Hey, everyone! Today, we’re bringing you to 12 off-track anime titles! We can all tell Japanese animation apart from Western because of special character designs. But what if we told you there was anime out there that didn’t belong to either category? They have backgrounds that look like living sculptures, influenced by traditional Japanese scrolls, stop-motion, and even animation after live acting. We score our choices based on different forms of art and originality. You will notice that some studios are more likely to produce wacky anime, like Madhouse, and you will meet Masaaki Yuasa, who is responsible for many unconventional animation choices.
1. Devilman Crybaby
Devilman: Crybaby is Masaaki Yuasa’s Go Nagai cult classic. Akira Fudou has been a crybaby since childhood, while his companion Ryou Asuka is merciless and competitive. After a long separation, Ryou reunited with Akira and revealed the dark truth that came to him when he was in the Amazon: the devils have been on earth for decades. They live by seeking hosts in animals, and now they’re humans. Ryou calculates that if a human survives a merger with the demon, they will become the toughest being on the earth. Attempting to summon a demon to a wild party, Ryou ends up making Akira into a Devilman. Animation and music are the absolute nuts of Devilman: Crybaby. To a certain point, Go Nagai’s theme is preserved. This is a perfect example of an alternate form of animation in the service of gore, sex, and drugs, the entire shebang. One of the most violent body horror moments is the scene where Akira transforms into Devilman and wrecks the club’s chaos. Clubbers transform into horrifying bloodthirsty creatures with elongated arms and breasts shooting out sharp teeth. This is an anime for people who liked anime like Parasyte-a maxim-but wished it was much darker.
2. Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo
Gankutsuou is a spin-off of the Count of Monte Cristo, Alexander Dumas, set in the far future. The plot is well known, so there is no need for a spoiler warning. The Count of Monte Cristo wants vengeance on the people who have wronged them in the past, depriving him of the love of his life and his family. Albert is a naïve young man who happens to be the son of General Albert Morcerf. Albert is a friend of the Count at the Luna Carnival and introduces him to high society circles. His friend Baron Franz warns him, but Albert is taken by the money and beauty of his new friend. Little does he realize that the enigmatic Count used him in his revenge plot. Gankutsuou is an animation masterpiece. Studio Gonzo created several well-made animes in the 2000s, such as Last Exile and Hellsing, or the more recent 7 Seeds. They all had fantastic art forms, but Gankutsuou’s visual uniqueness is incomparable. It’s not just the backgrounds that look like tapestries; character designs have ever-changing features close to the kaleidoscopic effect. Context mixes with characters that create an interactive experience. Sci-fi dystopian worlds follow the highest expectations of beauty. After all these years, Gankutsuou is powerful, with a compelling story and a morally ambiguous protagonist.
3. Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works is an action 2014–2015, thriller, fantasy anime based on the visual novel Fate/Stay Night developed by Type-Moon. Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works adapts the Unlimited Blade Works Path to Fate/Stay Night Graphic Novel. As far as animation is concerned, Fate/Stay Night UBW is the finest you’ll ever see at this time, hands down. The movement is so incredible, even though for example, a character actually flips his head around and leaves me captivated for the whole day. As well as the detail of coloring and background painting, it is amazing that it is almost difficult to forget. Not to mention the scenes of the battle, oh my god, f I g t-s c e n s. I might see them again forever if I could. But it’s no wonder, though that understanding Ufotable is the explanation behind this godly display when they have animated Fate/Zero (2011) and The Garden of Sinners (2007) two comparatively old, yet awesome, series with better animation.
4. The Tatami Galaxy
The Tatami Galaxy is based on a novel of the same title by Tomihiko Morimi. It tracks Watashi, a college student who thinks he has lost young people’s chances for love and friendship. Watashi is obsessed with entering the best club in college to become famous and find a mate, but sadly he ends up stuck with a demon-like Ozu, a depraved friend he didn’t ask for. After a fateful encounter with a fortune teller, Watashi is given another opportunity to start: with each defeat, he goes back in time and enters another club to do it all over again. The Tatami Galaxy, created by Madhouse studio, serves surreal animation and verbose fast-paced dialogue. Moving through the first episode may be difficult since Watashi talks quickly as though he was keeping up with his inner monologue but, stick to it this zany storytelling begins to make sense in its own way. This is a new interpretation of the classic “disillusioned youth trying to make the most of his college days” in a surreal visual theme. If you liked Tatami Galaxy, and you want to watch something set in the same universe but much weirder, check out the more recent movie Night Is Short, 2017 Walk on Girl.
