The common misconception is that anime is just for children and teenagers. However, there are plenty of shows that have mature content. In this article, I’ll be counting down my top 10 anime for grown ups that I think you will love!
Remember that each title below has some sort of adult theme in its story. It could be extreme idealogies, violence, sexual theme, etc. Whatever the case, these stories were clearly written with adults in mind.
Top 10 Best Anime For Grown Ups That You Must Watch!
Well folks, here let’s start the count down of the best anime for grown ups. Note that the titles are not ranked according to its rating. It is just based on my preference. I’ve also tried to not add two shows in the same genre so you get to explore new themes and stories.
With that out of the way, let’s dive into the listing!
10. Shingeki no Kyojin
Attack ono Titan is hands down one of the greatest anime for grown ups. Then why is it on the bottom of the list? Well, because it is too popular and you’ve probably already watched it. I’m reserving the top spots for comparitively lesser known titles.
The anime Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan) features a theme of survival. The anime show how a human in desperation would do whatever it takes to stay alive, even if that means killing other humans.
The world-building in Shingeki no Kyojin is fantastic, and the narrative grows stronger and more compelling as it goes on. The manga also features an intriguing take on freedom and control.
Internally, the control theme functions as an intra-diegetic meta-theme, limiting how much readers can know about the world and social structure.
9. Sword Art Online
Sword Art Online started out as a novel, and then was made into a light manga and this anime. It might not look like an anime for grown ups, but it actually is.
The show features fantasy violence, including death, as well as some nudity and sexual content.
It also talks about several futuristic tech ideas which will blow your mind. After all, The story revolves around a advanced virtual reality console and its users.
The swearing is minimal and limited to d*mn and crap. There are also some scenes of drinking alcohol. However, there are no depictions of actual sexual violence. The anime features two main characters that are in a romantic relationship. The plot has some hints of a harem, but is very far from being a full harem.
8. Angelic Layer
Misaki Suzuhara moves to Tokyo to live with her aunt and sees something on a giant screen that looks like a small doll fighting a larger one. She learns it’s a sport called Angelic Layer where people create dolls that can be controlled mentally to fight each other.
She meets a man named Icchan who helps her choose and make an Angel and begins to train. This CLAMP production blends the romance and characters aimed at girls with action usually seen on boys’ programming. It’s a fun and unique take on the genre.
Evangelion is the ultimate anime for grown ups. The most controversial of the bunch, Evangelion is a series that will probably only make sense to you if you have some level of adulthood.
It features a lot of cryptic, religious references and is almost cult like in its devotion.
Shinji, a 14 year old boy, is recruited to pilot a giant robot to fight a series of ethereal creatures. He must fight them to save humanity. He also must deal with his strained relationship with his father. These are big, important concepts that Evangelion tackles in an interesting way.
6. Scum’s Wish
Back in early 2017 a manga series called Scum’s Wish got adapted into a 12-episode anime that went by without much fanfare. This dark comedy looks at the heartbreaking issues that come with dating, and the way some girls end up hurting themselves and others in the process.
This is a taboo relationship anime with a focus on physical scenes, so it’s definitely for an older audience. Hanabi and Mugi’s one-sided love for their teachers leads them to exploit each other and themselves, leading to an abysmal spiral of self destruction.
5. Future Diary
Yukiteru is an asocial teenager with an imaginary friend who calls himself Deus Ex Machina, God of Space and Time. One day this strange god decides to put Yukiteru and 10 other participants in a death game that will determine his successor.
The result is a wild battle royale featuring murder, explosions, severed heads, and decaying bodies.
It’s trying hard to be edgy, but sometimes it just becomes gratuitous and exploitative for its own sake. It also has nudity and some gore.
Other anime for grown ups that might appeal to fans of Future Diary include Guilty Crown, Eden of the East, and Btooom!
4. Goblin Slayer
Goblin Slayer is a dark fantasy anime for grown ups that features graphic violence and adult content. It follows a swordsman on his quest for revenge. It is comparable to Berserk in the sense that it is very dark but has great character development and world building.
The characters battle monsters in dungeons where the outcome is determined by dice rolls. This adds a level of unpredictability and excitement to the battle scenes. It also adds realism to the fight scenes because real life outcomes are often determined by chance.
If you liked Hellsing, then chances are you’ll like this adaptation of a manga by its creator Kouta Hirano. Its gleefully violent, over the top action will keep you hooked.
It features a who’s who of historical figures, whisked into a fantasy world and pitted against each other in all out war. Its brutality is unapologetic, featuring sneering dialogue and a lot of bloody fights. And while some of the jokes fall flat, most of them are undeniably cool.
2. Cowboy Bebop
The acclaimed anime Cowboy Bebop follows bounty hunters Jet and Spike as they hunt down dangerous fugitives across the galaxy on board their spaceship Bebop. It remains a cult favorite to this day.
Shinichiro Watanabe, who directed Bebop, was a movie buff and his influences are clear. However, this is not to say that Bebop lacks its own unique identity.
Its smart use of a variety of musical genres to set the tone of each episode is one example of this. It also features a post-apocalyptic future with elements of sci-fi, film noir, hardboiled detective and cop fare.
It is not an anime for grown ups in the sense it has violence or adult content. It simply takes an adult mind to appreciate and follow the story and understand what the characters are going through.
1. Ghost in the Shell
Most Cyberpunk anime have adult themes, and Ghost in the Shell is one of them.
This anime blends sci-fi / cyberpunk aesthetics and action with a good high-concept story and a look at sexuality. It features an intriguing dystopic future where cyborgs and human-computer hybrids coexist.
The protagonist of the story is a police officer called The Major (Makoto Kusanagi). Her body is not human but her brain is, and she leads a team to hunt down cyber criminals.
The film spawned an extensive anime franchise, including movies and TV series. You may also want to check out Oshii’s earlier Patlabor films, which have some similar themes.
This is an anime for grown ups because its theme can only adults can appreciate its story and theme.
That’s it for this post! These were the top 10 grown up anime of all time. Well, not necessarily all time, but these are my favorite picks.