The 35 Most Underrated & Unique Anime Series and Films

by dnesmith09 | created - 01 Aug 2013 | updated - 6 months ago | Public

For noticeable departures from traditional animation styles and formats of the Japanese to more narrative cinematic structures or non-linear approaches. Here's 35 of the weirdest hidden gems from my avant-garde anime viewing.

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1. Kemonozume (2006– )

Animation, Adventure, Drama

Kemonozume "Beast Claw" is an anime series written and directed by Masaaki Yuasa, animated by Studio Madhouse. Since ancient times a race of flesh eating monsters called shokujinki that can... See full summary »

Stars: Ken Uo, Katsuhiro Harasawa, Hiroyuki Oshida, Tomoyuki Shimura

Votes: 663

2. Gilgamesh (2003–2004)

TV-14 | Animation, Drama, Sci-Fi

Set in a future where the sky has been changed into a giant mirror, two teenage children are caught in a struggle between a group of super-powered beings and a mysterious woman's team of children aiming to stop them.

Stars: Blake Shepard, Alice Fulks, Andrew Love, Brittney Karbowski

Votes: 355

3. FLCL (2000–2018)

TV-14 | 151 min | Animation, Action, Comedy

A 12-year old boy named Naota one day meets a strange woman, riding a Vespa and wielding a big guitar. As soon as she appears, mysterious things start happening.

Stars: Jun Mizuki, Mayumi Shintani, Izumi Kasagi, Suzuki Matsuo

Votes: 13,785

4. The Count of Monte Cristo (2004– )

TV-14 | 24 min | Animation, Drama, Sci-Fi

Trying to escape his uneventful life, Albert, the son of a renowned general from Paris, makes a journey with his friend Franz. During his travels, he meets an immensely wealthy nobleman ... See full summary »

Stars: Beau Billingslea, Johnny Yong Bosch, Jôji Nakata, Karen Strassman

Votes: 2,056

5. Paranoia Agent (2004– )

TV-MA | Animation, Drama, Horror

Seemingly unconnected citizens of Tokyo are targeted for bludgeoning by a boy with a golden baseball bat. As detectives try to link the victims, they discover that following the assaults, the victims' lives have improved in some way.

Stars: Shôzô Îzuka, Toshihiko Seki, Michael McConnohie, Liam O'Brien

Votes: 8,253

6. Texhnolyze (2003– )

TV-MA | Animation, Drama, Sci-Fi

In a man-made underground society, descendants of a banished generation vie for control of the crumbling city of Lux. Ichise, an orphan turned prize fighter, loses a leg and an arm to ... See full summary »

Stars: Michael Forest, Justin Gross, Satoshi Haga, Shizuka Itô

Votes: 2,088

7. Serial Experiments Lain (1998– )

TV-14 | 316 min | Animation, Horror, Mystery

Strange events begin to occur as a withdrawn girl named Lain becomes obsessed with interconnected virtual realm of "The Wired".

Stars: Kaori Shimizu, Bridget Hoffman, Dan Lorge, Randy McPherson

Votes: 9,632

8. Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995–1996)

TV-14 | 624 min | Animation, Action, Drama

A teenage boy finds himself recruited as a member of an elite team of pilots by his father.

Stars: Megumi Ogata, Megumi Hayashibara, Kotono Mitsuishi, Spike Spencer

Votes: 40,450

9. Flowers of Evil (2013– )

TV-MA | Animation, Drama, Thriller

Takao worships the class beauty, Nanako, from afar. When he is alone in the classroom one day after school, he notices her bag of gym clothes on the floor. He can't resist picking it up. He... See full summary »

Stars: Yôko Hikasa, Mariya Ise, Patrick Mölleken, Shinichiroh Ueda

Votes: 724

10. Tekkonkinkreet (2006)

R | 111 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

65 Metascore

2 boys defend Treasure Town. Yakuza try to take over and clear it for new development.

Director: Michael Arias | Stars: Kazunari Ninomiya, Yû Aoi, Yûsuke Iseya, Kankurô Kudô

Votes: 11,672

First American directed anime!

11. Mind Game (I) (2004)

103 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

66 Metascore

After a deadly encounter with two yakuza, a loser with a crush on his childhood girlfriend goes to heaven and back, embarking on a psychedelic self-discovery experience with her and his friends.

