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TOP 10 MOST UNDERRATED ANIME SERIES
Certain anime series gain immense popularity, while others tend to go unnoticed. Among the hidden gems in the anime world, here are some underrated shows worth exploring.
Not every anime can attain the mainstream success achieved by renowned series like My Hero Academia or Attack on Titan, even if they truly deserve it. Consequently, there exists a treasure trove of underrated anime waiting for dedicated fans to discover and appreciate. The current abundance of highly-acclaimed anime series often overwhelms enthusiasts, leaving little time to explore all the captivating offerings, resulting in some hidden gems slipping through the cracks.
Of course, it’s impossible to compile an exhaustive list of overlooked anime, but we’ve curated 10 exceptional yet obscure titles here, with the hope of granting them the recognition they truly deserve.
10. Berserk (2016)
Berserk, a renowned manga, may seem out of place on this list, but while the manga enjoys widespread recognition, the anime adaptation often goes underappreciated. Spanning 25 episodes, the series covers the ‘Golden Age’ story arc, a relatively concise segment from the manga. Set in a dark medieval fantasy realm, both the manga and anime revolve around the lives of Guts, a solitary swordsman tormented by literal demons, and Griffith, the charismatic leader of a mercenary band.
The anime boasts skillfully executed animation, remaining faithful to its source material. It presents a gripping and intense narrative with incredible action sequences, even potentially lending itself well to a captivating live-action film adaptation. Though fervent fans eagerly anticipate more seasons, they are equally content with immersing themselves in the manga. Regardless, Berserk is an anime well worth exploring, as its dark allure and gripping plot will likely leave you yearning for more, with the manga ready to satiate that desire.
9. School Rumble (2004)
School Rumble is a delightful romantic comedy spanning two seasons, centered around two protagonists, Tenma and Kenji, who find themselves entangled in a love triangle involving their mysterious classmate, Oji. The series unfolds through a collection of short, sketch-like sequences, not only delving into the main characters’ lives but also exploring the ridiculous escapades of various minor characters.
What sets School Rumble apart is its versatility, described by reviewers as appealing to both shounen and shojo audiences, making it a favorite among a wide range of viewers. The show’s fast-paced and entertaining energy, coupled with its slightly surreal sense of humor, has won the hearts of fans who consider it an underrated anime masterpiece. Enhancing its charm is a stellar soundtrack that elevates the overall experience.
For those intrigued by this gem, School Rumble can be enjoyed on popular streaming platforms like Crunchyroll, Hulu, and Amazon, offering an opportunity to immerse themselves in its captivating world of comedy and romance.
8. Angels of Death (2018)
Angels of Death presents a compelling and distinct plot revolving around Rachel Gardner’s sole desire to die. The story kicks off with Rachel awakening in a basement alongside a murderer named Zach. Their shared goal is to escape the building, but with a chilling condition: Zach must fulfill Rachel’s wish and kill her once they are free. However, as they ascend through the floors, they encounter enigmatic individuals who seem oddly familiar to Rachel, despite her lack of understanding. Each level presents a new adversary that they must confront to progress towards their freedom. The anime weaves an intriguing narrative, leaving viewers captivated and engrossed in the unfolding mysteries.
The anime’s uniqueness lies in its ability to maintain suspense and curiosity at every turn, as each revelation poses fresh questions and prompts further discoveries. The dynamic ensemble of eccentric characters adds depth and complements the show’s plot. The brilliant voice actors infuse the characters with life, resulting in exceptional chemistry among the cast.
Despite its captivating premise and engaging storytelling, Angels of Death tends to be overlooked by some, missing out on the recognition it truly deserves. For those seeking an anime with an original and gripping concept, Angels of Death proves to be an excellent choice that is well worth exploring.
