I resent the Anime Encyclopedia. Not in the same way that I’d dislike an anime that I gave a 3/10; I feel actual loathing towards this book. It presents itself as THE authority on anime history and received many positive reviews, but we’re 3 editions in and the book is still horrifically wrong. Its information is often based on loose interpretations of Wikipedia descriptions, where details like character names, order of events, and even entire genres get mixed up constantly. Topped off by layers of sassy opinions from the author about series that they clearly haven’t actually seen.
I stand by my review of the book from a few years back, but I was never quite satisfied. A single negative review on the internet doesn’t quite feel like the victory I yearn for; it certainly doesn’t make me feel like I got my 70 euros worth out of the damn book. So I opted to go back once more, read the entire thing, and fished up over 60 instances where the book makes gross mistakes. I tried backing these up with sources, but quickly found that most of the author’s claims could be discredited by looking up the basic plot outline on Wikipedia.
Please also note that this doesn’t mean there’s only 60 mistakes in the entire book. This selection is based exclusively on series that I have seen myself. On top of that, I filtered it down dramatically by raising the bar on what I consider to be worthwhile entries thrice. I am relatively confident that in at least 30% of the cases where the book goes into any amount of depth on an anime, it gets information wrong. This already overlong article would be completely unreadable if I included everything I found.
To start us off we got a fairly straightforward mistake. The book claims that Another is set in 1999 when it actually takes places in 1998. Another‘s entry also references Higurashi as another horror anime set in the 90s, but Higurashi actually takes place over a decade earlier in June of 1983.
Despite (rightfully) lauding Azumanga Daioh for its influence on comedy anime, several mistakes are made in its entry. For example, the book talks about the ONA release of the series in plural, in spite of it only featuring 1 episode. It also gets the personality of Osaka entirely wrong; attributing her absent-mindedness to being nervous.
However, the weirdest mistake is that the book talks about Chiyo having a talking cat. Now, cats are a recurring theme in Azumanga‘s gags, but none of them talk and none of them belong to Chiyo. In fact, Chiyo riding on the back of her dog is one of the most iconic visuals of the franchise. Chiyo does have a cat-eared doll that comes alive in other characters’ dreams, but this is neither real nor a reference to any Natsume Soseki novels, as The Anime Encyclopedia asserts.
- “Baby, Please Kill Me” instead of Kill Me Baby
- “Kasimasi” instead of Kashimashi
- “Catgirl Nuku Nuku” instead of All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku
- “Like a Cloud, Like a Breeze” instead of Like the Clouds, Like the Wind
- “Mystery Girlfriend X” instead of Mysterious Girlfriend X
- “Please Open The Door” as a mistranslation of Tobira wo Akete
- “Star of Davide” instead of Star of David
- “Chancer Princess” instead of Suddenly Princess
- “Tale of Hikari” instead of either Legend of Light or Legend of Hikari
- “Canaria” instead of Canary
- “Techno-Robot Battle Adventure” as an alternate title for Medabots
Beat Angel Escalayer
Refers to Sayuka as an android, seemingly by mixing her and Madoka’s backstories together into one. Madoka is also referred to as a “temporary” roommate, in spite of this living arrangement remaining throughout the entire series. Given her role in the story, it’d be unlikely that she and Sayuka part ways anywhere in the near-future.
Repeatedly misspells the name Griffith as Griffiths. It also gets the reason for Griffith’s imprisonment later on in the series wrong. Evidently the way in which Berserk was parodied in Oh My Goddess! was more memorable to the author than the actual plot of the real series.
Beyond The Heavens
Refers to Cao Cao as chancellor, even though the anime doesn’t reach that point in the man’s life. It also praises the show for not featuring magic or superpowers, both of which it does. For example, the anime presents Lu Bu just as over-the-top as the Dynasty Warriors games do. Beyond the Heavens even opens on a young Cao Cao leaping several feet into the air to jump on a sword with which he then decapitates a drunken peasant. A drunkard that, earlier, was throwing rapid-fire punches and headbutted a person so hard he flew several meters away.
Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan
Misnames Dokuro’s signature weapon Excaliborg as “bokusatsu”. Bokusatsu roughly translates to “beat to death”, hence why it’s in the title of the show.
The Anime Encyclopedia thinks the plot is a race between different factions to activate Big O, but in doing so it mixes up the basic plot with some later developments. Big O is already activated at the start of the show and acts as the protagonist’s signature giant robot. The summary also makes no mention of the Megadeus, instead suggesting that it believes the anime is just a Batman rip-off about a millionaire fighting crime.
