Some anime, such as Death Note, Naruto and Pokémon, gain traction overnight and become worldwide phenomena. But there are many more thoroughly entertaining anime that either get passed over for one reason or are simply forgotten over time. Still other shows may not be so well-known, yet their reputations for originality and style precede them. For those fine connoisseurs of anime who prefer to stray from mainstream content, here are five massively underrated anime that you likely never knew existed -- and just might become your next favorite series.
Powerpuff Girls Z
Sugar, spice and everything nice. The lesser-known Japanese adaptation known as Powerpuff Girls Z gives Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup an anime makeover that closely resembles their American counterparts. It was co-produced by Cartoon Network Japan and Aniplex and animated by Toei Animation, while its plot greatly differs from the original series.
Fans became polarized into two competing standpoints regarding The Powerpuff Girls and Powerpuff Girls Z. Despite its questionable approach to the series' history and tweaks to the characters and story, Powerpuff Girls Z is an action-packed extravaganza that pays homage to its American roots and makes for a worthy watch.
Similar to Fullmetal Alchemist and My Hero Academia, Mushibugyō targets the shonen demographic. It might have slipped under the radar, but it still qualifies as a must-see. Suitably categorized as an action-fantasy, Mushibugyō follows the adventures of Jinbee Tsukishima, a young man striving to be a master swordsman like his father. To atone for a horrific incident that occurred by his fault, Jinbee seeks to take his father's place as a member of the Insect Magistrate Office.
On his journey there Jinbee meets Haru, a young woman who helps to manage her family’s tea house, and is forced to put his sword to good use in saving her from a grisly fate. Jinbee joins the IMO to fight against giant insects who have invaded the earth.
Mushibugyō is available to stream now on Crunchyroll.
Dance in the Vampire Bund
Written by Hiroyuki Yoshino and animated by Studio Shaft, Dance in the Vampire Bund premiered in January 2010 and produced 12 episodes. The plot revolves around Mina Tepes, the Queen of the Vampires, who gains permission to create a special district for vampires in Japan known as The Bund.
Mina wishes for peace between humans and vampires, but fearful humans and disloyal vampires intervene. As a child, Akira Kaburagi vowed to serve Mina, and now he must fulfill his destiny by protecting Mina from those who would dethrone her. Highly recommended for supernatural enthusiasts who have the tendency to delve into the mythical world of vampires and werewolves, Dance in the Vampire Bund can be streamed on Crunchyroll or Funimation.
Set in a Victorian society, the underrated Gosick tells the story of Kazuya Kujou, a foreign student at Saint Marguerite Academy. His off-putting and mistakenly malicious appearance causes his peers to shun him and give him the nickname "Black Reaper," based on a popular urban legend about the traveler who brings death.
An ordinary day becomes life-changing when he meets a beautiful doll-like girl known as Victorique de Blois, whose foresight allows her to predict their futures. Victorique and Kujou are bound by fate to rely on each other as complex mysteries quickly develop in the quaint Southern European country. Gosick blends elements of drama, mystery and romance in a historical tale of adventure and discovery, which can be streamed now on Crunchyroll.
Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom
Making a name for itself in the action genre, Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom is set in a modern-day America rife with mafia, where assassins are a regular societal problem. Inferno, a mysterious company, controls the streets with its near-invincible human weapon, "Phantom."
When a Japanese tourist accidentally witnesses Phantom's latest murder, Phantom, revealed to be a young woman named Ein, and "Scythe Master," the leader of Inferno, capture the tourist and brainwash him. Given the name "Zwei," the tourist must fight against a corrupt world in hopes of restoring his memories and escaping death. For fans of darker anime, Phantom is the ideal late-night watch.
Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom can be found on either Funimation or Crunchyroll.