Top 20 Underrated Anime of the Century (So Far)



Top 20 Underrated Anime of the Century (So Far)

VOICE OVER: Ashley Bowman WRITTEN BY: Alex Crilly-Mckean
Just because they're not popular doesn't mean they aren't awesome! Join Ashley as we count down our picks for the most underrated anime you should be watching, including the likes of "Talentless Nana", "Asobi Asobase", "A Place Further Than the UNiverse", "Astra: Lost in Space", "SSSS.Gridman"
Script written by Alex Crilly-Mckean

Top 20 Underrated Anime of the Century So Far

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we are counting down our picks for Top 20 Underrated Anime of the Century So Far.

For this list, we’re looking over the diamonds in the rough, the unsung heroes of the anime scene, the series that you should really be checking out despite being nowhere near MAL’s Top 100. Think we missed a real gem? Let us know in the comments!

#20: “Knight's & Magic” (2017)

Given the current anime climate, recommending an isekai might seem like adding more fuel onto the fire, but there truly are worse things than checking out this blend of kingdoms, magic, war and…giant robots. Yep, it’s one of those. While the CGI isn’t the slickest and doesn’t shy away from a slow burn approach, it’s still worth sticking out for. The action can be a whole lot of fun once it gets into the swing of things, and most importantly of all, it has a main character that’s extremely likeable! Something a majority of isekai seem to forget these days!

#19: “Trapeze” (2009)

Balls to the wall bonkers, Irabu’s office may be a place where live-action and 2D merge, and ridiculous prescriptions are given out left and right, but will be damned if it doesn’t work! A genius doctor who just so happens to be a child, Irabu spends his days dispensing bizarre remedies for patients with equally ridiculous problems. It’s one of the most out-there anime comedies, one that doesn’t shy away from bending the medium as far as it can – how else do you explain Irabu’s assistant?!

#18: “Tsurezure Children” (2017)

To say this little series is utterly charming would do it a disservice. Even with a simple premise involving a collection of high school couples, the way in which each romance blossoms with just the right sprinklings of awkwardness and accentuated humour makes the whole thing feel authentic. While each pairing may be struggling with the same issues, their interactions remain wholly unique. If you have to stomach just one more feel-good, academic slice of life, this should be the one!

#17: “Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan” (2005-07)

You’d think having a pair of lovely angels around you would be pretty swell…at least until one splits your head open with a spiked club. It’s fair to say this little number is very much the unwanted stepchild of anime, what with only having a series that consists of a couple of OVAs, and has a premise involving an angel literally tearing apart her love interest, because anime-logic. The thing is…it can actually be pretty funny at times. Especially if you’re a fan of black comedy that doesn’t mind the occasional bit of body horror.

#16: “Hinamatsuri” (2018)

What happens when you put a monotone, somewhat selfish esper in the care of a gangster? Pandemonium of the best kind. Given that she’s a walking telekinetic disaster, Hina’s antics, often at the expense of her new yakuza daddy, never fail to earn a laugh. Only for her to be matched in the hilarity department by her fellow esper Anzu, who’s gradual decline into being homeless made us laugh way more than it should. As well as Hitomi, whose inability to say no leads her down the path of every introvert’s worst nightmare. Don’t have to be a mind reader to see this is an easy watch!

#15: “Chio's School Road” (2018)

What kind of trouble can an unremarkable student get up to on the way to school? Well, if you’re Chio, anything and everything. An avid gamer and apparent magnet for problems, Chio’s daily treks to her high school never fail to bring about some manner of hilarious calamity. Whether it be motorcycle gangs, parkouring over rooftops, or dealing with the lustful wants of a crazed kabaddi player, no day is ever boring in this little lady’s life. Sure, pain and misery are par for the course, but that doesn’t make it any less entertaining.

#14: “Akashic Records of Bastard Magic Instructor” (2017)

Is the world building the greatest thing the fantasy genre has ever seen? Not even close. Does it have one of the most likeable leads in the form of Glenn? Absolutely. A talented but lackadaisical mage, Glenn finds himself in charge of a group of up-and-coming sorcerers, who want nothing to do with him. At first. The real draw here is the growing relationship between Glenn and outspoken cat girl Sistine, whose comedic and romantic banter never fails to enchant. Sprinkle in some magical battles here and there, and you’ve got a winner!

#13: “Mr Tonegawa Middle Managment Blues” (2018)

Remember the ruthless and intimidating right hand man of the Chairman? The one who battled Kaiji in a game of chance under penalty of immense pain? The one who willingly burned his whole body when he eventually lost? Yeah, he got his own comedy series. You’d think this would be a disaster given how it strays so far from Kaiji’s darker tone, but shockingly enough, Tonegawa pulls it off. Tasked with upkeep of a corporation filled with identical yes men, the demands of a crazy boss, as well as a failing Twitter account, Tonegawa spends his days putting out company fires, and damn if it isn’t funny to behold!

#12: “School-Live!” (2015)

When it comes to twists in modern anime, this is pretty much the poster child. While we won’t go into explicit details, let’s just say this is not your average high school friendship-fest. Under the belief that everything in her life is perfect, Yuki spends her days enjoying class with her beloved friends. Surprise, surprise, not everything is as it seems, though that’s not going to stop Yuki from trying to remain in her delusions, even when the harsh face of reality is laid bare for her to see.

