There are several well-known anime series, but there are many more that go unnoticed. These are some excellent, little-known series that you should look at.
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It’s hard to keep up with all the critically praised anime that’s out there, especially when there are so many to choose from! Some are so well-liked that they gain a cult following. Naruto, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood orNeon Genesis Evangelion, or My Hero Academia, are just some examples of popular anime that have gained a significant following.
However, not all of the best anime receive their moment in the spotlight. With so many shows being made and aired constantly, there are certain to be some gems that get lost in the shuffle. Check out some of these lesser-known works if you’re searching for something new to read.
On June 20th, 2020, Ericka Blye updated this article. There were a large number of anime titles published for Western audiences in the 2000s that were released at the same time or even earlier than the original Japanese release. It wasn’t just the big studios that bought the rights to distribute on TV and DVDs, but also online.
As the popularity of anime rose, so did the number of genres available to fans who weren’t interested in the action-packed, predominantly male protagonist series. Female protagonists and various genres such as horror, music and drama emerged during this time period.
1. Hell Girl
Self-contained episodes of characters suffering at the hands of others fill Hell Girl, a supernatural and horror anime. To summon Enma Ai, the enigmatic Hell Girl, they use a website. However, if they enter into a pact with her, Enma Ai will send their tormentors to Hell as well as their own souls after they die.
Hell Girl is a fantastic series that demonstrates the power of vengeance. One can feel satisfaction when terrible people are punished, but this raises questions about one’s morals and the nature of revenge.
2. AnoHana: The Flower We Saw That Day
Jinta Yadomi and his companions have drifted away with the loss of their childhood friend Menma. Until one summer day, the ghost of an older Menma visits Jinta and asks for his assistance in granting her “desire.”
AnoHana is a heartfelt tale about adolescence that explores themes of loss and maturation. While the “Super Peace Busters” collectively grieve, each character’s sadness manifests itself in a unique and poignant way in their own stories. You can’t let an opportunity like this pass you by if you’re an anime enthusiast.
3. Hikaru No Go
Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! are two of the most popular anime series based on trading card games and vice versa, but there are just a handful of board game-based anime series. It is one of the few games based on the classic Chinese board game Go.
Hikaru, a 12-year-old middle school student, is thrust into the world of professional Go players under the guidance of a ghost from the Heian period in this series. Death Note’s Takeshi Obata illustrates this series about professional Go players’ (surprise) competitive temperament.
4. The 12 Kingdoms
Inuyasha is unquestionably the most well-known, although it is by no means the only one, in the fantasy/historical genre. The 12 Kingdoms, based on the manga of the same name, is an overlooked gem. Yoko Nakajima, a red-haired girl who is transferred from Japan to another world and realizes she is an empress, is the focus of the anime.
If you like high fantasy, you’ll enjoy this series that takes its cues from ancient Chinese mythology. Emperess of Kei Yoko is an admirably powerful female lead who perseveres to acquire her title.
5. Kaleido Star
A teen from Japan named Sora Naegino dreams of becoming a prominent performer at the Kaleido Stage, a world-famous music venue in Tokyo. It takes a lot of labor and tears for her to make it in the world-famous circus, despite her lofty aspirations of becoming a star performer there.
Kaleido Star is a standard shoujo anime, but it features a more grounded tale that makes you empathize with Sora and the rest of the characters’ hardships.
Ginko’s journeys are the focus of an anthology series called Mushi-shi. An ethereal spirit known as Mushi resides in the world and interacts with the people going about their daily lives. It is Ginko’s life’s work to assist those afflicted by the Mushi’s negative effects. An overall plot is absent and instead it concentrates on the lives of Ginko’s friends and family. Beauty and small-scale storytelling take precedence, and the film moves at an easy pace that allows you to immerse yourself in its atmosphere.
7. School Rumble
A love triangle between Tenma, Kenji, and their enigmatic classmate, Oji, is the focus of this two-season romantic comedy. Shorter scenes, like sketches, are used to tell the story, which follows the main characters as well as a variety of other characters and their ridiculous antics.
Reviewers have classified it as both shounen and shojo, indicating that its subject matter appeals to a wide range of viewers. In the end, it’s just aiming to make you laugh, and most people would agree that its rapid and joyful energy and its slightly weird type of humor succeed in that endeavor.. It also has a fantastic soundtrack.
