Anime is such a vast medium with a multitude of titles to watch, so it’s very easy to fall into a runt of watching the same titles over and over again.
We’ve all been there, searching the season release list for something to watch, and being put off or bored by the look of some of the titles. Finding new favorites is a daunting task, especially with more and more anime getting released each season.
So to alleviate some of that stress, I created a list of 7 anime that may be offputting at first glance, but should definitely be given a chance and put on your watch list!
7. Classroom of the Elite
This show was one that genuinely surprised me in the best of ways. At first glance, it looks like your typical futuristic high school anime—which can either be fun or boring. But less than a few minutes into the first episode, that premise gets spun on its head.
The show is engaging and very tongue-in-cheek about some of the typical tropes they use. The show is full of tropes both character-wise and story-wise, which end up being a lot more than it seems.
The story follows Ayanokoji Kiyotaka: a first-year high school student with a deadpan face and apathy towards most things in life. He attends Tokyo Metropolitan Advance Nurturing High School, where their claim to fame is a 100% employment and college entry rate. A school where everything in this school is decided by merit—and I mean everything—as you find out throughout the series. It is a refreshing change to this subgenre, and I would recommend for anyone who likes a twist within their shows.
In this show, you get high-stakes action, a critique of the system, and some good ole fashion representation. What is there not to love?
This show follows two boys named Shion and Nezumi. Shion was born and raised in a city-state called No.6: a utopian society that turns out to be more of a dystopian. He ends up helping Nezumi escape, which turns out to cause more problems for the both of them. The two protagonists reunite, and try to discover more about No.6. Along the way, they may also happen to fall in love—which is a major bonus for representation.
What’s great about this show is the characters’ interactions with each other. Similar to Yuri on Ice, the romance isn’t in your face, but is not trying to be hidden either. It’s not the main plot, but it delivers what it should be for the show: a full romantic subplot. It’s a natural progression of two people who grow to really care about each other, and who go through high-stress situations together.
The plot itself isn’t perfect, but it has a lot of social and political subtext that really hits home. Absolutely top ten material!
5. 91 days
This was an interesting show to watch. In its self, the premise wasn’t all too different from some other titles. At its core, it is a historical fiction about the mafia during prohibition, which already sold me. However as I watched the show, it differentiated itself from some of the others in a completely different way.
There is no hero in this story. The main character, Avilio Bruno, sets himself and the people around him down a path of revenge, which leads to a lot of betrayal and loss. In the end, it becomes a question of who wins.
This show explores a lot about darkest parts of humanity, and how far one person can fall. Its a wild ride from start to finish as you watch one of highest stakes game of poker yet.
I couldn’t create a list of offbeat shows without talking about Baccano! This show only got 1 season, but for those who are fans of Durarara!! , youwill love this Prohibition-era historical fiction piece.
Similar to Durarara!!, the story follows multiple points of view that eventually lead to paths crossing—and for those reading about in the paper—a mysterious event with no explanation. Luckily for us, we get a front seat to the answers.
The show comes with an amazing soundtrack and a pretty interesting cast of characters that are able to balance tragedy and comedy at the same time. It takes a few minutes to get used to the pacing as the story isn’t told chronologically, but once you do you will get hooked. The only downside is that there is only one season—but the full story is available in light novel form.
3.Bungo Stray Dogs
This title is one of the more well-known ones on this list, and a little more straight forward than the others. While this show has a lot of gags, it does take itself seriously every once in a while.
The story mostly follows Nakajima Atsushi and his interactions with the Armed Detective Agency: a very interesting group of characters with supernatural powers that they use to solve cases.
The show, while straightforward, jumps between tones throughout the series. This can seem annoying if you are into a more consistently toned show, but if given a chance it can really grow on you.
2.Juni Taisen: Zodiac War
There have been few anime that have started off with as big of a bang as this one has. In the first episode, the first scene introduces this mysterious, impeccably dressed woman carrying two assault rifles through the streets of an unnamed city.
The show doesn’t give you a lot of explanation at first, but it is definitely a more overtly dark and violent take on the Chinese Zodiac than some anime versions, such as Saint Seiya.
The show follows twelve mercenaries all named after an animal in the Chinese Zodiac. They are participants in a tournament to be the last one standing, for the winner of the tournament will be granted a wish.
This story may seem strange, as they don’t give you a lot of background in the beginning, but with its many twists and turns, it is well worth the wait and watch.
From the first episode, this show kinda threw me. To be honest, it took a while to get used to (I had to watch the first episode twice), but then I was hooked.
The show’s fast pacing and complicated story-line should not have worked in its favor, but somehow, it adds to its charm. That’s not to say it doesn’t have its problems. This isn’t the type of show that you can watch distractedly, or be on your phone while viewing. It is a supernatural mystery, and they use every bit of screen time to develop both it and the main characters.
If you blink, you could miss something—but that’s what makes it even better. I’ve watched the series multiple times now, and each time I find something new that I missed the last time I watched.
Made by the studios that produced www.Working! and the Persona animations, Occult;9 has a cast of interesting characters that make up its ensemble. Which in itself is hard to describe, but definitely makes for a great addition to your watch list.
What’s Your Favorite Offbeat/Weird Anime? Share in the comments below!