What is underrated anime exactly? Some say it’s unpopular while others would argue it’s about giving a low rating to an anime.
I say it’s both. When new anime shows up on TV (mostly in Japan first), fans often post their reviews on social media or their blogs. These reviews or ratings affect the overall popularity of anime shows.
So, if the ratings are low at the very beginning, chances are that an anime becomes unpopular. You know how many otaku fans rely on others’ opinions.
But, not all animes have negative receptions. Some underrated animes that make it to the international level have more favorable ratings.
Yes, it’s basically a matter of perspective between an anime lover who watches anime no matter the story and a critique who loves to give bad reviews no matter how good a story is.
Anyways, here’s my anime list of underrated series.
Sci-Fi Underrated Anime
This underrated anime series is about self-discovery mixed with action, romance, and science fiction.
Ergo Proxy follows the story of post-apocalyptic earth, where androids and the human race co-exist together in the last community on earth, Romdo.
AutoReiv Androids become companions to humans until a virus threatens to destroy the peace. The humanoid robots begin to have self-awareness because of a Cogito virus.
Re-l Mayer, the granddaughter of Romdo’s leader, gets the assignment to investigate the problem. In her journey, she finds a disturbing conspiracy hiding the Romdo’s darkest secrets, the Proxies.
Yep, the Ergo Proxy’s premise seems interesting, but why is it underrated?
Many anime fans are confused at how the episodes are presented. The episodic details didn’t do justice to the story at hand.
At first, it was so fast, fans can barely keep up with the story. Then, the story progresses so slow it grates on your teeth at the mere thought of it.
The climax begins to put so many answers to questions that overloaded a fan’s sensibilities. Apparently, not all could appreciate deep psychological topics that could rack your brains out.
Should you still watch it? Yes! The story concept of Ergo Proxy is quite unique during its era. Moreover, the animation is superb. A lot of reviews praise this particular aspect of the anime series.
Neon Genesis Evangelion
With a total of 26 episodes, this underrated anime series is a story of a high school student. He is given the burden of defending the world by piloting a mecha against enemies.
These enemies threaten to rule and destroy the world as we know it.
You might argue that this science fiction anime series is not underrated. I agree because of its popularity during its era and partly because of its controversial nature.
However, when you look around on the Internet, the gap between those who love it and those who hate it is so wide, you’ll need a boat to cross it if it is an ocean.
Anyways, I think a lot of people underrate it for its flaws. There are annoying moments that really get into your skin. For example, why is the protagonist a cry baby but he’s good at everything?
Nevertheless, everyone feels that the anime is incomplete and that the ending was rushed. The animation is so-so when compared to its batchmates during the 1990s.
Is watching the anime show worth your time? Yes, if you like stories that contain classic and mecha genres packed with action and psychological drama.
Eden of the East
Armed with 10B yen, 12 contestants attempt to save Japan. One of these contestants is Takizawa Akira.
In 11 episodes, you’ll experience science fiction mingled with politics. Other genres thrown in the anime include drama, mystery, and romance.
This underrated anime series is a survival game with no rules whatsoever, except the use of money.
The anime show started with a missile hitting one of the cities but no one is harmed. Too good to be true, but find out how that happens.
Why is Eden of the East underrated? Because of the lack of story progression. The premise is interesting, but it seems the series is stuck with that.
Full Metal Panic
Sousuke Sagara must protect the Whispered candidate, Kaname Chidori. That means he has to join the high school where the girl attends.
Whispered individuals have the ability to create powerful devices. If bad people get a hold of these individuals the world would be in eternal chaos. Thus, the Mithril organization is formed to protect people against terrorism.
The story seems unique enough but Full Metal Panic became an underrated anime series. Why? Probably due to the conflicting storylines.
Anime fans weren’t sure if they’re watching a drama or romance or action. The blend between the genres seemed a bit forced, resulting in an obvious flaw in the story development.