Tsuritama, ostensibly an anime about sports, focuses on fishing, a hobby that gets much too little attention.
As a result, it deviates from the norms of sports anime in a number of other areas, such as focusing less on action and drama. It’s a really modest and intimate story instead that’s the focus of the film. Yuki, a high school student who has been transferred around his entire life, has a hard time making friends and is the protagonist of the story. His grandmother and mother-in-law arrive in Enoshima, Japan, and find a transfer student named Haru, who claims to be an alien and demands to live with them. Friendship and dealing with anxiety are themes that emerge from this zany beginning.
9. Yakitate!! Japan
Yakitate!! is a 2004 comedic series about food. When compared to the likes of Food Wars!, Japan has faded into obscurity. To fulfill his aim of making Japan’s national bread and securing a position at the country’s most esteemed bread bakery, Kazuma is working hard. Also, Kazuma has “Solar Hands,” a particular ability that makes his hands somewhat hotter than the average person’s. This aids in the fermentation of his bread dough. There are loads of hilarious and over-the-top food reactions in this charming and entertaining series about cooking and eating.
Dr. Kenzo Tenma, a brain surgeon in Germany, decides to save the lives of two young twins rather than the mayor of his town, despite the fact that many people haven’t heard of the series.
A hideous serial killer named Johan has grown up in the nine years since Tenma made this fateful decision, while the other twin remains blissfully unaware with her foster parents. Tenma’s attempts to correct the error he did while saving Johan’s life are the focus of the story. Every aspect of the animation, from its dark cinematic visuals to its complex plot, has been meticulously modeled after the acclaimed manga it is based on.
11. Samurai Flamenco
Masayoshi Hazama, a male model who has always dreamed of becoming a superhero, is the protagonist of Samurai Flamenco. Masayoshi, on the other hand, lacks any sort of superpower or special ability. Hidenori Goto, a young police officer, gets involved and ends up supporting his cause after repeatedly running into trouble with both the city’s harsher elements and the police. You can’t look away from this series, which begins as a light-hearted superhero-themed comedy, but it unexpectedly switches genres halfway through.
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Aspects of the superhero subgenre are also addressed by Hamatora. To enjoy its anime series, you don’t absolutely need to have read its manga counterpart; the two seasons of the latter take place after the manga’s events have been resolved. A private investigation service named Minimums is headed by Nice and Mursaki, two of the main protagonists. They employ extraordinary powers called Minimums to solve their cases together. It’s mostly a supernatural mystery story, so there are plenty of unexpected turns to keep things exciting. For all of the action and suspense, you’ll never lose sight of what initially attracted you to the series: its well-rounded cast of characters.
13. Eden of the East
It’s impossible to classify Eden of the East, a novel that combines survival, politics and psychological suspense. A hypothetical missile attack on Japan may be averted if a group of 12 people, dubbed Selecao, were given control of 10 billion yen.
The Selecao are “eliminated” by a mystery individual known only as the Supporter if they run out of money or spend it selfishly. In this game, nothing is off bounds, including the killing of fellow players. Takizawa Akira, the main character, is one of these Selecao, and he also has amnesia. Don’t forget to check out the movies that follow the series’ conclusion!
14. Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere
There is no easy way to categorize Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere. To escape the dying Earth, humanity has attempted to travel into space, but it has failed. As a result, they are obliged to return to Japan, despite it being the only hospitable country left on the earth. While the majority of the world’s human population is restricted to tiny quarters, these invaders eventually overrun Japan, reducing the country’s citizens to life on a floating city ship that they must constantly circle. Tori Aoi, the main character, devises a plan to retake their nation as reports of the end of the world become closer.
15. Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit
Moribito, a female-led fantasy adventure series, starring Balsa, a traveling, spear-wielding warrior who tries to atone for the deaths of her past by rescuing equal numbers of lives. During her travels, she meets Prince Chagum and becomes his bodyguard in an attempt to save him from his own father’s assassination order. Beautiful animation and a well designed fantasy world combine with interesting characters whose complex pasts are gradually exposed as the story progresses and they become more intertwined with one another. It’s worth a look just for the artistry.