Underrated anime shows tend to have good ratings, but not that much popularity. Or are ignored in favor of more cliché, mainstream shows.
Or they’re literally rated lower than they should be.
It’s all subjective at the end of the day, but I’ve got tons of anime I feel deserve more credit.
Anime ranging from:
- Slice of life
And a ton more.
Let’s talk about it.
Underrated Anime Shows:
Claymore is so underrated it’s evil. It’s brutal. It’s sickening. “Claymores” are female warriors with demon blood inside them.
Their only mission in life is to destroy Yoma (demons).And they have no chance of ever being in a relationship because of the damage done to the Claymore’s bodies.
The anime is made by Madhouse studios and only has 1 season. But the anime does a stellar job of highlighting the depressing reality of its female characters.
It’s also filled with enough action to impress, so it has that if that’s what you want. Along with gore and a story that will touch you.
Low key one of my favorite anime series, especially with a mainly female cast.
2. Skip Beat
Skip Beat is an anime I don’t hear people talking about or recommending much. But after being curious when seeing it, I’m glad.
It’s a Shoujo series about Kyouko Mogami, a girl who does everything for her soon to be “superstar” boyfriend. Only for him to throw it in her face.
He dumps her, uses her for all her money and resources, then leaves without a f*ck given. It’s this that sparks the plot of revenge.
It’s not what you’re thinking though.
3. Sket Dance
Sket Dance is one of my favorite comedy series of all time. Fresh, unique, stands on its own two feet and has natural chemistry between characters.
It’s about a trio of characters called Hime, Switch, and Bossun. They take requests from anyone in school and help them with their problems.
That’s the purpose of their group “Sket Dance”.
You can think of this anime like an alternative version to Gintama.
No where near as much fan service. Much classier but still funny as F.
4. Saiki K
The Disastrous Life Of Saiki K is another comedy series that doesn’t get praised like it should.
It has the ratings to back it up, even if ratings aren’t everything.
Kusuo Saiki is an overpowered psychic who can change the laws of nature itself. And the anime follows him around in a slice of life format.
It’s nothing like any slice of life you’ve seen, and is some of the cleanest and yet funniest comedy an anime has managed to produce.
5. Kino’s Travels: The Beautiful World
Kino’s Travels The Beautiful World is the original “Kino” series. The anime needs more.
It’s probbaly what inspired series like The Journey Of Elaina.
Kino is a girl who travels the world and stays in each city, country, village for a maximum of 3 days.
Her reasoning? 3 days is long enough to experience a new culture or city, without getting too comfortable.
You learn about people, their stories, how it connects to different aspects of life (religion, laws, happiness, etc) and more.
There’s no better anime when it comes to traveling and adventure.
6. Wonder Egg Priority
Wonder Egg Priority is an anime released in 2021. And from the first episode you can see it’s already unique and different.
Made by Cloverworks studios, the anime focuses on different teenage traumas. And how the main characters help them through it.
Almost like therapy but different.
It’s a psychological series that speaks for itself with its quality, but it will remain underrated because of its themes and style.
7. Cells At Work
Cells At Work is an anime that helps you see the potential that anime has from a creative point of view.
It’s about biology, red blood cells and white blood cells. But instead of the boring classroom that usually comes with it, you get “educated” in a way that’s entertaining.
What’s surprising about the anime is how accurate it is when it comes to science and how scientific the facts are.
You could ignore all that though and still fall in love with the anime’s creativity and comedic portrayal of all the cells working in your body.
8. Ascendance Of A Bookworm
Ascendance Of A Bookworm is the best Isekai I’ve seen besides Re:Zero. And best of all it has no fan service or unnecessary cliches.
Just like Re:Zero I guess.
The anime is about a girl called Myne who after death, is reborn as a child who has physical limitations.
She slowly overcomes this and gets used to her new body.
As a bookworm, Myne’s main goal is to make enough money in this new world so she can get into her hobby again.
Business aspects like what you see in Spice And Wolf is also in Ascendance Of A Bookworm. And it’s one of the anime’s best traits.
Should have won best anime of the year in the CR awards.
9. God Eater
God Eater easily has the BEST CGI of any anime I’ve seen. It’s crisp, sharp, flows naturally, and the animation is stunning beyond belief.
It’s about creatures called Aragami. And the soldiers who if qualified, use “GOD Eater’s” to kill them and protect human society.
You can see the similarities in themes when compared to Black Bullet, Attack On Titan, etc. But it’s nothing like that.
If more anime pulled off CGI like God Eater, I wouldn’t mind seeing more of it.
