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If you've seen CosPrayers, you probably remember it as one of the worst anime you've watched. The story made no sense, with many important story elements being cut out entirely. The characters had no personality, terrible acting, and their actions didn't make sense. There was pretty much no explanation for what was happening either. The camera angles were strange. The random fanservice also kills any attempt at a serious tone, but the show seems to be trying to take itself seriously. It's just all-around a bad show. Wikipedia even claims that the show spawned a minor meme "Worse than CosPrayers" to describe incredibly terrible shows.

If that were all, then we could just write off the show as one of anime's great failures, but the abomination continued with Smash Hit! (Hit wo Nerae!) and LOVE♥LOVE?. These series were aired in sequence immediately after CosPrayers and produced by the same people. In them, CosPrayers is a live-action television show, and both shows are about the production of CosPrayers. It is plagued with numerous problems, including poor management, lack of experience of the producers, unsuitable content, and even actresses seducing the screenwriter to try to get more screentime.

If a real show was plagued with so many problems, I imagine the result would be pretty bad. So it's almost understandable why CosPrayers was so bad, especially if it was intended to add to the story of the other two series. However, if that was their goal, I'd imagine that airing CosPrayers last, rather than first of the three, would be the better approach. It's also rather unbelievable that a studio would create a bad show deliberately, since I can't imagine they'd expect to make money off of it. Still, the show seems almost too bad to be true, and some forum posts online claim that it was deliberately made that way to match the other two series better.

Is there any evidence suggesting that CosPrayers was made to be a bad show, and the problems plaguing it were deliberate? Or is this just "fan" speculation?

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    Hanlon's razor :) – Masked Man Mar 3 '13 at 8:00
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    Anything made by m.o.e. (part of Pony Canyon) seems to be varying degrees of bad – Jon Lin Mar 3 '13 at 8:32
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Having checked Wikipedia, TVTropes, the official website (via Wayback Machine), and Anime News Network, there was no information on this. Even if the show was deliberately made to be bad, it's likely that the production company wouldn't reveal that fact, so we'd have no way of knowing. Hence, there's probably no definitive answer to this.

However, the sorts of problems in the show aren't the sorts which one would deliberately create if the show was deliberately made to be bad. The show primarily suffers from an incoherent plot, as well as bland characters. But it doesn't seem to be deliberately incoherent; rather, they had no room to fit any plot in the short time that was allotted. This is evidenced by the fact that there are flashbacks to scenes which never took place on camera. Probably there was initially some attempt at a plot, but crucial pieces were cut during production.

It's also notable that the show, while terrible, isn't anywhere near the worst anime ever. If the production team was deliberately trying to make a bad anime, they could have done even worse, e.g. by using worse artwork or adding more plot holes. There's nothing good about Cosprayers, but there's plenty that could still be worse. As Jon Lin noted in the comments, M.O.E. (the studio responsible for Cosprayers) has done plenty of mediocre anime, and Cosprayers could easily just be somewhere on the low tail end of the distribution without being deliberately made to be bad.

Finally, as I noted in the question, it doesn't make any sense why Cosprayers would be aired before Smash Hit! and LOVE♥LOVE? if they were making it deliberately bad. The better strategy from a production point-of-view would be to air it the last of the three.

It's worth noting that at least one guy on the internet agrees with me. This review of Cosprayers discusses whether the show is intentionally bad or not in the final paragraph:

But back to that question of the parody retcon: According to Wikipedia, Smash Hit premiered only a week after CosPrayers ended, so it does seem possible that the producers had planned all along for CosPrayers to be crappy. But if that's the case, they're still complete blockheads. First of all, where's the sense in airing the intentionally sucky show-within-a-show before airing the making-of show that gives it context? Your audience will get bored and/or annoyed and go off to watch something else long before you have a chance to reveal the whole "it was supposed to be crap all along!" twist. And secondly, a crappy work does not automatically get any less crappy just because you made it crappy on purpose. If you sing a song horrendously off-key, it doesn't matter whether you did it because you're tone-deaf or because you're doing it intentionally to make some point — either way, it's still going to make my ears bleed. Being sucky on purpose isn't enough by itself — you have be entertainingly sucky, and preferably also include some satire on the sucky thing that you're imitating. Plus, I don't think CosPrayers is outlandish enough in its suckiness to qualify for the "haha sucky on purpose" crowd. Simply put, it's not bad enough. Despite that "worse than CosPrayers" meme, it's not the worst anime out there, nor is it even the worst I've seen. It's just kind of mediocre and incoherent. It fails even at being legendarily awful.

There are some sources which make the opposite claim, but neither side has any direct evidence. With that in mind, I'm of the opinion that while we can't know for certain, based on the above evidence it's very likely that the show was not intentionally bad.

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