Mind games, psychological savviness, bizarre twists and turns, the human psyche, and everything involving the mind—are the things you can expect to see in a well-defined psychological anime. And it doesn’t end there! This genre includes highly entertaining and intense shows that can leave a lasting effect on viewers. So, here are the 10 Best Psychological Anime That Will F Up Your Mind!
10. Serial Experiments Lain
Lain Iwakura, a shy and introverted fourteen-year-old, is one of many girls at her school who received a distressing email from Chisa Yomoda, a student who had committed herself. Lain has neither the desire nor the experience to deal with even basic technology; nonetheless, when the technophobe opens the email, it takes her directly into the Wired, a virtual world of communication networks akin to the internet. Lain’s life is flipped upside down as she encounters one perplexing mystery after another. Strange strangers known as the Men in Black begin to emerge wherever she goes, asking her questions and knowing more about her than she does. With the boundaries between reality and cyberspace rapidly blurring, Lain is plunged into more surreal and bizarre events where identity, consciousness, and perception are concepts that take on new meanings.
Chiaki J. Konaka’s other works include Texhnolyze and Serial Experiments. Lain is a psychological avant-garde mystery series that follows Lain as she makes life-altering decisions in both the real world and the Wired. Only Lain will understand the significance of their presence as one world closes and another opens.
9. Now and Then, Here and There
Shuuzou “Shuu” Matsutani goes about his daily existence in tranquility. He has friends, a crush, and a kendo obsession. Shuu, depressed after losing to his kendo opponent, climbs a smokestack to view the sunset, where he meets Lala-Ru, a peaceful, blue-haired girl wearing an odd pendant. Despite her indifferent, lackluster responses, Shuu strives to befriend her.
His expectations are dashed, however, when a woman and two serpentine machines arrive out of nowhere with one aim in mind: to capture Lala-Ru. Shuu, being the braggart that he is, attempts to rescue his new companion from her kidnappers and is sent to a desert realm unlike any he has ever seen. Despite the circumstances, Shuu is only concerned with saving Lala-Ru until he gets severely battered by the troops. As he quickly discovers, Lala-Ru has the ability to manipulate water, and her pendant is the source from which she may summon the liquid, a scarce item in his new world. However, the pendant has gone missing, and Shuu is the leading suspect.
Now and Then, Here and There tells the heartbreaking narrative of a dystopian society and Shuu, who must suffer torture, hunger, and war’s horrors in order to save the lonely girl he discovers perched atop a smokestack.
8. Mirai Nikki (Future Diary)
Yukiteru Amano is a quiet middle schooler who keeps a digital diary of his daily activities by jotting down everything he does on his phone. Despite the fact that he has no classmates, Yukiteru is regularly seen conversing with his ostensibly fictitious companions Deus Ex Machina, the deity of time and space, and Deus’ servant, Mur Mur.
One day, Yukiteru wakes up and discovers that certain events of his day are preemptively displayed on his cellphone. While he initially dismisses it as a coincidence, he gradually finds that the happenings recorded on his phone actually occur in the near future. Yukiteru discovers that his classmate Yuno Gasai has a similar diary after spending the day utilizing this new asset.
As the two work together to fight an unusual pursuer and return to their respective houses, Deus Ex Machina explains that they, along with ten other participants, have been dragged into a survival game, the winner of which will become the deity’s successor. With no other choice, Yukiteru and Yuno must rely on their cellphones, now dubbed “Future Diaries,” to survive this merciless combat royale.
7. Ghost In The Shell
In the not-too-distant future, humanity will have advanced to the point that complete body transplants from flesh to machine will be conceivable. This allows for significant gains in both physical and cybernetic capabilities, blurring the distinction between the two realms. However, criminals can fully use such technology, leading to new and often extremely hazardous crimes. In response to such inventive new tactics, the Japanese government developed Section 9, a self-contained police unit that deals with such sensitive offenses.
Section 9, led by Daisuke Aramaki and Motoko Kusanagi, deals with such crimes across the whole social spectrum, with varying degrees of success. When confronted with a new A-level hacker dubbed “The Laughing Man,” the team is forced to play a perilous cat and mouse game, following the hacker’s trail as it leaves its mark on Japan.
6. Terror in Resonance
The word “VON” in red is all that remains after a terrorist attack on a nuclear facility in Japan. The administration is shattered by their inability to act, and the police are urgently looking for ways to punish the offenders. The general public is unaware—until a weird video appears on the internet six months later. In it, two teenage lads have known only as “Sphinx” confront the police, threatening to inflict havoc and mayhem throughout Tokyo. The police struggle to act effectively against these terrorists, unable to stop the widespread panic that is growing throughout the city and eager for any clues in their investigation, with Detective Kenjirou Shibazaki, caught in the heart of it all.
Terror in Resonance depicts the narrative of Nine and Twelve, the two lads behind Sphinx’s masked figures. They should not exist, yet they persist in a world of deception and secrets, causing the city to crumble around them in the hopes of burying their own terrible truth.
