Top 10 Philosophical Anime [Updated Best Recommendations]

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Often, we might watch anime for a quick escape from our problems, our job, school, or simply to just entertain ourselves yet there are moments when we wish to pursue those works which will challenge us or at the very least cause us to think or reflect more deeply on some aspect of our lives or personality. Some may call such anime thought provoking or simply philosophical depending on the discussion it is trying to have with the viewer.

When approaching how to effectively compile an updated list of philosophical anime, we needed to consider our definition of philosophical. For the sake of this article, let us say that philosophical can mean anime which have fleshed out and easily identifiable morals to a story that cause us to think of anime that requires a little more digging and dissection using existing philosophical lenses to extract an answer.

10. One Punch Man

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: October 2015– December 2015

Saitama was a salaryman until one day, he found himself in confrontation with a lobsterman who threatened the neighbourhood. To further pursue his hobby of heroism, he dedicated himself to train for three years. Saitama, now bald from the training, utilizes his immense strength to take down any threat in one single punch. Yet this experience of defeating enemies with ease has left Saitama listless. Saitama is encouraged by a cyborg named Genos, who wishes to be his apprentice, to officially register with the state sanctioned Hero Association to earn some money and do some good in his new role.

Studio Madhouse brings a fantastically satirical take on the archetype of the superhero and other protagonists in shounen manga. Yet beneath the satire is a tale of what happens after we reach such great height, where is there left to go? Saitama’s character is a testament to the lethargy we may fall into after we seemingly achieve our objectives, it is much like completing a video game and asking what now? This is a sure to please anime for anyone who enjoys satire mixed with amazing action sequences and explosions.

9. Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World (Kino’s Journey: The Beautiful World)

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: October 2017- December 2017

Kino, a 15-year-old girl, lives in a world of great and strange cities and cultures. There exist towns where murder is legal and a whole country that walks on metal legs. New wonders and surprises lay across vast fields, valleys, and country sides that are just waiting to be discovered. This is the story of Kino’s experiences traveling to these great places with her animated motorcycle named Hermes and learning from the different people she meets. Worry not for her safety as behind the veil of a kind young girl is also a trained killer who is prepared to do what is necessary to protect herself and others.

Studio Lerche (Assassination Classroom, Classroom of the Elite) brings an anime with breathtaking scenery and, at-times, relaxing tones that take the viewer on a journey to various lands, cultures, and peoples. Kino’s Journey makes it on the list for expanding the perspective or worldview of the viewer by exploring various societal structures and cultural expectations. Kino’s journey to learn and experience these different places challenges our own preconceived notions or beliefs and makes us think about how the home which we occupy has influenced us as people and our implicit response to external or unfamiliar forces.

8. Kiznaiver

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: April 2016 – June 2016

Pain and emotions are two things that Katsuhira Agata, a white-haired high school student, has not experienced in a long time. This seeming void of feeling which Katsuhira has has left him open and vulnerable to school bullies who take advantage of him. Yet according to his childhood friend Chidori Takashiro, Katsuhira was not always this robotic in his expressions or way of living. The two find themselves and four other teenagers the subjects of an experiment administered by the Kizuna System that connected them to feel each other’s pain. They are now tied to an experiment that seeks to achieve world peace this new and obscure way. Will everything go as planned?

Studio Trigger (Darling in the Franxx, Kill la Kill) brings their on-brand artistic style that fans have come to expect, to a show which focus lies on our own personal relationships to our own emotions and our ability to empathise or connect with others. Drawing on Aristotle’s Poetics, in his writing on the purpose of theatre and performance he believes the result is meant to provide a catharsis for its audience members, a release of powerful emotion from having watched the show and receive the psychological benefit from the endeavour. In this regard, Kizuna System has the same goal.

7. Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan)

  • Episodes: 25
  • Aired: April 2013 – Sep. 2013

Over a hundred years ago, humankind was nearly wiped out by great monsters called Titans who sought to consume all people. The last survivors of humanity secluded themselves behind great concrete walls where they were left to repopulate and survive in general peace under a monarchy and established three military factions: military police, garrison, and scouts tasked with collectively maintaining peace and to fend off against a possible titan attack. Peace fell to ruin when a colossal titan broke down a portion of the outer wall and unleashed hell on the populous. This led to the death of Eren Jaeger’s mother and the start of his quest for vengeance against all titans, joined by adopted sister Mikasa and friend Armin.