7. Monster (2004)
Monster is a remarkable anime series that, despite its critical acclaim, remains tragically underrated. This dark and realistic thriller follows the story of Dr. Kenzo Tenma, a brilliant brain surgeon who faces a life-altering decision in Germany. When confronted with the choice of saving the lives of two young twins or the town’s mayor, he opts to save the twins, setting a chain of events into motion.
Fast forward nine years, and Dr. Tenma learns that one of the twins, Johan, has evolved into a monstrous serial killer, while the other twin lives an oblivious life with her foster parents. The gripping plot revolves around Tenma’s desperate quest to rectify the mistake he made by saving Johan’s life. The anime remains dedicated to faithfully reproducing the highly-praised manga on which it is based. From its dark and cinematic art style to its intricate and sophisticated storyline, Monster consistently delivers on all fronts.
Despite its immense merits and critical acclaim, Monster often flies under the radar, failing to receive the widespread recognition it truly deserves. For fans of compelling and thought-provoking storytelling, Monster proves to be a compelling choice. To experience this gripping masterpiece, it is available for viewing on Netflix.
6. Noir (2001)
Noir is a captivating and binge-worthy anime comprising only 26 episodes. At its core, the series follows two enigmatic female assassins who embark on a journey to uncover the secrets of their mysterious pasts. However, their quest attracts the attention of a covert organization determined to keep their secrets buried, leading the assassins deeper into treacherous traps.
What sets Noir apart is its excellent and mysterious plot, which keeps viewers hooked from start to finish. The artwork is visually stunning, boasting a unique and stylistic flair that deviates from typical anime conventions. Interestingly, the series draws more influence from European, particularly French culture, than from traditional Japanese elements. This unconventional approach contributes to Noir’s status as a truly iconoclastic anime.
Moreover, the anime boasts incredible animation, complemented by a remarkable musical score that enhances the overall experience. The well-crafted characters further add depth and intrigue to the narrative. Despite its outstanding qualities, Noir has unfortunately been overlooked by many due to the constant influx of new anime releases since its original airing date, leading to it being somewhat forgotten.
For those seeking an anime that breaks away from the norm and offers an enthralling blend of mystery, action, and stylistic art, Noir proves to be a hidden gem worth discovering.
5. ReLIFE (2017)
ReLIFE, a captivating slice-of-life anime, shares similarities with the 2009 movie “17 Again.” The storyline follows Arata Kaizaki, a grown man feeling adrift in his adult life. Serendipitously, he gets an opportunity to relive his high school days, equipped with the wisdom and maturity of an adult. Arata believes that revisiting his teenage years might hold the key to finding happiness and purpose in his current life.
However, there’s a catch—Arata must keep his true identity a secret during his high school “re-life.” Despite this challenge, he begins forming genuine connections with his classmates. As the story unfolds, Arata discovers that some of his fellow students harbor their own secrets, and there is a possibility that some are already aware of his true age.
ReLIFE beautifully explores the themes of self-discovery, friendship, and the complexities of navigating life’s twists and turns. The anime follows Arata’s journey as he learns from his past, embraces new experiences, and grapples with the delicate balance between concealing his true self and forging meaningful connections.
For viewers seeking a heartwarming and thought-provoking anime, ReLIFE offers a compelling narrative that delves into the intricacies of personal growth and the value of relationships in shaping one’s life journey.
4. Gintama (2006)
Gintama stands out as the longest series on this list, boasting an impressive run of over 350 episodes and multiple movies. Despite its massive popularity in Japan, the anime remains relatively unknown in the Western hemisphere, except among die-hard anime enthusiasts. This underappreciated status is what makes Gintama underrated in international circles.
The storyline centers around Gintoki, Kagura, and Shinpachi, who embark on various odd jobs in a unique sci-fi version of old Tokyo where aliens and samurai coexist. The show’s allure lies in its incredible unpredictability, skillfully balancing humor, drama, and action. Initially, Gintama primarily follows an episodic format, but as the series progresses, it gradually embraces a more serialized narrative, unveiling deeper layers of Gintoki’s enigmatic past. This progression renders Gintama surprisingly reminiscent of the renowned anime, One Piece.
