The world can be a complicated, confusing place for anyone. When watching anime, fans fall into another world where things seem simpler, simpler and more sensible. However, sometimes an anime has the opposite effect: it breaks the viewer’s prejudices and causes them to confront life’s unanswered questions. This last case demonstrates the true power of anime as a transformative art form.
All anime series have child messages in them. They could be that friends are all a person needs, that courage can lead to strength, or that love can save the world. When anime is at its best, it can deliver the challenging questions of morality, psychology, and reality in tasty ways that leave viewers thinking long after the show has ended.
Aside from the puzzling alchemical imagery that reigns throughout the series, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood also subtly explores other deep themes. The main message of the series illustrates how, in order to gain something, a person must always sacrifice something else.
The armor that Alphonse has become also raises interesting implications. While Al loses his entire body and is locked in an empty armor, his soul is all that’s left in it. However, this matter of the soul has never been easy as neuroscientists generally believe that the physical brain is necessary to make a person think.
9 Trauma turns to pain in Naruto
The popular series Naruto expresses many interesting psychological themes, both subtle and obvious. A central message of the series is that trauma can influence an individual to take different paths that others may not be able to understand.
Naruto constantly plays the role of the supportive, understanding person who can see flaws in the beliefs caused by trauma because he lives with his own demon that he has overcome within him. Pain shows this aptly. His trauma caused him to turn to bad devices, but Naruto eventually convinced Pain to change after willingly listening to his story.
8 Berserk is a masterclass in nihilism
The pain that Guts, the main character of Berserk, endures, is magnified by its sheer futility and hopelessness. In the original 1997 anime rendition, the story underscores this sense of futility by ending with no positive revelation for Guts.
Guts gets no comfort, only the realization that his world is turned upside down and has no choice but to live. This bleak picture has been explored in the philosophical position of nihilism, which claims that life has no meaning – it simply is. For Guts, he must provide himself with his own purpose in a world where terrible things happen for no reason.
7 Sword Art Online finds meaning in the simulation
Some viewers may wonder if they are living in a simulation. This is a question that some thinkers struggle with today. Sword art online tackles this question directly by showing what it can be like to be forced into such a circumstance.
However, if everything was just a simulation, that could mean that everything a person knows is fake. However, Kirito and Asuna prove that life can have meaning in the simulated world of Sword art online. They eventually discover that, even if the world around them isn’t real, the true purpose and importance in their lives is the relationships they share with other people.
6 The Promised Neverland questions the extent to which people can be manipulated
While fans watch The Promised Never Land, they immediately learn that nothing is as it seems. This uncertainty culminates in the character of the Mother, Isabella. Her ability to raise the children only to manipulate them for her own benefit exposes an ugly side of human nature.
At the same time, the children show that the innocence of youth can overcome impossible obstacles if it can resist indoctrination in the status quo. Ultimately, Isabella’s willingness to help them expresses her mature understanding of the right of young people to challenge the old ways that stand in the way of their freedom. Emma and the kids teach fans that there is always a way to overcome barriers with a little courage.
5 Spike fills his own void in the void of space in Cowboy Bebop
Love, loneliness and regret are some of the overarching psychological themes explored in this futuristic masterpiece Cowboy Bebop. As Spike, Jet, Faye and Ed travel through space, their past conflicts constantly haunt them and are compelled by a desire to solve them.
The Existentialist Motif, “existence precedes essencesuggests that a person creates their own purpose in life – this is exactly what Spike and the crew embody. To the viewer, it seems as if the crew is always looking for something through the vast vacuum of space, despite often never any real purpose.
4 Elfen Lied has never been more relevant to society
In Elf Song, the battle of the mutated species, the Diclonius, shows what it’s like to be judged on the basis of racial discrimination and prejudice. The Diclonius are considered violent. However, Elf Song challenges this idea because they may only behave this way in response to how they are treated.
Fans may see this cycle of discrimination, reaction, and further discrimination as paralleling the struggles of minority groups in many societies throughout human history. The ending scene is quite nerve wracking and made Elf Song infamous.
3 Attack on Titan questions the validity of ongoing world conflict
Attack on Titan raises difficult questions about morality and dehumanization in war. As Eren sets his destructive plans in motion, the viewer wonders if there’s another way. The series shows that people are on both sides of every battle. Only when they recognize the humanity in each other can they come to a mutual agreement.
It’s an age-old debate whether it’s right to harm 50 people to save 100. This idea of doing what is best for the greatest number of people is called utilitarianism and has been refuted for hundreds of years. While fans watch the events of Attack on Titan unfold, it becomes painfully clear who is right.
2 Light becomes all he wanted to destroy in Death Note
Absolute power corrupts absolutely – this well-known expression is examined to its logical conclusion in Obituary. What begins with the light trying to use his Death Note to rid the world of evil continues in a spiral of darkness, deception and manipulation.
When Light receives the Death Note, he starts writing names on it with the idea of ridding the world of evil and creating a utopia. But there is a price – and the series makes fans wonder if anyone has the right to play God. These questions are explored in Obituary as Light begins to lead a double life as Kira.
1 Neon Genesis Evangelion is the ultimate “deep” anime
Fans almost always mention it Neon Genesis Evangelion when discussing the most thought-provoking anime. The psychological trauma the characters face in their battle with the Angels are enough to leave a lasting impact on viewers. Rei’s character explores the implications of cloning and what it’s like to be human.
Finally, the controversial ending explores the singularity – an idea that all humans could one day be united as one being. Not only is the outer story profound, but Neon Genesis Evangelion’s imagery is filled with religious symbolism.
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