Let’s be honest, video streaming service Crunchyroll has a virtually bottomless catalogue of anime. And with each season bringing dozens of new shows for you to either add to your watchlist–or worse, banish to your backlog, the likelihood of Crunchyroll’s hidden gems becoming even more obscure increases.
Fear not, faithful reader. I’ve assembled a list of 10 slept-on anime for you to show off about at your next social gathering.
Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day
Hey guys, wanna see how hard you can cry? Well you better watch Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day so you can find out.
Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day, by A-1 Pictures, is a supernatural slice-of-life drama about a group of childhood friends that grow apart after the passing of their anchor-friend, Meiko “Menma” Honma. But Menma isn’t really gone. One day, her ghost appears and hounds her hermitlike friend Jinta Yadomi to aid her in fulfilling her one last wish before passing on.
Now the band of former friends must reconcile their guilt and hard feelings for one another in order to properly move on from their tumultuous past and allow Menma’s soul to finally rest peacefully.
Elemental Gelade, by Xebec, follows a rambunctious sky pirate named Coud (not to be confused with the feather-haired Final Fantasy protagonist). After raiding a skyship, Coud stumbles upon a crate containing a mysterious girl named Reverie “Ren” Metherlence. But Ren isn’t like most girls, she’s actually an Edel Raid, a humanoid being that can transform into a powerful weapon after bonding with a human partner. Ren also happens to be one of the strongest Edel Raid thanks to her revered bloodline.
As far as hidden gems go, Elemental Gelade is as hidden gem as it gets. I mean, look no further than the literal gem in Ren’s dome. This anime has a little bit of everything: impressive action, intriguing world-building, side-splitting comedy, and, of course, romance.
Not many anime master the balance of being as unnerving as a horror movie and as hilarious as the best YouTube anime abridged series, but Ghost Stories is built different.
Ghost Stories by Pierrot follows a group of school kids as they try to survive increasingly bizarre hauntings in their hometown. Honestly, the less I tell you about this one the better, just know that instead of being your run-of-the-mill horror anime, Ghost Stories has the added stat bonus of being one of the most hilarious series to ever come out of the medium.
Now friends, I know this gets thrown around a lot but I implore you to watch Ghost Stories’ English Dub. Not many anime can hold the title of “most offensive anime ever”, but Ghost Stories has been sitting pretty with the crown ever since its release. The story behind this anime’s English dubbing is as bizarre as its horror-movie-spoofing plotlines.
Golden Kamuy, by Geno Studio, is a historical action series following the exploits of Saichi Sugimoto “the Immortal” after the end of the Russo-Japanese war. In order to support the wife of his fallen comrade, Sugimoto joins forces with a young Ainu girl named Asirpa in the hunt for hidden treasure in Hokkaido. The catch: pieces of the map to the treasure are tattooed on the skin of escaped prisoners.
Aside from the hard-hitting action, and endlessly entertaining gags between its cast of characters, what makes Golden Kamuy all the more interesting is its depiction of its indigenous characters, the Ainu. Throughout the series, Asirpa and Sugimoto participate in a cultural exchange where the pair marvel and recoil at the differences in their beliefs, cuisine, and disparate cultural histories.
Ever wonder if your friend is actually “doing great” despite their facial expression telling a different story? Well, Studio Trigger’s Kiznaiver answers that question and then some.
After getting abducted by a secret organisation, six teenagers become a part of the Kizuna System, a type of sci-fi experiment that connects the teens’ emotions with one another. If one of the teens feels pain, they all do. Basically think of the Wachowskis Netflix series Sense8 if it were an anime about high schoolers.
The experiment’s main goal is an Elon Musk-esque stride towards world peace via questionable technical enhancements, but things go awry when the teenager’s unearth the organisation’s shady past.
Michiko & Hatchin
Michiko & Hatchin is a modern-day anime odyssey made by the creators of Cowboy Bebop and the oh-so-cool Samurai Champloo.
After busting out of prison and rescuing her presumably-long-lost daughter Hana Morenos from her abusive household, Michiko Malandro sets off on a perilous journey across South America in search for her former lover.
Much like its contemporaries, Michiko & Hatchin oozes cool vibes, thanks to its jazzy score, its vibrant characters, and its stellar writing. The added cherry on top is in the series’ Afro-latina main character who just so happened to be based on the late R&B singer Aaliyah.
Skull-face Bookseller Honda-san
Ever wonder what misfortune those poor Barnes and Noble sales clerks go through after being burdened with helping you locate your smutty manga? Skull-face Bookseller Honda-san readily answers that question, and folks, the answer is painfully embarrassing.
Skull-face Bookseller Honda-san is a comedy anime about the rudimentary lives of a group of bookstore clerks. Throughout the show Honda and her staff explain the ins-and-outs of running a bookstore and all the customer horror stories that come with it. This includes having knowledge of and locating a customer’s raunchy reading material and struggling to translate a foreigner’s broken Japanese. The anime’s unorthodox stories are based on the lived experiences of its creator while she worked at a bookstore, so you know it’s cringe is grade-A stuff.
Do you have a deficit of giant robots or mecha anime on your hands? Open wide, Studio Trigger will keep you fed with SSS. Gridman.
In comparison to other mecha anime like the Gundam series or Trigger’s Gurren Lagann, SSS. Gridman is animated like a classic tokusatsu fight scene. By that I mean characters in their giant CG mecha’s move just like a person in a giant robot or monster costume would back in the ‘90s. That’s rad.
Time of Eve
Time of Eve, by Studio Rikka, is a slice-of-life sci-fi series set in the not-so-far-off future. In it, the existence of androids are as common as lightning usb charger cables, though just like these chargers, humanity view androids as lower life forms. If you happen to sympathise with your robot brethren, you’re declared as an “android-holics” and are swiftly shunned from society.
The one safe harbour in this unequal society is a café called Eve no Jikan. This café has only one rule: treat androids and humans as equals.
Tsuredure Children, by Studio Gokumi, is a comedy romance series that highlights the highs and lows of blossoming love between high school students.
Because this takes place in the tumultuous landscape of high school, Tsuredure Children focuses on obvious and unlikely romantic pairings between childhood friends, class representatives, and class clowns alike.
Bonus: Anime Crimes Division
Now wait, hold on just a minute. This list said anime right? What the heck is a live-action series doing here? Here me out, Anime Crimes Division is really good.
Anime Crimes Division is a series created by Darnell Murphy Jr. and Freddie Wong of Rocket Jump YouTube fame. It follows a hard-knocks agent named Jow Furuya (played by Sunwong Cho) and his new partner Diesel (played by Riley Rose Critchlow) as they crack down on anime crimes in Neo Otaku City.
The city of Neo Otaku is riddled with crimes against humanity that only these weeaboo agents can solve: whether it be settling a turf dispute between the sub and dub gangs, hunting down a gunpla killer, or rescuing a group of smuggled dakimakura. Basically, Anime Crimes Division has the same comedic chops as any given episode of Brooklyn 99, sans its thinly-veiled copaganda, and injects it with a bunch of nerdy anime nonsense we can all relate to.