Deader Than Disco / Anime and Manga

Even the most hardcore Otakus won't touch these anime or manga, no matter how popular they once were.

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  • 4Kids Entertainment was once a powerhouse in importing anime like Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! and dubbing them for American audiences. By censoring and editing these shows for children's television, the company gained a minor hatedom among anime purists, but these translations were nevertheless commercially successful enough for 4Kids to import and produce more titles like Magical Doremi, Winx Club, Sonic X and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003).

    However, the company's dub of One Piece kicked off their fall from grace. This dub took 4Kids' most decried practices, such as excessive censorship, replacing all the music (capped off with a Theme Tune Rap), skipping over several important episodes, remixing elements of episodes, drastic changes to the plots, Americanization, and low quality voice acting, and cranked them Up to Eleven, all the while showcasing none of their redeeming qualities. Toei Animation and series creator Eiichiro Oda hated 4Kids' dub of One Piece so much that they cancelled the company's license, considering it an insult to the original Japanese version. This even led to an allowance on fansubbers to continue subbing certain series, as 4Kids' DVD releases rarely, if ever, had any of the original Japanese audio. David Moo (Sanji's voice actor) was so heavily criticized for his performace that he retired from the dubbing industry and became a bartender. (Not helping matters is that Moo's only other notable role (Xellos in Slayers) is also extremely polarizing.)

    As the anime boom wore down, 4kids sold the rights to its biggest Cash Cow Franchise, Pokémon, to The Pokémon Company International in 2006. Funimation picked up the rights to One Piece in 2007 and redubbed the whole series far more faithfully to the original. Winx Club and TMNT had their licenses cancelled and transferred to Nickelodeon (the latter alongside the whole Ninja Turtles franchise). With only Yu-Gi-Oh! and a few lesser shows left, 4Kids filed for bankruptcy in 2011 after their longtime CEO stepped down. TV Tokyo filed a lawsuit against 4Kids over Yu-Gi-Oh!, accusing them of underpaying anime licensors and conspiring with Funimation to avoid royalty payments by hiding the income. Konami picked up the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise and placed it under the 4K Media division, while Saban Brands acquired the rest of 4Kids' anime and cartoons.

    Once one of the most popular English anime producers, 4Kids is now held up as the example of everything wrong with dubbing anime (though Pokémon is usually considered their best, and most iconic, work), to the point that most of their productions are long off the air. The company later re-emerged as 4Licensing Corporation with only a handful of shows left and is now focusing on making sports apparel. In September 2016, 4Licensing filed for bankruptcy again. With all their former licenses scattered between different companies and their financial problems, it's safe to say that the 4Kids name is never coming back.
  • Streamline Pictures was one of the first Anime distributors to release English dubs on the market. Several voice actors got their start here. These were praised by dub fans, but criticized by sub fans for being too liberal. Now, thanks to countless dubs that wowed audiences over the years, the dub fans agree that the dubs were too liberal in their content.
  • Tokyopop used to be the English-language manga publisher up until its 2011 closure. Now it's mostly remembered for its mediocre translations and the incompetence of its CEO Stuart Levy. Its contribution to the brief trend of low-quality OEL manga did not help at all; their over-hyping and focus on their unpopular collaborative project Princess Ai is often believed to be one of the things that led to their eventual downfall.
  • Harmony Gold was once a legend in the dubbing industry, having created Robotech through a massive Cut-and-Paste Translation that proved, despite being the Trope Namer for Macekre, to be one of the breakthrough hits that paved the way for the anime boom of The '90s. They even made a short-lived dub of Dragon Ball. However, through a variety of dubious legal claims, they gained co-control of the Super Dimension Fortress Macross license outside of Japan, but in so doing completely alienated Big West (the creators of Macross), and their nearly-rabid defense of any remotely-related copyright destroyed their reputation with companies across Japan and the United States. Accordingly, they largely missed out on the anime boom that they helped to create, and are now a small production company making Direct-to-Video comedies, only holding on to the Macross license because it'd be too expensive to pry it loose from them.
  • Manga Entertainment's UK division was pretty popular back in the day, but what are they remembered for now? Endless ultra violent and hyper sexual OVA's with bad dubs.