Attack on Titan is an action, mystery, and shounen anime that showcases political and philosophical commentary on how a state functions predominantly through tyranny with the goal of maintaining control and relative peace amongst its people, in addition to putting people under one banner to fight against a different enemy to distract from their own inequality. In later seasons, the show further expands on the inevitable consequences of such a state. If you are into political philosophy and like watching epic fight scenes, this anime is recommended for you.

6. Steins;Gate

  • Episodes: 24
  • Aired: April 2011 – September 2011

Rintarou Okabe proclaims himself to be a ‘mad scientist’ and with the aid of his assistants and friends Mayuri Shiina and Hashida Itaru, they work tirelessly in Rintarou’s makeshift laboratory inside a dingy apartment, to create gadgets of the future. Rintarou’s most recent invention is a phone operated microwave which turns regular bananas into slimy green piles of goo. Seeing no real-world applications for such a device, Rintarou and friends continue to experiment until strange events begin to unfold all around them. As they learn more about the microwave, they find that it can send messages back in time. Is this a blessing in disguise or the spark that sets of a deadly chain of events that could see the world change as we know it?

If you could travel back in time, what would be the future consequences of your actions? What if you could only send a message, what would it say? This is all hypothetical, but these are some of the questions which Steins;Gate is seeking to shine a light on. This eerie mystery and psychological anime seek to discuss the fantastic and other times gargantuan consequences our small actions in the present can have on the future even. This anime takes an idea such as the butterfly effect and amplifies it for the audience. It will make you become cognisant of your everyday choices and how it can affect the space around you. If you are into time travel meddling, this is a go-to anime for you.

5. Eve no Jikan (Time of Eve)

  • Episodes: 26
  • Aired: April 2014 – September 2014

Soon, androids become ever increasingly involved in the workings of society and home life and, while some see this as a convenience, others believe that it would be better to cut back on further integration. One of the people who lives with androids in his life is Rikuo who is supported by a female android name Sammy. After becoming suspicious of his android’s travels, he goes to investigate and discovers a hidden café where one’s status as an android or human are hidden from others and leaving seemingly no difference between the two. Rikuo uses the opportunity to discover more about Sammy and gains a bigger appreciation for androids and the humanity that they may possess.

In the 1950’s Alan Turing formulated the “Turing Test” which would measure the intelligence of a computer by having the machine and a human being converse with an evaluator and seeing if said evaluator can tell the difference. In this regard, Time of Eve is a futuristic take on the “Turing Test”. The anime provides a beautiful narrative for the fears and hopes that many have regarding the advancement of A.I., yet it also displays the possible humanity that can be found in a machine, providing a challenge to the viewer, whether to see that computer as an individual.

4. Higashi no Eden (Eden of the East)

  • Episodes: 11
  • Aired: April 2009 – June 2009

The year is 2010. Japan recovered from a non-lethal missile attack. “Careless Monday”, the name of that day, becomes but a small part of Japan’s history, and people carry on with their lives including recent graduate Saki Morimi who, upon visiting the states, crosses paths with a naked and armed young man with amnesia named Akira Takizawa who has nothing except for a phone with billions of yen standing in front of the white house in Washington D.C. Saki will soon discover the perilous and exciting mystery she is about to be wrapped up in as she joins Akira to face off against other strangers with the same sort of memory loss and the same phones. Where does this rabbit hole go?

Production I.G. brings an award-winning fun action, thriller, and drama driven anime that will make the audience ask themselves what they would do if they were suddenly given over 8 billion yen. Eden of the East can be interpreted by some as a lesson in futility meets hope, basically making us reflect on our belief in both ourselves and our ability to change things for the better when given the power to do so. If you are interested in an anime that is well balanced in emotion and plot, then this is for you.

3. Psycho-Pass

  • Episodes: 22
  • Aired: October 2012 – March 2013

In 22nd century Japan, the rule of law and order has changed drastically under the watchful eyes of the sybil system, a mysterious program created to determine and measure the psychological stability in citizens otherwise known as their Psycho-Pass, which seeks to uncover criminal intent or vulnerability before any crime is committed and thereby maintaining peace. Akane Tsunemori is a bright young woman who chooses to join the police force to maintain this peace and justice where she must work with Enforcer Shinya Kougami, a latent criminal. Akane will soon learn from Shinya and others the faults that lie in a seemingly utopian system and seek to uncover the mystery behind it while taking down those that wish to cause chaos.

