I was asked by friends a couple of times for recommendations of lesser known anime that are similar to their mainstream counterparts. Getting in the groove of watching anime that aren’t nearly as acclaimed as others may seem a tad daunting, but you’ll be sure to find lots of great shows when you do. So here’s a list of shows that are not too out there, which you’ll hopefully enjoy!
Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic
This anime honestly caught me by surprise, and the manga even more so. It’s up there on the hidden gems of anime, and thankfully the rest of the anime loving society agreed! Magi is full of shonen goodness, fun character interactions, colorful atmosphere, and just incredible adventures that anyone can enjoy. The best way to describe it is to place an anime in the setting of Arabian Nights, but make it tons more interactive and fun. Despite the large cast of characters, everyone gets their own spotlight and no one is left behind. The action also keeps you excited for what is coming next.
I was a bit reluctant to put this here, but seeing as most people I’ve spoken to barely know what it is, I figured I’d give it a shout out! Gintama is basically a shonen making fun of other shonen, a parody series of sorts. Every episode is comical and enjoyable, and the characters make it a goal to wreak havoc on everyone as they go about their daily actions. With the classic action that most people love, it won’t feel strange to steer your way into it. It’s a Shonen Jump title, which attests to its general quality and appeal. It’s certainly an enjoyable experience, especially because it never takes itself too seriously.
While not an action anime, it’s certainly somewhat relatable. It features college kids trying to run an anime club, and in quite the entertaining way. It’s a nice break from any action heavy show, and will keep you laughing for quite a while. In some ways I feel like Genshiken needs more love in the anime scene, but I suppose it always gets caught between seasons where the hype is too great for other shows.
If you’re looking for something more slice of life, and maybe shoujo-like, then Jellyfish Girl is another wonderful show you can enjoy. It follows a girl who’s a bit under the radar, and trying to get by with small and random activities to continue living in her apartment. While there are lots more to enjoy in this show, it does a great job putting together serious aspects and keeping the theme nice and lighthearted. The show is a personal favorite of mine, mainly because the characters are so relatable and easy to love.
Kara no Kyoukai
If you’re a fan of more fantasy-based shows and looking for something off the radar, definitely give Kara no Kyoukai (Garden of Sinners) a try. Instead of it being an episodic anime, it is featured in movies, of which there are enough for you to enjoy! It is a bit on the serious side, so expect a bit of action and drama to follow. Despite this, the animation is top-tier and never misses a mark. While it may not get as much love as its predecessor Fate/Stay Night, I highly recommend it as it is something beyond that of the typical action I’ve been seeing recently.
I figured I’d close with something most people aren’t too familiar with! Tsuritama is a beautifully animated show about… fishing. Yes, a show about high school boys fishing. Honestly though, despite being themed around a topic I barely like, this show was a nice surprise. The characters are all enjoyable, the animation was such a lovely thing to see, and the atmosphere was so stunning it kept me happy all the time. While the plot is simple, it was just enough not to distract me from the crazy happenings in the show. As an odd ball choice, I’d totally give this one a shot!