A whole lot of nothing

Obscure anime to binge

Almost everyone has that show or movie that feels like only they have seen, that almost feels like a fever dream because everyone you ever asked even the people you watched with have never even heard of the show; that kind of show. Those titles are typically deemed underrated by those who have actually seen it, movies like the 2009 movie “Orphan,” or 2006 animated show, “Pucca.” Although these shows may only be remembered by a select few, there is some satisfaction with remembering, although you may no longer recall the plot nor the main characters anymore. When others remember the show you were desperately trying to get anyone to recollect, it can make it all worthwhile. 

It is the same for anime, there is a multiplicity of majorly minimized media. Since the anime genre is so vast and varied, there are a plethora of underrated gems, like “12-sai,” that get neglected.

The “12-sai,” translating to age 12, series which aired in 2014, is a cute cliched show that follows sixth graders, Hanabi Ayase, Yui Aoi, Hiyama Kazuma, and Takao Yuuto. These four,  like most twelve year olds, feel like they are neither children nor adults. They go through issues regarding love, tests, and bullies.  The first season, “12-sai.: Chicchana Mune no Tokimeki,” the season starts with Hanabi who does not think highly of the opposite sex. Nevertheless, her disdain begins to shift after she is placed to study with the kind-hearted Takao for an assignment. As her best friend discovers love, Aoi finds herself falling for the rash Hiyama. We watch them grow alongside each other as they experience their first crushes. The second season follows their antics alongside their coming-of-age tale. Can they find love at the tender age of 12?

Another hidden romance would be “Ranma ½,” which was popular in the early 90’s but lost its traction within the newer generations. The story revolves around a 16-year old boy named Ranma Saotome, who after following his father to China on a martial arts training journey, falls into an unfortunate circumstance. He and his father take a dip in cursed ponds, resulting in him transforming into a girl and his father a panda, when in contact with cold water. When he returns to Japan he finds he has been in an arranged engagement with his father’s friend’s daughter, Akane Tendo. With extensive ‘fan-service,’ they fumble through love, battles, and others who are in similar circumstances. 

“Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei,” known also as “The Irregular at Magic High School,” is another underappreciated series. In a world where magic has existed for hundreds of years, we follow first-year siblings Tatsuya and Miyuki Shibuya as they begin their studies at the elite Private Magic University Affiliated High School (Magic High School). When the two enter the academy they are separated based on skill; those with lower magic power, Tatsuya, are called Weeds, while those with the opposite, like Miyuki, are Blooms. While officially the school attempts to stop such discrimination they are unable to escape it, we follow the two and their differing treatment while in school. 

Another cute comedy anime, “Azumanga Daioh,” this anime is the epitome of the slice of life or school life subgenre. Chiyo Mihama, an elementary school aged girl who begins the season as a high school freshman. As a 10 year old prodigy, she explores high school with her no doubt strange classmates and teacher. Each of these characters are certainly just that, a character with unique and peculiar personalities. We see these girls enjoying the epic highs and lows of high school. 

Shows similar to this are “Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou,” translated as “Daily Life of High School Boys,” “Chio’s School Road,” and “Nichijou.” These anime, similar to “Azumanga Daioh,” are underrated comedies that are filled with a whole bunch of nothing but everyday life. 

“Daa, Daa, Daa,” “Aka-chan to Boku,” “Aishetruze Baby,” and “Mama is a fourth grader,” are all examples of child rearing anime that follow the plot of a student through a happenstance, like parents disappearing or passing away, are forced to take care of a baby. They learn the responsibilities of taking care of a child while also being a student, experience love, and also go through the struggles of growing up without a parent. 

There are an extensive amount of anime that have yet to hit the mainstream 

audiences. As fans, that may be the best part, similarly to when your favorite underground artist finally gets popular. The feeling of pride, jealousy, as well as possessiveness. However, being able to talk about the show also breeds another set of emotions. These titles may be a bit difficult to find, but they are cute shows to sit down and watch when you feel like there’s absolutely nothing to binge.