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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Most Underrated Action Anime You Should Be Watching


Scary anime guy with big eyes, bloody face and dark hair
Anime: Dororo

Mainstream anime series such as Attack on Titan, Naruto, and One Piece have dominated the action genre. It's hard to think of something else without these coming to mind first.

However, we all know that some shows don't receive the same limelight they should be enjoying. Many conventional anime titles are just around the corner. Yet, here we are, searching for those marvelous feats to make sure we've watched every masterpiece that deserves our attention.

This quest leads us to reviews of underrated action anime. We scoured the internet in the hopes of offering you the five best shows worthy of binge streaming. 


Young anime boys from ancient Japanese era looking at a severed hand

Released during the Winter Season of 2019, Dororo is a supernatural mythological anime that avid action fans need to see. Set in an Edo Japanese setting, the story follows katana-wielding Hyakkimaru through the lenses of Dororo as they try to hunt for demons and retrieve Hyakkimaru’s body back. 

Dororo is a buried gem that people need to discover. The anime features a lot of Japanese mythological creatures that get showcased only in ancient folklore. It is also fond of portraying the warring states period of Japan during its civil wars. Focusing on the characters, there is symbolism in every mini-arc where Hyakkimaru collects his body parts. 

Cut from similar fabric, Dororo is often compared to Demon Slayer. It is even safe to recommend this anime to those losing their calm waiting for the next movie or season of Kimetsu No Yaiba.

Despite the difference between Tanjiro and Hyakkimaru's motivation for slaying demons, the fight scenes are surprisingly above the charts. The battles outpour with rage and badass sequences. Moreover, this masterwork from the late mangaka, Osamu Tezuka, created a setting that always has something diabolical lurking. Thus, don't expect too many breaks and comic relief from the bloody realm of this anime, which we usually get from highly-watched shonen anime.


Man with sword fighting against an army and blood is everywhere

Drifters, a 2016 fall season anime, is not the typical Isekai war plot in the mainstream highlights today. The show is about Toyohisa Shimazu, who died and was brought forth into another world to fight the evil entities named “Ends,” who ruled creatures of chaos. Together with other historical figures and allies quoted “Drifters,” they must end all the atrocities of the dark and evil creatures.

The show came from the brilliant minds that created Hellsing, bringing the cartoonish action-style of heavy line arts, details, and even some 3D animation. Drifters also try to break the fourth wall by making historical meta-jokes between the war scenes. This is possible because the clash between the opposing parties is straight-up crossovers of figures worldwide. 

The anime has no reluctance to display characters getting bashed, speared, gutted, and split in half. With the Isekai element awarding unlimited possibilities in a world of legendary soldiers, no otaku should expect anything less.

While the anime is subject to lame comedy, it showcases badassery in its fight scenes. "Drifters" is very unforgiving due to the amount of gore and bloodlust, making it a show hated by the faint-hearted. Like the creation of the late Keitaro Miura, Berserk, the show treats action-seeking otakus with gritty fights episode by episode and its commitment to harsh visual styles. 

Akatsuki no Yona

Anime warrior guy protecting a female character by using his body as shield from an arrow

Akatsuki no Yona is a Fall anime aired in 2014. With a premise of an ancient Chinese empire, the show focused on Yona as she tries to gather four dragon blood warriors in an attempt to restore the fallen kingdom. 

Yona’s character development was the show's highlight, shifting from an entitled princess to an empathetic and persevering archer. Apart from the character’s internal conflicts was the clear depiction of the socio-political climate in Kouka, thereby proving that Yona’s father wasn’t a good ruler. These side elements help compensate for what the action cannot fully deliver.

While it has the same otome or harem vibe you can get from the Hakuoki series or the ancient isekai, Fushigi Yugi, Akatsuki no Yona incorporates plenty of attributes that awarded it with more depth. Many would think that the fight scenes are well-executed as Fate Stay Night.

However, the bias is pretty heavy in this anime. While danger creeps around our characters, fan-favorite and one of the hottest anime guys, Hak, exhibits a sense of thick plot armor. While we are not aware of its conclusion, his death and other mainstays would ruin the show's entirety. Nevertheless, it's a rare breed of shojo, reverse-harem production that did not let us down in mature, well-done action content.

Terror in Resonance

Three anime guys standing on a rubble with title text "zankyou no terror"

Zankyou no Terror is 2014 Action-Suspense anime aired in the year’s summertime. It follows the main characters simply with Nine and Twelve, creating chaos, fear, and attention around the city to unveil a dark secret.

Although there were few fight scenes within the franchise, Terror in Resonance makes up for the action-packed suspense that leaves the audience holding tight to their seats. The show also does great at enshrouding its viewers with mystery, with a compelling backstory at the end.

Out of all the titles on this underrated action anime roster, Shinichiro Watanabe's anime is the only one that showcased full realism, which left fans asking whether it happened in real life or not. Despite the lack of combat, viewers remained at the edge of their seats as they began to fear for the protagonists' lives and the engaging thriller as more details unfolded.

Samurai Champloo

silhouettes of two samurai warriors in orange sunset background

While Samurai Champloo is a popular anime for many reasons, it sits as one of the most underrated action shows if we can only see how it disappeared from the otaku radar shortly after it came out. 

Another creation of Shinichiro Watanabe, Samurai Champloo, delivers superb action scenes that didn't get the chance to leave as much impact on the otaku community as they should. Unlike his Cowboy Bebop creation, this nostalgic saga with immaculately choreographed battles remains unrecognized.

Its unforgettable characters and stereophonic anime soundtrack add to the adrenaline, and it never fails to amaze no matter how many times you've watched the show. The fighting styles, embedded mindsets, and clashing personalities bring amazing action sequences that many of today's anime struggle to match.

While there's more to tell about Samurai Champloo, we have to take off this nostalgia visor as it is too good to resist. Hopefully, what we mentioned so far will entice the readers to watch it or give it a second look.

Feel free to share your underrated action anime in the comments section below!

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