying lead female character, who has disturbing dead fish eyes. Any time she was on screen would probably make me pedal harder.
posted by needled at 5:55 PM on September 28, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks again for everybody's suggestions. So far of them I've only tried "Yuru Yuri" but had to drop it after four episodes. It was well-produced hatewatch material, but the most common running gags were about the middle-school girls' developing sexuality, and it was exploitative and gross.

Currently I'm watching "Cat God" because I happened across it while looking up other suggestions, and noted here for other people interested in this question. It's a little too bland and unpaced to be an optimal show for my requirements, but it's also simplistic and light enough to be easy to tune in and out as needed. Since my workouts are usually immediately after work, it's nice to have a something unchallenging and non-overwhelming, too.
posted by ardgedee at 3:40 PM on October 4, 2015

Gonna be the Twin-tail!!: high school boy bsessed with, well, twin tails is turned into a magical twin tailed girl because of this by an alien scientist wanting to defend the world from evil alien perverts out to steal our obsessions while she lusts after his virginity and is joined in his battle by his childhood friend and their school's student council president.

MM!: tsundere attempts to train the masochist main character out of his perversion through better beatings, several other girls with their own problems join in, which is actually funny

My Mental Choices Are Completely Interfering with My School Romantic Comedy: voices in his head force our hero to make hideous choices, but still get him female attention: again there's plenty of real humour here, not just the usual harem antics.

Henneko: Hentai Prince and the Stony Cat: mischevious cat statue god fullfills badly thought out wish of local hentai as well as the girl he meets there, things go wrong for both of them, then things get even more complicated with each new girl introduced.

GJ-Bu: slice of life adventures of the one boy in a not very active school club, equally taunted and desired by his female club mates, especially for his hair brushing techniques.

The World God Only knows: eroge gamer has to put his leet girl conquest powers at work in the real world to save the girls at his high school from the runaway spirits bound to the gap in their heart by filling it with the power of love. Not helping matters is his demon companion Elsee, not the most gifted of demons. Starts off funny, gets more serious in the second and third series.

Nisekoi is actually funny, not that fanservey by comparison with other harem shows and best of all doesn't take itself too seriously. Also helps that there are no absolutely hateful characters in it unlike so many truly shitty harem series.

Ore no Imōto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai (My little sister can't be this cute) should be godawful on the face of it: big brother Kyousuke is absolutely hated by his little sis Kirino -- athletic, gifted and a working fashion model -- until he discovers her secret: she's into little sister eroges and enlists him to help her keep it a secret as well as to give her life advice. What follows is two series of flirting with incest, the pleasures and pains of having a nerdy hobby at the bottom of the geek hierarchy and the depths an older brother will go through to make his egoistical sister happy.

Trinity Seven: cheerful letch has the potential to be the demon prince that will destroy the world, gets involved with and lusts after the seven most powerful magicians at his magical school with several of them more than willing to join in the teasing of their more staid friends...

Outbreak Company: otaku hikkimori is recruited to represent Japan in fantasyland, in order to subvert the existing order through the power of otaku culture, is more successful than anybody could expect.

Yahari Ore no Seishun Rabu Kome wa Machigatteiru: grouch is forced to become part of a school club to learn him to be more considerate of others and find love.

Rosario + Vampire: normal boy accidently enters a monster school, finds love with the most powerful vampire in the school, not to mention various other monster girls, all of which would be content to be part of his harem, if not for that first girl...

Seitokai Yakuindomo: first year male student at what used to be an all girl school is basically forced on the student council, has to deal with a sex obsessed president, her innocent pervert friend and the obligatory flat chested loli touchy about her height in what's basically a sex based gag comedy. What's nice about it is that all the usual sex comedy/harem antics are lacking and everybody might be slightly unhinged, but never nasty.

Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo: delinquent boy discovers he can switch bodies with the most perfect girl in school when they accidently kiss when falling down the stairs. From there it's a quest for the other six witches in the school. Seeing the main character stomp around in his love interest's body never gets old.

Saki: lesbians playing mahjong.

Free: pretty, pretty boys form a swimclub while their girl manager lusts after their muscle definitions.

Actual shitty harem anime:

Mayo Chiki: high school boy is afraid of women because his mother and sister have been beating him up since he was five, discovers the butler of his school's resident princess is actually a girl, is blackmailed into keeping this secret and in return said princess will help cure him of his phobia. Hilarity sort of fails to ensue.

Isuca: high school boy becomes housekeeper for magical demon hunting girl, turns out to have hidden qualities while she tsunderes against him and various rivals try to steal him away for reasons.

Da Capo III: boy with no discernable personality is lusted after by all the big bosomed beauties of his newspaper school club, as they try to unravel the mystery of the year round blossoming cherry trees on their island.

Ladies x Butlers: lower class chav stars his first day at servant school groping one of the most ojo-sama of ojo-sama girls from the how to be a lady school attached to it. which is where I stopped but he seemed to be able to grope his way across several more girls in the first episode alone.

The Irregular at Magic High School: harem magic high school with added rightwing Japanese nationalism. Not to mention incest.

Already mentioned Absolute Duo is not actively hateful, just blandly generic and saddled with a dumb plot. Would've actually better had it just been a harem show.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:35 PM on October 7, 2015

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