Psychological movies are usually not what most expect in anime. Typically most hear the word psychological and think that an anime movie will then be filled with horror elements or things that aim to mess with your mind. However, the beauty of the psychological theme in any movie is that while it does make your mind think a bit more, it can be thrown into nearly any other movie genre and be used in different formats. That is why today we’re going to help you, the fans of the psychological genre, find some popcorn worthy psychological anime movies to watch. That’s right, today we’re looking the Top 10 Psychological Anime Movies.
We here at Honey’s Anime always pride ourselves in many top ten lists that contain diversity. While yes, all these psychological anime movies fit under the psychological theme, we made sure that not every single one was alike. Our internet research as well as internal debates had us diving into hundreds of films to find the best of the best. Our intellectual trip found us watching movies where time travel by phones is possible and words are exchanged in beautiful Japanese gardens. Regardless of your taste in anime movies, our list of psychological anime movies will be sure to find something you’ll wish to sit down and watch. Now it’s time to begin our list, so be prepared, we’re about to list off some great psychological anime movies!
10. Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade (Jin:Roh)
- Episodes: 102 mins
- Air Date: Nov 17, 1999
What if during WW2 things went very different? Instead of the Nazi regime losing, they rose to power instead and Germany became a superpower. In Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade this thought is the reality and Germany has taken over Japan as a nation. A new reign of powers begins and the world shifts. Kazuki, an officer for the Kerberos Panzer Corps ends up finding his life changing as well when a terrorist-like incident removes the reality he thought he knew and shows that the powers at be aren’t what they seem.
Every good list must start off on a strong balance and for us that would be Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade. While on the surface Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade may seem like just an average alternate world take with military action and drama leading the helm. However, underneath that layer is a movie that has plenty of twists and turns to keep the viewer guessing what’s is reality and what is not. Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade really loves to show some graphic content and isn’t afraid of censorship. It’s for that reason why Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade can really get the audience immersed and make those thoughts take root. Seriously, while it may have released at the end of the 90s, this movie will be something you’ll still enjoy even now.
9. Kotonoha no Niwa (The Garden of Words)
- Episodes: 46 mins
- Air Date: May 31, 2013
What happens when a chance encounter brings about a love that neither could have foreseen? Akizuki Takao and Yukino Yukari are not fond of their current lives. Akizuki, a young high schooler, wishes to be an adult and hopefully a shoemaker. Yukino is striving to live the life of an adult but finds her sadness ebbing away at her heart. In this romantic story, these two will find that their meeting takes place on a rainy day in a park that seems to be all theirs to use…
Kotonoha no Niwa may only be 46 minutes long but the lasting effects on your mind will be hours or even days in this beautiful romance story. The taboo relationship of both Akizuki and Yukino will make you question how love can be found in almost any circumstance and in the oddest measures. Famous director Shinkai Makoto helms this short movie and you can see his mindset as if he was conveying the story to you directly. Helping you get immersed in this psychological romantic plot is the beautiful animation only Shinkai is known for. Honestly, very few would think a piece like this could be psychological but when you begin to delve into Kotonoha no Niwa’s setting and ideals you’ll realize why it’s on this list.
8. Perfect Blue
- Episodes: 80 mins
- Air Date: Feb 28, 1998
Fame and success aren’t always a blessing and that truth hits Mima Kirigoe very hard. Having left her J-pop Idol group, Mima has found some success in a new crime drama TV show. Though thanks to crazed fans, hard work hours and Mima’s own mind it seems that the world is against her. Perfect Blue asks this one simple question of the audience: What can make a person break mentally?
Perfect Blue tackles the real life drama that many actors and actresses have as they grow more popular in the industry. The issues Mima deals with are all too real and Perfect Blue does a terrific job showing viewers through amazing animation. Studio Madhouse was the perfect fit for a reality bending movie that makes viewers really wonder what is real in Mima’s head and what is fictional. Is she losing her mind or is this really occurring? Trust us folks, Perfect Blue is a truly masterful film and you’ll enjoy every minute of Mima’s struggle to gain control of what little control she has left. We give this movie a full recommendation to watch.
