The 15 Best Underrated Anime Series of All Time, Ranked

These underrated anime series don't get as much attention as the popular ones, but they're just as entertaining—if not better!
The 15 Best Underrated Anime Series of All Time, Ranked

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Just about everyone has seen anime series like Naruto, Attack on Titan, My Hero Academia, and Death Note. But what about the lesser-known, underrated anime series that flew under the radar?

Over the years, lots of high-quality anime have been buried by ultra-popular series. It's a shame because there are so many amazing anime series released every year that deserve more attention.

Here are our picks for the best underrated anime series that may have been overshadowed but are still worth checking out!

15. Haganai: I Don't Have Many Friends

Comedy, Ecchi, Romance, School

Originally aired 2011 to 2013

24 episodes (2 seasons)

7.16 on MAL

We're starting this list with the harem anime series Haganai: I Don't Have Many Friends. This slice-of-life series brings two misfits—the fierce Kodaka and the coarse Yozora—together to form the Neighbors Club as a way to make friends.

With them are an eclectic group of school girls who go through crazy moments in high school. While high school anime series are common, Haganai stands out for its raunchiness.

From Sena's figure to her feud with Yozora, the crude humor in Haganai makes it a fun watch that's sadly been overlooked.

14. Tsuritama

Comedy, Sci-Fi, Slice of Life

Originally aired 2012

12 episodes (1 season)

7.66 on MAL

Slice-of-life anime series with fantastical elements are too common. Yet, while Tsuritama isn't so different on the surface, it has some standout quirks that make it worthwhile.

High schooler Yuki stays with his grandmother Kaito, but they frequently relocate for work. Their latest move to the island of Enoshima has Yuki crossing paths with the transfer student Haru, the young fisher Natsuki, and the eccentric Indian man named Akira.

Yuki is a relatable kid who often deals with frantic episodes, and he usually overcomes them in funny ways. Tsuritama requires a willingness to embrace the bizarre—and if you do, it's fantastic.

13. Angels of Death

Adventure, Horror, Suspense

Originally aired 2018

16 episodes (1 season)

6.96 on MAL

One of the darker anime series on this list is Angels of Death, based on the horror adventure game and manga of the same name.

In this anime, a 13-year-old girl named Rachel finds herself in a facility with no memories and must get through every treacherous level to escape and return to her life.

While the scares may not be on par with the game, the slow-burn story brings a creepiness factor that hooks. Plus, there's the character of Rachel and her bond with Isaac that makes it fun to watch.

12. Hell Girl

Horror, Mystery, Supernatural

Originally aired 2005 to 2017

90 episodes (4 seasons)

7.61 on MAL

Hell Girl has all the ingredients for a top-tier dark supernatural anime: hell, revenge, and a creepy girl.

That creepy girl is Ai Enma, a liaison of the Hell Correspondence website that takes requests from tormented people and exacts vengeance on their tormentors by sending them to hell.

Every episode of Hell Girl is a self-contained story, but one thing binds them all together: Ai Enma is both creepy and intriguing. Her encounters are spine-chilling, and it's even worse when you learn about her tragic backstory.

Hell Girl is one of the most underrated dark anime series of our time, and there are plenty of episodes to chew through.

11. Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit

Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Originally aired 2007

26 episodes (1 season)

8.13 on MAL

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit deserves a place among the best period fantasy anime series of all time.

This story—about a wandering warrior who serves as bodyguard to a prince—speaks volumes as it dives head-first into the grand themes and worlds of Kanbal and New Yogo.

Balsa is a spearwoman who wants to atone for her past while Chagum is a vulnerable yet empathetic prince. Together, they uncover Chagum's connection to a water spirit and must prevent their kingdom's end.

10. Mushi-Shi

Adventure, Mystery, Slice of Life, Supernatural

Originally aired 2005 to 2014

46 episodes (2 seasons)

8.66 on MAL

Mushi-Shi is another anime series on the mature side, an overlooked gem that eventually became a cult favorite for anime fans.

The series is set in 19th century Japan, where ethereal creatures called Mushi roam the lands. These Mushi are imperceptible to humans, but a few can see them—including the lethal Mushi Master Ginko.

This ingenious anime from Yuki Urushibara was lauded for its beautiful animation, naturalist themes, captivating sequences, and charming lead character Ginko. It's absolutely still worth watching today.

