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So… Today I had a completely different post in mind to write – 5 Psychological Animes I Recommend. However, after some time researching my list to pick the ones, I noticed that I probably don’t know what a psychological Anime is in the first place lol
For example, Blood+, an anime where a teenage girl discovers one day that she is, in fact, a very old vampire with amnesia and has the mission to somewhat save the world. I looked in MAL and Anime-planet… In both websites, the psychological tag is not there… Even though she passes a lot of psychological distress during the show which made me rethink what I think as a psychological Anime. This way, I decided to go and do some research to understand fully this concept.
- “Of, affecting, or arising in the mind; related to the mental and emotional state of a person.”
- “Relating to psychology.”
- “(of an ailment or problem) having a mental rather than a physical cause.”
From here, what I can take is that an Anime to be psychological has to:
- Has to be about psychological distress
- Has to relate with psychology – meaning, there has to be some relation with a psychological theme itself
- The events cause some kind of psychological distress regarding the character.
But, that seems way too broad for me. Especially when we are talking about the last one. There are many Anime shows who use some kind of emotional distress to make the character to overcome them and become stronger.
For example, Assassins’ classroom, shouldn’t it be under the psychological factor? I mean, those kids are trained from day one to kill a professor that they ended up loving. If that does not make psychological distress I don’t know what does.
No, that is not sufficient, we need to go and go deeper.
I found this website while trying to gather more information. Basically is a post talking about the same issue as myself lol
In short, the author states that for an Anime to be psychological has to follow one of the following 3 rules:
- “Psychological anime want you to think, and they really want you to think hard.” – Basically, Anime shows that make you think and try to deduce what is going to happen. One example could be Steins;Gate where you will have to try and understand what is going to happen as also what is in fact happening!
- “A Race Against the Clock – This usually involves dark, grim games or realities that the protagonist will face should they not be able to complete whatever the task is at hand.” – Again, Steins;Gate is a good Anime to exemplify this. The coming back in time, again and again, trying to save Mayuri which puts him in a lot of emotional distress.
- “Let’s Play a Dangerous Game of Ethics” – here he talks about Dead Parade where you are faced with different points of view and difficult ethical questions to answer.
Now, to be honest, I disagree a little bit about this…
For number 1, it’s more of a mystery than a psychological show. For example, you can have a detective show where you try to solve a murder at the same time as the main character and not have any kind of psychological factor at all.
The number 2 is more understandable. Nevertheless, here we are talking about a setting that is perfect for a psychological anime. However, it doesn’t mean that it really needs to be a psychological one. For example, Orage has a kind of setting like this. Everyone gets a letter from the future and have the task to prevent a friend from committing suicide. However, if we go to MAL or Anime-Planet is not under the label of psychological. In my personal opinion, I think it is more of a drama than in fact psychological.
Number 3 is again a setting perfect for psychological. However, as before it can be used in other ways. For example, you can play with the game of ethics and make a comedy out of it. I don’t know if there is one, but well, it could be made!
So… Still no clear definition… This is when I decided to create my OWN definition.
– My Definition for Psychological Anime –
Ok, now, this is my personal opinion and of course, at the end of this post, I will be asking for yours! 🙂 It’s not in the dictionary and might be a different point of view from yours. Nevertheless, here’s what I think that defines a psychological Anime.
- Anime that puts the characters in HIGH amounts of Psychological distress – No, I’m not talking about feeling sad for a week so the character builds up and is able to overcome an obstacle. I’m talking about repeatedly getting into psychological distress. Steins;Gate could be a good example. But also Elfen Lied, Erased, and so on.
- Anime which portrays mind games – Meaning, the way for the character to win is not by fighting but by lying, manipulating, making others feel bad about themselves and so on. Death Note is a great example for this one.
- Anime which is, in fact, surrounding psychological illness – March Comes In Like a Lion is a good example.
- Anime which messes with your psyche – Animes which are intended to make you not understand most of what is happening. Normally going for worlds completely different from ours with strong visuals while things are done in a way that you need to really think hard to understand it. Paprika is a great example.
And… I think that basically grasps what I see as a psychological show!
What about you? Do you agree? If not, what makes an Anime psychological? Tell me all in the comments! Let’s make a general definition for psychological Anime! Discussion… START!