There appears to be a never-ending supply of highly regarded anime series these days—more than anyone interested in the genre will have time to watch. Some achieve almost worldwide appeal; examples include Naruto's pervasiveness in popular culture, the historical significance of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood or Neon Genesis Evangelion, or the present, broad acclaim for My Hero Academia. But not every good anime show receives the attention it deserves. There will inevitably be some gems that go through the cracks because there are so many being made constantly and competing for viewers. We bring you a careful selection of seven of these lesser-known but excellent anime movies to indulge in.
Moribito: Guardian Of The Spirit (2007)
The travelling, spear-wielding warrior Balsa is the star of the female-led fantasy adventure series Moribito as she tries to make up for the deaths she's caused in the past by saving an equivalent number of lives. During her travels, she meets Prince Chagum and decides to become his bodyguard to defend him from a father-ordered assassination.
The show features stunning animation, a meticulously created fantasy universe, and engaging characters whose dark pasts are gradually exposed throughout the story. Fans ought to check this one out just for the artistry alone.
Horizon In The Middle Of Nowhere (2011 - 2012)
The difficult-to-define anime series Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere centres on humanity's vain attempts to escape the dying Earth by travelling into space. They cannot leave due to an unknown power, and despite Japan being the only friendly country left on the planet, they are compelled to return.
Most people dwell in little pockets, but after a while, those people invade and conquer Japan, forcing the locals to live aboard a city-ship constantly orbiting the island nation. Tori Aoi, the main character, comes up with a plan to retake their country as the whispers of an apocalypse intensify.
Last Exile (2003)
The pilot and navigator team of Claus Valca and Lavie Head work as couriers in a war-torn section of the sky known as the Grand Stream in a retro-futurist setting that is primarily modelled on aviation fighting during World War I. A broader scheme involving two warring nations and a malicious element fanning the embers of violence between them is unfolding due to the two being given a mission deemed to be beyond their capabilities.
Fans of all types of retro-futurism must watch Last Exile because of its unrivalled steampunk look.
Eden Of The East (2009)
Eden of the East defies easy categorization because of its unique blending of political intrigue, psychological suspense, and survival. The idea is that ten billion yen have been made available to twelve people known as "Selecao" to prevent Japan from being hit by a missile.
A mysterious figure known only as The Supporter will "remove" the Selecao if they run out of money or use it selfishly. The other players can be killed, among other things, during the game. Takizawa Akira, the protagonist, is one of these Selecao, but he has the additional challenge of having amnesia. This anime draws viewers in with a clever, unique plot and leaves them eager to discover how it all turns out.
Ghost Stories (200 - 2001)
As a result of Ghost Stories' unfavourable reception in Japan, the Western localization team decided to change the original script, turning the paranormal series into a hilariously risque dark comedy. The series centres on a group of young teens who must deal with supernatural horrors once nearby construction disturbs a collection of shrines.
Although casual viewers might not be as familiar with it, Ghost Stories is quite well-known among knowledgeable anime lovers. The English dub is something that needs to be seen to be believed. It's full of crude humour appropriate for a Key & Peele sketch.
Hamatora (2014 - 2015)
Aspects of the superhero genre are also discussed in Hamatora. Although the two seasons of the anime follow the same manga's events, viewers don't necessarily need to be familiar with the original material to appreciate the show. The two main protagonists, Nice and Mursaki, operate a private investigative firm and work together to solve crimes using unique abilities known as Minimums.
Detroit Metal City (2008)
Soichi Negishi is a failed musician who aspires to become a pop sensation, but he joins Detroit Metal City as its frontman to make ends meet. His metal persona is becoming increasingly famous, something he secretly dislikes as his popstar aspirations continue to falter. Soichi desperately wants to leave his new life as a metal legend, but his attempts to leave Detroit Metal City to make him more famous.
Samurai Flamenco (2013 - 2014)
Masayoshi Hazama, a male model, pursues his lifelong dream of becoming a superhero, and Samurai Flamenco tracks his adventure. Masayoshi, however, lacks any superpower or other exceptional talents. Instead, he repeatedly clashes with the police and the rougher sections of the city until a young cop named Hidenori Goto gets involved and ends up supporting his cause.