Top 10 Psychological Anime from the 90s.

Psychological anime from the 90s

Apart from the daily emotions, the epic storytelling evoked various questions inside fans. The 90s era created some serious turmoil when it came to the psychological genre.

Despite restricted resources and quality of the animation unlike now, have a quite large impact on the audience. The thought-provoking narratives from “Perfect Blue” to the complex character designs of “Serial Experiments Lain” paved the road for this genre.

The intensity of these psychological conflicts fusion with haunting soundtracks and distinctive art styles is always a nostalgic trip to the 90s. Let’s revisit that world and let ourselves ponder the ocean of questions. Here is the list of the Top 10 psychological anime from the 90s to question everything in your life.

10. Soul Siren

Psycho Diver
AIRED May 21, 1997
GENREHorror, Psychological, Sci-fi
CREATORMamoru Kanbe (Director)

One of the underrated yet thought-provoking and visually stunning animations, Soul Siren is one of the gem psychological anime from the 90s.

The plot dwells on the life of a pop-star Yuki Kano, who achieved it all. But despite her fame and money, traumatized by her past she freezes to sing on multiple occasions. Bosujima is a diver, who promises to enter into her mind and fix the essential trouble that she is suffering from.

This OVA with a 50 minutes run time portrays gore violence and an intense story-telling. As Bosujima dives deeper into her mind, explores problems like her original identity.

9.Blue Gender

Blue Gender psychological anime form the 90s
AIRED Oct 8, 1999 to Mar 31, 2000
GENRE Psychological, Horror, Action, Sci-fi
CREATORRyousuke Takahasi

The creator of Gasaraki, weaving another story known as “Blue Gender” presents some intense action along with psychological drama.

Set in a dystopian future, humanity remains in danger as the food chain is dominated by bug-like aliens. The protagonist Yuji Kaido remains in a cyro sleep on a second planet created for humans to hide.

As Yuji suffers from his unique disease, the bloodied fight to save humanity continues and gives us a perfect psychological drama of not losing humanity on the process.

8.The curse of Kazuo Umezu

The curse of Kazuo Umezu
AIREDMar 1, 1990
GENRE Psychological, Horror
CREATORUmezu, Kazuo                                                

With authentic horror and enthralling music that works beautifully, the two stories give a heart-throbbing experience reviving the horror and psychological anime from 9os.

The first tale focuses on Masami, a high school girl who is suspicious and terrified of her new classmate, Rima. As the unexpected events unfold, the next morning her body is covered with scars, and she doubts her classmate and her supernatural truth.

The second tale showcases two friends Miko and Nanako, enjoying their summer vacation. As the vacation doesn’t provide enough adrenaline rush, Nanako discovers a haunted mansion and drags along MIko. As things start to go south, only a miracle would save them now.


Memories psychological anime from the 90s
AIRED Dec 23, 1995
GENREHorror, Psychological, sci-fi, Drama
CREATORKatsuhiro Otomo

Compiling three stories into a movie “Memories”, is a perfect-paced underrated anime, each story directed by a different director.

“Magnetic Rose” shows the haunting story of two engineers and their struggle to keep their sanity intact. Heintz Beckner and Miguel Costrela rush to a Mansion after receiving an anonymous signal. As they explore, horrific truths are unveiled about the opera singer and their minds start to hallucinate destroying their mind.

“Stink Bomb” portrays the story of a scientist who engulfs a drug mistaken as a medicine for a cold. As the experimental acts up all are dead in his vicinity except him.

“Cannon Folder” tells the tale of a young boy who wants to surpass his father as an artillery officer. With a lack of enemies, he could only dream of working for the army of his country. The three tales combined are one of the best psychological anime from the 90s.

6.Infinite Ryvius

Infinite Ryvius
AIRED Oct 6, 1999 to Mar 29, 2000
GENREAction, Drama, Psychological, Sci-fi
CREATORHisashi Hirai

Reshaping the meaning of trust, morality, isolation, and survival, the gem from late 90s sci-fi psychological anime Infinite Ryvius compelled fans across the world in this genre.
The character-driven storytelling is set in AD 2225, the world has explored beyond the earth, and the space program has become a norm.

The sixteen-year-old protagonist, Kyouji Aiba sets off on a space voyage to Liebe Delta, a space station somewhere in Earth’s orbit.

Accompanied by his friend Aoi Housen, the mysterious phenomenon kills all the top ranked on-board. Once the adventure trip turns into a survival journey.