Production I.G. brings another stellar anime to the list in Psycho-Pass. This anime poses important questions around the balance of maintaining peace while also maintaining proper justice and freedom and whether a man or woman should be seen as criminal before any behavior is carried out. Furthermore, it shows what happens when we criminalize our mental health, behavior, or emotions to then be perceived as those belonging to criminals and are not simply a consequence of living. This anime stands as a solid example of the science-fiction genre in anime and is a sure to please for anyone into dystopian futures or subjects of mental health being focused on in anime.

2. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

  • Episodes: 69
  • Aired: April 2009– July 2010

“To obtain something, something of equal importance must be lost” this is the absolute rule of equivalent exchange, what maintains a balance in the world of alchemy. The Elric brothers, Edward and Alphonse, two talented young alchemists, break this rule and attempt a forbidden alchemic ritual: human transmutation. The transmutation backfires and leaves Edward, missing an arm and a leg, and Alphonse with only a suit of armour to cling his soul to. To find the answers to restore their bodies, they seek to become state alchemist and start on a long adventure to find the answers around the one thing that can give them what they want, the philosopher's stone.

Both Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood (FMAB) and the top entry on our list reflect the consequences of what happens when we try to play God. FMAB is a shounen, action, adventure, and fantasy anime that carries various theological themes explored throughout its story: the process of creation, resurrection, death, sins, and forbidden knowledge. One could see the philosopher's stone as a substitute for the apple. It asks us to reflect on the horror that humanity can do with such power and yet still be unable to escape from its misuse. FMAB carries with it great art style, music, and a powerful story that is a must see for any new anime fan.

1. Death Note

  • Episodes: 37
  • Aired: October 2006-June 2007

To top off the list is a supernatural thriller and mystery shounen anime from Studio Madhouse that needs no introduction but here is one nonetheless.

Light Yagami is a brilliant and popular high school student who one day stumbles across a mysterious notebook that seemingly fell from the sky. Light would soon discover that what he holds in his hands is a Death Note, where by if the wielder writes the name of any person in their notebook, that person will die. This notebook belongs to a Shinigami, a deity of death, named Ryuk. Light quickly allies himself with Ryuk and uses the notebook to destroy evil and become the God of a new world, destroying any who stand in his way.

The saying “Absolute power corrupts absolutely” has never been truer than in this tale of a young man who sought to make a new world with a power that was never his own in the first place. Through this anime, we see the psychological journey of Light develop as he becomes more and more enthralled with this idea of destroying evil. It begs the question how far we can fall or how far are we willing to go to see our goals achieved? Does the unethical become acceptable in the face of extraordinary circumstances? If you enjoy heavy strategy and mind games in your anime than no other anime is better suited.

Final Thoughts

We hope you have found this article an enlightening experience and a good introduction to some fantastic anime. If you look hard enough there is probably a message in every anime or a moment to make us think. Is there an that didn’t make the list that you feel should have or is there something you disagree with? Let us know in the comments.

Higashi-no-Eden-dvd-353x500 Top 10 Philosophical Anime [Updated Best Recommendations]


Author: Joshua M

I’m an avid anime fan and writer born and living in Toronto, Canada. When I’m not watching or writing about anime, I write poetry and short stories. I’m currently working towards my Post-Graduate Diploma in Publishing and work in the child and youth mental health sector. I thoroughly enjoy Fantasy RPGs and other story driven games, comics, and I’m a big fan of Dungeons and Dragons.

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Top 5 Anime by Joshua M

Original Article Below

In general, anime serves as an escape from our everyday lives. Most series drop interesting characters in fun scenarios and try to maintain a lighthearted tone, which is more than welcome after a long day at work or school. As with everything, there are exceptions to the rule!

Once in a while, an anime comes along that asks thought-provoking questions about life or what it means to be human. If done poorly, philosophical shows can be preachy or confusing; alternatively, when done right, they give way to something special. These anime love to test their audiences by forcing them to think about the content they are consuming. In the best of scenarios, the anime is also entertaining and a blast to watch!

