Anime that Make You Think: Exploring Deep Themes and Storylines

Anime that Make You Think: Exploring Deep Themes and Storylines

by Carlisa on Aug 14, 2023

Anime has a way of captivating audiences with its unique storytelling and visually stunning animation. While many anime series provide entertainment and escapism, there are some that go beyond surface-level enjoyment and make you think. These thought-provoking anime explore deep themes, challenge your perspectives, and leave you pondering long after the credits roll. In this article, we will dive into a few of these captivating shows, discussing the topics they make you think about and what else they cover.

1. Death Note

Death Note" follows the story of Light Yagami, a high school student who discovers a supernatural notebook called the Death Note. With the power to kill anyone whose name is written in it, Light takes it upon himself to rid the world of criminals. As he becomes consumed by his newfound power, Light's actions raise questions about justice, morality, and the nature of power.

Thought-Provoking Topics: "Death Note" explores the ethical implications of playing god and the thin line between justice and vengeance. It raises questions about the extent to which one can justify their actions in the pursuit of a greater good.

Other Themes: The series also delves into the psychology of the main characters, examining their motives, beliefs, and the consequences of their actions. It touches on themes of manipulation, identity, and the corrupting influence of power.

2. Neon Genesis Evangelion

"Neon Genesis Evangelion" is a mecha anime set in a post-apocalyptic world where giant creatures known as Angels threaten humanity's existence. The story follows Shinji Ikari, a young pilot who must battle both external threats and his own inner demons.

Thought-Provoking Topics: This anime explores themes of existentialism, identity, and the nature of human connection. It delves into the complexities of the human psyche, examining the characters' struggles with depression, loneliness, and the search for meaning in a chaotic world.

Other Themes: "Neon Genesis Evangelion" also touches on religious symbolism, exploring concepts from various mythologies and philosophies. It raises questions about the nature of reality and the role of humanity in the grand scheme of things.

3. Steins;Gate

"Steins;Gate" follows the story of Rintarou Okabe, a self-proclaimed mad scientist who stumbles upon the ability to send text messages to the past using a modified microwave. As he and his friends experiment with time travel, they inadvertently uncover a conspiracy that threatens their lives and the fabric of reality itself.

Thought-Provoking Topics: This anime explores the concept of time travel and the consequences of altering the past. It raises questions about determinism, free will, and the ethical implications of tampering with the timeline.

Other Themes: "Steins;Gate" also touches on themes of friendship, sacrifice, and the power of love. It delves into the characters' personal struggles and their willingness to make difficult choices for the sake of those they care about.

4. Serial Experiments Lain

"Serial Experiments Lain" follows the story of Lain Iwakura, a young girl who becomes entangled in a series of mysterious events involving the internet, virtual reality, and the blurring of the line between the real and digital worlds. Through Lain's journey, the series explores themes of identity, consciousness, and the impact of technology on society.

Thought-Provoking Topics: This anime raises questions about the nature of reality and the role of technology in shaping our identities. It delves into philosophical concepts such as solipsism and explores the impact of constant connectivity and virtual existence on human relationships.

5. Ghost in the Shell

"Ghost in the Shell" is set in a futuristic world where cybernetic enhancements and artificial intelligence are commonplace. The series follows Major Motoko Kusanagi, a cyborg cop, as she investigates cybercrimes and questions her own humanity.

Thought-Provoking Topics: This anime delves into the philosophical implications of merging technology with the human body and mind. It explores themes of self-identity, consciousness, and the ethics of advancing technology. It also raises questions about the boundaries between man and machine.

6. Psycho-Pass

"Psycho-Pass" is set in a dystopian future where a system known as the Sybil System can determine an individual's propensity to commit crimes based on their psychological state. The series follows Akane Tsunemori, a rookie inspector, as she navigates a morally complex society where personal freedoms are sacrificed for the sake of public safety.

Thought-Provoking Topics: This anime explores the concept of justice and the trade-offs between individual liberties and societal order. It raises questions about the nature of criminality, the influence of external factors on human behavior, and the potential dangers of a surveillance state.

7. Mushishi

"Mushishi" takes place in a world inhabited by mysterious creatures called Mushi. The series follows Ginko, a Mushi Master, as he travels from village to village, encountering various supernatural phenomena. Each episode tells a standalone story exploring the relationship between humans and the ethereal Mushi.

Thought-Provoking Topics: This anime reflects on the intricate connections between humans and nature. It prompts viewers to contemplate the fragile balance of existence and the coexistence of the human world with the unseen forces of nature. It also explores themes of spirituality, the cycles of life, and the impermanence of existence.

8. Erased

"Erased" follows the story of Satoru Fujinuma, a struggling manga artist with the ability to go back in time moments before a tragedy occurs. When he's wrongfully accused of murder, Satoru goes back in time to his childhood to prevent a series of kidnappings and murders.

Thought-Provoking Topics: This anime explores the concept of second chances and the consequences of altering the past. It delves into themes of regret, redemption, and the importance of taking action to protect others. It also raises questions about the ripple effects of our choices and the power of personal agency.


Anime has the power to entertain, inspire, and make you think. The thought-provoking anime mentioned in this article offer much more than just entertainment. They challenge your perspectives, delve into deep topics, and leave you contemplating the complexities of the human experience. Whether you're a seasoned anime enthusiast or new to the medium, these shows are worth exploring for their ability to expand your horizons and engage your mind.

Remember, the world of anime is vast, and these are just a few examples among many. So, grab some popcorn, dive into these captivating series, and let them stimulate your thoughts and imagination.

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