However, the sci-fi anime is still a good watch, especially for a mecha fan. The animation is good. Each character is distinct with likable traits. By the end of the anime series, you’d have your personal favorite.
Tiger and Bunny
Wild Tiger is a hero in SternBild City, but his career as a hero is at the brink of extinction. He has trouble working with other heroes. To save his hero career, Tiger must work with Barnaby Brooks Jr. whom he nicknamed Bunny.
The two are like cats and dogs, or oil and water. Yes, they don't do anything but quarrel. But, they have to set aside their differences to save their career.
The reason is clear for its underrated status. The anime series is about heroes who are middle-aged, not young teenagers. Since the majority of anime fans are of the younger generations, the characters aren’t relatable enough.
I think this is worth your time. The anime show has a great balance of drama, comedy, and action. It shows the personal struggles of heroes if they were to leave in a modern-day.
Action Underrated Anime
This underrated fantasy anime series follows the life of a clumsy boy who is the heir to a Mafia family. One day, Reborn arrives to teach him about the ways of his family.
Sadly, the anime series didn’t get any more adaptations after its final episodes. Was it really underrated? At some point, it was so popular that many cosplayers dress like the characters.
However, its international reception of the anime isn’t as warm as that of in Japan. One reason is the whiny character of the main character. Well, he did mature albeit slowly.
But, the fighting scenes become so violent. You’d wonder if it's the same boy with no backbone. It is still a great watch though.
Are you a Mafia fan? Well, this is your fantasy anime series. It’s a reason enough to watch it. Mafia themed series is rare in anime. So, enjoy the 203 episodes and 2 OVAs packed with action because it seems it won’t get anymore.
Air Gear is a sports anime that follows the life of Minami Itsuki. He was a street punk, growing up with four adopted sisters.
In his town, Air Treks (AT) become popular and teenagers begin to form gangs to compete with one another.
One day, the protagonist finds an extraordinary AT and a badge of the notorious Sleeping Forest gang. This begins his journey towards greatness.
The anime is underrated for its cliche aspects and some fan services that seem a chore to watch.
The anime is so-so and not unique, but it manages to hook attention in some of its episodes. It is predictable, too.
What makes it worth watching then? The anime is good, especially its art and music.
You got to give an excellent rating because the music director really knows when to use the right music for each scene.
With action and adventure genres mixed in, this underrated anime series is about a man who joins a vigilante group called Black Label.
Arashi Mikami is an ordinary citizen. One day, a terrorist attacks his hometown, losing his family and best friend. He barely survived the incident but a surgeon saved his life.
The surgeon, however, is no ordinary doctor. This doctor leads a vigilante group, killing criminals who have fallen.
After recovering from the near-death experience, Arashi joins them perhaps to avenge his family and best friend.
It’s clear why the anime is underrated. The whole concept is common with too many cliches. Also, this anime series is more of a fan service, which is not suitable for younger audiences.
The series is still worth watching, though for the very same reasons it is underrated. If you love ecchi and fanservice, this is recommended for you.
Millennium Earl, the antagonist of this series, exploits the emotional weakness of those who lost their loved ones.
He traps human souls in an Akuma. Saving these souls is impossible unless someone uses Innocence (an anti-Akuma weapon) to exorcise them.
This evil act could destroy the world. Thus, the Black order sends Allen Walker and other exorcists to fight Millenium Earl and his Akuma.
The original anime show was seriously underrated. It suddenly stopped as the manga series continued. What happened? Some reviewers say that the anime is too cliched. The concept isn’t original but it isn’t boring, either.
In short, it is so-so in terms of story. Some scenes are predictable, too. Some of the characters didn’t develop as they should be.
The animation is great though. Overall, the series is still enjoyable to watch but doesn’t have the whooping effect every time you watch. Recommended? Yes because it has its strengths.
