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Audience Alienating Premise / Anime & Manga

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Some anime and manga series are able to appeal to multiple demographics. These series, however, appeal to very small and obscure groups.

Compare Audience-Alienating Premise in other media.


  • Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan. Bear with us here: an angel comes back in time to repeatedly and brutally murder (and promptly reanimate) a junior high student, in order to stop him from creating a "pedophile's world" where all females are immortal and don't age past 12. And it's a COMEDY!
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  • This is likely why it took nine years to find a company willing to license Dennou Coil for a North American release. It's a thought-provoking, intelligent examination of a society that's just beginning to go Cyberpunk, with virtual reality glasses that was eerily prescient of apps like Pokémon GO, and contains moments of horror and philosophy about social interaction. It also has a cast mainly consisting of children who get up to many misadventures with lighthearted comedy and Slice of Life antics. The series takes its time to thoroughly explore its setting. Its characters look quite cutesy, but the backgrounds are dim and washed out, leaving fans of Moe possibly turned off from the moments of Nightmare Fuel and occasionally complicated Techno Babble. If Science Fiction fans can look past the child characters, the series does start touching on the sort of transhumanist, internet-related philosophical questions that would be right at home in series like Ghost in the Shell, but the character-focused writing makes it impossible to simply skip to the major themes. Now, you could maybe tap into a certain market of childhood nostalgia clashing with such difficult topics, but you'd need an audience who doesn't mind childish comedy, the kids' various friendships and rivalries that are given a fair share of importance, and serious social commentary that's seamlessly woven together.
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  • Keijo!!!!!!!! suffered this, particularly in the west. It revolves around a Fictional Sport where girls in a pool fight to stay on floating platforms called "lands" while pushing those of the opposing team, but they can't use their arms or legs to push them away, so they must use their boobs and asses. Yes, the sport is entirely based around girls smashing their boobs and asses against each other while wearing bathing suits. The sheer idea of such a Fanservice driven plot and the ridiculousness of the premise of the sport put off possible readers. When the anime adaptation premiered however, the audacity of the premise and the surprisingly glowing reviews from critics made it just odd enough to try. This produced a Come for the X, Stay for the Y effect as viewers tuned in for the fanservice only to find themselves legitimately enjoying the solid Character Development, positive message of female empowerment, and Hot-Blooded Shōnen action.
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  • Koi Kaze is an angsty romance about a 27-year-old man who, while on the rebound from breaking up with his girlfriend, finds himself attracted to a 15-year-old girl he met on the subway. Then, at the end of the first episode, when he and she are about to bid each other farewell and go their separate ways, they suddenly discover that she's that long-forgotten sister of his who's coming to live with him in order to cut down on the commute time to her new high school. The next twelve episodes concern how they deal with the growing temptations of a mutual attraction between them. While it's since been considered an excellent examination of how this sort of situation might play out realistically, people who might otherwise appreciate a story about a forbidden romance generally aren't too fond of Brother–Sister Incest, considering that it's forbidden for some awfully good reasons. Meanwhile, the kind of readers who think of incest as kink mostly can't appreciate Koi Kaze either, since it really is a romance and not a Hentai; there's not even any real Fanservice, and what little sex there is all takes place off screen.
  • Kore wa Koi no Hanashi has its love story revolve around an author and a schoolgirl... with a 21 year age difference between the two. Even with the pace of their potential relationship being very, very slow and nothing heading into a raunchy area, the idea alone can make people avoid reading it, in fear of being labeled a pedophile since it begins with the girl being only 10 years old.
  • Lyrical Nanoha.
  • Maria†Holic is about a sadistic double-faced crossdresser who torments and abuses a perverted lesbian teenager at an all-girls school, and it's never really clear which one of the two the audience is supposed to side with. It hasn't fared well with many people, especially in the U.S. and other countries. It's been praised for some of its comedy writing, but pretty much nothing else, and the English translation of the manga flopped and was discontinued after a few volumes. Even with the revival of the English edition of the manga (and even the anime being re-released with a dub and receiving omnibus editions), it's fair to say that it's still not nearly as popular in the West due to its premise alone.
  • High School Star MusicalCast Full of Pretty Boys shows are nowhere near as popular outside of Japan as in, and musicals have a bad reputation in general. So, a musical Cast Full of Pretty Boys anime? Toss it in the trash pile with the other boy band shows (nevermind that some of those are quite good as well).
