Top 10 Best Psychological Anime

Psychological anime is a genre of anime that explores the human mind and psyche. These series often deal with complex themes such as identity, trauma, mental illness, and the dark side of human nature.

Here’s a list of the top 10 best psychological anime series, based on a combination of popularity, critical acclaim, and my personal recommendations. The series on this list are all worth watching, but they are not for the faint of heart. Some of these series can be dark, disturbing, and even triggering.

Best Psychological Anime in no Particular Order:

10) Death Parade (2015)

Death Parade is a 12-episode anime series that aired in 2015. It was created by Yuzuru Tachikawa and produced by Madhouse. The series follows Decim, an arbiter who judges the souls of the dead in a mysterious bar called the Quindecim.

Top 10 Best Psychological Anime
Death Parade | Image Courtesy of Madhouse

The series explores several psychological themes, including:

  • The nature of good and evil: The series challenges the traditional dichotomy between good and evil, suggesting that everyone is capable of both good and evil deeds.
  • Psychological effects of traumaThe series also explores the psychological effects of trauma. Decim’s traumatic past has led him to become emotionally detached. Chiyuki, on the other hand, is revealed to have been a victim of abuse, making her distrustful of others.
  • The fragility of human life: The series reminds viewers that human life is fragile and precious and that we don’t have much time with us.

9) Death Note (2006-2007)

You must have already watched this anime, it is incredibly popular and hence, we have it in the list of best psychological anime. The series follows Light Yagami, a high school student who discovers a supernatural notebook called the Death Note. The Death Note allows the user to kill anyone whose name is written on it.

Death note
Death Note | Image Courtesy of Madhouse

The series explores several psychological themes, including:

  • How power can corrupt even the most benevolent of people.
  • The dangers of vigilantism: The series suggests that vigilantism is a dangerous and ineffective way to achieve justice.

8) The Tatami Galaxy (2010)

The series follows a college student who is given the opportunity to relive his college years over and over again. However, he soon learns that there is no perfect choice in life and that happiness comes from accepting your choices. It is definitely one of the best psychological anime out there.

The Takami Galaxy
The Takami Galaxy | Image Courtesy of Madhouse

The series explores several psychological themes, including:

  • The nature of regret and the importance of living in the present moment.
  • The concept of time: The series shows us how our choices can shape our lives and how we can never go back in time to change the choices that we have made.
  • The importance of making choices, even if those choices are not perfect and that happiness comes from accepting the choices that you make.

7) Puella Magi Madoka Magica (TV Mini-Series 2011)

Madoka Kaname and her friends become magical girls to fight witches. However, the series takes a dark turn when Madoka realises the hard life of a magical girl. After watching this, you might need to watch some light-hearted anime to ease your mind, and for that, I suggest you subscribe to our newsletter for some fresh anime content right on your doorstep.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica | Image Courtesy of Shaft

The series explores several psychological themes, including:

  • The dangers of idealism: The series suggests that idealism can be dangerous if it is not tempered with realism.
  • Its unique portrayal of magical girls: The series subverts the traditional magical girl genre by portraying the dangers and costs of becoming a magical girl.
  • The psychological effects of fighting witches and the trauma that magical girls experience.

6) Perfect Blue (1997)

Mima Kirigoe, a pop idol decides to retire from her career and pursue a career as an actress. She soon finds herself caught up in a web of identity and deception. Perfect Blue is a prime example of surrealist anime and is one of the best psychological anime movies of all time.

Perfect Blue
Perfect Blue | Image Courtesy of Madhouse

The series explores several psychological themes, including:

  • The dark side of the entertainment industry and the pressure that it can put on performers.
  • The disturbing nature of Me-Mania’s obsession and how it threatens Mima’s sense of self.

  • The relationship between reality and illusion: The film blurs the lines between reality and illusion, making it difficult for the viewer to know what is real and what is not. This reflects Mima’s state of mind as she begins to lose her grip on reality.

5) Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995-1996)

The series follows Shinji Ikari, a teenage boy who is forced to pilot a giant robot called an Evangelion to fight mysterious beings known as Angels. Known as the Holy Grail of anime, it is one of the most twisted portrayals of a child’s experience as a soldier of humanity. The show does not shy to show the cruelty of the dreamy “Hero” ideals.

Neon Genesis Evangelion
Neon Genesis Evangelion | Image Courtesy of Gainax

The series explores several psychological themes, including:

  • Identity: The series explores the nature of identity and how it is shaped by our relationships with others and by our experiences.
  • Trauma: Shinji and the other pilots of the Evangelion have all experienced trauma in their lives, and this trauma has a significant impact on their behavior and their relationships with others, making it one of the best psychological anime out there.
  • Mental illness: The series explores a variety of mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

4) Monster (2004-2005)

The series follows Dr. Kenzo Tenma, a neurosurgeon who saves the life of a young boy named Johan Liebert. However, Johan later becomes a serial killer. A guide to unparalleled manipulation of the psyche, this show is a must for individuals who want to test themselves against a cruel mastermind.

Monster anime
Monster | Image Courtesy of Madhouse

The series explores several psychological themes, including:

  • The nature of identity: The series explores the question of what makes us who we are and how our identity is shaped by our experiences.
  • The impact of trauma on the human mind: The series explores how trauma can damage the human mind and lead to violence and other destructive behaviors.

3) Ping Pong the Animation (2014)

The series follows two high school students, Peco and Smile, as they compete in a ping pong tournament. The show seems like a normal sports anime with an artistic take on animation, yet this show is bound to surprise you with the tactful execution of ambitions and passions. As passions clash to find its throne, the show makes you get up and want to play ping-pong.

Ping Pong the Animation
Ping Pong the Animation | Image Courtesy of Tatsunoko Production

The series explores several psychological themes, including:

  • Peco is a talented ping-pong player, but he is also deeply insecure and self-loathing. He is constantly comparing himself to others and he feels like he is never good enough. The series portrays Peco’s inner demons and how they hold him back.
  • Another interesting psychological aspect of the series is how it portrays the relationship between Peco and Smile. Smile is Peco’s best friend, but he is also his biggest rival. Smile is everything that Peco wants to be: confident, talented, and popular.

2) Serial Experiment Lain (TV Mini-Series 1998)

Lain is struggling to come to terms with her own identity and to find her place in the world. She is also a deeply traumatized character who has been abused and neglected throughout her life.

Serial Experiments Lain
Serial Experiments Lain | Image Courtesy of Triangle Staff

The series explores several psychological themes, including:

  • The Wired is a virtual world that is increasingly becoming intertwined with the real world. Lain is drawn to the Wired and she begins to spend more and more time there.
  • The series suggests that the Wired is a place where Lain can escape from the reality of her own life and create a new identity for herself.

1) Psycho-Pass (2012-2019)

The final one in our list of top 10 best psychological anime is Psycho-Pass. In the series, the Criminal Investigation Department is responsible for enforcing the Sibyl System, a system that uses a biometric scanner called the Dominator to measure people’s Psycho-Pass, a numerical value that represents a person’s criminality.

Psycho Pass
Psycho-Pass | Image Courtesy of Production I.G.

The series explores several psychological themes, including:

  • The Sibyl System is a system that uses a biometric scanner called the Dominator to measure people’s Psycho-Pass, a numerical value that represents a person’s criminality.
  • The series explores the question of whether or not it is right to sacrifice individual freedom for the sake of public safety.

Conclusion

These were the top 10 best psychological anime, if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please feel free to leave them below. Psychological anime can also be a source of comfort and support for those who are struggling with their mental health issues. Which is the best psychological anime according to you? Drop the name in the comment section!

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