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  • Vandread takes place in a dystopian future where men and women live on separate planets. Rather than take this opportunity to explore the cultural dynamics of single-gender societies, the writers instead opt to completely ignore it and have the oblivious protagonists speak frequently about merging their giant robots.
  • The X-Day manga: Sympathetic outcast students and their teacher decide to blow up their school. Great idea for a suspenseful series, right? In the second (and final) volume, the True Companions quickly decide they won't go through with it and rebuild their lives instead. Also, one of the main characters -- the one who came up with the idea of blowing up the school and set the whole plot in motion -- received no Backstory and got over her problem (being paralyzingly introverted unless she was wearing Elegant Gothic Lolita clothing) by pushing someone down a flight of stairs and, apparently, killing them. Instead of this causing more trauma, she's smiling, happy and completely cured in the next scene.
  • Shattered Angels or Kyoshiro to Towa no Sora is rather guilty of this. Considering the high quality work that has been done with post apocalyptic Japan, semi-dystopian/utopian societies (such as with Akira) and Magical Girls, you'd think that it would be a piece of cake to make them work together flawlessly. Instead, the writers made a spiritual (although some would argue literal) successor to Kannazuki no Miko, filled with Wangst and references to other past Kaishaku works while ignoring the goldmine premise they had to work with.
  • Murder Princess begins with the premise that a Badass bounty hunter finds herself body-switched with the demure princess of a politically unstable kingdom. You'd think that the rest of the anime focuses on her learning how to deal with running a court while trying to pass herself off as a completely different person, exploiting that she's much more capable than anyone expects her to be. It doesn't. The only significant character in court finds out about the switch almost immediately and offers no resistance. The only aspects of being a princess Falis has to deal with are courtly etiquette and corsets. The rest of the time is spent openly fighting bad guys and discovering ancient secrets. In short, nothing she couldn't have done if the story had just been about her becoming the princess' bodyguard.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!! has all of the Battle City arc allude to the past incarnation of Kaiba waging war on the past incarnation of Yugi. It never happens, and pretty much every scene of this supposed war never happens either -- past-Kaiba is shown to be totally loyal to past-Yugi. According to Word of God, in the original plans for the ending, the betrayal subplot was supposed to take place, but the editors asked him to rush and end the series quickly because readers' interest began to decrease after the end of the Battle City arc.
    • Some would argue that the franchise itself counts. The card game depicts a vast array of awesome-looking monsters of every imaginable kind, ranging from ancient Egyptian gods to dragons to aliens. Yet the anime focuses on the adventures of people playing the game, rather than the world within it.
  • Digimon Savers. The entire first arc led to the revelation of seven emotions (the Seven Deadly Sins) that negatively impacted Digimon and were the cause of all the recent Digimon attacks. In the Expanded Universe, these emotions are associated with a group of powerful demonic Digimon; those familiar with the Expanded Universe expected that the Seven Great Demon Lords would be the season's Big Bads. Then the whole thing was dropped for Kurata's genocide and never brought up again, aside from one passing reference. This wasted plot does become un-wasted in the official video game tie-in to the series, in which the Demon Lords serve as the main antagonists.
    • Oh, and Seraphimon and Magnadramon in the first Digimon Adventure 02 movie. Patamon and Tailmon just so happen to reach these Ultimate/Mega-level forms, and only stay on it for less than a minute to give the spotlight to the main character (and his new BFF). Many interesting moments were wasted, like how did they reach the new levels, or how strong they were in battle. And worse - this is the longest Digimon movie to date, but half of the running time is spent on boring new character Wallace's (or Willis) reflections about life. Wasted potential doesn't even begin to describe it. That it's a Non-Serial Movie barely excuses this.
    • The most famous Digimon Adventure 02 is the Dark Ocean plot line. Now before someone goes on a deleting spree allow me to explain. The Dark Ocean plot line was first introduced in episode 13 as an area that was ruled by Dagomon, who lured Hikari there to be his mate. During the episode you see Hikari worry due to her over reliance on her brother, you'll hear some people try to defend the series for not going into that particular plot line stating that it was resolved in the very same episode, and that it was only about Hikari's reliance on Taichi. However, that view is incorrect as it ignores the fact that even though Hikari is said to overcome her reliance on her brother in that very same episode, she is yet again drawn back into the Dark Ocean in episode 31, in other words, contrary to their beliefs it is not her reliance on her brother that brought her there in the first place. Not only that but the Dark Ocean is also a very important facet of Ken's character considering that that was where he got his Digivice upgraded to a D-3, and again is called back there in episode 31. Then in the later episodes the Dark Ocean is once again brought up with the attack of the Daemon Corp, and we the viewers find out that Ken digivice can open up a gate to the Dark Ocean, not only that but as a flashback from Ken allows the viewers to find out that the dark spore in the back of Ken's neck wasn't the only reason why he became the Digimon emperor, part of it was from the corruption from the Dark Ocean, which might have helped to cultivate the dark spore in Ken's neck (which was not planted there by Myostismon or his goons). The Daemon Corps. leader Daemon even seems to know what it is, but we the viewers are never given an explanation for it. Now this particular plot ended up being wasted due to creative differences amongst the head writers.
    • The entire premise of Digimon Xros Wars the Young Hunters Leaping Through Time, which boasted the return of past heroes from each previous season, was lost almost entirely in a veritable sea of Filler. Even when the heroes did finally show up, they were quickly pushed aside by becoming power-ups for Tagiru so he could face Quartzmon alone. Oh, and Taiki, hero of the previous season? He doesn't even get to do that; he and Shoutmon are rather unceremoniously taken out of action just before the final battle.
  • ICE starts with a young woman who goes into a coma after an accident; this causes her mind to blend with that of a woman in the future, when all men have gone extinct. Not much is done with this plot line except that the future woman can't sleep anymore.
  • Death Note could have been better if the writer hadn't fallen into the habit of killing off or writing out all the interesting characters and failing to come up with compelling replacements. Most infamously, killing L and bringing in Mello and Near.
    • Light's family is almost completely forgotten about after Soichiro's death. One good thing about the movie is that it goes into how they would react to Light dying.
    • It's too bad he offed Naomi so quickly. She could have been a temporary L to bridge the gap.
