Top 20 Underrated Sci-Fi Anime Series

If you’ve ever had that itch for an out-of-this-world adventure or a trip into futuristic tech-land, you’re in for a real treat. We’re about to explore some of the best sci-fi anime that are criminally underrated. These are the hidden gems, the underdogs, the ones you might’ve missed but seriously need to watch if you’re a sci-fi buff.

So, here’s a fantastic lineup of 20 sci-fi anime series that don’t get enough love but totally should!

1. Astra Lost in Space

  • Episodes: 12
  • Genres: Sci-Fi, Adventure, Space, Mystery, Shounen
  • Premiered: Summer 2019

Astra Lost in Space takes you on a cosmic adventure you won’t want to miss. The manga series on which the anime is based won the 2019 Shogakukan Manga Award for the best shonen manga. Quite the achievement!

In this show, a group of students embarks on a seemingly ordinary space camp field trip, but they find themselves mysteriously transported to the depths of outer space. Stranded thousands of light-years from home, they must work together to navigate an unfamiliar galaxy and find their way back to Earth. Along the way, they uncover secrets, face challenges, and encounter alien species.

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It’s a rollercoaster ride that keeps you guessing, making it a must-watch for those who love space-themed anime with a unique twist.

2. Patema Inverted

  • Episodes: 1 (Movie)
  • Genres: Sci-Fi, Adventure
  • Premiered: Fall 2013

Patema Inverted is a gravity-defying sci-fi anime that’s so good that it’s a wonder it’s still underrated. It’s about Patema, a girl who defies gravity, and Age, a guy who’s stuck in a world where everything’s upside down. They team up for a mind-bending adventure to figure out what’s going on.

Unsurprisingly, this anime is all about playing with the rules of gravity, which makes it scientifically intriguing and visually stunning.

What makes Patema Inverted awesome is how it messes with your brain in a good way. It’s like watching two different worlds collide, and you can’t help but root for Patema and Age as they try to make sense of it all. If you’re into brain-twisting stories and a bit of science mixed with your anime, give this one a go.

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3. Promare

  • Episodes: 1 (Movie)
  • Genres: Sci-Fi, Action, Mecha
  • Premiered: May 2019

In a world where people spontaneously burst into flames and gain superpowers, a group of firefighters, called Burning Rescue, fights to save the day. But there’s more to these fiery incidents than meets the eye, and it leads to a showdown between those with pyrokinetic abilities and those trying to stop them.

Here’s something cool: Promare is directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi, the mastermind behind Gurren Lagann and Kill la Kill. So you know you’re in for some over-the-top action!

The action scenes are intense, and the characters are full of energy. Plus, the story tackles themes of discrimination and the misuse of power, making it more than just a flashy anime.

4. Planetes

  • Episodes: 26
  • Genres: Sci-Fi, Drama, Romance, Space, Seinen
  • Premiered: Fall 2003

Planetes is a space anime that’s down-to-earth in the best way possible.

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Set in the year 2075, it follows a group of space debris collectors, kind of like space janitors. Their job is to clean up the junk orbiting Earth, but it’s not as boring as it sounds. You’ll join the Debris Section team on their quest to keep space clean while dealing with their own dreams and struggles.

The anime’s creators put a lot of effort into getting the science right, making it a realistic take on space life. So, if you’re into space facts, you’re in for a treat!

Fans of this anime appreciate its thought-provoking themes, realistic approach, and well-developed characters. If you’re into space and a touch of human drama, Planetes is a hidden gem worth discovering.

5. Texhnolyze

  • Episodes: 22
  • Genres: Action, Drama, Psychological, Sci-Fi
  • Premiered: Spring 2003

A dark and dystopian sci-fi anime, Texhnolyze will take you to the depths of a futuristic underground city.

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In the city of Lux, there’s a stark divide between the surface and the underground, where a mysterious organization experiments with advanced technology called “Texhnolyze.” Ichise, our main character, becomes entangled in a web of power struggles, crime, and survival in this bleak and unforgiving world.