     Dubbing Practices 
  • The Cut-and-Paste Translation as a dubbing practice. The method of altering the scripts of the episode began in The '80s when Carl Macek combined Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross, and Genesis Climber MOSPEADA into Robotech; and World Events Productions followed a similar method to combine GoLion and Dairugger XV into Voltron. For some time, this type of dub was one of the most common styles of translating anime.
    However, there were several factors that led to this type of dub's decline. First, there was the controversy raised by several of 4Kids' later dubs. Namely, the violence in later episodes of Shaman King caused protests from offended parents, which led to 4Kids taking their practices to extremes for their dubs of One Piece and Tokyo Mew Mew, effectively stripping them of anything remotely Japanese. The creators of both series, not amused, thereby pulled the rights from them on the grounds that they made mockeries of their series. Second, the popularity of the films of Studio Ghibli, which enacted a "no cuts" policy for studios that dubbed their films for foreign markets, proved that anime didn't have to be toned down for audiences to appreciate it. Third, the rise of YouTube and other video-sharing sites helped uncut versions and subtitled versions of anime become more widespread, thus eliminating the need for sanitized dubs being the primary introduction to other types of anime. Lastly, this type of translation, as noted on its trope page, is expensive, much more so than a straightforward dub, and with fans having access to the unedited Japanese subtitles, there just wasn't a market any longer for heavily edited dubs as the 2000s wore on. As a result, the Cut-and-Paste Translation has largely been discredited as a dubbing practice. It is still around, but has been reduced to Merchandise-Driven Anime, shows targeted towards a lower age then most Oktaku, and legacy titles.
  • The concept of the Dub Name Change has become this, at least when it comes to English dubs. This often goes hand-in-hand with the above-mentioned decline of the Cut-and-Paste Translation. Prior to the mid-2000s it was the default to "westernize" characters names even if a Thinly Veiled Dub Country Change wasn't the intention. With the rise of the internet anime community and more knowledge of the original Japanese versions of anime, fewer and fewer dubs are changing characters names. Even series like Beyblade and YuGiOh which originally changed characters names have dropped the practice. English dubs changing the characters names is often seen as a sign of a Macekre bad dub and aren't as commonly accepted as they used to be. The few series that do this are usually long runners like Pokémon or are doing it to match their source, like Pokémon and Yo-kai Watch. The ones that don't have those excuses are aimed at a young age bracket such as Glitter Force (the English dub of Smile Pretty Cure!).

  • Traditional, non-ironic Magical Girl shows aimed at young girls have been few and far between since the late 2000's, with most shows in the genre either being action-heavy Magical Girl Warrior shows like Lyrical Nanoha and Kill la Kill or Darker and Edgier deconstructions like Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Yuki Yuna Is a Hero. One of the very few examples that is still successful is the Pretty Cure franchise, and even that series has some parody/post modernist elements in it.
  • TV anime adaptations of shoujo manga seem to be heading this way. Nowadays, most of them get adaptations in film, live action drama, or short OVAS. A lot of this probably has to do with anime becoming more otaku-oriented, with otome game adaptations being more in demand with the female anime crowd, and the fact that shoujo manga itself (or at least the kind adaptable into animation) seems to be in danger of becoming this because of its Dork Age.

     Individual Series 
  • There was once a time where every anime fan had to have at least seen one episode of InuYasha. Every con would at least have a dozen people cosplaying as the title character. Hell, it occasionally leaked out of the anime fandom and it wouldn't be uncommon to see people on the street wearing merchandise from the show. However, after the original show ended abruptly, and other shows came around to fill the void, backlash ensued. Nowadays, the show's mainly just remembered for its overly long narrative, Fan Dumb (to the point where it was often used as the example for how obnoxious anime fandoms can get, at least before the Axis Powers Hetalia and Naruto fandoms came along), and the leads extremely violent relationship. Whenever anyone mentions it positively, chances are they're just talking about the voice acting.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED was once a smash hit, getting the second highest ratings in Gundam history only behind Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, and introducing a new generation to the Gundam franchise. Fans would start clamoring for a sequel, which they got with Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny, the first-ever full-length television sequel to a Gundam show outside of the original Universal Century timeline, as well as a manga spinoff in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Astray. There were even talks that the CE timeline could become the new UC.

