There are some shows that – no matter how you look at it – can be called ‘bad’. They’ve got poor plots, panty shots galore, and 2-D characters. And for some reason, you just can’t help but love them. You can’t explain it, but there’s something about them that makes you watch, despite overwhelming feelings that you really shouldn’t be enjoying them. Yes, they’re the guilty pleasure anime. Cringeworthy shows that you love anyway. Today we highlight the most likely shows for this prestigious title. Be warned, it might be a little spoilery in places.
14 year-old Tomoki is pervy and lazy, preferring to live quietly and without trouble. Unfortunately (or fortunately, it depends), his peace is shattered when a pink-haired robot angel girl falls from the sky and declares him to be her new master. The plot of Heaven’s Lost Property probably already has you cringing, but weirdly, some of us enjoyed it. If you get past the frankly creepy concept of it, you can enjoy the hilarious exploits and misunderstandings of our lead cast. The angel girl, Ikaros, is programmed to have no emotions, yet she is sweet, ditzy, and all around loveable. Of course the show wouldn’t be complete with just one cute angel robot. We’re also introduced to Nymph, a small and angry angel with a tragic past and a very wide range of emotions. You meet a host of other angels along the way but the main characters are the driving force of the show. It’s ridiculous. It has entire episodes based off panties and yet we’re forced to accept that some of it is pretty funny. Partner that with some extremely vivid animation, and you’ve got a sadly addictive two-season show.
If robot angels aren’t doing it for you, maybe the star-crossed lovers cliché is more your thing?
There are a tonne of shows we could pick, but honestly, Gravitation takes the pick. While lots of us have no shame in admitting that shounen ai (a gay romance story) is one of our most beloved genres, even we have to admit that within shounen ai, there are some guilty pleasures.
Gravitation is pretty darn old. The manga started in 1996, while the show aired in 2001. Not many fans of the last few years would know about this little anime, but it deserves a shout-out. It surrounds a young, struggling singer named Shuichi, who meets a famous writer called Eiri Yuki in a park. After Yuki completely trashes Shuichi’s lyrics, the two initially dislike each other, but something, almost like gravity, keeps bringing them back together.
We know. It already sounds like one big fat cliché. While the manga is actually rather good, the anime skips over every ounce of story/character development, leaving us with some gooey drama that is rushed and forced. But the characters of Shuichi and Yuki are just so darn loveable that we can’t help but watch it, even though it embodies everything that sucks about soppy romance stories. Cute boys being cute and a plot filled with fluff. Some of us love it, but we can admit its faults.
How is it that romance stories always seem to fall under the banner: Guilty Pleasures? Maybe the genre just lends itself to that. Or maybe, sometimes it’s the type of romance in the show. Oreimo, for example, has so many things that we dislike in anime, yet it has a dedicated fanbase willing to overlook the fact that the protagonist ends up going out with his sister. That’s it, that’s all you need to know about the show. She’s an annoying tsundere girl and he’s a typical 2D male hero, and the ‘incest is wincest’ message the show sends out isn’t exactly wholesome… so why do people love it? Who knows? In theory, it should be an awful show, but a lot of people love it. Then again, a lot of people hate it.
An anime doesn’t have to withstand all the critics. It doesn’t have to have a convincing plot, fleshed out characters, or an original idea for people to love it. When we do find these massive faults, some shows are just magnetic enough to keep us watching. Whether this is a good or a bad thing for the industry, we’re not sure. These types of shows aren’t going anywhere, so we may as well enjoy them without prejudging its more… questionable plot points. (Seriously, Oreimo? Out of all the girls, you let him pick his sister?)