9. Ghost Hunt

Horror, Mystery, Supernatural

Originally aired 2006 to 2007

25 episodes (1 season)

7.76 on MAL

Ghost Hunt is a paranormal horror anime that frequently slips through the cracks. Based on the light novels by Fuyumi Ono, this is a fantastic series if you're interested in Japanese folklore.

Like most of us, Mai Taniyama enjoys scary ghost stories—but she takes her interest even farther when she becomes an assistant to the Shibuya Psychic Research company and its supernatural investigations.

8. Birdy the Mighty: Decode

Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi

Originally aired 2008 to 2009

25 episodes (1 season)

7.42 on MAL

The Birdy the Mighty manga was originally written in the 80s, and it luckily received an anime adaptation in the mid-2000s.

This epic anime series concerns the story of Birdy, an agent who tracks down interplanetary criminals.

After following the scent of one criminal to Earth, Birdy nearly kills a civilian—and she decides to save his life by merging her body with his.

Now the boy, named Tsutomu, must remain merged with the strong and attractive Birdy until his own body is healed, all the while accompanying her as she continues her investigation.

7. Eden of the East

Mystery, Romance, Sci-Fi, Suspense

Originally aired 2009

11 episodes (1 season)

7.76 on MAL

On Careless Monday, ten missiles happen to strike Japan but somehow cause no deaths. Following this strange event, recent college graduate Saki Morimi travels to Washington D.C., where she encounters a strange naked man with amnesia.

After one thing leads to another, Saki and the mysterious man travel back to Japan to uncover the man's true identity.

This premise might not make much sense right now, but if you're looking for an unusual anime that's nothing like your typical popular series, Eden of the East is an underrated must-watch.

6. Overlord

Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Isekai

Originally aired 2015 to 2022

52 episodes (4 seasons)

7.91 on MAL

Overlord is yet another modern anime that's been overshadowed by other hugely popular series. Just like Sword Art Online, the main protagonist of Overlord gets trapped inside of an MMORPG.

Now that Momonga's stuck in a virtual fantasy realm, he's left with an incredibly powerful character, mindless NPCs, and enough experience to take over the world of Yggdrasil.

5. Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens

Action, Mystery

Originally aired 2018

12 episodes (1 season)

7.37 on MAL

Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens is set in Fukuoka, Japan, a city that houses a surprising number of assassins.

In a city full of investigators, killers, and spies, Detective Banba scrambles to uncover the truth behind the mysterious "killer of professional killers."

The name of this anime series obscures what you'll find when watching: graphic content, dark situations, and unpleasant narrative elements that combine to deliver an entertaining ride.

4. Nana

Drama, Romance

Originally aired 2006 to 2007

47 episodes (1 season)

8.54 on MAL

The fact that Nana has never made it to the big leagues of anime is mind-boggling. Nana introduces you to two women named Nana who couldn't be any more different from each other.

While one Nana is a peppy girl who just moved to Tokyo, the other is a rugged, aspiring rockstar. When their paths cross, plenty of drama and angst follow—and it's a doozy to watch.

3. Space Dandy

Comedy, Sci-Fi, Space

Originally aired 2014

26 episodes (2 seasons)

7.88 on MAL

Space Dandy comes from the same brilliant minds behind Cowboy Bebop. Although both animes have the same emphasis on space travel, Space Dandy puts a wacky, nonsensical spin on things.

This goofy space opera follows the alien space hunter Dandy along with his unconventional crew. Together, they all embark on missions to discover new alien species.

2. Welcome to the NHK

Comedy, Drama, Romance

Originally aired 2006

24 episodes (1 season)

8.31 on MAL

If you've ever spent an entire day (or longer) sitting inside watching anime, you can probably relate to Welcome to the NHK.

This highly-underrated series follows the average life of Tatsuhiro Sato, a college dropout who spends most of his time inside his apartment.

Because of Tatsuhiro's status as a recluse, he attracts the attention of a young woman who tries to shake him of his solitary ways.

1. Blood Blockade Battlefront

Action, Comedy, Fantasy, Supernatural

Originally aired 2015 to 2017

24 episodes (2 seasons)

7.60 on MAL

Blood Blockade Battlefront takes place in the demon-infested city of Hellsalem's Lot. Leonardo Watch, the recipient of the powerful All-Seeing Eyes of the Gods, moves to the city only to get involved with a crime-fighting organization called Libra.

When more malevolent demons begin to seep in from the Beyond, life in Hellsalem's Lot gets even more unstable.

Despite having some amazing artwork and action sequences, this exciting anime often goes overlooked. Don't miss it!