As a man with a young heart, I love watching action anime. It makes me feel thrilled and filled with some sort of endorphin that makes me excited every time I watch them. Feel free to call me childish, but I do believe that it is not only me that feels the same way… Right?
Note: This was edited by Cody Perez, not originally written by Cody. This post may not necessarily reflect the views of Cody Perez.
Anyway, today I would like to talk about 18 most underrated action anime series to watch. Watching these anime has been a great experience for me. Because all of them have something to offer apart from action (yes it still is the list of action anime but with other themes because action itself can rarely stand on its own).
I do want to mention that the word “underrated” is quite subjective here. So you may find some anime that are not as underrated as I might think. But that is completely okay because the purpose here is to share some of the anime that I find interesting to watch and need more recognition.
Hopefully this list can “educate” you about some anime that you have not watched. I will be extremely happy if some of you might consider watching some of my suggestions (I really am. So please do it lol).
I do not want to do much intro. So we are going to start from number 18.
Most Underrated Action Anime Series To Watch
100 points if you got the theme of this anime. Our first entry is about a sumo anime (get it? Zumou, sumo?). It follows the story of Ushio Hinomaru, a short high schooler who has a dream to grab the highest title in sumo world, Yokozuna.
If you are familiar with the story of sports anime, well it is exactly like what you have expected. A story of an underdog overcoming some barriers bla bla bla. But with the theme sumo, it is quite amusing because we personally do not really know much about it.
You learned a lot about sumo during watching this anime. For me personally, that is a good sign of a sports anime when people actually learn new things from watching this kind of anime which takes some unfamiliar sports.
17. So I'm a Spider, So What?
Our first Isekai anime. It is all about a meteor that killed a few students, including a girl (that I totally not forget about her name). Sadly while others turned into a human being with powers, this girl turned into a… Spider. A weak tiny spider.
If you love Isekai anime which tell the protagonist being some sort of anti hero (like Slime and Overlord for example), this anime is suitable for you. You would not see an overpowered protagonist from the beginning, instead gaining her power slowly but surely.
It was a bit slow in the beginning, hence a lot of people did drop this anime before it got better. But trust me on this, be patient and wait until our spider turns into one of the most badass Isekai protagonists.
16. Chuuka Ichiban
Before Food Wars was popular, this is what people watch when they look for a cooking anime (or maybe just me personally. Who knows). The plot is rather straightforward, telling the story of Mao, who wants to be a legendary chef, just like his mother.
Well if you have watched Food Wars, it is pretty much what you want from this kind of anime. The only difference is that Chuuka Ichiban focused solely on Chinese Cuisine only. Despite that, it will still make your mouth salivate.
And frankly I have not much to say about it. Just like the previous list, if you have watched similar modern anime, you would probably like this one. It has its own uniqueness that makes it distinctive from its descendants.
One day, a weird mysterious light turns an old man named Inuyashiki Ichirou, and a young man named Shishigami Hiro, into a weird weaponized human being. One wants to use their power for peace, and the other wants to bring destruction.
The battle between idealism is always interesting to watch. Even the basic idea between light and dark in the series is still fun to watch. And this time, you can expect some blood and gore because this anime is targeted for adults.
The animation may look weird because some parts are in 3D. Some even said it is funny. But the story is still really good to follow and I think will be enough to distract you from the 3D. Hopefully.
14. Boarding School Juliet
At this point we can create any classic stories into anime. And that is exactly what it is all about. A story of Persia Juliet from White Cats and Inuzuka Romio from Black Doggies, who have romantic feelings towards each other.
Even though it is a plot for a rom com anime, the action scenes are quite strong. You can expect some great fights between those 2 factions in different kinds of forms.
Boarding School Juliet does not have endless action scenes. I mean I personally do not want to see never ending fights because it can get tiring and repetitive. But if you are okay watching action scenes between rom com scenes, you should go and give it a try.
