Deader Than Disco: Anime and Manga

  • 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. Nowadays, the show's largely considered a joke that most newcomers would never dare to touch. This is likely because of the frustration amongst fans of the anime watching it for years only to see it end without any conclusion to any of the plot. By the time a conclusion was reached with The Final Act, the damage had been done, causing lots of fans to simply tell newcomers "not to bother with it" or "read the manga instead". The fact that it became infamous for its atrocious 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) probably helped it reach this status as well, as more and more people were turned off of it because of the rabid squealing fan-girls and boys.
  • The original Fullmetal Alchemist anime was once hailed as an absolute masterpiece the likes of which the west had never seen (even gaining a lot of mainstream popularity with those who otherwise weren't anime fans). However, the anime going its own route created a rift between the manga and anime fans: the manga fans who found the anime lacking, and the anime fans, many of whom were introduced to anime by this adaptation. Its initial popularity was also helped by the fact that it came out at the time of the anime craze in the early 2000s, but for those who were anime fans before that time, many felt as though the anime was being shoved down their throats. If Inuyasha was the Naruto of the time period then the first FMA anime adaptation was the Bleach. And for new anime fans who came after the early 2000 anime craze didn't have any attachment to the 2003 anime, and so would watch both anime side by side and found the 2003 adaptation lacking. Critics were split and it's fairly easy to tell whether the reviews were positive or negative based on whether or not the critic in question was a fan of the 2003 adaptation or not. If the reviewer is a fan of the 2003 adaptation then they will most likely give a negative review (often through Jade-Colored Glasses), however if they aren't then the review will be positive. Nowadays, you're just unlikely to find them among the FMA fandom unless you really dig, and even in the general anime communities they're very quiet.
    • Part of the reason for the heavy backlash the 2003 anime suffered was its sequel movie The Conqueror of Shamballa which was rather poorly received as it more or less turned the whole show into a Shaggy Dog Story. It was around this time that people who wanted more FMA gravitated toward the manga and subsequently latched on to the Brotherhood version when it debuted in 2009.
    • There is also the fact that at the time the 2009 adaptation was announced there was a massive Hype Backlash by the 2003 anime fans, who saw no reason for Brotherhood to exist. However, by the time Brotherhood neared its halfway mark they reversed places with fans actually liking Brotherhood, while the 2003 adaption received Hype Backlash which resulted in it becoming Deader Than Disco.
  • Gonzo's original Hellsing adaptation underwent something similar against the later Hellsing Ultimate. The original was an underground phenomenon in America, praised for its excellent dub, interesting take on vampires, and badass fight scenes. Then Ultimate came along, got the dub voice cast back, explored the mythology, and took the fight scenes Up to Eleven. It also increased interest in the original manga... and then people realized just how much the Gonzo series had overtaken it. Cue people picking it apart for the usual Gonzo sins, including cheap animation and an abrupt Gecko Ending. Today, the Gonzo adaptation is mostly remembered for its soundtrack (and to some its Alternate Character Interpretation of Seras), while Ultimate has achieved an iconic status.
  • Bleach started off as an overnight sensation, gaining rapid popularity in Japan (and in the anime fandom in the West) to the point of being considered one of the "Big 3" of Japan along with One Piece and Naruto. Around the time of the Arrancar arc however, Bleach suffered massive Hype Backlash due in part to its rather infamous reputation for Arc Fatigue, along with many controversial plot twists. Said Arc Fatigue also negatively impacted the anime, as well causing (multiple) lengthy filler arcs. To add insult to injury, declining ratings would lead the anime to be unceremoniously cancelled and replaced by a Naruto spinoff. These days, it's still fairly popular in English-speaking areas, but the fanbase is nowhere near as big as it used to be.
  • 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 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 the head writer was fighting cancer (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 were criticism laid at the controversial epilogue. Now however, through it has a fair share of fans, it has become one of the most controversial and polarizing seasons of Digimon 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, but also due to a large number of plotholes along with a large number of plotlines 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 preceived "excess" of filler episodes making up the series, the rumor that the show ruined the Adventure universe in Japan and is the reason why every Digimon series 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 dosen't help that the series after that, through being somewhat divisive in the start, is now considered one of the best Digimon series in the franchise. Nowadays, talking about 02 would draw a lot of divisive Love It or Hate It responses, with the best season either considered Seasons 1 or 3 , through you certainly won't find many fans of Season 7.
