There are over 10,000+ Anime shows in the world, as shown by the website – MyAnimeList (if added up).
Many of those Anime are hilarious, eye candy, and full of action and romance. While others are more
In today’s list, we’ll focus on thought-provoking Anime shows in particular.
Each show may have you thinking deeply about life and could change the way you see the world on some level.
1. Code Geass
Code Geass is about a war between Japan and the Holy Britannian Empire. And it kicks off when Britannia invades Japan, takes over their country, and renames Japan Area 11.
Code Geass is the type of Anime you can’t help but be impressed by.
The main character, Lelouch Vi Britannia, is intelligent, witty, strategic, clever, and smart to say the least. A forward-thinking person who’s a fan of chess.
As the series starts to progress the events that take place will blow your mind, have your jaw on the floor, and even make you angry.
You might develop a love-hate relationship with the main character’s motives and the method he uses to achieve his goals.
But that’s what makes Code Geass such a good series. The mix of emotions and how it’s written.
2. Higurashi: When They Cry
The Anime kicks off in an area known as – Hinamizawa. It’s a town that’s cursed by the village god – Oyashiro. The main character: Keiichi Maebara has just recently moved to Hinamizawa as the Anime starts.
Each year when the festival arrives, someone’s murdered and another person mysteriously disappears into thin air.
But what happens in between is nothing short of a
If you’re looking for something mysterious, dark and mind-boggling, Higurashi is the Anime for it. It’ll have you thinking – “how the F did that happen” as each episode progresses.
The unpredictability of Higurashi is one of its most attractive elements as far as I see it.
3. Ergo Proxy
Ergo Proxy is easily one of the strangest, most thought-provoking Anime shows out there that many swear by as an underrated
The story starts in a city called Romdo. A city where a catastrophe took place thousands of years ago that endangered the planet.
I won’t go too much more into it, I’d recommend you watch the trailer below. Then get into the Anime if it suits your taste.
4. Elfen Lied
Elfen Lied is about Lucy, a government experiment that happens to escape from her laboratory.
This Anime will have you thinking about the cruel side of life, how unfair certain situations are, and just how evil and wicked human beings can be.
It’s extremely violent, more violent than the average Anime that’s considered “violent” and it being the most famous horror anime might have something to do with it.
This becomes brutally obvious after witnessing lots of bloody and depressing scenes (like dogs being abused).
But if you can make it past that, this is a rewarding Anime to watch. And is bound to make you question things in your own life, and society itself.
5. Full Metal Alchemist
Full Metal Alchemist is an anime about the lives of Edward Elric And Alphonse Elric. Two brothers who after losing their mother, try to bring her back to life with the power of Alchemy.
The tool needed to make it happen is The Philosophers Stone. I have to say out of all the anime on this list, Full Metal Alchemist is #1 for how thought-provoking it is.
It not only makes you think with its meaningful quotes, but you’ll see life from a viewpoint you never considered.
You might start using the principles in your own life. A principle they call – The Law Of Equivalent Exchange.
6. Violet Evergarden
Violet Evergarden is named after the main character of this show. Produced by Kyoto Animation.
The story follows Violet and her journey of discovering what it means to “love” someone. After all – her general in the army’s last words to Violet was “I love you”, but she was too uneducated to understand when it happened.
Never have I seen an anime capable of being this stunning, able to pull on the heartstrings, and be thought-provoking all at once.
It really does make you think: what is love? How do you define it?
How do you get over the tragedy of losing a loved one, or worse: taking someone’s life as a soldier in an all-out war?
That kind of thing is bound to haunt you for life, and it’s clear that Violet is scarred by the dark past she was forced into living whether she liked it or not.
Jormungand is about an arms dealer and her bodyguards who travel the world.
Arms dealers by their nature fund wars, and sell guns to warlords, shady politicians, and anyone who works in the underworld.
This anime is dark and depressing, but fun and full of adventure. And the fact it’s so realistic is what makes Jormungand so thought-provoking and mind-opening.
It’s a good alternative to Black Lagoon, but Jormungand is completely different in how it sells itself and the type of message it gets across.
You’d be mental to NOT give it a try.
Monster is a
It’s about a doctor named Kenzo Tenma. And his journey in discovering that a kid’s life he saved… is actually a serial killer later on.
Imagine that – you’re a surgeon and you save a kid’s life by safely taking a bullet out of their skull. Only to find out that same kid, 10 years or so later is a serial killer.
And this is exactly why Monster is so thought-provoking and powerful in the way it tells its chilling story.
9. Cells At Work
Cells At Work is one of the most creative TV projects ever made in the 21st century, never mind just the anime industry. It’s a work of art.
The anime explores red blood cells, white blood cells, and their functions n your body on a biological level. Alongside what a person does to their body that can affect their immune system, etc (like smoking).
It’s done in a
Very thought-provoking and it could be used in schools in science to better illustrate points.
10. Ascendance Of A Bookworm
She learns how to use her knowledge of the future in the
Business lessons, life lessons, this anime has it all and a lot more.
Eighty-Six is the anime everyone was raving about back in 2021 and it received an anime adaption which continued until 2022 thanks to delays.
The anime is about Vladilena Milize, a naive elite republican soldier who sees the world with colourful
They’re not classed as human and are subject to racist abuse and manipulation by the rich and wealthy republic, and Vladilena (or Lena for short) tries to intervene.
This anime is the best we’ve had from a
12. Gakkou Gurashi
Gakkou Gurashi is a horror series dressed up as a
Yuki Takeya, the pink-haired MC has a mental illness. It started from trauma. She has what’s called psychosis. She also has severe PTSD and copes by imagining things that aren’t there, and even talking to these imaginary people.
The anime is one of the best there is about mental health, and does have somewhat of a happy ending.
Adapted from a
The plot is a house, a big ass mansion with many connecting doors and almost no way to escape other than death. Dolls as they’re called are made to serve what they call shadows.
That’s their lot in life.
The anime goes much deeper in its 12-episode (seasons 1 and 2) series, each episode revealing a little more than the last. With many big secrets revealed down the line.
14. Call Of The Night
One of the best and most liked summer 2022 anime series that aired after July 2022. It’s one of those anime you can see being good and it exceeds all expectations.
Nazuna Nanakusa is a vampire girl who takes an interest in a boy named Yamori. They meet up, talk, have deep conversations, and this all happens during the nighttime.
Yamori like many people in life has trouble sleeping because of the things he’s dissatisfied with.
This is an important theme and it’s what makes the anime thought-provoking as it explores many aspects of these troubles and stresses people face in their complex situations.
15. Happy Sugar Life
The “happy” in the title is misleading, and the sugar life represents the fantasies and dreams of the main character called Satou Matsuzaka.
This girl who works and messes around with boys one day takes in a homeless girl who’s no older than 6 or 7. And Satou’s life becomes centered around her.
She hustles harder, works longer hours, endures bullshit at work and more to support her. Though the relationship becomes dangerously close to paedophilia because of Satou’s twisted sense of what “love” means.
The anime’s strong themes, sometimes violent scenes, and extreme personality types are a reflection of the reality we live in but choose to ignore a lot of the time.
Happy Sugar Life has it all: mental issues, horrors, crimes, and how we think about things because of being brought up the wrong way. And it’s as thought-provoking as it gets.
- Assassination Classroom.
- Akame Ga Kill.
- The Royal Tutor.
- Psycho Pass.
- Gunslinger Girl.
- Zetsuen No Tempest.
- Sunday Without God.
Do you have any more thought-provoking anime to add to this list?