Top 10 Most Unique Animated TV Shows of All Time

 Some may think that if they've seen one anime, they've seen them all, but there are plenty of series that prove that thinking wrong. Some anime go above and beyond, showing how different they can be. There are anime that are already designed to be as surreal in its premise, but others might try something different in just how the story is told.

However, some series may leave their mark in other ways. Some series have unusual art styles or may combine different mediums. Others may take interesting routes when it comes to recording music or dialogue, with surprising results. There are a few times when what happened behind the scenes was what made an anime truly unique. Despite standing out, some of these anime have gone on to become popular or cult classics in their own right, even if they aren't necessarily what people think of as standard anime.



Land of the Lustrous (2017)

Land of the Lustrous is a Seinen manga and CGI anime revolving around lifeforms called gems. The gems came into existence, effectively emerging from the ground, after the Earth had been devastated by meteorites, nearly destroying all life on the planet. The gems are also in constant struggle against the Lunarians, who regularly abduct the gems and turn them into jewelry. Phosphophyllite, or Phos, is a weak gem who wants to get involved with the fight, but gets tasked with creating an encyclopedia. Phos also comes into contact with Cinnabar, a gem considered even weaker, who is kept in isolation on night watch, and similarly wants to escape. The new task may help Pho and Cinnabar achieve what they desire.


Mononoke (2007)

Mononoke is an avant-garde horror anime revolving around the wandering "Medicine Seller" and his adventures meeting and fighting "mononoke," spirits that connect themselves to human emotions. In order to properly exorcise the spirit, the Medicine Seller must uncover three things: its Form, Truth, and Reason. Set towards the transitions between the Edo period and Meiji era, the Medicine Seller also defies convention by carrying a sword, a privilege normally given to the Samurai. However, this is easier said than done.


Mononoke is well-known for its animation and art style. Each scene is decorated in an array of colors while patterns and textures remain static, helping to give the animation an otherworldly, surreal appearance. The Medicine Man claims to be human, though the pointy ears, fangs, and supernatural abilities suggest otherwise. Often, viewers are left wondering what is meant to be symbolic and what is actually happening.


Pop Team Epic (2018)

Pop Team Epic is a webcomic turned anime starring two girls: Popuko and Pipimi. The two appear in a variety of gags, much like an animated sketch comedy, but aim to be as surreal as possible. In fact, the first few minutes of the series pretended to be a completely different anime. Due to its parodic nature, the series often switches art styles, even occasionally using stop-motion and live-action.


One of the most unique aspects of the series is that Popuko and Pipimi not only constantly change voice actors, but every episode is followed by an encore presentation with new voice actors. Usually, the first two actors are female and the second are both male, with there usually being some connection between the two, like appearing in a show together.


Monogatari (2009)

Monogatari, meaning "Story," based on the light novels of the same name, revolves around Koyomi Araragi, a high school student who finds himself recovering after regaining his humanity following a vampire attack. One day, he encounters a nearly weightless classmate, Hitagi Senjōgahara, and introduces her to the man who helped him reverse his vampirism. Soon, Araragi finds himself getting involved with other supernatural happenings, usually involving other young girls, including his own younger sisters. They are often plagued by apparitions that feed on emotions and have animal-like forms.

The series is divided into different story arcs, often with overlapping timelines, with each having its own variation of "Monogatari" as a title, such as "Bakemonogatari," or "Monster Story," or "Onimonogatari," or "Demon Story." Each arc often has a different viewpoint character, which also means the series can change genres with each arc. The series is also known for its changing animation and backgrounds.

Baccano! (2007)

Baccano!, based on an Italian word for "ruckus," is set in Prohibition-era America. Thieves and gangsters get caught up in a series of events involving a powerful elixir that can grant immortality, particularly when it gets mistaken for alcohol at a party.


The anime, which is divided into three stories, makes use of an anachronistic, non-linear storyline, that often shows scenes out of order. In fact, the very first episode already shows the endings to the three stories. The story is designed to come together once the viewer has finished it, viewers are often recommended to watch the anime in one sitting. In order to get the look of New York just right, staff members actually visited the state to replicate various settings, from Chinatown to Little Italy. Special attention was also given to making sure steam locomotives were portrayed accurately.


Red Garden (2006)

Red Garden sees four girls from New York City, Rose, Claire, Rachel, and Kate, find themselves drawn to a place by strange butterflies that only they can see. Soon, they meet a mysterious woman and her partner, who reveal a secret to the girls: they are dead and living on borrowed time. In order to survive, the girls must fight mysterious beastmen, if the butterflies summon them. In addition to all this, the mysterious death of a fifth girl, their friend Lise, may be connected to these strange happenings.


