Psychological anime are regarded as some of the greatest genres of the medium, offering nuance, complexity, world-building, action and twists to keep us waiting on the edge of the seat. Anime is known for its ferocious combat, but it also has fantastic conflicts of the mind and stories that explore deeper psychological ideas.
These shows may hit viewers emotionally hard, making them wonder what will happen next. Psychological anime has the potential to be either beautifully designed masterpieces or sloppy messes that no one wants to see. Fortunately, over the years, some bright brains have painstakingly developed several must-see shows.
These shows exist to both unsettle and enthral audiences, terrifying viewers while also making them ponder. Not everyone is interested in thrillers that are psychological for the same reasons. Some fans enjoy their gloomy settings and ethically damaged protagonists. Others are just seeking a good scare. However, these thrillers can be hard, so fans should be aware of exactly what they’re about to get into before embarking on their trip.
Moriarty the Patriot, Banana Fish, and 14 other psychological anime that should be on everyone’s watchlist
1. The Promised Neverland
Guys hear me out. Qsmp but it’s like The Promised Neverland (anime)
A scar on their necks marked 01 – 02 and a tracking device behind their ears when they were little.
— Nami (QSMP+) (@Lychnami) July 19, 2023
The Promised Neverland is without a doubt one of the more popular psychological animes to have appeared in recent years. The anime depicts a terrifying futuristic world in which humans are grown and transported abroad as demon food. The meat of young children is one of the greatest delicacies in this awful world, leading to the emergence of numerous farms masquerading as orphanages, where carers nurture human youngsters and ready them as offerings.
2. Terror in Resonance
Started Terror in Resonance
W or L? pic.twitter.com/YRjsEKTO8O
— NeoStorm | Playing: XC DE (@NeoStorm_) July 16, 2023
Terror in Resonance constitutes a thrilling series that depicts the repercussions of raw fear’s utter horror. The plot starts with a nuclear threat issued during an attack on Japan. Authorities scramble to find the perpetrator, but to no effect, until half a year later, when a video of two lads calling themselves “Sphinx” emerges. The Sphinx directly challenges the cops, threatening to bring much greater devastation if they are not apprehended. This fresh series of threats enrages the public, and the ensuing hysteria renders authorities useless in their pursuit of Sphinx. Terror in Resonance is a terrifyingly suspenseful series that is as fascinating as it is unsettling.
3. Ergo Proxy
— HEKACO | The Heka Collective (@Heka_Collective) July 19, 2023
Ergo Proxy is a psychological science-fiction series set in an apocalyptic world where most human civilisation has perished. Romdo, a domed city that shields its residents from the cold and uninhabitable outer world, is all that remains. To compensate for humanity’s downfall, scientists have created the AutoReivs, a new android species. The AutoReivs, on the other hand, are troubled by a mystery disease known as the Cogito Virus, that causes the androids to become self-aware. Re-l Mayer, the protagonist of Ergo Proxy, has been tasked with discovering the root cause of this sickness and preventing it from spreading.
4. Moriarty the Patriot
A great detective… 😏 (via Moriarty the Patriot) pic.twitter.com/3TpMKzOuJb
— Crunchyroll (@Crunchyroll) July 20, 2023
Sherlock Holmes is undoubtedly the most renowned fictional investigator of all time, and he has inspired numerous anime adaptations. Moriarty the Patriot changes things up by shifting the spotlight on William Moriarty, Sherlock’s arch-nemesis. This shift in perspective creates a fascinating scenario since it focuses on an intricate individual with a noble soul who has been fatigued by society’s shortcomings. Moriarty the Patriot fails to offer a particularly detailed behavioural case study of its lead or Holmes, although it does go deeply into Moriarty’s psychology. While the anime is uneven and sloppy, it is often amusing.
5. Elfen Lied
Elfen Lied goes hard pic.twitter.com/mJPslFMzoW
— futurist dr ∀ iner 🇪🇪 (@basedcorbusier) July 21, 2023
Elfen Lied is without a doubt one of the most dramatic psychological animes in history. It’s not intended for the weak of heart, as it’s packed with violence, blood, and dark themes. Elfen Lied concerns Lucy, a young lady born as a Diclonius – a mysterious human-like entity with lethal skills. As a threat to society, Lucy along with the other Diclonius are imprisoned and endure a variety of horrible testing and mistreatment. Lucy is pursued by the military after she escapes from her incarceration. However, she sustains an accident that fractures her personality and cleanses her memory clean. Lucy, now in the care of several unsuspecting humans, must confront her history as her thoughts slowly resurface.
6. Parasyte: The Maxim
5. Parasyte: The Maxim pic.twitter.com/rRsvlFWj32
— ShowCrumbs (@showcrumbs) July 19, 2023
The fascinating story of Parasyste: The Maxim is about Shinichi Izumi, a member of the millions of humanity infected with alien bugs that may influence people’s bodies and thoughts. When the parasite fails to make it to his brain, both of them are forced to work together to survive. The themes of conquering differences and gaining knowledge from one another are extremely clear in Parasyte. Shinichi along with his symbiote, Migi, have been powerful characters whose adventure together is always entertaining. The series is also stunningly drawn, making it a must-read for aficionados of psychological thrillers.
7. Classroom of the Elite
Classroom of the Elite ❤️💛 pic.twitter.com/QLvr0GXbmL
— Slice of Anime (@TheSliceofAnime) July 18, 2023
This psychological anime, based on an enjoyable novel, takes place at an elite high school that separates its pupils into four levels and then holds tests to determine which class rules supreme. Kiyotaka Ayanokoji appears to be a decently intelligent but modest individual who chooses not to participate in the school’s challenges, yet this could not have been further from the truth. Classroom of the Elite gradually reveals the main character to be an adept manipulator while continuing to show him weaknesses and blind spots as the story unfolds. Secondary characters in the anime are equally well-written.
