Anime covers a wide array of genres, which means that this also includes dark and psychological topics that may not be for everyone. Some prefer only watching light-hearted stuff like a slice of life, or perhaps something of the shōjo genre. However, some just love watching psychological anime that’s bound to get your brain up and running (or maybe even crying).
So here’s a list of some of the best psychological anime to watch.
What is justice? What good will eliminating “evil” bring?
This anime follows the story of Light Yagami, a genius high school student who stumbles upon a notebook called Death Note—which has the power to kill someone as long as the notebook’s owner knows their target’s face and name. With this newfound power, Light decides to play god and create a “new” world by aiming to eliminate all the criminals. As the serial killings continue, the Japanese police request the assistance of L—the world’s best detective—resulting in a series of mind games between him and Light.
This is pretty much sci-fi time travel that’s bound to confuse your brain if you’re not much of a science person, or can’t easily follow time travel concepts.
Rintaro Okabe is a self-proclaimed mad scientist fond of creating various gadgets alongside his lab members, Mayuri Shiina and Hashida “Daru” Itaru. They create a gadget called the Phone Microwave, which they discover can send messages to the past. Okabe ends up traveling through multiple timelines in order to prevent various tragic events from happening, which clearly affects him emotionally.
Think Black Swan, but in a visually pleasing anime form.
A film by the iconic Satoshi Kon, Perfect Blue revolves around the story of Mima Kirigoe, who leaves her J-pop idol group to become a full-time actress. This career change isn’t exactly good for her—eventually, she starts to feel immense pressure from the demands of acting. Not to mention that an obsessed fan begins to stalk her, amongst a series of various events that causes her to flip out and become unhinged. Eventually, she fails to distinguish fantasy from reality.
Mecha? Cool. Traumatized characters? Maybe also cool, depending on your tastes.
Created by Hideki Anno, Neon Genesis Evangelion is set in a world where there are beings called Angels, who terrorize the world. An organization called Nerv, directed by Gendo Ikari, is in charge of battling Angels using mecha. Shinji Ikari, Gendo’s teenage son, becomes one of the Evangelion pilots. Having the fate of the world on his shoulders alongside finding more about their enemies and Nerv sends Shinji into a spiraling mess.
Magical girls aren’t so happy anymore.
This series revolves around Madoka Kaname and Sayaka Miki, who end up encountering Kyuubey, a magical familiar resembling a cat. Kyuubey tells them he has the power to grant wishes—but in exchange, they must become magical girls. With great power comes great responsibility, and everything is not what it seems as the plot darkens.