Call Me Tonight
Strangely claims that the well-off delinquent girl Oyuki is head of an “orgy” club, whatever that is. Oyuki does lead a gang, but these are a regular band of young thugs. The only “sex” they get up to is an interrupted attempt at harassing female lead Rumi.
While the book does describe the events of the original Cardcaptor Sakura, it instead uses the title Cardcaptors which uniquely refers to the bastardized English localization. If that’s the version of the show being described then the events do not line up. The Anime Encyclopedia does acknowledge the poor localization attempt, raising even more questions as to why it decides to legitimize that version of the series.
Is listed TWICE with different descriptions and different staff, but clearly discussing the same work. One entry lists the director as one Makoto Ikeda (as opposed to Masashi Ikeda), who appears to be a painter that only did a little bit of work for anime in prior decades.
Generally provides an accurate assessment of the many incarnations of Cutey Honey, but messes up some details. It overstates the presence of Panther Zora throughout the narrative while neglecting to mention Sister Jill, Honey’s primary antagonist, in any form at all. It also states that Panther Claw is exclusively a female syndicate, but this ignores the hordes of male goons. Only the elites are women. It also mentions that the Danbei family is a new inclusion starting in New Cutey Honey, but the Danbei clan have been a staple of the series since the 1973 original.
Though it is a PS2 classic that has been re-released many times, The Anime Encyclopedia manages to completely mess up its prudish retelling of the game’s plot. Etna’s action are here attributed to Flonne, who then also has her name misspelled as Fionne. This entry also claims that the anime follows the same general plot, in spite of varying wildly from the game’s storytelling. As a final failure, Disgaea (like Cluster Edge) features twice in the encyclopedia, with different technical information for each entry.
Dog of Flanders
Misspells Patrasche’s name and claims the story is set in Brugges as opposed to Antwerp. Extra painful because The Anime Encyclopedia mocks a later adaptation of the story for getting the location wrong.
This entry bundles the whole of Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z into one, making several mistakes throughout. It freely mixes Japanese, official English translations, romanized translations, and Chinese together, until none of it makes sense anymore. The synopsis also states that Goku is killed by Raditz and reincarnated as a Super Saiyan, but this is entirely incorrect. Goku doesn’t reincarnate, he is simply brought back to life. he also remains his regular self, albeit slightly powered-up. He doesn’t become a Super Saiyan until late in the Namek arc, dozens of episodes after his reincarnation.
Dream Hunter REM
I can’t entirely verify this, but I find the encyclopedia’s claim that Rem has insomnia to be highly dubious. I only found 1 review that used the same description for her, but this is absurd considering her superpower is that she can fall asleep and enter people’s dreams at will. The Japanese wiki does mention that she can’t have dreams of her own, but that isn’t insomnia. I am open to being proven wrong on this account.
Regardless, it then goes on to misremember the plot of episode 1, once again fusing two characters into one and mixing up their role in the story. In this case Dr. Death and the demon from episode 1 are fused into a new character called “Death God” who “drives Rem to murder”. Suffice it to say, none of that actually happens.
The runtime for the listed episodes is also incorrect and doesn’t account for the separate release of the original hentai version.
Claims that the anime was based on a manga, but the manga was only a promotional material for the anime. It released a month before the first episode aired and would only receive 4 chapters, most of which came out while the TV series was ongoing.
In spite of the very obvious title, The Anime Encyclopedia appears convinced that this is a historical anime. It gets the character names correct and the general plot outline fits, but it refers to Elves as Burgundians and claims that this is a historical hentai set in the 6th century.
I feel bad for potentially nitpicking here because this is evidently a work that the author was especially passionate about. In its description it refers to Van as being disinherited, which is a strange reading of the plot. Van doesn’t so much lose his right to inherit Fanelia as it is just flat-out destroyed by a rival nation. He is still technically the king.
Oh wow, what doesn’t it get wrong. First and foremost, it calls D.D. an intergalactic traveler who is transporting an energy source that is “lost” when his ship crashes, which is untrue. D.D. is a peace-keeper who is transporting stolen Maguar eggs that he retrieved, one of which hatches and causes his ship to crash.
The Anime Encyclopedia, by the way, misspells both D.D.’s name and Maguar throughout its synopsis. It then also refers to Hikaru simply as “a robot”, which is a wildly incorrect attempt at oversimplifying her origin story. Put simply, Ribers like Hikaru are sentient lifeforms made of living metal. Definitely not robots.