  • The Negima! franchise gives us Negiho: Mahora Little Girls, in which Negi is a young man and the girls are five years old. Although the Fanservice (or maybe Fan Disservice in this case) was definitely toned down, according to The Other Wiki, reviewers still considered the series to be creepy and questioned whether a preschool comedy adventure could appeal to fans of the original series. This manga was cancelled after one volume.
  • Spice and Wolf. It's about late medieval/renaissance commerce (with grounding in economics). You try getting people to watch it. The producers attempted to sell it by emphasizing the initial nakedness of the female lead. This backfired spectacularly by creating the perception that the show is an ecchi Magical Girlfriend series intended for, in the words of an Amazon editorial, "adolescent furries."
  • Takako Shimura has a history of this:
    • A lot of Girls' Love fans will complain that Sweet Blue Flowers is "too boring". It's more of a realistic Slice of Life manga about a lesbian than an idealized lesbian romance series.
    • Wandering Son portrays puberty and LGBT issues (especially transgender ones) quite seriously. This puts off many people since it's either outside of their comfort zone or they're so used to comedies about the subject. And people who want to read a transgender story might be turned off by the fact that one of the kids is revealed to not be trans near the end.
  • Princess Tutu is about a duck who turns into a girl who turns into a Magical Girl Ballerina Princess. At least it managed a strong female fanbase early, but the title alone gave it trouble establishing a Periphery Demographic. The reaction to the premise and title gave rise to a common saying in anime fandoms: "You have to use physical force to make your friends watch Princess Tutu, but once they watch it, they love it." The series has since gained a ton of praise by critics once they experience it, but its still a hard sell to get people to watch it at all at first.
  • Sankarea is about a boy with an unhealthy zombie fixation, and a suicidal girl who tests his experimental reanimation serum, dies, comes back as a zombie, and becomes his girlfriend. Yep.
  • Mysterious Girlfriend X is the story of a high school boy who becomes addicted to the new transfer student's saliva. As in, he licks it off her desk in the first episode. Interested yet?
  • Sometimes is the case in attempting to localize works from Japan to America, where cuteness and sexualization are aligned much more in the former than in the latter. For example, Bottle Fairy, which is aggressively cute, but also panders to the Moe crowd in such a way that makes western viewers uncomfortable. In fact, the sudden moe boom in the later 2000's and The New '10s are frequently cited as the cause for anime falling out of public interest and entering what many consider to be a Dork Age for nearly a decade.
  • Houou Gakuen Misoragumi: A girl is sent to an all-boy school by her mother in an attempt to prevent her from becoming a lesbian and not giving her any grandkids. The story is on the mother's side. And did we mention that nearly everyone in the school abuses her and treats her like shit? Cure Your Gays (but just lesbians, Ho Yay is portrayed in-story as perfectly fine and even hot) played totally straight… written by a woman. The American publisher put one volume out before pulling it in the face of massive protests.
  • Kotoura-san: It's an adaptation of a yonkoma Romantic Comedy where the guy is a pervert and the girl is a Broken Bird telepath with Abusive Parents. This put people off to begin with. Strangely inverted when the series actually aired, though; the opening of the first episode, with a backstory montage of how the female lead lost her hope halting and crashing headlong into funny antics courtesy of the male lead, actually drew a lot of people to watch. And then most of them dropped it when they realized the rest of the show wasn't a continuous Trauma Conga Line.
  • The Pet Girl of Sakurasou: A boy meets genius girl with an Ambiguous Disorder and No Social Skills. Despite getting surprisingly positive reviews, many refuse to watch it due to how incredibly misogynistic (and to some, ableist) the premise sounds at first glance, especially since some summaries describe her relationship as being his "pet". In reality, he and a few of the other characters are essentially her caretakers.
  • Haou Airen is a bloody, graphic series about a girl kidnapped by a Hong Kong gang leader to be his Sex Slave and who becomes horribly broken. It's also a smutty shoujo romance. Viz Media reportedly dropped its license of it for this very reason. Most of Mayu Shinjo's works are this. It's the main reason only a small chunk of her works have ever been translated and/or licensed.
  • Transformers Kiss Players: On the surface, it appears to be a Transformers series where the Transformers are powered by kisses of little girls, but further inspection reveals imagery that borders on Hentai and teenage girls that look a fraction of their age. While this is not the first time many Western fans have been confused by the fiction the Japanese side produces, this is the first time where they have been so disgusted by them that they outright refused to take a look. Japanese fans, meanwhile, were deeply embarrassed by it and feared it would irreversibly color Western perceptions of Japanese Transformers media. Even the entry on TFWiki.net seems disgusted by the premise.
