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The 6 best underrated anime shows you need to add to your watch list

The best time to watch these shows was when they came out. The second best time is now.

Death Parade Screenshot
Image credit: Madhouse

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Being an anime fan these days is easier than ever. We get dozens of shows each season, from massive hits like Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba to remakes of Spice and Wolf. With so much to choose from, it is easy for shows to slip under our radar and get missed in the shuffle. If you’re looking to add some shows to your backlog, here are our picks for the best underrated anime you might have missed.

My First Girlfriend is a Gal

My First Girlfriend is a Gal screenshot
Image credit: NAZ

High school relationships are inherently awkward – that’s what we love about them, really. When Junichi gets dared to ask out the pretty and fashionable Yukana, he goes along in the hopes of finally getting his first girlfriend. There is a lot of fan service in this one, but at its heart is a fun story of two people from totally different social circles finding common ground together. My First Girlfriend is a Gal is the perfect example of two dumb teenagers stumbling their way through romance.

And You Thought There is Never a Girl Online

And You Thought There Was Never A Girl Online
Image credit: Project No.9

Playing online games comes with a sense of anonymity that other hobbies don’t offer. You never really know who is behind the keyboard of the other player. Hideki goes to his guild’s first real-life meet-up only to discover that the person who plays his in-game wife really is a girl from his school. However, Ako has difficulty separating fantasy from reality and is really in love with Hideki’s character. While some of the typical rom-com hijinks ensue, this show’s heart is about the rest of the characters helping Ako overcome her reclusive habits, making it a surprisingly wholesome show despite its cheesy title.

Death Parade

Death Parade
Image credit: Madhouse

What happens when you die? Who decides who gets reincarnated and who leaves this mortal coil forever? That is what Death Parade covers, with each episode focusing on two people who died at the same time and found themselves in the Quindecim. This bar in represents the first stage in the afterlife, where people compete in games that slowly reveal their pasts and ultimately decide the fate of their immortal souls. This show is not only one of the best single-season anime out there, but it also has one of the greatest, most upbeat opening songs in anime history.

Full Metal Panic!

Full Metal Panic
Image credit: Kyoto Animation

Set in an alternate universe where the Cold War never ended but escalated into full nuclear war, Full Metal Panic! toes the line between chaotic action and over-the-top humor at almost every turn. There is action, comedy, and some of the most beautifully detailed, intricate mech suits you’ll find in anime. If you love the mecha anime genre, Full Metal Panic is the perfect one to try out.

86

86 screenshot
Image credit: A-1 Pictures

By dressing everything up in a sci-fi setting, anime can often tackle some of our world’s darkest issues. 86 shines a light on issues of racism and dehumanization and doesn’t pull any punches along the way. The titular 86 are a race of people who have been subjugated, had their rights stripped, and are forced to fight wars for their oppressors. If you can’t see the real-world parallels here, you’re not paying enough attention. This anime is dark and upsetting and worth a watch if you missed it when it came out in 2022.

Cautious Hero: The Hero is Overpowered but Overly Cautious

Cautious Hero screenshot
Image credit: White Fox

There are countless isekai anime that get released every year and most of them are incredibly forgettable. One that may have slipped by you because of its generic name and admittedly dumb concept is Cautious Hero: The Hero is Overpowered by Overly Cautious. Like most shows like this, it delivers exactly what it says in the excessively long title – it is about a hero who refuses to go out into the world until his levels and skills are maxed out. The first half will lull you into a false sense of security because it hits you with an absolutely knockout blow to the feels in the last half. This is a great show that is one of the best isekai anime of its time.


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