The best philosophical anime that opens your eyes

Anime has become its own niche that can no longer be contained within descriptors like “children’s animation”. With a wide range of genres and clichés, it has become a multifunctional storytelling tool. Philosophical anime in particular is especially good at highlighting this unique force.

As a medium, anime offers producers the unique opportunity to convey deeper messages in a beautiful visual format. These are some of the best philosophical anime that demonstrate the revealing potential of the world.

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Mushishi: the mystical world of Japanese tradition

in the world of Mushishi, “Mushi” are simple existences without a purpose or a confined form. They are the most basic life forms in the world and can mimic anything from plants to disease. Most humans are unaware of its existence, with the Mushishi, the people who investigate Mushi, being the exception. Ginko is one of those Mushishi who travels the world, looking for Mushi-related happenings and helping ordinary people.

The Japanese tradition is very much in tune with nature and Mushishi It perfectly highlights that connection, taking themes and inspiration from classic Japanese legends and transforming them into stories with substance and context. The mysterious Mushi translates directly into the mystery of nature. Following Ginko’s journey as he solves various mysteries surrounding Mushi, Mushishi invites viewers to also contemplate the unknowns of nature.

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March Comes In Like A Lion: The Strength of Love and Family Ties

Shogi is a form of Japanese chess that requires an equal amount of patience and fortitude, and those who are at the top are definitely not simple people. Rei Kiriyama is the youngest female professional shogi player at 17 years old. She has developed a lonely personality that isolates him from her peers ever since she lost her parents and her younger sister in a car accident, and she never regained a sense of familial love from her adoptive family. That is, until a chance encounter with the three Kawamoto sisters, Akari, Hinata, and Momo, floods Rei’s lonely world with warmth and love once again.

Unexpectedly, March comes like a lion, an anime about shogi, is deeply insightful and poetic. Rei’s interactions with the people around him, whether it be her opponents in their shogi matches or the Kawamoto sisters, prompt deeper questions about the meaning and purpose of life. The world of shogi is harsh and extremely unforgiving on the psyche, but throughout the series, Rei finds herself saved by the sisters’ kindness and warmth. Her character development is flawless as she gradually learns to form new relationships.

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Death Parade: What is human nature when there is nothing left to lose?

Quindecim is a special bar staffed by a figure known as Decim. How special is it? It is the place where certain souls are sent to be judged if they die together, where Decim will invite them to play a game with their own souls at stake. As his true nature is revealed through the games, Decim will pass judgment: is the patron’s soul sent to reincarnate or go into the void, never to be seen again? The appearance of a certain girl with amnesia begins to challenge Decim’s decisions.

death parade, set on the divide between life and death, wonders what would happen if humans no longer had the shackle of their mortal lives to restrain them. What would be its true nature? It is a bittersweet but sad story of regret and hope.

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Natsume’s Book of Friends: The Relationship Between Humans and Yokai

Diving back into the world of Japanese tradition from a slightly more playful perspective is Natsume’s book of friends. He follows Takashi Natsume, who has always been able to see the yokai that chases after him all day. One day he finds a “Book of Friends” that contains the names of the yokai that his late grandmother, Reiko, had defeated. As his descendant, Natsume also has this power, which is why the yokai keep chasing him in hopes of retrieving his name. Protected by a guardian spirit known as Madara, Natsume decides to return the names to the yokai they were stolen from.

In its center, Natsume’s book of friends is a story about the bonds between humans and yokai. In each episode, Natsume meets a different one with different purposes and stories, each as memorable as the last. As he learns more about the yokai world, his bond with them deepens, as does his trust in humans. It is a soft yet poetic story with beautifully symbolic animation and music.

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Psycho-Pass: Can Machines Really Predict the Dark Side of Human Nature?

psycho_pass characters

In the future, criminals are no longer apprehended after committing a crime, but even before the crime is committed. Through the implementation of the Sibyl System, inspectors can now arrest citizens based on their Psycho-Pass., a score representing signs of criminal intent. Working alongside the Inspectors are the Enforcers, former Inspectors who have become latent criminals based on their high Psycho-Pass.

This anime explores the purity of justice and the moralistic consequence of using a potentially flawed system to detain innocent civilians. Told through the eyes of young inspector Akane Tsunemori with a strong sense of justice, Psycho-Pass warns about the pitfalls of relying on an easily flawed system that only strives to prevent and fails to address the real problem.

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ID: Invaded: Unraveling the Minds of Murderers and Criminals

Continuing the trend of Psycho-Pass it is Identification: Invaded, another futuristic anime that explores the consequences of using a different law enforcement system. The Mizuhanome System allows detectives to enter a digital world that is a constructed representation of the criminal mind. These detectives must unravel the identity of the criminals by exploring their often distorted psychological blueprints, but there’s a problem: the people who enter these worlds must have killed someone before them. Former detective Akihito Narihisago is one of those people.

The criminal mind has always been an intriguing topic to explore. Identification: Invaded provides a unique visual interpretation of this as Akihito attempts to unravel the twisted minds of the criminals within these digital worlds. The line between good and evil blurs as the logic behind the killer’s twisted motivations is gradually revealed.

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