10 Shonen Anime That Bombed But Became Cult Classics

Sometimes people don’t know what they have until it’s gone. Regarding anime, plenty of series did poorly enough to be canceled. Though shonen anime are more often protected from this and last longer, it doesn’t make them immune to having to maintain high ratings.


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Just being canceled isn’t an indicator of low quality, though. Any number of reasons can lead to the cancellation of a show, even though the series itself is excellent. And when fans discover a top-tier shonen that got canceled too soon, they talk about them for years to come, hoping they get another chance in the spotlight.

10 Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan Disappeared After Its Manga Was Canceled

Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan seemed like it would be next in line to be part of the group of big shonen anime. Rikuo Nura is the grandson of the leader of the Nura yokai clan, who wants Rikuo to take over leading the clan.

But while Rikuo refuses to do that, he’s still forced to deal with people attempting to kill him because of his connection to the clan. Unfortunately, the manga’s popularity died down in the 2000s and got the series canceled. Meanwhile, the anime got only two seasons, and Studio DEEN never bothered to animate the rest.

9 Beelzebub’s Manga Was Canceled & The Anime Rushed Out Its Last Arc

Ryuhei Tamura’s Beelzebub feels like a different spin on the Gintama formula. The series is mainly comedic gags, but it occasionally has some surprisingly well-done action. The story centers on freshman Tatsumi Oga, a delinquent at Ishiyama High.

Out of nowhere, Oga is asked to take care of a baby belonging to a Demon King on the threat of death. Unfortunately, Beelzebub never had a proper ending in the anime or the manga. The series’ poor manga sales led to its cancelation, while the anime was cut short and rushed through the last arc.

8 Rave Master Had Failing Anime Ratings & Was Forgotten Until Fairy Tail

Before Hiro Mashima worked on Fairy Tail, he had the series Rave Master, based on his long-running manga. The show focused on Haru Glory, who had inherited the Rave Stones, a power that allowed him to battle the organization called Demon Card, which was seeking to conquer the world.

Rave Master ran for 51 episodes before being canceled due to the anime series’ low ratings. However, just a few years later, Mashima would create a hit with Fairy Tail, raising the profile of this work as well.

7 Food Wars! Rushed Through Its Ending After Fans Grew Tired Of The Manga

Food Wars! became a meme Stateside for how tantalizingly the show drew its food and because of how strongly the characters reacted to eating it. But the manga’s sales began to drop over time, with fans taking less interest with each successive arc.

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By the end, the manga was canceled and forced to wrap up its storyline with a quick epilogue. Naturally, the anime had to wrap up shortly after that with its fifth season. The fans don’t receive the last season of Food Wars! as well, but they still love the earlier seasons.

Full Metal Panic! was a popular 2000s-era anime that followed a young military officer, Sousuke Sagara, who had to look after a teenage girl, Kaname Chidori, for a mission. Though the series is primarily a slice-of-life comedy, it maintained its popularity long before it vanished.

Though the light novel was still going, there was never a complete adaptation. It took over a decade before the animation studio felt comfortable enough to bring the series back, and even that didn’t finish the story. But none of that has dulled mecha fans’ love of Full Metal Panic!.

5 Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple Was Never Revived For A Sequel Series

Based on a manga series by Syun Matsuena, Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple is a classic martial arts adventure story. It focuses on Kenichi, a young man fed up with being bullied who joins the Ryozanpaku dojo. Unfortunately, Kenichi’s developing martial arts skills attract all kinds of delinquents who want to see him prove his strength.

Though Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple ran for 50 episodes, the show being so close to the manga eventually caused the series to end. Studio TMS Entertainment never bothered to do a second season, though there were later OVAs. Still, that hasn’t stopped the series from being highly rated on sites like MyAnimeList and IMDb.

4 Magi Was Stopped Before It Could Even Air Its Final Season

As the new shonen on the block in 2012, Magi seemed to be doing well initially. Shinobu Ohtaka chose a setting unlike anything else in shonen manga, pulling its characters and world from One Thousand And One Nights.

But after two seasons and 50 episodes, the anime never bothered to come back for its finale. The manga finished, and A-1 Pictures never tried to go for the third season or give the show a film. Fans still count this as one of the best shonen series of the 2010s.

3 D.Gray-Man Was Canceled Due To Low Ratings

Katsura Hoshino’s D.Gray-man was one of the more popular shonen anime of the 2000s in the States. While it was never part of America’s Big Three, it had a place in the second tier of shonen alongside series like Soul Eater. Fans were invested in Allen Walker’s journey to hunt demons.

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But after 103 episodes of D.Gray-man’s anime, TMS Entertainment decided to cut the series because of its low ratings. They attempted to revive the series a decade later with D.Gray-man Hallow, but it only lasted 13 episodes before ending again. They didn’t even bother to put the series out on Blu-ray or DVD.

2 Love Hina’s Second Season Was Canceled

Ken Akamatsu’s Love Hina was one of the biggest anime series of the early 2000s; fans wanted more. The series even grew into a hit Stateside through fansubs, as there was no other way to get a hold of the series at the time.

But when the animation studio tried to do a second season, it was quickly canceled and turned into the three-part OVA,Love Hina Again, instead. They rushed to the finale, and the studio responsible for animating it wasn’t even around anymore. However, that hasn’t stopped Love Hina from being a classic anime for harem fans.

Hunter x Hunter’s popularity might make people think the series was always popular. But the original series ended quickly because the anime overtook the manga. Though they attempted to do OVAs after the fact, even those didn’t adapt everything fans were looking for.

But at least the Japanese fans actually got those OVAs. In America, the sales of the DVDs were so terrible they didn’t bother dubbing the series anymore. That’s a far cry from today, where Hunter x Hunter is considered one of the greatest anime ever.

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