Best Underrated Sci-Fi Anime of the 2010s

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Anime fandom and sci-fi fandom frequently overlap. The anime medium is perfectly suited for exploring alien worlds, cutting-edge technology, and visions of the future. Of Astro boy To evangelization, many of the most beloved cartoons of all time are sci-fi stories and hits like Steins; Gate and Man with a fist continued this trend throughout the 2010s.

The following five sci-fi anime, however, never became as popular as they could have been (at least in the United States). These hidden or overlooked gems from the 2010s should be on any sci-fi anime fan’s watch list.

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Space dandy

Space dandy came up with a hype in 2014 as Shinichiro Watanabe’s return to the sci-fi genre, but ended up being ignored when it immediately became clear that this wasn’t another Cowboy Bebop. What Space dandy is, however, ended up being just as incredible in itself: a playground for animators where continuity didn’t matter and anything could happen, no matter how ridiculous.

The adventures of Space Dandy and his brave space crew in outer space “featured comedy, action, fan service, cool aliens, groovy music, lots of deaths, and the perfect balance of depth and stupidity It was a collaboration once in a generation between animation geniuses who deserve more love than they receive.

Space brothers

Space brothers

Space brothers is underrated in America, but not so much in Japan – it was popular enough there to last 99 episodes! The Seinen anime rarely lasts that long, so those looking for a long frenzy with adult characters will find some fun in Space brothers. The story follows brothers Mutta and Hibito Nanba as they strive to fulfill their childhood dreams of space exploration; his younger brother Hibito first becomes an astronaut, but Mutta finally gets his chance when he is accepted into the JAXA training program.

While it has some of the rhythm issues endemic to longer sets, Space brothers is both funny and inspiring, offering a more realistic look at the future of space travel. For those who want more of the story, the still-in-progress manga is being released simultaneously by Kodansha on Crunchyroll.

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Land of shine

Of the five anime on this list, Land of shine seems to have the most active fandom in the United States, but it’s still relatively small and often frustrated. The more new projects Studio Orange undertakes, the less it looks like there will be a second season of its masterful adaptation of Haruko Ichikawa’s manga.

While comparisons are inevitable as a series about non-binary aliens made of gemstones, Land of shine doesn’t have much else in common with Steven Universe. It’s a much darker action show, aimed at adults, with elements of body horror in the regular dismemberment of the protagonist Phosphophylite and reshaping of their memories and identities. The beautiful colors and the complex fight sequences make Land of shine still one of the most beautiful CG anime, even if it’s only just beginning to touch on the intricacies of building the manga world.

Tsuritama

Tsuritama Anime Overture Tsurezure Monochrome Main Cast Synchronized Dance

Tsuritama, an original anime by Gatchaman crowds director Kenji Nakamura, strikes a balance between iyashikei’s soothing slice of life and FLCL-esque sci-fi madness. Yuki Sanada, a boy with severe social anxiety, is still moving to new cities with his grandmother. When he moves to Enoshima Island, he meets Haru, a strange boy who claims to be an alien and is being watched by a government agency.

For mysterious reasons, Haru needs Yuki to learn how to fish in order to save the world. Things escalate from there, resulting in a sweet, surreal story about breaking out of your shell and making friends for the first time. It’s a satisfying 12 episode anime with one of the best opening themes around.

Hinamatsuri

Hinamatsuri characters in Rock Paper Scissors Challenge

One of the funniest animes of recent years, Hinamatsuri is a reverse isekai in which time-traveling superhuman girls from the future land in present-day Japan. The main character, Hina, is one of those girls who ends up essentially being adopted by a cheerful yakuza boss and will do anything for the salmon roe.

Throughout its 12 anime episodes (the source manga ran for 20 volumes), Hinamatsuri continues to introduce more lovable characters: Hina’s nemesis, Anzu, who struggles with homelessness, ordinary college student Hitomi who ends up becoming a bartender, and shipwrecked martial artist Mao. As zany as the series is, the humor keeps a tongue-in-cheek appeal, and the storytelling has a surprising amount of heart.

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