The anime and manga industry is unpredictable. As much as an anime is well received by media critics, that doesn't mean it won't be a ratings failure. Check out below, anime that were critically acclaimed but went unnoticed by otakus.
1. Shin Sekai Yori
Shin Sekai Yori is hailed as a modern masterpiece. The dystopian tale brings intriguing mystery and social commentary, but failed to reach an audience.
A-1 Pictures chose a hybrid of 2D and cel-shading for art, which may have stunned fans looking for something beautiful to watch. Others blamed the homosexual theme, which is not something found in mainstream anime.
Shin Sekai Yori has a cult following in the international community, but even so, few people have watched the anime.
Watamote is always a topic of debate. Is it a study on social anxiety and depression? Is it a mocking comedy? Does the series belittle mental illness? Is the series very understandable for some fans? Like most controversial works, most critics applaud Watamote for at least creating a debate about social anxiety.
Anyway, the Watamote it was a huge flop with Japanese fans, but was a hit with American fans. O mangaka even said that the manga is continued due to its popularity outside of Japan.
3. Serial Experiments Lain
Serial Experiments Lain it's in the underground within the international community, but it was a failure in Japan. The tale about a girl being dragged into the world full of conspiracies was, according to the producer Yasuki Ueda, created as part of a “culture war against American culture and the American sense of values we adopted after World War II”.
His aim was to criticize American imperialism and its worldwide influence. The irony is that the series is more popular in the United States than in Japan.
4. Ghost Stories
An article has already been made for this anime in question (which you can even read here). Ghost Stories it's an anime underground, including in Brazil, despite having debuted in the Toonami.
The anime became popular in the United States due to the American dubbing that satirized the anime and took away the vibe most serious of the Japanese dubbing. However, the anime flopped in Japan as it lacked commercial appeal and failed to reach an audience.
5. Any anime moe nowadays
Let's face it, the anime and manga market is already SATURATED anime/manga style moe. After the success of K-On, what was most common to see in anime in high era moe behind moe.
Fortunately, this trend is currently on the wane and otakus are kind of fed up with only finding anime/manga moe.