Anime can be much more than a thrilling, action-packed saga or a nostalgic romantic comedy set in high school. Every now and then an anime would defy convention and delve deeper into the metaphysical than the physical, where the biggest crisis is not looming Armageddon but existentialism.

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That being said, these anime are much more difficult to understand than anyone can expect. Both anime newbies and veterans will struggle with this and will probably need two or more views at least to get a clue as to what these shows are trying to convey.

10 Neon Genesis Evangelion shows escapism through Freudian robots

Instrumentality Shinji Ikari

Neon Genesis Evangelion It has a confusing tone from the beginning and the endings don’t clear things up. The televised conclusion is a psychoanalysis of Shinji’s mind. The final movie The end of Evangelion is a blend of sci-fi horror and surrealism that elevates introspection, parental anguish, and sexuality at age eleven.

Evangelion The themes of escapism and individuality only make sense now, thanks to countless flashbacks and reruns. However well crafted these personal reflections may be, they still cannot give a final final reading. For newcomers, it is better to go blind and experiment Evangelion as it is before reading a thesis or two on what exactly Human Instrumentality is.

9 Ergo Proxy is a kind of Cypberpunk philosophy

Ergo Proxy

Anyone expecting an action-packed yet introspective cyberpunk adventure like Ghost in the shell with Ergo Proxy expect much more than they bargained for. Ergo Proxy It starts off like any other dystopian cyberpunk anime, but slowly evolves into one of divinity and humanity’s place (or lack thereof) in the grand scheme of things.

When the central murder case Re-L is investigating doesn’t stun viewers, it’s the deep philosophical discussions about existence and the self that get the job done. Many of the episodes are one-of-a-kind mysteries with their own twists and turns, and they’re all just as mind-blowing as the one before it. Connecting the dots will require more than one visualization per episode.

8 The FLCL trilogy is a coming-of-age anthology of insane

Classic FLCL

On the surface FLCL is a crazy friend comedy starring a serious young man (Naota Nandaba) and a hyperactive girl riding a Vespa (Haruko Haruhara). But beyond the antics and Haruko hitting people with his bass, lies a heartfelt story of loving youth and living in the present. This would be clear if the audience is not too lost or overwhelmed by insanity.

The same applies to late sequels. Progressive FLCL Y Alternative, where Haruko once again helps teenagers to see life differently. Unlike the original, these two are more about moving from adolescence to young adulthood. These are only cleared up by looking again, especially when audiences can piece together the ideas of growing up and the ongoing insanity.

7 Las flores del mal is a nihilistic yet comprehensive view of adolescence

Aku No Hana Sawa

The flowers of Evil it is not confusing in the traditional sense. In truth, it is a fairly simple story about the lives of teenagers growing up in rural Japan. However, what makes him a master of the mind is the way his characters relate to each other, especially when half of them are devious and the other half seem downright evil. And yet their connections are genuine and almost romantic.

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The flowers of Evil it demands a review not because it is a comfort zone, but because of the opposite. How repressed Takao sees in the sociopath Sawa will not be clear in a single sight, and even then, the explanation could be difficult for the public to understand. The manga goes beyond the events of the anime and only slightly clarifies things.

6 The Monogatari series goes beyond the experimental

Monogatari series cast

the Monogatari The series occurs when a generic harem anime intersects with an auteur film, for lack of better words. The result, however, is more introspective than expected. Instead of fulfilling the usual harem fantasies, Monogatari toys with literary cliches, anime as a medium, and the very nature of the Japanese language.

Saying Monogatari is “experimental” is an understatement, as it pushed the limits of what anime could do as entertainment and art. Koyomi and Senjougahara’s bizarre adventures and conversations are riddled with layers, subtext, and symbols that only make sense when seen again. People who are familiar with certain Japanese colloquialisms and norms help a lot.

5 The revolutionary Utena showed an abstract vision of the Shojo genre

Revolutionary girl Utena

There’s just nothing like Revolutionary girl Utena, the anime that catapulted the entire shojo demographic into its darkest territory. On the surface, it’s a more mature fantasy starring two women who may or may not become lovers. Below is a surreal deconstruction of romantic fantasy anime, gender roles and norms, femininity, and more.

This is told through a mixture of religious and philosophical texts, specifically of the Buddhist, Gnostic, and Jungian types. While the basic romance between sword fighter Utena and pink bride Anthy may be easy to grasp at first, things get really weird and abstract starting in the second half, especially in the final movie. Utena’s adolescence.

4 Kyousougiga is a religious Isekai

Kyousougiga Poster

Kyousougiga is one of the more dreamlike anime, not just on this list, but overall, so it’s probably more of a cult hit than a mainstream one. The anime plays on its inner logic and reality, launching its main trio, Kurama, Yakushimaru, and Yase, and the audience into the surreal world of Mirror City.

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Things get even weirder when Koto, a stranger who shares the name of the trio’s mother, suddenly appears and throws it all away. Beyond the realms of dreams that change as you go Kyousougiga more complex are the images and themes of Buddhism and Shintoism, which are combined with Alice in Wonderland-style madness. This is an isekai anime like no other that should be watched at least twice.

3 Lain’s serial experiments become existential in the year 2000

Lain serial experiments

As expected, Lain serial experiments came out at the height of people’s anxieties about the year 2000. Even with that aging look, it’s still a chilling reaction and a look at identity, reality, and the concept of post-humanity in the face of the coming digital age. Due to these intoxicating themes, many view anime as impenetrable and they are right.

Without exaggeration, Lain Iwakura’s immersion in Wired is one of the most difficult anime to comprehend, and that is exactly why it deserves more than one viewing. Aside from trying to make sense of the central mystery and general motivations of the characters, Lain’s serial experiment The underlying philosophies and reflections are sure to drive some viewers to the wall.

two The angel egg is an ethereal abstract dream

Angel egg

This meditative film follows a young woman protecting an egg as she traverses a desolate world, where she meets a traveler. Everything from that point on is left to the interpretation of the viewers. Just put, Angel egg It is one of the anime closest to classical art. Serious anime viewers need to watch it at least once, but even that wouldn’t be enough.

That makes Angel egg More difficult to understand in the first watch is that there is hardly any dialogue or exposure. Whatever themes or messages someone derives from the film are all subjective, although the most common consensuses are biblical in nature. Each repeated view produces new ideas and interpretations, and all are equally valid.

1 Cat soup is a fever dream

Cat soup

Cat soup it’s, well, one of the most abstract things the anime community has ever seen. Here, a cartoon cat saving her sister’s soul from the afterlife, or at least that’s the most common shot. This deceptively simple premise, coupled with a disarmingly cute art style, does little to prepare viewers for the mind-blowing madness that unfolds.

Like an ambiguous dream Cat soup takes audiences on a surreal journey through different locations ranging from mysterious to otherworldly. Yet somehow all of these connect. However, what exactly are they trying to say and what is the overall message of this short anime, however, is a mystery that no amount of repeat visits can truly answer.

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