You know the deal by now, with the sheer number of anime released each season, let alone each year as a whole, it is just downright impossible to see every show that exists. As such it is extremely easy for many shows, including several really good or at least interesting series, to slip through the proverbial cracks. Even on services like Crunchyroll titles manage to glide in under the radar, and now it is time to shine a much deserved spotlight on some of these hidden gems of the year. Now just because a show is on this list doesn’t mean it was beloved by everyone who did manage to see them, just that each of these shows are entertaining enough or have a strong enough interesting aspect to them that makes it worth talking about them.

Additionally, like last year, each of these shows had to meet two requirements. The first is, obviously, they had to be on Crunchyroll, so shows lost in the Anime Strike or Netflix deserts aren’t here. The second is their MyAnimeList viewership(which is not their total MAL membership numbers, but rather the total number of members minus those who are listed as “plan to watch”) had to be under 20% of that of this year’s most watched show, which in this case was Attack on Titan Season 2. I would like to note that even accounting for the absurd number of viewers AoT2 has on MAL, all of these shows still would have qualified even using last year’s comparison series, ERASED, they have that small of a number of viewers. Also it isn’t an actual rule, but I do try to avoid including direct sequels on this list, as historically speaking they tend to have lower viewership numbers than their previous season as they lose those who saw but dropped the prior season.

One last thing I should point out. In last year’s edition of this article, I listed the shows in my order of preference. This year, and going forward, I will be listing them simply in order of their viewership percentage, from the highest to the lowest. In the case of shows having the same percentage due to rounding numbers, the one with fewer viewers will be placed higher on the list. So with all the framework in place, let’s kick things off with my honorable mention.

HM - Restaurant to Another World

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How many watched it: Only 14% of Attack on Titan Season 2’s viewership

With the isekai genre becoming more crowded each and every year it is becoming harder for series to stand out. Thankfully the shows that do manage to separate themselves from the rest of the pack end up being well made and rather creative shows. Restaurant to Another World is one such example. Whereas most isekai shows have people from our world visit a fantasy world, in this series the opposite happens. Every Saturday, the Western Restaurant Nekoya serves patrons who visit from all across a fantasy world via a series of enchanted doors that lead to the eatery. By and large this is a mostly relaxing series, and as a result is probably the chillest isekai show to date. If you want a relaxing show with Food Wars!-quality food porn while also having lower levels of fanservice as a bonus, definitely give this show a watch.

#10 - Sakura Quest

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How many watched it: Only 12% of Attack on Titan Season 2’s viewership

P.A.Works is steadily becoming known to a group of anime fans as “that studio that makes good slice of life shows about women who work”. Sakura Quest is just the latest in the string of what has become the studio’s specialty, and while it may not quite reach the heights of their other such work, it is still an excellent series to watch. It was just a blast seeing the group of young women who comprise the series main characters try their hardest to revitalize an old town.

#9 - ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept.

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How many watched it: Only 11% of Attack on Titan Season 2’s viewership

ACCA is a slow burn series. A very, very slow burn series. Basically if you do not like shows that are absolutely weighted down with dialogue and play the long game with their plot, this is likely not the series for you. If you are into these kind of shows, I have some good news for you! ACCA is an incredibly thrilling political mystery series. Yes there may be a lot of talking going on, but you will be hanging onto every word said. Add onto that an absolutely striking visual style and an incredible jazz-infused soundtrack, and you end up with one of the best shows barely anyone actually paid attention to.

#8 - KADO: The Right Answer

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How many watched it: Only 10% of Attack on Titan Season 2’s viewership

KADO managed to hold the honorable distinction of being the most visually impressive CGI TV anime series to date...until Land of the Lustrous came out in the Fall season and took a big gemstone encrusted shit all over it. It also was quite possibly the most refreshing sci-fi anime series to come out in quite a while. Well...until the plot went off the rails and up its own ass in the last chunk of episodes. However, even considering how the show ends, it is just so engrossing until that point that you are already locked in for the long haul. Ultimately this was an incredibly ambitious show with some flawed storytelling, and I still think it is worth giving at least one watch. There are certainly far worse anime to watch if you want to get your science fiction fix.

#7 - Kino’s Journey -the Beautiful World- the Animated Series

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How many watched it: Only 10% of Attack on Titan Season 2’s viewership

The first anime adaptation of Kino’s Journey is a legendary series amongst those who have seen it. While this new adaptation isn’t as good as the first one, it does have some advantages in its favor, such as a much needed visual overhaul as the first series looks laughably dated nowadays. Though the story selection this time around isn’t as uniformly philosophical or morality based as the first series’, there are enough great episodic tales here to give first time viewers a good taste of what all the hubbub surrounding Kino’s Journey is about.