    • There are quite a few rules that don't factor into the plot. One example: if a person's name is written in two Death Notes within a fraction of a second of each other, it is regarded as simultaneous and the victim lives. Takada might have lived if Mikami and Light had different timing.
    • It was rather a shame that the potential for a three-way chess game with such contrasting rivals was hardly touched. That would've made the loss of L worthwhile, and injected a more intense dynamic into the show.
  • The second season of Code Geass would've been much better if they took half a breath and thought about how the hell they were going to pace it. C.C. losing her memories and turning into a medieval waif? Good twist -- it forces the various characters to reconsider how they felt about her original Deadpan Snarker flavor. But it falls flat when the whole thing is resolved too quickly because it turns out she did it as a self defense mechanism and could turn it off at any time, and no one brings it up again. Also, a lot of interesting ideas, such as the Knights of Rounds, the Geass Order, the Emperor's Instrumentality plan, Lelouch's mom being alive, and Schneizel and Lelouch fighting for the throne, were either given too little screen time or were thrown out a few episodes after being introduced. Just what the hell Geass is was never explained. Instead, for the finale, we got a battle between Suzaku Vs Kallen, Jeremiah Vs. Anya, and Lelouch geassing Nunnally to give him control of Damocles. This can be seen as a case of Screwed by the Network and Executive Meddling. Code Geass R2 ended up in a new prime time slot, forcing a partial rewind of the story to introduce the show to new viewers. This sounds fine on paper but, according to staff interviews, this meant changing many of the original plans for the show. There wasn't enough time left to properly deal with several old and new plot lines.
    • The first part would've added more depth to Lelouch/C.C's relationship to understand her more than being an accomplice But instead we got Lelouch getting killed in order to preserve world peace and C.C. to live on, with a renewed determination to live on.
    • The Geass Order would've explained what Geass actually is, how varied is its powers beyond hypnosis/mind reading/ reading the future/memory manipulation/dilation of the perception of time, how C.C. came into the group in the first place, how V.V. got his Geass power and eventually took over and what it was and the organization's overall purpose in the Britannian empire other than promoting V.V.'s importance as a character, introducing a useless Rolo and to add more information about C.C's past.
  • The Knights of Round was an interesting addition to Code Geass, which could've given chances for neglected characters to show how awesome they were by fighting one of them, good Evil Counterpart fights. Or at least, could have given more depth to the characters themselves by introducing more Knights and explored their views on philosophy, the degree of loyalty to the Emperor and unique abilities. Instead the only major ones are Soul Jar Anya, Brismark, Lucanio and Gino including a few more that are curbstomped too easily.
    • Suzaku's connection with Geass. It was introduced in season one and then never followed up on. Heck, we don't even know exactly how Suzaku has near-superhuman reflexes, speed and strength.
      • It's implied that he trained under Tohdoh in order to get that good.
      • He can dodge bullets, shoot a gun out of someone's hands and disarm moving bombs at high speed with a knife. In a series where the humans are supposed to be relatively normal. Did this training involve super performance enhancing drugs?
    • Before that was the infamous Euphinator incident at the end of R1. On the one hand, if the writers had allowed the Administrative Zone some degree of success, in spite of everyone being at Euphemia and Suzaku's throats, it could've been a great way to explore the conflict between Zero's cynicism, Euphemia and Suzaku's idealism, and everyone else's ruthlessness that would show Lelouch that something of Brittania could be saved. On the other hand, the writers could have chosen to exploit some combination of the opposition against Euphemia shown forming in prior episodes and the inherent impracticality of Euphemia's plan to make everything fall apart in spite of Euphemia, Suzaku and Zero's best efforts in the messiest and meanest possible way. What did they do instead? A ludicrous Diabolus Ex Machina which obliterates the entire subplot so quickly that some viewers felt the staff shouldn't have bothered to bring it up. Not to mention Euphemia denied any chance of such potential Character Development by having her Stuffed Into the Fridge.
    • Suzaku of the Counterattack could have provided an interesting new perspective on the story by showing the story from Suzaku's perspective (one of the creators suggested that if he were the main character, Lelouch would seem like a villain), and showed how Suzaku's quest to change Britannia from within would have worked out, but the story ends too soon (after only two volumes) without resolving any of the key questions on which it is founded.
    • Kallen's brother Naoto. He's given a few mentions in the main series and the picture dramas and apparently had a strong influence on Kallen and Ohgi, but beyond that we don't know the first thing about him. We don't even know how he died (beyond it probably being at the hands of Britannians).
      • There's an even bigger one for Naoto. In the audio commentary for an early episode, one of the show's writers teases that he might not be dead after all (something that shocks even Kallen's actress Ami Koshimizu). Nothing ever came from this tease.
  • Towards the end of the School Rumble manga, Jin Kobayashi started a few things that could have been interesting stories: strong hints of Hanai and Mikoto possibly realizing that they may be more than just childhood friends, Tenma staying in the US to learn medicine so as to help Karasuma, and Harima pretending to be Eri's fiance while living with Yakumo. It finally seemed like a few things were finally gonna get resolved towards the end of a manga where Status Quo Is God. But, no, what the fans got was an ending set a few years in the future that made no sense at all.
  • The manga Translucent starts off with a good premise -- a shy young girl contracts a strange, noncontagious disease that is slowly turning her invisible. Hey, not bad; that's a superpower in its own right. There are plenty of things you could do with that, especially with the twist that it's permanent. Later chapters flesh her character out, as well as change the disease slightly -- now she's a painfully shy aspiring theater actress, and the invisibility comes in the form of partial transparency instead of outright invisible body parts. Oh, and the invisibility is now powered by Wangst. OK, no problems there; plenty of ways the story could go -- maybe some drama about her missing a play because of her condition, maybe a few wacky hijinks, maybe some creative uses of her powers, maybe even the first Japanese Western-style comicbook. Instead, what we got was five (well written) volumes about a young girl wangsting over and over about a Superpower that only kicks in a few days about every 28 days.