Asserts that Naoto and Mamimi live together in the same house. I assume that the author mixed up Mamimi with Haruko, the latter of which moves in with Naoto later in the story.
Gen Urobuchi’s name is listed as Urobushi in both the synopses and the technical info. This entry also claims that the Hideauze are a space-faring people with organic ships, when in fact the Hideauze are just creatures that can freely exist in the vacuum of space. They don’t exactly need ships.
Most of the character descriptions are incorrect, most peculiar of all being Madarame’s profile. He is here described as a military fanatic, in spite of never showing a particular interest in such topics. This didn’t make any sense to me at first, but what I think happened here is that the author remembered the gun nut from Otaku no Video—Iiyama—and got him mixed up with Madarame. Kugayama’s name is also misspelled as Kuragame and Kanako isn’t mentioned at all.
Girls und Panzer
Miho’s backstory claims that she threw a match to save an opponent’s life, but the girl she rescued was a team mate from Kuromorimine. This girl—Koume Akaboshi—even turns up later in the anime to thank Miho, just before the Oarai vs Kuromorimine match.
Gregory Horror Show
Only lists the plot and runtime for the first of three seasons, nor does it acknowledge the Bloody Karte specials.
The title of “senshi” is here translated literally as warrior and not explained in the slightest. Because of this, the plot summary reads as if this is a series about non-descript warriors fighting non-descript evil; not exactly a helpful synopsis. To be more specific, the setting is about a conflict between traditionalist samurai ideals and the growing prevalence of Western firearms. Senshi, in this setting, specifically refers to people who have become skilled in the use of guns.
Rushuna is also described as being a Grenadier, which is a special rank among the senshi. This is incorrect because she isn’t granted the title until the very end of the series.
Higurashi: When They Cry
Here the book keeps mixing up different main characters with side-character Rina. This first happens when the cast of characters in introduced, during which Rena is replaced with Rina as a member of the main protagonists. This gets changed in season 2, where it’s now Rika’s turn to be replaced with Rina. This confusion is then carried over into the rest of the description, as the author later implies Rika didn’t have a lead role until Rei.
I Dream of Mimi
This entry presumes that I Dream of Mimi is a harem show about an android girl fighting off romantic rivals, but monogamy is not a concern for this anime at all. The actual plot isn’t addressed at all and the author skirts around having to explain what a “biocomputer” even is. Probably because they just don’t know it themselves, as otherwise they wouldn’t describe Akira as a useless bystander.
I generally refrain from critiquing the author’s opinions. However, this entry on Iketeru Futari opens on the baffling accusation that it’s a His and Her Circumstances clone. A suggestion that isn’t explained in the slightest and makes no sense, no matter what angle I try to approach it from.
Irresponsible Captain Tylor
This could be poor phrasing, but this segment seems to heavily imply that Mifune and Fuji fall under Tylor’s command and are part of the Soyokaze crew. This is wrong on both accounts, so I think The Anime Encyclopedia intended to reference Yuriko Star and Lt. Yamamoto here—the other “stuffy officers” of the series—but got mixed up in their eagerness to point out the referential names. Furthermore, this entry summarizes the Soyokaze crew as being “a band of thugs”, which would only broadly describe the marines onboard the vessel.
Karin is here listed as originating from a manga serialized in “Comic Dragon Age” as opposed to Monthly Dragon Age (Gekkan Doragon Eiji). This magazine was formerly known as Monthly Comic Dragon, so I presume the old and new names got mixed together.
Kill la Kill
Director’s name is misspelled as Imanishi, instead of Imaishi.
Legend of Light
Of all the rivals throughout the series, The Anime Encyclopedia exclusively mentions “school supergymnast Diana”. Diana is not even in Hikari’s school, but on top of that she is barely in the anime. If you were only going to mention a single rival, then this ought to be Hikari’s senpai Hazuki. Their rivalry spans the entire anime and also extends into the romantic sphere as they are both attracted to the same boy.
Legend of the Galactic Heroes
Lists the Free Planets Alliance as “the Alliance of Independent Worlds”. The two prequel anime are also poorly described, in both cases by claiming that a single (of many) storylines encompasses the entire OVA. All the other storylines of these two prequel series are then listed as separate entries, like the author thought that each novel adapted in the prequels was a separate anime. A Hundred Billion Stars, a Hundred Billion Lights is also mistranslated as “A Trillion Stars, A Trillion Points of Light” and listed for the wrong release year, just to top it off.
The titular Little Mermaid brings the prince ashore after his shipwreck, but according to The Anime Encyclopedia she then pulls out all manner of potions to magically bring him back to life. All she does in the movie is beg him not to die, cry, and put a single scale on a shoulder wound, none of which have any actual effect. The prince is then found and nursed back to health by other humans.