Known for its deep and often dark themes, this anime doesn’t shy away from exploring the harsh realities of life in this dystopian society. It’s not your typical action-packed anime but rather a deep dive into existential and philosophical questions.

6. Gankutsuou

  • Episodes: 24
  • Genres: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Supernatural, Thriller
  • Premiered: Fall 2004

Gankutsuou is an underrated sci-fi anime with a touch of Count of Monte Cristo, and it’s as intriguing as it is unique.

Set in a futuristic Paris, it tells the story of Albert and his friend Franz, who get involved with the enigmatic Count of Monte Cristo. But here’s the twist: The Count has some serious supernatural secrets hidden in his eerie, ever-shifting appearance.

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The anime uses a distinctive visual style with textured patterns that almost seem to move, giving the show an otherworldly and mesmerizing look.

Gankutsuou offers a fresh take on a classic story, mixed with sci-fi and supernatural elements. Fans love the gripping narrative, intricate characters, and that hauntingly beautiful art style.

7. Gungrave

  • Episodes: 26
  • Genres: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi, Seinen, Super Power
  • Premiered: Fall 2003

Gungrave is a gritty, action-packed sci-fi anime with a mobster twist that’s sure to get your adrenaline pumping.

At its core, it’s a story of friendship, betrayal, and revenge. It centers around two childhood friends, Brandon and Harry, who rise through the ranks of a criminal syndicate. But when things go south, Brandon is betrayed, and the story takes a supernatural turn as he returns from the dead with a score to settle.

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Interestingly, Gungrave is actually based on a video game. It’s not often you see games turned into anime, so that makes it pretty unique.

8. Time of Eve

  • Episodes: 6
  • Genres: Sci-Fi, Slice of Life
  • Premiered: Summer 2008

Looking for a heartwarming and intellectual slice-of-life sci-fi anime? Well, Time of Eve fits the bill perfectly. This OVA explores the boundaries between humans and robots.

Set in a future where androids are a common part of daily life, it follows a group of people who visit a cafe called “Time of Eve.” At this cafe, there’s a strict rule: you can’t discriminate between humans and androids. It’s a place where people and robots interact as equals, and it leads to some intriguing and touching encounters.

Originally a web series, Time of Eve was later turned into a movie, which expanded the story and brought even more depth to the characters.

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9. Last Exile

  • Episodes: 26
  • Genres: Adventure, Sci-Fi
  • Premiered: Spring 2003

Last Exile is a thrilling, sky-high adventure that’ll take you to a whole new world filled with airships and steampunk vibes.

In this anime, two young vanship pilots, Claus and Lavie, find themselves caught in a conflict between two nations battling for supremacy in the skies. The story unfolds in the grand sky world of Prester, and it’s a mix of thrilling aerial battles, political intrigue, and mysterious artifacts.

Those who appreciate epic sky battles and immersive worlds are sure to find enjoyment in Last Exile. After all, this underrated sci-fi anime is a perfect blend of adventure, mystery, and a dash of politics.

10. Trigun Stampede

  • Episodes: 26
  • Genres: Action, Sci-Fi, Adventure, Comedy, Drama
  • Premiered: Spring 1998

How about a classic sci-fi anime with a Wild West twist that’s as cool as it is iconic?

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Trigun Stampede revolves around Vash the Stampede, a wandering gunslinger with a mysterious past and a bounty on his head. Despite his fearsome reputation, he’s a pacifist at heart, and his adventures take you on a rollercoaster ride through a desert wasteland filled with outlaws and unique characters.

If you’ve ever seen an anime that can make you laugh, cry, and ponder the meaning of life all in one episode, you will find the same sentiment in this anime.

11. Outlaw Star

  • Episodes: 26
  • Genres: Action, Sci-Fi, Adventure, Space, Comedy
  • Premiered: Winter 1998

Outlaw Star is known for its mix of genres, combining space opera, sci-fi, and Western elements, creating a universe that’s both diverse and exciting.

