Hidden gems of the 2010s

Dai

Dandy Guy, in Space
The amount of anime legally available in English has gone through the roof over the last decade. It's hard enough just keeping pace with the current season a lot of the time, and it's all too easy for less popular shows to fall by the wayside. What are some of the shows from the last decade that aren't often talked about, and wouldn't necessarily make your top 10 of the decade (since that has its own thread), but you think are worth a watch? I'll start with a couple.

Sound of the Sky (aka. Sora no Woto). It surprises me that this show seems to have been forgotten, since the similar Girls' Last Tour was a hit, and I personally find Sound of the Sky the better story. Imagine if the cast of K-On were drafted into the army and then dropped into a distant outpost forgotten by the chain of command. I love the world-building in this series, which slowly reveals the state of the world and the cause of the recently ended war. It also has the benefit of telling a complete story with a satisfying (if somewhat melancholy) ending. It's no longer on Crunchyroll, but the US blu-ray is still in print for now.

Gurazeni (aka. Money Pitch). I believe this has the distinction of being one of the least watched shows on Crunchyroll, which is a shame. Like any good sports anime, an interest in the related sport isn't required. Gurazeni has none of the shonen drama that's normally associated with the genre, and instead takes an unflinchingly honest and unglamourous look at the world of professional baseball, as seen through the eyes of a mercenary-minded middle relief pitcher who is constantly worried about his pay. It's still on Crunchyroll for now, but I doubt its licence will be renewed, so give it a try before it disappears.
 

CommanderZx2

School Idol
Regarding Sound of the Sky it certainly doesn't help that it's not available anywhere. There's no legal streaming nor physical release of it in the UK.
 

Joshawott

Monsieur Monster
AUKN Staff
I absolutely adore Sound of the Sky, and actually recently mentioned its setting as the inspiration behind a screenplay I had to write for class. I loved how it mixed the cute K-On!-esque designs with serious issues like survivor's guilt, and that rendition of Amazing Grace in the final episode still gives me chills just thinking about it. I'm fortunate enough to own Beez Entertainment's old UK release, but would jump at a Blu-ray release if someone decided to bring Nozomi's discs over here.

Wandering Son was ahead of its time, and I genuinely think that had it aired in the last year or so, it would have blew up. It was one of the first simulcast anime I remember watching, and thinking about it, it was probably my first exposure to transgenderism. It's been years since I watched it, so I can't say if it'll hold up today, but I've always thought it deserved a lot more attention than it received. At least it's still streaming on Crunchyroll.

Recently, I found myself thinking about Beelzebub, which has all but disappeared from the English-speaking world save for a US DVD release by Discotek. Not even the original Shonen JUMP manga was licensed iirc, which is a shame, because I remember really enjoying it.
 

Rui

Karamatsu Boy
Administrator
It is a crime that Wandering Son is still languishing unlicensed. I watched the simulcast which was missing the OAV episode(s?) which I always thought was a great shame. It would be fantastic for it to wind up on Netflix or something if nobody's ever going to release the home video version so that it can at least find the audience it deserves; there are a few things about it that didn't work for me personally but it's nonetheless a very important show. If we can find space in the western market for dozens of 'boy meets tsundere red-haired demon girl' romantic comedies each year I'm sure we can find a place for a meaningful coming of age drama as well.

I'd also like to see Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu make it to home video in the west. It looked as though it was going to and then the license slipped away, and now I believe it's trapped in streaming-only status like so many other titles. The manga has some traction but missing out on the anime version means missing out on Ishida Akira's wonderful voice taking you through rakugo classics every episode and that's a terrible thing.

More obscurely, I really liked (and imported) Nobunaga Concerto, one of the few actually good Nobunaga-related isekai shows which came out during that weird period in the mid 2010s when every season had at least five shows involving Oda Nobunaga (all of which I watched because I love history). It has weird animation which works against its already-minimal hopes of being licensed but the main character didn't suck and the writing was great, so I try to recommend it to anyone who wants to see Oda Nobunaga's well-trodden story retold in a slightly different way.

On the other end of the scale, Ixion Saga DT is probably my most-wanted overlooked show of the last ten years. It's absolute trash in every sense of the word - it's an isekai show based on a defunct online game to which it bears no actual resemblance - but it's also a silly throwback to a simpler time when gag anime was puerile and nobody was particularly cute. With Discotek picking up old Akahori Satoru titles I'm hoping that this (thematically similar) series might find its way into their catalogue one day as well. If you like the dumber episodes of Gintama this might entertain you too.

I believe that all of the titles I mentioned are still on Crunchyroll.