#11: “Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun” (2020)

Hard to believe that an entity that resides in a toilet could have an adaptation that looks this good. If for nothing else, this series excels with its gorgeous art style, one that doesn’t fade even as its titular spirit slices up the supernatural, makes moves on a terrified human girl, and again, calls a crapper his home. Hanako’s antics blur between school comedy and occult action, one that was ultimately overlooked, which is a shame because there’s so much imagination here with its monsters and visual flare! Best not to flush this one away.

#10: “Star Driver” (2010-11)

Goes to show that not every mecha series has to be gritty as can be, harping on about themes of war and militarisation. Sometimes it can be about a Galactic Pretty Boy who takes down giant robots with nothing but swag. One of the most original, stylish and flamboyant sci-fi-fantasies you’re likely to encounter, watching Takuo endeavour to defeat every Cybody with his own slick mecha is a treat to watch. You don’t always need a message. Sometimes you can just be fabulous!

#9: “Talentless Nana” (2020)

Talk about a bait and switch! At first, we thought we were getting yet another show about supernatural teenagers, working through would-be Quirks and hormones. But nope. Turns out the titular airhead was a merciless assassin sent to execute the students to ensure world peace. In an ever-shifting environment of hunt or be hunted, Nana continually proves that just because you have powers, they don’t mean squat against a master manipulator with killer instincts. Whether for her personal arc or her creative kills, Nana’s exploits were an unexpected delight.

#8: “SSSS.Gridman” (2018)

Taking the beloved tokusatsu and breathing fresh life into it with that signature Studio Trigger goodness, Gridman’s revival was a blast to experience, for hardcore fans of the property as well as newcomers just looking to see some mecha vs kaiju action. Going above and beyond your typical sci-fi showdown, this reboot not only had some great action under its belt, but also became trendsetters thanks to the introduction of the beautifully complex villain Akane, and of course, Rikka’s thighs saving all manner of lives.

#7: “The Idaten Deities Know Only Peace” (2021)

What happens when the guy who created Interspecies Reviewers has a stab at making a seinen battle series? You get this; a surprisingly enjoyable romp that figuratively and literally holds back zero punches. Focusing on a set of humanoid deities in their war against demons, the fights here are brutal, and do a surprisingly great job at avoiding some of those classic pitfalls. Especially when it comes to Rin. Just be warned that it’s also not afraid to go to some rather…uncomfortable places with its narrative.

#6: “Un-Go” (2011)

A police procedural with a dystopian backdrop with just a splash of the supernatural, the murder mysteries found here are sure to scratch that itch for those that can’t get enough neo noir goodness. Navigating a post-war Tokyo where the police have absolute authority, a young detective uses the demonic abilities of his inhuman partner to solve crimes, often by having them make suspects confess to an absolute truth. Largely overshadowed by others in the genre, it’s still fun if bleak take, but one that’ll easily ensnares you!

#5: “C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control” (2011)

Turns out that, yes, greed is good, especially when you’re thrown into psychedelic battles where the outcome will either place you at the socio-economic pinnacle…or just rip your head off. As a destitute student surrounded by wealthy peers, the good-natured Yoga finds himself drawn to a parallel world where combatants known as Entres clash for control and fortune. The crazy fights, power system and banging soundtrack all elevate what should have been a ridiculous concept to stunning heights, layering on so much vibrancy it makes financial transactions seem interesting!

#4: “Asobi Asobase” (2018)

Do you consider your sense of humour to be highbrow? Sophisticated? Borderline elitist? Then you’d better bail because this trio are all about that vulgar life. Possibly the most underrated anime comedy to come out over the last few years, these ladies hold nothing back, spending their days trying to entertain themselves with all manner of games, always leading to hysterical results. Olivia’s fake English, Katsumi’s dark side, all the way to Hanako’s…general lack of sanity, these three have no problem crossing any and all lines when it comes to earning a laugh.

#3: “Astra Lost in Space” (2019)

To be honest, there’s really no reason why anyone shouldn’t have seen this; a self-contained, tightly written, fantastical sci-fi that echoes the greats of the genre, with an emphasis on exploration, all tied together with a brilliant mystery and a stellar cast of unwitting star-voyagers. When an anomaly teleports a group of campers into the depths of space, their only chance to make it home falls on the lone spaceship Astra, catapulting them into galactic race for survival, one that doesn’t shy away from bombshell reveals!

#2: “A Place Further Than the Universe” (2018)

What started as a surprise trip to Antarctica soon turns into a coming-of-age story that will undoubtedly strike a chord with any who watch it, all thanks to the earnestness of its cast as they venture far beyond their ordinary lives. Between the beautiful icy backdrop and the genuine interactions between its leading ladies, nothing comes across as cheap drama here. You know you’ve made something special when the scope of the Antarctic wilderness comes second to a quiet moment of characterisation.

#1: “Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers” (2015)

Equal parts adventure and whodunit, the conflict between these legendary warriors put an interesting spin on what could have easily become a cliche mess. Assembled to take down the Demon King, a group of warriors of every walk of life gather…only to discover that there’s one person too many, meaning an infiltrator lurks among their group. While guessing the identity of the traitor serves as the core thread, the flashy fights and budding character interactions ensured that this fleeting series is still remembered with great fondness! You’d think with a best girl like Fremy they’d have a season two by now.