Mononoke is the successor to Ayakashi: the Japanese Classic Horror. This time, the protagonist is a character in the last episode of Ayakashi, the Medicine Seller (Kusuriuri). The series contains five separate stories set in colonial Japan and the 1920s that can be identified as horror mysteries. Kusuriuri is a travel medicine salesperson with a fox-life look. He downplays his true powers on purpose: he will exorcise the monotonic spirits, the evil spirits, by discovering their shape, their reality, and their grievance. Kusuriuri traces them with his own scales and conducts a Buddhist exorcism with his magic sword on them. Mononoke was created by Toei Animation and the effect is spectacular, with sparkling details, swirling kaleidoscopic shapes, intense maximalism, and a rich color palette of jewelry. The animation is highly inspired by traditional Japanese traditions in the first stories, although the last one accurately represents the turn of the century. Color is used creatively to create an aura. For example, in the last novel, all is grey, and as the mystery begins to unfold, the setting changes back to color. Mononoke has a deep premise: one transforms into a Mononoke by repressing a certain fact about oneself.
6. Ping Pong The Animation
Yutaka, who goes by Peco, and Makoto, also known as Smile, are the closest friends and ping pong players on their local team. Peco is enthusiastic and optimistic, though Grin is holding back his true talent. Together, they play against tough rivals, laugh at them, develop their talents, and evolve as athletes and individuals. Ping Pong Animation is a memorable coming-of-age tale featuring strongly relatable characters. One of the best suits of this anime is the distinctive visual theme. Even though it may seem plain, with its minimal wobbly lines, it does manage to make ping pong matches look entertaining, with unexpected angles, pace, and well-timed contrasts. The superb sound effects have finished the experience. The attitudes of Peco and Grin and the modes of play come across clearly. This is another jewel of director Masaaki Yuasa, who dares to bring avant-garde titles to a wider audience. You’ll love Ping Pong The Animation if you’re in a series like Haikkyu!! Or maybe Ahiru no Sora
7. Violet Evergarden
Violet Evergarden is a truly touching story of a girl’s journey to self-discovery, suffering from the guilt of the perpetrator and PTSD as a result of the war. The whole anime is a complex piece of art that no other Studio could have done better than KyoAni. In truth, the work of art in each frame is so beautiful that it needs to be hung on a wall with a frame. Right from the first episode, you’re somehow able to put yourself in the shoes of the anime characters and know just what they’re going through. This creates an impactful, cathartic reaction that makes this anime exceptionally special. This show really hits you in the feelings too hard. The way feelings are expressed in the show is a testament to how fabulous the animation is. The animation never fails to express what the characters are going through and the environments are both fabulous and special. An animation can express more emotion than a phrase. Never before have I seen an illuminated gemstone seem to be alive just from the way the light bouncing off it is animated. I’ve never seen animated water look so fluid before. Never before have I seen a series that made me weep in more than half of the episodes. This is one of the most visually pleasing shows I’ve ever seen.
8. The Flowers of Evil
Takao Kasuka is an avid reader and bookworm. He spends much of his time obsessing Baudelaire and his popular poetry collection Fleurs du Mal (Flowers of the Evil) and dreaming about his crush, his classmate Nanako Saeki. One day, Kasuka stole Saeki’s gym clothing, but another student, Nakamura, noticed him. Nakamura begins to extort Kasuka by forming a deal with him: she claims that she is the only one who can bring out Kasuka’s real, dark side. That’s why Nakamura’s demands get bolder, putting Kasuka in awkward circumstances where he’s compelled to confront his true longings. It split the followers of the original manga. Rumors had it that it didn’t get a second season because of the animation style; obviously, so many viewers disliked the rotoscopic technique used. His mangaka Shuzo Oshimi liked it, however, and agreed with the director’s plan to create a practical atmosphere. Yet a lot of people have liked it! The critique of translation is that the missing details in the facial expressions make it impossible to get into. It’s best to watch the Evil Flowers and shape your own view!