#6 - A Centaur’s Life

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How many watched it: Only 7% of Attack on Titan Season 2’s viewership

This year was a banner year for monster girl series, however one of the most overlooked was A Centaur’s Life. This series is one of the first Chinese anime productions to even be in discussion of being regarded as “good”, and this was basically entirely because of the strength of the source material. The actual animation was rather janky at times, and depending on who you ask, they’ll tell you the dialogue was weirdly stilted. The main reason to see this show is its excellent worldbuilding. Not only is the world of A Centaur’s Life one of the most fully realized worlds in a monster girl series, it is also a well crafted dystopian world. Not every episode lands in this show, but the ones that do are simply amazing.

#5 - Konohana Kitan

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How many watched it: Only 7% of Attack on Titan Season 2’s viewership

Now this is simply put a truly special slice of life show. While the show’s first three episodes are by no means bad episodes, once the show’s fourth episode rolls around the show flips a switch and becomes a stream of high quality episodic storytelling. This show does an amazing job at balancing comedic and emotional moments. More than that, this is quite honestly the best usage of yuri themes I’ve seen from anime in a long, long time. Unlike countless other shows that use yuri elements, this show isn’t baiting the audience, instead giving us emotional yuri moments that not only flow organically, but feel completely in character. The cherry on top is that the show is able to wrap all of this up in a visually stunning package. It isn’t necessarily the best animated show of the year, but suffice to say I lost count of the number of scenes that were worthy of turning into screenshots and wallpapers. Basically, if you love slice of life shows, Konohana Kitan is a must watch.

#4 - Kemono Friends

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How many watched it: Only 6% of Attack on Titan Season 2’s viewership

Kemono Friends gets the unfortunate honor of being this year’s Mr. Osomatsu, being the breakout cultural phenomenon of the year in Japan, but outside of the country it has a small, but extremely vocal and dedicated fanbase. The Little Anime That Could, Kemono Friends defied all the odds and became a massive success when every sign pointed to it becoming an abject failure. Unfortunately this ended up becoming a double-edged sword, as the show’s sudden newfound success would ultimately end up with the director and head creative force behind the project, TATSUKI, being booted from the show’s for now currently in production second season in an absolutely messy situation with the juggernaut corporation Kadokawa. This show is one of the best examples of how great writing can overcome wonky visuals, though it doesn’t hurt that said visuals are so filled with charm that for some people they are part of the reason they like the show.

#3 - 18if

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How many watched it: Only 5% of Attack on Titan Season 2’s viewership

18if is basically Gonzo’s answer to Space Dandy. This mostly episodic series hands the reins to different artists, directors and writers for each episode, some of them newcomers, others are veterans. This results in an eclectic mix of tales, and while not even episode exactly sticks the landing, and Gonzo nowadays is most certainly not Bones, 18if is probably pound for pound the most ambitious and overachieving series of the entire year. The show covers a wide variety of subject matters that are for the most part very much still taboo in anime. It is a very experimental series, and I think this is a series anyone interested in anime as an art form should give a watch. If nothing else, there is some very promising young talent waiting in the wings, if their contributions to 18if are anything to go by.

#2 - GARO: Vanishing Line

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How many watched it: Only 4% of Attack on Titan Season 2’s viewership

Now this is just a damn shame. How the hell the GARO franchise continues to fly under the radar I will never understand. Both GARO: The Animation, and GARO: Vanishing Line(we can pull a Devil May Cry here and ignore GARO: Crimson Moon) are excellently well made horror fantasy action-adventure shows with breathtaking fight scene animations and amazing art direction. These shows check all the boxes on the checklist for what you would typically assume a hit anime in the West would be like. If you are a fan of fun old school pulp fantasy series, the GARO franchise is something you absolutely need to see to believe.

#1 - Magical Circle Guru-Guru

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How many watched it: Only 2% of Attack on Titan Season 2’s viewership

As of the time of this article being written, there is only a palty 8,807 people on MAL who have said they watched this remake of the ‘90s classic. That is insane. This show is an absolute treat for fans of old school JRPGs, as it is a loving parody of the genre. It pokes fun at several of the genre conventions, while also paying tribute every now and then with some great shots of pixel art. This is a hilarious and purely fun series that just needs to be experienced. I can only assume the main reason for the low numbers is large swaths of people look at the show and quickly dismiss it as nothing more than yet another simple show for kids, when that is just frankly not the case.

So there you have it guys! My Top 10 hidden gems on Crunchyroll this year. What about you guys? Did any of your favorites make this list this year? Do y’all have any additional shows you feel didn’t get the kind of loving you felt they deserve? Feel free to share them below!