  • Neo Roanoke in Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny seemed to be set up for a nice twisty identity crisis through which the anime would explore how heroic Ace Pilot Mu La Flaga survived his attempted Heroic Sacrifice and became the complicated and villainous Neo, with plenty of conflict with Mu's love interest Murrue Ramius. Instead, as soon as Neo meets Murrue, he turns back into Mu with only the faintest glimmer of Amnesiac Dissonance and next to no explanation of how Mu survived his apparent death and was brainwashed into becoming Neo in the first place. They gave the man a single second of still-frame flashback in the last episode to show how he survived. And when the big bad Destiny Plan, which the Mwu-Neo arc seemed specifically designed to illustrate the practical consequences of, is revealed, he doesn't so much as bat an eyelash, and nobody seems to find even the slightest resemblance between Durandal's plan and Mwu's recent trials.
    • Really, you could say that SEED Destiny itself is this: Shinn holds a grudge against Kira because his family was killed during a battle. Instead of Kira having to deal with the possible ethical dilemma of accidentally killing civilians, it's left an unsolved mystery and treated as irrelevant. And that's just the tip of the iceberg, really: the series may as well be the posterchild for Spotlight-Stealing Squad & Hostile Show Takeover when played depressingly straight.
  • Yu Yu Hakusho: the Tournament Arc at the final season. They prepare all the groundwork for an epic story of intrigue, war, betrayal, friend against friend; then the protagonists simply solve everything by starting a tournament that also redeems the would-be Big Bad of the time...
    • Near the end of the Chapter Black saga, King Yama orders Yusuke's assassination because he is the descendant of a demon and his powers are awakening. In the next arc, the order is still in effect, but it's never brought up again after Yusuke leaves for the Demon Plane. At least in the manga, there is some implied resolution; King Yama is forced out of office after Koenma learns about him letting demons into the human world, and Koenma presumably cancels the order (It also helps that Yusuke helps save the Gates of Judgment from terrorists).
    • Hiei being Yukina's brother is only occasionally mentioned after the Yukina arc, and is never given any definite closure apart from Hiei suggesting that if Yukina wants to see the Ice Maidens' society destroyed, she shouldn't wait for her brother to do so. What could have been an interesting subplot is reduced to being a justification for Hiei to have a Morality Pet.
    • It was kind of a letdown that at Yusuke's funeral early in the series, the boy Yusuke died to save says he wants to "Play with [Yusuke] again when he wakes up." The boy's mother starts crying, and it's all very tender and emotional... but the kid is never seen again.
  • Bleach: The Wonderweiss and Kensei fight. He is the first Vizard who is not Ichigo to activate his Bankai, which looks very impressive, what you expect is that the brain dead Arrancar was actually playing dumb because like Aizen, he likes to make others think they have an advantage just so he can caught them off guard and reveal his Vasto Lorde release and become a genuine threat. An epic battle would ensue, but instead, Wonderweiss is actually a Tyke Bomb used to negate Yamamoto's zanpakuto and that doesn't stop him from dying. Worse than that, there's no conclusion, no awesome release and Kensei doesn't look hurt at all.
      • It doesn't help that in addition to the fight not being seen, Kensei did not appear again until he was reinstated as a captain.
    • Yammy being the Zero Espada, it sounds impressive, more so than his release because you could do a lot with that, the big guy's always losing is actually a genuine threat that could be more dangerous than all of the Espadas combined, but instead we got a huge bulls eye that keeps getting bigger and easier to kill, worse his rank is based on Spiritual Energy amount, so he's weaker than every Espada in every other category.
    • Ichigo's Full-Bring Power brings out a weapon that that throws a projectile at the enemy in its incomplete state, then a solid black mass with a blade of dark mass in his left hand, and finally a white skeleton suit with a short blade; any one of these would've changed the way Ichigo fought entirely, but instead, nope, sorry Ginjo's stealing your powers and Rukia and the Soul Society's giving you back your original big sword and Energy Slash.
    • In fact, Bleach is full of these. The moral ambiguity of Soul Society, Ishida's vendetta against Mayuri, the possibility of Ichigo's school friends getting powers, etcetara, etcetera.
      • Incidentally, Kubo mentions there were at one point plans for Ichigo's friends to gain powers, but this was shot down by Shueisha who ordered him to hurry up the schedule and introduce the Shinigami.
    • They wasted a subplot in the Shusuke Amagai Arc they have one of the four Royal Houses in a power struggle between a princess and Evil Chancellor using forbidden weapon. A new captain that taking over Gin squads. They could have easily added some polital drama, show the inner working Soul Society dealing with the aftermath of Azien betrayel like Ishin and the rest of the squad being Butt Monkey to the rest of Gotai 13. Having to fight the Blue Blood, risking a civil war while they still getting ready to fight Azien. But what we get Ichigo jumping in fixing almost everything and Gotai 13 looking like fools again.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist. In the first adaptation, the series skips 4 years from Ed's passing the State Alchemist Exam to the Elric brother's adventures in Lior. What did Ed and Al do during the time skip? How did they find out about the supposed Philosopher's stone in Lior?
    • Dante's relationship to her student Izumi. A scene was devoted to the differences of their philosophies and established that they were not on the best of terms, but this is only explored through a brief flashback later on in the series. It would have been especially interesting if Dante and Izumi met again after Dante was revealed as the Big Bad. Moreover, her relationship with Hohenheim could have definitely been explored more. Admittedly this was in the first anime only, but since they were going a completely different route from the manga anyway there was no reason not to explore the possibilities.
  • To Love Ru. It has a princess (of the galaxy no less) running away from home, her father -- who will blow up the planet if he's insulted -- an Unlucky Everydude who started out in love with someone else, and a bunch of fiancés for the princess trying to take her hand to marry into ruling the universe. There are so many ways the writers could have gone with this; instead, they went with Fan Service and highly predictable plots. There are so many Fridge Logic plotholes, it simply boggles the mind. How is Rito becoming King of the Galaxy a good idea when he still knows nothing about either the galaxy or ruling things in general?
  • In the third episode of the Mega Man OVA "Upon a Star", Mega Man is once again running heroically through one of the Mega Man 5 fortresses when he surprisingly runs into his sister Roll, who is wearing battle armor like he is. She states that she wants to go into battle just like him. Before any more interesting things could come out of her, however, she and Mega Man are sucked back into the world of Yuuta, the Japanese boy who plays Mega Man games for a living. Because of this, Roll is suddenly back in her usual red dress, which throws away a chance for us to see Roll as a fighting robot in battle armor. (In Marvel vs. Capcom or Mega Man Powered Up, she fights in anything but battle armor -- especially in the latter game.)