  • This is probably why Mitsudomoe flopped so miserably, at least in Japan (in the US it's a borderline Cult Classic). The crude, childish nature of the show put off otaku, while the otaku-targeted advertising and merchandise scared off most other potential audiences (and made some believe it was a lolicon show).
  • Hanamaru Kindergarten. The toddler-aged main characters turned off adult viewers, while the use of mature humor and themes made it unsuitable for kids. The target audience seems to be "otaku who want to experience early childhood nostalgia" which isn't a big demographic at all.
  • This happens to Samurai Flamenco where a lot of viewers thought the show is like Kick-Ass meets Kamen Rider due to the first six episodes of a vigilante trying to be a hero and beating up thugs. Then, episode 7 onwards came with the introduction of villains and monsters straight out from the Tokusatsu and Super Sentai shows. Viewers who are unfamiliar with these genres started to drop the show and those who are still watching it are Tokusatsu fans and those who want to watch it just for fun.
  • Rika is a manga about a middle school boy, Kazuya, who shares a bedroom in his family's small Tokyo apartment, with his younger sister, the titular Rika. Normal so far. Then we find out that Kazuya masturbates while his sister is changing, without her knowledge. Then we learn that Rika has romantic feelings for her brother, which they eventually confess to one another. It makes the Kissing Cousins plot that comes up later seem tame by comparison. Unsurprisingly, it's been on hiatus for years.
  • Kodomo no Kodomo is an obscure manga about a young girl who loses her virginity and gets pregnant… while she's still in elementary school. That alone should tell you why it's obscure. (The father happens to be another elementary schooler, but that does virtually nothing to lessen the squick.) It's been criticized by those who actually have read it for portraying a disturbing and horrifying situation as something whimsical and innocent… and even if you could stomach that premise and try to read it, the eye-strainingly horrible art style would put you off anyway. It also somehow got adapted to film. Said film is also unsurprisingly obscure.
  • Most of Kazuo Koike's works are this:
  • Upotte!! is a Slice of Life manga/show about an academy anthropomorphized guns. Anime viewers who like moe will be put off by the guns, and gun fans will most likely be put off by the moe. The Fanservice and sexualization of the female cast doesn't help matters, either. Only those who can appreciate — or tolerate — all three elements will be able to watch/read this show/manga.
  • The manga Saikin Imouto no Yousu ga Chotto Okashiinda ga is about a girl who gets forced by a bisexual Cute Ghost Girl to wear a chastity belt and fill a "Feeling Gauge" attached to it regularly, mainly by doing things that are embarrassing and involve her stepbrother, so a staircase in heaven can appear and allow the ghost girl to finally move on. Oh, should she refuse, she dies. And it's all played for pure Fanservice. And when it aired it was blasted for the sheer amount of Dude, Not Funny!.
  • This may have been part of the reason why Heat Guy J never achieved much widespread popularity. It looks like a straightforward sci-fi buddy cop-style action series, as opposed to the serious drama it actually is. As a result, many people wrote it off as just another buddy-cop action show, and those who watched it because they liked straightforward action shows came away underwhelmed.
  • The manga Lotte no Omocha is a story about a strapping young man who is tricked by elves into moving to another world, specifically so a 10-year-old succubus can have sex with him for the rest of his life. Trying to talk about it generally goes like this: "It's a story about a man becoming a surrogate father—" "Wait. Isn't that the one with the ten-year-old succubus?" "Yeah, but—" "Ten-year-old. Succubus."
  • Kodomo no Jikan is about a pre-pubescent girl who falls in love with her teacher, and acts overtly sexual to get his attention, which you wouldn't expect to do well in the US. It didn't get a chance to — it was canceled when the licensing company learned how bookstores and distributors would react: by canceling orders. In much of the Western world, owning something like this could theoretically get you thrown in jail. The US release was also slated to have the audience-alienating title of "Nymphet", which was requested by the author since Seven Seas Entertainment couldn't use the original [translated] title of "A Child's Time". The series also deals very bluntly with touchy subjects such as incest/Wife Husbandry, sexual development in children, and hitting puberty abnormally early, which probably alienated readers even further. A Kickstarter was later founded and completed to bring the whole series to America regardless of what happened the last time. The result of the Kickstarter, you ask? The most successful graphic novel Kickstarter of all time! Yep, you read that right.