Directors: Masaaki Yuasa, Kôji Morimoto | Stars: Kôji Imada, Sayaka Maeda, Takashi Fujii, Seiko Takuma

Votes: 7,572 | Gross: $0.04M

12. The King of Pigs (2011)

97 min | Animation, Drama, Thriller

Jong-suk and Kyung-min meet up to talk about their high school past, it's been 15 years since they last talked. It brings up all kinds of memories.

Director: Sang-ho Yeon | Stars: Ik-joon Yang, Jeong-se Oh, Hye-na Kim, Kkobbi Kim

Votes: 1,204

13. Redline (2009)

Not Rated | 102 min | Animation, Action, Romance

A story about the most popular racing event in the galaxy, the Redline, and the various racers who compete in it.

Director: Takeshi Koike | Stars: Takuya Kimura, Yû Aoi, Tadanobu Asano, Yoshiyuki Morishita

Votes: 9,646

14. Ergo Proxy (2006)

TV-14 | 25 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

In a post-apocalyptic future humans live in peace with androids in a domed city. However, a strange series of murders has intruded into bored inspector Re-l Mayer's life.

Stars: Kôji Yusa, Akiko Yajima, Rachel Hirschfeld, Liam O'Brien

Votes: 11,037

15. Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack (2012 Video)

Not Rated | 70 min | Animation, Horror

The friends Kaori, Erika and Aki are on a vacation to celebrate their upcoming graduation, when suddenly an infestation of mysterious walking fish forces them to reevaluate everything they care about in order to stay alive.

Director: Takayuki Hirao | Stars: Mirai Kataoka, Takuma Negishi, Ami Taniguchi, Masami Saeki

Votes: 1,168

16. Mushi-Shi (2005–2006)

TV-14 | 25 min | Animation, Drama, Fantasy

They are neither plants nor animals. They differ from other forms of life such as the micro-organisms and the fungi. Instead they resemble the primeval body of life and are generally known ... See full summary »

Stars: Yûto Nakano, Travis Willingham, Kôjun Itô, Jennifer Seman

Votes: 10,520

17. Kaiba (2008– )

TV-MA | 24 min | Animation, Adventure, Drama

In a futuristic dystopian world where memories are literally stored, bought and sold and rich have all the privileges, a young amnesiac is trying to find out who he is.

Stars: Houko Kuwashima, Mamiko Noto, Romi Pak

Votes: 1,165

18. Cat Soup (2001)

34 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

A young anthropomorphic cat goes on a psychedelic journey with his sister in order to save her soul.

Director: Tatsuo Satô

Votes: 4,292

19. Boogiepop Never Laughs: Boogiepop Phantom (2000– )

TV-14 | 24 min | Animation, Horror, Mystery

A light in the sky, followed by a strange aura and grisly murders. Each character tells their own connection to the event and to a similar murder spree 5 years ago. All of the different ... See full summary »

Stars: Roxanne Beck, Anne Benkovitz, Jessica Calvello, Crispin Freeman

Votes: 736

20. Detroit Metal City (2008 Video)

TV-MA | 168 min | Animation, Comedy, Music

The life of a split personality man who secretly sings for death metal.

Director: Hiroshi Nagahama | Stars: Daisuke Kishio, Ai Kobayashi, Takashi Matsuyama, Masami Nagasawa

Votes: 1,012

21. Revolutionary Girl Utena (1997)

TV-14 | 24 min | Animation, Comedy, Drama

A tomboyish schoolgirl finds herself forced into repeated duels for another girl who has a role in a world revolution.

Stars: Leah Applebaum, Roxanne Beck, Sharon Becker, James Carter Cathcart

Votes: 1,127

22. Ghost Hound (2007– )

TV-14 | 25 min | Animation, Drama, Horror

The experiences of three boys who have had traumatic experiences in childhood from which they have learned to transfer their souls to a parallel world known as the "Unseen World".

Stars: Clint Bickham, Josh Grelle, Illich Guardiola, Corey Hartzog

Votes: 619

23. Angel's Egg (1985)

71 min | Animation, Drama, Fantasy

A mysterious young girl wanders a desolate, otherworldly landscape, carrying a large egg.

Director: Mamoru Oshii | Stars: Mako Hyôdô, Jinpachi Nezu, Kei'ichi Noda

Votes: 5,712

24. Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt (2010)

TV-MA | 23 min | Animation, Action, Comedy

Two Angels, Panty and Stocking, are kicked out of Heaven for bad behaviour and sent Ghost hunting by Garterbelt, a Priest of Daten City.