10. Haibane Renmei

  • Episodes: 13
  • Aired: Oct 10, 2002 – Dec 19, 2002

If there is one unanswerable question that continues to haunt humankind, it would have to be the afterlife. What happens after someone dies? Does it all just end? Regardless of the medium, many creators have expanded upon this subject, but precious few compare favorably to Haibane Renmei. Based on a short doujinshi by Yoshitoshi Abe, Radix's anime is simultaneously beautiful and haunting.

Haibane refers to beings with a halo and gray wings who live in a village known as Old Home. Without any memories of their own, these children are randomly born from a cocoon and live a peaceful life within the walls of their village. Haibane Renmei follows Rakka, a recently birthed Haibane who cannot quite accept her new existence.

Moving along at a somewhat slow pace, Haibane Renmei's story is simple but acts as a reasonable instigator for the themes tackled by the anime. While the afterlife is explored, Rakka's journey centers on self-discovery, friendship, and whether there is any truth in the universe. With barely any understanding of why they are in Old Home or their purpose, Haibane Renmei's cast struggles to discover salvation.

9. Shoujo Kakumei Utena (Revolutionary Girl Utena)

  • Episodes: 39
  • Aired: Apr 2, 1997 – Dec 24, 1997

Rightfully recognized as a classic of the genre, Shoujo Kakumei Utena blends shoujo tropes with striking imagery and psychological themes to create one of anime's crowning achievements. Distraught over the sudden death of her parents, Utena Tenjou regains her will to live after a chance encounter with a wandering prince. Determined to follow in the footsteps of the person who helped revitalize her spirit, Utena joins Ootori Academy with the goal of becoming a prince. Unfortunately, the teenager ends up embroiled in a vicious competition with the winner getting control of the mysterious Anthy Himemiya.

Boasting fantastic but surreal animation, Shoujo Kakumei Utena is packed to the brim with metaphors and allegories. Serving as a crash course introduction to existential philosophy, Utena's journey is defined by a lack of meaning. In order to free Anthy from society's shackles, the protagonist sets out to revolutionize the world. Obviously, this is easier said than done, as the central pair's individuality and free will are constantly put to the test.

Is there any meaning to our actions and can we control our own destiny? Shoujo Kakumei Utena attempts to tackle such timeless topics while delivering an incredibly engaging and relatable overall narrative.

8. Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World (Kino's Journey)

  • Episodes: 13
  • Aired: pr 8, 2003 – Jul 8, 2003

Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World is the definitive road trip anime. Based on a series of light novels by Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey centers around the enigmatic title character who travels from one country to the next. Accompanied by an anthropomorphic motorcycle named Hermes, Kino spends only three days in each country, as she believes this to be the optimum time to learn the society's way of life. Referencing multiple philosophical, social, and political schools; Kino's Journey is a tale of self-discovery.

For the most part, Kino is a detached protagonist who refuses to get involved with the country's practices. Rather than try to fix their problems or force her own beliefs onto the larger populace, Kino yearns to understand why people behave the way they do. Whether visiting a civilization of criminals where killing is legal or a moving country that inconveniences everything in its path, the protagonist uses these experiences to learn more about herself.

In some ways, Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World shows there is no such thing as a universal truth. What works in one country might lead to ruin in another, yet that does not invalidate the former's social norms. Kino's Journey visits some pretty dark places, but the anime avoids coming across as nihilistic. At the end of the day, Kino and Hermes remain hopeful that each country holds something of value.

7. Ping Pong The Animation

  • Episodes: 11
  • Aired: Apr 11, 2014 – Jun 20, 2014

Ping Pong The Animation is a sports anime like no other. Honestly, that classification is rather misleading, as Masaaki Yuasa's series only uses ping pong as a backdrop for the character-driven story. Ever since they were young children, Yutaka "Peco" Hoshino and Makoto "Smile" Tsukimoto have played table tennis at their neighborhood recreation center. While both children are rather talented, Peco is the only one who genuinely enjoys the sport, while Smile just uses ping pong as a means to escape from reality's harsher trials.

Anxious and lacking confidence, Smile was saved by the charismatic and heroic Peco. As a result, the former put the latter on a pedestal and continued to play ping pong just to spend more time with Peco. Now in their teenage years, Hoshino starts to self-indulge, forcing Tsukimoto to raise his game and drag Peco back to the ping pong table.

