13 Anime Shows That Will Make You Think

13 Anime Shows That Will Make You Think

Anime and manga can be about as thought-provoking as good classical drama and literature.

Photo by: Nipuni Gomes

A misconception that many have about anime (Japanese animation) and manga (Japanese comics) is that their content is solely aimed at children and/or immature audiences. However, anime can at times be deep and fuel reflection on personal and societal morals and values. Here is a very short list of fairly recent shows that do just that. Be warned that the content of the following shows can be disturbing for some audiences, and I would not recommend them for anybody under the age of thirteen. That said, enjoy!

1. Attack on Titan [ 進撃の巨人 - Shingeki no Kyojin ]

Anime release year: Season 1 - 2013; Season 2 - 2016.

Plot: In a world where humanity has been cornered to a small area caged by massive walls in order to be protected from man-devouring beings called "Titans," this story follows Eren Yeager (Jäger or Jaeger in some variations) and his comrades as they join the military forces to fight these titans and regain freedom for humanity, all while learning about the world they live in and, most of all, themselves.

Watch it here.

2. Black Butler [ 黒執事 - Kuroshitsuji ]

Anime release year: Season 1 - 2008; Season 2 - 2010; Season 3 and two short films: 2014.

Plot: In Victorian England, 12-year-old earl Ciel Phantomhive's family is slaughtered, his mansion burned to the ground, and the boy sold to human trafficking. At the brink of death, Ciel makes a contract with a powerful demon. Per this agreement, the demon, whom Ciel names Sebastian Michaelis, will assist Ciel in his duties as Queen Victoria's "guard dog" of the British underworld as well as avenging his parents, in exchange for Ciel's soul once said-revenge is completed.

Watch it here.

3. Death Note [ デスノート ]

Anime release year: 2006.

Plot: Light Yagami, a genius high school student and son of the Chief of Police, happens upon a death god's notebook, or Death Note, which has the power to kill anyone whose name is written in it. With this notebook, Light begins a crusade to kill as many evil-doers as he possibly can, thus becoming the target for the best agents of the FBI, as well as losing himself in the process.

Watch it here.

4. Death Parade [ デス・パレード ]

Anime release year: 2015.

Plot: When two people on Earth die at the same time, their souls arrive at a bar-like place called "Quindecim." Here, the souls, unknowing of their death, must play a game against one another. The winner will be sent to reincarnation; the loser, to the void. Decim, the bartender, observes humans who have been overtaken by emotion and the desire to live while reflecting on his own, seemingly emotionless persona and the mystery of a certain soul that arrived in Quindecim with no memory of her life or knowledge of her death.

Watch it here.

5. Dusk Maiden of Amnesia [ 黄昏乙女×アムネジア - Tasogare Otome x Amnesia ]

Anime release year: 2012.

Plot: Middle school student Teiichi Niiya can see the spirit of a beautiful girl named Yūko Kanoe, who presumably died on the school grounds, but has no recollection of her life or death. In order to help her, he founds the Occult Research Club. Another member of the club, Kirie, does not see the same, stunningly beautiful Yūko that Teiichi sees, but a rotting, corpse-like entity filled with hatred. Soon, the members of the Occult Research Club begin witnessing both Yūko and the other, evil entity. Who is Yūko? How did she die? Who is the other entity, or is it even there to begin with?

Watch it here.

6. Jormungand [ ヨルムンガンド ]

Anime release year: 2012 (two seasons).

Plot: This show revolves around the adventures (read: deadly trials and tribulations) of arms dealer Koko Hekmatyar and her crew of bodyguards, which includes a child soldier by the name of Jonah who not only suffers from PTSD, but also hates arms dealers.

Watch it here.

7. Psycho Pass [ サイコパス ]

Anime release year: Season 1 - 2012; Season 2 - 2014.

Plot: In a world where an automated scanning system called the Sybil System can measure the mental state of a person, as well as their likelihood to commit a crime, rookie police officer Akane Tsunemori is assigned to supervise a team of investigators called "enforcers," individuals with a high crime coefficient that serve the government. Over time, Akane learns about herself, the world around her, and the truth behind the seemingly "perfect" Sybil System.

Watch it here.

8. Pupa [ ピューパ ]

Anime release year: 2014.

Plot: Utsutsu and his little sister Yume are orphans infected with a disease called Pupa, a virus that turns its hosts into insatiable monsters seeking to feed on any sort of life. Yume succumbs to the full effects of the Pupa virus, but reverts into a human. Utsutsu, instead of turning into a monster, gains regenerative powers. In order for the virus to be suppressed in Yume, Utsutsu must take a drug and have Yume feed on his flesh. (Full summary text here). How far would you be willing to go to protect the one you love?

*Currently not available for legal streaming in U.S.

9. Silver Spoon [ 銀の匙 - Gin no Saji ]

Anime release year: Season 1 - 2013; Season 2 - 2014.

Plot: By the author of Fullmetal Alchemist, Silver Spoon tells the story of Yūgo Hachiken, a freshman at an Ōezo Agricultural High School in the Japanese countryside, a school that Yūgo decided to attend to simply get further away from his family. However, life at Ōezo does not turn out to be as easy as Yūgo first made it out to be, as he faces a strict schedule of courses and practical agricultural training alongside hardworking peers. Will Yūgo be able to pull through and learn the value of hard work, friendship, and, most importantly, family?

Watch it here.

10. Terror in Resonance [ 残響のテロル - Zankyō no Terror ]

Anime release year: 2014

Plot: In present-day Tokyo, two young boys decide to stage terrorist attacks all around the city, all while taunting law-enforcement. Lisa, a girl constantly bullied by her classmates, unwittingly becomes the terrorists' accomplice. Why are the boys doing this? Why doesn't Lisa come forward even when she has a chance?

Watch it here.

11. The Eccentric Family [ 有頂天家族 - Uchōten Kazoku ]

Anime release year: 2013.

Plot: In a world where Tanuki and Tengu live alongside humans in modern-day Kyoto, Japan, The Eccentric Family revolves around the Shimogamo family, a family of Tanuki who, while balancing their daily life with family relations and a painful past, must live in fear of "The Friday Fellows," a group of humans who make a meal out of a Tanuki at the end of every year.

Watch it here.

12. Tokyo Ghoul [ 東京喰種トーキョーグール ]

Anime release year: Season 1 - 2014; Seasons 2 and 3 - 2015;

Plot: In a world where creatures called "Ghouls," who can only survive by feeding on human flesh, live secretly among the human population, college student Ken Kaneki gets turned into a half-ghoul after having a ghoul's organs surgically transplanted into his body following a vicious attack by a ghoul. Ken must now live a new life in the borderline between ghouls and humans, attempting to fit into both societies as well as hide his ghoul-self from his fellow humans.

Watch it here.

13. No Matter How I look at it, it's You Guys' Fault I'm not Popular! [ 私がモテないのはどう考えてもお前らが悪い! - Watamote! ]

Anime release year: 2013.

Plot: Fifteen-year old social anxiety ridden otome game addict Tomoko Kuroki believes that she will automatically become popular once she enters high school, and that her high school life will be just as it is depicted in anime, manga, and videogames. However, Tomoko is in for a tough reality check, and must find out how to become social and make friends in the real world, while miserably failing many times along the way.

Watch it here.

Note: This list is organized in alphabetical order and is not a ranking. Please comment below or tweet me with any suggestions for a second list, as well as comments on my choices for this piece!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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