Stars: Jamie Marchi, Arisa Ogasawara, Mariya Ise, Kôji Ishii

Votes: 1,352

25. Ping Pong the Animation (2014– )

TV-14 | Animation, Drama, Sport

Five ping pong prodigies learn to navigate the harsh climate of competitive sport and the even more frightening realm of self realization.

Stars: Koki Uchiyama, Alan Chow, Aaron Dismuke, Tyson Rinehart

Votes: 1,937

26. Terumae romae (2012– )

Animation

Lucius, a Roman architect, is transported through time to modern-day Japan, where he learns about Japanese bathhouses and uses this to his gain back home.

Stars: Jim Foronda, Hiroshi Shirokuma, Hiroki Touchi, Akio Ôtsuka

Votes: 48

27. Mononoke (2007)

TV-MA | 25 min | Animation, Fantasy, Horror

A mysterious man called the Medicine Seller travels along feudal Japan, uncovering and slaying evil spirits called "Mononoke".

Stars: Michael C. Pizzuto, Takahiro Sakurai

Votes: 1,294

28. Belladonna of Sadness (1973)

Unrated | 86 min | Animation, Drama, Fantasy

70 Metascore

An evil feudal lord rapes a village girl on her wedding night and proceeds to ruin her and her husband's lives. After she's eventually banished from her village, the girl makes a pact with the devil to gain magical ability and take revenge.

Director: Eiichi Yamamoto | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Katsuyuki Itô, Aiko Nagayama, Shigako Shimegi

Votes: 3,045 | Gross: $0.11M

29. Kuuchuu Buranko (2009– )

25 min | Animation, Comedy, Drama

Many patients with different problems visit the psychiatric ward of Irabu General Hospital; a trapeze artist suffering from insomnia after suddenly failing his jumps, a gangster afraid of ... See full summary »

Stars: Kenji Fukui, Tôru Furuya, Wataru Hatano, Tatsurou Ikeyama

Votes: 154

30. Pop Team Epic (2018– )

TV-14 | 12 min | Animation, Comedy

Two high school girls, the short and exceptionally quick to anger Popuko, and the tall and much more calm Pipimi, do insane things and swear like sailors in this absurdist comedy filled with references and meta humor.

Stars: Tohru Adachi, Bryn Apprill, Shunsuke Itakura, Mikaela Krantz

Votes: 463

31. Midori (1992)

56 min | Animation, Drama, Horror

A little orphaned girl joins a freak-show circus troupe whose members rape and abuse her. She then finds a glimmer of hope in the enigmatic magician who joins the group.

Director: Hiroshi Harada | Stars: Minako Naka, Norihiko Morishita, Keinosuke Okamoto, Kazuyoshi Hayashi

Votes: 1,244

32. Puella Magi Madoka Magica (2011)

TV-14 | 24 min | Animation, Drama, Fantasy

A creature named Kyubey offers Madoka and Sayaka a wish if they agree to become 'magical girls' and fight abstract beings called 'witches'. However, a magical girl named Homura is, for uncertain reasons, determined to stop this agreement.

Stars: Aoi Yûki, Chiwa Saitô, Emiri Kato, Christine Marie Cabanos

Votes: 5,975

33. From the New World (2012– )

TV-14 | 25 min | Animation, Adventure, Drama

In a post-apocalyptic world set a thousand years after our era, the remaining humans, now with telekinesis, live in a seemingly peaceful society, but dark secrets of the past will soon be discovered by a small group of friends.

Stars: John Kaiser, David Wald, Leraldo Anzaldua, Chris Ayres

Votes: 2,091

34. House of Five Leaves (2010– )

TV-14 | 23 min | Animation, Drama, History

Timid samurai Akitsu Masanosuke becomes involved with the group "Five Leaves" after becoming the bodyguard for their mysterious, yet charismatic leader Yaichi.

Stars: Daisuke Namikawa, Fuyuka Oura, Takahiro Sakurai, Masaya Takatsuka

Votes: 418

35. Devilman: Crybaby (2018)

TV-MA | 25 min | Animation, Action, Fantasy

Demons invade humanity after being frozen in ice for millions of years. Akira, a timid boy, is tasked by his friend Ryo to merge with one of these demons in order to be able to fight back against them for the sake of humanity.

Stars: Griffin Burns, Cherami Leigh, Kyle McCarley, Cindy Robinson

Votes: 8,200



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