7. Tekkon Kinkreet
- Episodes: 111 mins
- Air Date: Dec 23, 2006
As we claimed early on, not every movie needs to use psychological aspects in the same way. Tekkon Kinkreet does just that by having a story infused with animation that is both beautiful and mind shifting. Two orphans exist in a place called Treasure Town. Named Black and White they aren’t afraid to go all out against anyone that threatens them or what they hold dear. That’s why things are about to go down when a mysterious foreigner wishes to build an amusement park thus destroying the town. Black and White refuse to let this go down without a fight.
Studio 4C is known for some truly amazing anime works and added to that list is Tekkon Kinkreet. From beginning to end, any audience that partakes of Tekkon Kinkreet will be greeted with an excellent story as well as some amazing animation. The psychological themes embedded in the art and characters is subtle and thus why we feel it’s such a perfect fit for our Top Ten Psychological Anime Movies list. Trust us folks, Tekkon Kinkreet may look odd from the cover but as they say don’t judge a book by it’s cover.
6. Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica Movie 2: Eien no Monogatari (Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie Part 2: Eternal)
- Episodes: 109 mins
- Air Date: Oct 13, 2012
Sayaka Miki’s wish was finally realized, but with it coming to fruition, her wish has bought horrible side effects. Sayaka has begun to lose her humanity and her soul gem is becoming corrupted. Adding fuel to the fire, Homura Akemi tells the story of where witches come from. If Sayaka’s gem isn’t purified, she will become the very thing she hates. With time not on the girls’ side, what will happen next is truly unforeseen.
Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica Movie 2: Eien no Monogatari brings back the dark magical girl concepts from the series and first movie but improves them tenfold. The issues with what is pure and evil has always been a struggle in this series but now it has even more questions and thoughts in the sequel movie. If you’re new to the franchise starting off with Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica; Eien no Monogatari Movie 2 would seem odd but if you’re a fan then you’ll definitely want to check this movie out. Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica Movie 2: Eien no Monogatari makes sure you remember not all magical girl series are cute and simple. Just note that seriously this movie isn’t for the faint of heart.
5. Death Billiards
- Episodes: 25 mins
- Air Date: Mar 2, 2013
Death Billiards takes place in an odd bar called Quindecim. When two souls arrive in the bar they are greeted by a strange man and woman behind the counter. The man calls himself Decim and claims the two strangers must play a game. The game of choice is Billiards but there are many twists to this usually normal bar game. What awaits the winner and loser in this strange bar must be seen to be believed.
Death Billiards is actually the prequel story that leads to the release of Death Parade a very popular anime series by studio Madhouse. While Death Billiards may seem akin to just a regular episode length title, the impact of the story presented will have audience open jawed. The issues of life and death, of choices made in one’s life and the consequences of all those themes propel Death Billiards right into our list of psychological movies. The interesting narrative and flow of the plot will definitely keep audiences interested and glued to their screens. Trust us folks by the end of Death Billiards you’ll find your mind reeling a bit and wanting more, the true power of any psychological anime movie.
4. Steins;Gate Movie: Fuka Ryouiki no Déjà vu (Steins;Gate: The Movie- Load Region of Déjà vu)
- Episodes: 90 mins
- Air Date: Apr 20, 2013
Okabe had survived the D-Mail incident and was finally able to return the world back to the Steins;Gate world line. However, by doing so Okabe has ended up finding his own presence in the world conflicting with what should be reality. Though in this world line, Kurisu knows little of Okabe, she realizes that he is in danger when he begins disappearing before her very eyes and no one else seems to notice. Now charged with replicating Okabe’s actions, Kurisu must find a means to stop Okabe’s removal from history at any cost. Steins;Gate Movie: Fuka Ryouiki no Déjà vu the time traveling is now in Kurisu’s hands.
