So, you just got through your anime starter pack. You're wearing a Konohagakure headband and an Attack on Titan t-shirt, you write your grocery lists in a Death Note you bought on Amazon, and you know way more about volleyball than a person who doesn't play the game has any reason to know. It's understandable that you're eager to show off your newly acquired nerd cred, but not so fast — there's a ton of great anime no one knows about that you should watch.
If you want to be a true anime expert, you have to watch the obscure, high-quality anime that other people haven't seen. Try some of these criminally underrated anime, and see if you find something you like. And if you don't find anything, it's totally cool to go rewatch your favorite Miyazaki movie again. Hey, at least you tried, right?
Yuu Otosaka, the protagonist of Charlotte, can slip into people's minds and control them for brief periods of time. He's not the only one with amazing powers — in fact, there's a whole school full of gifted individuals at Hoshinoumi Academy. Because the government is out to capture people with special abilities, Yuu and his friends track down and protect people with powers.
You'll like this anime if you liked Angel Beats, another (more popular) project by Charlotte's creator Jun Maeda. You'll also like it if you like X-Men, because Charlotte is basically anime X-Men. Except, you know, not terrible.
Fans of Sword Art Online should definitely consider checking out .hack//Sign, another (far superior) anime about the perils and pleasures of online gaming. While the animation may not be as slick, and the ideas about how online gaming works might seem antiquated, it's still a must-see. What makes .hack//Sign truly stand out is its exceptional soundtrack, written and performed by the inimitable Yuki Kajiura.
The Eccentric Family is one of the best anime you've never seen. It focuses on the Shimogamo family, a group of tanuki (mythological raccoon-like creatures who can transform into anything they want) struggling to cope with the loss of their father.
Boasting complex characters with nuanced and varied reactions to grief, colorful and exciting art, and scenes that range from madcap battles to philosophical debate about eating meat, this anime is one people have been missing out on for too long.
If you liked Serial Experiments Lain, you should check out Yoshitoshi Abe's other project, Haibane Renmei. Haibane Renmei takes place in a dreamy, afterlife world where people wake up from "cocoon dreams" with a single memory that defines them for the rest of their existence as haibane, angel-like beings who live an ordered, isolated life. With gorgeous art and thought provoking ideas, this little-known series is one you should see if you haven't already.