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Before there was Steins;Gate and Robotics;Notes, there was Chaos;Head, the first 5pb and NitroPlus visual novel adapted into an anime. While it does have its faults in terms of fully fleshing out key characters and trying to do too much, it makes up for it in terms of the unique premise it tries to convey. Had Chaos;Head been given more episodes to work with, there would be a whole lot more to the world we’re introduced to and the overall story itself. As it is, it may be fortunate that where Chaos;Head failed, the mistakes were learned from so that Steins;Gate could succeed.
Despite not being as popular as Steins;Gate, Chaos;Head has garnered enough attention to warrant a sequel, Chaos;Child, currently a new anime airing that takes place after the events of Chaos;Head with a brand new cast of characters. Whether Chaos;Child follows in the footsteps of Chaos;Head remains to be seen. However, if you are a fan of Chaos;Head and enjoying the Chaos;Child sequel, here are 6 similar anime that can hold you over till new Chaos;Child episodes are released.
Similar Anime to Chaos;Head
1. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (When They Cry)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Apr 2006 - Sep 2006
Keiichi Maebara is just a normal kid who moves to a new village in the summer of 1983, and at first enjoys his time there and becomes close friends with Rena Ryuuguu, Mion Sonozaki, Satoko Houjou, and Rika Furude, his new schoolmates. Unfortunately things take a dark and mysterious turn as Keiichi learns about the recent murders and disappearances that seem to be connected with the village’s annual festival and just how involved his new friends may be with them. It’s up to Keiichi to figure out what’s going on and put a stop to it before his ever rising paranoia eats him alive.
When They Cry is very similar to Chaos;Head in so many ways. Both have a male protagonist that discover mysterious murders. Both struggle to determine what is real and what is not. Both also struggle to trust the new girls in their life as they witness different sides to them. If you’re looking for an anime with a very similar atmosphere, buildup, and even character dynamics, When They Cry can certainly fill that void.
2. NHK ni Youkoso! (Welcome to the N.H.K.)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: July 2006 – Dec 2006
Tatsuhiro Satou was living life as a hikikomori (and had been for years) until a chance encounter with Misaki Nakahara, a girl with her own mysteries, shakes things up. As Misaki soon grows to learn, Satou has developed a lot of conspiracy theories, the most prevalent being an organization known as the N.H.K being responsible for the rise of hikikomori. But Misaki just may be the key for Satou to conquer his fears and rejoin society once again…
Both Satou and Takumi are very similar characters in regards to their lifestyles, as Takumi lives by himself and is shut up almost every day, almost to the point of never leaving his “room”. They’re also both very much addicted to the 2-D world to the point of ignoring the real world entirely. It is only through a girl that cares about them that both are slowly acclimated into the “3-D” world once again. If you were a fan of Chaos;Head because of the main character’s psychological issues and want to see more of that, Welcome to the N.H.K would be the first anime to watch, as that is the go-to anime for anything hikikomori related.
Welcome to the NHK - Complete Series Trailer
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Oct 2009 - Dec 2009
Satsuki Kakeru and his best friend Yuka thought they were having a crazy dream when they saw the sky turn red, the moon turn black, and monsters everywhere. But when this mysterious world appears once again, Kakeru and Yuka meet 4 other girls that are in the same predicament as they are. They soon realize they must work together if they are to succeed in figuring out what exactly is going on…
11eyes is also another anime that was adapted from a visual novel, so as a result, certain themes such as “guy surrounded by girls” and “alternate world” are shared. However, the one big thing they share in common is the use of magical swords even though the girls in Chaos;Head don’t use the swords until the very end of the series. If you were focused on the “multiple girls” aspect of Chaos;Head and wanted to see more battles, then 11eyes is worth considering.
Any Anime Like Chaos;Head ?
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Apr 2011 - Sep 2011
Rintaro Okabe is a self-proclaimed “mad-scientist” who, after a series of mysterious events, somehow discovers time travel. Although it seems like a dream come true for Okabe and his friends at first, things suddenly get out of hand as Okabe goes back in time to help fulfill his friend’s desires. With Okabe being the only one that remembers everything after each trip, he soon realizes that he’s the only one that can return things back to the way they were…
Steins;Gate and Chaos;Head will already share a similar feeling as both were originally visual novels made by the same studio. However, even though Steins;Gate is more about time travel as opposed to illusions, the overall plot is very similar. Both of the stories start out with the main character doing their own thing until they chance upon the scene of a murder, at which point things they never thought were possible turn out to be true as multiple girls they’ve never met before somehow become involved. By the time their respective stories end, both Takumi and Okabe have come a long way from where they’ve started. If you’re a fan of Chaos;Head’s overarching plot structure from beginning to end, Steins;Gate is certainly an anime with a similar feel despite different content.
5. Serial Experiments Lain
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: July 1998 - Sep 1998
Lain Iwakura is one of many girls to receive a disturbing email from her classmate Chisa Yomoda, who had recently committed suicide. Despite struggling with basic technology, Lean is somehow sent straight into the Wired, or internet, after opening the email. As Lain begins to encounter mysteries and witness men in black appearing wherever she goes, her life begins to become stranger and stranger, resulting in Lain struggling to separate what is real and what is not…
Despite how old this anime may be, it certainly holds up as a psychological thriller. Even though there are differences with Chaos;Head in terms of character archetypes, the biggest similarity revolves around the idea of an illusionary world and questioning reality. If you appreciated the setting up of an illusion that leaves you questioning what’s going on, Serial Experiment Lain has both the plot and the suspenseful moments to keep you engaged.
Serial Experiments Lain - Complete Series Trailer
6. Mirai Nikki (The Future Diary)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Oct 2011 - Apr 2012
Yukiteru Amano spends a lot of time writing in his diary and conversing with who he perceives to be his imaginary friends. Naturally, these friends turn out to be the God of Time and Space and his servant, and Yukiteru is soon forced into a battle royale with 11 other contestants, each of them possessing a unique and dangerous diary that can be used to kill the other contestants. With the winner becoming the new God of Time and Space, Yukiteru must figure out a way to eliminate the other 11 contestants before one of them eliminates him…
The Future Diary excels in both suspense and keeping you on your toes in terms of expecting what’s going to happen next, something Chaos;Head also does. Both also have a similar feel in terms of the main character being introverted, questioning the new reality that’s been presented before them, and dealing with the art of murder. Both also feature the main female protagonists having pink hair. If you liked the mystery murder aspect of ChaosHead and would like to see it amplified, then The Future Diary has plenty in store.
The Future Diary - US Trailer
Chaos;Head is certainly not as popular as 5pb and NitroPlus’ later titles, and that’s understandable, as its biggest weakness was trying to do too much in such a limited timeframe. That being said, the concepts it explores as well as its cast of characters certainly indicate something deeper, and the visual novel Chaos;Head was adopted from definitely follows through on Takumi’s relationships with each of the other characters as well as the plot itself. Overall, Chaos;Head more or less help set the template for 5pb and NitroPlus to follow, and while it isn’t perfect, it certainly set something in motion.