10 Most Underrated Anime of 2015 [Best Recommendations]

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With any year, in any medium, there's always stuff that falls by the wayside. It's overlooked, and maybe people didn't see the value that you saw. There were a number of shows this season that should have garnered more attention than realized, and here are 10 of them.

10. Rolling☆Girls (The Rolling Girls)

Rolling Girls
  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: Jan 11, 2015 to Mar 29, 2015

Rolling Girls is set in a Japan that's split up into independent nations that are governed by their own superhero which pairs with a 'mob' of more normal individuals who work to support their hero. Four of these normal girls from Saitama are asked to go around to different nations and try to mediate conflict as they emerge. Rolling Girls definitely had a silly concept but it's actually quite intriguing.

One of the high points was the animation and art. It's definitely helmed by artists who know how to use a wide-variety of colors effectively without it becoming overwhelming. The animation in particular is gorgeous and fluid with loads of Sakuga all throughout. The series may have carried on too much and got quite cumbersome towards the end, but it's definitely a worthwhile experience.

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9. Taimadou Gakuen 35 Shiken Shoutai (AntiMagic Academy 35th Test Platoon)

AntiMagic Academy The 35th Test Platoon (Taimadou Gakuen 35 Shiken Shoutai) DVD
  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: Oct 8, 2015 to Dec 24, 2015

Anti-Magic Academy revolves around a military unit who are witch and magic hunters. Living in a world in where magic-users are seen as dangerous outcasts and terrorists, they're hunt down by those who perceive them as threats. But for the unit led by Takeru Kusanagi, who still uses swords, their issue is they're the worst-performing unit of all.

Anti-magic academy kind of got bunched in with other Light Novel battle harem shows even though it really isn't one. If you like shows that focus on gunplay, this is definitely a show for you as they brought some of the best moments in the series. Anti magic academy is a fun mix of action, comedy and ecchi moments.

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8. Sore ga Seiyuu! (Seiyu’s Life)

Sore ga Seiyuu! dvd
  • Episodes: 13
  • Aired: Jul 7, 2015 to Sep 29, 2015

Ichinose Futaba is a rookie Seiyuu who is navigating the pitfalls of her industry. The series is based off of a doujinshi series which was the joint product of Masumi Asano a voice actress and Kenjiro Hata, who creates Hayate the Combat Butler. As such it gives us a truly insiders look on the life of an anime voice actress. Futaba is joined by Ichigo Moesaki, a fellow newcomer as well as by Rin Kohana, a young veteran who has been acting since the tender age of 5.

Sore ga Seiyuu is an interesting and entertaining depiction of young working adults who have a very specific dream they're working to attain. It's also definitely a show to watch if you're into series about making anime or manga such as Genshiken, Bakuman or Shirobako.

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7. Aoharu x Kikanjuu (Aoharu x Machinegun)

Aoharu x Kikanjuu dvd
  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: Jul 3, 2015 to Sep 18, 2015

Aoharu X Kikanjuu had pretty strong BL vibes and a trap main character, so many people wrote it off from the beginning. The series revolves around an group who compete in air-soft gun competitions. Hotaru Tachibana, the MC finds herself paired with a hos (Yes, that type of host) Masamune Matsuoka and an ero-manga artist named Tooru Yukimura. The 3 main characters are all very colorful and enjoyable and part of what I enjoyed about the series.

There's a strong sense of humor throughout that was a big part of its likability as well. There were things I didn't love, such as its depiction of airsoft games (Airsoft games are battles of tactics and teamwork and the show just makes it full of Shounen battle tropes) but overall it was a fun experience.

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6. Young Black Jack

Young Black Jack DVD
  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: Oct 2, 2015 to Dec 18, 2015

Young Black Jack serves as a prequel to Osamu Tezukas famous 'Black Jack' Manga. The series follows the eponymous character during his exploits in 1968. As such, it goes through all the turmoils of the time period where Japan was rocked by Student Protests sparked by the American war in Vietnam.

Young Black Jack is interesting enough for its depictions of the time-period, and the bits and pieces we get to see of an era standout. Most of the antagonists in the series are driven by self-interest and corruption, which add's to the feeling of a time-period being one of change and a critique of society. Young Black Jack is an underlooked show and a strong period piece to go into even without experience with the work of Tezuka

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5. Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen (Utawarerumono: The False Faces)

utawarerumono itsuwari no kamen DVD
  • Episodes: 25
  • Aired: Oct 4, 2015 to ?

Utawarerumono is a fantasy series revolving around a man, an amnesiac, who awakens suddenly and is found by a girl named Kuon. Kuon gives him the name Haku and be begins to adapt to the the society he's found himself in. Much of the show is exploring different facets of the world and learning everything from the political situation to parts of the culture to just meeting random individuals.

