Psychological anime is easily my favorite genre so whenever I hear a premise that is dark, depressing, and will put my mind into a spiral I am all in! This is my top 10 list based on the anime I have seen. Hopefully this gives you psychology lovers some new anime! Also this list is in random order not by how good the show is.
10. Death Note
Not much to say here as everyone knows Death Note and it just speaks for itself. Death Note will always be one of my top favorite anime and the only show to really just blow my mind. It changed the way I view anime or TV shows in general because i didn’t know anything could be that good! This series is truly one of the most well-written stories I have experienced.
9. Steins Gate
Steins Gate is so good it was very close to making my top 10 anime list. I put off watching for so long because the general consensus was that the first 12 episodes were painfully slow and boring but the second part was amazing. I am not someone who wants to sit through any slow or boring episodes even for a good outcome usually. So I was furious when I watched Steins Gate and loved every episode! Following these amazing and unique characters on a journey to build a time machine.
The use of John Titor which was a real story of a man who called himself this and wrote online about the future was so interesting and cool. The story can be a lot and get confusing at times as with time travel however I think it was done brilliantly and everything had a purpose. The last 10 episodes had me anxious and cheering or upset at every turn! There are so many good things I could say about Steins Gate but I encourage you to watch it yourself! After writing this I want to rewatch it or maybe try Steins Gate 0 fir the first time….?
8. Death Parade
Death Parade is very known yet unknown for an anime. My little cousin introduced me to this anime and from her description I knew I would love it and I did. It is about the world where people go when they die. They play different games like darts or bowling but with a very dark twist that is actually used to determine who they truly are as people and who deserves to go to heaven or “the void”. This anime goes very deep and explores human nature at its core. Death Parade is a must watch for any psychology lover! Also the intro is sooooo good.
7. Re Zero
I am sure most of you have heard of or seen Re Zero. This anime deserves to be on this list due to it’s complete change and shock in the story. Going into season one it seems like a typical cute isekai with not much substance to it. Then we get into the real story and especially during season two find out its a complete mind fuck at every episode and characters are brutally dying left and right. I believe season two was a true masterpiece and I just want more. I have made many people continue watching it after dropping it the first 10 episodes and trust me they changed their minds! If you dropped it or never started it I would highly recommend.
Monster is one of my favorite anime and you can see a better description in my favorite anime post. Basically Johan is the best antagonist of all time and if you are into Ted Bundy or Jeffry Dahmer documentaries this is your show! Join Tenma and a multitude of unique characters to try to track down this phantom like serial killer. It is a slow burner at times but it is all worth it and is a true masterpiece that will leave you very sad when it is all over. I need to get the manga!
5. Serial Experiments Lain
This anime is only for the true psychology lovers. It is definitely slow with little to no action and at times not much dialogue. That being said if you watch it all and pay attention you will feel something that is hard to feel or even describe. The anime with its aesthetic and creepy yet relaxing soundtrack makes for quite the experience. The intro is one of my favorites and fits the story perfectly.
This anime follows a girl named Lain and her experience with this new thing called technology. It was released in the late 90s where technology was not anywhere near how it was today and its crazy how the themes in the show relate to today’s world of being sucked into and altered by the internet. The creators basically predicted technology ruining people’s personalities and taking over the world and put that into this creepy narrative with a young girl.
4. Aku no Hana (Flowers of Evil)
Flowers of Evil is definitely not for everyone. I read the manga first by Shuzo Oshimi who is now one of my favorite mangaka. I read the series so fast and was so surprised at how good it was. The manga and show both give you an actual anxious and unsettling feeling while reading which is very hard to do. The art style in the anime is not for everyone and does not have the ending so I would suggest the manga but the anime is still a great experience.
The story follows an introverted boy who suddenly gets the girl of his dreams but is also hiding a disturbing secret that another classmate holds against him making him do things that change his life and who he is as a person. Some things in the story are cute and comical but most are very unsettling and just like what the fuck? But in a good way. It’s very hard to describe as I could have never came up with these things myself and do not know how Oshimi does it. That being said if you want a non stop mind fuck of a ride and want to feel very unsettled, go watch or read Flowers of Evil.
I absolutely love Danganronpa! A group of people get locked in this school with a crazed bear making them kill eachother then they have a big trial where the accused gets murdered in a brutal way. The anime has mystery, murder, plot twists, and also makes you drawn and feel bad for characters which many slasher type anime do not. The trial’s are so intense and even leave the viewers on the edge of their seats. I have only watched the first season so let me know if the other two are worth it!
2. Paranoia Agent
I went into more depth of Paranoia Agent in my Satoshi Kon post. Kon is a genius of human nature and psychology and that is all that really needs to be said. This anime will leave you thinking about it long after you finish watching.
Another is not the greatest anime out there but maybe a guilty pleasure of mine. It follows a classroom where people start dying in over the top insane ways. Umbrella… if you know you know. Anyways there is supposedly a ghost in the classroom and if this ghost dies then all of the other students will be freed. The students go on a mission trying to find out who the imposter is before everyone is dead. It can be cheesy at times but like a typical horror movie its the good kind of cheesy and I loved every moment of it. My cousin even enjoyed it and she doesn’t watch anime!
So there we have it, my favorite psychological anime I have seen thus far! Honorable mentions are Neon Genesis Evangelion of course and Classroom of the Elite which is a unique type of psychology different from the depressing killing anime I have named on the list. Thank you for reading! Tell me which anime on this list caught your eye or give me some good psychological anime recommendations!