You will follow Gene Starwind and his ragtag crew as they take on jobs across the galaxy, sometimes as bounty hunters, sometimes as space pirates. Their lives take a wild turn when they come across a mysterious woman and a treasure map that leads to the legendary Galactic Leyline, a place rumored to grant unimaginable power.

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What draws fans to Outlaw Star is its fun characters, fast-paced action, and the intrigue of discovering the secrets of the Galactic Leyline. It’s a wild ride through space with plenty of twists and turns.

12. Kaiba

  • Episodes: 12
  • Genres: Mystery, Psychological, Romance, Sci-Fi
  • Premiered: Spring 2008

It’s truly rare to find an intellectually stimulating and artsy sci-fi anime quite like Kaiba.

In a futuristic world, memories can be stored and transferred from one body to another, leading to a society where memories become a commodity. Kaiba, our memory-less protagonist, wakes up in a strange place with no recollection of his past. As he embarks on a journey to discover who he is, he uncovers dark secrets about memory manipulation and identity.

Its deep exploration of identity, memory, and the consequences of a world where memories can be bought and sold are just some of the elements that make Kaiba stand out. It’s a thought-provoking and emotionally charged anime that leaves you with more questions than answers.

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13. Dennou Coil

  • Episodes: 26
  • Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
  • Premiered: Spring 2007

Dennou Coil is an underrated futuristic sci-fi anime that explores a world where virtual and physical realities collide.

Set in a near future where augmented reality glasses are all the rage, the story follows a group of kids who uncover a series of mysteries related to cyber-entities, virtual pets, and the mysterious “illegals.” Their adventures take them deep into the world of augmented reality, blurring the lines between what’s real and what’s digital.

The series is a fresh take on the potential consequences of advanced technology and how it affects our everyday lives. If you’re into tech-themed anime and a touch of nostalgia, Dennou Coil is a rewarding anime that won’t disappoint.

14. Memories

  • Episodes: 3 (Anthology)
  • Genres: Sci-Fi, Horror, Psychological
  • Premiered: Winter 1995

Memories is an underrated sci-fi anime anthology that’s a collection of mind-bending stories.

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This anime consists of three distinct short films, each with its own unique narrative and style. Firstly, “Magnetic Rose” explores the eerie remnants of a derelict space station. Then, “Stink Bomb” follows an unwitting chemical worker who becomes a walking disaster. Finally, “Cannon Fodder” paints a grim picture of a totalitarian city.

The films showcase the creative talents of Katsuhiro Otomo, the creator of Akira.

The diverse and brain-twisting experience, along with its play with different animation styles, from realistic to surreal, can take you from intense space exploration to bizarre mishaps, making it a memorable choice.

15. Fist of the North Star

  • Episodes: 109
  • Genres: Action, Sci-Fi, Adventure, Drama, Martial Arts
  • Premiered: Fall 1984

Ready for some seriously legendary action? Fist of the North Star is an absolute powerhouse of a martial arts and post-apocalyptic anime. Moreover, the series is a bona fide pioneer in the anime and manga world, influencing countless other series and even video games.

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In a world left in ruins by a catastrophic nuclear war, we follow Kenshiro, the hero of the story. He’s a martial arts master with jaw-dropping skills. Kenshiro’s on a mission to restore justice to this lawless wasteland and rescue his lost love, Yuria. Along the way, he faces off against brutal warlords and mutant bandits, using his signature Hokuto Shinken techniques to bring the pain.

Fans can’t get enough of the supercharged action, unforgettable characters, and those iconic “ATATATATA” battle cries that echo through epic confrontations. If you’re hungry for high-octane battles and a heroic journey through a post-apocalyptic world, you’ve got to check out Fist of the North Star.