R
 

Professor Irony

CYBER FUNKER
Moderator
Funnily enough, I did watch at least one episode of Gurazeni, but I'm afraid to say it didn't leave much impression on me - I'll need to go back and give it another shot.

I'm always a bit wary of naming anything as 'hidden', as I worry, with the internet being the way it is, that I'd get called out immediately for not being aware of whatever corner of the internet all the many fans of Shin Getter Moe Waifu Chan hang out, but that said, I do feel like Tsuredure Children is something that came and went with little fanfare.

Much as it trades on well worn rom-com genre tropes, I think by cherry picking the bits most other shows spend an entire season leading up to, and then giving us a series made up just of those, it ends up feeling a lot fresher than the material might do otherwise; it's like watching multiple series all at once, but somehow, it works. While it's not afraid of a smutty joke, it's also incredibly sweet natured and I think it's hard not to be just utterly charmed by it.
 

Dai

Dandy Guy, in Space
Ah, I'd completely forgotten about Wandering Son. I meant to watch that years ago and never got around to it. I'll pop that back on my list. As for Rakugo Shinju, it's tragic that it's never had a western release; it's on a short list of titles that I'd pay any stupid price for if it ever came out.

A show I revisited recently was Kotoura-san. It's about a psychic girl who always ends up alone because she keeps blurting out what other people are thinking. Then she meets a guy who isn't afraid of her power, but she can see all the ridiculous sexual fantasies he keeps having about her. Tonally it's a very unusual rom-com, since it keeps swinging back and forth between impactful drama and goofy comedy, and it almost all works. The only time it stumbles is during a late-series mystery arc that is pretty much Scooby Doo level. I could have sworn that the show was removed from Crunchyroll a few years ago, but it's back on now. The only physical release I'm aware of was a blink-and-you-miss-it special edition US blu-ray from NIS America under the title The Troubled Life of Miss Kotoura.
 

Joshawott

Monsieur Monster
AUKN Staff
Funnily enough, I did watch at least one episode of Gurazeni, but I'm afraid to say it didn't leave much impression on me - I'll need to go back and give it another shot.

I'm always a bit wary of naming anything as 'hidden', as I worry, with the internet being the way it is, that I'd get called out immediately for not being aware of whatever corner of the internet all the many fans of Shin Getter Moe Waifu Chan hang out, but that said, I do feel like Tsuredure Children is something that came and went with little fanfare.

Much as it trades on well worn rom-com genre tropes, I think by cherry picking the bits most other shows spend an entire season leading up to, and then giving us a series made up just of those, it ends up feeling a lot fresher than the material might do otherwise; it's like watching multiple series all at once, but somehow, it works. While it's not afraid of a smutty joke, it's also incredibly sweet natured and I think it's hard not to be just utterly charmed by it.
Oh yeah, I adored Tsuredure Children. Even imported the US Blu-ray. So utterly cute and charming.
 

Shadow Cat

Thousand Master
Wandering Son was ahead of its time, and I genuinely think that had it aired in the last year or so, it would have blew up. It was one of the first simulcast anime I remember watching, and thinking about it, it was probably my first exposure to transgenderism. It's been years since I watched it, so I can't say if it'll hold up today, but I've always thought it deserved a lot more attention than it received. At least it's still streaming on Crunchyroll.
Would love to see this get more attention / home release but I doubt that will happen after all this time :(

Also a shame Fantagraphics dropped the Manga at Volume 8 so its unlikely we'll ever get a full release of this series, be it Manga or Anime :'(
 

RadFemHedonist

School Idol
Would love to see this get more attention / home release but I doubt that will happen after all this time :(

Also a shame Fantagraphics dropped the Manga at Volume 8 so its unlikely we'll ever get a full release of this series, be it Manga or Anime :'(

I didn't know they'd dropped the manga partway through :( I really liked the Wandering Son anime. I have the Sound of the Sky Beez release still I believe so I will watch it some day... eventually...
 

Greboruri

Brigade Leader
Some of the titles off the top of my head I really enjoyed;

And Yet This Town Moves
Hilarious series about a high schooler named Hotori Arashiyama who works in a poor excuse for a maid café (run by an old lady who doesn't really know what a maid café is) in small town. Hotori is an absolute idiot and most of the humour revolves around her. Still available on blu-ray in the US as well as streaming on Hidive.

Croisée in a Foreign Labyrinth
Set in the 19th century, it follows a young Japanese girl, Yune, who is taken in by a French traveller and volunteers to work in the family iron works. The show also highlights the French obsession of Japanese culture of the time. Really fun show. Only available on very out of print US DVD.