  • kiss×sis is an over-the-top harem comedy that goes as far as it can possibly go without actually being considered porn. The premise — boy's twin stepsisters have obsessive crushes on him — alienates a lot of people, but that's the least offensive by a fair margin. Blatant fanservice, shameless playing to the fetishes, Toilet Humour presented as hot... going into too much detail would be a bad idea, so we'll just leave it at that.
  • Sugar Sugar Rune is a little girls Magical Girl show that also has a surprisingly dark plot and tries to raise questions about semi-serious topics such as love and femininity (with mixed results). It also suffers badly from Most Writers Are Adults, which can be off-putting for a lot of people. Possibly because of this it never really became popular outside Japan and faded into obscurity there after it ended.
  • No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular! is a Mood Whiplash-filled comedy about a severely anti-social and messed-up girl who tries to become popular but usually fails horribly at everything she does. While slightly more popular in the US, the anime flopped in Japan.
  • Haiyore! Nyarko-san, which has the delightfully insane premise of Cthulhu Mythos meets Unwanted Harem. Viewers who aren't Lovecraft fans won't get all the references worked into the story, while viewers who are may be put off by the fact that those references are really the only connection to Lovecraft's work — or worse, as some fans have been outright offended by the show's Lighter and Softer and claim it makes Lovecraft spin in his grave.
  • Ro-Kyu-Bu! is a basketball series with well-written friendship drama but also with Moe designs taken Up to Eleven and lots of cosplay fanservice and lolicon subtext. Fans of either probably wouldn't care much for the respective other. The second season takes it a step up in that the female lead who is in sixth grade has feelings for the male lead who is in his first year of high school and from what is depicted it is not the kind of innocent crush one would expect either.
  • Soul Eater Not!: Fans of the original Soul Eater disliked the Genre Shift to a school-centered, moe-focused Slice of Life, while fans of that genre probably will be turned off by the connection to a shonen supernatural-action-comedy series.
  • Teacher's Pet is an obscure manga about a teacher who gets horrifically sexually abused by one of her students. And it's a smutty josei. Sound fun?
  • The reason Assassination Classroom took so long to receive an official English localization was because the localizers assumed that it was not going to fly high in America and other countries with histories of student rampage (like the Columbine massacre) — even if it is a lighthearted comedy about a space alien — because the plot does revolve around training a classroom to kill their teacher with guns and grenades. Once it did get released, however, this trope was happily averted, and the series has been a fixture on the New York Times manga bestseller list ever since.
  • The manga Shiritsu Hakanai Gakuen, note  is about an unremarkable Elaborate University High and its students daily life. The Dancing Bear of the series is that at the start, panties are outlawed by the newly-elected Cloudcuckoolander Student Council President.
  • Manga and magazines adhering to the Otokonoko Genre generally have short runs because of this trope: a Wholesome Crossdresser or two is always a main character and the stories are filled with cutesy Homoerotic Subtext yet are aimed at a straight male audience. It rarely works out. On the other hand, people that like Boys' Love are often turned off by the fact the stories are often fanservice filled comedies with little substance, or the fact the protagonists are "too feminine", to the point that the stories usually regard them as female. Not to mention how many of them involve underage characters (even for anime standards) that go into straight up shotacon turns many people off especially in Western countries where such sexual content is frowned upon.
  • Many viewers who watched the first episode of Black Bullet got turned off with Enju (a 10 year old girl) hitting on Rentaro (a 16-year-old teenage boy) with the notion of a grimdark Lolicon action series. Of course there's more to it than that, but that is one hell of a barrier.
  • This is the most likely reason why One Piece has such difficulty reaching western audiences. Western shonen anime fans tend towards anime because it's not like western media. One Piece, however, looks substantially more western and makes liberal use of Tex Avery-style Cartoon Physics, especially in its over-the-top promotional artwork. Because One Piece looks so much like western animation, this turns a lot of western shonen anime fans off of the series before even trying it. And that's not even mentioning the number of episodes. The concept of One Piece also isn't typically Japanese — pirates. Many fans of shonen anime read and watch manga and anime because they like Japanese cultural concepts like ninjas or samurais.
    • The other majorly cited reason why One Piece had issues reaching western audiences is because of its first attempt doing so, the infamous 4Kids Entertainment dub. One Piece, despite having a seemingly childish premise, still has some very adult-oriented aspects (at least to the west; Japan doesn't put as much stock into child censorship, making this a case of Values Dissonance). 4Kids got rights to One Piece as part of a deal to get Ojamajo Doremi and Ultimate Muscle, and were horrified at what they had acquired and the fact that they were contractually obligated to dub it and broadcast it. End result: the dub was Bowdlerised so badly that it quickly lost any steam it had in the West and turned off any potential fans for several years. Only now, almost a decade afterwards with 4Kids long dead and Funimation in possession of distribution rights, is the damage being reversed.
