Even though anime originated in Japan, it is no surprise that pop culture spreads fast through anime streaming sites. Netflix has also taken on quite a few good anime from different productions. If you happen to find yourself immersed in the anime world, here is a list of the top 60 best psychological anime that could easily play tricks on your mind.
Anime has no boundaries when it comes to creating a different world. Anime fans not only love the unique storytelling but also the memorable characters. Every day, anime fans are searching for the next best anime to sink their teeth into.
As a part of this list, there are fan-favorite anime that will continue to be classics of the psychological genre.
Some of the most noted characters are Light Yagami, Natsuki Subaru, Hiromichi Kojima, Yukiteru Amano, and so many more.
Here’s the scoop on the list of the best psychological anime!
1. Mirai Nikki
Mirai Nikki or also known as Future Diary is a battle royale-esque nightmare that revolves around 12 people who receive future diaries. The future diaries are part of the deadly Diary Game. However, the diaries can tell the future by the God of Time and Space, Deus Ex Machina. The life of a young boy named Yukiteru Amano is lonely with very few friends but is soon thrown into a chaotic world.
2. Death Note
Death Note focuses on a high school student by the name of Light Yagami. He comes across a notebook with a special power to rid the world of evil people. However, the one with the notebook must know the name and face to forgo killing criminals. Are you ready for an intense cat and mouse game?
3. The Promised Neverland
The Promised Neverland is a psychological series that revolves around orphaned children. They must find ways to escape the orphanage when finding out the purpose behind their existence.
The demons use orphanages as a special breeding program. The Promised Neverland is a dystopia with mind games waiting to be revealed; moreover, the young adult anime series has a second season.
4. Parasyte: The Maxim
A well-known psychological anime series, Parasyte: The Maxim not only introduces parasitic creatures but also the human psyche. Shinichi Izumi is a typical high school student who appears to live a noneventful life even with the existence of deadly parasites. However, his life suddenly changes when a parasite tries to enter into his ear but instead finds his arm.
Upon waking up, Shinichi begins to realize that his right hand is taken over by a parasite. They must learn to coexist to fight other parasites. I can’t recommend this anime enough as one worth geeking out over.
5. Death Parade
Death Parade takes place at a bar in the afterlife. This psychological anime plays on death but without heaven or hell. The character, Decim, is a bartender, that people are sent to after death.
When people die, they have to play a death game where their fate is on the line. The games not only reveal their fate for their souls but as well as the secrets that led them to die.
6. Steins Gate
A good psychological thriller anime with high ratings, Steins Gate is about time travel. Okabe Rintaro travels back in time to try and change the future by making different decisions. Moreover, Doctor Nakabachi makes for a perfect anime villain and a mad scientist in an attempt to compete against his daughter in science.
After Okabe Rintaro finds Kurisu, the doctor’s daughter, lying in a pool of blood, he time travels to change her fate. Steins Gate is a sci-fi thriller that cannot be missed!
7. Psycho Pass
Psycho Pass is also an anime with psychological and thriller elements. The story takes on the point of view of Akane Tsunemori, a rookie inspector within the Ministry of Welfare Public Safety Bureau’s Criminal Investigation Department. There is an enforcer by her side during the first mission that is perceived as a threat, but she uses her Dominator to keep him from decomposing the criminal.
However, they must reveal the crimes of Shogo Makishima, a criminal mastermind. The Sibyl System is used to capture Makishima. But Kogami ends up on the brink of execution for his strong sense of revenge towards the criminal. Immerse yourself into the dark world of Psycho-Pass with this great anime!
8. Tokyo Ghoul
Tokyo Ghoul is a blend of horror and psychological elements. This horrific show is set in a new world where Ghouls live amongst people but feed off the human flesh. Ghouls have a great power that allows them to regenerate; moreover, they possess super strength to easily go after humans.
Ken Kaneki is a student who attempted to go on a date with a girl but finds himself barely able to escape when she tries to eat him. Although, he undergoes surgery that somehow turns him into a half-ghoul. Kaneki realizes that he must consume human flesh, which means he has to become a serial killer to survive.
9. From The New World
Produced by A-1 Pictures, From The New World is a psychological thriller and fantasy that takes place in 3013 AD. Shinsekai Yori (From The New World) started as a novel and eventually was given a manga and anime adaptation for fans.