  • The mysterious Gain Bijou from Overman King Gainer is presented as having had an adventurous past involving a failed exodus, being the son of a Duke, having been in the capital city of London (presumably in Saint Regan), and falling in love with Karin Boone, aside from certain scenes, and mentions of Karin's brother, Asuham wanting to team up with Gain to clean up London, nothing comes out of it. The whole thing with Karin Boone which forms one of the major subplots of the entire series is played off as comedy and explained has having been a one night stand which contradicted a previous flashback that stated that Karin wanted to be with Gain forever.
    • Actually, the one who narrated the whole Karin thing (and the accompanying flashback) was Asuham, who is not exactly the most reliable narrator. The point of the whole deal is that Gain and Karin did have a one-night stand, and the "seducing and abandoning Karin" thing was all in Asuham's head.
  • Shakugan no Shana starts off almost immediately with Sakai Yuji discovering that he's a magical replica of a dead man, soon to fade from existence. Awesome. We've got a series willing to throw away a viewpoint character to make a point about mortality - wait, what do you mean he's a MacGuffin Guy who doesn't have to worry about any of that? Dammit.
  • The first Afro Samurai movie/miniseries was deceptively deep in its way, creating an interesting world surrounding the central narrative. It constantly teased the viewers by leaving numerous loose ends and hinting at possible Sequel Hooks. Who is the 7th "Brother" of the Empty Seven Clan? Now that Afro is the Number One, and presumably received the same vision of enlightenment regarding the nature of the headbands scattered across the world, will he seek them out to end the Headband Wars and become God? Is Justice alive? If so, what is his relation to Afro's father? What epic and absolutely kickass events lead to the epilogue, with Jinno/Kuma back once again, held together only by being wrapped up like a mummy with a vast collection of headbands, smoking a cigarette through his helmet, and wielding butcher knives? How will Afro's personality change now that he's some to terms with his actions and integrated Ninja Ninja into his normally stoic personality? Then Afro Samurai: Resurrection came out. Afro's more introverted and depressed than ever, having locked himself in a little hut and devoted his time to whittling sculptures of all the people he's killed and praying for forgiveness. Suddenly, Jinno and a mysterious woman bust in on a motorcycle, kick his ass, take his headband, steal his father's corpse from its resting place with the intent to revive and torture the person Afro cares for the most, and goad him into action. This is all apparently revenge for the killings Afro is so angsty about. Even THIS sounds like a pretty interesting plot, with lots of room to tie up loose ends, explore the theme of cyclic revenge the first movie introduced, and explore a more pacifistic Afro. They even start to do this... For maybe ten minutes, and all of one non-lethal fight scene before Afro just goes back to slaughtering people indiscriminately, even more so than before, leading to Jinno and the only man capable of repairing him being killed (which quite possibly writes off the epilogue of the first film) and a cop-out on what SHOULD be an epic, EPIC fight between Afro and his resurrected, crazed, superpowered cyber-zombie-clone father. Then, another epilogue hinting at a sequel that, if history repeats itself, will have nothing to do with the plot they're setting up, anyway.
  • The last arc of Dragon Ball GT introduces the Shadow Dragons. It's a good idea in theory: overuse of the Dragon Balls being a bad thing is something that is mentioned in Dragonball Z. But what we end up with is 7 Dragons that fail to be any real threat and only take a single episode to dispatch of until the last one remaining absorbs all 7 Dragon Balls into his being. For all that, they might as well have stuck with one Shadow Dragon to start with.
    • Then there's this one Z special: "The Plot to Destroy the Saiya-jin". We're introduced to Dr. Raichi, a surviving Tsufuru-jin who has gone mad with his hatred of the Saiya-jin. (Okay, sweet.) He wants to kill the few remaining Saiya-jin... by planting machines on earth that spew out poison gas, killing everything on the planet. (Unorthodox for a Dragon Ball villain, but OK.) Our heroes are abruptly informed of this by the series' resident blackface character. Then we find out that, somehow, the gas is causing our heroes to be unable to concentrate their ki. Now, it may not make much sense, but How cool a plot-line would that have been? People who have been able to fly and blow things up most of their lives suddenly have to solve problems without those powers, and we get to see how they deal? But sadly, it's barely ever touched on again. Then we get 20 minutes plus of a wild goose chase where the heroes try to destroy all the machines, only to have another one appear. As they attempt to destroy it, "Ghost Warriors" of several old-school DBZ villains show up, without almost any explanation of how, why, or what they actually are. They're killed with little difficulty and seem to be filler. Finally, our heroes go running off to kill Raichi, who eventually explains that no matter how many times they kill him, he'll always rematerialize. They then manage to permanently kill him by... hitting him harder. The ending ensues, and in a truly bizarre example of No Ontological Inertia, the final machine disappears upon Raichi's death.
  • Shuffle, the anime version at least, has a large portion of the early plot focusing on Sia and Nerine, both of whom are magical princesses who want Rin for their husband. One would assume that either of them would be an obvious candidate for the girl Rin would hook up with and then dealing with having to pick one while preserving the feelings of the one but no. Instead, the anime rapidly shifts focus away from the magical pair, focusing on the normal Cool Big Sis character of Asa and her budding romantic relationship with Rin.
    • This really isn't restricted to the anime version at all. The premise of the visual novel sounds very interesting and they could have done a lot with it but in the end they don't stray from the standard harem style. Heaven and Hell are now connected to earth via a magic gate but not once are either even seen. The main characters attends a school that has subjects like magic and alchemy but it might as well be any other high school since through the entire game magic is barely used at all. The main character, a human, could become king of heaven/hell/both but this is apparently an extremely minor point and the endings where he would supposebly end up as a king by chosing Sia or Nerine never go past the girls getting over whatever problem they had. The story as a whole feels like reading a few chapters of what could have been something awesome.
  • El Hazard: the Alternative World is a huge offender here. It's initially suggested we'll catch up with Ifurita, or at least that it'll drive large chunks of the plot. A lot of pieces are set in place throughout the series. And then about midway through, it feels like the writers were told their series was being chopped in half, leading to a rushed ending in which everything goes to hell in a handbasket, and the shadowy villain showing up at the end just long enough to mention Ifurita for the second time this season before being taken out randomly by either an unidentified Deus Ex Machina or the unquantified power of the new Priestess. And then it ends. There's an episode of Les Yay that wraps up everything, but it really doesn't involve the plot of the last dozen or so episodes.
