In the past, we have provided a couple of editions to what we found were some of the most underrated anime around. As an extension to that list, we wish to explore why underrated anime contains some of the best content you can find.
Free of Expectations and Outside Influence
We’re not trying to knock on popular anime such as My Hero Academia, Attack on Titan, or Dragon Ball, but when everybody talks about them, and after exposing yourself to God knows how many reviews; you watch such anime with a preconceived set of expectations. They may live up to your expectations, or in some instances, they may not. Because of the hype and popularity behind such anime titles, they become polarizing and people debate whether or not they’re the best or worst anime of all time due to nature of their popularity.
With underrated anime, you’re more free from preconceptions and you can watch them with a more open mind. Some underrated anime may appeal to you, some may not and that’s ok. At the end of the day, when you watch an underrated anime, you have more freedom to take it in and come up with your own impressions on it, and not based on everybody else’s.
Free of Cliches
With a good percentage of underrated anime, they tend to be free of just about every anime cliché you can think of, and they actually challenge some. The fact that they’re different from the mainstream just makes them fresh. Granted some popular anime have their appeal(s), but we’ve already seen them before with different presentations. Underachieving and yet hard working main characters such as Izuku from My Hero Academia are undeniably relatable, but have already been done before with Naruto, and can be traced back to Ryuji Takane from Ring ni Kakero, the series that made Shounen Jump in Japan. Or in most mech series, the pilot is always a reluctant teenager with growing pains.
When you watch an underrated mech anime such as Gundam X or Gundam ZZ, the main characters tend to break away from that mold of being whiny and selfish. Garoad and Jedau are more motivated by a sense of making a living for themselves and their loved ones, and despite their hardships of being orphans, they still have a more positive attitude as opposed to pessimistic characters such as Shinji from Evangelion and Amuro from the original Gundam, who actually grew up sheltered and educated.
The situation Shu finds himself in the world of Hellywood from Now and Then, Here and There is certainly the ultimate challenge to the optimistic Shounen hero. The Shounen genre typically tends to morally challenge the hero by having an antagonist that is the polar opposite of them just to remind them why they (and the viewers) chose to be good (case in point with All For One and All Might). Shu is forced into a much darker world where children like him are forced to become soldiers under a megalomaniac dictator who brutally mistreats his own soldiers and citizens. You see Shu’s principles are always challenged in just about every episode in situations that could happen in real life war zones like in Africa or the Middle East, and it’s amazing to see how Shu tries to stay true to them even when it means life or death.
Dragon Ball, Naruto and just about any action series that defies the law of physics and more are undeniably awesome, and it has helped make anime appealing. How Dragon Ball presents action truly re-defines the word imagination. Naruto and Boruto do a great job of showcasing their gimmicks by being tactical. However, there’s still room for action that can be realistic. As opposed to who has the biggest chi or chakra, an underrated anime like Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple shows who has the better technique. As opposed to shooting fireballs, Kenichi shows that sometimes old school MMA can be just as exciting. When Kenichi fights a striker, he can use grappling. Or when he fights a boxer, he can stop his momentum with leg kicks. If he wants to stop a takedown, he just has to distribute his weight to stop his opponent from completing the technique. The fact that it applies simple real life principles from various martial arts shows that aspect to fighting can be insightful and appealing as well.
The Ones That Get Bashed
As we shared in our first edition to our underrated list, Sailor Moon Crystal tends to get a very bad rap. We understand that there are some qualities that fans are disappointed with some of the animation, but there is more to appreciate and to be understanding of. As for its animation quality, viewers need to remember that it was broadcasted for FREE WITHOUT commercials! When you take that into consideration, it’s only natural it gets a lower budget in comparison to a TV anime, and there’s the Blur-rays or DVDs for you to purchase, which has better quality. Last, a good number of fans wanted a series more faithful to the manga and Crystal delivers exactly that!
There will always be a place for the more popular anime and by no means are we bashing them or discouraging anybody from watching them. Every once in a while, it’s best to watch something lesser known for reasons we shared. If you’re sick of cliches or just want to watch something that nobody has reviewed so you can watch with an open mind free of expectations, underrated anime can surprise you in more ways than one. Thanks to being free of those chains, you can find that underrated anime has so much to offer.