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Old 2020-11-26, 10:09   Link #1
Transfer Adventurer
Join Date: Oct 2017
What are some good anime that make you think?

I'll refrain from listing examples to prevent steering the direction.

I'm looking for titles that after they are over have you contemplate what you just saw. It would be interesting if you could share what exactly the anime made you think about.

(I'm not looking for anime so bad or strange, that they make you think what the hell you are watching.)
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Old 2020-11-26, 11:12   Link #2
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2012
Senkou no Night Raid and Full Metal Panic I can't say it made me personaly think, because for me it was straightforwardly "Bad guys were right and should have won", but I can imagine lot of people would have to ponder over it's moral "dilemas".

Gundam IBO: Is even less straightforward and morally ambigious

Beastars: It's pretty classic "nature vs nurture" and as always when it's done right it give some food for thoughts.

Ghost in the Shell: Classic questions about nature of soul and life.

Kino's Journey: Kino travels through various cities and each has it's own issues and weird culture. And Kino herself make you wonder when is fine to intervene and when it's NOT fine to NOT intervene.
"I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it" (Charles R. Swindoll)
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Old 2020-11-28, 11:28   Link #3
AS Oji-kun
Join Date: Nov 2006
Age: 71
Gatchaman Crowds and Gatchaman Crowds Insight provide interesting insights into the issues raised by social networking.

Noein led me to read about the "many-worlds" hypothesis in quantum theory.

Bartender helped me understand the aging process which was relevant since I was 57 at the time I first watched it.

I wouldn't say that they made me think, but I enjoy shows with details about Japanese history and culture like Golden Kamuy, Hyouge Mono, Mononoke, and Hidamari no Ki among others.
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Old 2020-12-01, 08:40   Link #4
Transfer Adventurer
Join Date: Oct 2017
Serial Experiments Lain
Each episode is hard to digest, because there are so many things to think about and kinda hard to follow the plot. It raises questions about the whole Internet and connectivity before it even became mainstream and the relationship between humans and computers.

Shin Seiki Evangelion
Probably the only anime I know that goes that deep into its characters and their issues. It's good food for thought about interpersonal relationships.

Koukaku Kidoutai (1995)
Raises the question what it means to be human.

Just makes you think about what the hell you are watching, but in a good way. Don't have the answer, yet. Maybe after a rewatch I'll know more.

Boku no Pico
Made me think about my sexuality. And memes. Mostly memes.
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Old 2020-12-04, 13:57   Link #5
Moving in circles
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Singapore
Age: 46
I Want to Eat Your Pancreas
The movie, and the novel it's based on, can be thought of as the Japanese version of The Fault in Our Stars, but there was a very particular insight from "Pancreas" that struck me hard when I watched it again recently. I'll paraphrase what one of the main characters said:
Our meeting did not happen by chance. It wasn't a coincidence. Everyone is where they are because of the choices they made. Us being in the same class wasn't a coincidence, and it wasn't something like fate. The choices you made, and the choices I made — each and every one of those choices piled up over time and brought us together. And that's why we're where we are today.
...the above ranks easily as one of the most poignant expressions of determinism that I've ever heard. Along with the message of the movie — its themes, allusions, and symbols — "Pancreas" stresses the vital importance of agency in our lives, and I felt grateful to be reminded of this.

Mushishi, alongside Kino no Tabi, was one of the few titles that pulled me back into anime some 10 to 15 years ago. I remain very disappointed in the reboot of Mushishi some years ago, which I felt completely missed the point of the original series. By introducing the "mushi" as the natural cause of various apparently supernatural phenomena, the series invited viewers to think more scientifically about the circumstances shaped by these forces. The mushi do not care — they just are. Things happen, simply because they exist. The way characters respond to the environments shaped by the mushi is, to me, a form of secular humanism that I can only describe as being uniquely East Asian. Episode 17 (Pickers of Empty Cocoons), in particular, remains my absolute favourite, because of the multiple layers of meaning written into the story that make it so profoundly moving.

Houseki no Kuni an absolute gem, every pun intended. The series will forever serve as a masterclass on how 3D animation can be effectively applied to anime. But beyond the technical achievement, HnK was what inspired me to delve further into Buddhist thought and Buddhist philosophy, particularly the doctrine of Dependent Origination. It was, to use the word again, yet another profound experience: I discovered the root of that very Japanese feeling of being connected to one another at a fundamental level, the very definition of what it means to be Japanese. It had not occurred to me before that this idea was so closely intertwined with Buddhist teachings. The other philosophical idea that I was pleased to discover through HnK, was that of the "Ship of Theseus", a thought experiment that strikes at the core of what we mean by "identity". I greatly enjoyed the mental exercise.

The Twelve Kingdoms
...remains the only anime and novel series I can think of that transposed Confucian ethics to a completely original fantasy setting. This was among the first few series that showed me a world of popular entertainment I had not thought possible, stories that resonated strongly with me because they dealt with the Asian philosophies and histories I grew up with, and which are completely absent in Western media. I felt represented, at long last. I suppose it's the same way Asian-Americans felt, when Crazy Rich Asians became a Hollywood hit a couple of years ago. I pity Asian-Americans.

Haibane Renmei
I no longer have the words to adequately express how grateful I was for this series. I stumbled upon it at a time when I needed it the most. The series is ostensibly a story about "sin", as exemplified by its central riddle: "To recognise one's sin is to have no sin. Therefore, are you a sinner?" But the "sin" as presented in this series is actually a metaphor for something deeper, and far more personal: the sense of guilt and self-reproach. The Circle of Sin cannot be broken by oneself — it can only be removed through forgiveness by someone else. In other words, Haibane Renmei was an appeal for all of us to become the "bird" who'll save someone else from the darkness that consumes him. He who is in the dark is unable to recognise the sin that engulfs him. It's up to us to save one another. That's the message of redemption I carry with me to this day.
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