The series takes approaches not often seen in anime, such as recording the voice actors before animating, so that the dialogue is well-synchronized. The girls also have a tendency to break out into song, often intentionally off-key.

Princess Tutu (2002)

Princess Tutu already proves to be an unusual Magical Girl anime by having the main character be a literal duck. When she falls in love with a human prince who's lost his heart, she is granted the chance to become a human girl dubbed "Ahiru," or "Duck." Moreover, she is given the ability to become a magical girl named Princess Tutu, who is tasked with returning pieces of the prince's heart back to him. Unfortunately, the fairy tale turns out to be exactly that: Ahiru, the prince, and the entire town are trapped within a literal, yet unfinished, fairy tale. The author has come back from the grave to ensure it comes to its intended conclusion. Unfortunately, he didn't plan on a happy ending. To make matters worse, Princess Tutu is fated to disappear into the light when she reveals her love to the prince. However, Ahiru may not be the prince's true love, nor is the prince necessarily Ahiru's.


Much effort was put into the look and sound of Princess Tutu. The soundtrack to the anime is made up of many classical pieces of music and ballet suites. To capture the look of a European-style fairy tale town, the animators even took a trip to Germany.



Revolutionary Girl Utena (1997)

Revolutionary Girl Utena starts with a young girl mourning the loss of her parents. A prince comforts her, inspiring her to become a prince in her own right. Years later, Utena enrolls at a new school, where she learns that a classmate, Anthy, is the subject of a series of duels, where classmates fight to claim her as the mysterious "Rose Bride." Amidst all this, the duels have a mysterious benefactor known as the "End of the World." However, that is just the start of the surreality, as practically every character can go back and forth between being a villain and a victim of circumstance.


The series makes use of silhouettes, shadow plays, limited animation, and long dialogue to help give it a unique feel, which ironically came from the series' lack of a budget. Interestingly, the series actually originated from a proposed idea for a Sailor Moon movie.



Kill la Kill (2013)

In Kill la Kill, Ryuko Matoi is a transfer student at the Honnouji Academy, which is seemingly ruled by the powerful student council president, Satsuki Kiryuin. Order and control are kept through the Goku Uniforms, which give the wearers special powers, given to those loyal to Satsuki. However, Ryuko has an agenda: she is looking into her father's death and suspects Satsuki could be involved. Ryuko gains help from a uniform known as Senketsu and a blade that can take on the Goku Uniforms. However, as Ryuko uncovers the mysterious origins of the Life Fibers that give the uniforms their power, she will learn her true connection to Satsuki.


Kill la Kill is known for its extreme, over-the-top nature and its bright, colorful cast. The series can be seen as a satire, from everything to an action series to Magical Girl anime.



JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (2012)

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure revolves around members of the Joestar family, each nicknamed JoJo, who each fight the forces of the supernatural. Each JoJo is tasked with forming allies and harnessing their power, which usually comes out in manifestations called Stands.


JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is particularly famous for its use of allusions to fashion and Western pop and rock music. The series is also well-known for its art style, which combines classical, and Western art techniques, bright colors, and a lot of posing. One aspect of the series that can be surprising for Western fans is how old the series really is. While the anime only came out in the 2010s, outside earlier OVAs and a film, the original manga came out in the 1980s.


Monogatari (2009)
, meaning "Tale", is based on the light novel of the same name and revolves around Araragi Koyomi, a high school student who regains his humanity after a vampire attack. One day, he meets a nearly weightless classmate, Senjougahara Hitagi, who introduces her to a man who helps her recover from vampirism. Soon Araragi becomes embroiled in other supernatural occurrences, usually involving other young girls, including his own sister. They are often haunted by ghosts that feed on emotions and take on animal-like forms. The
series is split into different storylines, often with overlapping timelines, each of which has its own variation of "Monogatari" as its title, such as "Bakemonogatari", "Monogatari of a Monster", "Onimonogatari", or "Akumamonogatari". Often, each arc has a different narrative thread, which also means that the series can change genre from arc to arc. The series is also known for its changing animation and backgrounds.


Baccano! (2007)
Baccano!, meaning "riot" in Italian, is set in America during the Prohibition era. Thieves and gangsters become embroiled in a series of events surrounding a powerful elixir that grants immortality, especially when it is mistaken for alcohol at a party.

The anime is divided into three stories and uses an anachronistic and non-linear plot, with scenes often appearing out of order. In fact, the endings of all three stories are already depicted in the first episode. The story is designed to come together after the viewer has finished watching. Viewers are often encouraged to binge watch the anime. To recreate the atmosphere of New York, the staff actually traveled to New York State to recreate various locations from Chinatown to Little Italy. Particular attention was also paid to the accurate depiction of the steam locomotive.