  • Guyver has an example that was fixed in the most recent anime. In the original manga, Guyver 2 was killed incredibly early on. Even Yoshiki Takaya, the mangaka, regretted this (even though it allowed him to demonstrate the one major weakness of the Guyvers), so in the anime, Guyver 2/Lisker's role was expanded to make him the first major "boss" that Sho defeats.
  • The Ranma ½ anime episode titled "Mousse Goes Home to the Country". At first, it looks like we're going to get an episode spotlighting Mousse as he returns to his home and family in China. Instead, all we get is a very brief flashback of his past with his mother, and the rest of the episode is just him trying to get Ranma to hook up with Shampoo before he leaves (with predictable results). He never actually goes home to the country in that episode, and a number of fans are left to wonder just what the episode would have been like if it'd actually lived up to its title and we got to see Mousse with his family outside of the one brief flashback.
  • Lupin III vs Detective Conan: anime's greatest thief vs anime's greatest detective. Has the potential to be an epic crossover, eh? Except the story was focused on the Conan cast until about the last third of the movie. Zenigata, Goemon, and even Lupin all were bit parts. The real stars of the movie? A bunch of Talking Heads.
    • And it wasn't even truly "versus", either. Apart from a skateboard/motorcycle chase when Fujiko "kidnaps" the princess, Lupin and Conan actually ended up working together to unmask the identity of the murderer. Conan and Lupin III truly working at cross-purposes could have taken the Conan vs. Kaitou KID rivalry to a whole new level. (Ironically, Kaitou KID is modeled on Lupin III's grandfather, Arsène Lupin, in much the same way as Conan is modeled on Sherlock Holmes.)
  • Telepathy Shoujo Ran starts with Ran's psychic abilities being triggered by her rather violent encounter with Dark Magical Girl Midori. Things get even more complicated once another woman enters the stage, with similar abilities and plans to overturn the world to seek revenge against normal humans. This would have been a nice base for a dark, suspenseful series, especially with all Fantastic Racism against people with psychic abilities going on. Alas, Midori performs a Heel Face Turn early on and becomes Ran's best friend, from which point the shows morphs into a much more sedate series of detective stories. Bummer.
  • Manabi Straight! is more "they wasted a perfectly good setting." Moe schoolyard comedy might not be the best genre for a mid-future Japan slowly dying as birth rates drop and the population ages.
  • Quite a few Hentai end up like this. Wet Summer Days, for example, gives us three incredibly-animated and bittersweet stories... which all have at least one sex scene. Only in the second episode does the sex feel like it develops naturally due to the relationship between the two main characters... and yet, even then, it feels extremely out of place in comparison to the tone of the rest of the show.
  • In Futari wa Pretty Cure, we are soon introduced to Femme Fatale Poisonny and her younger brother Kiriya (who was masquerading as a normal boy to spy on the heroines), two agents of the Dusk Zone sent to defeat the titular duo and further the Dark King's plan to achieve immortality. Despite supposedly being Always Chaotic Evil creatures, the two care a lot about each other... and when Poisonny eventually dies in combat with Cure Black and Cure White, Kiriya is devastated. If Toei had bothered to go anywhere with it, it could have made for a gripping plot: just imagine how shocked the heroines would have been if they learned that not only Kiriya was from the Dusk Zone, but also that the evil witch they had killed earlier was his beloved sister. It would surely have made them uncertain about their duty, and painfully reminded them that things are never in black and white. Unfortunately, Kiriya never bothers to even tell them about his sister when the time to fight comes, and the issue falls to the side before it can even be raised.
  • Crest of the Stars plays with this a little. The Non-Indicative First Episode is about Jinto's backstory: When he was ten his home planet- a colony that had long since lost contact with Earth- is invaded by the Abh, a race of evolved humans with FTL travel. Jinto's father, the sitting president, surrenders to the Abh and becomes the Count of the star system. The people, including the family's loyal bodyguard, assume they've been sold out. They very well might have been, although it was also the easiest way to ensure someone in the power structure would be looking out for their interests. Jinto is moved off-planet for his own protection, and to be educated as Imperial Nobility. The second episode picks up seven years later with Jinto meeting a young Imperial Space Navy pilot named Lafiel, and the remainder of the series is the two attempting to find a safe harbor when war breaks out almost literally on top of them. The interesting bit is that the very last episode has Jinto mention some events occurring back on his home planet, adding a casual remark that it doesn't matter to him because he's a completely different person now. Which suggests that the wasted plot was entirely intentional and meant to put an exclamation point on Jinto's Character Development over the course of the series.
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, it is revealed that Admiral Gil Graham, who has been financially supporting Hayate since her parents' deaths, planned on sealing her away with the Book of Darkness, but wanted her to be happy before he did. At the end of the series, he says he will tell Hayate the truth when she is able to live on her own, but in StrikerS, a 19-year-old Hayate, living in Midchildia as a Lieutenant Colonel for the TSAB, shows no signs of knowing.
    • Another one is in Strikers: they did a flash back to Nanoha's near death experience and say that she might not even walk again. We don't know what it was that did that to her or how did everyone acted at that time. It would have been a very good character development and relationship with each other, especially between Nanoha and Hayate, whom leg wasn't healed at that time
      • In a flashback late in StrikerS, set around the time Nanoha first met Vivio, Nanoha notes that she's reluctant to adopt Vivio, noting that as she considers herself a "person of the sky" who has been shot down once, she's not sure she can reliably care for her. In Strikers Sound Stage 4, she tells Shamal that she knows she can't fly forever, prompting Shamal to insist that she not give up if she wants to keep flying for any amount of time, which Nanoha agrees to, noting that she can't make Vivio cry. It's somewhat circular, but the incident does have its impact on Nanoha.
    • Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force begins with Touma becoming a fugitive from the TSAB for breaking into the lab, stealing the Divider and making off with Lily. This could have presented an interesting ethical dilemma for Touma's older sister figure Subaru as well as Teana and the others from the Bureau who know him, as well as requiring Touma to escape from the antagonist Bureau, but when Touma finally does face the Bureau, he loses control of himself and this becomes a I Know You Are in There Somewhere Fight.
