21 Cringe Anime That Will Make You Flinch

Some anime make me cringe by just thinking back about them! The common things between them have to be that they hold situations or certain delusional behaviors that make me feel uneasy. Like, I actually flinch on my couch and sometimes even face-palm myself for some scenes. My best technique against those moments is to pause the show so I can compose myself.

Note: It does not necessarily mean that the shows are of bad quality, so if you can find it in your heart to embrace them, here is a list of 21 cringe anime that for whatever reason, you must watch.

1. WataMote

cringe anime

Nothing beats WataMote when it comes to the cringe department. I was scarred by this anime for life!

A teenage girl name Tomoko is extremely socially maladjusted. She wants to be around people but her anxiety problems prevent this, everything she does is a nightmare! Personally, I enjoyed the cringe comedy aspects of it, the anime is packed with moments that inspire genuine empathy for Tomoko.

Although Watamote is actually entertaining and well-made, I recommend consuming it in small doses, because you may find yourself empathizing with Tomoko to an uncomfortable degree and suffer that secondhand embarrassment. This feeling is amplified if you can relate to the social inexperience and misfortune of Tomoko.

2. Mars of Destruction

cringe anime

A cringe anime masterpiece that can not be understood by anyone, and that’s why it is infamously coined as the worst-rated anime of all time. I remember watching this years ago, it basically twisted my perception of what is a wonderfully funny-bad anime.

It has a nonsensical plot, and weird teenage girl soldiers with no personality being the lone defenders of humanity against an alien invasion. No one knows why the coloful-haired girls have been chosen, and it seems the creators don’t really care. The girls don’t know how to fight, and most often can’t work out how to shoot a rifle work. Their leader is a guy whose father forces him to wear a painful Mars suit, almost painful like the whole anime.

When one of the girls gets her head shot off it took it takes an army of doctors to analyze her headless body and declare “yep she’s dead alright”. I burst out laughing, and I’m convinced it’s not an anime aimed to be a comedy. If this sounds like the best of the worst cringe-fest, you’re more than welcome to celebrate it with your friends.

3. Makura no Danshi

cringe anime

This cringe anime is probably for girls who feel lonely. Weirdly enough, it features a different guy who will listen to the audience and hold them when they need it.

It’s kind of weird how those boys just look at you and sometimes they’ll make you feel lonely just by looking at them. They’ll say things to you like: “If the bad guys come, I’ll turn into the Black Ranger and protect you”, or “Good work today, would you like me to give you a massage?”

The conversations are so lunatic but if you’re feeling lonely, single, and bored, maybe this is an anime that you should watch just for the shock value.

4. School days

cringe anime

The show begins its steps similarly to any typical harem series: the protagonist, Makoto, falls in love with an obscure girl 1, that’s why he asks his childhood friend, an obscure sophomore girl 2, to help him with the matchmaking. After Makoto and obscure girl 1 become a couple, the bitter truth is revealed: Makoto doesn’t really love her! As she does not allow Makoto to manifest his idea of “love”, and as a result, Makoto despairs the relationship. After all, he had already tried everything, he even went on two dates with her! Two dates!

I had to put School Days on this list just because by episode 5 I hated Makoto so much I cringed whenever he appeared. To the anime credit, there is the famous last episode. Without going into details, I will say that the ending left me satisfied.

5. Mekakucity Actors

cringe anime

The preferred way to describe the anime is to follow ‘Mekakucity Actors’ own approach. What it chooses to present in the first episode is probably the most suitable for exposition: therefore meet Shintaro Kisaragi, a heavy hikikomori. He is not alone, Ene lives with him, an energetic young woman who does not let him rest. Luckily for him, Ene can be silenced by pressing the power button, as Ene is a virtual girl that moves between the computer screen and Shintaro’s iPhone.

Following an unfortunate mishap, Shintaro was forced to leave the house – for the first time in two summers – in order to purchase a new keyboard. As part of an attack on the mall, Shintaro’s life changes from one end to the other.

Maybe not “cringe enough”, but it Ene’s virtual girl comes to life, is pretty painful.

