Anime Underground 11 Anime That Are Better Versions Of Popular Anime  

Crystal Brackett
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List Rules Vote up the anime everyone should be watching.

Trying to discover new anime can be a hassle. Even if you're a real otaku, you might pass up some truly great underrated anime gems if you don't do some serious digging. Typical recommendations generally lead people to a group of popular anime titles revered as "next level anime" but, quite frankly, get more hype than they deserve.

Anime that's better than average stuff rarely gets a proper recommendation. This is the anime you need to see if the basic titles interest you, but you don't want to invest in the same off-brand trash everybody else does. The anime that stands apart as unique and beautiful. If you can parse through the generic, fan-service flood of anime titles, better versions of popular anime are just waiting to be watched.


Digimon Adventure Tri Is A Bet... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 11 Anime That Are Better Versions Of Popular Anime
Photo:  Eleven Arts/The Pok√©mon Company International

Digimon and Pokemon are franchises that share more than a similarity in names, they're both based around monsters that can be captured and battled with, with the goal of making them even bigger monsters. However, Pokemon is a completely pointless kids show, and the most you're going to get out of it is some light entertainment and life lessons for children. If you're in love with this concept but want something with more mature themes, Digimon Adventure Tri will do the trick.

In this reboot, Digimon are still the main premise, but the DigiDestined are in the final phases of their school years, dealing with heavy personal issues. The animation is also completely gorgeous, and certainly much easier on the eyes than Pokémon


Plastic Memories is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 11 Anime That Are Better Versions Of Popular Anime
Photo:  Aniplex of America/Funimation

While both of these anime revolve around utterly adorable robot girls, Plastic Memories goes a bit deeper than the "when you touch her crotch her hard drive resets so don't hook up with your robot" theme Chobits is centered around.

The dudes in both series are inevitably destined to hook up with their hot robo-companions, but the backstory behind the droids in Plastic Memories is much more emotionally resonant. Each robot, you see, has a time limit on their lifespan, regardless of whatever emotional or physical attachment their comrades might have towards them.

Also Ranked

#6 on The Saddest Anime Series of All Time

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Gate Is A Better Version Of Sw... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 11 Anime That Are Better Versions Of Popular Anime
Photo:  Sentai Filmworks/Aniplex of America

The first season of Sword Art Online was totally serviceable, a video-game themed adventure with high stakes and some well-animated fight scenes. When it came time for the second season, and the third, however, everything went downhill and SAO was went spiraling down the drain.

Gate will make up for the bait-and-switch that left a Nerve Gear-shaped hole in your heart. This anime takes on essentially the same fantasy premise, but doesn't trail off into multiple seasons just for the sake of milking money out of their audience. Throughout the series, you'll feel the same excitement the initial season of SAO gave you, just without the inevitable disappointment.


Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 11 Anime That Are Better Versions Of Popular Anime
Photo:  Funimation/Sentai Filmworks

Although K-On! is super adorable, it's still just a bunch of girls struggling to create a band throughout their school year. It's touching, but also kind of a pointless moe anime series. Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad hits the band-formation process from a different angle, however, with two misfits forming a band to save rock n' roll.

Because it's not restricted to a high school setting, Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad goes above and beyond just the band formation. It takes you on a journey as the protagonists face the trials and tribulations involved in making it as professional musicians.

Also Ranked

#4 on The Best Music Anime of All Time

#46 on The Best Madhouse Anime, Ranked

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