Ex-Arm is one of the lowest rated animes on MAL

Users of my MyAnimeList can be very generous with their scores for individual anime titles. Perhaps because it is possible to give a specific title a rating out of 10, anything below 6 or even 7 may be considered a poor rating as opposed to just “above average” . This means that many shows, even when they don’t impress mainstream Western audiences, don’t rank particularly badly on the site in the grand scheme of things.

It also does something like 2021 Ex-arm – at the time of this writing, the only lowest ranked animated television series on MAL – a major star. With a current rating of 2.95, Ex-arm won unmistakably terrible reviews across the board. But is Ex-arm really that bad, or was it just the butt of bad ratings due to the fact that this was an all-CG affair, which some anime fans tend to hate for that fact alone?

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Of course, animation is the very first aspect of Ex-arm that any viewer, whether they’re an anime veteran or someone new to the business, will notice, before any plot details have even had time to emerge. To put it as simply as possible, it’s bad. Not just below par, not even badly animated at times or in certain ways. Objectively speaking, Ex-arm looks less like a professional production that has been given the green light to air on national television and more like a student project gone horribly wrong.

To be clear, this is not a full CG production. As has been proven time and time again in the past, such anime titles are capable of telling great stories and gaining popularity with mainstream audiences – recent years have seen people like Ajin, Knights of Sidonia, Land of shine, the beasts, This year Night Head 2041 and the current broadcast Blade Runner: Black Lotus, all of which look average at worst and amazing at best, despite a heavy action streak. This is not the case with Ex-arm –And the issues with his visuals don’t end with his weirdly jerky PowerPoint-like animation in the middle of his janky action shots.


EX ARM kick

The work of art as a whole is just as singularly formidable. The characters’ frozen and unusually wide expressions make them look like possessed dolls that are about to play in another brand Five nights at Freddy’s. Their faces rarely change much, if at all, regardless of the emotion reflected in their voices, and their mouths seem to open and close almost at random, with little or no impact on their actual speech. Plus, because the anime is so littered with still screens, the painfully united backgrounds become even more evident; the small amounts of detail here and there are made more or less imperceptible by the flat, one-dimensional color blocks.

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Still, it’s important to look beyond appearances (as difficult as that may be in this particular case). After all, artwork and animation should ideally only be about half of an anime’s appeal – what about aspects like script, pacing, voice acting, and music? Sadly, Ex-arm doesn’t do much to endear audiences to itself in these respects either, although it would be fair to say that the show doesn’t fail as spectacularly here as it does with its visuals.

This may be part of the problem. If the rest of the production was as horrible as it looked, Ex-arm may have become a cult classic in its own way, circling the land “so bad it’s good”. Sadly, aside from how it looks, it’s safe to say that the anime is for the most part quite average. The story begins in the media, which should grab the viewer immediately. However, that effort is rendered unnecessary thanks to the show’s bland and slightly unpleasant characters and their somewhat over-the-top delivery.


It’s a shame given the potential of the story, which begins when high school student Natsume Akira is hit by a truck and wakes up not in 2014 but in 2030. At some point in her 16-year-old coma, her brain has been removed. of his body and transferred to a device called EX-ARM. Recovered by police officer Uezono Minami and his android partner Alma, Akira is part of the EX-ARM Countermeasures Prevention Team – an official division that fights against those who control other EX-ARMs for their own nefarious ends.

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Of course, this is not the most singular of intrigues; the anime has long featured sci-fi stories featuring high-tech robots and other devices controlled by humans, sensitive androids, and people who wake up from accidental or induced comas in very different from those expected. Yet what allows Ex-arm the bottom is not its premise, which is perfectly usable, but rather its execution. The series adopts a largely ‘say, don’t show’ storytelling that fails to make much of an impression other than a resounding ‘meh’, with exhibition pieces sandwiched between scenes from the show. dull action.

Plus, the writing and general direction is riddled with about as many clichés and unnecessary fan-service moments as there are static images. This means that while there is nothing wrong with the story itself, or even the pace with which it is told, it doesn’t stand a chance to show what she might have been capable of. Again, the source material looks quite entertaining, so it’s hard not to view this as a failure on the part of the adaptation rather than the manga it’s based on.

On the sound side, the music is just as forgettable as the characters in the series. In fact, there’s relatively little background music, while the OP and ED tracks don’t do much beyond existing as a vehicle with which to baffily apply the designs to the screen. characters as if they were masterpieces of the medium. It’s easy to say that the main cast at least gives the project the best shot, but the generally decent vocals just aren’t enough to save the series’ other glaring flaws.

In short, Ex-arm It probably can’t be said to be literally the worst animated television series ever, if only because the core material isn’t horrible enough to deserve to be called offensive. However, it’s also difficult to defend most of his attributes – and all too easy to see why viewers are so keen to condemn him. It could be argued that there are worse titles, but Ex-arm will fall into infamy for a good reason.

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