Red Garden (2006) In
Red Garden, four girls from New York City, Rose, Claire, Rachel and Kate, are drawn to one place by a strange butterfly that only they can see. They soon meet a mysterious woman and her partner, who tell them a secret. To survive, the girls must battle mysterious beastmen summoned by the butterflies. Additionally, the mysterious death of the fifth girl, her friend Liese, may be related to these strange events.

The series employs an approach not often seen in anime, such as having the voice actors record their lines before animation to increase the synchronicity of the lines. The girls also tend to start singing intentionally out of tune.

Princess Tutu (2002)
Princess Tutu proves to be an unusual magical girl anime, as the main character is literally a duck. After falling in love with a heartbroken human prince, she is given the chance to become a human girl "Ahiru" or "Duck". She also gains the ability to become a magical girl named Princess Tutu, whose job is to return the piece of her heart to the prince. Unfortunately, that fairy tale was just that - the duck, the prince, and the entire town are now trapped in a literal unfinished fairy tale. The author has returned from the grave to ensure that this work achieves its intended ending. Unfortunately, he did not have a happy ending planned. To make matters worse, Princess Tutu is destined to disappear into the light once she confesses her love to the prince. However, the duck is not necessarily the prince's true love, and the prince is not necessarily the duck's lover.

A lot of effort went into the look and sound of Princess Tutu. The animation's soundtrack consists of many classical pieces and ballet suites. To capture the atmosphere of a European-style fairy-tale town, the animators even traveled to Germany.

Some may think that if they've seen one anime, they've seen them all, but there are plenty of series that prove that thinking wrong. Some anime go above and beyond, showing how different they can be. There are anime that are already designed to be as surreal in its premise, but others might try something different in just how the story is told.
However, some series may leave their mark in other ways. Some series have unusual art styles or may combine different mediums. Others may take interesting routes when it comes to recording music or dialogue, with surprising results. There are a few times when what happened behind the scenes was what made an anime truly unique. Despite standing out, some of these anime have gone on to become popular or cult classics in their own right, even if they aren't necessarily what people think of as standard anime.

Land of the Lustrous (2017)
Land of the Lustrous is a Seinen manga and CGI anime revolving around lifeforms called gems. The gems came into existence, effectively emerging from the ground, after the Earth had been devastated by meteorites, nearly destroying all life on the planet. The gems are also in constant struggle against the Lunarians, who regularly abduct the gems and turn them into jewelry. Phosphophyllite, or Phos, is a weak gem who wants to get involved with the fight, but gets tasked with creating an encyclopedia. Phos also comes into contact with Cinnabar, a gem considered even weaker, who is kept in isolation on night watch, and similarly wants to escape. The new task may help Pho and Cinnabar achieve what they desire.

Mononoke (2007)
Mononoke is an avant-garde horror anime revolving around the wandering "Medicine Seller" and his adventures meeting and fighting "mononoke," spirits that connect themselves to human emotions. In order to properly exorcise the spirit, the Medicine Seller must uncover three things: its Form, Truth, and Reason. Set towards the transitions between the Edo period and Meiji era, the Medicine Seller also defies convention by carrying a sword, a privilege normally given to the Samurai. However, this is easier said than done.

Mononoke is well-known for its animation and art style. Each scene is decorated in an array of colors while patterns and textures remain static, helping to give the animation an otherworldly, surreal appearance. The Medicine Man claims to be human, though the pointy ears, fangs, and supernatural abilities suggest otherwise. Often, viewers are left wondering what is meant to be symbolic and what is actually happening.

Pop Team Epic (2018)
Pop Team Epic is a webcomic turned anime starring two girls: Popuko and Pipimi. The two appear in a variety of gags, much like an animated sketch comedy, but aim to be as surreal as possible. In fact, the first few minutes of the series pretended to be a completely different anime. Due to its parodic nature, the series often switches art styles, even occasionally using stop-motion and live-action.

One of the most unique aspects of the series is that Popuko and Pipimi not only constantly change voice actors, but every episode is followed by an encore presentation with new voice actors. Usually, the first two actors are female and the second are both male, with there usually being some connection between the two, like appearing in a show together.


Monogatari (2009)
Monogatari, meaning "Story," based on the light novels of the same name, revolves around Koyomi Araragi, a high school student who finds himself recovering after regaining his humanity following a vampire attack. One day, he encounters a nearly weightless classmate, Hitagi Senjōgahara, and introduces her to the man who helped him reverse his vampirism. Soon, Araragi finds himself getting involved with other supernatural happenings, usually involving other young girls, including his own younger sisters. They are often plagued by apparitions that feed on emotions and have animal-like forms.
The series is divided into different story arcs, often with overlapping timelines, with each having its own variation of "Monogatari" as a title, such as "Bakemonogatari," or "Monster Story," or "Onimonogatari," or "Demon Story." Each arc often has a different viewpoint character, which also means the series can change genres with each arc. The series is also known for its changing animation and backgrounds.