Many years after the modern era, some people began to develop psychic abilities and used them for violence. Their special power led to wars; however, psychic humans were able to control their powers by genetic modification. This series follows a girl named Saki Watanabe who has special powers.
She attends a special school with her friends but finds out that the government is monitoring their performance. Students who perform poorly are seemingly erased from this dystopian world. Along the way, Saki and her friend are captured by this mysterious group. The show is sure to keep you guessing.
10. The Tatami Galaxy
The Tatami Galaxy (Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei) is not only a psychological anime but also features moments of romantic comedy. The anime starts with an unnamed student amid college life. Each protagonist joins a circle as a freshman but finds themselves disappointed in less than the ideal campus life.
The protagonist often questions if given a second chance, could things be different. The main story is in the same format but branches out when time rewinds, leading them to join a different circle.
11. Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Puella Magi Madoka Magica (Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica) is a series following a group of girls. Madoka Kaname is the protagonist that creates supernatural contracts. In signing the contract, girls will be granted magical powers; however, they must fight witches.
Homura Akemi is a magical girl that tries to stop Madoka from making a contract with Kyubey. You might think this is a cute magical girl anime at first glance, but Madoka Magica is more than meets the eye.
Satoru Fujinuma can travel back in time. The basic premise of this great psychological anime is that Satoru has a chance to save his murdered classmates. Boku Dake ga Inai Machi is a mysterious story that will keep you wondering how it’s going to end.
13. Code Geass
A show on Netflix, Code Geass is an anime divided into three superpowers. Similar to that of the real world, there exists Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas. After becoming a pawn for the Japanese government, Lelouch starts school at an academy. But somehow becomes involved in a terrorist attack. Code Geass is the perfect psychological mecha to binge-watch!
14. Elfen Lied
Elfen Lied has earned its place for being one of the good psychological thrillers that everyone needs. Lucy, a mutant species, is infected with a disease. The young girl was abused by humans and seeks revenge.
This anime explores the mental state of Lucy as well as identity and abuse. You might want to check out this anime if interested in telekinetic powers. I also warn that this anime isn’t for the faint of heart. Elfen Lied has a gore-filled reputation.
15. Paranoia Agent
Paranoia Agent is nothing short of a psychological thriller about an ongoing series of attacks. Tsukiko Sagi is a reserved character designer who finds herself being pressured to recreate a character like the pink dog.
She is attacked by an elementary school boy; however, no one believes her until more people fall victim to the boy. Paranoia Agent is a new twist towards psychological crime.
16. One Outs
One Outs is a deep story that highlights baseball. Hiromichi Kojima is a known batter that creates a training camp in Okinawa for a chance of obtaining the championship. Furthermore, Kojima ends up playing 1 on 1 with money on the line. The One Outs game just might be the most intense out there.
A series that has won many awards, Monster is a psychological thriller that keeps you on your toes. Dr. Kenzou Tenma is a brain surgeon working in a German hospital. He finds himself unsatisfied with the treatment of patients.
After a few surgeries, doctors are mysteriously murdered. Tenma is then blamed for the murders, but he can’t be convicted without evidence. It is his job to find out the origin of this monster.
18. Ergo Proxy
For post-apocalyptic lovers, Ergo Proxy will be right up your alley. A virus spreads that infects the AutoReivs; however, the government has something up its sleeves. In hopes of saving mankind, the government conducts experiments on a humanoid. Even though this anime is part of a fantasy world, we can’t help but wonder about our government secrets.
19. Neon Genesis Evangelion
Taking place in a futuristic Tokyo, Neon Genesis Evangelion is a psychological mecha you don’t want to miss out on. Shinji pilots a bio-machine called the Evangelion into battles with entities known as the angels. The anime focuses on the experiences and emotions of the pilots who try to prevent the angels from creating another disaster.
20. Serial Experiments Lain
Serial Experiments Lain offers elements from consciousness to the nature of reality. Lain Iwakura is an average high school girl from a middle-class family. But the rumors from school about girls receiving an email from a dead student leads her to find out if it’s true. The dead student tells her in the email about leaving her physical self and entering into a world called “The Wired.”