You didn’t think we would forget to add Steins;Gate Movie: Fuka Ryouiki no Déjà vu did you? Steins;Gate, as a series, was a psychological thrill ride full of mind bending realities and thoughts. That same element of a genre returns in Steins;Gate Movie: Fuka Ryouiki no Déjà vu even better than before. Also returning is the greatness of the various characters who we truly missed once the series concluded. Honestly there isn’t much to say, if you loved Steins;Gate and the psychological ideals and themes it presented, there will be no reason for you not to watch Steins;Gate Movie: Fuka Ryouiki no Déjà vu.
- Episodes: 90 mins
- Air Date: Nov 25, 2006
Dr. Atsuko Chiba is famous in the real world thanks to her new technology. This device allows a person, in this case Atsuko’s alter ego Paprika, to see a dreamers deepest thoughts by diving into them. The abilities for the study of humanity’s inner mind could reach a new apex thanks to Atsuko. However, all the while, what if such an invention fell into the hands of those with dark intentions? That very scenario occurs one day and it’s up to Paprika to somehow figure out who has it and stop them from using it for the wrong means.
Paprika is one of those anime movies you can explain to everyone and get different reactions. The movie could be seen as an artistic masterpiece thanks to studio Madhouse. All the while, it could be seen as a movie depicting what lies inside a human’s mind at the deepest level. Regardless of the takeaway, this is one of those movies that is the quintessential movie to have for a psychological list and thus why it has the number 3 slot. Haven’t you ever wondered what a dreamer really wants and desires?
2. Ghost in the Shell
- Episodes: 82 mins
- Air Date: Nov 18, 1995
Ghost in the Shell takes place in the year 2029 where technology has truly advanced. The industry of robotics has led to a whole new world for humanity and some amazing accomplishments. However, while this advancements has been a great boon to society it has also led to a rise in criminal activities worldwide. Thus Section 9 was created. Section 9’s job is to use their members to control cyber-crime and robotic crimes to avoid chaos running rampant. Though members like Major Motoko Kusanagi will have their mettle tested when a scenario appears unlike any other before it.
Ghost in The Shell is the true definition of a psychological anime movie in almost every sense. Sure the animation is amazing as well as the narration but the themes presented are truly what make Ghost in the Shell so much more powerful. Seeing the scary reality of a future that is run by cyber concepts is both interesting as well as terrifying and that is one of the major hooks of Ghost in the Shell. While Ghost in the Shell has had many adaptations and movies we fully recommend the very first one released in 1995 as it still stands to be the best of the franchise. Now then folks, are you ready for our number one reveal?
1. Neo Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion
- Episodes: 87 mins
- Air Date: Jul 19, 1997
The end is indeed quickly approaching. The fight between the Angels and humans has finally reached its climax in the Evangelion story. Can Shinji and the rest of NERV save the world or will their actions propel the world into an even faster catastrophe? With the future at stake, the young pilots begin their descent into a war that seems very one sided. Humanity and life has never been closer to extinction...
Let’s face it, Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion was a no brainer to end our list of psychological movies proper. Audiences who were displeased with the TV series of Evangelion finally received a true ending to the story of Shinji and his allies in this 87 minute long movie. From the opening moments to the end, our minds—as well as the fans’—were left completely in awe at studios Gainax and Production I.G ending for this wonderful mecha series. We here at Honey’s Anime have to say this, Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion will take your thoughts on the series and provide to you a nonstop barrage of plot twists and ideals the like of which the series has never done before. Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion is easily one of the best psychological anime movies to date and it’s why we have it here in the number one slot.
The feeling of letting an anime movie or even series enter your mind and cause you to begin thinking deeply about something is an interesting concept. For any genre in general, this feat usually is a hard thing to accomplish but thanks to the psychological genre it’s pretty easy to accomplish. Overall, we’re sure that we here at Honey’s Anime have devised a great list that you’ll find some titles to really appreciate and enjoy. As always if you think we missed something feel free to leave a comment down below. If you loved this article be sure to keep a lookout for more great articles here on this fantastic site.