The popular psychological thriller Psycho-Pass has a thrilling sci-fi investigative story that blurs the borders between good and evil. The series is set in a futuristic Japan, in which the Sybil System is employed to assess the threat faced by all citizens. Those who pose even the tiniest threat to society are severely dealt with and eliminated by those in control.
Psycho-Pass is a famous dystopian psychological tale that emphasises the complexities of ethical behaviour and how it is regulated by power. The series is filled with powerful emotion that moves the audience and challenges their perceptions of what is right and wrong.
9. Kaguya-sama: Love is War
Them 💖 (via KAGUYA-SAMA: LOVE IS WAR?) pic.twitter.com/dXfIcm02lR
— Crunchyroll (@Crunchyroll) July 21, 2023
Most psychological anime is darker, darker, and more mind-bending. Love Is War entirely subverts this kind of cliché by being a comic romance which pits members of the student council Kaguya and Miyuki against one other in an attempt to convince the other to profess their love first. The show includes some truly heartbreaking moments, as well as amazing character development over the season. It’s difficult to envision a show in the genre that tugs at the heartstrings as strongly as Love Is War does, but it does.
10. Boogiepop Phantom
Can't dissect this with much confidence since it's all air in my mind right now but this is one of the best anime I've seen this year. pic.twitter.com/h06ltLTexQ
— Larkin | Thank you Miura (@Muskaart) July 21, 2023
Boogiepop Phantom is a famous title with a strong tale centred on death, misery, and loss that is considered mandatory viewing by many psychological anime aficionados. The nightmare starts again as rumors of the Boogiepop Phantom re-emerge after a string of killings has left the population in terror. The series chronicles a cast of varied humans and their terrifying encounters with this terrifying creature.
11. Tomodachi Game
Tomodachi Game pic.twitter.com/EUGpyOgs3H
— Dart Anime (@Dart_Anime) July 16, 2023
Tomodachi Game represents one of those tales that lives or dies by its cliffhangers. Nearly each episode of the initial season concludes with a shocking climax designed to entice viewers to binge. Unlike a few of the greatest psychological anime of all time, Tomodachi Game favors over-the-top mayhem above sensitive storytelling, to the point where the characters sometimes feel at the mercy of the plot’s whims. Yet, Tomodachi Game is the epitome of a good ride.
12. Neon Genesis: Evangelion
26 years ago today, ‘NEON GENESIS EVANGELION: End of The Evangelion’ released in theaters. pic.twitter.com/2mPAlCWhi6
— ToonHive (@ToonHive) July 19, 2023
Neon Genesis Evangelion is a famous anime classic and one of the more well-known and respected psychological series of any kind. Evangelion, which follows the trials of young Shinji Ikari, involves a battle for humanity unlike any other, as humankind fights off cosmic beings called as “Angels” intent on Earth’s destruction. Though the entire series begins similarly to previous mecha programmes, it gradually turns into a wholly separate plot over time.
13. One Outs
Finished One Outs ( manga )
From where the anime left off the story just gets even
better man. Tokuchi is great mc he really worked
miracles of the Lycaons team. Althought the
art is not the best as a sports manga it's up there
with the best of them. 9/10 pic.twitter.com/GAbEejFOIi
— ~ TENSAI ~ (@RamOw) July 20, 2023
Sticking with gambling for a minute more, One Outs adds a distinct touch to the genre by also being a sports anime. Toua Tokuchi gets recruited as the team’s pitcher after knocking out Saikyou Saitama Lycaons’ best striker in a street game named One Outs, despite his disinterest in going professional. Toua, on the other hand, agrees to a deal with the owner of the Lycaons which will see the hurler win or lose a lot of money depending on how he performs.
14. Banana Fish
— 私² (@wa0601Shi) July 17, 2023
Banana Fish, which is based on the popular manga series by Akimi Yoshida, is a unique contribution within the psychological genre. Despite being classified as a shoujo in popular forums, many fans will agree that it feels more like a psychological thriller than an adventure. Following the experiences of Ash Lynx, a teenage fugitive who has been involved in a gang for nearly as long that he can remember, the novel tackles some challenging and sometimes disturbing issues.
ERASED (rewatch) – 10/10
I already rated this anime very highly, but after my rewatch, I think I love it even more. The only reason I didn't think it was a 10 was because I felt it's ending was lackluster, but the whole show goes up a whole other level when you are in the know. pic.twitter.com/IuNVk6lmRz
— Skippé (COMMS OPEN) (@skippeaccented) July 18, 2023
Erased made a big splash when it first came out, and it is still a fine mystery show that deals with serious issues in a mature way. When catastrophe is about to occur, Satoru goes back in time for a few minutes in order to alter the course of destiny. Following a particularly tragic event regarding the assassination of a loved one, Satoru journeys back in time over a decade to when he was a youngster, allowing him the chance to avert a series of disasters from the start.
Fans of Satoshi Kon’s art know that the renowned filmmaker is one of the greatest makers of psychological thriller anime. He consistently keeps viewers on the edge of their seats from beginning to end. Kon’s final completed picture, Paprika, is also one of his finest accomplishments. Paprika is a voyage into the human psyche that follows Doctor Atsuko Chiba when she became a warrior fighting to maintain human sanity inside a dream universe, influencing films such as Inception. It’s an anime classic from start to finish, with stunning artwork and an unforgettable hero.