Director Hideaki Anno’s depression is what led to the dark themes of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Budgetary problems and parental complaints about content led to the original ending being scrapped and replaced with an extremely limited-animation ending breaking from the main plot. A movie, End of Evangelion, was later made based in part on the original planned ending and in part on Anno’s increasing frustration with the otaku fanbase. The series’ mix of psychoanalysis, religious symbolism, and genre deconstruction proved extremely influential on mature anime in the late ’90s onward. The Japan Media Arts Festival in 2006 ranked it as the most popular anime of all time.
2. Ghost In The Shell 2.0 (remastered from 1995)
Ghost in the Shell is a futuristic thriller with intense action scenes mixed with slower artistic sequences and many philosophical questions about one’s soul, and human identity in such an advanced age of technology.
3. Planetes (2004)
Ai Tanabe wanted to pilot the ships in space, but got into space junk cleaners. It’s not cyberpunk, there’s not much of anime as we usually used to see. It’s a story of man pursuing his dream, where humanity goes, and who we are in space.
Planetes is an unconventional sci-fi series that portrays the vastness of space as a backdrop for the personal lives of ordinary people—people who may have been born on Earth, but whose hopes and dreams lie amongst the stars. Planetes is the winner of the 2005 Seiun Award for Best Dramatic Presentation in science fiction.
4. Cowboy Bebop (1998)
Well-balanced with high density action and light-hearted comedy, Cowboy Bebop is a space Western classic and an homage to the smooth and improvised music it is named after. It’s atmospheric, easy going – real contract to the above ones mentioned.
Cowboy Bebop‘s biggest influence has been in the United States, where it premiered on Adult Swim in 2001 with many reruns since. The show’s heavy Western influence struck a chord with American viewers, where it became a “gateway drug” to anime aimed at adult audiences.
5. Eureka Seven (2005)
Just to dilute a super philosophical list of sci-fi, cyberpunk etc. list, here’s a light one – classical Mech genre tv series.
The anime has won multiple awards including “Best Screenplay,” “Best Television Series,” and “Best Character Designs” at the 5th Tokyo Anime Awards