After success stories like Attack on Titan and Chainsaw Man, here are six of the best underrated MAPPA anime series that are must-watches.
Studio MAPPA is undoubtedly one of the best animation studios in the business, with the production quality of Attack on Titan’s Final Season, Jujutsu Kaisen, Chainsaw Man, and Kakegurui supercharging the studio’s success over recent years.
However, there are plenty of other MAPPA projects that anime fans, especially those new to the medium, may not have ever even heard about; series that certainly shouldn’t be disregarded.
Here are six of the best and most underrated MAPPA anime titles that fans around the world can enjoy from the comfort of their living room.
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Top 6 underrated MAPPA anime series
Sarazanmai is a supernatural action-adventure series from Studio MAPPA that certainly takes anthropomorphism in animation to the next level. However, this show is far more than quirky animal characters, with some very ‘on the nose’ jokes and a main trio whose journey will leave your heart as colorful as the show itself.
Set in a world infested by Kappas (a type of reptilian ghoul from Japanese folklore that are manifestations of someone’s darkest desires), this series tells the story of Kazuki, Enta, and Tooi; three friends who have the power to transform into Kappas themselves and wage intense battles against these creepy creatures.
Sarazanmai is available to watch on both Crunchyroll and Funimation.
In This Corner of the World
If you are in the mood for something a little more emotional and sentimental, In This Corner of the World is an inspiring historical drama anime movie from the team at Studio MAPPA.
The film focuses on the innocent Suzu Urano, who grows up with a blissful childhood outside Hiroshima with her ever-growing family, whilst the Second World War wages from just beyond the horizon.
However, when Suzu is forced into an arranged marriage with a man whom she barely knows, she must learn to adjust to a new way of living as the impact of the war slowly creeps into her life.
The award-winning In This Corner of the World is available to watch via Amazon Prime, Apple TV, and the Microsoft Store.
Arguably the most mainstream anime from this list, Dorohedoro is a personal favorite with some of the best character designs and world-building that you can find in a Studio MAPPA project.
The series is set in ‘The Hole’, a dark and grimy underworld where magic users routinely commit horrific atrocities on the local population with little regard for their human rights, including experimentation and murder.
However, the magic users of the realm are starting to fear two people who have found themselves on a collision course with The Hole’s elite; a crocodilian-headed brute called Kaiman and a restaurant-running human called Nikaidou.
If you are into dark and adult-themed anime, Dorohedoro is available to watch on Netflix.
Ushio & Tora
Ushio & Tora is arguably the first series that truly demonstrated the potential MAPPA’s outstanding animation skills, with ridiculous over-the-top action sequences that most modern anime fans will be familiar with.
Ushio is a run-of-the-mill middle schooler whose life is turned upside down when he finds a mythical monster called Tora in his father’s basement. This creature claims that he has been trapped there for 500 years and whilst Ushio refuses to let him escape freely, the two must join forces if they are to save his friends from a plague of nightmarish creatures – which mysteriously started attacking people after Tora was awakened.
The ever-entertaining Ushio & Tora is available on Netflix, Hulu, and HiDive – although access is frustratingly limited depending on your location.
Kids on the Slope
If you enjoyed the recent phenomenon that was Bocchi The Rock, you will adore this high school romance drama that focuses on the wonderful world of Jazz. The musical segments particularly drew the attention of fans, not just because of the smooth soundtrack but also for the incredibly realistic animations; if you are a musician in any capacity, this is a must-watch series.
Kids on the Slope tells the story of introvert Kaoru Nishimi, who abandons hope of gaining friends and social life after being forced to move schools; that is until he meets Sentarou. Whilst this class delinquent isn’t the type of person who Kaoru imagined himself being friends with, his passion for jazz is intoxicating – can these unlikely friends find true kindship in music?
Kids on the Slope is available to watch via Crunchyroll, but access is again limited to certain territories.
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The Gymnastics Samurai
Our final entry on this list is The Gymnastics Samurai and whilst the notion of a gymnastics-based anime may put some users off, this series is rather unique as it doesn’t focus on a teenage protagonist.
Instead, we follow Joutarou Aragaki, a professional gymnast who is contemplating retirement after the sudden death of his wife and a severe shoulder injury. Just as Joutarou is about to tell his young daughter that he is leaving the sport that he adores so much, he meets a mysterious friend who gives new the motivation to reclaim gold.
The Gymnastics Samurai is available to watch via Crunchyroll and Funimation.
By Tom Llewellyn – [email protected]