6. Noucome

cringe anime

Kanade is an unlucky student, because he is cursed in what is called ‘Absolute Choices’ – a game that appears in his mind in which he must choose one of the possible routes offered to him, and if he refuses he will suffer intense pain. As expected from the genre, the concept of the series yields mostly cheesy jokes. Kanade finds himself in a situation that forces him to behave in a cringe way towards girls.

The series opens with a larger-than-life narration: we are shown important figures from history and how momentary decisions change the course of their lives, this opening could have worked well if it wasn’t a cheap cheesy comedy.

7. Eromanga Sensei

cringe anime

Where do I even start? Well, the plot alone is insane, Izumi Masamune is a novelist who works with the amazingly talented Illustrator who goes by the pen name Eromanga Sensei. However, it later turns out, that his ten-year-old sister is the famous Eromanga Sensei. Oh, but don’t worry – they’re not blood-related so it’s fine.

Eromanga Sensei contains some very cringe scenes. Like, in one scene where a girl from Sagiri’s school comes to visit, and when Izumi comes to see who she is, she starts talking about how much she loves dick. This series was hard to sit through and in every episode, I felt my brain cells dying.

8. Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions

cringe anime

I remember watching the first episode and my skin crawled so hard for almost half of the anime because of the main character’s goofy behavior. It really pleas to the whole concept that we’ve all done some stuff in our early teens and want to forget it ever happened.

However, while at first Chunibyo might be c, later on, it’s cuter or even sweet, and the comedy will be worth your while.

9. Shimoneta

cringe anime

Shimoneta is set in a futuristic world where references to anything sexual are deemed “unhealthy” and have been eradicated.

Yep, it’s that weird of a concept but there is a reason why the series is rated so highly. It is filled with ecchi harem cringe references, there’s no way that at some point the MC Blue Snow wearing underpants over her head won’t make you laugh. It’s full of humor and over-the-top slapstick moments.

With that being said, Shimoneta is a surprisingly clever show with a meaningful message. It is also hilarious at times.

10. Dagashi Kashi

cringe anime

The series is one long commercial for a bunch of really cheap kinds of Japanese candy. The first few episodes had some really strange events. Also, the main character Hotaru whose airheadedness is surpassed only by her freaky obsession with candy.

I’m talking about a girl who frequently hallucinates that she makes out candy. Overall, I’d rate it “Okay Watchable”, especially if getting a sales pitch in animated form excites you.

11. Kakegurui

cringe anime

Prepare yourself for many over-dramatic facial expressions and some crazy anime girls that will make you cringe hard

Kakegurui is about a prestigious private academy where twisted gambling games determine the hierarchy of the students.

. Getting into Kakegurui for some people will likely not be easy, but if you’re looking for an intense psychological thriller with exciting mind games then you will probably love it.

12. Vampire Holmes

cringe anime

A story of a great detective who doesn’t solve mysteries, or have any detective skills. The lazy Holmes and his stubborn Hudson (not Watson) are on the case to identify the vampire that threatens the church!

The whole anime revolves around the cringy relationship between the male leads, Holmes and Hudson. It is unbearable to watch with all the little winks, small talk, the occasional glance at the other person, and out of the blue “haha funny, ha” – Say What? moments, only they can understand.

The characters move like in a flash animation made on a cheap computer, they hardly have expressions and barely move around. Since it is three minutes per episode, the viewing hurdle is low. If you took my advice and had a cringe party with Mars Destruction, make it a double feature and add Vampire Holmes to the mix.

13. Love Tyrant

cringe anime

To be honest, usually, I love stupid anime but this one was so cringy I found it hard to make it through the whole first episode. Even though, I stuck with it because I didn’t really have much else to watch.

The plot revolves around a “Kiss Note” that every person whose name is written in it falls in love with the person who wrote it. It is pretty much a love drama that takes itself much too seriously and you’ll cringe like me trying to get through each episode.

14. Trinity Seven

cringe anime

A group of boys witnesses some strange supernatural events, and there’s also action. It’s a generic anime only with better animation and battles. I must admit that I was a little disappointed, usually, I know how to avoid wasting my time on this type of anime. In this case, I missed big time.