    • In the original series, the makers go out of their way to present Precia Testarossa as an irredeemably evil lady, who acts extraordinarily cruel toward Fate and only uses her to get the 21 Jewel Seeds. It would have made for a more interesting story though if Precia would actually have been a kind woman, who loves Fate very much, but despite that still clings to her obsession to revive her daughter Alicia. Fate could actually have been equally obsessed to see her sister alive and make her mother happy, without any real coercion on Precia's part. Think of the drama this could have caused: Fate actually having to fight the mother she loves and not being able to revive her sister, something she had longed for ever since she was very little. For added effect, Fate could actually have been cloned while Alicia was still alive, or perhaps even be her real (twin) sister, giving her the chance to have actually known and love Alicia herself. To take it an even further step, you could have an ethical dilemma where Nanoha and Yuuno are forced to consider if it is right to deny the Testarossas' chance at happiness.
    • Strikers again: In the early parts we had General Regius Gaiz, a General Ripper who believes that Hayate and the Wolkenritter are Karma Houdinis who got off easy for their crimes. This could have been a setup for interesting political intrigue and conspiracy as Regius and whoever else agrees with him try to undermine Riot Force Six while Hayate's more politically-savvy allies fight against that. It would have fit with the attempt to shift away from Magical Girl tropes, and there's certainly a market for political thrillers. Unfortunately, the issue gets swept under the carpet before long.
  • In Saki's Training From Hell episode, we find out Nodoka is so used to playing Online Mahjong in her house that she has problems playing anywhere else, which they solve by having her carry around her plush penguin Etopen, since when she plays home she always has Etopen in her lap. Fair enough, makes her a Bunny Ears Lawyer but the series is filled with them, so nothing wrong here. Of course, anyone Genre Savvy will think this makes Etopen a Chekhov's Penguin and it'll go missing at some point, and indeed, during the Nationals, Etopen is taken while she's sleeping and ultimately broken by accident by Koromo. At this point, one expects Nodoka has to learn to cope without Etopen and play her match without it, right? Nope: Touka's butler fixes it so they can have an equal fight, and Nodoka never has the problem of being without her penguin for the entire series. Considering every other girl on the Five Girl Team HAS been on matches where they had a handicap (Except Hisa, who has no special quirks), it feels even more odd.
  • Kämpfer. We have a guy turning into a girl with kickass magical fighting abilities and a big mindscrew as to why he got them at all. Unfortunately, any semblance of the plot is drenched in copious amounts of fanservice, and the remaining plot resolution is just a token to those who wanted a plot. And then in the last episode there is a scene where Natsuru goes to Sakura's aid even though he knows what's she's done and she completely rejects him. This could have been the show's rare touching moment but it's completely spoiled by being Played for Laughs.
  • Clannad spends the whole series having Tomoya and Nagisa help people, making friends and unleashing orbs of light. In the illusionary world, Tomoya is given a second chance due to all the good he did. That means the he goes back to before Nagisa dies, and she just miraculously lives. How much better would it have been if all the people they helped came together to get Nagisa to the hospital, while Kotomi had been working on a treatment for her disease.
    • Another possibility is to have instead of the orb deal going on, which feels forced and trite, if Clannad After Story had been as daring in its resolution as it had been in setting up the romance: Have Tomoya not only learn to cope with the death of the one he had loved so dearly, but learn to move on, and possibly, learn to love again. Would it have been risky? Yes, but it could have lead to one of the most moving payoffs in anime history. Instead, they used supernatural stuff to cop out of the ending they were headed towards.
      • Unfortunately, this is all a case of game mechanics and multiple endings dictating the plot. The supernatural bits are played up a bit more in the game, though, since it actually is a part of the game's mechanics.
  • A relatively minor one in Fairy Tail. Natsu and Wendy arrive in a world where their magic doesn't work and is thus given weapons to compensate for their loss. They never figure out how to work them and use them in a fight properly before they get their magic back. It would've been awesome to see Natsu swinging around a flaming sword, for god's sake.
  • While it's generally accepted that romance should never be allowed to overshadow the main action of a Shounen series, was it REALLY necessary for all the Ship Tease and appealing relationship building that had been put into the characters of Eyeshield 21 to amount to exactly nothing by the end of the series? The budding romance between Sena and Suzuna (to say nothing of the love/hate relationship between Hiruma and Mamori) was mercilessly abandoned by the final arc and never spoken of again.
    • Also, kinda minor, but there were all those hints dropped about Hiruma's mysterious father that never amounted to anything. Maybe the whole point is that he stayed mysterious...
      • How about the entire friggin World Cup? Given Eyeshield's tendency to take a stereotype and crank it Up to 11, the arc was rife with potential to be the funniest and most action-packed arc in the series. Especially in the beginning when the author went to the trouble of showing all the heavy-hitters of the tournament being hilarious almost Hetalia-level caricatures. Instead, what we got was a lot of lazy flash forwards, completely skipping all the non-America matches, and much of the series' intensity replaced with race-related wangst, something completely out of place in a light-hearted shonen manga.
  • Basquash. The show spent a good 20-something episodes leading viewers onto something that could have been really great only fall flat on its face. Oh, and then there was the Eclipse and Nike merchindising...
  • Many fans seem to think that the entire second season of Darker Than Black was completly ruined by the introduction of the spotlight-stealing character Suou Pavlichencko.
    • Even those who don't mind Suou quite that much tend to see her as getting too much focus, particularly since they had to go and make the real main character start acting like a creepy jerk to do it.
    • In terms of plot-wasting, there was a chance with Kirihara's new team to show another group being against The Syndicate despite being fairly shady themselves, but that was never adequately explored.
  • Fushigiboshi no Futagohime: The driving force of episode 34 is that Mirlo is under pressure from her mother to win an art contest (in her home kingdom, no less), and she doesn't want to compete, but even with the twins backing her, she Cannot Spit It Out, and says, "Alright, I'll do my best." Yet at the art contest two episodes later, when Altezza is declared the winner over Mirlo etc., there's no time to go over the ramifications of this, because Bright's plan to make all the other kingdoms pay the Waterdrop Kingdom to get their rain overtakes the agenda.
  • Coyote Ragtime Show starts out with a bang and introduces two interesting characters, detective Angelica and her freshly acquired assistant Chelsea, who have a lot of chemistry from the get-go. This formula could have made for one heck of a buddy series, with the two women chasing after criminal mastermind Mister. Instead, the rest of the show is about the bad guys, which doesn't work out nearly as well.