    • This trope was referenced once in-universe in the English dub of Digimon Adventure:
    Demidevimon: Aw, come on! Everyone makes mistakes, remember disco?
  • The Cut-and-Paste Translation as a dubbing practice. The method of altering the scripts of the episode began in The Eighties 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 Go Lion 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 dub their films for foreign markets, proved that anime doesn'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. As for 4Kids, the license to Pokémon was moved in-house to The Pokémon Company International, and they continued to dub anime in this manner amidst years of losing money and being the subject of mockery from personalities such as LittleKuriboh and MarzGurl until the company was absorbed into Saban Brands in 2012, with the Yu-Gi-Oh! license being given to Konami.
  • 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 Hair-Trigger Temper Tsundere, 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.
  • 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 male otaku-oriented, 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.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya is now pretty much this due to the massive failure of The Melancholy...'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. As far as the Western fandom was concerned, the show debuted in 2006 to raving reviews and acceptance. The lack of a second season quickly succeeding the first turned the show into something like the Half-Life of the fandom, with constant anticipation and speculation with great demand for the series. The airing of the first episode in 2009 was met with exuberance. Finally, the rest of the novels would be animated! This great series will go on! 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 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 mishap or an 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. From top of the world to bottom of the barrel in the span of three years.
  • CLAMP seems to be becoming this due to the lukewarm to almost negative reception of their more recent works and people becoming more aware and critical of flaws even in their older ones (such as overuse of Author Appeal, pretentiousness, and lackluster endings). Nowadays, they are simply remembered for their brilliant shojo stories that were created decades ago, not the obscure series they are currently making now.
    • Chobits is this especially. Once one of their 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 awful, 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.
  • 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.
  • Ore Imo 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.
  • Sites like Crunchyroll seem to have fansubs heading this way, as they can offer subbed versions of shows on the other side of the Pacific as soon as they hit the airwaves in Japan. On the other hand, some fansubbers feel they do a better job than the "official" subbers.
    • They are also still popular with the BitTorrent crowd due to their accessibility.
  • Shugo Chara! was once the Magical Girl anime about 5 years ago, 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 fist 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.
  • Non-ironic Magical Girl shows aimed at young girls. The only examples still running and successful are shows in the Pretty Cure franchise, and even those have some parody/post modernist elements to them. The genre's increasing association with Darker and Edgier deconstructions like Puella Magi Madoka Magica also adds to its status as this.
  • The Slayers anime is now pretty much forgotten due to suffering from Seinfeld Is Unfunny and the revival seasons bombing. It used to be huge in the mid-to-late 90's, but now good luck finding anyone who still remembers and actively watches it.
  • Lucky Star is pretty much 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 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 awhile but it returned from its hiatus as well as getting cross-promoted with Kantai Collection.
  • Media Blasters. During the anime boom they were a very popular company, and their Invader Zim DVD releases even got them fans outside of the otaku community. Now thanks to their increasingly cheap production values, the failure of their manga division, and numerous delays (to the point that many series never actually get released) they're almost universally disliked. Many anime fans are surprised to hear they're still in business, to the point of it being a Running Gag.
  • While it still has a tiny fandom, K-On! is nowhere near the phenomenon it used to be, mostly due to backlash against moe shows (many of which tried to Follow the Leader with poor results). The author tried writing spinoffs to keep the popularity going, but none of them lasted beyond a single volume.
  • Long Runners have become this. In the aughts, most anime ran for several seasons, with it being uncommon for one to make it less than fifty episodes. There were Short Runners, but they generally vanished from the public eye quickly, with the occasional cult following. Shows like Inuyasha above had an end date best described as "has the budget run out yet? If not, keep going." Being similar to American episodic cartoons in format, many of these shows also made it to American broadcast, increasing their popularity further - most of Toonami's biggest shows were among these. But as time went by, a number of factors made this method impractical. The anime boom drew to a close, and casual fans looking for a weekly fix dried up. This caused a decrease in most show's budgets, making it more practical to go for a shorter run. Furthermore, this heralded the rebirth of short-run prestige shows, with a defined end point that rarely went over twelve to twenty-four episodes. These shows came on the heels of a backlash against this technique, claiming it led to Padding, Filler, and crappy animation, as well as a backlash against shounen series (many of which were Long Runners). It's very rare today to see a new series aim for more than thirty episodes, and plenty of Long Runners have since been cancelled, with only a few like Pokémon sticking around thanks to merchandising and the Grandfather Clause.
