Welcome again to another instalment of Otaku Digest, the spring season is a mere month away and I happen to still be playing catch up on the series I liked from the winter season and surprisingly there were quite a few I enjoyed enough to continue and catch up on. Otaku Digests in relation to those are coming fear not but I took a break from newer anime and cast my viewing over some anime classics and it struck me that there are some excellent anime titles out there that really did not get the recognition they deserved. Whether it be back in the day when anime was not as widely available or even now it is some anime titles do not get the recognition they deserve. So this week’s Otaku Digest is dedicated to my top 5 underrated anime titles, these are my choices and if you feel or know a titles I missed please let me know in the comments.
#5 Ergo Proxy
I am probably going to be scalped for having this so low on the list but I do have justification for it, it is NOW becoming popular. Ergo Proxy was originally released back in 2006 and realistically anime was only beginning to become more widely available at the time so unfortunately Ergo Proxy was prominently overlooked as a series. Thankfully the anime has been gaining the recognition it deserves over the past few years and leading lady Re-L took the top slot in my Top 5 Most Epic Ladies in Anime countdown. Set in a domed city of the future built to protect the citizens within it after an ecological disaster that ripped through the world a 1000 years before but when a series of murders occur which seem to be committed by robots a government project of experimenting on the beings known as proxy, could they be the key to the survival of humanity? Ergo Proxy is one of those series that is thankfully getting more recognition but is still not as appreciated as it should be.
#4 The Devil is a Part Timer! (Hataraku Mao-sama)
This is the newest anime on this list The Devil is a Part Timer! first aired only two years ago in 2013 it went mostly unnoticed other than by hard core anime fans but it is an anime that deserved much more recognition. A comedy anime that had an interesting take on the lords of the underworld, based around the demon king Satan (not the most original but we give them that) who wanted nothing more than to prove himself and master the world of Ente Isla but when he challenged by a hero by the name of Emilia he must retreat but ends up going through a portal which lands him in modern time Tokyo. He must learn to survive in this new world but also find a way to return to Ente Isla so he winds up working part time in a fast food place. Que fish out of water brilliance! This anime has just the right amount of comedy factors that accompany the action and fantasy narrative, a superb anime that deserved more than what it got, The Devil is a Part Timer! Takes the fourth place spot.
#3 Shinzo (Mushrambo)
It hurts me physically that people do not remember this series, having originally run on Fox Kids in 2000 – yes the show was actually available to Irish viewers (if you had Sky or cable that aired Fox Kids) way back in the day. Usually airing alongside Sailor Moon and Monster Rancher, Shinzo was a fantastic underrated anime series based around Earth after it have been taken over by a race known as Enterrans and names it after themselves, Enterra. The series follows three Enterrans Mushra, Sago and Kutal as they discover and then guide the last remaining human, Yakumo to safety so that the human race can be restored. I cannot stress how much this anime has going for it, it has an amazing story and not just story that takes place between the four main characters but the back story with Mushra and the Celestial Guardians, the villains stories and not to mention the “cure” backstory. The anime beautifully leads each and every aspect of the world’s story into one conclusive narrative in a way you that surprises viewers. The characters are comedic but stoic and courageous when the time comes while the world they inhabit is amazingly animated with traditional and futuristic aspects to it. If you have not seen this anime I highly recommend watching it, Shinzo takes the number 3 slot and needs more recognition.
#2 Digimon Tamers
No I have not lost my mind, the third instalment of the Digimon franchise is completely neglected and underrated. Now I know there was some reasons for this, part of it is people were unhappy with the rapid 180 the series decided to take, going completely away from the original idea and on the other hand this adaptation is much darker in story than the original first two seasons even having a lovecraftian nature in the final arc. Digimon Tamers takes the idea of Digimon but reworks how humans and Digimon interact, first off making out as if the idea of Digimon was a battling card game in that giving a more “technological” feel to the whole series in that the tamers can use cards to enhance and improve their digimon. The series mainly follows Takato when he managed to create his own Digimon using his D-Power, the new digivice. This series knew it had an older audience so when the original Digimon Adventure anime ended and the opportunity for the next season came about, they took it darker and more serious in tone. Whether you think this was a good move or not you have to admit that it deserved much more credit that what it got. Digimon Tamers my pick for the second spot.
#1 Serial Experiments Lain
If you did not see this coming then you have obviously not seen Serial Experiments Lain, ranking as the oldest anime on this list part of why this anime has seemed to go under the radar is its age. Originally released way back in 1998 Serial Experiments Lain is a psychological dream, this anime takes your concepts of reality and identity and turns them upside down till you’re not sure what is real or what an identity is. This anime and Digimon Tamers are connected through their writer Chiaki J. Konaka, which explains the dark and harsh tones that were brought to Tamers. Serial Experiments Lain follows Lain, a completely ordinary social outcast and introvert as she goes about her days within her middle class family and mundane life. Until the day a classmate of hers commits suicide and then strange incidents lead to her finding out that she and others are receiving emails from the girl saying she wasn’t really dead, she simply abandoned her body and is alive in a virtual reality world where she has found the true divine god. We see Lain become more and more engrossed in the virtual world leading to strange events that no one can be sure what really came of her or her world. Serial Experiments Lain is now considered a classic but is still not getting the recognition it needs or deserves, whether because it is too out there or dark the anime is a piece of beauty and takes the number one slot.