The 5 Worst Anime Tropes, Ranked

Some of the worst anime tropes can make viewers angry, and the shows that use them can sometimes seem boring or make no sense.

Few things have as many different kinds of stories as anime. There really is something for everyone, from shows about swimming to shows about regular people who find themselves in really strange places. But there are some themes and ideas that show up in many different shows and genres, even though some of them are about very different things.

Over the course of many decades, the best anime tropes have been defined and improved. Many of the best anime shows have built much of their success on these tropes. But not every trope is a good one. The worst anime tropes make viewers angry and sometimes make the shows that use them seem boring or not very well thought out.



Transformations aren’t a bad idea in and of themselves, but they are used so often that they have become one of the worst tropes in anime. When a bad guy brags about still having another form, it brings up an important question: why not stay in one’s most powerful form for as long as possible to avoid being surprised? Well, the Dragon Ball series by Akira Toriyama, which helped make this trope popular in the first place, did try to answer that question.

Source: Ultra God

Frieza gives the impression that he stays in his weaker form because he doesn’t want people to realize how powerful he really is. But this doesn’t quite make sense, because if people knew how powerful Frieza was, they would stop thinking about rebelling long before they did anything. More importantly, going about his business when he is at his weakest leaves him very open to danger. For example, if Krillin’s aim had been a little better on planet Namek, Frieza might have lost more than just his tail.


Orphaned Protagonists

For whatever reason, many anime writers appear to believe that a protagonist must have lost both parents in order to be a fascinating figure. In actuality, this is merely a sloppy design choice intended to elicit compassion for the protagonist while also positioning these anime orphans as scrappy underdogs who must learn things for themselves or from some random guardian who would otherwise have had no influence on the tale.

To be clear, there are instances where this trope works effectively, such as Eren losing his mother at the start of Attack on Titan. Though it may fall foul of the aforementioned cliches in some ways, it does at least explain his motive for joining the Survey Corps and taking on the Titans, which most right-minded people would never agree to do if they hadn’t lost everything and everyone that mattered to them. Having nothing to lose might sometimes make a character stronger, but it can also significantly lessen the stakes.


The Power of Friendship

People can push themselves harder when they have something to fight for, but the idea that the power of friendship can overcome any problem is as funny as it is out of date. When an asteroid hits the Earth or when the ice caps melt and everyone drowns, friendship won’t save the world. Unfortunately, it is also very unlikely to help someone beat someone who is much stronger than them.

To be clear, showing how important friendship is isn’t always a bad idea, especially for anime shows that are aimed at younger audiences. When this is overdone in performances for older audiences, it can appear preachy, like an after-school special from the 1990s.


The Merciful Hero

People usually think of morality as being very black and white, but there is a lot of gray area in between these two extremes. This is especially true when it comes to killing, a topic that a lot of great anime shows have talked about in depth over the years. Sadly, though, it seems like many of these shows end in the same questionable way.

In the end of a lot of anime, it’s decided that if a hero kills a bad guy, that makes the hero just as bad. This is ridiculous and doesn’t take into account why the bad guy did what he did. Also, by letting the bad guy live, the hero is probably sending other people to their deaths at some point in the future. Even though killing is never a good thing, there are times when it is necessary or the right thing to do.


Aroused Nosebleeds



Even in some of the best anime shows, there are times when the women are made to look too sexual. This is usually done by a creepy character who likes to peek or try to get a feel. This is often done to make people laugh, which sends a very dangerous message to younger viewers who might not know any better.

Using what is essentially sexual harassment to make people laugh not only normalizes this kind of behavior but also suggests that people who do it can get away with little more than a stern look or a slap on the face. Maybe the anime nosebleed trope isn’t as bad, but they often go together. The idea that being aroused is something to laugh at or be ashamed of is just as bad and pointless.

Thank you very much for reading!

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