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Top Underrated Anime Of All Time (Explained)

Each year more than a hundred Anime shows are released on different streaming platforms as well as on television and in cinemas.

Sadly only a handful of them gets the spotlight mostly mainstream seasons and movies are preferred by the audience. It can also be an outcome of poor promotion, terrible titles, and even a current Anime that outperformed it.

Sometimes you see an Anime and ask: “How did I miss this?”

Why isn’t it being discussed? Because it is an underrated gem. Today I will discuss some of the best Anime shows that are criminally underrated. 

Monster 

Monster Anime
From its dark cinematic visuals to its cerebral plot, this anime is dedicated to faithfully portraying the highly praised manga on which it is based.

Monster is luckily a very critically acclaimed Anime but it did not reach its audience that quickly it is still one of the hidden gems of Anime.

This Anime is dedicated to faithfully portraying the highly praised manga on which it is based, from its dark cinematic visuals to its cerebral plot.

Plot

Monster is a dark thriller about Dr. Kenzo Tenma, a brain surgeon, and his choice to save the lives of two twin children instead of his town’s mayor in Germany.

But, nine years later, Tenma discovers that Johan, one of the twins, has become a horrific serial killer, while the other lives a normal life with her foster parents. Tenma’s attempts to rectify his error in saving Johan’s life are chronicled in the plot.

Review

Monster is a true classic. The show had a terrific vibe. It is a true psychological thriller.

Although Monster isn’t strictly a horror Anime, it does play with the genre at times. There are over 74 episodes but each episode had me on the edge with a very intelligent antagonist. 

Everyone should watch Monster at some time. It’s a pretty good show with an interesting tale that should appeal to you whether you like Anime or not.

Mermaid’s Scar

Based on the cult classic Mermaid Saga by Rumiko Takahashi. This poignant romance horror Anime takes inspiration from ancient Japanese mermaid folklore.

Unlike the western perception of the mermaids, this legend says that a human who consumes the flesh of a mermaid will be gifted or cursed with immortality.

But there is a catch to it that not everyone who consumes the flesh gets to keep their human form, some can become monsters too.

Plot

Yuta and Mana travel a lot, hopping from place to place in quest of new people and experiences. When they arrive at their new destination, the two meet a strange family: a mother and her 8-year-old kid. 

For some reason, the son appears to be afraid of his mother, avoiding her at all costs.

The mother appears to be a bit of a mystery among the townspeople, having survived multiple seemingly fatal incidents and totally healed the next day without a trace of a scar. Curious, the two decide to look into the problem more, but it turns out that it is far worse than it looks.

Review

Sadly this Anime is not as popular as it should be mainly due to poor marketing. Unlike bathing the whole Anime in bloody and gore scenes, Mermaid’s Scar takes a crisp take on its art style, script, and story. 

From the outset, the plot is unexpected and unsettling, lulling you into thinking you know what’s going on and then shockingly adding a new layer that twists everything again and again. And by the time you get a hunch on what’s going on it will be too late. 

Space Brothers

When this extra time is dedicated to filler, Space Brothers fails by any standard.

Space Brothers is one such Anime that blended Slice of life and sci-fi. Premiered in 2012 with up to 99 episodes, Space brothers had a simple yet interesting plot mostly about UFOs. 

TitleUchuu Kyoudai (Space brothers)
TypeTV
StudiosA-1 Pictures
PremieredApr 1, 2012, to Mar 22, 2014
SourceManga
Duration24 minutes per episode
Information about Space Brothers

Plot

Space brothers show the pursuit of two brothers and their dream of becoming astronauts and how they get the opportunity. 

Review

Space Brothers is a brilliantly crafted Anime that mixes a heartwarming plot with hilarious comedy, utilizing realistic characters to showcase how tough it is to become an astronaut.

It also has some delightful and thought-provoking moments.

Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories

Yamishibai - Theatre of Darkness
It employs an animation style designed to resemble the 20th-century art of street theater and puppetry.

Another horror Anime on the list! Yamishibai premiered in 2013 and contains 90 episodes. Each episode is no more than 5 minutes long.

Every episode contains a story based on a Japanese urban legend. Each episode has its tale with its own set of characters and plot.

It uses an animation style created to imitate the 20th-century art of street theatre and puppetry.

Plot 

A peculiar storyteller wearing a yellow mask appears at Dusk.

His name and origin are both a secret and he recites tales of the urban legend to the children gathering around him. He is no ordinary storyteller, He uses a Kamishibai (a paper scrolling device) to add effects and visuals to his demented stories.

Review

Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories (or Theater of Darkness) is the animated equivalent of telling scary stories over the campfire.

Of course— it has the benefit unlike campfire ghost stories of communicating its tale through graphics and mood-setting sound design.

This is as basic as storytelling gets, being brief and to the point. Nonetheless, these horror stories are rather good, encapsulating the tense atmosphere and shocks that make those brief ghost stories so enjoyable yet creepy.

Mushi-shi

Ginko from Mushi Shi
The vast majority of people are unaware of Mushi’s existence.

Ginko’s strange and weird experiences while dealing with the Mushi are fascinating insights into Japanese superstition and highly interesting to follow. It’s a little sluggish, but it’s certainly worth seeing.

Plot

The planet is inhabited by an ethereal spirit known as Mushi, who interacts with ordinary humans going about their everyday lives.

Many people are unable to see or communicate with Mushi. Ginko sees these Mushi and disguises himself as a traveling Mushi Master to assist those who are impacted by their bad effects.

Review

The series has no main story and instead focuses on the lives of the people Ginko assists.

It foregoes action and suspense in favor of gorgeous animation and small-scale storytelling, and the series moves at a relaxed pace that allows viewers to absorb the atmosphere.

Hamatora

Hamatora Season 1 Trailer

A mystery series involving people with special abilities isn’t anything new, but this series takes a different approach to the concept. Hamatora, short for Yokohama Troubleshooter, is a mixed-media project inspired by Marvel and DC superhero comics.

The project started with a manga series, followed by a TV Anime series. The franchise also includes a stage play, a novel, and a Nintendo 3D video game version.

Plot

Minimum, or small miracles, are exceptional abilities possessed by a limited set of individuals known as Minimum Holders.

Nice and Murasaki, the Minimum Holder PI Duo, run the detective agency Hamatora. Their workplace is a single table in Cafe Nowhere, where they and their staff welcome new clients.

Suddenly, the tasks they start getting seem to have peculiar ties to the serial murderer that their buddy Art, a police officer, is looking for. The murder victims all have one thing in common: they are all Minimum Holders. Nice and Murasaki, as holders, are pulled to the case.

Review

Hamatora maintains its mystery while also keeping you focused on the tensions and turns.

While most of this can be broken down to superpowered individuals dealing with various private investigator situations, the fact that it has a mystery theme is a refreshing change from the norm.

Conclusion

  • Unlike mainstream Anime, these underrated Animes also have a solid plot to get their lost spotlight.
  • Mushishi, Monster, and Hamatora are my top 3 on this list.
  • Most of these stories received critical acclaim but due to poor marketing, they did not receive recognition.

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