Hey guys, this is the 3rd installment of my top 10 anime series of the year by genre, and this time, I would like to share my top 10 psychological anime of 2020 which truly gave us a nerve-wracking experience throughout its run and some of it even had us questioned our sanity to a certain extent.
This is the genre that seriously liked because it touched other genres too – it can be a horror anime, it is deep and philosophical, it can be science-fiction, it can be a pure and plain mystery or crime story, and so on. Its story usually plays around with our mind and emotion, it can be an astounding roller coaster ride for many anime fans and such is the case with most of the anime I had listed here. Without further ado, let me share my top 10 psychological anime series of 2020.
Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World Season 2
Natsuki Subaru once again brought us to a never-wracking anime experience this year as he returns in the 2nd season of Re:Zero which ended up as our 3rdbest anime from summer 2020 lineup. How many times must he die to make things right? What if every move turns out to be a dead-end? To be honest, Re:Zero Season 2 had been an even puzzling experience for me compared to its prequel. We had seen Subaru reached the breaking limit, she had seen the people that he cared the most died many times and in various ways. He felt helpless and it has been a senseless battle against fate, against a higher power and that’s the arrival of the Witches even intensified everything. He had been played around by Echidna, and he had come face to face with those detestable witches, we even had a glimpse of Satella. In the end, not all hope was lose and, amazingly, Subaru is also surrounded by people who inspired and motivated him to do better in every chance he gets. With that being said, there’s no doubt that Re:Zero Season 2 topped our list of best psychological anime of 2020 by a wide margin.
What is evil? This had been the question that was presented to us by this mystery-thriller anime which was originally part of the 2019 lineup. Its remaining episodes that aired in 2020 had been an agitating experience for the fans and it has been agonizing too. It also raises the question, is there any limit to evil? What’s the real enemy of the human heart? It brings forth the individuality of us to the surface, as humans, we are subject to be tempted by evil and sometimes, we don’t have many options left but to succumb to it. In the end, Babylon is a psychological anime that was established through the sacrifices and deaths of many characters in its story – and somehow, as a viewer, all I could feel was to be disappointed. However, the villain Ai Magase is not an enemy to be defeated but she’s a personification of evil, she presented the questions to us, and it is up to us as humans to choose which side should we supported since there is no absolute evil, and there is no absolute kindness.
It’s all in our heads. Pet is the anime that will give you a conflicting emotional ride due to its surprising plot twists. We follow a group of people with supernatural power to control human minds, infiltrate their psyche, and destroyed them psychologically. With all the conspiracy and mafia intrigues in this anime, it raises a lot of questions about humanity’s moral standard as the story presented that this group can make a pet out of a human heart and mind, and make them obey to their own will.
Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story
Here’s another anime where the main characters had to fight witches. We had cute girls dressed in their gorgeous costumes fighting powerful beings called witches while we also had a glimpse of their backstories of our magical girls – their desires, their struggles, and their weaknesses.
This anime is a game of AMONG US, Talentless Nana is an exciting anime where a talentless character was assigned the task of killing talented people (gifted with special abilities like those mutants from X-MEN) on a mysterious island where escape is not an option. These talented people are believed to be a threat to humanity due to their abilities, in this island the battle between the talented and the lone talentless took place albeit our main character sure knows how to fool her opponents. I believed it is a well-written mystery anime that showcase the main character’s genius mind and shenanigans instead of surprising the fans of the outcome. In the first place, the outcome can be easily ascertained when an episode started but the process is what makes it fun, surprising, and enjoyable.
Higurashi: When They Cry GOU
Higurashi: When They Cry GOU | Studio: Passione
Here we have the sequel of Higurashi: When They Cry, one of the best horror and psychological anime we ever had. Just like Re:Zero, this anime follows a similar pattern, just how many times do a character needs to fail or died just to make things right? This is rather like an experiment where people’s lives are at stake, specifically the lives of the main characters. A supernatural story with a time-travel cliche, this is perfect for people who love conflicting stuff and effing bloody.
Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina
People said that Majo no Tabitabi is also known as Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina is just an easygoing, fluffy, and family anime but that’s just on the surface. There’s a lot of lessons to learn from it, and these very reasons also made the fans hate the main character for certain occasions. However, the dark side of this anime is presenting a moral story not just for the main character but also for its viewers. There are so many underlying philosophical thoughts embedded in it both in its darker and tragic stories, and its feel-good episodes. While there is also plenty of anime like Majo no Tabitabi, I believed that it is especially unique in its way as a travel-themed anime with philosophical cliche.
Moriarty the Patriot
It takes a greater evil to defeat another evil. This is what the premise of Moriarty the Patriot looks like. Our main character is an orphan who got adopted into a noble house, and he is a genius who teaches mathematics at the university. However, he is a crime consultant behind his perfect facade, using any means to remove the sinful people on the Earth’s surface. Moriarty the Patriot is an anime that raises questions about human hearts and their morals. Is evil necessary? Is it the only way to bring justice to fruition? In the end, I love how our main character is judging the evildoers while keeping his hands clean, this is a crime anime that people surely love especially since watching the bad people get their decent amount of karma is just wonderful.
Darwin’s Game | Studio: Nexus
Coming ninth on our list is the action-packed anime Darwin’s Game. Wouldn’t you lose your mind if you had been tangled in a mysterious game of life and death where players have to kill each other? That is the story of Darwin’s Game, one of my favorite adventure anime from the winter 2020 lineup. It’s nerve-wracking at the same time as we had seen how some players can go so low just for the sake of their desire, it might be selfish or not. The story is exciting that gives us fantastic shounen vibes and a bit of fanservice while also presenting philosophical questions on the surface.
Kaguya-sama: Love is War Season 2
Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai: Tensai-tachi no Ren’ai Zunōsen | Studio: A-1 Pictures
Just like a gamble, Kaguya-sama: Love is War is not just a plain romance-comedy anime. It is also a mind-boggling story hidden behind its funny cliche.
And these are my list of the best psychological anime this 2020. Is there any anime that you think must have been included? Please let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
Code name: Yu Alexius is an ambiguous entity who loves to talk about anime and Chinese animation in general. An insatiable soul from the Pearl of the Orient, a frustrated writer and a Houtarou Oreki wanna-be. He is a piece of a lunatic and everything crazy.