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Old 2013-04-01, 18:17   Link #1
custardpie
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Lookiing for thought-provoking anime

I used to watch a lot of ongoing anime as a teenager, but it's been a while since I lost interest in the newest shows. The most recent ones I've enjoyed watching are Fate/Zero and Madoka Magica. The only show I'm watching right now is Saki Achiga-hen.

The reason I grew tired of watching new anime is that I've had quite enough of overabundant moe (shows like IS), interesting premises that end up inconclusive (shows like C), and just plain boring ones.

Recently, I watched the entire series of Hyouka, which revived my interest in anime. Right now I'm looking for thought-provoking anime, something that would leave me with food for thought even after I finish watching. Or something with deep emotional impact. It's hard to explain exactly what I'm looking for, and I'm sure my judgments depend mostly on my taste. Here's a brief list to give you an idea of what I'm looking for:

Some of the shows I enjoyed watching are
Cowboy Bebop
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Gunslinger Girl (the first season)
Twelve Kingdoms
Honey and Clover
Toradora!
Chrono Crusade
Fullmetal Alchemist
Kino's Journey
Gankutsuou

Shows that I enjoyed watching mostly due to visuals are
Bakemonogatari
Madoka Magica
Haruhi series
movies by Miyazaki Hayao
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Old 2013-04-01, 18:22   Link #2
mistress_kisara
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Try Psycho-Pass and Shin Sekai Yori
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Old 2013-04-01, 18:36   Link #3
custardpie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistress_kisara View Post
Try Psycho-Pass and Shin Sekai Yori
I did watch the first few episodes of Psycho-Pass when it came out, but I found the character designs to be off-putting and some of the premises to be forced and superficial. Does it get better as it progresses? Also, seems like Shin Sekai Yori has subpar visuals but an interesting storyline. Thank you for your recommendation - I probably wouldn't have thought of trying it hadn't it been recommended by someone else.
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Old 2013-04-01, 18:51   Link #4
mistress_kisara
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Quote:
Originally Posted by custardpie View Post
I did watch the first few episodes of Psycho-Pass when it came out, but I found the character designs to be off-putting and some of the premises to be forced and superficial. Does it get better as it progresses?
Its from the same person who wrote Fate/Zero and Madoka Magica, for me it did get better later on

You can also try Revolutionary Girl Utena the art is old school but really good!
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Old 2013-04-01, 18:55   Link #5
kitten320
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Age: 24
Well... there are much more

Aoi Bungaku series - set of small stories, each one provokes different thoughts and emotions.

Code Geass - pretty thought provoking despite being action orientated.

Death Note - the most obvious choice if you didn't watch it yet.

Elfen Lied - dramatic, thought provoking and gory.

Ga-Rei Zero - thought provoking in a sense but more dramatic that makes you feel for a while after finishing the series.

GTO - despite being a comedy for most part, it covers some heavy themes that make you feel and think.

Jigoku Shoujo - episodic series about mistreated people who starve for revenge. Just like Death Note covers the theme "Is it okay to kill evil people?"

Kokoro Connect - something slightly different. It looks moe but is strongly drama orientated and gies through variety of themes and problems to which you could relate. Evokes some thinking.

Mawaru Penguindrum - different form most of the series. Style is kind of similar to Bakemonogatari since most of the things are symbolic and make you think.

Monster - serious, detectives series that follow a famous surgeon who tries to stop a serial killer whom he saved as a child.

NHK ni Youkoso! - another comedic series that go through drama and life hardships that make you think.

Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom - a young man was robbed of his memories and put between a choice: Get killed or live as an assassin.
Series go through lots of themes that won't leave you emotionless.

Psycho-Pass - strong suspense series about a new government system. You'll be taken on a journey to see if that system is a good or bad thing. Twists, killings, entertaining story.
And yes it does get better as it progresses since it starts to have a more linear story.

Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin - emotional and inspiring series that won't leave you unemotional.

Seirei no Moribito - great adventure series that go through lots of entertaining and useful stuff. Series follow female bodyguard Balsa who was entrusted to protect young prince Chagum from his father emperor who wants him dead. Really good and strong series.

Shiki - by the end of the series you'll wonder who is a real monster there.

Shinsekai yori - great series that will make you think and wonder a lot as well as feel. Don't let episode 8 push you away. You'll see what I mean when you watch it. It is mostly the only episode like that. After that those things barely ever get shown again and focus more on actual story that gets better from then on.

Steins;Gate - shows how tiny changes in time could change everything. Has a bit similar theme going on as in Madoka series. Mostly gets better in second half.

Hope this helps.
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Old 2013-04-01, 18:56   Link #6
Konakaga
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Quote:
Originally Posted by custardpie View Post
I did watch the first few episodes of Psycho-Pass when it came out, but I found the character designs to be off-putting and some of the premises to be forced and superficial. Does it get better as it progresses? Also, seems like Shin Sekai Yori has subpar visuals but an interesting storyline. Thank you for your recommendation - I probably wouldn't have thought of trying it hadn't it been recommended by someone else.
yes it does after a certain arc begins psycho pass becomes really interesting rather the simply crimes in the earlier arcs. And might be a slight spoiler here:
Spoiler for regarding the premise:


And Shin Sekai Yori is really excellent imo.