Samurai Flamenco is a mix of action, parody and comedy genres. It is a story of a young man who is a model by day and a superhero by night. The only problem is he doesn’t have superpowers to protect the world.
It’s just his dumb luck, overflowing guts, and desire to save the world from bad people. Later, Gotou Hidenori, a police officer, discovers his true identity and tells him to stop doing his crazy antics.
What’s even crazier? When Gotou joins Masayoshi Hazama in his quest, the world turns upside down, at least just theirs in the anime.
Just that. It’s probably one reason the anime series become underrated. The concept is too common. Shounen animes with much more compelling stories outshine this series.
If you like to unburden for the day, this could be your happy pill. it’s just pure laughter. Funny and weird for some reason.
This anime is one weird series. Zombie Loan is about Michiru Kita who could see if someone’s going to die. A black ring appears on the neck of the person who’s going to die.
One day, Michiru sees black rings on two of her classmates. But, she discovers that the two boys are already dead.
They are alive because they have to pay off some debts to an organization called Zombie-Loan. Then, the two discover she has Shinigami eyes, and they drag her to the crazy world of hunting zombies.
This anime series isn’t for everyone. This is the reason for its underrated status. Fans don’t think it’s a good enough anime to watch on a weekend.
It is maybe underrated, but it sure has a different take on zombies. If you like zombie themes, you can add them to your anime list.
Comedy With Underrated Status
The underrated Space Dandy has an out-of-this-world theme. The main protagonist meets aliens, mythical creatures, and even zombies! His main job is to track aliens and register to get a reward.
Quite easy! But, the main character always encounters problems that place his mission on the road to failure.
The reason it is underrated and unpopular? The series doesn’t have the right mix on its episodes. It’s straight out wacky and weird.
It was like seeing other anime shows (inspirations, though) put together but it’s not. When you see a character in the series, you would often ask, “It’s that what I think I saw?” Then, Nah, it’s just a trick on my eyes and it’s not the same.
Should you watch it? Hmmm, I guess, try watching a few episodes. You’ll like it if you like wacky and just pure fun and laughter. One of its genres is comedy, after all.
This underrated anime series is oddly emotional. It follows the life of a class and Koro-sensei. One day, yellow octopus Koro-sensei appeared in Class 3-E where low-performing students are dumped and forgotten.
He says he’ll blow up the earth by March the following year. It’s up to the class to assassinate him before it happens. His only request is to teach the class while they try to assassinate him.
One reason for its underrated status is its lack of side stories. Moreover, the series concentrated on a single premise: assassination.
The same backstory across all episodes can get boring. But I commend the build-up of the story, though.
The ending’s just sad because the class has to do the right thing: kill the very teacher who didn’t give up on them.
Is this a good anime to watch? Yes, it is. It’s a tear-jerker, especially in the last few episodes of the series. The plot is unique and odd, but still, a semblance of normalcy is present.
Class E is a bunch of students who need attention. And, Koro-sensei gave it to them. It’s more than that actually. The students gained valuable lessons they could use for the rest of their lives.
This underrated anime series is a mix of sports, fantasy, and comedy genres. It’s about Ren Mihashi who was the ace player of his baseball team in middle school. But, his poor pitching skills have made his team a sore loser every season.
With this, his teammates bullied and blamed him for the constant losses. Ren graduated and lost his confidence. He vowed to never play baseball again.
This anxious boy chooses a high school away from his city, where nobody knows about him and his failures. Unfortunately, his plan of not playing is a failure, too.
But, his high school is different. Ren is forced to sign up for the baseball team, much to his horror. Reluctant at first, he discovered that these people are willing to accept who he is and help him improve his pitching skills.
What makes it an underrated fantasy anime then? I’m not really sure. Maybe because the protagonist is way too anxious for the tastes of the majority of anime fans. Or that Ren seems so girlish at first.
Whatever it is, this anime deserves more rating than it receives. The characters are well rounded and the storyline progresses as it should.
