3 Psychological Anime of Winter 2020 to Binge Right Now

Anime is often considered a juvenile, fan-servicey form of media with any potential maturity stopping at gratuitous nudity or gore. Despite so many great examples of delving into the human psyche like Paranormal Agent or Paprika, phycological anime doesn’t seem to get the popularity it deserves. To be fair, a lot of psychological-themed media is simply nonsensical or graphic in lieu of telling a real story that one feels resonates with them. Thankfully, Winter 2020 gave us these three gems!

3. Magia Record: Mahou Shoujo Madoka☆Magica Gaiden (Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story)

  • Episodes: 13
  • Aired: January 2020 – March 2020

Set in the same world as Madoka Magica, Magia Record focuses on the tale of Iroha, a young magical girl that ends up in Kamihama city following the rumor that magical girls can be saved there. Instead of being saved, she’s forced to remember her forgotten little sister she once wished to protect and teams up with a complicated group of magical girls searching for answers in this ever-changing town. Unlike the original Madoka series, the characters aren’t fleshed out as well in this spin-off. However, the show does a good job of delving into the very complicated, ugly feelings of children who amassed great but isolating power.


  • Episodes: 13
  • Aired: January 2020 – March 2020

Thanks to top-secret technology used by the Investigation Unit called the Mizuhanome System, cognitive visualizations known as id wells can be explored by a great detective but only after they’ve killed someone. Such is the case for former cop turned killer Narihisago. By delving into the id wells of murderers, he’s able to find things like their weakness, their profiles, and their possible next victims.

Every detail is a potential clue from the angle of a building the reflection in a window. Outside stimuli shape the cognitive displays in unknown ways only made known by understanding the killer. The rules and formations of id wells change from person to person and trying to pick out meaning in a world of disjointed information makes it an engaging anime. Ideals are tested, relationships change, and roles are reversed as the characters explore the cognitive world as well as their own.

1. Pet

  • Episodes: 13
  • Aired: January 2020 – March 2020

Certain humans can traverse the human psyche and even manipulate one’s most treasured and hated memories. With one’s memories in flux, values and relationships can be fabricated or destroyed. The Company employs those with such abilities, recruiting them as children and grooming them into loyal workers. When one is trapped by constant other memories as they can’t control their powers, a more experienced member creates a peak for them to escape to and a valley to trap their unwanted feelings.

Being able to empathize or to close oneself off gives way to different strengths and weaknesses in the show. It shows both the unreasonable worship and utter hatred towards someone that can be created by ‘saving’ another. Pet is also not afraid to show an unnatural affection between men who have experienced this with each other as a product of manufactured dependency that is neither for humor nor queer-baiting. It also has an interesting setup rather than the good and bad side using the same types of special people or tools, it is one criminal agency that has people acting in their own interests that can’t be so easily organized.

Final Thoughts

A little introspection is fun at times, isn’t it? While Pet, ID:INVADED, and Magia Record provide us with unrepeatable scenarios, the motives and effects can be relatable enough to make us question how we feel about certain similar situations. Looking at how the human mind works and how symbols and imagery manifest in such interesting ways makes these great anime to sit down and watch in your spare time. What would be your favorite way to peer into another’s mind? Let us know in the comments!

Magia-Record-Wallpaper-700x394 3 Psychological Anime of Winter 2020 to Binge Right Now


Author: May

Hey friends! I reside in Georgia and use my degree in Japanese primarily to (barely) read doujinshi that hasn’t been translated. Beyond deciding who is best girl in whatever I happen to be watching, I really enjoy ballroom dancing, reading, crying over dating sims, karaoke, and being surrounded by beautiful things~ (You know, scenery, décor, boys, stuff like that). I also love talking about passions with others!

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