I have no love for Lucky Star, but I take issue with the assertion that Konata’s friends share her tendency to slack off. Kagami is clearly characterized as a hard-working girl who values good grades and putting in effort. Miyuki isn’t exactly a slacker either, though she is admittedly a tad slow.
This mini-essay makes two curious statements that aren’t wholly correct, but too wishywashy to be definitive. Firstly it refers to Nanoha as “the superheroine Lyrical Nanoha” and, secondly, it refers to the Time-Space Administrative Bureau as just the “Time Police” at first. These statements are wrong, but are made too offhandedly to raise much of a fuss about. It even gets the TSAB’s name right later on.
An actual mistake is made in the claim that there is a “triangular” theme to the character dynamics; in the sense that teams consist of singular boys being paired with 2 girls. The original team consisted of Chrono (m), Yuuno (m), Nanoha (f), and Fate (f). A’s had Zafira as a sexually-unavailable familiar to a group of 4 girls, and StrikerS had Erio (m) and Caro (f) as a team. There also mono-gender teams like The Numbers, the Three Aces, and the duo of Teana and Subaru.
Besides mistranslating several names, this book also gets the plot wrong on several fronts. Margaret doesn’t hire Madlax personally and, in fact, doesn’t meet Madlax until near the end of the series. She also isn’t looking for her father, as the book asserts. The claims that the story’s fictional countries are located in Europe and Asia respectively is strenuous, but passable by the standards of the encyclopedia’s usual assumptions.
[source] BEWARE SPOILERS
Magical Girl Squad Alice
The Anime Encyclopedia gets several plot points wrong, like claiming Arusu frees an “elf” with the help of her two friends. In reality, Arusu causes a mass escape of all the fairies held imprisoned by the witches, and her “friends” get in trouble for it alongside her.
[source: episode 2] (no longer available for legal streaming)
Magical Witch Punie-chan
The twins Potaru and Pyun are labeled as Punie-chan’s older sisters. Unlike many other aspects of this deceptive series, these girls actually are as old as they seem, making them Punie’s younger sisters.
Here the author constantly mixes the Japanese terminologies and names with English translations, creating a strange mish-mash that never reads correctly. Besides that it also makes dubious claims about the plot & setting; most notably by vastly overselling how unique (and powerful) Metabee supposedly is.
Describes the toys as being electronic as opposed to supernatural in nature. It also fails to mention that the central premise of the series is that Milky Holmes loses their toys, or that this series is a parody rather than a straight-up detective series. In fact, it suggests that irony is a rare treat in the series, rather than a core of its identity!
Early Reins, Afterschool in the Teacher’s Lounge, A-Girl, Aldnoah.Zero, The Diary of Tortov Roddle, Daicon III & IV, Dai-Shogun, Dramatical Murder, Gokicha, Haikyu, Here Comes the Black Witch, Inferno Cop, Half-Broken Music Box, Log Horizon, Buta, Li’l Spider Girl, Love Stage, Mars of Destruction, Momo Kyun Sword, Muromi-san, Non Non Biyori, Oreimo, Pecola, Pink: Water Thieves Rain Thieves, Prayers, Akuma no Riddle, Wonder Momo, Futabu, Idol Kouhosei, Vampire Vixen, Kyonyuu Fantasy, Chikan Monogatari, Police Girl Yayoi, Kaichuu!
Mon Colle Knights
The author stands accused of being a complete cunt about this one. I (again) tried to refrain from critiquing opinions, but here generic accusations of this series being a Pokémon rip-off and being “artless” are made by an author that:
- Gets the title of the show wrong.
- Gets the name of the villain wrong.
- Gets the title of the villain wrong.
- Fails to mention one of the two main protagonists in any capacity.
- Doesn’t discuss the story in any level of depth.
- Still manages to fuck up in spite of the above, by wrongly claiming that Mondo “discovers” the world of Six Gates himself.
Much of this segment is a straight copy & paste from the Wikipedia synopsis, so most of it checks out. However, the author doesn’t name Shiika or Rina by name, and the way it’s written heavily implies that he thinks these are the same person.
Mysterious Girlfriend X
Urabe’s name is written as Ukabe.
Refers to Minato exclusively as Yondaime instead of by his name or as the fourth Hokage, even though the term Yondaime could refer to various other characters in the plot—”Yondaime” simply translates to “Fourth Lord”. Other lore descriptions are also suspect, but not in-depth enough to really dig into.