    However, thanks to production troubles and the like, Destiny failed to be as successful as Seed, evidently ending those talks, and heavily dividing the fanbase in the process. There were plans for a movie to be a Grand Finale of the saga, but head writer Chiaki Morosawa underwent a hysterectomy during production, as well as battles with depression (which is partly the reason Destiny had such issues) and to this day is in Development Hell. This made both the creators and the fans give up on the saga and move on to the non-CE series Mobile Suit Gundam 00. Today, if you ask Gundam fans of their opinion of Seed, you will get plenty of Love It or Hate It responses, and you certainly won't find many fans of Destiny.
  • When Digimon Adventure 02 initially aired in the United States it was very popular, perhaps even more so than its predecessor, though there was criticism laid at the controversial Distant Finale/"Where Are They Now?" Epilogue. Now however, though it still has a fair share of fans, it has become one of the most controversial and polarizing series in the Digimon franchise and is widely derided in many fan circles, especially on 4chan's /a/ board. The reason? Because an inversion of Vindicated by History happened and people saw that the epilogue was not the only part of the series with problems. First was the large number of Plot Holes along with a large number of storylines that were either abandoned (ie: The Dark Ocean Arc and the Daemon Corps arc), or hyped up but rendered into irrelevance a while later (ie: the Destiny Stones Arc), along with a perceived "excess" of filler episodes making up the series. Not helping was the rumor that the show ruined the Adventure universe in Japan and is the reason why every Digimon series made afterwards is set in a different continuity and the fact that the series in the original language, after seeing the subs, was even more contrived than in the dub. It also doesn't help that the series after that, while somewhat divisive initially, is now considered one of the best series in the franchise. Nowadays, talking about 02 would draw a lot of divisive Love It or Hate It responses, with the best series either considered to be Digimon Adventure or Digimon Tamers, though to be fair, most fans put it above Digimon Xros Wars: The Young Hunters Leaping Through Time.
    • This trope was referenced once in-universe in the English dub of Digimon Adventure:
    Demidevimon: Aw, come on! Everyone makes mistakes, remember disco?
  • Love Hina standardized the typical slapstick a lot of viewers tend to associate with the Harem Genre. A little too well. Thanks to a lot of imitators there has been a growing backlash against Harem cliches, particularly the Accidental Pervert and the Tsundere with a Hair-Trigger Temper, which has led to people 180ing on their opinions. Love Hina went from being a cutting edge Harem Anime to being the representative of everything wrong with harems.
  • Similar to the above, Infinite Stratos was the first significant Battle Harem light novel, and both mediums sold quite well during the first season of the anime. Thanks to the failure of the second season, especially in America, and the large number of works that copied its premise, it's become lost among the sea of its imitators. Today, you'll only hear it brought up to be blamed for the glut of low-quality Harem Series that followed it, or to make fun of its seemingly impossibly dense protagonist.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya has turned into this due to the massive failure of the anime's second season and its basic premise and tropes being copied to death. It's especially notable because of just how quickly this can happen. When the series premiered in 2006, it was a virtual juggernaut with legions of devoted fans. The lack of a second season quickly succeeding the first was met with constant anticipation and speculation with great demand for the anime to continue. Finally, the second season aired in 2009... but then the "Endless Eight" story arc happened, and in a matter of weeks the entire perception of the brand had been shattered. Fans were dismayed by what they felt was a poor handling of the arc, while more casual viewers who had enjoyed the first season quickly found themselves wanting to have nothing to do with it. Suddenly, criticisms started to extend from the mishandling of a specific arc adaptation to the series as a whole. Being a major fan of the series in some circles went from being completely normal to almost something of a badge of shame. While reaction cooled in the coming months and the animated adaptation redeemed itself in the eyes of fans with the release of Disappearance in 2010, the fervor for the series by and large disappeared, and not even the airing of The Vanishing of Nagato Yuki-chan in 2015 could bring back any of its initial popularity. The light novels have been on hiatus since 2011, and with current LN trends overwhelmingly favoring Harem Series, it's unclear if they will ever make a return.
  • Chobits is this especially. Once one of CLAMP's most popular works, it's now only brought up in discussions about its writing problems. There's a good chance people cosplaying its main character don't even know where she's from.
  • Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle is this as it started as a Gotta Catch Them All with the characters travelling around The Multiverse and meeting various versions of other CLAMP characters. Then, it went into a Darker and Edgier where the Dark and Troubled Past of the characters and revelation of certain characters which instigated the plot in the first place. However, this brought in the convoluted origins of Syaoran and by extension, Watanuki of Xxxholic and the last arc became much of a Mind Screw which readers tried to make some sense out of it. Several readers believed this is the start of CLAMP's decline which is followed by the No Ending of Xxxholic. Then on 2015, CLAMP continued the manga with Tsubasa World Chronicle which seemed to be an Author's Saving Throw but the first volume earned poor sales on the second week. These days, the series is generally only remembered as incomprehensible at best.
  • Bunny Drop was a very well-regarded manga with heaps of critical praise and a successful anime adaptation. Then came the ending and Rin and Daikichi got very squickily Strangled by the Red String for no reason other than apparent Author Appeal and the whole story was all about Wife Husbandry and nothing else. Cue nearly everyone dropping it like a hot potato and pretending that only the anime (which ignores the controversial time skip and glosses over the unsavory elements) exists. Even the American publisher seems to be treating it as an Old Shame.
  • While it still has a relatively small fanbase, Air has lost popularity, especially due to suffering from a combination of Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy, Angst Aversion and It Was His Sled. Those who would rather watch a fun action show will think twice before watching it. Nowadays, those who haven't seen the show have most likely had Misuzu's death spoiled for them, even on this very wiki.
  • Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch is pretty much this in the English-language magical girl fandom. A lot of this simply has to do with its target audience outgrowing it and it lacking anything to make it appealing to other demographics. It's now seen as Snark Bait and pretty much nothing else.
  • Oreimo is another example of how quickly this trope can happen. Once a very popular light novel/anime, it's now known for its terrible ending and for giving birth to the creepy "imouto" genre.
  • Shugo Chara! was once the Magical Girl anime in the late 2000s, was a borderline Cash Cow Franchise in Japan, and received lots of praise from both viewers and reviewers. Now it's pretty much obscure. A lot of it has to do with the manga's lackluster final chapters, and the third season bombing so badly it killed off most interest in the franchise. Also many fans were starting to get tired of and squicked out by its Love Triangle Romantic Plot Tumor. The franchise still has a few fans, but they see it as a Guilty Pleasure now and little more.
  • Vampire Knight was once one of the few shojo romance franchises to get mainstream popularity, and is often credited for helping get more people into manga. Now thanks to its Seasonal Rot and large amount of writing problems later on it's now almost completely forgotten. It also became a near-Creator Killer for its mangaka. As of 2015 there have been several attempts to get the franchise running again but none of them seem to be taking.
  • Hot Gimmick used to be one of Viz Media's most popular shoujo titles, and was even one of its first series to get a Viz-Big edition. Now thanks to severe backlash against Bastard Boyfriend manga the series is pretty much unknown, and saying you're a fan will get you very dirty looks in some circles.
  • Lucky Star has turned into this in the eyes of mainstream otaku in the West, due to most of the anime's references aging badly (almost half of its Shout Outs are to Haruhi Suzumiya, which, as detailed above, is also considered deader than disco by many at this point) and the backlash against moe shows in general. The manga went on hiatus for a while but it returned from its hiatus as well as getting cross-promoted with Kantai Collection.
  • Back around 2007 or so Katekyo Hitman Reborn! was huge, especially with the fujioshi crowd. Nowadays, it's barely remembered apart from the occasional nostalgic fan due to its anime painfully Padding out its adaptation of the the Future arc, and the manga failing to reach the potential the story could have had during its final Curse of the Rainbow arc. It doesn't help that only 16 volumes were ever released in English due to abysmal sales, and no company seems willing to license the anime.
  • Soul Eater is becoming this due to its underwhelming final manga chapters and the failure of its spin-off series Soul Eater NOT, the latter going hand-in-hand with the previously mentioned backlash against the moe genre. Many fans who disliked Soul Eater NOT dismissed it as a cash grab trying to use familiar branding, which may have damaged the image of the series for anime and manga fans who were already becoming increasing dismissive of it to begin with.
  • Eiken was a smash hit in the US when it came out (if only for how ridiculously over-the-top its Fanservice was). Now it's nigh universally despised punching bag and seen as everything wrong with ecchi harems. Most otaku refuse to even touch it after learning it has a little girl with Gag Boobs in it.