The anime’s underrated.
10. Golden Kamuy
Golden Kamuy is an anime you don’t hear many shouting about. But the fanbase is tight, and the quality is up there.
There’s 3 seasons so far, 4th one planned.
The anime’s plot is related to money and gold. Soldiers all fighting for it, leading to violence, murder, and plenty of action.
One element of Golden Kamuy that makes it unique though is Ainu culture.
It’s portrayal of Ainu’s, a historic group in Japan, is as good as Cells At Work’s portrayal of biology.
You learn something, it’s more than just entertainment.
Hinamatsuri, released in 2018, is a slice of life/comedy series. It manages to hit you in the feels AND make you laugh simultaneously.
Anzu, the blonde girl, becomes homeless. And she’s the source of the anime’s sadness, emotional episodes and so on.
Hina, the main character, is the source of the anime’s comedy, chilled episodes, and nonsense.
Both aspects are done well enough to not distract from the other. It’s a blend most anime can’t compete with.
Monster is another series by Madhouse, and one of their greatest of all time (GOAT).
Kenzo Tenma saves a kid’s life, and that kid becomes a serial killer later in life. Kenzo deeply regrets it and feels responsible.
He goes out of his way to confront the beast and that’s how the anime’s slow, but mind f*cking plot starts to build.
If you’re talking about psychological series, it’s disrespectful to NOT mention an anime like Monster.
13. The Garden Of Sinners
The Garden Of Sinners is actually similar to the Fate series. It’s in the same universe after all, just parallel.
You can see this with the character designs and other similarities.
The Garden Of Sinners is a set of movies, some long, some short, but it’s in an episodic format (like a regular anime).
You have to watch all of it to understand what’s going on, but for a mystery/fantasy series it’s some quality stuff.
There’s nothing like it, and it’s a good alternative to FATE.
14. A Place Further Than The Universe
A Place Further Than The Universe is an educational series without even trying to be. Or more inspirational.
The main characters set out on a journey together, and the way their personalities mesh is what makes the plot light up.
Shirase Kobuchizawa is the most relatable for me, but you’ll find a character you’ll warm to. And the anime’s all the way worth it.
15. Samurai Champloo
Samurai Champloo is like Cowboy Bebop’s cousin.
With a theme (more so the music) inspired by Hip Hop, the influence is clear.
The 3 main characters: Mugen, Fuu, and Jin set out on a journey to find a samurai who smells of sunflowers.
What you actually get along the way is some of the sickest action scenes, best trio of characters, and samurai swordplay that’s uncommon in your average anime.
There will never be another anime like it.
16. D. Gray Man
D. Gray Man was made in the 2000’s. It’s a Shonen that’s clearly underrated by today’s standards, even though it’s not as known as shows like MHA.
Allen Walker, the main character, is cursed. Left eye, left arm. He’s able to see ghosts and demons, and his cursed arm allows him to exorcise them.
There’s a sick twisted irony to it. And he tries to make peace with it.
Jujutsu Kaisen and other anime definitely took a leaf out of this anime’s book.
17. Zetsuen No Tempest
This anime is about Kusaribe Hakaze, the world’s most powerful mage. And a girl named Aika who was murdered.
Everything centers around these 2 characters, and the other 2 male characters: Mahiro and Yoshino.
Zetsuen No Tempest might seem like a cringe anime on the surface (for it’s use of quotes by seemingly edgy teenagers), but it’s more than that.
The quotes quoted have meaning to the plot, and you’ll fully understand it once you finish the series.
Beyond that, this is a surprisingly deep and clever series with how it keeps you wrapped up in figuring out the details, only to pull out a plot twist later.
18. Electromagnetic Girlfriend
Electromagnetic Girlfriend is an anime that “kinda” starts slow, and you might not know what to think of it. Other than its extreme violence.
I found after watching it for a good while, the depth starts to hit you. And things start to fall in place.
There’s a lot to this psychological series that will make you think as you watch it play out.
19. The Devil Is A Part Timer
The Devil Is A Part Timer has 2 seasons. The 1st season was created in 2013 by Studio White Fox.
Most Isekai are about a normal character being transported into a fantasy world. In this Isekai, Satan and an angel are transported to the human world.
While there, they both lose most of their abilities and strength. And are forced to become part of human society and work 9-5.
It’s creative, the comedy’s different, and the whole plot is unusual.
20. Happy Sugar Life
Happy Sugar Life almost tripped me up.
Considering how f*cked up the plot is, I didn’t expect it to become one of my favorite all time series.