    • It should be noted though that some Seinen anime series like Cowboy Bebop and The Big O are very popular in the West despite (or because of) having adult-orientated aspects and western animation styles. Had the One Piece been aired unbowdlerised and aimed at older audiences and fans of western animation, it might have been more successful. If anything, One Piece has been gaining more popularity in the west ever since it was released unedited by Funimation and aired on the revived late-night Toonami alongside the aforementioned Cowboy Bebop and The Big O.
  • Tsukasa Fushimi's work tends to fall into this:
    • Oreimo is basically known as the incest anime, even though a lot of it is more Incest Subtext then canonical. This premise has weirded out and turned off many. Especially after it turns out that the siblings really do go for each other in the ending. Sure, it's right there in the title, but still...
    • Eromanga Sensei takes the uncomfortableness of Oreimo and turns it Up to Eleven. The series is about a Light Novel Author who receives all his pictures from an anonymous partner known only as Eromanga-Sensei. In spite of the perverted drawings, they are always reliable. As it turns out, the one drawing all these perverted images is his twelve-year-old step-sister. While the Incest Subtext might be toned down due to the fact that they are not related by blood, the fact that the protagonist ends up attracting an entire Unwanted Harem of girls who are fourteen at the oldest is understandably offputting.
  • The Familiar of Zero is an unusual case in that it developed into this. The initial premise of the series — Ordinary High-School Student gets summoned to a magical world by an inept Cute Witch to be her familiar — is a little quirky, but hardly unsettling. However, as the series developed, it did so in directions that soured many of the initial fans and made an accurate summary of the premise far more distasteful. The Ordinary High-School Student is now a super-perverted Jerk Ass, the Cute Witch is a type-A Tsundere of almost psychotic proportions, and being a familiar entails strongly implied enchantments that compel the familiar to remain at his mistress' side and obey her no matter how badly she abuses him and which actively brainwash him into refusing to take chances to go back to his own world.
  • Lots of people only know Love Hina as "Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: the manga and anime". Keitaro gets horribly abused by every female he encounters, and every second scene ends with Keitaro getting hit by one of the girls, either unfairly or for no reason, sometimes forcing him into seeing flesh just so they can abuse him. And not only was the series polemic in its prime, but it aged even worse: since attitudes towards abuse have changed over the years, people today don't find a Non-Action Guy being brutally assaulted over and over as funny as the last generation.
  • Simoun. Try explaining to someone why they should watch a series set in a Constructed World where everyone is born female but magically chooses their permanent gender before adulthood if they aren't both a Speculative Fiction fan and a Yuri Fan. Then try getting them to continue watching after they realize that instead of lighthearted girl-girl fanservice, the series is a dramatic exploration of faith, religion, war trauma, growing up, and difficult life choices. Is it any wonder that this anime barely made it out of the country of origin?
  • Himegoto is a wacky ecchi comedy about a feminine boy... who is bullied, sexually harassed, and forced to crossdress by three assertive student council members. Now you know the first reason why the anime bombed (the second being the truly shoddy quality, making some people suspect it was actively sabotaged).
  • Grave of the Fireflies: Do you really want to watch children suffer unbearably from the horrors of World War II? When this movie first came out, it was put on a double bill with My Neighbor Totoro... because the distributor thought Totoro needed help attracting an audience. One can only wonder if anyone got fired for that one.
  • Midori no Makibao — an anime about horseracing, specifically a horse that resembles a hippo going into the world of horseracing to help his owners buy back his mother. It wouldn't be too bad if the anime wasn't being made for an audience of toddlers and it seems like every human being in the anime is designed to be as ugly (or Ugly Cute) as possible.
  • Kiss My Ass is about a high school boy who suffers from... hemorrhoids. While it is used for gags, the mangaka researched the subject and as a result, it found a Periphery Demographic with older people, many of whom also suffer from hemorrhoids.
  • Himegoto — Juukyuusai no Seifuku (unrelated to Himegoto above) is about a Tomboy college girl named Yuki who fantasizes about being dominated while wearing her old high school uniform, a classmate who is trying to cling to her youth by dressing in her own high school uniform and dating older men, another classmate who likes to cross-dress but is seeing multiple women, and a childhood friend that is suddenly becoming a lot more interested in Yuki. It sounds like smut. It's really about a group of young adults trying to work out a complicated part of their lives, as well as their relationships with one another.