21. Ping Pong The Animation
Ping Pong was recently adapted as an anime; moreover, if you love sports, this anime will pique your interest. Peco and Smile are childhood friends who are a part of the Katase High School tennis club. Peco loses against a Chinese student and finds himself struggling to overcome his psychological barriers. Add this coming-of-age anime to your list!
22. Kaguya-sama: Love is War
One of the few anime with romantic comedy and psychological elements, Kaguya-sama Wa Kokurasetai is an emotional masterpiece. Two proud characters end up on the path of love but are unable to confess. A series of schemes take place to help one another admit to liking the other.
23. Perfect Blue
Perfect Blue is a film about a Japanese idol by the name of Mima Kirigoe who finds herself turning to the acting industry after many years as a musician. Suddenly, her life turns into a living hell when she becomes a victim of a stalker. As horrific murders begin to take place, Mima starts to confuse fantasy with reality.
24. Re: Zero – Starting Life in Another World
This series of story arcs were adapted into separate manga and has recently become an anime. Re: Zero’s Subaru Natsuki finds himself in another world after making a trip to the convenience store. Praised for its ‘another world’ concept, you might just transport to another world.
A man who would rather play games than work, Ryota Sakamoto finds himself in a real-life video game, but he doesn’t seem to remember how he got transported. Meanwhile, the government agents investigate the game developer to find out their initiative behind it. Survival is key when it comes to destroying the organization.
26. Classroom of the Elite
Classroom of the Elite features a prestigious school that seems normal from the outside world. But as it turns out, only superior students are treated favorably. One wrong move and your world could be turned upside down. This psychological dystopia will leave you on the edge.
27. Wonder Egg Priority
Wonder Egg Priority is a beautiful animation about changing the future. A girl known as Ai comes across an egg but it’s far from a normal experience as a voice encourages her to change the future. Moreover, watch Wonder Egg Priority to find out what happens once Ai breaks the egg.
Rural Japan never looked so isolated as in the small town of Satoba. However, the small town turns into the perfect place for murders. The dean of the Satoba hospital looks into the mysterious deaths and concludes that supernatural beings are at work. The creatures are known as the Shiki (corpse demon) and nothing could be scarier. Now everyone is in danger.
Inuyashiki is a science fiction series to obsess over. Ichiro is an older man that lives his life in isolation. His life drastically changes one day when he is struck by an extraterrestrial explosion. His body becomes powerful, allowing him to save people from trouble. Ichiro uses his powers for good; however, he runs into another person who uses them to kill people.
30. Great Pretender
Makoto Edamura goes through events in his life that have led him to resort to pickpocketing. After his swindle with a tourist, Makoto realizes that he was the one scammed, and the police are after him. Subsequently, the tourist turns out to be a legendary trickster named Laurent. Makoto and Laurent go head to head in determining who is the greatest swindler of Japan. A swindle-worthy series you have to add to your list!
31. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai follows a girl named Keichii Maebara as she befriends people from a village she recently moved to. In addition to the people in the village, Keichii learns about a festival and a strange curse. This series features several story arcs about a curse and a parasite that makes people homicidal. A series that will have you going on a rollercoaster ride.
Paprika is a psychological science fiction film that centers around a psychologist and a device that allows people to enter into another person’s dream. Furthermore, the device is a gateway for people to take other people’s dreams. Soon enough, dreams and reality begin to intertwine. Make sure to have this anime added to your psychological anime list!
33. Grisaia no Rakuen
This series comes after Grisaia no Meikyuu, so I would recommend watching it in order. In this psychological harem, Kazami Yuuji is arrested for terrorism even though he didn’t commit such acts. The only way Kazami can come out of this problematic situation is through the girls of Mihama Academy.
34. Chaos; Head (TV Series)
Takumi Nishijo is a high school student who finds himself plagued by delusions and paranoia after witnessing a murder. In this anime, Takumi becomes surrounded by girls that he finds suspicious, especially A pink-haired girl named Rimi who was found near the crime scene of a murder. The number of psychological elements and plot twists will have you wondering what the writer of the series had in mind.
Holic is a shounen anime about Kimihiro Watanuki and the ayakashi spirits that surrounds him. He approaches a shop where a witch promises to rid the spirits if he does household chores. As Watanuki starts to become accustomed to the spirit world, Yuko dies after promising she will cast the spirits away. Even though he wanted the spirits to disappear at the beginning, Watanuki promises to take over Yuko’s role at the shop.