The story itself is interesting, something about a black sun that covers the sky and completely changes the hero’s life. However, it’s full of the usual, “this is fate” cliches that prevent Trinity Seven from being more than just another cringe anime series that contributes nothing to our world.

However, if you’re a fan of fanservice then you can give it a try.

15. Kill La Kill

cringe anime

You can’t make a series about fighting clothes without telling the audience “yes, we know it’s cringing stupid”. You see, clothes in Kill la Kill are not just items to wear, they are formidable weapons. The fabric can turn any student into a well-oiled fighting machine.

I found myself pleasantly surprised to discover that clothing is more violent than any galaxy-throwing robot I have ever seen.

The reason to watch Kill la Kill is “because why not?” It serves heaps of surrealistic action, and just as importantly, it is seasoned with humor

16. Food Wars!

cringe anime

Soma Yukihira enrolls in an elite culinary academy where students engage in cooking competitions called Shokugeki.  

For some reason, most of the characters can’t get over themselves tasting food and act as if nothing else matters, they worship the gods of cooking which is really cringy. Also, the Ecchi parts are disturbing as the exaggerated foodgasms. However, as the series goes it becomes more creative.

17. Zombieland Saga

cringe anime

A show about an all-zombie girl idol group will get my approval any day.

Zombieland Saga is a unique take on an idol show with an emphasis on comedy, and a good variety in the songs and characters. The fact that the girls are zombies is usually used for comedic effect but also becomes important for each character’s story and for the overall narrative.

However, what happens in the show as it progresses is cringy to me. I couldn’t follow the story and make sense of what is going on to a degree that I felt embarrassed for the creators.

18. Rent-A-Girlfriend

cringe anime

Following a humiliating breakup with his girlfriend, Kazuya uses a dating app to rent a girlfriend named Chizuru who is later revealed to be his next-door neighbor.

I’m not saying the concept has no potential, but Kazuya is so dumb and completely lacks any backbone that it’s painful to watch. I mean, how can you like a girl after she purposely talks trash about you in front of everyone?

Also, while Chizuru always helps him, he only pulls her deeper into it and he also does not help her at all and treats her pretty badly. He triggers the living hell out of me. So, if you tend to have empathy, I bet you’re going to find it hard sitting through this.

See also: 12 Anime like Rent-A-Girlfriend (Kanojo, Okarishimasu)

19. The Familiar Of Zero

cringe anime

Louise is a member of the nobility who is terrible at magic and who can’t control any type of the four elements. During a special ritual that was intended to summon her Familiar- a magical creature who will serve as her eternal companion – she ends up with Saito, an ordinary teenage Japanese boy.

The story is about the title itself – Louise, her familiar Saito, and how they are slowly building their relationship together while fighting all the odds. However, the anime is mostly about how Louise crazily abuses Saito, who is in love with her. Whenever he upset she does horrible things to him. This element of the show cringed the hell out of me and I know that it did others too.

20. Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun

cringe anime

An ensemble comedy anime whose main protagonist, Sakura, is in love with her classmate, a Manga artist named Nozaki. Sakura plans to share her feelings with him, but her plan takes an unexpected turn.

You don’t have to know the genre in order to understand the jokes but it will definitely help. It is extremely cheesy, some of the funniest moments in the series are when you see the creation process that runs through Nozaki’s head. Most of the time he takes inspiration from his real life for his characters and surroundings, and his friends are a bunch of weirdos.

21. Dog & Scissors

cringe anime

A teenage boy is obsessed with a novelist girl and ends up reincarnated as her pet dog. He then learns she is a total lunatic sadist. They talk telepathically, and somehow she develops feelings for him that she express through torture. Pretty crazy isn’t it?

This comedy Isekai is borderline psychopathic, to say the least since it’s all about terrorizing helpless animals. So, unless you’re into pet fetishes, you’ll probably find yourself cringing hard like me.

A musician and film buff. I'm a Film graduate of The Sam Spiegel Film and T.V. School program. Creative writing by nature, a very curious girl, exploring all geek fandom.