Ping Pong The Animation's character development needs to be witnessed to be truly appreciated. While Smile and Peco receive the most attention, the remaining cast members are expertly written and realistic. Yuasa's series is a ground-breaking sports anime that centers around characters struggling through an identity crisis, as they try to define their place in the world.

6. Owarimonogatari

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: Oct 4, 2015 – Dec 20, 2015

Isin Nisio and VOFAN's Monogatari series is difficult to accurately explain to anyone unfamiliar with the novels or anime adaptations. The premise is relatively straightforward; Koyomi Araragi is a half-human, half-vampire who uses his supernatural expertize to protect his loved ones from apparitions. Even if this is a precise way to summarize Monogatari's plot, it is far from sufficient.

Owarimonogatari sees Koyomi Araragi dealing with a strange transfer student named Ougi Oshino. Driven by a peculiar desire to understand Koyomi's thought process, Ougi presents the high schooler with a string of riddles that question his relationships and life choices. While he might be the anime's protagonist, Araragi is hardly ever presented as a traditional hero.

Blending unconventional storytelling techniques and one of the quirkiest animation styles in the business, Owarimonogatari forces Araragi to examine his past actions to determine whether these experiences actually led to any positive changes in his personality. Tackling themes like justice and death, Shaft's anime might not be for everyone, but deserves to be given a chance!

5. Shinsekai yori (From the New World)

  • Episodes: 25
  • Aired: Sep 29, 2012 – Mar 23, 2013

What constitutes a human being? Is it merely our physical bodies or something more? If we were to evolve as a species, what would happen to those who are left in the dust? Shinsekai yori will make its audience ask these questions and much more.

Due to a sudden outbreak of psychokinesis that only affected a fraction of the population, a war broke out between those gifted with these abilities and the rest of humanity. Once this period of unrest reached its end, the psychics set out to create a new peaceful world. Alongside a couple of her friends, the young Saki Watanabe has recently awoken to her powers but she cannot help but feel frightened for those children who fail to make the grade.

Shinsekai yori is a slow burner and the anime's philosophical implications only truly became apparent during the last couple of episodes. Prior to these final revelations, A-1 Pictures deliver a fantastic supernatural mystery bolstered by stunning animation and a gorgeous soundtrack.

4. Mononoke

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: Jul 13, 2007 – Sep 28, 2007

Toei Animation might be largely known for its long-running shounen anime, but the studio has a couple of gems in its catalog. Based on Japanese folklore, Mononoke presents a series of cases investigated by the Medicine Seller, a mystical practitioner of the occult who seeks out malevolent spirits. Initially, this might seem like your typical monster of the week anime, but that is far from the truth. Separated into five arcs, Mononoke is a surreal examination of human behavior.

While each story centers around a spirit, in reality, the still-living humans who were involved in the creation of that supernatural creature are the ones being examined by the Medicine Seller. In order to kill the Mononoke, the protagonist has to learn the entity's Form, Truth, and Regret. This concept is actually tied to Mikkyo Buddhism's "Three Secrets" style of exorcism. Largely set in Feudal Japan, with the only exception occurring in the final arc, each case includes many stunning revelations and a couple of heartbreaking moments.

Mononoke's animation is stylish and otherworldly, with Toei regularly employing startling sounds and unsettling imagery to create a sense of dread. The Medicine Seller might be hunting spirits, but they are not always the monsters.

3. Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei (The Tatami Galaxy)

  • Episodes: 11
  • Aired: Apr 23, 2010 – Jul 2, 2010

From the same director who created Ping Pong The Animation and Netflix's recent Devilman Crybaby, Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei is an adaptation of Tomihiko Morimi's novel of the same name. Watashi is a lazy college student who is always searching for that one perfect shortcut which will set him up for life. Unfortunately, he also happens to be friends with a punk named Ozu, who loves nothing more than to lead Watashi astray!

Each episode launches from the same point: Watashi pursues an intangible goal, like a perfect campus life, but Ozu ends up getting in his way. At first glance, Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei's story seems rather episodic and inconsequential, but that is actually the point. Rather than focusing on some grand overarching storyline, the Tatami Galaxy is more interested in life's little events and how they shape our future.

Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei's opening few episodes came across as rather abstract, but that quickly changes as the season progresses. Through his many misadventures and interactions, Watashi learns what it means to truly live life.

