11 original and refreshing anime series with new twists and turns
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When you’ve watched a lot of mainstream anime series, they can start to look a lot alike. Endless fights, new villains around every corner, battles for freedom and friendship – there are plenty of common anime tropes that might make you roll your eyes.
Even when an anime series starts out with a whole new premise, you might get bored when its potential is wasted by creators who don’t know what to do with it and end up doing the same old thing.
Luckily, there are plenty of anime series that have forged their own path with fresh new spins and interesting new takes. You may have heard of some of them, while others have probably flown under your radar. Either way, they deserve recognition for their originality.
Here are some of the most refreshing original anime series of recent years that don’t look like your usual anime series.
What do you think of when you hear “high school anime”? Probably a lot of romantic plots, mixed with sports, fantasy and even the living dead. Well, here’s one that’s unlike any of that.
The Netflix product kakegurui may take place in a high school environment, but this one is a prestigious school where the students are proficient players.
The twist in the story is that her place in society and the school hierarchy is determined by her ability to play. The winners are popular and earn the right of authority over the losers, who are labeled as “pets”.
You’ll find the game scenes and risk-taking games as intense as any fight scene involving swords, guns, or magical abilities.
10. Angels of Death
Many anime series start slow and take their time to establish characters, build plots, and orchestrate everything towards the main story. angels of death hits the ground running with intense cutscenes and character development.
Each scene takes the story in a darker direction, never relying on the need for filler arcs or unnecessary side stories to complete episodes. It’s all about the story and the characters, right from the start.
9. The Tokyo Avengers
Lasers, fireballs, and water dragons are some of the most common elements that dominate anime fight scenes, but not in Tokyo avengers. This anime features “normal human” fight scenes that are more about character dynamics than flashy magic.
Yet while Tokyo avengers is quite action packed with brutal fights between high school boys, it’s not the same kind of action as Baki Where Ashura of Kenganwhich feature superhuman feats like ripping people’s faces off with their bare hands or easily crushing bones with a single punch.
And while Tokyo avengers might seem like a typical fantasy series with its time travel element, you’ll see it’s just a plot device that introduces the idea of changing the past, where most of the plot takes place .
8. Dr. Stone
unlike most isekai animated series – which involve characters being taken to other worlds beyond our own –Dr Stone features characters waking up 3,000 years in the future after all of humanity has been mysteriously turned to stone.
It’s technically still Earth, but all technology and all signs of modernity have been lost, and the world has reverted to a primitive state. It makes you feel like you are in a completely new and foreign world.
Following their struggle for survival, Dr Stone eschews the usual anime fight scenes in favor of Senku Ishigami’s attempts to rebuild the world from the ground up using his knowledge and the help of his team.
7. Cells at work!
Cells in action! is an animated series like no other. What makes it so interesting? Well, everything! Not only are the characters and the story well-designed, but they are inspired by real science.
In fact, the characters of Cells in action! are not ninjas, Saiyans or demons, but rather the basic units of human life: the cells within us, except personified and captivatingly depicted.
Cells in action! focuses on the daily life of a red blood cell that roams and delivers oxygen to parts of the body. It may sound boring, but wait for viruses and other pathogens to appear, that’s when macrophages and white blood cells come into play!
6. Spy Family X
Spy X Family presents a fresh take on spies and assassins – moving away from bloody, action-packed sequences and putting them in a cute, goofy, comedic situation.
The Forger family of Spy X Family is one of the weirdest and coolest families in anime: the father is a super spy, the mother is a deadly assassin, and the daughter is a mind reader. But neither of them know this about each other, except the girl who keeps the secret.
Watching this eclectic family navigate the troubles of everyday life — like trying to enroll their daughter in a prestigious school — is funny, heartwarming, and oh so cute.
5. Call of the Night
We all know that when there’s a vampire in an anime series, it’s bound to be bloody and dark. Yet while call of the night is indeed dark, it leans more towards the lighter side with its vampire-themed stories.
Another factor that makes it different from most anime in the genre is its plot, which involves a human who wants to become a vampire because he is bored with his “everyday” life.
call of the night is from Liden Films and is an adaptation of the manga of the same name, written and illustrated by Kotoyama.
4. The Way of the Stay-at-Home Husband
Main male badass? Check. A nice story and plots? Check. Intense interactions between the characters? Yeah, that too. These are the typical marks of shonen animated series, but The Way of the Husband at Home makes it really cool.
Its art direction and animation style is unlike anything you’ve probably seen, and its short episodes contain tons of comedy and action that will have you hooked. The whole series is brilliantly executed in a way that entertains children and adults alike.
3. Love After World Domination
Love After World Domination is an anime adaptation of the manga of the same name, written by Hiroshi Noda and illustrated by Takahiro Wakamatsu.
This felt-themed anime series features a typical world-saving plot involving a group of color-coded heroes (the Freezing Sentai Gelato 5) and the enemy organization (Gekko).
Unlike other hero-themed anime series that focus on the battles between good and evil, Love After World Domination focuses on the secret love between the best fighters on opposite sides: Fudo Aikawa (hero name: Red Gelato) and Desumi Magahara (villain name: Reaper Princess).
In public, they are at war. In private, they go out together. Isn’t that a great premise for an anime series?
2. Uncle from another world
Uncle from another world is not only an anime with a new premise, but also one of the weirdest twists on the isekai gender.
Yosuke (aka Uncle) spends 17 years in a coma after being hit by the famous Truck-kun. When he wakes up, he is able to use magic spells, which apparently is possible because he was sent to another world for the duration of his coma.
Uncle from another world is an anime adaptation of the manga of the same name, written and illustrated by Hotondoshindeiru.
1. Kaguya-sama: love is war
Romantic comedy anime series often pair free-spirited female leads with serious male leads. One of them usually ends up being a combination of silly, goofy, forceful, or innocent to build the plot and insert comedic moments into the narrative.
But the romantic comedy animated series Kaguya-sama: Love is war is quite different in many ways. Its two protagonists are serious and proud, with wacky secondary characters that mix comedy with romance.
In the end, the two main characters are in denial about their feelings for each other and they’re too proud to confess their love. Indeed, they are at war over this and they believe that whoever confesses first loses.