Baccano! (2007)
Baccano!, based on an Italian word for "ruckus," is set in Prohibition-era America. Thieves and gangsters get caught up in a series of events involving a powerful elixir that can grant immortality, particularly when it gets mistaken for alcohol at a party.

The anime, which is divided into three stories, makes use of an anachronistic, non-linear storyline, that often shows scenes out of order. In fact, the very first episode already shows the endings to the three stories. The story is designed to come together once the viewer has finished it, viewers are often recommended to watch the anime in one sitting. In order to get the look of New York just right, staff members actually visited the state to replicate various settings, from Chinatown to Little Italy. Special attention was also given to making sure steam locomotives were portrayed accurately.

Red Garden (2006)
Red Garden sees four girls from New York City, Rose, Claire, Rachel, and Kate, find themselves drawn to a place by strange butterflies that only they can see. Soon, they meet a mysterious woman and her partner, who reveal a secret to the girls: they are dead and living on borrowed time. In order to survive, the girls must fight mysterious beastmen, if the butterflies summon them. In addition to all this, the mysterious death of a fifth girl, their friend Lise, may be connected to these strange happenings.

The series takes approaches not often seen in anime, such as recording the voice actors before animating, so that the dialogue is well-synchronized. The girls also have a tendency to break out into song, often intentionally off-key.

Princess Tutu (2002)
Princess Tutu already proves to be an unusual Magical Girl anime by having the main character be a literal duck. When she falls in love with a human prince who's lost his heart, she is granted the chance to become a human girl dubbed "Ahiru," or "Duck." Moreover, she is given the ability to become a magical girl named Princess Tutu, who is tasked with returning pieces of the prince's heart back to him. Unfortunately, the fairy tale turns out to be exactly that: Ahiru, the prince, and the entire town are trapped within a literal, yet unfinished, fairy tale. The author has come back from the grave to ensure it comes to its intended conclusion. Unfortunately, he didn't plan on a happy ending. To make matters worse, Princess Tutu is fated to disappear into the light when she reveals her love to the prince. However, Ahiru may not be the prince's true love, nor is the prince necessarily Ahiru's.

Much effort was put into the look and sound of Princess Tutu. The soundtrack to the anime is made up of many classical pieces of music and ballet suites. To capture the look of a European-style fairy tale town, the animators even took a trip to Germany.


Revolutionary Girl Utena (1997)
Revolutionary Girl Utena starts with a young girl mourning the loss of her parents. A prince comforts her, inspiring her to become a prince in her own right. Years later, Utena enrolls at a new school, where she learns that a classmate, Anthy, is the subject of a series of duels, where classmates fight to claim her as the mysterious "Rose Bride." Amidst all this, the duels have a mysterious benefactor known as the "End of the World." However, that is just the start of the surreality, as practically every character can go back and forth between being a villain and a victim of circumstance.

The series makes use of silhouettes, shadow plays, limited animation, and long dialogue to help give it a unique feel, which ironically came from the series' lack of a budget. Interestingly, the series actually originated from a proposed idea for a Sailor Moon movie.


Kill la Kill (2013)
In Kill la Kill, Ryuko Matoi is a transfer student at the Honnouji Academy, which is seemingly ruled by the powerful student council president, Satsuki Kiryuin. Order and control are kept through the Goku Uniforms, which give the wearers special powers, given to those loyal to Satsuki. However, Ryuko has an agenda: she is looking into her father's death and suspects Satsuki could be involved. Ryuko gains help from a uniform known as Senketsu and a blade that can take on the Goku Uniforms. However, as Ryuko uncovers the mysterious origins of the Life Fibers that give the uniforms their power, she will learn her true connection to Satsuki.

Kill la Kill is known for its extreme, over-the-top nature and its bright, colorful cast. The series can be seen as a satire, from everything to an action series to Magical Girl anime.


JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (2012)
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure revolves around members of the Joestar family, each nicknamed JoJo, who each fight the forces of the supernatural. Each JoJo is tasked with forming allies and harnessing their power, which usually comes out in manifestations called Stands.

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is particularly famous for its use of allusions to fashion and Western pop and rock music. The series is also well-known for its art style, which combines classical, and Western art techniques, bright colors, and a lot of posing. One aspect of the series that can be surprising for Western fans is how old the series really is. While the anime only came out in the 2010s, outside earlier OVAs and a film, the original manga came out in the 1980s.

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