As Kyouji emerges from a teenager to a leader in the vastness of space, the psychological drama continues for survival.

5.Serial Experiments Lain 

Serial Experiments Lain
AIRED Jul 6, 1998 to Sep 28, 1998
GENRESuspense, Psychological, Mystery, Drama
CREATORUeda, Yasuyuki

Over the years, the piles of data accumulated in the internet could be used in various ways including in more destructive ways rather than life-saving. “Social Experiments Lain” based on such an idea for-shadowed the future now the world lives.

The series focuses on the life of a teenage schoolgirl named Lain Ikawura, who receives an email from her high school friend who took own life recently. Despite her unfamiliar encounter with the internet as she scurries it, finds ugly layered truth.

Soon, A group of people surround and question her, asking some fine details about her that only she knows. As the bizarre events unfold the line between real and cyber life thins.
The story challenges viewers with the impact of technology on human existence.

4.Dear Brother

Dear Brother
AIRED  Jul 14, 1991 to May 31, 1992
GENRE Psychological, Drama
CREATORRiyoko Ikeda                                                   

Surfacing the societal issues like drug abuse, bullying, and suicide that a few addressed in the era of the 90s. “Dear Brother” displays the controversies blatantly in this anime.

The story progresses with the female protagonist Nanoko Misono, a 16-year-old joining a girl’s high school hoping to lead a great future ahead. Her dream crushes as she joins an elite group of school where body, wealth, and talent plays a vital role.

As her insecurities grow, she discovers the unhealthy culture and the trauma of each student that they suffer with. As the jealousy around her grows with time, she writes her pain and experience of daily life in a letter to his former tutor.

With great characters and an awesome soundtrack, the disturbing visuals like knives pointing to end themselves, manage to form a lump in your throat.

3.Ghost in the Shell

Ghost in the Shell
AIREDNov 18, 1995
GENRE Psychological, Drama, Action, Sci-fi
CREATORMasamune Shirow                                       

An anime that left various marks across the globe and the most talked about psychological anime from the 90s. “Ghost in the Shell” asks various questions to the world as to what makes it to be a human. Is it the body or is it the soul?

The plot presents a future world set in 2029 where the distinction between humans and robots has thinned. In the city of Niihama, Humans can replace their limbs and memories.

As a new hacker named “Master Puppet” emerges to wipe out and alter the memories of his victims to do his bidding. As the game of mice and cats begins between the protagonist Motoko and the hacker, leading to various existential questions.


AIREDOct 4, 1995 to Mar 27, 1996
GENREAction, Drama, Psychological, Sci-fi
CREATORAnno, Hideaki

The ground-breaking anime series from the mid 90s’and awarded as the most popular anime series, Neon Genesis Evangelion” ‘s psychological trip was a result of the creator Anno’s depression.

Blending the idea of psychological drama, sci-fi, and mecha the narration follows around the futuristic world where the fourteen-year-old Shinji has been chosen to lead one of the mecha robots called Evangelions against the Angels

.The angels have invaded Tokyo 3, with the only hope of piloting the Evangelion. Shinji struggles with the trauma of losing his mother and father’s negligence.

The series focuses on internal battles with demons, sick characters dwelling on their past, and religious symbols making it one of the most-watched psychological anime from the 90s.

1.Perfect Blue

Perfect Blue
AIRED Feb 28, 1998
GENREHorror, Psychological, Adult, Drama
CREATORYoshikazu Takeuchi

One of the best directorial debuts in the anime industry from Animator Satoshi Kon resulted in the best psychological thriller of all time “Perfect Blue”.

The Story focuses on the former young pop star Mima Kirigoe, a member of CHAM, leaving behind to pursue an acting career. As her debut work skyrockets her life becomes hectic and dramatic.

As the series of unfortunate events unfold, a stalker claiming to be her and uploading each detail of her daily life. And murders happening all around her, she seems to lose her sanity bit by bit.

The innovative story-telling and psychological twists further explored the societal obsession with fame and money. Though the visuals are quite disturbing, gore, and brutal it will surely keep you at the edge of your seat.

if you liked this list, you can also check our romance anime with sad endings and upbeat anime suggestions.

{ Image credits: Respective studios , Image source- MAL]


A voracious reader and anime nerd, always geeking about enormous metaphors hidden in Books and Anime. I am also trying to write my first book as well as enjoying sharing experience with an audience.


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