  • While the premise for A Centaur's Life isn't at all alienating (a Slice of Life show where the entire world is made up of Cute Monster Girls and Boys), it instead suffers from an Audience-Alienating First Chapter, as it revolves around the titular teenage centaur's worries about whether or not her private parts look like a cow's udder after seeing one as a child. This results in her friends comparing vaginas. This probably should have been later in the manga if it has to be in it at all, because some people stop reading it because of it... a correction that is exactly what happens in the anime adaptation, as it does not get adapted until the fourth episode.
  • Hatsukoi Monster is about a relationship between a high school girl and an immature ten-year-old who looks like he's around seventeen. You can guess why so many people are turned off by the premise alone.
  • Mon Seul is a very obscure drama manga about a "mature" ten-year-old in a sexual relationship with one of her older brother's friends. Nearly every review this manga has questions why the hell anyone would want to write about something like this.
  • Digimon in America suffered not because of a bad premise per se, but because its premise was too similar to a certain other work that arrived first there. Potential audiences that did not realize Mons are part of genre and not something unique and invented by Pokémon assumed it was ripping Pokémon off. Another possible factor is that Digimon is darker and more mature in both story and mon design than Pokémon, alienating younger children that were attracted to the softer Pokémon.
  • History repeated itself with Yo-Kai Watch, at least in the West. While it didn't get this as bad as Digimon did, a lot of people were calling it "the next Pokémon" before it released. That's not the only reason, though; Yokai are a pretty Japanese concept, and not a lot of Westerners would "get it", so to speak, at first. Then, even if you know about yokai and are a Japanese cultural enthusiast — therefore looking forward to seeing something like this — they localize the show and games in many of the typical fashions (like Dub Name Change). It's still got a pretty good Western fanbase going for it, though it's admittedly nowhere near as big as in Japan. The anime not doing so well led to the English dub changing casts on season 3 to accommodate budget issues (though the games are keeping the original cast); and eventually to the show outright being pulled altogether in early 2019 in favor of Inazuma Eleven: Ares.
  • The first sentence for the Those Who Hunt Elves page says it all: "It's a show about three random people who strip elves naked. It's not a porno, honestly." Even sharing the rationale for why they are doing this still makes it sounds like an excuse plot for a hentai, which will turn away anyone who isn't looking for porn. Those who are seeking porn will be fairly disappointed with all the plot and general lack of sexiness.
  • A Bride's Story is a rather historically accurate 19th century Period Piece full of Scenery Porn. It's also about a woman being married to a twelve-year old boy. It isn't played for fanservice or laughs, and is instead a part of the Deliberate Values Dissonance (plus they have a mostly Courtly Love), but it unnerves some.
  • Wedding Peach is a Magical Girl Warrior series about girls with wedding motifs who fight demons with The Power of Love. The manga was written at a time when Japan was getting interested in Western-style weddings but the premise did not sit well with western audiences, primarily for the wedding motif and being seen as a Sailor Moon ripoff.
  • A cursory glance at Goodnight Punpun make it seem like a cute slice-of-life story about some cartoon bird doodle and a cute little girl. However it is actually an extremely dark Coming-of-Age Story and character drama, which isn’t afraid to show the characters’ depravity and pettiness. It’s won itself critical acclaim and a devoted following for those reasons, but even fans admit the story is so bleak that it can be hard to stomach for many people. An interview with Inio Asano, the author, stated that volume sales had a noticeable decline every time something really upsetting and dark happened.
  • Air: Do you really want to watch Misuzu die a slow, painful, and tragic death?
  • Cited as the reason Case Closed failed in North America, especially among mainstream audiences. Its premise about a teenager trapped in a little boy's body solving murder mysteries was considered too dark for children and too childish and ridiculous for older audiences. Made even worse by having hundreds of episodes.
  • The cliche-sounding "Freaky Friday" Flip premise of Kokoro Connect turned a lot of people off, especially if they read the official synopsis, which makes it sound like nothing but lewd situational comedy and toilet humor. But the body-swapping gimmick only lasts for 5 episodes, and things turn from silly to serious long before that.
  • Pokémon:
  • This is the reason why Pokémon RéBURST never really became the big hit that many were expecting. It's a Pokémon manga outright targeted towards the series' Periphery Demographic of older audiences that's rife with violence and Fanservice... and has the trainers become their Pokémon in battle rather than partner with them. Pokémon fans weren't happy with the liberties taken with the source material, and older audiences that would have liked the other elements were turned off by source material being associated with a normally "kiddy" franchise. The manga never got an official English translation, and even fan scans stopped after a certain point.
