Don’t Judge These Anime by Their Covers

Monday, September 19th, 2016

Share this page

We are proudly a Play-Asia Partner


Ads support the website by covering server and domain costs. We're just a group of gamers here, like you, doing what we love to do: playing video games and bringing y'all niche goodness. So, if you like what we do and want to help us out, make an exception by turning off AdBlock for our website. In return, we promise to keep intrusive ads, such as pop-ups, off oprainfall. Thanks, everyone!


Madoka Magica Battle Pentagram - oprainfall

To say that there are a lot of anime out there would be the understatement of the century. The anime world is a very vast one and as a result it is very easy for us to miss out on a great series, or make a premature judgement on a series just because we saw some promotional art and assumed it was one thing only to find out it is something else when you watch it. This list is about anime we felt are very deceptive in regards to their art style or promotional material. The choices here reflect both my own experiences along with the ones from some of the staff here at Operation Rainfall. I have also included Crunchyroll links to any of the shows that happen to be available there. To kick off this list we have:

Exel Saga

Excel Saga

“One look at this series and you think it’s a fairly lighthearted comedy anime. I’m just going to say, nothing will prepare you for the amount of insanity that will occur on screen! They even made an episode that was too ridiculous to be aired on TV.”

-Justin Guillou


Humanity has declined

Humanity Has Declined

“The bubbly visuals didn’t prepare me for a loaf of bread committing suicide.”

-Tyler Trosper

Neon Genesis Evangelion | Asuka, Shinji, Rei FEATURED

Neon Genesis Evangelion

“Cool Robots, great opening music and amazing art! I Assumed Evangelion was going to be a nice fun mecha anime that will make you feel good at the end of every episode. I was wrong. OH BOY was I wrong.”

-Justin Guillou

vividred operation

Vividread Operation

“I thought it might be a weird magical girl show, and while there are elements of that, it’s also a well done action anime with some slice-of-life elements and a sci-fi twist. It also does not take itself too seriously all the time, something I feel happens a lot in action anime. There are some dark elements to it, but it never feels overbearing to the overall tone of the show.”

-Andrew Mathieu


Maid Sama

“It looks like an ecchi show with no plot until it totally goes full shojo with character development.”


madoka magica

Puella Magi Madoka Magica 

“I’ll admit the first time I saw promotional artwork for this show, I was not interested. It did not look like something I would like. My friends insisted that I give it a chance so I did. It started off to be exactly what I thought it would be, then episode 3 happened…”

-Justin Guillou

case closed | rachel and conan

Case Closed

“This is the modern day equivalent to Scooby Doo and Sherlock Holmes if there ever was one. On its surface it seems like this silly anime with a grown up turned into a kid and he has to solve mysteries with gadgets that seem out of Inspector Gadget. But once you get into the series you get one of the most satisfying detective shows you may ever watch, animated or otherwise. This show just nails drama, tone and suspense easily and is able to build these things off the backbone of a silly yet interesting premise that never fully escapes focus of the show. It deals a lot with murder, which is what landed it on Adult Swim, which was not great for it in my opinion. I understand it may have been too dark for kids, but again not so dark that it should be considered an adults only show. It definitely isn’t as adult-oriented as something like Law and Order. Either way, an awesome show that may come off as juvenile, but is a really good, mystery solving drama at its core.”

-Andrew Mathieu

Anime is such an interesting medium in that they can totally get away with being deceptive. In many cases, it actually enhances the show and turns what would have otherwise been a cliche forgettable series into one that really sticks with you after the final episode aired. I am sure there are many great examples of series that could fall under this category so let us know what are some anime you saw that turned out to be completely different from what you expected it to be?

About Justin Guillou

Justin joined Operation Rainfall after visiting the site numerous times and reading the articles on Xenoblade Chronicles. He enjoys searching for and collecting some of the more obscure video games out there.

  • Excellent points made. I’d go one further with FLCL – the art from makes it look like a series about a girl rocker, a kid, and their robot friend. Nope. It’s about…robots coming out of a boy’s head fighting other powerful robots and some great war with Medical Mechanica and the pirate King Atomsk…and nonsense.

    • JGuill

      No joke, I was thinking about FLCL and almost included it. However it’s been a long while since I’ve watched it so I stuck with shows that are a bit fresher in my mind. But you are right ,FLCL would totally qualify!

    • I re-watched FLCL and introduced my wife to it for the first time. Yea…after every episode her comment was, “Why do you like this show? No really, why?”

      Honestly, I didn’t have much of an answer 😛

  • DizzyGear

    Yuki Yuna Is a Hero comes to mind. Starts off as a generic Mahou Shoujo anime and than turns into a Madoka rip off somewhere along the way.

  • Panpopo

    Excel Saga is so freaking awesome – still own the dvds (when they still made multiple dvds) to this day. Loved the dub.

    .hack is another. It’s about an MMO, but some of the themes still resonate today. Hardly no action – just talking. I loved it but I can see it not for everyone.

    • JGuill

      I bought excel saga DVDs a couple weeks ago. I can’t wait to show it to my friends next time we have an anime night 🙂

    • Andrewmated

      .hack//Sign is definitely one of my favorite anime series. The world building and character development is awesome. I never really thought about its lack of action, but that’s definitely true. The show is driven by it’s characters and the various circumstances stances that they find themselves in the World, rather than fighting monsters. It’s definitely an emotional rollercoaster. I still need to finish it since I now have the final episodes on DVD.

  • NegativeZero

    I thought that nowadays everyone knew that Evangelion was more than just a mecha show, let alone a ‘fun’ one.