Natsu e no Tobira
Makes no mention of Sara at all, while at the same time claiming that Marion is simultaneously in love with Ledania and Claude. In the movie, Marion instantly rejects Ledania and Claude doesn’t come into play until the end of the story. This is extra painful, because it’s the romance between Marion and Sara that makes Natsu e no Tobira such a controversial tale.
Cuts The Professor’s age down to just 5 and insists that she made Nano to be a mother for her. While Nano is the more responsible of the two, there is no indication that she was explicitly made to be a mother to the professor. Especially considering that Nano has a childish side herself and her main ambition is to attend high school along with the rest of the teenage cast. I am not saying that teenagers can’t be mothers, but this reeks of presenting interpretations as facts.
Refers to the setting as a space-era frontier town instead of a space station that doubles as a holiday resort. Later it also claims that the second episode completes the story, but these are really two standalone plot-lines.
The Anime Encyclopedia believes that Nao is against pornography, when in reality she encourages his degeneracy and knowingly leaves the worst of his porn collection alone.
Panty & Stocking
Though this could be awkward phrasing again, the description here implies that the author believes Garterbelt was booted out of heaven alongside Panty and Stocking. Garterbelt is instead immortal and was present in Daten City way before the sisters ever arrived. Also no mention of Chuck.
[source: episode 11/segment 23]
Secret of Cerulean Sand
The events of the opening are freely mixed together and out of order. William leaves the house long before George is executed, after which the family’s legal problems are still far away. The description also mentions evil step-siblings, which grossly oversimplifies William as a character and also implies a second step-sibling that doesn’t exist.
The Anime Encyclopedia oversimplifies the plot of Shinzo yet still manages to get it completely wrong. In particular, this short entry claims two humans wake up from cryogenic sleep, as opposed to just Yakumo. Since it refers to a boy, I presume that the author thinks Mushra is a human. That in itself is a very clear sign that whoever wrote this didn’t even get 5 lines into the Wikipedia summary.
This entry was seemingly rewritten to account for Shuffle! Memories, but the original was left in as well. Both feature different descriptions and technical info. Both sell the series short.
The theocracy of Simulacrum is attacked by two rival nations, Plumbum and Argentum. The Anime Encyclopedia only refers to Argentum in its description. It also makes a mistake in claiming that everyone gets to choose their gender in the anime’s world. That is only the case for Simulacrum, because they have the magic gender well. Other nations need to get “creative” to diversify their population.
Bemusedly wonders how prequels character Naga would tie back into the plot of the main series, which they would know if they acknowledged seasons 4 & 5 at all. Releasing in 2008 and 2009 respectively, these should fall well inside the encyclopedia’s coverage.
“Squid Girl is an unlikely avenger: a little girl with big ambitions and absolutely no abilities beyond extreme cuteness.”
Squid Girl displays many of her abilities throughout the show, most prominently her tentacles. These are shown to be both incredibly powerful and capable of extending vast distances. She uses them to capture prey, attack people, or even perform very precise movements. Besides that, Squid Girl is also shown to be capable of emitting a bright light around her body and spray ink.
The Encyclopedia does reference that she has ink, but only in the context that it is being used as a cooking ingredient.
Sword Art Online
The Anime Encyclopedia mixes up Kayaba Akihiko with Suguo Nobuyuki by alleging that the Aincrad arc was all about earning its creator fame, money, and love in the real-world afterwards. Extra funny because the author complains that Sword Art Online is “tediously light on story” yet apparently couldn’t even keep up with the first season.
Describes the series as being about girls piloting huge mecha, instead of the mechanical armors that they wear as clothes. It also falsely claims that Symphogear was based on a manga, which was just a promotional piece released a mere month before the full TV series began airing.
Tobira wo Akete
Invents a new character called Kaori to replace male love interest Haruka.
The Pollinic Girls Attack!
The Anime Encyclopedia operates on a strange theory that the story’s pollen are key to human reproduction. They are just pollen given human appearances, with the usual sniffles pollen induce being replaced by juicy sex. Nobody falls pregnant throughout the story and normal human-to-human relationships are still commonplace.
Training With Hinako
Hinako is not in “great shape”. That’s the point of why she wants to exercise with the viewer in the first place. The bathing episode reaffirms this, with Hinako’s superior mocking her for being too squishy.
Zenon: Unlimited Love
Father Zenon was in Japan throughout World War 2 and witnessed the events of its aftermath, including the nuclear bombs, firsthand. He didn’t “return” to Japan to help out because he was already there.