Library War: The Wings of Revolution
Follow up film to 2000's TV series which everyone seemed to ignore. Involves a militarised library system who are in constant conflict with another government agency who want to censor books. But one of main elements here is the burgeoning romance between the two leads. Lots of great action with the library staff trying to save an author being prosecuted by their rival agency. The Japanese blu-ray comes with English subtitles which is the only legit way to watch it.

Yamato 2199 Odyssey of the Celestial Ark
Oddly never picked up for for release by Funimation. Not as good as the TV series, but far better than 2202. Really felt like they had adapted an unused Star Trek film script for the film, which is a good thing in my opinion. Japanese blu-ray comes with English subtitles.

The Case of Hana & Alice
Really interesting follow up to Shunji Iwai's 2004 live action film. Maybe this got ignored because it wasn't typical of most anime film and was mostly rotoscoped. Available on blu-ray and streaming just about everywhere.

Wish Upon the Pleiades
Possibly the last decent Gainax production, this is a really fun magical girl anime, sponsored by a car company! Luckily the product placement (as such) doesn't ruin the show, but it is amusing; the brooms the girls ride have the grills of various Subaru cars and emit the same engine noises. I think the blu-ray is out of print, but is streaming a couple of places still.

Girlish Number
This show seemed to get largely ignored by most of fandom. The antithesis of something like Shirobako, It follows a young female voice actor in the anime industry who after a year is disillusioned by it all and only lands small roles. However is really cocky and thinks she should be getting larger roles even though she doesn't want to put in the work to do so. She lands a lead role in a new TV series, but behind the scenes the production is running badly and the show ends up being very poor quality. There's a very cynical tone to the show which I enjoyed. Blu-ray is still available in the US and UK plus it's still streaming.
 

Professor Irony

CYBER FUNKER
Moderator
Some of the titles off the top of my head I really enjoyed;

And Yet This Town Moves
Hilarious series about a high schooler named Hotori Arashiyama who works in a poor excuse for a maid café (run by an old lady who doesn't really know what a maid café is) in small town. Hotori is an absolute idiot and most of the humour revolves around her. Still available on blu-ray in the US as well as streaming on Hidive.

I quite liked this one, I think it's one the more accessible works from Shaft under Shinbo/Simbo. The only part that disappointed me was that I thought the detective theme would play a bigger part in it than it does (maybe it was more of a thing in the manga). I did not realise until today that the OP is a cover of a Tatsuro Yamashita song as well, so there's a connection for the city pop fans too.
 

WMD

Dragon Knight
Wish Upon the Pleiades
Possibly the last decent Gainax production, this is a really fun magical girl anime, sponsored by a car company! Luckily the product placement (as such) doesn't ruin the show, but it is amusing; the brooms the girls ride have the grills of various Subaru cars and emit the same engine noises. I think the blu-ray is out of print, but is streaming a couple of places still.
It's still available on amazon for a tenner. And yes it is very good. I didnt realise the brooms being like cars was actual product placement and that they were all various Subarus. That's really amusing.
 

Dai

Dandy Guy, in Space
The Case of Hana and Alice

Girlish Number
I enjoyed both of those. The only thing that bothered me about the animation in Hana and Alice was the constant switching between CG and roto. I would have preferred the whole film to be rotoscoped. Hopefully one day some company like Eureka or Arrow will pick up the live-action movie, but I'm not holding my breath.
 

Neil.T

Shinki
the brooms the girls ride have the grills of various Subaru cars and emit the same engine noises.
I didnt realise the brooms being like cars was actual product placement and that they were all various Subarus. That's really amusing.
I haven't seen the show, so I didn't know that. That's hilarious. 😅

What I did know, though, is that Subaru is the Japanese name for the star cluster that we call the Pleiades. It's what appears in the marque's emblem:

Fun fact: when NEO magazine reviewed Wish Upon the Pleiades at release, they ran with the byline "When you wish upon a car". 😛
 

WMD

Dragon Knight
What I did know, though, is that Subaru is the Japanese name for the star cluster that we call the Pleiades. It's what appears in the marque's emblem:
Oh that's interesting and makes that particular quirk of the show suddenly make a lot more sense. Not that not knowing affected my enjoyment of the show. It just seemed like a nice little quirk that made the brooms seem more like a proper mode of transport with a engine.
 

D1tchd1gger

The Wildcard
I looked up the shows I scored 8 and over on MAL and checked their member numbers and picked shows with under 50,000 members (mostly! Numbers includes all lists including PTW, so actually watched numbers are under 50,000 for the ones with over 50,000 members). Most of these will be from the last 3 years from the seasonal stuff I've watched and I just realised, after I've written it all out, that there are shows from 2020 😅 still need watching though, so I'll leave them in:

Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion
Interesting historical show about, well the Mongol invasion.
On Crunchyroll.