13. Wolf's Rain
Kiba is a lone wolf, who met other wolves such as Hige, Tsume, and Toboe in Freeze City. They are drawn by a certain odor that is said to be the key to opening the door to their ideal world. And that was the beginning of their journey.
I honestly forgot the existence of this anime, until I realized that it was so underrated that is. I am not joking that this is perhaps the most underrated entry among all others. You basically get a full package of action, adventure, mystery, and drama in one anime.
However, there are reasons why other anime with the same theme are more popular. There are flaws about Wolf's Rain, such as pacing and some other things. But is it worth watching? For me personally, most definitely.
12. Golden Kamuy
Golden Kamuy tells the story of Sugimoto the “Immortal”, who seeks his fortune in the wilderness of Hokkaido to hunt for gold, alongside a girl named Asirpa, who came from a native tribe from Japan called “Ainu”.
With the background of the early 1900s in Japan, specifically in Hokkaido, you would expect this as your basic adventure anime. But no, Golden Kamuy is full of surprise and excitement. There are pleasant surprises while watching the anime.
Of course I understand that this anime is not for everyone. Some may think that it is boring, but I doubt they have watched the series. I have witnessed some anime fans think the same, and then changed their opinion because it is that awesome.
11. Yu Gi Oh
This legendary card anime tells the story of Mutoh Yugi, a weak high schooler who suddenly gets a power coming from his Millennium Puzzle in the form of a newer self, who has the nickname of “Yami Yugi”.
The story is pretty much what you have expected from any shounen action anime. But at that time, it was exhilarating. We can somehow imagine playing as the characters using their ace cards (I rewatched this anime a while ago and nostalgia hit me so hard).
Just like any other popular shounen anime like Naruto or One Piece, Yu Gi Oh is pretty much targeted for children. The story may be a bit childish, but it does not mean it is bad. It just has some cliches, and cliches never mean something bad or anything.
10. Grappler Baki
Grappler Baki is a martial artist anime that tells the journey of Baki Hanma, a fighter who keeps fighting and fighting so that he can surpass his father, Yuujirou Hanma, also known as “The Ogre”. And honestly that is pretty much it.
I can tell you that among all other anime on this list, this anime has perhaps the most action scene of them all. It is all about endless action and fighting, because that is the main purpose of the story: fighting.
That being said, some people may not enjoy this (including me to be honest) because you rarely get some peaceful moments. The story is also quite “eccentric”. However, those who seek thrills from action anime should definitely watch the number 10 on this list.
9. Tower of God
From the name, you can tell that this anime has something to do with tower (what a stupid phrase to open a paragraph lmao). It tells the story of Bam, who wants to enter this tower, where if he managed to get to the highest floor, then his wishes would be fulfilled.
This anime is based on Manhwa, a Korean Comics. And it did a great job because it looks like your standard manga stories. The characters are quirky, it has unique battle scenes, and the story itself is simple but not that simple so we can understand everything about it.
The anime barely touches the Manhwa surface, and it has more to offer in the next seasons. It is the era where anime can take any form of adaptation, and that includes Manhwa.
8. Log Horizon
An Isekai anime that tells the story of a player named Shiroe, alongside some of his friends, who get stuck in an MMORPG game called Elder Tales. They are now trying to rebuild civilization inside that game, since they cannot find out how to get out of that world.
It is an action anime but heavily based on strategies and preparations. Pretty much like your kind of MMORPG games. It is fun to see them exploring the mechanics of the game and trying to live their best life inside that game.
However, as I said earlier, it has tons of strategy and tactical things in Log Horizon. You may need to prepare for a lot of talking in this anime. But it is worth watching knowing how unique the story is for an Isekai anime.
If you have no idea, Beelzebub is the name of a devil (alongside Lucifer, Leviathan, etc). But here, it takes the form of a baby, who needs some sort of babysitter. Enter Oga Tatsumi, a delinquent who was forced to babysit Beelzebub.
This anime is the perfect combination of slice of life, comedy, drama, and of course, action. And as you may suggest, it is also targeted for shounen, hence the story is light, easy to understand, and fun to watch.