Mononoke is a phenomenal psychological ghost story about a medicine seller and the supernatural. At the end of the Edo period in Japan, the medicine seller is found possessing a sword that only samurai use as high-class citizens. He encounters the Mononoke (unnatural spirits) and fights them with the hopes of figuring out the reason, form, and truth.
37. Id: Invaded
Id: Invaded is not just a psychological science fiction series but offers a great deal of mystery as well. The story follows a detective on the lookout for revenge when his daughter was found dead by a serial killer. In addition to his hatred for serial killers, his rage towards them starts to get out of control to the point where the detective ends up killing them.
This twisted world allows investigators access to the unconscious minds of the killers to find clues. Although, only other killers and victims are allowed inside the minds with the hopes of figuring out all of the clues. Id: Invaded is an anime rich in scientific details and mystery that will surely keep you glued to the screen.
38: Haibane Renmei
The anime starts with a girl named Rakka falling from the sky. After the girl falls out of the cocoon, she is joined together by a group called the Haibane who care for her. Led by the Haibane Renmei organization, Rakka and the other girls are subject to following certain rules. This show will prepare you to get up close with the characters as the emotional tension builds.
39. Terror in Resonance
This anime is quite literally the definition of terror as two boys end up stealing an atomic bomb to destroy Tokyo. Also, a riddle must be solved to catch the attention of the Rising Peace Academy. They plan to expose the academy for the horrific experiments that they escaped from. Don’t miss having this psychological thriller on your list.
An experimental anime, Texhnolyze takes place in an underground city with characters who learn to deal with their struggles. In hopes of saving the city, The prizefighter and a young girl have to use their powers. One has powerful new limbs and the other can see possible futures.
Which power would you use to save the underground city? Without a doubt, Texhnolyze is worth the watch.
41. Wolf’s Rain
An anime based on a legend, wolves were known to be extinct until they were found to disguise themselves as humans. Kiba, a wolf, searches for the lunar flower to open the place called Paradise. A character named Cheza is the key to leading the wolves into paradise, but the Jaguara’s troops capture the maiden.
42. Umineko When They Cry
What happens when you have a secluded island with a bunch of people on it? Soon enough, a series of murders take place, but the audience is forced to determine if the murders were done by a human or supernatural entity. In a series that involves magic and a parallel dimension, the people on the island have to figure out the truth.
43. Gunslinger Girl
Gunslinger Girl focuses on the Social Welfare Agency that brainwashed girls into assassins. The masters of these girls use any kind of method to train them, although they have to condition them. If the girls’ condition repeatedly, their life span decreases over time. The agency’s counter-terrorism will erupt in chaos.
The psychological anime series that you have been waiting for. Pupa centers around two teenagers who become infected with a virus (Pupa) after being abandoned by their parents. Utsutsu and Yume have to stay alive, but one of them succumbs to the virus.
45. Dramatical Murder
Inspired by gameplay, Dramatical Murder is a science fiction series taking place on an island. Aoba Serigaki has a job on the island as a store worker. His simple life turns upside down when entering into a cyber game.
Serigaki must find the truth behind the strange disappearances. Furthermore, a BL and science fiction anime like Dramatical Murder is worth the watch.
46. The Perfect Insider
Sohei Saikawa, a professor of engineering, is a prominent character in The Perfect Insider. Moe Nishinosono, the mentor’s daughter, joins along on the journey to a remote island. They must solve the murders by the artificial intelligence researcher as well as the director of the lab.
47. Hell Girl
Hell Girl is not the typical anime where the show focuses on the main character. Every episode follows a person that is suffering greatly to the point that they access a website set on getting rid of the person. Despite carrying out revenge on their tormenters, the victims also have to go to hell once their life is over.
Hell Girl might not have as many psychological elements as other anime on this list but is open to exploring the characters’ decisions.
48. Casshern Sins
The end of the world is near in Casshern Sins. Braiking Boss is a robotic villain that threatens humanity. Above all, Braiking Boss goes on a mission to kill a girl named Luna who is key to saving humanity. However, her death causes a cataclysmic event that leads to the end of the world.