Asteroid in Love
CGDCT with astronomy and earth science. Doga Kobo always hit it out of the park with these types of show. There's always a likeable cast, excellent animation, great OP/EDs and are, like this one, occasionally informative.
On Crunchyroll and Funimation.

Diary of Our Days at the Breakwater
Doga Kobo do it again, this time with fishing!
On Funimation.

Dragon Pilot: Hisone and Masotan
More female lead adventures, but this time they can pilot dragons! Although as it's a Mari Okada script the tone is a bit more mature.
I'm not sure why this is so low in numbers! Some will point to the fact that it's on Netflix, but shows such as Dorohedoro, Beastars and BNA are all way ahead in terms of numbers. I guess it just didn't get the hype before and then during and by the time it came on Netflix people had forgotten about it.
On Netflix.

Encouragement of Climb (s2)
Only season 2 got the 8, but the show is a short with season 1 episodes being 5 mins and the other 2 being 15 mins.
Yet another CGDCT this time with mountain climbing.
Unfortunately s2 is unavailable legally 😢, but s1&3 are on Crunchyroll.

GRANBELM
A Madoka clone with magical girls donning magical mech-suits in a battle royale to win the prize of the power of the one true mage.
The battles are insane (maybe a little too much sometimes) and I liked the drama off the battlefield as well.
On Crunchyroll.

Hakumei and Mikochi
Tiny people go about their everyday life in the forest. Just a chill iyashikei where our protagonists make things out of the stuff they find in the forest be it a bathtub or a nice meal, go shopping in the nearby town and go to work in their different jobs.
On HiDive.

If My Favourite Pop Idol Made it to the Budokan I Would Die
A comedy about a group of idol otaku and the members of the group they follow. I really don't know why this is so low, maybe people thought "Idol Show, nah" or "a show taking the piss out otaku, nah", but the main focus is on the relationships that are built up between other fans, between the idols and between the fans and the idols. And it has some really funny moments.
On Funimation.

Joshiraku
Another female only cast show, but more of a mature comedy than a CGDCT show as we follow a group of rakugo performers off stage, with lots of banter and references to pop culture and other stuff.
On HiDive.

Mitsuboshi Colours
More girls doing fun stuff, but they can be a bit too mischievous (especially where Officer Saitou is concerned) for it to be called a CGDCT show, but definitely has cute moments and is very funny.
On HiDive.

Planet With
Our MC wakes from a strange dream and finds he can't remember who he is. There are 2 strangers to help him a strange girl dressed as a maid and a large cat! Things only get weirder when an oddly shaped UFO attacks the city and 7 mysterious heroes in mech-suits turn up to defeat them. Lots of action, psychological battles and twists in this sci-fi show.
On Crunchyroll.

Uma Musume: Pretty Derby
Cute horse-girls do cute horse-girl things and have thrilling races. Get in there now before the second season starts in the Winter season.
On Crunchyroll.

Wasteful Days of High School Girls
3 quirky girls and their school life with lots of other quirky characters. Think the school girl segments of Nichijou, but a bit less random (and thus, for me, funnier).
On HiDive.

And whilst I wasn't going to pick films, these 2 need to be watched:
Okko's Inn
The only 9 in all of these recommendations, as all my other 9s and 10s are popular. Okko is made an orphan and has to go live with her Grandmother in a country inn. She helps her Grandmother with chores and welcomes guest, some more supernatural than others.

Lu Over the Wall
Masaki Yuasa mashes up Ponyo and The Yellow Submarine.
 
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Dai

Dandy Guy, in Space
I looked up the shows I scored 8 and over on MAL and checked their member numbers and picked shows with under 50,000 members (mostly! Numbers includes all lists including PTW, so actually watched numbers are under 50,000 for the ones with over 50,000 members).
...
Wasteful Days of High School Girls
3 quirky girls and their school life with lots of other quirky characters. Think the school girl segments of Nichijou, but a bit less random (and thus, for me, funnier).
On HiDive.
Nice evidence-based practice. 👍

I love Wasteful Days, especially any scene where the teacher is yelling at the chunibyo. It would be nice if MVM would pick it up, but I suspect I'll need to import it instead.

Another school comedy that didn't get enough attention was Chronicles of the Going Home Club. I think it was removed from Crunchyroll for a while, but it's back on. This show is what happens when the staff are convinced from the beginning that it's going to get cancelled, and turn it into a running joke. While it's often just a typical school club comedy, it sometimes starts breaking the fourth wall at near-Excel Saga levels as the characters try to think of ways to keep people watching. It also features the most over-the-top game of shiritori in one episode, complete with Kaiji-style narrator.
 
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