  • This is one of the most common reasons why Pokémon Adventures gets overlooked by Pokémon fans. Many fans of both the games and anime dislike it for its Adaptation Personality Changes (making fan favorites like Sabrina, Lt. Surge, and Lance into villains, changing Genki Girl Shauna into a Little Miss Snarker, etc). It also gets complaints for how Darker and Edgier it can get compared to other adaptations, with many overlooking it as essentially a Dark Fic. It doesn't help that it has a spotty record with official translations, meaning many fans couldn't buy it for years.
  • Omujo! Omutsu Joshi is an ecchi harem manga whose average fanservice levels generally don't stray too far from panty shots and frequent Potty Emergencies. What sets the series apart and brings it into this trope is that the three girls of the harem, each for their own reasons, all wear diapers. This means the panty shots are just a tad atypical and that the emergencies end in Potty Failure almost Once an Episode.
  • Ultimate Girls is a raunchy, raunchy anime about three Ultraman-style Magical Girls who don full-body spandex upon transforming. Said spandex disintegrates over the course of three minutes after transformation, leaving them bare naked for the whole city to see. Not only that, but the true source of their power is embarrassment from such a situation. The monsters they fight all have weak points to grab in the crotch area, and transforming also involves grabbing a phallic entity that cums on whoever does so.
  • Popotan: Try to picture something sweet and charming, like Little Bear, The Busy World of Richard Scarry, Pokémon, or A Little Snow Fairy Sugar. Now, imagine it chockful of sexual jokes, half of which involve underage characters.
  • Lucky Star: Made specifically with otaku on mind, and was best marketed in America by DVD like nearly everything else from Japan. It's about high school girls, but the way they look, sound, and speak, along with the aesthetics in general, makes them seem like grade schoolers in what would seem to belong on Nick Jr., where it would actually have to undergo some kind of butchery first to land. Some of the things the girls talk about range from things that real teens don't (case in point: How does one eat such-and-such?) to references to yaoi, breast sizes, and kidnappings. Incompatible subjects for the same show, much?
  • Psycome: A story centered around the inmates of a Juvenile Penitentiary for Convicted Murderers. Practically all the name cast members have taken at least one human life. It is a Harem Comedy. Yes really. It even includes confirmed necrophiliacs, cannibals and Yandere among the bit members of the Unwanted Harem. For those looking for a psychological thriller or an examination of what it takes to drive a human being to murder before the age of majority, the wacky harem hijinks are offputting. For those who love a romantic harem comedy will be put off by the Black Humor and the fact that most of the cast are in a way reprehensible human beings. Granted Asshole Victim status is easy to find...
  • Franken Fran: A manga about a Cute Monster Girl version of Frankenstein's Monster who is a Friend to All Living Things, a Technical Pacifist and has surgical skills that make Black Jack green with envy. You might think it was riding the trend of the moe monster girl in a medical drama. Wrong. The manga is about Body Horror, Black Comedy and the fact that the main character has been programmed with Blue and Orange Morality to prioritize the preservation of life over the quality of life. Even the covers Lampshade the nature of the work. The outer cover is often some Fanservice shot of one of the female characters, while the inner cover is usually pure unadulterated Body Horror. People who read it thinking it is something along the lines of Daily Life with Monster Girl will soon recoil from the Squick. People who come for sheer horror manga will find the Wide-Eyed Idealist main character and the story's overall upbeat tone offputting.
  • Gatchaman Crowds: This trope may be the reason why this show never became the big hit many were expecting when it aired. The series is a reimagining of the classic Science Ninja Team Gatchaman with a new group of heroes using video games to help make the world a better place. Gamers weren't interested in the philanthropy concept; while Gatchaman fans were unhappy with the liberties taken with the source material. It did do well enough to get a second season, but it doesn't have anywhere near as many fans as other shows such as Casshern Sins or Yatterman Night; and the next adaptation is planned to be a straighter modernization of the classic series as a result.
  • Master of Martial Hearts: A Panty Fighter anime in the vein of Ikki Tousen, except that the final episode is one long mean-spirited Take That! at fans of the genre. Fans of Panty Fighter anime wouldn't take too kindly to this final episode, and people who don't like Panty Fighter anime wouldn't watch a five-episode OVA of a genre they don't like when the big Deconstruction takes place in the final episode (unlike most deconstructions who do it early on) and the rest of the series is taken up by the same unironically shameless ecchi antics it tries to shame the viewer for liking.
