Because there are just so many anime series out there, it’s easy to watch only the well known ones, while overlooking the less popular series.
But just because a series has a small presence doesn’t mean its quality is any less.
Here are my (in no particular order) top 5 underrated anime:
Nabari no Ou
Heartbreak. Ninjas. Samurai. And a fast paced story line. Nabari no Ou is a true hidden gem.
I think a lot of people overlook this anime because of Naruto. As much as I love Kishimoto, Naruto has dominated the ninja animanga market. Whenever you watch a ninja anime you can’t but help but compare it to the infamous series.
There are certain elements of Nabari no Ou that are similar to Naruto – the main character, Miharu, has something sealed inside him, there are ninja villages, and a lot of the weaponry and tactics are the same, but then that’s what you’re going to get from ninja anime. It’s a consistent element.
But that’s where the similarities end. Miharu is the complete opposite of Naruto – he’s a little devil who loves messing with people’s emotions, he’s surly, unenthusiastic and a reluctant hero. The female lead – Raimei – starts off actively participating and, unlike Sakura from Naruto, she has a backstory.
The plot deals with complicated issues such as depression, gender identity, relationships, friendships, revenge and immortality.
Have a box of tissues at hand when you watch this one.
Donten Ni Warau
Another emotional roller coaster (as you might be starting to see, I enjoy heartbreaking story lines), which follows three brothers living in a temple. Their family goes through heavy trials as a giant demon snake starts its 300 year reincarnation, jeopardising the world.
It’s a short anime of only 12 episodes, but, my God, is it good. Sometimes shorter story lines can pack a harder punch and this is a fantastic example. The plot is intriguing, fast paced, and there are plenty of awesome characters, funny moments and tension-filled battles.
This series deals with the themes of overcoming grief, betrayal and family ties.
Again, have a box of tissues ready when you watch this one.
Zetsuen no Tempest
This is an action-packed tale about two boys who are struggling to overcome their grief after the death of the girl both of them were in love with.
The setting is based in our world, but there is a unique magic element to it. The magic system in this anime is really awesome, and Bones did a fantastic job of animating the battles – everyone looked so cool.
I must admit I came out the other side of this anime feeling a little confused about the main plot, which was a shame because otherwise this series would have been truly exceptional. I guess most of that confusion was bought about by cutting down the manga content.
Plot twists, ingenious problem solving, and an awesome opening song to boot. Seriously, if you haven’t done so already, watch this anime!
Towa no Quon
This is one for you if you are a fan of X-Men type series.
In fact, this show is basically X-Men based in Japan, which the main character being a skinnier, water-based Wolverine.
The MC, Towa is such a great character. He’s sympathetic and caring, but also a badass. He’s basically the Professor X of the show – the one who gathers all the special kids together, hiding them from the government and training them to use their powers.
The government have created cyborgs to track down and hunt Towa and the other kids with special powers. You get some scenes from their point of views, and there is one particular cyborg who becomes central to the story line. They’re not just bad guys, but sympathetic characters as well.
The episode structure is a little strange. There are 6 episodes, but they are 50 minutes long. More like mini films. So make sure you plan ahead if you want to watch an episode!
Zankyou no Terror
Probably the most well-known anime out of these five, but still one I think deserves more recognition.
The plot follows teenage boys Nina and Twelve as they commit terrorist acts in Tokyo. Their classmate, Lisa, finds out what they are doing and they blackmail her into helping them.
It sounds a little dark – and it is to be honest – and Nine and Twelve sound like regular bad guys, but you soon discover they are committing these terrorist acts for a reason, and they always ensure the loss of the human life is minimal, if not obsolete. It’s up to you to decide at the end of it whether their actions are justifiable.
It’s a tale about corrupt governments, secret experiments and fighting for justice. There are a lot of complex themes in the show and the suspense in some of the scenes is nail biting.
One to watch if you prefer reality based thriller anime.