16. Gunbuster

  • Episodes: 6
  • Genres: Action, Drama, Mecha, Sci-Fi
  • Premiered: Fall 1988

Another classic but underrated sci-fi mecha anime that’ll take you on an intergalactic journey through space and time is Gunbuster. The anime is directed by Hideaki Anno, the same person behind the iconic Neon Genesis Evangelion.

The story focuses on Noriko Takaya, a young pilot who joins the fight against monstrous extraterrestrial beings threatening humanity. She pilots a giant robot known as a “buster machine” and must push her limits to save the Earth.

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Gunbuster is one of the few mecha anime with a strong female lead and a memorable coming-of-age story. If you’re into epic battles and a dose of nostalgia, it belongs at the top of your watchlist.

17. Star Blazers: Space Battleship Yamato 2199

  • Episodes: 26
  • Genres: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi, Space, Military
  • Premiered: Spring 2012

Star Blazers: Space Battleship Yamato 2199 is a remake of the classic Space Battleship Yamato from the 1970s, updated with stunning modern animation.

In a distant future, Earth is facing extinction due to an alien race’s relentless attacks. The battleship Yamato is humanity’s last hope. With a crew of brave souls, it embarks on a perilous voyage to find a device that can restore Earth’s environment and save the planet.

This underrated sci-fi anime is an essential watch for those who thrive on epic space journeys and the quest to secure our world from extraterrestrial menaces.

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18. Macross

  • Episodes: 36
  • Genres: Action, Space, Mecha, Music, Romance, Military, Sci-Fi
  • Premiered: Fall 1982

Macross has been a significant influence on the mecha anime genre, inspiring various series such as Robotech in the United States, Mobile Suit Gundam Seed, Aldnoah.Zero, Eureka Seven, and Star Driver: Kagayaki no Takuto.

Taking place in a future where Earth is caught in the middle of an intergalactic war, the story revolves around the crew of the Macross, a massive spaceship that can transform into a colossal mecha. They must navigate not only the battles with alien forces but also the challenges of maintaining peace on their ship.

What makes Macross a hit with fans? Well, it’s all about those nail-biting mecha fights, characters you’ll get seriously invested in, and the way it weaves together heart-pounding action and down-to-earth human stories.

19. The Tunnel to Summer, the Exit of Goodbyes

  • Episodes: 1 (Movie)
  • Genres: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
  • Premiered: Fall 2022

The Tunnel to Summer, the Exit of Goodbyes is a thought-provoking movie that explores the consequences of wishes granted by a mysterious tunnel. It’s a story of family, time, and second chances.

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In this movie, Kaoru Touno’s life is in disarray following family tragedies and his parents’ divorce. His search for solace leads him to a peculiar tunnel that seemingly grants wishes but at a cost to one’s lifespan.

When Kaoru discovers he can resurrect the past, he sets out on a journey filled with mystery and second chances, joined by Anzu Hanashiro, a fellow seeker of the tunnel’s enigmatic powers.

20. Interstella5555: The 5tory of The 5ecret 5tar 5ystem

  • Episodes: 1 (Movie)
  • Genres: Adventure, Drama, Music, Sci-Fi
  • Premiered: December 2003

A full-length music album brought to life, Interstella55555 is a musical journey set to the beats of Daft Punk’s album “Discovery.” It follows an alien band, The Crescendolls, as they deal with the music industry and strive to share their music with the universe.

In fact, this short anime is a collaboration between Daft Punk and renowned manga artist Leiji Matsumoto, combining their musical and artistic talents.

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With its mesmerizing audio-visual charm, this underrated short anime is a treat for both your eyes and ears. If you appreciate narratives driven by music and brought to life through incredible animation, this one is unmissable.

Misaka
Misaka

Hi, my name is Mia, and I am the founder of 9 Tailed Kitsune. I am a big fan of esports, games, and anime. When I was around 7 years old, Phantom Thief Jeanne sparked my fascination for anime, and it has never faded! 🌟💖

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