Most anime shows make it clear what the viewer should expect, whether it’s through posting a full trailer or a thorough summary. But there are some shows that anime fans go in expecting one thing but end up getting a completely different experience. Here are five anime shows that were not what fans expected.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Don’t judge a book by its cover, is the perfect way to describe Puella Magi Madoka Magica. At first glance, the bright colors and character design make it look like the anime is about cute little girls flying around town with an adorable magical cat. But, it’s not that at all. The story is unlike any typical magical girl anime.
Kyubey promises these young girls that they can achieve their deepest desire. The only thing they have to do in return is fight witches, but many of them aren’t able to do it. And even if they manage to defeat the witches, their wish always gets corrupted in some way, and in exchange for a wish, Kyubey locks their souls inside a gem. Countless young girls lose their lives for Kyubey’s mission to collect emotional energy and the whole series details the sorrow, suffering, and death of these young girls.
From the New World
In From the New World, technology doesn’t exist anymore and society has returned to the old ways of tradition and psychic abilities. The anime follows five friends — Saki, Satoru, Maria, Mamoru, and Shun — who live in a small village that many would describe as utopian. But this so-called paradise has a secret, and these five friends will stop at nothing to learn the truth.
The series shows the implications of our actions, whether good or bad. At times the series is captivating and hard to watch. Several characters become a symbol of today’s society, from how people manipulate each other to war to morally questionable actions.
From the get-go, viewers are aware that the narrative will evolve and recount a tale of a dystopian future. Yet, viewers didn’t anticipate that the series would be so thought-provoking and make them question humanity as well.
Your Lie in April
By now, a lot of anime fans know that Your Lie in April is a tragic tale. But those unfamiliar with the show would believe that it’s about teenagers sharing their love for music or a story about musical rivals. But after 22 episodes, viewers did not expect the rollercoaster ride that Your Lie in April would put them through.
Instead of focusing on the musical performance — although there are a few scenes that show this — the anime concentrates on the relationship between Kousei Arima and Kaori Miyazono. Both characters are a source of light and energy for each other and they push the other forward to achieve their dream. However, in the background, there’s an imminent tragedy heading their way that will put them to the test. The series uses its main characters as symbols representing life and death. Not at all about rival musical prodigies that anime fans were expecting.
Spice & Wolf
Anime about demi humans usually appear in shoujo, romantic, or comedy genres. But, once in a while, a series comes along that breaks this stereotype. When Imagin anime studio released Spice & Wolf in 2008, many anime fans believed that it would be about a cute furry character in a medieval setting. But, Spice & Wolf couldn’t be further from this premise.
The people of Pasloe once worshiped Holo, a powerful wolf deity, for blessing the annual harvest. But, as years go by, the villagers become more self-sufficient and Holo becomes a mere folk tale. When a traveling merchant named Kraft Lawrence arrives at the village, Holo proposes a deal. In exchange for bringing her to her northern home of Yoitsu, she will become his business partner. Throughout the series, the two barter with other merchants, showing the unique business handlings of that time, with, of course, a bit of humor.
Fans expected Spice & Wolf to be a story of a merchant and his cute female companion, but instead, the anime turned into a crash course in Medieval business practices.
If you just read the synopsis of Princess TuTu, you’d see a lot of similarities to the Disney classic The Princess and the Frog. But, the anime goes beyond the Disney story, as it tells a tale of heroes and their struggle against fate to reach a “happily ever after.”
Partly based on The Ugly Duckling and Swan Lake, Princess TuTu follows a duck named Ahiru who turns into a 13-year-old girl thanks to a magical pendant. She uses the pendant’s power to collect the shattered pieces of a prince’s heart.
Princess TuTu uses many magical girl tropes, like the clumsy main character and the stoic male lead. But, the narrative quickly changes to the struggles of Ahiru and the cruel reality that is life. The anime also takes a new approach to battle, using ballet moves to defeat an adversary.
The series deconstructs the magical genre with little effort and smudges the line between the lightheartedness the genre is known for and the action of shounen anime. Ultimately, the combination of different themes resulted in an unexpected ending.