    • Some people found Mister and his crew far more interesting than Angelica, and besides, both teams were fighting the same villains anyway by the end.
  • Vampire Knight has Yuki discovering that Love Interest Kaname is actually her brother...okay, not really, but that's another can of worms. Instead of running with the angst and emotional conflict and Squick inherent in this kind of twist, she is perfectly okay and even eager to continue pursuing him as part of the Love Triangle. Angst? What Angst??
  • Between defeating Kaioh and the ending of the manga, Fist of the North Star went through a few minor story arcs without any big villain connecting them. One of these storylines is how Kenshiro found a boy named Ryu, Raoh's son from an unknown woman. This can easily lead in to a very interesting story: who's going to be the 65th successor of the Hokuto Shinken style? Ryu seemed an ideal candidate, but instead Ken ditched him after a couple of stops and we never hear from him again.
  • Some say Tears to Tiara went off the rails following Gaius's death.
  • One of the things noted about Shinkuu Yuusetsu is that it has a great set-up, decent characters and fantasy world but there's no conflict. Hannes visits for a bit, he leaves, there's a side-story, the two main characters go and visit Hannes... ends on a flashback... Arguably it's good as a quiet and sweet BL story but a lot more could have been done... also they never explained why people have this completely pointless power.
  • Nana could have have been a nice yuri-esque story of two young women who grow ever closer, despite their immense differences in backgrounds and personalities. Alas, most of the series is about the relationships of the two Nana's with men, and very obnoxious ones at that. Sure, the author keeps sprinkling hints that the Nana's might actually realize what they mean for each other, but so far she keeps shoving all kinds of guys between the two, making it more and more a case of Bait and Switch Lesbians.
    • This is debatably Misaimed Fandom related. The relationships of both Nanas with men is what starts the plot in the first place. Both Nanas are also involved in the Japanese punk community.
  • Loveless might be the best example of this trope. It takes place in a world where everybody's got cat ears until they lose their virginity. Imagine the stories one could build around this! How would it affect how often people get raped? Would it decrease incest? How would it affect fundamentalist societies? Would frivolous sex be considered more immoral or less? Would there be a market for fake cat ears? Go on, try to come up with your own examples. There are many interesting questions you could explore with a manga based on this concept. But if you expected the creator of this manga to actually do anything with her fascinating premise, then you're mistaken. She makes so little use of such a promising concept that after a while one wonders why the Sam Hill she used it in the series to begin with.
    • Actually, the author stated that she likes drawing cat ears on young kids, but thinks they look creepy on adults. This was justthe explanation she came up with
  • For every plotline in Naruto, there are at least a hundred different fanfics written about how it should have been. And then a thousand people complaining about said plotline. This trope is in full effect.
    • The movies in particular suffers from this. Initially, the plot sounds promising...until the Cliché Storm strikes. The usual ingredients include: a Big Bad who abuses an ancient hidden power to try to take over the world, his cliche henchmen, some canon characters (Gaara, the FOURTH KAZEKAGE) for appeal and finally, some variation of the Rasengan as the big finale.
  • Working is a manga and anime about the the workers and managers who run a Japanese family restaurant. This could have been an interesting look at how a restaurant operates and how the personnel handles customers, similar to how this is done in Clerks. The real trials of holding a customer service job in Japan (where the customer is given the highest priority, and there're no tips to take home) could have been explored. Instead its just another Slice of Life anime, with very little focus on the actual WORKING part of the restaurant and more focused on sitcom style relationships and romances. It could have easily had some other setting.
  • The anime of Ichiban Ushiro no Dai Maou had something going for it and at least seemed reasonably paced, but that was only your illusion, viewer. Come the last few episodes and everything comes piling out all at once. New plot points are introduced and forgotten by the minute, fresh interpretations of the world of Daimaou are brought up only to be treated like an afterthought, and any sense of stability the show possessed is thrown out the window. And then they hit the Reset Button.
  • Tenchi Muyo! GXP has a few, including Seina's fear of Kiriko in episode 10. It could have been an obstacle the two have to work their relationship through but it's quickly brushed aside by the end of the episode.
  • Pokémon tends to do this in regards to the various villainous teams, besides the obvious exception of Team Rocket (and even they are limited to the bumbling trio). Crosses over with They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character. To elaborate:
    • The first and last appearances of Teams Magma/Aqua are less than 100 episodes apart. So how much screen time did the Teams get? Only 6 for Magma (not counting a two-shot member with a Ditto, who served no major role at all); and 7 for Aqua - and out of these, their leaders only appeared in the two-parter which ended their arc, with very little character development as the writers chose to focus - again - on Ash and Pikachu as opposed to developing the conflict better. And most of these episodes had both teams so there's even less development. Given how they were loads more competent as adversaries and have interesting motivations, scrapping the opportunity to use them feels like a complete waste.
      • Even people who don't complain about the arc's presentation as a whole often complain about the 2-part finale - using still images to depict much of the Groudon/Kyogre clash, and rushed conflict resolution with little explanation (Was Archie really just possessed? Did Maxie ever outright state he was wrong? Why did the Orbs leave Archie & Pikachu's bodies and disappear? Why was Lance there instead of Steven/Wallace?)
    • Team Galactic fares a little better, but still only get 10 episodes out of well over 100, and the characters within it (Cyrus, Saturn, Mars, Jupiter, and Charon) also get very little in the way of exposure, focus, or development. Charon is the most noteworthy example, as he escapes the finale and....never shows up again to be brought to justice. Make no mistake that what was presented was excellent (and every episode utilised developed the Myth Arc), but couldn't we have gotten a bit less filler in exchange for a few more clashes in-between?
    • Team Plasma might be falling into this - the postponed two-parted with Team Rocket aside, why have they not been alluded to since then? It's been over a year, and we don't know whether they (and N, for that matter) will even appear at all. Makes one wonder if episodes featuring them were scrapped/postponed along with the 2-parter, or if they really did just intend to give them spanned-out appearances...
