This is an actual real anime that exists.
What do you even say about Ex-Arm? It has to be seen to be believed. There’s plenty of other people who’re more qualified to talk about how it came to be this way, but from what I’ve heard it involved a bunch of people who had never worked in anime thinking they could just make an anime.
The result is mindblowingly terrible. This isn’t like Kemono Friends where the CG looks janky but you can tell that love and care was put into it. Ex-Arm is a mess in every single way. It’s a stunning mix of cheap production and pure incompetence. Despite being a 3DCG anime, some side characters are drawn in 2D and thrown into the same scene with so little care they look like cardboard cutouts. The same stock explosion effect is used constantly, and just slapped on top of the screen. Characters have the wrong facial expression half of the time. And then there’s that one scene where Akira gets punched and the screen rotates and disappears like a Powerpoint transition effect. It’s all baffling, and there’s something new to marvel at in every episode.
Apparently the director had a background in action movies, so you’d at least expect the action scenes to be good. And well… Ex-Arm shows that decent choreography doesn’t automatically make for good action. The direction and camera angles are boring, the backgrounds plain, it’s like you’re watching an unfinished first draft. On top of that there are tons of pointless effects like slow-motion and afterimages, as if someone discovered the filter toolbar for the first time and couldn’t help themselves.
And then there’s the story. The writing in Ex-Arm may not be anywhere as bad as its presentation, but it’s still pretty bad. The plot manages to be confusing and uninteresting at the same time, with simplistic characters and an awfully annoying main villain. A lot of this is probably the adaptation’s fault, even if the source material isn’t some brilliant work of art. It feels like entire scenes or even story arcs were cut to save time with no care for how it would affect the end result. It constantly makes you feel like you missed something. In the final episode, several characters gasp in shock after finding out some guy is still alive, a guy I didn’t even know was supposed to be dead in the first place, because he only appeared in a flashback or two.
I’m not sure we’ll ever see anything like Ex-Arm again. There will always be bad anime, but Ex-Arm is on a completely different level. A perfect storm of poor decisions.