Most underrated Psychological thriller anime by Madhouse Studio

A still from Texhnolyze anime

Madhouse Studio, just the name conjures up thrilling anime like Hunter x Hunter and Black Lagoon. Some of the best psychological thriller anime by Madhouse Studio has reached the peak of popularity by being adapted into a live-action, take Death Note for example, or by being an inspiration to Hollywood movies, like Paprika.

However, among these sought-after anime, there are certain hidden gems that aren’t talked about enough within the anime community. So today, we are going to explore the top 3 of such underrated psychological thriller anime that deserve more recognition and popularity

Psychological thriller anime by Madhouse Studio

3. Texhnolyze

A still from Texhnolyze anime
A still from Texhnolyze anime (Image via Madhouse Studio)

Texhnolyze throws you into the dystopian society of Lux, a city falling apart just like its citizens. The whole city is underground and ruled by the Texhnolyze organization. Its inhabitants are descendants of a banished generation and they cling to survival in a society fueled by the mysterious substance “raffia.” This material is mined from the depths of the city, and powers prosthetics known as “texhnolyze,” which basically acts like a machine for the humans. However, soon this state of being texhnolyzed results in the loss of humanity

As much as we would like to appreciate the anime, there is no denying that this anime is not for everyone. The anime has very deliberate pacing with minimal dialogues which indulges you as a viewer to interpret the story rather than mollycoddle you with the complete plot. The process of understanding the anime itself is a treat to your intellect. Among all the underrated psychological thriller anime, Texhnolyze deserves a special mention for bringing the cyberpunk dystopia in the early 2010s.

2. Tatami Galaxy

A still from Tatami Galaxy anime
A still from Tatami Galaxy anime (Image via Madhouse Studio)

Have you ever thought about having an alternate timeline where your life choices weren’t as regretful as the ones made in the present? Watashi (literal translation: Me), the protagonist of Tatami Galaxy has that privilege. He is a college student obsessed with making his life “perfect.” Through multiple timelines and alternate choices, he constantly faces regret, missed opportunities, and the butterfly effect of his decisions. However, somehow all of his decisions converge into the same climax. 

What makes the anime worth watching is not its mind-bending plot, but rather the distinctive art style that Madhouse Studio has shown with its color palette brilliance. Tatami Galaxy creates a perfect balance between neon and pastel colors to take you on an intoxicating and trippy ride. Contrary to the Texhnolyze, Tatami Galaxy is very fast-paced and full of internal monologues of the protagonist. It is just evidence of the diversity that Madhouse Studio can offer in psychological thriller anime.

Also explore: Madhouse Studio‘s dreamscapes deciphered

1. Kaiba

A still from Kaiba anime
A still from Kaiba anime (Image via Madhouse Studio)

In a world where memories function like currencies, Kaiba is a young boy with amnesia, who sets off on a quest to recover his past and unveil the secrets of his world. Kaiba presents us with a dystopian landscape where the wealthy hoard memories and the poor fight for survival.  While its animation may appear cartoonish to some, the style is abstract, reminiscent of European comics, and has a dream-like galactic atmosphere. What makes it even better is the soundtrack, with a blend of creepiness and nostalgic elements, each background music is designed to complement the pace of the anime and imitate the character’s action.

  • Initially can be mistaken as the child’s show, but as the anime progresses you realize that art style is just a sham.
  • The anime deals with emotionally heavy and mature themes like consciousness, loneliness, and social inequality.

If you are looking for a psychological thriller anime within the science fiction genre, Kaiba is good to go, however, the viewer’s discretion is advised as the anime is not family-friendly at all and at times involves mature scenes. 

Did you know?

Both Kaiba and Tatami Galaxy have been directed by Masaaki Yuasa? Masaaki was highly influenced by Hayao Miyazaki in his early life which led him to work in the anime industry. For more such facts, Subscribe to the Spielanime Newsletter.


So, there you have it, we have explored the depths of the anime library to unearth the 3 most underrated psychological anime by Madhouse Studio that deserve a spot on your watchlist. These anime offer more than just thrills; they are invitations to indulge you in existential questions and appreciate the diversity of storytelling within the psychological thriller genre.  

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