Welcome! Presented here are my 7 favorite anime plot twists that changed the course of the anime. This brief post is meant to celebrate these moments that were so amazing and/or shocking to me. But please do not read this if you don’t want spoilers for the following anime series: Attack on Titan, Death Note, Highurashi When They Cry, Madoka Magica, Psycho Pass, Shinsekai Yori, and Steins;Gate. With that out of the way, let’s RANT!
1) Attack on Titan: Eren’s Power
During the defense of Trost in episodes 4-8, the protagonist Eren is eaten by a Titan, one of the monstrous giants he was determined to fight. However, he has a mysterious power that allows him to transform into a Titan! In this form, Eren is able to save the city of Trost an prevent even greater losses. This positive and empowering plot twist is, in my opinion, one of the greatest events in any animated media.
2) Death Note: The Fate of L
Death Note is a classic anime, much of which focuses on the mind and wit battles between the anti-hero, Light, and the detective L who seeks to bring him to justice. In a traditional anime, the more lawful character would be victorious. However, in episode 25, Light is finally able to win against L and have him killed. This happening shook the world of anime to its core, and continues to spark mixed opinions and surprise even twelve years later.
3) Higurashi When They Cry: The Truth About Rika
The tragedies in the small town of Hinamizawa seem ceaseless. Every few episodes, the show begins a new arc to show a new series of events with the same results: murders, violence, and disaster. What’s the point of all this? The first season gives a few hints, but the truth isn’t made clear until season 2. Then, it’s revealed that Rika has the power to reincarnate into a new Hinamizawa after her death in each world. This plot twist was shocking for me. It was painful to see Rika stuck in this loop. However, since she has the power to restart, there is hope.
4) Madoka Magica: The Truth About Homura
Madoka Magica contains more than one unexpected twist, including the brutal death of Mami Tomoe in episode three. But the most impressive surprise, in my opinion, is the fact that Homura is actually a time traveler. Much like Rika in Higurashi, she’s stuck in a repeating series of events that always ends in the tragey. In an effort to prevent the death of her beloved friend, Homura relives the same few weeks hundreds of times, until she reaches the point of insanity. This remains one of my favorite surprises in anime.
5) Psycho Pass: Sybil’s True Form
In episode 20 of Psycho Pass, protagonist Akane learns the truth about Sybil. The Sybil System is supposed to be an impartial, nearly perfect AI whose judgments of law and order created the current society. In reality, though, Sybil is a complex entity made from dozens of human brains in parallel processing. Moreover, this collective being is largely made up of the minds of those who committed serious crimes but retained their psychological stability. This is supposedly part of what makes them the best judges. Psycho Pass is a favorite of mine, and this plot twist is among the best out there.
6) Shinsekai Yori: The Monster Rats
Shinsekai Yori is one of my top 5 favorite anime series ever. Despite its production quality being lower than most others on this list, I view it as a timeless, important, and relevant masterpiece. Anyway, explaining this plot twist adequately would take many paragraphs, so here’s the gist. The humans of the future live among a plethora of strange new species, but only one of them rivals the intelligence of humans: the Monster Rats. The climax of the show is a war between humans and monster rats. But in the final episode, the truth comes out that the humanoid rats were once people, and were transformed into beasts and made into slaves by the humans in power. This reveal left me gaping. It’s probably my favorite plot twist of all.
7) Steins;Gate: Kurisu and Mayuri
Steins;Gate is the best time travel anime ever made, and one of my top ten favorite anime. As I also said of Madoka Magica, there are several plot twists in Steins;Gate that are pulled off excellently. Probably the most shocking moment was when Mayuri first died at the end of episode 12. But my favorite twist came in episode 20, when Okabe realizes that to save his childhood friend Mayuri, he would cause the death of his friend and love interest Kurisu. I love it when characters are faced with seemingly unavoidable ultimatums, because I enjoy the pyschology of their thoughts and decisions.
Thanks for reading my work today! Please have a good Sunday and come visit again soon!