2. Monster

  • Episodes: 74
  • Aired: Apr 7, 2004 – Sep 28, 2005

When caught in a dire situation, one might commit acts that, on any other day, would be considered unthinkable. Do the ends justify the means? A promising brain surgeon with a beautiful fiance, Dr. Kenzou Tenma has his whole life ahead of him. Employed at an esteemed hospital, Tenma's actions are motivated by a code of ethics that allow the doctor to distinguish right from wrong.

Sadly, not everyone sees the world in the same light. One night, Tenma is forced to choose between operating on a young boy or the mayor. As the former was the next in line, Tenma disobeys direct orders and the mayor ends up passing away. The young doctor sticks to his guns and has his entire future taken away from him. Jump forward a couple of years, Tenma is barely making a living but finds comfort in knowing that he did the right thing. Unfortunately, the boy he saved turned into a bit of a psychopath who considers Tenma to be his father.

The title does not only refer to Monster's antagonist but also the darkness that lies within all of us. As the good doctor is pushed to his limits, Tenma begins to commit heinous acts in the name of the greater good.

1. Mushishi (Mushi-Shi)

  • Episodes: 26
  • Aired: Oct 23, 2005 – Jun 19, 2006

Mushi refers to supernatural entities that represent "life" in its most basic form. As far as the rest of the planet is concerned, these phenomena serve no purpose and pursue no goal. They merely exist in a state of "being" and labeling them as good or evil would be missing the point. While they might not have any sinister intentions, humans who come in contact with a mushi tend to suffer consequences.

Mushishi is the term used to describe humans dedicated to learning more about these entities. As one of these people, Ginko travels across the continent in search of cases to investigate. Depending on the situation, the protagonist might have to interfere with a village's actions to try to prevent a disaster. While he generally attempts to offer a helping hand, Ginko understands that change is not always possible or warranted.

Mushi might be harmful to humans, but Ginko believes that the only way forward is for the species to coexist. Rather than reaching for a sword to exterminate these supernatural creatures, the Mushishi attempts to solve problems by promoting empathy and education. The first step to conquering one's fear is to understand what lurks in the dark.

Final Thoughts

Since the dawn of civilization, philosophers have attempted to answer life's trickiest questions. Even if certain concepts are too abstract for a definitive solution, they are still worth discussing. Presented in an engaging and easily digestible package, these anime are thought-provoking and mesmerizing!

What is your favorite philosophical anime? Please let us know in the comment section below.

Higashi-no-Eden-dvd-353x500 Top 10 Philosophical Anime [Updated Best Recommendations]


Author: Mark Sammut

Born and raised on a small island in the Mediterranean, my life goal is to experience as many different ways of life as possible. Since time and money are in short supply, anime and film provide the best opportunity to experience far away cultures and worlds. When I'm not watching the latest episode of Gintama, or wondering what series to watch next, you can find me in the corner of the closest coffee shop; writing away on my aging laptop.

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Top 5 Anime by Mark Sammut

Original Article Below

Have you ever seen an anime series that had you mind boggled and confused to the very end?
Or left you wondering if the actions that took place in the show could actually be possible, thus, showing what it would be like.

Anime can bring a variety of philosophical interpretations to its viewers in order to immerse themselves in a world of abstract visuals and wild imaginations.
Most shows that have philosophical presences are there to present an aspect of metaphysical and psychological understandings to reality.

This helps to realize what it's like to be human and the life that surrounds you.
In this Top 10 list, we have selected some of the best anime series out there that defines these characterizations. A lot of it is comprehensive, the world as we know it can eventually have similar outcomes perceived in these particular anime. But, we'll see.
Here are the “Top 10 Philosophical Anime” for you all to enjoy and rethink about the possibilities in these series. Enjoy!

10. Ghost in the Shell: Innocence

Higashi-no-Eden-dvd-353x500 Top 10 Philosophical Anime [Updated Best Recommendations]

Following the events that happened in the previous Ghost in the Shell, Batou and Togusa team up to investigate a series of deaths taking place due to gynoids malfunctioning (sex doll robots).
While investigating, the deaths seem to be premeditated, and Batou and Togusa pick up the clues and begin to move forward in the investigation of possible terrorist or political motives. They have to conduct their search without the help of the Major Motoko Kusanagi, as she mysteriously disappears. They both find out the gynoids are being artificially duplicated illegally, making the robots appear more lifelike and able to carry out murders.
Little did they know, as they dig deeper in their investigation, they uncover secrets that were never to be discovered.