Other suggestions:
Death Note - A classic in this type of series
Steins;Gate - a series dealing with a different form of time travel, it starts of slow to some though.
Mawaru Penguindrum - has to been seen to understand, though like s;g it starts of slow to some.
Eve no Jikan (Movie) - a movie on robotics, AI, morality, humanity, and where some of those lines start to blur.
Colorful (Movie) - a really interesting movie with strong emotional impact.
Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo - I wouldn't call it quite thought-provoking, but I see Toradora! and a few other drama/romance on the list, and I consider it one of the strongest in the genre in some time, so figure it was worth mentioning.
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Old 2013-04-01, 20:21   Link #7
Cold~as~Ice
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do go check out zetsuen no tempest if you're looking for intersting characters, plot line, and quality animation. don't miss out on this precious gem

http://myanimelist.net/anime/14075/Zetsuen_no_Tempest
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Old 2013-04-01, 21:50   Link #8
deadlights911
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Welcome to the NHK
EF - A Tale of Memories
From the New World

You really need to watch all three of those anime
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Old 2013-04-02, 06:37   Link #9
SeijiSensei
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I'll suggest three science-fiction stories, Noein, Dennou Coil, and Oh! Edo Rocket.

The first uses the controversial "many-worlds" interpretation of quantum physics to imagine a world of parallel universes in conflict. Following anime conventions, the crux of this conflict is a twelve-year-old girl living in Hokkaido. The many-worlds notion fell out of favor among physicists though it has lately seen something of a revival.

Dennou Coil takes place in the near future where a virtual-reality space exists alongside the physical world. To experience this world people, mostly kids, wear special glasses. What looks to be a phenomenal playground for children turns out to have a darker side. I'd place Coil in my top-ten, and maybe top-five, list of anime.

Oh! Edo Rocket is set in 1843-44 Edo (now Tokyo) and focuses on the effects of the Tenpou Reforms on the lives of a bunch of poor folks living in a row-house. One of them is young fireworks maker Tamaya Seikichi. He can no longer pursue his line of work because the Reforms outlawed entertainment (a theme that appears in the just-completed AKB0048 as well). Nevertheless he sneaks off to test new formulations and conduct various tests. One day a young woman shows up at Seikichi's door and asks him to build her a rocket to the moon. Rocket is a political satire, uncommon in anime, that touches on militarism and the Cold War as well as repression.

Finally I'll add two other more obscure shows, a mystery-horror story called Mouryou no Hako, and the nearly-complete Hyouge Mono, set in the Sengoku period when famous warlords fought to establish control over Japan. The story itself focuses on the ethic of the "warrior-esthete" for whom collecting rare works of pottery used in tea ceremonies is nearly as important as conquering ones' competitors. Hako was fansubbed by different groups at different times. You can piece together the show from the episodes listed here, or search Google for "mouryou no hako torrent" which will take you to a version I cannot link to here because of the Forum Rules. Two different subbers have worked on Hyouge Mono and all but the last three episodes are now available.
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Old 2013-04-02, 16:23   Link #10
custardpie
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Thank you guys. I've actually watched quite a few among the lists you've suggested (Code Geass, Death note, NHK, Mouryou no Hako, etc), and some that I dropped after a few episodes, but there are also many I haven't watched. So thank you

I'm halfway through Psycho-Pass and I'm actually finding it to be much more engaging than before.
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Old 2013-04-02, 20:19   Link #11
Sackett
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Mawaru Penguindrum is a pretty obvious one. It's essentially a symbolism filled response to the Aum subway attacks.

Another good recent one is Kotoura-san. Just watch the first episode. Seriously, watch the first episode.

I also think you should check out Space Battleship Yamato 2199.
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Old 2013-04-02, 23:28   Link #12
Tougarashi
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I second Psycho-Pass and Shin Sekai Yori. They are both thought provoking series.
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Old 2013-04-03, 22:55   Link #13
TinyRedLeaf
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Since you've enjoyed Kino no Tabi, you should also try Mushishi if you haven't already done so. The story is ostensibly about a travelling "doctor" (Ginko) who treats people in remote Japanese villages afflicted by quasi-supernatural "mushi" (almost-invisible life-forms that are even more primitive than bacteria). Once you get past the first few episodes, however, you'll observe the original author steadily gaining in confidence as her stories become subtle allusions to contemporary cultural issues in Japan. There are episodes that dwell heavily on regret and perseverance, for example. One particularly poignant episode (for me, at least) touched on the emotional connection between a pair of twin sisters. Another episode played on the mixed feelings of guilt and obligation that one has towards one's home town and family.

If nothing else, Mushishi is one of those rare series that draws heavily on the unique Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi, an approach to life where one finds "beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature, of accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death".

Or, as Kino herself would say: "The world is not beautiful; therefore, it is."

========

When others ask me for an anime that provokes deep thought, I never hesitate to recommend Haibane Renmei. By some stroke of serendipity, I watched the series at a time when I needed it most. The story struck an emotional chord like no other anime I have since watched. Not everyone will agree, of course but, still, I am constantly amazed to find over the years that I am not the only one who felt that same way about this apparently simple tale about children with angel-like wings and halos.

It's a story about friendship and faith, sin and salvation. It has some semblance of religious symbolism, but its core message is universally secular, and profoundly moving.

========

For a series that's much more straightforward, but no less thought-provoking, try Planetes. Not just because it deals with a real problem that will greatly affect space travel in years to come, but also because the story deals extensively with the social inequities that arise between the haves and have-nots, as well as the political problems that exist between rich and poor nations.
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