Anime is more than just a form of entertainment; it is a medium that portrays the complexities of society through its stories and characters. The beauty of anime lies in its ability to showcase a range of emotions, from heartwarming moments of hope and love to heartbreaking tragedies and despair. Anime offers us a glimpse into the human condition and encourages us to reflect on the world around us.
Through epic battles and captivating anime characters, we can see the good and the bad, the triumphs and the flaws of society. It allows us to experience different perspectives and cultures, giving us a broader understanding of the world. In a way, anime is a mirror that reflects the truth and makes us question our beliefs.
From exploring mental illness to corruption and the consequences of war and propaganda, numerous anime shows delve into thought-provoking social themes. These anime shows challenge us to think critically about our society and issues. They allow us to contemplate complex moral and ethical questions and give us a deeper understanding of the world and its people.
So, whether you’re a seasoned otaku or just getting into anime, you will find something to learn from this diverse and thought-provoking medium.
Here are nine anime shows that explore thought-provoking social themes.
Neon Genesis Evangelion (Streaming on Netflix)
Set in a dystopian world where Earth defends itself against violent monsters, Neon Genesis Evangelion builds a world where children are treated like tools and weapons. The show challenges the notion of the child-soldier archetype, exploring the psychological impact of war on the young.
Code Geass explores the weakness of human willpower, following Lelouch Lamperouge on his journey to destroy the tyrannical Britannia that currently rules Japan with an iron fist. Lelouch’s quest for power exposes the corrupting influence of absolute power as he becomes the very thing he sought to destroy.
Death Note (Streaming on Netflix)
Death Note shows how power and authority corrupt even the most well-meaning individuals. Light Yagami’s original mission stems from a genuine desire to improve the world, but he quickly becomes hysterical with power, spiralling out of control.
Ghost In The Shell (Streaming on SonyLiv)
Ghost In The Shell occurs in a future society where people enhance their bodies through technology. People hack these modified humans and manipulate their memories, making viewers question what it means to be human.
Welcome To The N.H.K.
Using dark comedy, Welcome To The N.H.K. provides commentary on living with anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses. The show explores the struggles of the protagonist, Tatsuhiro Satou, as he navigates his way through life in the face of social isolation and personal demons.
A Silent Voice (Streaming on Netflix)
A Silent Voice highlights the intricacies of bullying by exploring the story from the perspective of the bully, Ishida Shoya. The anime challenges viewers to look beyond the surface level of bullying and consider the underlying issues that cause it.
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Tokyo Ghoul explores the ostracization of individuals who are different. The protagonist, Ken Kaneki, is part human, part ghoul, and is shunned by society. The show delves into the psychological impact of isolation and explores themes of identity and belonging.
Attack on Titan
The epic tale of Attack on Titan starts with a battle between humans and monsters, but as the story unfolds, it reveals the devastating impact of war on innocent children. The chaos and confusion reach a critical level, leaving people lost and unsure of who to trust. This powerful message exposes the destructive nature of war and the manipulative influence of propaganda.
Terror In Resonance
Terror In Resonance portrays a society where terrorism is no longer a surprise. The story revolves around terror attacks that cause the public to live in constant fear, revealing the consequences of a society built on fear and manipulating propaganda.
Anime can explore complex social issues and hold a mirror up to society. These nine anime shows challenge us to question our beliefs and consider the implications of our societies. Do you have other recommendations that we should add to the list? Let us know in the comments.