Anime is often a widely overlooked medium, with few seldom investing their time into it beyond the mainstream such as Naruto or Bleach, generally dismissing the medium as one incapable of telling  good stories with a style no other medium (even within animation) can offer.  What this article seeks to do is point out a few good anime that go overlooked by casual watchers, or offer a good alternative starting point for those who want to get into this quality form of animation.

Mob Psycho 100
Genre: Action, Comedy, Supernatural
Studio : Bones
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Chances are you’ve heard of One Punch Man— the popular hit show/manga by ONE about a superhero who defeats things with one punch and his hilarious antics in search of finding someone his equal. While very much a parody, it’s actually something ONE started to try and improve his art skills for his actual manga : Mob Psycho 100; which is a lot like OPM stylistically and artistically (they all look like Saitama in wigs), but played much more seriously instead of as parodies.

From the same studio that produced a brilliant adaptation of OPM, comes the equally brilliantly animated Mob Psycho 100 anime. The story revolves around Shigeo “Mob” Kageyama, a psychic, tries to find value in his life under the guidance of his mentor, Reigen Arataka, who is in fact, a conman with a heart of gold.

The highlight of this show is certainly watching how very human it could be. ONE has a gift of making his characters feel very real and human, such as the dynamic between Mob and Reigen.. The visuals are also quite zany and weird, fitting the odd nature of the show, and are plain fantastic to look at.

Mob Psycho 100 is a show you’re looking for if you enjoyed One Punch Man, and is a good coming of age story that promises to make you laugh and feel your way through.

2. Saiki Kusuo no Psi-San (The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.)
Genre: Comedy, Supernatural
Studio : J. C. Staff
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The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. is probably one of the funniest comedies to have been released in anime. Premiering in the form of small 5 minute ‘skits’ compiled into full length episodes, the show manages to never get old with their gags, packing a lot of laughs in mere 300 seconds.

Like Mob, this show also follows a psychic protagonist, except a much more reluctant one by the name of Saiki Kusuo (a clever pun on Psychic) who finds his powers quite bothersome, and often lands into situations that bother him, which he has to very begrudgingly resolve. Despite this being the basic premise of every skit, Saiki K. finds great ways to reinvent the same gag, delivering a new punchline to the end of each episode.

The series is quite self-aware, often utilizing fourth wall breaks with the fantastic monologuing Saiki provides throughout each episode. Coupled with a dynamic cast, the series does not fail to deliver a lot of gut busting laughs that keeps the audience thoroughly entertained.

3. Boku Dake Ga Inai Machi (Erased)
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Drama
Studio : A-1 Pictures

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Boku Dake Ga Inai Machi (more commonly known as Erased) was a big standout from 2016’s winter season, offering a compelling murder mystery with a fairly unique and innovative plot. The story revolves around one Satoru Fujinuma, who is blessed with the mysterious power he calls “Revival”, which he can use to go back in time before a tragedy strikes.

After getting involved in the unearthing of an old kidnapping and murder case, where he ends up blamed for a murder he did not commit, he finds himself transported to his middle school days, where he discovers new evidence that may be linked to the murder he was framed for, and also may hold the key to solving his classmate Kayo, one of the victims of the old case.
Erased is a wonderful tragedy that captivates the viewer with stunning cinematography as they watch Satoru try and uncover clues to solving the mystery. With an interesting premise delivering some heavy suspenseful episodes (pretty much all of them end in a cliffhanger), Erased is a great rollercoaster of a ride to the end and will leave people anxious enough to keep binging.

4. ReLIFE
Genre: Slice of life, school, romance
Studio : TMS Entertainment

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A big staple of anime is the high school show focusing on a quirky cast of misfits getting into comedic/dramatic situations, with some romance thrown in here and there. ReLIFE is such a show, but manages to keep things fresh with an inventive premise: what if you could live your high school years all over again?
ReLIFE is about Arata Kaizaki, an office worker who finds himself going nowhere in life, until he meets one Ryou Yoake, belonging to the titular ReLIFE Research Insitute, whose experimental pill allows Arata to turn 17. Arata now has to attend high school — which turns out to be harder than he thought it would be, and is forced to try and adjust to this new life while trying to avoid making past mistakes and getting to know his new classmates.
ReLIFE is wildly entertaining, watching Arata (re)grow into a new person while watching his new relationships blossom brings a new layer to the same old high school story. Funny, quirky and relatable, the show offers plenty of laughs and drama in a very grounded story with a little touch of science fiction.

5. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
Genre: Drama, Adventure, Shonen, Action
Studio : David Production
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JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is a very curious case of an adaptation. Having held extreme popularity and influence in Japan for nearly three decades, it never saw the light of a proper adaptation till 2012, where super fans David Production finally made one that did justice to the source material.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is fairly unique, not following one protagonist throughout its long history. Divided into 8 Parts, each follows its own interconnected story with one common element: the titular JoJo, a nickname shared by 8 characters who are all related in some way. Starting with the original, Jonathan “JoJo” Joestar, whose battle with his adoptive brother Dio Brando regarding the discovery of an ancient stone mask that turns people into vampires leads into spiralling aftereffects for his descendants, and their various own adventures.
Each story is fairly unique in its own right, and all had particularly high influences in manga even today. The series draws on from a lot of Western influences — practically everything is a shout-out to music (the primary superpowers in JoJo, Stands, tend to be named after bands or albums, eg. Killer Queen after the Queen song) and also borrows heavily from things like horror movies, or westerns. Even character designs are quite influenced by real life icons such as Prince or David Bowie.
All in all, JoJo is something that will be churning out some heavy contenders for anime of the year for the next half decade or more, and it’s definitely something to keep an eye on. Start with the 2012 anime for Parts 1 and 2, then move onto Stardust Crusaders and finally the recently concluded and well received Diamond is Unbreakable. JoJo is definitely worth anyone’s time, boasting a great pedigree and just being plain bizarre fun to watch.


by Nuhan B. Abid