One of the hardest things for any anime fan is trying to keep on top of their ever-growing to-watch list. After all, we’ve all got those shows that have been sitting on the shelf for months or even years that we just haven’t been able to get round to for whatever reason.

This is especially true in the age of simulcasts now that those of us in the west are in a position to keep up with the ever-changing anime seasons. Now, being able to keep up with that kind of stuff is great since it lets you stay on the cutting edge. But it can also lead to some really great shows being forgotten as soon as the season is over. To help you avoid falling into that trap, here are just a few recent anime that might have flown under your radar that are most definitely worth a shot.

1. Made In Abyss

Made In Abyss made a lot of waves when it came out in 2017. It seems to be under-watched by a lot of people who weren’t necessarily in know about it already. The most common reason for this is that the art style kind of lends itself to looking like something for kids when that is most definitely not the case. The story follows Riko, a girl living in a town that surrounds a gigantic chasm called “The Abyss” who find Reg, a small robot boy with no memory.

The pair of them decide to make their way down into the depths of the Abyss to see if they can find Riko’s mother, a famous cave raider and explorer. What begins as a relatively simple, if beautifully presented, adventure story gradually reveals itself to be one of the darkest and most intense anime in recent years. With terrifying creatures at every turn and genuinely unsettling body horror, Made In Abyss is the kind of show that chews you up and spits you out again.

You may need a lie down after episode 10 in particular.

2. Anime: Dororo

Dororo was hands down, one of the absolute best anime of last year. Adapted from a manga from the legendary Godfather of Anime himself, Osamu Tezuka, this anime adaption is not only a perfect example of how to adapt an older work but a truly incredible story in its own right.

GisaburĊ Sugii, Anime.
GisaburĊ Sugii

In the Sengoku period, a lord makes a demonic pact so that he can continue to rule the land and so that it can prosper. The demons in return take payment in the form of his newborn son, who is born limbless, skinless, and without facial features or internal organs. The baby’s mother sends him adrift on a river to save him from death where he is found by a man who not only raises him. But creates prosthetics for him and teaches him to fight even without his senses. The story then picks up with that baby, named Haykkimaru, joining up with orphan thief Dororo to travel across Japan reclaiming his body parts from the demons.

Now that’s a story hook! The animation perfectly updated Tezuka’s rather cartoony style into something more mature. This is while fleshing out many of the characters to tell an action-packed and surprisingly moving tale about a person’s right to their body and asks the question of whether a society built on the suffering of even one person is worth preserving.

3. O Maidens in Your Savage Season

If all of that sounded a bit dark then what better palate cleanser could there be than O Maidens in Your Savage Season? While it might, at first, look like just another slice-of-life highschool girl club show, and it sort of is, O Maidens quickly reveals itself to be one of the most laugh out loud anime to come out in a long time.

Kodansha USA, Anime.
Kodansha USA

Revolving around a literature club right as the various members enter that wonderfully awkward phase of puberty where sex and sexuality start to take up a good chunk of their time and energy, O Maidens is particularly refreshing because it’s willing to stand up and say “yes! Girls do in fact have feelings about sex and they’re not always pretty!” It’s awkward, it’s often seriously cringeworthy, but it’s always deeply human and relatable and always funny.

4. Vinland Saga

But who needs laughter and feelings when you can have VIKINGS! Vinland saga follows a young Viking boy who spends his life on the battlefield seeking out his father’s murderer for vengeance. This is a bloody story about big strong men doing big strong manly things so you’d be forgiven at first glance for thinking that Vinland Saga is little more than a, particularly well animated, dumb action fest. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Vinland Saga is actually a deeply personal character study, following its characters through both the violent horrors of battle and the quiet moments in between. This might be a show of big men with bigger swords. But it’s not afraid to take the time to examine that every once in a while.

5. Anime: The Quintessential Quintuplets

Sometimes you just need something like a fluffy to put you in a good mood and there are few better ways to do that than with The Quintessential Quintuplets. Fuutaro Uesugi is in serious debt and is trying everything he can to save money. Luckily, his excellent grades have gotten him a job as a tutor for five sisters. The problem? These five girls have just about as many brain cells between them and have no interest in listening to him.

Kodansha USA.
Kodansha USA

If this sounds like a pretty generic harem anime well… that’s because it is. At least, to a degree. The truth is that the show isn’t afraid to throw out or make fun of tropes whenever it feels like it. Not only that but all of the characters are likeable enough that you’re not just sitting there waiting for some generic harem protagonist to pick the obvious best girl so that they show can end already.

Of course, these are just a few of the great anime that might have flown under your radar in the last year or so. Obviously, there are plenty more from even longer ago as well. Not only that but don’t blame us if a whole bunch of new anime comes out while you’re watching these that you then have to add to your to-watch list as well!