Notwithstanding its extensive length, Gintama never loses its heartfelt essence, consistently providing fans with a superb anime experience right up to its near-perfect conclusion. The series offers a rich tapestry of emotions, compelling storytelling, and captivating character development throughout its run.
For those seeking an anime that offers an exceptional blend of laughter, adventure, and touching moments, Gintama proves to be an outstanding choice. Its availability on Crunchyroll and select episodes on Hulu grants anime enthusiasts the chance to delve into the wonderful world of Gintama’s irreverent yet heartwarming universe.
3. IDOLiSH7 (2017)
The anime featuring Tsumugi Takanashi is a treat for fans of K-Pop or J-Pop groups. Tsumugi is a genuinely sweet, kind-hearted, and diligent girl entrusted with managing the idol group named IDOLiSH7. This group consists of seven exceptionally talented and attractive young men.
One fateful day, Tsumugi’s father issues a difficult order—to dismiss four members of the group, deeming them excessive for an idol unit. However, Tsumugi finds herself unable to carry out this task. Her unwavering commitment to the group and its members fuels her determination to see them all succeed together.
The anime presents an intense and competitive narrative, offering viewers a thrilling and tension-filled story. For those who enjoy watching stories infused with a touch of rivalry and pressure, this series is a must-watch. The passionate pursuit of success and the captivating dynamics among the characters make it a truly engaging experience for all fans of idol-themed anime.
2. Grand Blue Dreaming (2018)
Grand Blue Dreaming is a hidden gem among short and lesser-known seinen comedy anime, based on the ongoing manga of the same name. The story revolves around Iori Kitahara, a relatable yet mischievous individual who relocates to Japan’s coastal area for college. Eager to embrace this new chapter, he decides to join the Peekaboo SCUBA diving club, leading to a series of hilarious and chaotic adventures.
Iori’s college life becomes a whirlwind of eccentricities, involving encounters with exotic fish, wild parties, cheating on exams, outrageous pranks, and the quest to understand his own love life. Amidst the frenzy, he finds himself drawn to the dandere Aina Yoshiwara, and while the possibility of a romance blossoms between them, their intoxicating escapades may hinder their realization of it.
Grand Blue Dreaming delights viewers with its wacky and humorous portrayal of college life, full of shenanigans and comedic moments. Iori’s relatability adds a charming layer to the series, making it all the more enjoyable for audiences. While the anime may not have gained widespread recognition, its comedic brilliance and unique storyline make it a delightful watch for anyone seeking an amusing and lighthearted anime experience.
1. Hyouka (2012)
Hyouka is a captivating 22-episode anime that aired in 2012, centered around the life of Houtarou Oreki, a high school student. The series revolves around his seemingly mundane school life, which takes an unexpected turn when he becomes entangled in a mysterious case.
Based on the Koten bu light novel series, Hyouka showcases a collection of intriguing mysteries that unravel as the plot progresses. With each episode, startling discoveries and enigmatic puzzles come to light, engaging both the characters and the viewers alike. The anime even received a live-action movie adaptation in 2017, titled “Hyouka: Forbidden Secrets.”
Though the movie achieved success, its sequel failed to gain the same traction. However, Hyouka has since earned a favorable standing and reputation, particularly after 2015 when new buyers acquired the rights. The anime presents the audience with the notion that mysteries can lurk anywhere, encouraging them to immerse themselves in the storyline and take their own guesses as events unfold.
With its masterfully crafted plot, Hyouka compels viewers to pay close attention and avoid getting sidetracked. The anime captivates with its ability to challenge audiences to decipher the mysteries presented and encourages active engagement throughout the series. For those seeking an anime that sparks curiosity and keeps them on their toes, Hyouka promises an enthralling and intellectually stimulating experience.
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