The series has a bit of a slice of life during the middle school episodes. As you watch into the series, you’ll see how seamless the transition of the episodes is. The animation and music are pretty good, too.
So, yeah. This is a good anime with sports and fantasy genres to watch.
The Devil Is a Part-Timer!
A demon among us is possible and this underrated anime series uses this as backstory. After the defeat of the Demon Lord, he retreated to an alternate dimension, which happens to be modern Tokyo.
He becomes Sadao Maou, an ordinary resident who needs to work in a fast-food restaurant and other menial jobs to survive. While in Tokyo, he is plotting again to retake his powers and Ente Isla.
But, the evil lord-slash-fast-food-crew soon discovers that ruling the earth is far more satisfying. He begins to climb up the ladder of the corporate world.
Why is it underrated? Probably, it is because of the lack of plot development. The concept is unique, but then as the episodes went on, the series became a slice-of-life slash harem anime.
Every episode, you get to see new female characters that have nothing to do with the protagonist being a devil overlord.
Should you watch it? Maybe if you like harem and comedy genres. The anime is hilarious in some areas, which brilliantly shows how a devil would view the world.
Ushio and Tora
This series is packed with action where a hard-headed hero and a bullheaded partner journey to protect their friends. It’s a clashing combo that leads to many hilarious moments.
As the monsters threaten to ruin the peaceful community, the two main characters learn to rely on each other. They discover an unlikely friendship that is priceless and beautiful.
Is this anime worth watching? Of course, it is, especially so if you like the animation with a classic style.
This series is another show to watch if you can't get enough of the many shonen series out there.
Underrated Anime with Mysterious Plots
The series is set in a bar where people go here to determine the fate of their souls. Hell or heaven don’t exist. During their stay in the purgatory, the characters don’t remember why they die.
Also, they have to win a match to be reincarnated. Otherwise, the souls are sent to oblivion after seeing the reasons for their death. It’s gruesome and very dark.
This unpopular, underrated series caters to a small audience: those who love purgatory and death. This could be one of the reasons it is not popular.
Besides, the anime is rather short with only 12 episodes and dwells in dark psychology.
Another reason might be the theme itself: death. Many people really don’t want to be faced with the hard truth. The uncertainties of death or the afterlife make people uneasy.
Would I recommend it? Yes, if you like to death and dark series.
A group of talented females helps the Commonwealth of Albion. They work as a spy. What brought the conflict to London? It is a substance called Cavorite.
Cavorite can be used for advanced military weaponry and technology. This technology can destabilize enemies.
In the world of espionage and conspiracy, follow the life of Ange le Carre, Chise, and Beatrice. Each woman has special skills that when combined can become lethal.
Princess Principal was released during the era where edgy anime series with all-female protagonists are coming of age. Perhaps, it is a case of overshadowed status.
Still, the series is a great anime with well-written plots and characters. The animation is amazing and can rival its competitors of the same genre and year.
Angels of Death
Rachel Gardner wakes up in a basement with no memory of how she got there. She meets Zack, a murderer wanting to escape the wretched building.
The two made a truce and worked their way up to the exit. But as they go from one floor to another, the two main characters fight off enemies and bosses.
Definitely, this series was once a game adapted into an anime.
Angels of Death is based on a video game’s plot. This could be a reason for its underrating. Not many fans know the game. Besides, the adaptation is just downright crazy.
Yes, the plot is there, but it’s not solid enough for it to develop into a full-blown story. This is what you expect if an anime is based on one of the craziest video games.
The anime shows tend to be a little chaotic and don’t have a concrete direction.
I would recommend it to give it a try. If you have played the game where it was based, this anime would probably be of your taste.
This underrated anime dwells on the possibilities that spirits (Mushi) are the basic life forms. Ginko chases all possible leads that could give light to these Mushi creatures. It is supernatural and a bit unique.
Will he ever find the answers? Find out and see if he’s correct with his assumptions about the existence of these little creatures.