  • C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control has a fantastic premise: a bunch of people are (seemingly randomly) chosen by a mysterious entity to fight each other in an alternate dimension with sentient Mons that represent their futures. If they win a battle, they make money; if they lose, something horrible happens to them, up to and including having important people edited out of their lives as though they never existed. So you'd think that would be a great way to explore the inner struggle of screwing someone else over to get what you want, while using the Deals as a metaphor for the harsh nature of capitalism. Instead, we get philosophical navel gazing about the nature of money and a bizarre metaphysical crisis with no actual explanation. Disappointment is not a strong enough word.
  • More like They Wasted A Perfectly Good Fan Service, but anyway: Ai Kora is about a guy who likes girls with a perfect "part", like having "long straight legs like Sally's" or "bullet train breasts", to cite two examples from the main cast. Thus, those parts are used for fanservice, the former also getting Foot Focus. So far, good. When he finally finds his ideal butt, it happens to belong to a guy. The only justification was having Stupid Sexy Flanders jokes, but considering this was aimed to male readers, the reaction whenever was this brought was closer to Squick than anything else, plus the jokes could've worked perfectly fine with ears, nose, nape, hands or some other "lesser" parts, as opposed to one of the "main" and "arousing" ones.
    • To add insult to the injury, a girl with an ideal butt is introduced soon after that guy is, but she gets Put on a Bus and borderline Brother Chucked, as she's never brought up again until The Bus Came Back, and still, only for that chapter, almost as if teasing ass lovers with someone that caters to them. To the point when an evil kunoichi reads the main's mind and turns into his ideal woman, she uses the GUY's butt, not the girl's. Just because. That said, at least the butt guy gets Out of Focus as the series goes on and some one-off females do get ass service, but it's still a waste giving one of the "fanservice" parts to a guy, as they sure didn't give the breasts to a fat dude or something.
  • On a similar note, the second episode of the second season of Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu was a Summer festival with a "Yukata-wearing beauty contest" for girls. Anyone normal would expect the girls to enter it for either comedy, Fan Service or even both. It could even be used for developing the romances a little with the guys praising the girls before and after, especially if they lost. Instead, and for no logical reason what-so-ever, the girls decide to make the guys crossdress and have them enter. Worse, it isn't a short gag: It takes half the friggin episode for no reason. Considering crossdressing guys are a common gag in this show, it's not even original. To top it off, it even failed to appeal to the trap-loving crowd for two reasons: first, the guys didn't end looking girly, they just looked like, well, guys in female clothes and makeup, thus failing at being traps. Second is Hideyoshi, Ensemble Darkhorse and poster boy for anime traps, didn't enter the contest, thus ensuring this completely failed to reach its attempted crowd. Thankfully, the girls did get romance and fanservice in other episodes, but it still rankles.
  • Black Butler: Where to start with the anime?! Pretty much everything involved with Ash/Angela serves more to cause conflict for the sake of conflict, instead of actually making sense. What was the deal with Drocell Keinz and the dolls? Was there any good reason to spike the curry with Kali-Ma? Why did s/he create the cult in the first place, then decide to kill them? Did they REALLY need to give angels Retconjuration powers to justify a Pensieve Flashback? What exactly was the Evil Plan supposed to do, and why did they need to burn down London to do it? And, of course, why sell Ciel into slavery instead of killing or purifying him in the first place?! Granted, this was a rare example of a Filler Villain being the Big Bad for the sake of a Gecko Ending, but COME ON! Professional writers should do better than that!
  • Early in Durarara there's a plotline about illegal immigrants and teenage runaways being kidnapped by Yagiri Pharmaceuticals for use in medical experiments; seeing as how Yagiri Pharmaceuticals has the head of a Dullahan in their labs, these experiments could have gone in some pretty interesting directions. If nothing else, evidence of the kidnappings could have been used to help bring Namie Yagiri down. Instead the company just gets bought out by a larger corporation off-screen, and the kidnapping victims and experiments never amount to anything and are never mentioned again.
    • In the anime, the ENTIRE plot is this, due to overtaking the manga/light novels/what have you and doing its own thing. There is literally no resolution about Celty's head, Izaya's war, everything just kind of reverts back to the status quo.
  • While the Super-Powered Evil Side plot in Sacred Seven already is an example of this trope, since it's trashed after the very first episode, it's taken Up to Eleven with the episode when Ruri is kidnapped: The people having a way to control the Super-Powered Evil Side work together with Alma, but making something of that never crosses anyone's mind.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima is an excellent story that ended about 100 chapters too soon. The final fight happens off screen (during a fucking Time Skip no less), Queen Arika's whereabouts (and actions for the past decade) are never so much as mentioned, Negi admits he has feelings for someone, but never reveals who, and several dozen characters aren't even given an epilogue. Almost every character has dangling plot threads (some quite significant) left unresolved, even the ones with an epilogue and especially the protagonist, for whom the issues of his royalty and potential immortality were dropped entirely. Shiori in particular has eventually become nothing less than an honorary member of 3-A, and as steadfast in her devotion to Negi as Nodoka or Asuna, but dropped off the radar rather abruptly.
    • A lot earlier on in the series, we get a story arc involving the Kansai Magic Association. This could have included moral dilemmas about whether the encroachment of western magic on eastern sorceries is a change for the better or the worse, which were never explored by Negi and friends - just a rather jarring "The Reason You Suck" Speech with "I'm a western wizard, and we're the best" as a justification of his superiority. The reader is also told about the Big Bad of the arc losing her parents in a war, hinting at her actions being taken out of revenge or justice, but this also went nowhere; instead, she just acted very predictably, using Konoka to summon a demon she planned to wipe out the west of Japan with. She is never brought up over the rest of the series, and Japanese sorcery as a whole is barely seen ever again - the recurring characters who used it, Setsuna and Kotarou, are never seen using it.
  • Love Live!:
    • Many diehard Yuri fans are disappointed to several parts of the manga adaptation of School Idol Diary novels:
      • The afterwords of "On The Night Of The Fireworks" had the author claiming that both Nico and Maki joining hands like sisters even though the fans are aware that both of them are CLEARLY AFFECTIONATE to each other. 
      • The last page for "Dating Pair": Even though both Nozomi and Eli (yes, that main pairing) went to a date plus exchanging school rings to each other, Nozomi (yes, the Ambiguously Gay herself) sympathizes Eli's future (male?) lover despite the fact that she said that Eli will NEVER get a boyfriend on their first meeting and the author of the story said that their relationship will continue after their graduation in the afterword page.
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