  • Made In Abyss: Has the same problem as Madoka. The series has an adorable Puni Plush art style, and the first couple of chapters focus primarily on two innocent children exploring a cave and being adorable. People who aren't big on moe call Tastes Like Diabetes and check out early, while moe fans will drop the series like a hot potato once the Gut Punch hits and Riko's arm is almost amputated. The target audience for the series seems to be people who don't mind cuteness, but who also have an extremely high tolerance for gorn and Body Horror—two groups with very little overlap.
  • Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl: A Yuri Genre manga about a boy who is accidentally killed by aliens and gets revived as a girl. While the anime did have success due to being one of the few yuri anime of the late 2000s (and especially one of the few that was exported outside of Japan), its premise turns off many yuri purists who feel it's a straight manga disguised as a yuri. This is despite the fact Hazumu doesn't seem too concerned about her change and that her two love interests seem to like girls even ignoring Hazumu's change.
  • School-Live!: A series set in a Zombie Apocalypse however its protagonists are moe high school girls. It's a zombie series with a Schoolgirl Series coating. While this twist has given it acclaim, it also turned off both zombie and schoolgirl series fans who either don't like the cutesy look and fluff or don't like the blood and despair.
  • Dragon Pink: This trope is arguably the reason why this old-school classic JRPG turned into an (also classic) hentai manga series never really found an audience, even in Japan (where it's rather obscure even amongst ero manga buffs). The intricate heroic fantasy plot scares away people who want to jerk-off, and people who enjoy great stories & characters will dismiss the series out of hand just for having hardcore sex scenes.note  The fact the manga has been abandoned by its creator with no new chapters since 1994 is quite telling. (The creator, ITOYOKO, has said that he wants to finish the series, however, so there may be hope for Pink & her party yet).
  • Your and My Secret: Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy duo Momoi Nanako and Uehara Akira have their bodies switched when a device being tested by Nanako's Mad Scientist grandfather goes wrong. Nanako proceeds to exploit Akira's body to live out her perfect life, winning accolades for the same violent sports she as once sneered at for being into and reveling in all the women she can date, whilst Akira is financially exploited by Nanako's grandfather, is told by his entire family that they prefer Nanako in his body, can't convince either Nanako or her grandfather to cooperate in undoing the body-switch, has to go through the nasty business of menstruation all alone, and winds up so lonely and desperate for company that he starts reciprocating the attractions of his former best friend, who keeps trying to sexually harass Akira's new female body. And the whole thing is treated as a comedy, even ending with the two staying in their switched bodies. Needless to say, most readers dropped it like a hot potato due to how repugnant it was.
  • Dogakobo:
    • Uchi No Maid Ga Uzasugiru (My Maid Is Way Too Annoying!) is about a young half-Russian, half-Japanese girl who lost her mother to illness prior to the series. After scaring off several potential maids, she is met by Tsubame Kamoi, a ridiculously ripped ex-JSDF soldier possessing a hard Lolita complex that's played entirely for laughs. As such, she would try to have Misha wear dresses that she would make, or propose marriage.
    • From the same animation studio, WATATEN!: an Angel Flew Down to Me concerns a college student named Miyako Hoshino who falls in love with a friend her younger sister brings home. Much like with Tsubame, Miyako would have the young girl dress up in cosplay outfits she handcrafts in return for giving her food.
  • Citrus is a pseudo-incest yuri manga about a gyaru girl named Yuzu who attends a conservative all-girls academy when her mother remarries. The series is notorious for its use of sexual assault in the earlier chapters often perpetrated by Mei herself. While it eventually drops the usage, it nevertheless became a controversial title in the lineup for Winter 2018 anime.
  • Happy Sugar Life is about a high schooler named Satou Matsuzaka who appears to be normal but in actuality has a young girl captive in an apartment room that belonged to another person she murdered. Besides her, the series consists of several characters with mental issues or are generally unpleasant. The series is known for its cute art style which successfully hides its inner darkness.
  • Grand Blue: Slice of Life Seinen about college life and diving as an extracurricular activity, until Alcohol-Induced Idiocy and Nudity Tropes are abundantly used as comedic devices, with an overall Fratbro mentality. Needless to say, those looking for a more down-to-Earth, wholesome story of a Japanese college setting won't find it here (to be fair, when characters do go diving, the narrative becomes Serious Business with Shown Their Work in effect, as well as people explicitly working towards their graduate outside of diving).

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