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.


  • 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 2003 adaptation to the manga Fullmetal Alchemist was easily one of the most acclaimed anime of the turn of the millennium, dominating Adult Swim's action line-up for years and acting as a Gateway Series for many viewers. Since then, its influence in anime circles has waned significantly, primarily due to the release of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood - a faithful adaptation of the manga's story, which the original anime abandoned halfway through its run. Brotherhood replaced the original anime on Adult Swim after the dub was released, becoming the first step into the franchise for newcomers, as well as adding tons of fuel to the fandom's Broken Base. Fullmetal Alchemist has become something of a Cult Classic as a result, though its base is just as dedicated as its manga counterpart's.
  • 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 as the viewpoint character), 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 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.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing has faded from the memories of many Western anime fans despite its initial popularity. When it first aired in 2000, it proved to be more popular among the American audiences than in its native Japan. At the height of the series' popularity on Cartoon Network, the movie Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz scored the highest ratings on the channel at the time (surpassed only by the premiere of Funimation's in-house dub of Dragon Ball Z). While the series introduced many new fans to the franchise, many fans nowadays will either find it overrated or not that great largely due to comparisons with other series. Many long-time fans felts that the series wasn't as edgy as depicted since it was relatively light compared to more darker entries in the franchise. Furthermore, the series hasn't aged as well with fans complaining how the animation and voice-acting seem rather dated. While other anime series like Dragon Ball Z were redubbed and remastered for modern audiences, the collapse of Bandai Entertainment meant that such a treatment wouldn't be possible for Wing in the west. While still respected for popularizing the Gundam franchise outside of Japan, it has been overshadowed by darker entries like Wing's Spiritual Successor Mobile Suit Gundam 00 and the OVA series set in the UC timeline.
  • 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 you certainly won't find many fans of Digimon Xros Wars: The Young Hunters Leaping Through Time anytime soon.
    • 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 '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 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.
  • 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, So Okay, It's Average is the best you'll hear someone describe it as.
  • 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 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. As far as the Western fandom was concerned, the show debuted in 2006 to rave reviews and acceptance. 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 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, 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.
  • 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.
    • 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, everybody remembers the manga as the Mind Screw with too many crossovers that rival The DCU.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Sites like Crunchyroll and Funimation 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 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 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.
  • 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.
    • Another problem with Long Runners is that they are more prone to Continuity Lockout. In both Japan and the West, fewer people have as much time for anime viewing may it be for job commitment or competition from other media like Video Games and Live-Action TV. Subsequently, anyone who spends less time on a Long Runner series would run the risk of becoming lost and confused with ongoing plots and story arcs. However, some long-lasting franchises, like Pretty Cure and Gundam worked around this problem by offering Alternate Continuity series that wouldn't need years of backstory for newcomers.
  • As The New Tens move on, it is becoming increasingly apparent that Shonen 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 fare much better than Bleach, having remained popular from beginning to end in Japan even getting a Spin-Off series announced. In the West though, several 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 (to the point that /a/ actually banned discussion of it). In the meantime, many 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 thirties and moved on, while the aforementioned backlash against Long Runners took place. One Piece is still a consistent critical and commercial success, but more people are willing to criticize it, especially its pacing, than before. The lone exception to this rule seems to be Dragon Ball, which seems to be undergoing Popularity Polynomial.
  • 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. 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 reviled 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, 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  Tokyo Electric pulled back on its offer and the series was doomed to obscurity. It's OVA adaptation (unrelated to the aforementioned animated series) is a case of Adaptation Displacement.