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18 Great Anime Series Not Enough People Have Seen

Updated October 4, 2020 31.9k votes 11.5k voters 625.7k views18 items

List RulesVote up the anime you think deserves to have a much, much bigger audience

So, you just got through your anime starter pack. You're wearing a Konohagakure headband and an Attack on Titan t-shirt, 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 super 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?

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  • X/1999
    Video: YouTube

    Originally produced in 1996, X/1999 focuses on life at the turn of the millennium. Kamui, the protagonist, must choose between aiding two powerful groups. One wants to protect the Earth, and the other wants to destroy it in a purification ritual.

    Watching Kamui struggle to choose between the two factions is a delight, and so is seeing him finally make a decision in order to protect his childhood friends. 

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  • Chihayafuru
    Photo: Madhouse

    Do you like the competitive aspect of the sports anime genre, but would rather they focused more on character development than cool new ways to smack a ball around? Would you have liked Yu-Gi-Oh! twenty times more if they'd spent more time showing you the actual relationships between the characters, instead of spending entire episode on a card game with no set rules that also inexplicably determined the fate of the world? Do you like awesome female protagonists? How about traditional Japanese poetry?

    If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you should watch Chihayafuru. The series takes us deep into the world of competitive karuta, a physically and mentally demanding card game based on Ogura Hyakunin Isshu, a Japanese anthology of one hundred poets.

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  • Charlotte
    Video: YouTube

    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

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  • Haibane Renmei
    Video: YouTube

    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.

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