A psychological anime play on killing missions, Gantz is a psychological thriller for discovery. Two characters find themselves inside a Tokyo apartment after their deaths. The sphere (Gantz) provides them with various weapons to kill the Gantz’ targets. In addition, all players can’t leave until all the targets are dead. All I can say is that you’re in for an interesting ride.
50. Ghost Hound
A remote town where spirits and the real world collide, Ghost Hound takes you on a spooky adventure. Three high school boys investigate the Unseen World where their childhood traumas live in hopes of understanding the weird occurrences happening in the town.
51. The Vision of Escaflowne
This series enters into the alternate dimension known as Gaea. Hitomi Kanzaki transports into Gaea; however, her journey starts with conflict once learning about her heightened psychic abilities. The anime reveals details about the history of Atlantis, Gaea, and the other characters.
A prosecutor and a pharmaceutical company, this anime is sure to be suspenseful. Zen Seizaki investigates a drug that has left false results. Upon investigating, Zen comes across a body and surprising evidence. There is even a push to legalize suicide. Babylon is as crazy as it gets.
RahXephon is another anime that has hidden psychological elements. The relationship between Ayato and Haruka is one of the most important aspects of the show.
On the other hand, Tokyo is under attack by Haruka. When Haruka stalks Ayato, they are not aware of their history together. Although, Ayato begins to remember Haruka as the series progresses. Mecha meets romance in this semi-psychological anime.
54. Blast of Tempest
Mahiro Fuwa is the main character in Blast of Tempest that seeks the person responsible for his sister’s death. On the other hand, he contacts the leader of the Kusaribe clan to negotiate ways to help one another. The goal is to stop the other members of the clan from destroying the world. The clan will do everything they can to awaken to the Tree of Exodus.
55. The Empire of Corpses
A Japanese film that brings about similarities to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the film begins with Victor Frankenstein creating a corpse with a soul. However, his first experiment was unsuccessful. Subsequently, he creates an artificial soul known as Necroware, which soon takes over the labor force. On the other hand, a medical student attempts to create his Necroware to bring back a friend from the dead.
56. Mind Game
Mind Game starts with dramatic moments that seem intense, but the film brings about flashbacks and a whale. Atsu confronts the man that seduced his girlfriend and shoots him. The main protagonist, Nishi, is tested by a shapeshifter to go into a portal. Nishi goes back to the moment before Atsu pulls the trigger and changes the outcome.
57. Ceres, Celestial Legend
Aya Mikage and her twin brother arrive at their grandfather’s home on their sixteenth birthday. Even so, that invitation is less about celebrating their birthday and more of a test to see if they have angel blood. Aya soon uncovers a big secret about her past life and the powerful being that often possesses her when in fury.
When turned into the celestial being, she gains supernatural powers that allow her to teleport and influence a physical system. The past life will not only threaten the relationships between the characters but as well as their time left to live.
58. Night Head 2041
Night Head 2041 is one of those shows that blends psychological and supernatural elements for a captivating storyline. The anime begins with the aftereffects of World War III on the human population. In the rise of people believing in the supernatural, the government takes action by capturing them.
Night Head 2041 reveals two brothers who have psychic powers. However, their psychic powers are against societal norms. This series will have you wondering just how long the brothers can escape the Special Weapon Enforcement.
59. Moryo No Hako
Moryo no Hako offers quite a bit of crime fiction with hints of horror and psychological aspects. This series follows a writer and an editor that investigates strange crimes. Moryo no Hako is all about the twists and turns as human beings end up abducted and killed in horrific ways. Would it surprise you if such murders were tied to an occult?
Naota Nandaba looks after his brother’s stuff while he leaves town. His life begins to change when Naota comes across a pink-haired psychopath. But the pink-haired psychopath, Haruko, makes an effort to move into Naota’s parents’ house. The battle for supremacy has just begun in this psychological anime.
This list of best psychological anime creates only a fraction of what is in the anime world. Through different storylines and characters, anime has mastered the psychological genre and so many others. The otherworldly concepts that Japanese writers create allow us to open our imaginations.
Furthermore, many of the psychological anime on this list has a perfect blend of genres from horror anime to mystery.
Hope you enjoyed this list of top psychological anime shows!
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