  • As The New Tens move on, it is becoming increasingly apparent that Shōnen (Demographic) anime and manga are distinctly waning in popularity in the West. Beginning in the early noughties, there was a massive boom in the popularity of shonen manga outside Japan, with numerous series all being released in the US and many other countries all at around the same time. These included the juggernauts referred to as "The Big Three" or "The Holy Trinity", namely One Piece, Naruto and the previously-mentioned Bleach, all three of which practically printed money at their peaks. Of the three, however, Bleach was the first to begin to show cracks, getting its anime canceled following the poor reception of the Arrancar Saga (the post-cancellation Thousand Year Blood War Saga in the manga has been better received, but its fanbase is a niche one compared to that which came before). Naruto remained popular from beginning to end in Japan, even getting a Spin-Off series announced, but in the West a number of controversial plot twists toward the end of the series took a large chunk out of its fandom, and, like Inuyasha before it, it became more famous for its gargantuan Fan Dumb than its increasingly insane plot (to the point that /a/ actually banned discussion of it). In the meantime, many of the series that premiered in the same "boom" as the Big Three (Shaman King, Zatch Bell!, and both versions of Fullmetal Alchemist to name a few) had long since ended, Western and Japanese interests had become increasingly divergent (something that has affected Japanese video game sales as well), fans who were teenagers during the boom have aged into their twenties and moved on, and the aforementioned backlash against Long Runners took place. One Piece is still a consistent critical and commercial success, but even so you'll find many more people willing to criticize it, especially its pacing, than you used to. The lone exception to this rule seems to be Dragon Ball, which, thanks to a number of factors, seems to be undergoing Popularity Polynomial.
    • Nowhere better can the death of the shounen boom be seen than in Toriko. After being hyped to hell and back and scoring crossovers with One Piece and Dragon Ball, it made almost no headway in the West, regularly being outsold by Bleach. Ironic as in Japan, it usurped Bleach's position as a part of the big three, but only for a while.
    • Naruto still usually holds the top spot in Crunchyroll's ranking, with One Piece and Fairy Tail hovering nearby. But all of these, especially Naruto, are extremely common choices for "popular anime that you don't enjoy," so there seems to be a Broken Base. Meanwhile, Darker and Edgier shonen like Akame Ga Kill and Hunter × Hunter are becoming more popular. There may just be less interest in more whimsical stories these days.
  • While Detective Conan is still fairly popular in its native Japan (and has small followings in some other countries), its American fanbase has all but given up on it due to increasing suspicions its Myth Arc will never truly be resolved. The fact that all legal dvds of it there are out of print does not help. The manga is still being released on an uneven schedule, though.
  • Back around 2007 or so Katekyo Hitman Reborn! was huge, especially with the fujioshi crowd. Now it's barely remmebered, mostly only with nostalgic fans. It doesn't help that only 16 volumes were ever released in English due to abysmal sales.
  • Anime in the U.S. High speed Internet connections and the decline of video/music stores wiped out much of the market for first run VHS/DVD anime (the industry's main moneymaker at the time), driving several major players out of business. TV slots have dried up as well, as original programming can pull the same ratings and merch sales without having to pay huge money for the rights and localization, and digital distribution really hasn't proven itself to be capable of picking up the slack. Similarly, the manga market in the US has been hit hard by the decline of bookstores, with market leader Tokyopop now out of business. It got so bad that Funimation is even pulling back on distributing Dragon Ball Z Blu-rays.
    • Though this can also be attributed to torrenting/piracy. Thanks to high speed internet connections, viewers were able to download episodes being fansubbed right after they appeared in Japan, and many shows and movies can be downloaded through torrents very quickly. Because viewers have already seen these properties, and may even still have them saved, there is no incentive to buy the DVD/Blu-Ray unless they have exceptional special features. With the dub versus sub debate still ongoing, some justify their position by not supporting dubs for having "bad" voice acting and ruining the original integrity of the anime.
  • Soul Eater is becoming this due to the failure of its spin-off series Soul Eater NOT.