tv programs 11 Anime That Are Better Versions Of Popular Anime  

Crystal Brackett
1.1k votes 338 voters 10k views 11 items Follow Embed

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.

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3 people just voted on Digimon Adventure Tri Is A Better Version Of Pokemon


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 Pokémon 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.

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#53 on The Best Romance Anime Ever Made

#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

#46 on The Best Madhouse Anime, Ranked

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Rainbow: Nisha Rokubō no Shich... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list 11 Anime That Are Better Versions Of Popular Anime
Photo:  uploaded by Crystal Brackett

If you're looking for a delinquent-reformation program to force-feed you colors and loud noises, then Nanbaka is the perfect anime for you. Not everybody thinks that being on lockdown is an awesome party time, though. 

Rainbow: Nisha Rokubō No Shichinin is a reformation program with a more serious setting, focusing on a group of delinquents and the exploration of their dark pasts. This anime goes to show that following the lives of criminals can be entertaining, even if the series doesn't shove fan service down your throat. 

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#89 on The Best Adventure Anime of All Time

#21 on The Best Madhouse Anime, Ranked

#81 on The Saddest Anime Series of All Time

#41 on The Best Seinen Anime & Manga Series

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Nabari no Ou is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list 11 Anime That Are Better Versions Of Popular Anime
Photo:  Funimation/Viz Media

It's hard to compare ninja anime without lumping them all together in the same genre, but Nabari no Ou sets a higher standard. It has an engaging, fast-paced storyline and, unlike Naruto, won't leave you waiting for the plot to progress while you slog through filler episodes.

If you like Naruto, however, Nabari no Ou is an anime worth checking out. It utilizes the concepts of ninjas holding things sealed away inside them, wielding cool weapons, and fighting epic battles, but with less whiny 14-year-olds and pointless, boring, drawn-out fight sequences. So yeah, it's just the good parts of Naruto

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#93 on The Best Fantasy Anime of All Time

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Terror in Resonance is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list 11 Anime That Are Better Versions Of Popular Anime
Photo:  uploaded by Crystal Brackett

Vigilante teenagers uniting to form gangs and take control of a city as part of a larger, grand design are apparently not terribly difficult to come across in Japan. In both Terror in Resonance and Durarara!!, bonding to form a self-righteous gang is a common theme. 

However, Terror in Resonance executes its pacing perfectly, while Durarara!! struggles to catch up with itself at some points. Durarara!! is also heavily focused on the supernatural, but lacks the mystery solving Terror In Resonance delivers in spades. 

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#20 on The Best Anime Like Tokyo Ghoul

#38 on The Best Anime on Crunchyroll

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Bodacious Space Pirates is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list 11 Anime That Are Better Versions Of Popular Anime
Photo:  Sentai Filmworks/Funimation

If colorful pirate antics are your thing, then Bodacious Space Pirates is an anime well worth your time. Honestly, it's much more entertaining than One Piece. Not only is the anime neatly wrapped up into a 26 episode bundle, as opposed to the 287+ episodes you commit to when you start watching One Piece, you still get the cool pirate costumes and peppy fan service.

You follow the main character as she learns the skills she needs to become a captain, but instead of being bound to this world and taking place over the span of the Seven Seas like One PieceBodacious Space Pirates (as you can probably already tell) takes place in outer space, which automatically sets this anime up for awesome, galactic-level adventures.

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