Top 8 underrated anime with a cult following

Aparna Ukil
Screenshots from Captain Tsubasa, Mushishi and InuyashaIMDb

Everyone in the anime community knows about popular shows like Jujutsu Kaisen or Attack on Titan. However, few anime fans know about some of the best cult classic anime series – so, here are the best eight of them.

The anime genre is incredibly vast, featuring a plethora of shows with unique stories and compelling animation. Long-running shows like One Piece and Naruto have ruled over the industry for a long time.

However, over time, several seasonal shows like Attack on Titan, Jujutsu Kaisen, and Chainsaw Man have become a worldwide phenomenon.

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That being said, there are still several old-school anime franchises that have remained unnoticed by the community. But, they are still followed by a dedicated group of anime fans, making them cult classics.

1. Serial Experiments Lain

A still from Serial Experiments LainAmazon prime

Let’s begin the list with one of the rarest anime series that also helps us engage with our mental health.

Serial Experiments Lain revolves around a 14-year-old girl, Lain, who lives with her middle-class family in the suburbs of Japan. One day, she finds out that her classmates have received a mysterious e-mail from a dead batchmate. However, things take a horror turn when she gets the same e-mail on her computer and decides to investigate this matter.

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Where to watch: Crunchyroll

2. Ghost in the Shell

A screenshot from Ghost in the ShellIMDb

Based on a manga of the same name, Ghost in the Shell is an anime that comes with a cyberpunk vibe. It was released in 1995, but as the genre was less popular back then, the anime film failed at the box office. However, it became a cult classic when it arrived on the home video and its following has grown ever since.

The storyline of Ghost in the Shell takes place in a world where people make use of cybernetic technology to get their body parts replaced. This advancement also results in the enhancement of the crime rates in Japan. The anime film follows a high-authority officer who must find a mysterious hacker known as the Puppet Master to discover the crimes’ root cause.

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Where to watch: Prime Video

3. Inuyasha

A screenshot from InuyashaCrunchyroll

Coming from Rumiko Takahashi, Inuyasha is an anime series that subtly explores Japanese mythology. Unlike Takahashi’s other works, Inuyasha brings a much darker theme with lots of bloodshed. So, if you enjoy violence in an anime, this one is definitely for you.

Inuyasha is set in the Sengoku Era and revolves around the main protagonist, Kagome Higurashi, the reincarnation of an ancient priestess named Kiko. After falling into a well, she gets transported to the Sengoku Period, where she meets the half-demon, half-human Inuyasha.

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Despite being one of the anime shows that popularized the Isekai genre in the US, Inuyasha remained underrated for years.

Where to watch: Crunchyroll and Hulu

4. Mushi-shi

Mushi-shiCrunchyroll

Here comes an anthology series, which is an anime adaptation of the manga. The series falls under the supernatural genre, so if you are looking for a horror anime, you can give it a shot.

The series follows Mushi, the creature who co-exists with humankind but is not seen or felt by everybody. In fact, only some people are aware of their existence. One such person is our lead character, Ginko, known as Mushi Master. He chose to study Mushi and help people affected by their presence.

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Where to Watch: Crunchyroll

5. Captain Tsubasa

Main protagonist of Captain TsubasaCrunchyroll

Captain Tsubasa is one such anime that motivated several individuals to make football a career. Despite being a popular animanga for some time, it got lost somewhere along the way.

The 1978 FIFA World Cup inspired the mangaka Yoichi Takahashi, and that’s how he came up with the brilliant narrative of Captain Tsubasa. The series revolves around an 11-year-old boy, Tsubasa, who has a profound love for football and dreams of becoming a professional player one day. Captain Tsubasa sees the boy struggling and facing every challenge that comes between him and his biggest desire.

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Where to watch: Crunchyroll

6. Claymore

A screenshot from ClaymoreIMDb

Claymore is a dark fantasy series that revolves around the supernatural creature Yoma, who has a hunger for human flesh. To fight these entities, a mysterious organization creates human Yoma hybrids. These female warriors are responsible for eradicating the existence of Yoma. However, they get a reasonable payment for the task.

Despite having a good narrative, Claymore remained less known due to not-so-good marketing. We can also say the manga and anime industry is full of series with such unique narratives, but the ones that lack good promotion often remain unnoticed.

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Where to watch: Crunchyroll

7. The Ancient Magus’ Bride

A still from The Ancient Magus' BrideCrunchyroll

The Ancient Magus’ Bride features supernatural and slice-of-life themes perfectly. The series was published in a monthly magazine in 2013, and it got popular because it’s a mix of several genres.
It tells the story of an orphan named Chise Hatori, who is never really accepted by her relatives or society.

One day, she decides to sell herself to someone so that she can at least have a place to live. However, the one who buys her turns out to be a humanoid creature. After meeting the supernatural being, her life gets completely changed.

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Where to watch: Crunchyroll

8. Yu Yu Hakusho

A still from Yu Yu HakushoCrunchyroll

Here comes an underdog that has recently received a live-action adaptation, which will be on Netflix pretty soon. So, if you want to compare the upcoming live-action with the original source, you must watch it this weekend.

Like many other titles on the list, Yu Yu Hakusho involves supernatural elements that can give you chills. The series revolves around a young delinquent who gets reincarnated as a spirit investigator after getting crushed in a road accident.

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It has been 20 years since Yu Yu Hakusho existed; in fact, not many of you will be aware of the fact that, like the Dragon Ball series, it also initially arrived at Cartoon Network.

Where to watch: Crunchyroll

How to watch Crunchyroll from outside your location in 2023

Crunchyroll is the world’s best hub for streaming anime, whether it’s One PieceAttack on Titan, or Jujutsu Kaisen – and thanks to ExpressVPN, you can access the platform’s full library even if you’re outside the US.

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If you’re abroad, here’s what you need to do to access Crunchyroll’s full selection – and it really is this simple:

  1. Sign up for ExpressVPN, which has ultra-fast servers and offers a secure, private connection wherever you are in the world
  2.  Connect to a location anywhere in the US; Express VPN allows you to choose from 24 different spots, from New Jersey to Santa Monica
  3.  Visit Crunchyroll online and start streaming all of your favorite animes – and perhaps some you’ve never watched

Accessing Crunchyroll’s US roster makes a difference; for example, Hong Kong users only have access to less than 100 titles, while the US has nearly 1,000 movies and TV shows.

You can also stream anime on Crunchyroll for free with an ad-supported plan, or you can pay for a subscription – there’s even a 14-day free trial if you can’t quite make up your mind.

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You can check out our other anime coverage here.

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About The Author

Aparna is a Writer at Dexerto and focuses her content on everything Anime. Besides this, she also enjoys watching the latest TV shows and movies explicitly falling under the horror genre. She started her professional journey in the retail industry but her admiration for films and TV shows pulled her into the field of entertainment writing where she has experience writing for various well-known publishers including Otakukart, Sportskeeda and Game Revolution.