For viewers who find simple storylines lacking, anime with the most complex plots are ranked in descending order which offers intellectual stimulation along with stunning animation.
While some fans watch linear anime stories just to unwind after a long day, there are Otakus like us, who consume anime to witness something intriguing and complicated opposite to typical plots.
If you’re looking for shows, whose every moment felt fishy and kept messing your head consistently, you’ve reached the perfect place.
(The perception of complexity can vary from person to person, and I have provided a general ranking based on their intricate storytelling and plot development.)
10: Heavenly Delusion
In the reign of stories like Jujutsu Kaisen and Demon Slayer, Heavenly Delusion come out with a banger of unique art style and a mystery packed with action.
From beginning to end, it makes you feel like you are missing something. Throughout the whole story except its last episode of season 1, you can’t even realize who the actual protagonists are and what they really are looking for.
With a brain-defusing mystery, there’s only one thing that sticks you to anime, its action, and the characters.
The way studio has presented anime with a mixture of unique art style combined with complex plots is very appreciable.
9: Paranoia Agent
“Paranoia Agent” is one wild roller coaster! The story takes unexpected turns, messing with your head, and leaving you wondering who’s real and what’s a delusion. You better brace yourself for a mind-bending mystery in this complex anime.
It all starts when a famous character designer gets smacked by a mysterious roller-skating kid wielding a bent baseball bat.
But here’s the twist: that’s just the beginning, with the entry of detectives, things get crazier as they dive deeper into the victims’ lives and uncover bizarre connections.
As the series was created in 2004, it may disappoint you if you’re a new anime consumer who only has watched top-notch animes till now. But one thing is certain, after witnessing a super complex plot of this anime, you’ll never think of anime as a stereotypical critic.
8: Re:Zero (Starting Life In Another World)
Amidst typical Isekai storyline, there is anime called Re:Zero Starting Life in another world that comes with a super useless protagonist neglecting the typical Isekai narrative.
If you’re new to anime, just don’t begin with this torturous anime. Protagonist Subaru thinks he’s just a normal guy, but bam! He gets whisked away to a fantasy world. Sounds cool, like a typical Isekai?
Not so fast! Here’s the kicker: every time he dies, he goes back in time and tries to remain alive while having no powers in a magical world, yup, literally no powers!
Its first season contains 25 episodes and 20 initials will go roughly without clearing what’s happening in this world, and what’s the role of protagonist here. It won’t even clarify who’s the antagonist here. All you get to see is the mere suffering of powerless protagonist.
7: Attack on Titan
Welcome to history’s most depressing anime Attack on Titan which always comes with a banger in each of its seasons.
From its beginning to Eren’s (protagonist) memory flashback, everything was a bit smokey for only anime fans who haven’t read the manga.
From key highlighting features, the mysteries like Female Titan, Beast Titan, and Reiner betrayal help AOT become an anime with the most complex plots that always keep audience on their toes.
For reference, this is the most merciless anime that treats its main character like supportive sidekicks. Every time you think this is the one of the main cast, anime will throw you in miserable state right after killing that character of yours.
6: Ghost in the Shell
Ghost in the Shell is one awesome cyberpunk anime! It takes place in this super futuristic world where Major Motoko Kusanagi is the boss of Section 9, which is like a super rad anti-cyberterrorism group.
But hold on, it’s not your typical cop show! This anime dives deep into philosophical waters, exploring questions about consciousness, humanity, and technology.
The plot is no walk in the park either – complex conspiracies, mind-bending mysteries, and cyber-espionage will keep you guessing till the end.
Action-packed scenes and mind-blowing music tracks accompany setting up an intense plot that people still root for after two and a half decades.
“Baccano!” is one heck of a wild ride that features a 1930s theme. Talk about a complex mix, this anime brings together immortals, gangsters, and alchemists to reasonably mess up your mind.
The plot ain’t your standard linear stuff, oh no! It’s like a puzzle with pieces scattered all over the place. Characters and timelines jump around, and you gotta pay attention to keep up otherwise you end up unsatisfying.
But that’s the fun part! As you connect the dots, you’ll uncover a grand tapestry of intertwining stories and epic chaos.
I bet you may have seen many stories revolving around a thing called Elixir of Life, but believe me, this is the most complex one that requires a top level Otaku dedication.
4: Ergo Proxy
Re-l Mayer, an inspector on the hunt for mysterious beings called “Proxies.” But things get nuts when she stumbles upon a Proxy named Vincent Law, who has no memory of his past.
While uncovering the truth behind this proxy, the plot spirals into a deep exploration of existentialism and the human condition.
“Ergo Proxy” cranks up the complexity dial to 11 with creepy incidents, and philosophical quandaries. No doubt it’s an anime that presents a philosophical message with a most complex plot.
3: Neon Genesis Evangelion
Neon Genesis Evangelion has a super philosophical plot mixed in with giant mecha battles against Angels. It follows Shinji as he pilots Evangelion Unit-01 to defend Tokyo-3.
But things get deep when we learn about his dad’s shady organization NERV and how the Evas work by synchronizing with human souls.
There’s so much psychoanalysis about the characters’ troubled pasts too. With all the religious and sci-fi symbolism, it’s a real head-scratcher.
The ending leaves a lot open to interpretation. With its cool fight scenes and deeper themes about identity and humanity, Evangelion really messes with your mind in a good way!
2: Steins Gate
Steins;Gate has a super tangled plot with all its time travel craziness.
Okabe accidentally discovers how to send texts to the past which kicks off the insanity! Him and his hacker buddies have to deal with the consequences of altering history and getting caught up in a conspiracy.
There’s different World Lines based on different choices, so the plot gets complicated keeping the timelines straight.
With its great characters like technopop Makise Kurisu, Steins;Gate is a rollercoaster ride through time.
From tragedy to comedy and action to feels, this clever thriller has twists that’ll leave your head spinning! Getting to the perfect future takes some crazy jumps through the past.
Monster has such a complex cat-and-mouse plot. It follows Dr. Tenma whose life gets flipped when he saves a young boy named Johan instead of the mayor.
Years later, Tenma discovers Johan became a cunning serial killer. Whoa! To make things right, Tenma goes on a hunt to stop Johan’s murder spree.
Political conspiracies, a shady past between Johan and his twin sister, and the big question of whether Tenma can reform or kill Johan – it’s a rollercoaster of mysteries!
Monster has chilling mysteries with clues leading to more mysteries. Finding the truth means wading through lies and corruption first in this intense psychological thriller.
This anime with a complex plot sounds fun but it’s not, I bet you can’t watch its 5 episodes in a single day, because handling its complexity is a real deal for even adults to handle.
Well, these are my recommendations related to anime with the most complex plots, hope you’ll find something suitable from this list, and if something is missing, don’t forget to comment it.