Satou Matsuzaka is in love with a 6-7 year old child named Shio. So there’s a sense of pedophilia here, which is part of the anime’s disturbed plot.
Later you have a man who’s a masochist, but in the main plot , Satou Matsuzaka has a best friend called Shoko.
I’ve never seen an anime portray disturbed themes in a light hearted manner, while still focusing on the fact that it’s MESSED UP.
Deserves more credit, more rating, more everything.
Jormungand is an anime about arms dealers (selling guns and weapons). It’s something that happens in the real world, all the time.
The anime’s portrayal of this lifestyle is actually realistic as well.
Jormungand is not only a grim reality relating to the world we live in, it’s an educational series that will teach you something new.
And if you like Black Lagoon, you’re gonna love this underrated classic.
22. Land Of The Lustrous
Land Of The Lustrous is a mystery type of series. Everything about the characters and what’s happening is strange, but curious.
It makes you wanna know more about what’s going on, and where the plot is taking you.
Phos, the main character, just like others, is what’s known as a “GEM”. And these Gem’s are being targeted by Aliens called Lunarians.
This is also another series that uses CGI, just like God Eater, and it’s stunning.
Aesthetics in Land Of The Lustrous are something else.
23. Rent A Girlfriend
Rent A Girlfriend for some reason, wasn’t as highly rated as other rom coms. Or as much as I expected of it.
Kazuya Kinoshita, the MC, is the definition of a SIMP. He puts women on a pedestal because he himself is insecure and has little to no self worth.
Even though he makes you cringe, there’s a realistic element to it. Many guys lack self confidence with women, so it’s true to life in that sense.
The main plot is about Kazuya, and guys like him, renting out girlfriends so they can experience what it’s like to have a “real” girlfriend.
That adds another element to this anime: the rental girlfriends constant struggle with being professionals and not mixing business with pleasure.
24. Assassination Classroom
Assassination Classroom is another high rated, but underrated series that deserves more shine.
Koro Sensei is one of the best teachers seen in anime. Design wise, he’s from another planet. And so is his backstory.
His goal is to teach the students to kill him before he destroys the world. And that plays into the emotional ride (and even comedy) the anime hits you with.
Charlotte takes the main idea of superpowers, and changes it a little to make it more realistic.
The main characters have superpowers, but will lose them when they become adults.
Also, abilities in this world aren’t overpowered or exaggerated. In fact they’re limited, which makes it more believable since nothing is really infinite.
One example is Nao Tomori’s ability to go invisible. This only works on one person at a time. As opposed to how other anime would portray this ability.
With only 12 episodes and no sign of a 2nd season, this is one of P.A Work’s best series.
26. Soul Eater
Soul Eater reminds me of D. Gray Man. Both anime released in the 2000’s, both are underrated, and have made an impact on Shonen.
It’s an anime about Meisters who exorcise Kishin (similar to curses in JJK).
Maka Albarn, the anime’s main character is one of the best female’s in anime. And the other wacky characters like Black Star give you the usual comedic Shonen vibes.
27. Owari No Seraph
Owari No Seraph still needs a 3rd season and even has the material for it. The anime is underrated as F.
Made by WIT Studios, you get a dramatic, tragic first episode just like AOT.
The main characters grow up in a settlement run by vampires who feed off their blood, by force.
The art is on point and the characters memorable. But the anime’s been ignored for years and still has potential for more.
28. Gunslinger Girl
Gunslinger Girl is another Madhouse studios classic. It’s about a set of young girls forced to work under the government, and do their “dirty” work.
Assassinations, murdering a select set of people, young girls brainwashed and conditioned are forced to live that life.
The reason they’re wrapped up in this lifestyle is because all of them were close to death, and were saved through mechanical reconstruction.
Their job is simply reciprocation for keeping them alive and doing them a favor.
The anime’s thought provoking and depressing.
29. Eureka Seven
Eureka Seven is a Mecha series with biblical undertones. And deep meaning’s that relate to life in the anime’s plot.
Symbolism is a big thing in Eureka Seven.
It starts out with Renton Thurston, a kid who’s sick of life and wants to do something more interesting. He then meets Eureka and things change.
This Mecha series starts out slow but once it picks up, the anime’s action, plot, character development and the whole lot kicks in.
If you’re patient.
There’s no other Mecha series like it. And its “mystery” element is what makes it stand out.
30. Maou Yuusha
Maou Yuusha is about a demon lord who should have been slain by the hero, but they end up working together and even being in a relationship.