One of the reasons this becomes an underrated anime is its slow pace. Moreover, the episodes seem to be standalone at first glance. This could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on whose perspective it is.
If you don’t like anime that ends every episode, you might not like this one. But, if you want anime that is more of a sitcom, this is your thing/
What makes it worth watching? The different views of spirits in the series. Spirits in the anime are called Mushi.
This is about a girl who grants the wishes of revenge of a victim. However, only those who have a powerful grudge can access the website where hell girl interacts with her “clients”.
The catch? The victim who wants revenge will go straight to hell when he/she dies. This alone makes you reluctant to pursue the revenge thingy.
However, the initial victim becomes depressed and anxious until he/she agrees to the pact. Each victim gets a scar, reminding them of the agreement.
The reason for it becoming under-the-radar anime is its repeated plot throughout the series. A victim asks the help of Enma Ai for revenge and gets it. It’s basically the same until the end.
Although each episode gives a glimpse of why the Hell girl becomes like this, the story progression on that part is slow, even none at all.
Is it a good anime well worth your time? That depends if you like dark anime series, then have it a go. Besides, the art is superb, matched by bone-chilling music.
Also, if you like an anime series that has a bit of a stand-alone plot in each episode, you will like this one.
Underrated Anime with a Dramatic Flair
Welcome to NHK
Tatsuhiro Satou has been a hikikomori for four years. He believes that there is a conspirator for his NEET status.
This conspirator is the Nihon Hikikomori Kyokai (NHK), which is a secret organization aiming to spread hikikomori culture.
The anxious protagonist tries his best to overcome his fear of society. During his attempts, he meets the mysterious Misaki who might turn his life around and help him achieve his goal.
Why is the status underrated? Probably because the concept of hikikomori is a little foreign. Although this phenomenon is common in Japanese culture, it was not entirely known to the world. In short, an anime fan couldn’t relate to the backstory.
Should you watch it? Yes. This underrated anime is an eye-opener about people living as hikikomori. This phenomenon is a social problem that the Japanese government is trying to solve or at least mitigate.
Nice and Murasaki are Minimum holders who have a gift to create miracles. In this anime, only a select few have this special power.
The two protagonists begin to receive odd jobs. Suddenly, murdered Minimum holders are surfacing. Strangely, their jobs as Minimum holders are somewhat connected to the serial killer that their friend is looking for.
This underrated anime series has a nice backstory, although special powers aren’t new. However, each episode features the investigation of each murder case.
So, yeah, it becomes repetitive that fans begin to feel bored. The lack of story development could have led to the status of the anime being underrated.
The series is still a great anime because of its unique theme along with the good animation art.
Tokyo Magnitude 8.0
This anime was written and adopted into anime 2 years before the strongest earthquake in Japan’s history. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is about a little girl who must survive after an earthquake hit the city.
In eleven episodes, the series will take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions. It talks about trauma and coping up.
This brave little girl and her brother teach the viewers that in times of adversity, you don’t abandon your family. You have a family with whom you can share the burden.
All episodes concentrated on one plot. This could be the reason many anime fans don’t get it. Watching a whole series with few backstories could be boring for some otaku fans.
The anime is still worth your time. Give it a try even though this series isn’t for everybody.
Kids on the Slope
This underrated anime series is the story of a classical pianist and a top high school student, Kaoru Nishimi, who has trouble fitting in.
He constantly moved from one place to another, which makes it difficult for him to have friends. But, his latest school seems different.
In this place, shy Kaoru meets his new best friend, Sentarou Kawabuchi. These two hit it off because of their love of music.
Why is this an underrated anime? Probably because of the jazz theme. Not many people are into jazz, even anime fans. They couldn’t relate to most of the episodes as this series features a lot of jazz.
Still, this is worth your time because of the great character development. It has some drama to it, but it isn’t sappy compared to other animes with drama genres.