In the realm of anime, there are many series with mind-boggling narratives and mind-boggling fights of the intellect.
While anime is known for its blood-curdling fight scenes like those in Dragon Ball, it also offers mind-bending puzzles and tales that probe into the human psyche. These shows might be emotionally draining, but they also leave viewers guessing about what’s going to happen next.
Psychological anime has the ability to either be a masterpiece or a shambles that isn’t enjoyable to watch for any audience member. The good news is that over the years, several bright brains have worked diligently to create some must-see spectacles.
On September 25, 2021, Mark Sammut published the following update: The number of shows that could be considered to be “psychological anime” is quite tiny; on average, only a few come out each year. 2020 was no exception, although Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time, Higurashi: When They Cry – SOTSU, Moriarty the Patriot’s 2nd season, and Wonder Egg Priority were excellent additions to the sub-genre. Even yet, if you’re searching for a good dose of psychological suspense, you’re better off going back in time. This list has been expanded to include a couple more of the best psychological anime ever made in order to assist in that search.
1. Ping Pong The Animation
Ping Pong the Animation, a sports anime that premiered in 2014, broke new ground in the genre. Ping pong is not the focus of this presentation, but rather the psychological constructions that people build in order to survive in the real world are examined. Peco and Smile have known each other for a long time, despite their vastly differing personalities. Smile sees Peco as a hero and regards him as a role model.
Several characters are featured in Ping Pong the Animation, as well as a number of others. Intricate, inventive, and endlessly rewatchable, this anime is a must-see.
2. Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World
A hapless adolescent is transported to a fantastical world by means of time travel. After meeting a variety of women, Subaru becomes entangled in the political atmosphere of this universe. Despite the fact that Re:Zero has all the hallmarks of a traditional isekai anime, it manages to stand out. Even if the protagonist has the ability to restart after death, Subaru pushes himself to the utmost to achieve unappreciated results and deadly consequences.
In Re:Zero, Subaru’s actions are shown to have an impact on Rem and Emilia, and the same is true for Rem and Emilia.
While shows like Akagi, Kakegurui, and One Outs, which feature high-stakes gambling, can be a lot of fun, it’s unlikely that the heroes would ever actually lose any money. Kaiji has a distinct personality. Overwhelmed by someone else’s debt and forced to play deadly psychological games, Kaiji Itou spends the majority of the anime’s two seasons feeling hopelessly lost.
Kaiji is vulnerable because he is a human being. It’s impossible to win without risking everything the protagonist has. In most scenes, the anime’s unpredictability causes the tension to be unbearable.
4. Kino’s Journey
By the time they’re fifteen, who doesn’t want to be buddies with a motorcycle who talks? Even though the premise of Kino’s Journey seems strange at first, the way the show depicts the various locales that Kino visits while riding his magical motorcycle turns out to be wonderful.
The broadcast provides an opportunity for viewers to make comparisons between different cultures and practices from around the world. Thus, unlike other anime, Kino’s Journey makes use of the real environment to explore its psychological themes.
5. Welcome To The N.H.K.
In Japan, the term “hikikomori” is used to characterize those who avoid any social interaction at all costs. In the instance of Tatsuhiro, he is convinced that the NHK (Nippon Hikikomori Kyokai) is responsible for him living this way because of a conspiracy theory.
There’s plenty of drama and humor as he eventually begins to open up and see the world for what it is. When you see someone overcome a mental illness and make success in their own life, it’s intriguing.
6. From The New World
When it comes to coming-of-age stories, From the New World defies the typical genre norm. Following Saki Watanabe as she develops her psychic abilities and is accepted into the Sage Academy with her pals, the anime depicts her journey through this new world.
What happens to children who can’t access their psychic abilities? Saki begins to wonder about this. From the New World is fascinating from beginning to end, with a mysterious club called the Tainted Cats that may abduct children and many more startling realities about society to learn.
Is it possible for authorities to scan someone and determine whether or not they are more likely than not to commit a crime, and then arrest or execute them accordingly? Because of this, the show’s premise leads to several deeply moving and profound scenes.
A new member of the police force, Akane is dedicated to upholding the rule of law, but she finds that her values are repeatedly put to the test. Since police violence is a hot-button issue around the world, this show resonates even more strongly than usual.
8. Parasyte -The Maxim-
Is it possible for anyone to know whether or not their friend has been captured by the enemy? Parasyte -the maxim- is a film in which aliens invade Earth and into the minds of people, much like the movie The Thing.
In what way? A parasitic alien named Shinichi tries to implant within a high school kid and discovers that the other aliens want it dead as well. In order to make it through, the two must look at life from a variety of perspectives, which leads to some fascinating events.
9. The Tatami Galaxy
Imagine an Isekai anime in which the protagonist is simply sent back in time to relive their own past. Rather than wasting his college years breaking up happy couples and being miserable, Watashi has an opportunity to make the most of his time in the Tatami Galaxy.
The show’s distinctive art style sets it apart from the rest. It’s the perfect anime to demonstrate how seemingly insignificant decisions can have significant consequences down the road.
10. Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War
Dark, disturbing, and mind-bending are common themes in most psychological anime. Students Kaguya and Miyuki, members of the student counsel, are pitted against each other in an attempt to force the other to profess their love first in Love Is War, which utterly subverts this genre cliché.
The program contains a lot of gut-busting moments, as well as a lot of character development. A show like Love Is War is hard to imagine in the genre, but it delivers in spades.
11. Perfect Blue
Satoshi Kon’s films Paranoia Agent and Paprika could have filled this need, but Perfect Blue remains the director’s best psychological thriller. When Mima Kirigoe decides to quit her profession as an idol in order to pursue acting, her life takes an unexpected turn.
Mima’s sanity begins to deteriorate as she is haunted by a stalker and linked to a string of murders. To say that Perfect Blue is a challenging film would be an understatement; both its themes and its visuals are difficult to comprehend.
Mononoke is broken into five separate stories, each of which focuses on the Medicine Seller, a character who “hunts” the titular spirits. The enigmatic figure must first learn the spirit’s form, truth, and reason in order to achieve this. In most cases, this entails a thorough investigation of both the Mononoke and the persons it is haunting.
Mononoke is an anime unlike any other. As a result of its surreal images and unnerving soundtrack, the anime creates an atmosphere of otherworldliness that serves to heighten the tension of each story arc.
13. Death Note
One of the most memorable psychological anime battles ever was between Light Yagami and the enigmatic L. A Death Note, a notebook that may kill anyone whose name is written in it, presents viewers with a lot to ponder outside of the show as well because of the moral quandaries it raises.
Because the show’s plot is so well structured, trying to predict how it will end is practically impossible because of how cleverly the show is written.
In Monster, the inner torment people might experience as a result of their decisions is vividly depicted. After saving the life of a well-known celebrity, Dr. Kenzou Tenma must deal with the reality that he was diverted from his original plan to perform brain surgery on an impoverished immigrant laborer.
As the worker dies, the rest of the world continues to cheer his acts. This generates a major crisis of conscience. When he’s given the same opportunity again, he choose to help a tiny child instead, which causes chaos in his life because he refused to operate on the town’s mayor.
From the ground up, Steins;Gate is a time-travel thriller that looks at how one person can alter the course of history. He must cope with the consequences of every time Okabe sends something back in time, because he has altered the present. As he tries to figure out what should be altered and what should remain the same, he feels the weight of the task heavily on his shoulders.
One of the best time travel shows out there, Steins;Gate should be mandatory viewing for any anime lover.