9. Extra Olympia Kyklos
Demetrios is a kind but comic-free vase painter in ancient Greece. The village mayor asks Demetrios to come up with new games for their athletes to play. Out of the blue, one of the Demetrios vases turned out to be a gateway to modern Japan. Our hero winds up in Tokyo during the Summer Olympics of 1964. There he meets Asakichi Iwaya and his family, who take him to watch the match. This is how Demetrios returns to Japan in 1964 and takes back to his village some wacky plans for modern sports. Mari Yamazaki, the author of Extra Olympia Kyklos, has a talent for stories that have taken place in ancient times. Her other animated piece, Thermae Romae, is set in ancient Rome and involves a journey of time like Kyklos. Made in stop motion technique, each episode of Kyklos is very short and ends with another original song. The series of scenes in Japan are made in a different animation process, appearing almost like cutouts. Extra Olympia Kyklos’ comedy is a taste that has been gained by others, although the wackiest aspect is the different original song at the end of each show. Mixing Stock pictures, stop motion, and early Internet typography, the songs are about the true truth of ancient Greece, but with the same consistency.
10. Samurai Champloo
Samurai Champloo is a Japanese anime series created by Manglobe. Samurai Champloo is set in an alternative timeline of the Edo-period of Japan with an anachronistic atmosphere primarily hip hop. It leads Mugen, an impudent and freedom-loving roaming swordsman; Jin, a hybrid and stoic rōnin; and Fuu, a courageous girl who asks her to join her in her search for Japan to locate the “samurai who smells of sunflowers” While all the other animes on this page have excellent animation and deserve to be here, this one absolutely beats all the others in terms of animation. But the best thing about it is the beautifully insane concept of putting the series in the glorious setting of the Edo period in Japan, and animating it with a one-of-a-kind hip-hop style that can never really be replicated. The real charm of this anime lies in its battle sequences, which are stunningly over-the-top and are works of art in their own right. Seriously, Samurai Champloo is totally beautiful, just check out some of his many battle scenes on YouTube and refuse to say that they’re not.
11. Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei
Itoshiki Nozomu is a famous instructor with a cord around his waist, preparing to bring an end to his life. His favorite word is Zetsuboshita! . In the first episode of the season, his opposite, super-optimistic student Kafuka Fuura found him attempting to hang himself in a field of sakura trees. Zetsubou Sensei-so called because the characters of his name imitate the word Zetsubou (despair)-is the new trainer of Kafuka. Several other characters have been added, each with its own peculiarities. Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei is one on several occasions. It has constant comparisons to literature: Itoshiki is based on Osamu Dazai’s No Longer Human, Kafuka’s name corresponds to Franz Kafka. Each student is linked to Japan’s social crisis, phone addiction, perfectionism, and so on. The backgrounds are zany: hidden notes are scribbled on the classroom board that unexpectedly emerge and vanish. It’s fun to stop and read them since their creator’s messages. The head of a bald guy pops up at odd times, making funny faces as if to judge what’s going on on the computer.
12. Welcome to Irabu’s Office
Doctor Ichiro Irabu operates a psychiatric facility that treats people from all walks of life. We’ve seen a trapeze artist, a phone-addicted high school girl, and a yakuza leader, to name a few. They’re all grappling with real psychological problems, and they’re getting nonsensical advice from Irabu, that works! Irabu has three distinct shapes, a green bear, a boy, and a handsome youth, standing for his id, ego, and super-ego. Welcome to Irabu’s Office uses a range of formats such as collage, live-action, rotating cutouts-usually background characters, or memories-and a puppet-like psychiatric leader. Sexy nurse Mayumi is the only person entirely animated in rotoscoping, a technique where scenes of actual characters are traced and animated to provide a realistic effect. Welcome to Irabu’s Office uses the above successfully, in a manner that does not seem overdone, in the case of Mayumi, and to display the unique feelings of the patients. This experimental anime is surprisingly correct in the photo.