Higashi-no-Eden-dvd-353x500 Top 10 Philosophical Anime [Updated Best Recommendations]
Higashi-no-Eden-dvd-353x500 Top 10 Philosophical Anime [Updated Best Recommendations]

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9. Serial Experiments Lain

Higashi-no-Eden-dvd-353x500 Top 10 Philosophical Anime [Updated Best Recommendations]

Lain Iwakura appears to be your ordinary girl who's computer inept. But when the sudden act of suicide from a classmate occurs, along with several weird occurrences, Lain is pulled into the world of Weird, a global communications network that is similar to the internet.
This is where she soon discovers that nothing is quite what it seems, not the people around her, the places she's been.
This brings the biggest question of them all, is Lain herself really what she seems to be?!

Higashi-no-Eden-dvd-353x500 Top 10 Philosophical Anime [Updated Best Recommendations]

8. Mardock Scramble

Higashi-no-Eden-dvd-353x500 Top 10 Philosophical Anime [Updated Best Recommendations]

Following a down and out teen who is a prostitute in the city of Mardock, she is founded by an ambitious casino manager who showers her with everything she's ever wanted. Feeling grateful for everything the manager has done for her, curiosity takes over as she searches for more information about him. What she finds is unnerving and horrible.
Soon discovered for her curiosity, she's becomes the victim of a car bombing in order to hide the truth about the manager.
But, the police have ways of finding out what really happened from such crimes They reassemble her body with state of the art synthetic fiber to find out the truth of her killer.
Although, she also learns what really happened, and soon turns to revenge; which begins her mission for redemption.

Higashi-no-Eden-dvd-353x500 Top 10 Philosophical Anime [Updated Best Recommendations]

Mardock Scramble Trailer

7. Mawaru Penguindrum

Higashi-no-Eden-dvd-353x500 Top 10 Philosophical Anime [Updated Best Recommendations]

In this anime, once you make a decision, you question whether the universe will conspire against you. This forces you to think about your destiny and if its a matter chance, a choice or the outcome of fate.
The only thing two twins in this series know is when one was seriously ill one day, her death was adverted by the mysterious Penguin hat she had previously requested for. The hat has the ability to resurrect a person, but it comes with a price. In order to stay alive from the resurrection, the twins will need to find the Penguin Drum.
Before they can search for it, they need to solve several complex interlocking riddles, wrapped around their entire existence. Involving others in the same situation, someone else's destiny will have to change in order to live a normal life.

Higashi-no-Eden-dvd-353x500 Top 10 Philosophical Anime [Updated Best Recommendations]

Mawaru Penuindrum Trailer

6. Ergo Proxy

Higashi-no-Eden-dvd-353x500 Top 10 Philosophical Anime [Updated Best Recommendations]

Taking place in a world where a methane hydrate layer explodes, the remaining survivors of mankind take to domed cities in order to live their lives in an arid and apocalyptic planet. The domes which mankind live in, is a controlled society with everyone being assisted by AutoReivs (autonomous robots).
There are several of these domes across the planet, and an investigation begins to find out why AutoReivs have been infected with a virus causing them to go mad. The only thing is, those who are conducting the investigation, are about to discover a mysterious humanoid life form called, Proxy.
They later learn that these life forms hold the key to survival for all of mankind.

Higashi-no-Eden-dvd-353x500 Top 10 Philosophical Anime [Updated Best Recommendations]

5. Bakemonogatari

Higashi-no-Eden-dvd-353x500 Top 10 Philosophical Anime [Updated Best Recommendations]

The story of the Monogatari series centers around character Koyomi Araragi who is a third year student and survivor of a vampire attack.
Soon after, he finds himself involved with all kinds of spiritual beings like ghosts, apparitions, gods, and mythological beasts. Most heroes in this anime have items which symbolize their spectres, such as a stapler (claw of a crab), a backpack (shell of a snail), or hat and jacket (head and skin of a snake).

This anime does question the values and integrity of one life.