The main theme running throughout this anime is education and business.
Both characters start by teaching people skills so villages and towns can sustain themselves without outside help.
This continues in other areas like education, schooling, building systems, and doing it in a way that prevents conflict, and encourages everyone to work as one.
There’s more to it than this. The anime’s intentions and themes are important, but the anime didn’t catch on.
31. A Certain Scientific Railgun
This is an anime about Espers, and a society with a couple million of them.
One of the most respected schools with Espers is Tokiwadai Middle school.
If we’re talking about superpower anime, Railgun is one of the best written there is.
A Certain Scientific Railgun is one of the J.C Staff’s best anime series. Especially one that’s “action”.
The light novels and
32. School Rumble
School Rumble is one of the original rom com’s from the 2000’s. And does it better than most can claim today.
The humor, the romance, and of course – the solid main characters is why this anime deserves to be mentioned.
As an example of originality, Ahogirl wasn’t the first “Banana” girl, it was Tenma from School Rumble.
33. Psycho Pass
Psycho Pass is one of the few police series to exist in anime. And one that stands above many anime for its quality and writing.
Especially for the 1st season of the series.
Akane Tsunemori is just starting as a police officer, but she learns quickly, has wit, guts, and later influences the whole system. A system built on technology, and governed by robots far into the future.
The one defining feature of Psycho Pass besides the tech, is a gun called a dominator that measures a person’s mental health.
It decides whether they’re a threat to society or not based on that.
34. Fate Zero
Fate Zero is the best FATE series going. Hands down. Unlimited Blade works is nothing compared to Fate Zero.
The clean visuals, and animation that’s comparable to modern anime in 2021.
The fight scenes in this series have an aesthetic about it, only a fool could downplay its quality.
If you still haven’t watched Fate Zero, watch it. And don’t look back.
35. Talentless Nana
Talentless Nana is an anime that is similar to
Nana Hiiragi, the MC, is on a mission to destroy the enemies of humanity. But the students located on a remote island are convinced THEY are training to destroy enemies of humanity.
The plot is clever and how Nana Hiiragi navigates each situation shows her smarts and intelligence.
She’s like the female version of Lelouch or maybe Light Yagami in some ways.
36. Full Metal Panic
Full Metal Panic first started with Gonzo, and moved to other studios over the years with each season (like Kyoani).
With tons of material in the light novels, there’s still more to come.
Sousuke Sagara, the MC, works with Mythril. An independent anti-terrorist group and is given the mission of protecting Kaname Chidori.
The series is militant, Mecha, stealthy-ish, bloody, and has some of the most intense action from an anime of its kind.
It’s just not as popular as some other Mecha like Gurren Lagann.
ReLife is a solid slice of life, comedy series. I don’t hear it much these days when talking about romance.
The plot is a little different.
The main character is a NEET and in his late 20’s, but is given the opportunity to be 10 years younger and live out his college years.
And “redo” his life.
He’s not the only one given the opportunity.
As a result, characters like Kaizaki Arata (MC) end up helping others who are a little more naïve, because he has the life experience.
It also helps him grow as a person and change his life in a way most people can’t.
It doesn’t always work and they don’t always get it right.
When you push that to the side though,
- Gorgeous animation.
- Stunning artwork.
- Memorable characters.
- Good concepts.
- Solid fights.
I feel like it was overlooked because of its fan service with Tamaki, but that doesn’t change the anime’s underrated status.
Especially with the 2nd season.
Akame Ga Kill
One of the most famous Shonen with only 1 season. That much can’t be denied.
Some are torn on this anime because of it’s unconventional approach, but that’s why I love it to death.
When characters die in this anime, it’s forever. Just like real life.
The plot is centered around a corrupt government, and an assassination group called night raid who’s trying to create a revolution by killing high profile figures.
Masterpiece in my eyes.
40. Kenichi The Mightiest Disciple
Kenichi The Mightiest Disciple is one of the most genuine martial arts series there is.
Kendo, Muay Thai Boxing, this anime has it all.
The main character Kenichi is being bullied, and meets a girl who lives in a dojo.
He learns martial arts and it becomes his way of defending himself. And building his broken self esteem.
Life lessons, inspiration, and a realistic journey you can put yourself in.
Other Underrated Anime:
- Michiko To Hatchin.
- Kokoro Connect.
- Gakkou Gurashi.
- New Game!
- Yona Of The Dawn.
- Inari Kon Kon.
- Non Non Biyori.
- Lovely Complex.
What’s your favorite underrated anime series?
Featured image: source