5. Death Note
The human world is polluted by heinous murders, petty thefts, and senseless violence. The world of death gods, on the other hand, is a mundane, unchangeable gambling den. Light Yagami, a brilliant 17-year-old Japanese student, and Ryuk, the sadistic god of death, share one belief: their worlds are rotten.
Ryuk releases his “Death Note” into the human world for his own enjoyment. Light comes across it and laughs at the first of its rules: the human whose name is written in this letter will perish. The temptation is too strong, and Light explores it by writing a felon’s name, which frighteningly reenacts his first murder.
Aware of the dreadful godlike power that has come into his hands, Light—dubbed “Kira”—follows his cruel sense of justice with the ultimate objective of purging the planet of all evildoers. The meticulous brilliant detective L is already on his tail, but as Light’s intelligence rivals L’s, the epic chase for Kira becomes a furious battle of wits that can only end when one of them dies.
4. Re: Zero
When Subaru Natsuki walks out of the convenience store, the last thing he expects is to be ripped from his regular existence and thrust into a dream realm. Things are not looking well for the befuddled kid, who is ambushed by several goons not long after his arrival. He is rapidly pummelling to a pulp, armed only with a bag of groceries and a now-ineffective cell phone. Fortunately, a mysterious beauty named Satella, who is on the hunt for the person who took her insignia, comes across Subaru and saves him. Subaru offers to assist in her search to reward the honest and kindhearted girl, and later that night, he discovers the whereabouts of what she needs. But, unbeknownst to them, a much darker force chases the duo from the shadows, and Subaru and Satella are brutally slain just minutes after discovering the insignia.
However, as Subaru awakens to a familiar scene—confronted by the same gang of criminals, meeting Satella all over again—the mystery deepens as history strangely repeats itself.
3. Elfen Lied
Lucy is a “Diclonius” human, born with a short set of horns and invisible telekinetic hands, which makes her a victim of the government’s harsh scientific testing. However, when an opportunity to flee presents itself, Lucy, corrupted by incarceration and torment, unleashes a torrent of carnage as she flees her captors.
During her breakout, she suffers a catastrophic brain injury, which leaves her with a split personality: a harmless child with little speaking capacity. In this situation, she comes across two college students, Kouta and his cousin Yuka, who mistakenly take in an injured fugitive, oblivious of her violent intentions. This act of compassion will transform their lives, as they are soon drawn into the mysterious realm of government secrecy and intrigue.
2. Neon Genesis Evangelion
Fifteen years after the Second Impact, the planet faces a new threat: terrible celestial entities known as “Angels” invade Tokyo-3 one by one. Despite using the most modern weaponry and military strategies, humanity is unable to defend itself against the Angels. NERV, a mysterious organization directed by the frigid Gendou Ikari, is the sole hope for human rescue. NERV employs massive humanoid robots known as “Evangelions” to confront the Angels with cutting-edge sophisticated weaponry and Absolute Terror Fields.
Shinji Ikari, Gendou’s 14-year-old son, comes to Tokyo-3 after years of being abandoned by his father. Shinji fights a never-ending internal battle against the deeply hidden trauma caused by his mother’s death and his father’s emotional neglect. Shinji’s life is drastically transformed after meeting 29-year-old Misato Katsuragi, a high-ranking NERV officer who offers him a free-spirited mother with a tenderness he has never experienced.
Shinji is forced into action after a deadly Angel attack, and Gendou reveals his true reason for inviting his son back to Tokyo-3: Shinji is the only youngster who can pilot Evangelion Unit-01, a new robot that syncs with his biometrics. Despite the horrific psychological trauma caused by piloting an Evangelion, Shinji defends Tokyo-3 against the heavenly danger, completely unaware of his father’s evil schemes.
Rintarou Okabe, is an eccentric scientist, with a never-ending thirst for scientific discovery. Rintarou establishes the Future Gadget Laboratory with his ditzy but well-meaning friend Mayuri Shiina and his roommate Itaru Hashida with the intention of inventing technological advances that perplex the human mentality. Despite its lofty boasts, the trio’s only famous “gadget” is a microwave with the mysterious ability to transform bananas into green slime.
However, when Rintarou decides to attend neuroscientist Kurisu Makise’s time travel conference, he encounters a sequence of unusual incidents that lead him to conclude that the “Phone Microwave” gizmo is more than meets the eye. Rintarou, who appears to be able to send text messages into the past using the microwave, experiments with the “time machine,” earning the ire and attention of the enigmatic organization SERN.
Rintarou and his buddies are in constant danger as a result of the unique discovery. He is fighting a struggle not only to save his loved ones but also against his deteriorating sanity, as he strives to mitigate the damage his invention has made to the timeline.
Let us know what is your favorite psychological anime in the comments below and as always thanks for reading!
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