Higashi-no-Eden-dvd-353x500 Top 10 Philosophical Anime [Updated Best Recommendations]
[ Tsukimonogatari -Monogari Series-]

Bakemonogatari Trailer

4. Psycho-Pass

Higashi-no-Eden-dvd-353x500 Top 10 Philosophical Anime [Updated Best Recommendations]

This series is set in the near future where it is possible for law enforcement to measure the the state of mind of an individual, which then determines if they're qualified as a threat to society. The information is recorded and if found a threat, measures are taken in a term called Psycho-Pass. This is also a way of discovering the tendency factor to judge a criminal.

This begins the journey of a team of policemen who are dedicated to maintaining public safety, and face an insightful foe who seeks to disrupt the peace.

Higashi-no-Eden-dvd-353x500 Top 10 Philosophical Anime [Updated Best Recommendations]
Higashi-no-Eden-dvd-353x500 Top 10 Philosophical Anime [Updated Best Recommendations]

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6 Anime Like PSYCHO-PASS

3. Monster

Higashi-no-Eden-dvd-353x500 Top 10 Philosophical Anime [Updated Best Recommendations]

Renowned brain surgeon, Dr, Kenzo Tenma, highly praised by his peers as one of the greatest minds in his field, is about to start the life he's always wanted.

That all changes one day when he makes a decision which will alter his life, to save a child from death, or the mayor of the town.
Even though his superiors pressure him to save the mayor, he chooses to save the young boy instead. This leads to the end of everything he's worked hard for while believing life is equal.

Until, a series of murders occur and the evidence points to the young child he saved, which shatters his beliefs completely.

Higashi-no-Eden-dvd-353x500 Top 10 Philosophical Anime [Updated Best Recommendations]

2. Parasyte

Higashi-no-Eden-dvd-353x500 Top 10 Philosophical Anime [Updated Best Recommendations]

The anime follows a 17 year-old named Shinichi Izumi, who lives in a quiet neighborhood of Tokyo.

One night, weird looking creatures begin to surface on Earth, hosting onto humans while taking control of their brains. They become known as Parasytes, and they enter through the nose or ears in order to control the brains of their host.
One day, Shinichi encounters a Parasyte, but it was unable to enter his ear or nose and instead burrowed through his arm. Preventing it from traveling further into his body, he contained it in his arm and began to restrain its influence while being able to develop a strong bond and work together.
This helps Shinichi keep his untainted brain from being hosted by other Parasytes as he struggles to survive.

Higashi-no-Eden-dvd-353x500 Top 10 Philosophical Anime [Updated Best Recommendations]

Parasyte Official Trailer

1. Mushishi

Higashi-no-Eden-dvd-353x500 Top 10 Philosophical Anime [Updated Best Recommendations]

This anime is about the most basic form of life, Mushishi.
They exist in the world without goals or purpose, and are beyond the beliefs of good and evil. Existing in many forms and having the ability to mimic the natural occurrences of the world, only a vague description of these entities can define them.
The is due to the fact of humans being unaware of their existence. Only Mushi-shi, those who research and understand their place in the world's hierarchy of life, know about them.

One individual, Ginko, strives in knowing all about them in hopes of finding out the meaning of life.

Higashi-no-Eden-dvd-353x500 Top 10 Philosophical Anime [Updated Best Recommendations]

Mushishi Official Trailer

That's it for this segment of Top 10 Philosophical Anime. I'm sure these series will really get you thinking, if not, their sure to bring excitement of imagination and the possibilities in your life. Some of the anime above, has forced me to watch it one more time so I can fully understand the message perceived in the anime. Don't ask me how many times I had to watch FLCL in order to understand it. There are some honorable mentions of other anime that didn't quite make it to the list, and they are: Black Jack, Texnolyze, Metropolis, Casshern Sins, and Sky Crawler.

I hope you all enjoyed this segment and that it helps to continue your search in finding great anime.

What series are you going to check out next? Is there an anime you would like to add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!

Higashi-no-Eden-dvd-353x500 Top 10 Philosophical Anime [Updated Best Recommendations]

Editor in Chief

Author: Alfonso "Fonzy" Ortiz

I'm a Geek, Nerd, Writer, and lover of all video games, anime, science, technology and the internet. I previously worked for, a contributing writer as the Japanese Corespondent at and founded a website called! I currently live in Japan as Editor in Chief of Honey's Anime and its very talented writers! I'm down for anything! What do you want to do?

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