Anime fans know that every year brings a new wave of anime. These eras are usually categorized by their different release decades and each decade has a few iconic anime that truly define the era. For example, the big anime of the early 2000s are series like Bleach, Naruto, and Fullmetal Alchemist.
Well, many of these eras may be defined by a select few anime, there are also some great series that have fallen through the cracks and aren’t nearly as talked about as others.
10 DESERT PUNK
Desert Punk is a great and long-running manga of the seinen genre. It is the story of the world after a nuclear catastrophe in Japan that leaves the land a desert wasteland. In this desert wasteland is a man that is the equivalent of a sneaky and much more perverted Batman, Kanta Mizuno aka Desert Punk.
This series is one that will set the stage for the case of a lot of the series on this list, as like many of them it is more of a cult classic manga masterpiece than well-known anime. Many say that the series would have been much more popular if not released after a similar anime that ended up overshadowing it, Trigun.
The Gantz series is the epitome of “cult classic manga series”. Many look at this bloody and all over the place manga as the must-read seinen series. It is comparable to the film, The Breakfast Club, but with a lot more characters, action, blood, and perversion.
The original anime that was released alongside the manga made a lot more missteps than the manga and went too fast which led to a filler ending that is hated by viewers all around. The season before that, however, was a well animated and very faithful adaptation of the original manga.
8 VIEWTIFUL JOE
Viewtiful Joe is an anime adaptation of the Capcom videogame of the same name. This anime adapts the first and second Viewtiful Joe games in a great way and was surprisingly one of the most well-received anime of its release year of 2004.
The series was praised for its fun writing, charming characters, animation, and its faithfulness to the source material. This is actually fairly surprising due to the wrap that many other videogame anime adaptations receive,
7 SAMURAI 7
In 2012, the Cartoon Network anime block, Toonami, began airing an anime that was actually released years earlier in 2004. This series was Samurai 7 and it received a ton of promo time from Toonami, as well as a spot on its lineup. The series was a great retelling of the classic “7 Samurai” story.
While the anime was one of the best of its era and got a revival via Toonami it still remains one of the least talked about heavy hitters of the decade, to the surprise of many that have been recently introduced to the series.
6 EYESHIELD 21
Much like Desert Punk, Eyeshield 21 is a manga series that is was very popular in the case of its manga run as well as its initial airing as an anime. This football manga is still revered as one of the best “sports” manga out there, basically being the football equivalent of Kuroko no Basket.
However, while the anime adaptation of this great series got mixed to great reviews it remains much less talked about than its original version.
5 F-ZERO: GP LEGEND
Another surprisingly well-received anime that was adapted from a video game series is F-Zero: GP Legend. This anime is obviously based on the Nintendo F-Zero series. While it takes quite a few liberties from the original it actually holds up very well and is a fun experience as long as viewers stay away from the 4Kids dub.
Sadly, this series was shot down before things got good. GP Legend took Nintendo adaptations to another level and is the only one to truly try to have an episodic storyline. It is now only brought up as, “that one Captain Falcon anime.”
Zoids is a brand that many look at as the second monkey to the more popular Mobile Suit Gundam series, but Zoids actually has a lot going for it. The series has some of the coolest model kits around and an amazing anime to go along with it.
Zoids is praised for being an anime that’s full of fun, great action, and for being one of the first anime to perfectly meld together CG and hand-drawn animation. Much like the toyline, however, Zoids has become much more of a cult series than Gundam.
Medabots is a series that is talked about most on the same level as any other classic Saturday morning cartoon but on a much lower on the popularity ladder. The anime, when aired in the West, was changed a lot much like other children’s anime brought over as well, which of course made the product a much worse experience.
Medabots is actually a great anime with great animation and action. While the English dub changes up a lot and makes the story worse it is actually amazing and iconic for Medabee’s great voice.
2 KINNIKUMAN NISEI
Kinnikuman Nisei is the sequel series to the hit (in Japan) shonen anime and manga series Kinnikuman. Many Americans may be much more familiar with the 80’s toy based on this series M.U.S.C.L.E. The series was finally brought to the West in anime form with its sequel series airing on 4Kids.
Much like other 4Kids and Saturday morning anime, Nisei, or Ultimate Muscle mostly just sits in the back of viewers’ heads as another childhood cartoon. This is partly due to the censoring of a lot of the series by 4Kids.
1 BAKI THE GRAPPLER
Baki the Grappler is an anime much like Kinnikuman that is immensely popular in Japan but nowhere near as talked about in the West. It received an adaptation in 2002 that adapted the original manga series very faithfully and with some exceptional animation.
While this original series isn’t talked about much, the Netflix promotion and hosting of its sequel series simply called Baki which adapts the sequel manga series, New Grappler Baki, has gained a lot more buzz for the long-running series in the West.
Many people have forgotten about these amazing 2000s anime that have since disappeared — but they were awesome at the time.