I personally wonder why it did not get that much popularity like any other shounen anime. But then I found out it was aired alongside juggernauts like Naruto, Bleach, and Fairy Tail. Either way, Beelzebub is a fun anime to watch especially for those who want to try something new.
6. Megalo Box
Currently the 2nd sports anime here, and certainly a good one too. It follows the saga of an underground boxer with the nickname of “Junk Dog”, who got an invitation to compete in the highest boxing stage of them all, Megalo Box.
Just like Hinomaruzumou, it tells the underdog story of a certain character to achieve his goal. And for this kind of anime, we all know that against the odds, Joe (Junk Dog's real identity), will eventually get his glory.
But when Hinomaruzumou's plot is targeted for younger viewers, Megalo Box is not anything like that. It has a more mature story and fits those who have developed their taste when it comes to anime. And let us not forget the action scene here is pretty much what you want from an action anime.
Sorry Genshin Impact players, because this Claymore has nothing to do about “that” Claymore. It follows the saga of a “Claymore”, a half-human and half-youma named Clare, who met a boy named Raki. And just like that, it was the beginning of their adventure.
The story is based on the medieval era in Europe. And as far as I know, the theme itself is pretty niche among anime fans. But among them all, Claymore did a great job to make it not as medieval as it sounds with typical anime twists.
Sadly we can say that this anime is a one season wonder. After it aired back in 2006, we did not get anything, while the manga is still running. Let us hope that it will eventually continue with the 2nd season.
4. Toaru Majutsu no Index
(Toaru fans must be really excited seeing this get talked about) Kamijou Touma lives in a society where everyone gets magic. Whereas he only has some sort of this weird power that negates those magic powers. But one day, he got hunted because of this power.
Truth to be told, I did butcher some parts of the synopsis because I do not want to spoil some of the story. Because that is how good it is. You can expect a unique combat mechanism that I guarantee you have not seen in any other anime.
The best part about the Toaru series is that it also has some sort of multi verse where it follows another characters' life, and not only Touma. It will take a while to follow the series, and it is a unique experience.
3. Yu Yu Hakusho
Yu Yu Hakusho tells the saga of Yuusuke Urameshi, a hopeless delinquent who died while saving a child from a car. Because of this, he got a second chance to live once more, only if he agreed to do certain tasks from the spirit realm.
As an OG shounen anime, you can say this is among some legendary anime that shapes the landscape of current shounen anime tropes. If you have seen a certain stuff that happens in newer anime, there is a possibility that it takes inspiration from Yu Yu Hakusho.
Whether it is the action scenes or the comedic timing, something that most shounen anime have in their belt, Yu Yu Hakusho already did that stuff before everything got popular. It deserves more recognition.
2. Eyeshield 21
This American Football anime tells the story about Kobayakawa Sena, a gopher who was recruited to be a Runningback by a devilish Quarterback named Hiruma Youichi. He played under the nickname “Eyeshield 21”, using an eye cover to protect his identity.
For a sports anime, this has one of the most basic plots, yet it is super effective because it is executed really well. You can see Sena's progress as the series goes on, starting from not knowing the rules, into a formidable American Football player.
The anime finished in 2008, and left some great manga materials that have not been animated left. Let us just hope that it will get some sort of remake because Eyeshield 21 is absolutely amazing.
1. Houseki no Kuni
The number one actually has a special meaning in my heart, but here I try my best not to become a bit emotional. The story is about a fragile gem named Phosphophyllite who tried “her” best to become a great battler so “she” can fight Lunarians.
If you are a fan of the kind of anime that tells the journey of a certain person who slowly matured after a series of tragedies (Tokyo Ghoul, Attack on Titan, etc), I can say that this anime is the perfect one for you.
The story is definitely more mature, so it would not fit some younger audience. But in terms of action, Houseki no Kuni still has among the best fighting scenes you can ever wish for. A hidden gem that tells the story of a gem.