  • The Blood franchise is now becoming this. Back in 2000, Blood: The Last Vampire is considered something innovating as it was written by Mamoru Oshii which got the attention of Quentin Tarantino who was inspired by Saya's character in creating Gogo Yubari of Kill Bill along with Chiaki Kuriyama's character from Battle Royale movie. In 2005 came Blood+ which was well received and became a Cult Classic. There's also a live-action version of the original OVA which earned a modest box office but scathing reviews. Then in 2011 came Blood-C which is a collaboration with Clamp who are both in charge of the character design and story. The end result became a bloody mess with a Love It or Hate It reaction and low BD sales. They tried to repair the damage with the sequel, Blood-C: The Last Dark, which is received better with modest BD sales but a flop in the Japanese box office regardless that it's funded by the Japanese government. By 2015, there's a peak in the franchise again with a theater play of Blood-C which is an interquel. Though this is not enough to revive the interest of the franchise. Today, most people would rather prefer Blood+ as the best and refused to touch Blood-C because they find it too gory and too depressing and it's a frequent Snark Bait.
  • Nekojiru is a very obscure name in Japanese media, especially for Western audiences, and this trope is why. Created in The '90s by its namesake author, it rapidly grew in popularity to the point of spawning an animated short series and being considered for Tokyo Electric's promotional campaign. When Nekojiru committed suicide for unknown reasons,note , however, Tokyo Electric pulled back on its offer and the series was doomed to obscurity. Its OVA adaptation (unrelated to the aforementioned animated series) is a case of Adaptation Displacement.
  • Much like with the first anime adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist, the 1999 adaptation of Hunter × Hunter is becoming this. It was a relatively unknown but respected shonen series for years; however, that changed when the 2011 adaptation came out. The 2011 anime caused a Newbie Boom within the fandom and the series as a whole suddenly became more mainstream. Most fans skip straight to the 2011 adaptation due to the more modern art style, the fact it is Truer to the Text than the original, the notion that it has more Ho Yay, and because of the fact that it covers more of the manga. The 1999 adaptation in turn gets criticism due to its moodier tone, characterization changes, its excessive use of Filler (caused by starting only a year after the manga began serialization), and voice acting quality, not helped by the fact that it was dubbed by a budget studio. Though there is still a steady fanbase for the original, it's mostly only brought up in comparison to the 2011 incarnation or for rather aggressive debates on which adaptation is "best".
  • Sailor Moon is the iconic Magical Girl, and is to this day, homaged and parodied, so it is not this. What is this, however is the dub produced by DiC. It was only mildly successful when first released, but then it aired on Toonami putting the show into American consciousness. It helped put its entire medium into the mainstream, and when a medium was considered by most outside its fanbase to be nothing but gore and porn, that's impressive. It even had more episodes produced by Cloverway when DiC ran out of money. It eventually lead to people rediscovering the original... at which point it was made clear that their version was radically different. It was criticized for half-baked Cultural Translation, removing homosexual content, and obvious censorship. It was virtually abandoned overnight, and is now considered a total Macekre. It got to the point that when Viz Media announced a new dub, they spent a lot of time talking about this being uncut and comprehensive, and almost no time talking about why they couldn't use the old dub, and, although the 2013 dub ended up garnering the opposite reaction, the majority opinion is that it is by far the superior version (in Creator/DIC's defense, the episodes produced by them are usually consider better than the ones by Cloverway).
  • For the first years of publication, Bleach was a very popular Shōnen supernatural action manga series with strong volume sales, a successful anime adaptation, a large amount of presence in the anime and manga fandom, and was one of Shonen Jump's "Big 3" by the English-speaking fandom, along with Naruto and One Piece. However, the series eventually had a sharp decline in popularity and general opinions of it soured considerably. The anime version was cancelled in 2012, being replaced by the comedic Naruto spinoff, Rock Lee's Springtime of Youth.

    This is typically attributed to the glacial pacing of the story past a certain point, a bad conclusion to a plotline that had been going on for years, and poor use of an overly large cast. The series eventually got axed abruptly, leading to what many consider an unsatisfying and rushed finale with many hanging plot threads, which has only soured opinions on the series further. This video titled The Fall of BLEACH: How it Happened has more details.