The show almost has an Slice of Life vibe for much of the first half, and this is why many people had mixed feelings, as they were expecting a more plot heavy fantasy story. But the Slice of Life elements in the series are enjoyable in and of themselves and I don't see the show worse for wear because of it. It's similar to Steins;Gate which had a lot of slice of life elements in the beginning before becoming plot heavy, which Utawarerumono seems to be doing in it's second half as well.

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4. Kantai Collection: KanColle (Fleet Girls Collection KanColle)

kantai collection DVD
  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: Jan 8, 2015 to Mar 26, 2015

I was expecting most people to dislike the Kantai Collection anime adaptation, and I didn't go in expecting to like it myself. However, I was really pleasantly surprised by what came out of it. A number of things really stuck with me about this series. Right away the fact that ships can be sunk gave this show a real sense of tension and drama, I loved Fubuki's growth as a character and felt it really significant when she became the flagship of her fleet, despite being just a destroyer when much larger and more powerful ships are given that role.

I also really liked the character arcs from Yamato and Akagi, with Akagi's arc in particular got me thinking about the way in which the Japanese relate to the history of the war. There were things I didn't like about the show, such as the sub-par filler, and not all the characters were as interesting but overall I felt there were a lot of things enjoy.

Kantai Collection wallpaper anColle


3. Gatchaman Crowds: Insight

Gatchaman Crowds
  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: Jul 5, 2015 to Sep 27, 2015

A follow up to the 2013 series Gatchaman Crowds, Insight delivers a lot of what people really liked with the original. Naturally, it feels very similar to Crowds. It's colorful and quixotic both in its art-style, its cast of characters and personalities, and the plot line itself. But it's also quite poignant. There's a lot that Gatchaman has to say about how we socialize in the digital age, how systems of power work, and how we think about how to change our society.

It has some pretty serious questions that are a told in a format that doesn't take itself so seriously. The characters are also memorable, and the soundtrack is pretty fantastic. If you haven't watched Crowds, check that out first and if you enjoy it you would definitely enjoy this one.

Gatchaman Crowds Wallpaper


2. Yuri Kuma Arashi

Yuri Kuma Arashi dvd
  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: Jan 6, 2015 to Mar 31, 2015

Yuri Kuma Arashi might not be for everyone but as an experience as an a piece of art within the medium of Anime it's definitely unique and unlike much else. That which is does share similarity with is mostly the other work of the director Ikuhara Kunihiko, famous for Revolutionary Girl Utena and Mawaru Penguindrum.

Yuri Kuma Arashi is a story of a society, seemingly exclusively female, who fear and attempt to ward off attacks from encroaching bears. And it's in this society that Kureha Tsubaki and Sumika Izumino begin to form a connection. But Yuri Kuma Arashi is a story of allegory, and the plot, which is up to interpretation bu itself, is thought by many to be an allegory on the status and treatment of Lesbian women in Japan.

The experimental format, and the social commentary of the series are a highpoint. And while I can't say the plot engaged me in a traditional sense, I can say that I was eagerly awaiting each episode, trying to figure out the message of the series as a whole.

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1. Junketsu no Maria (Maria the Virgin Witch)

Junketsu no Maria dvd
  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: Jan 11, 2015 to Mar 29, 2015

Junketsu no Maria stood out to me, and became one of my favorite series of the entire year. The series revolves around Maria, a witch who tries to separate the two sides in the Hundred Years’ War, because of her distaste for conflict and it's deadly results. But this isn't a children's fairy tail and Maria has to come to terms with the many factions within human society for which War can be quite the opportunity.

Working against these elements, as well as those who want her, considered a heretic of the church, stopped, Maria runs into more and more opposition. The way the storyline unfolds and it's conclusion is truly powerful, and makes you wish that more 'mature' series handled it's thematic material with such thoughtfulness as Maria.

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Conclusion

There's definitely a lot of different shows on this list that anyone can enjoy. From high-concept shows that were criticized as being too abstract, to shows that were written off as being too hoi polloi for their own good. However, there’s something in each of these series that was enjoyable that for some reason didn't translate into an outpour of love.

There's so much to choose from in different seasons, it's hard to get to all of the good stuff, especially the gems that may have been hidden, but we hope this list helps.

CJL

Writer

Author: CJL

Long Islander who loves anime. Interested in politics, philosophy and also a huge fan of sports and video games. Just about any series can get me going if it’s done well. From cute girls doing cute things shows, to gritty-action or space-opera or mecha series. Comment on my articles, let’s get a conversation going.

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