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17 Meaningful Anime Plot Twists That Genuinely Surprised Us

Updated December 9, 2020 36.6k votes 8.3k voters 228.4k views17 items

List RulesVote up the plot twists that you can't stop thinking about.

Even if you think you know all the tropes, a particularly clever anime can still hit you with a plot twist that you just did not see coming. Sometimes, you look back on a show and realize that the big twist was hinted at, but other times there's no way you could have possibly predicted what the show had in store.

While anime plot twists can be both infuriating and satisfying, they always make a show more interesting. Twists commonly involve a single character or group, but occasionally, a good series will drop in a massive twist that changes everything about the plot. When viewers find out that Assassination Classroom's Koro-Sensei never planned to destroy the Earth, the whole premise of the show suddenly changes. Even if you hated a particular plot twist, it's hard to stop thinking about them once they've dropped. 

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  • The premise of Assassination Classroom is that class 3-E — a group of middle school students who are constantly looked down on for being "low level"— are tasked with assassinating their teacher, a tentacle monster who claims to have destroyed the moon, and who allegedly has plans to destroy the Earth, unless someone stops him. 

    In a surprising twist, it turns out that Koro-sensei didn't blow up the moon, and has no intention whatsoever of destroying the Earth. In reality, he intends to die no matter what, because his body is infused with powerful antimatter that will explode and take out most of the planet if nothing is done.

    Koro-sensei asked 3-E to try and take him out for two reasons. First off, he wanted to spend his last months on Earth attempting to inspire and care for his friend dead Aguri's students. Secondly, he's genuinely hoping that they'll be able to figure out how to kill him, because he has no desire to destroy the Earth. 

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  • For many of the characters in Battle Angel Alita, leaving Scrap Iron City for the mythical, wealthy city of Zalem is the ultimate dream. Some characters — like Yugo — want to escape so desperately that they're willing to turn to a life of crime to make the money needed to buy passage there. Because Zalem is so important to so many characters, it comes as a complete shock when the viewer finds out that it's completely impossible to reach the city without having been born there. To achieve his dream, Yugo stoops to stealing and harvesting spines on the black market, but all of his efforts were in vain. 

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  • As far as the rest of the cast knows, Sōsuke Aizen of Bleach is a loyal member of Soul Society. He's a bit of a dork, and he likes to play by the rules. He's not the type of person one would expect to go rogue, as he's known for being dependable and kind. 

    Suddenly, he is mysteriously "murdered," and the blame falls on Ichigo and his friends. This is shocking enough on its own, but what happens next is one of the greatest plot twists in anime history; it is revealed that Aizen faked his own death in order to escape Soul Society, which he fully intends to destroy. 

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  • The first half of Your Name fools audiences into believing that the film is a light-hearted high school romance with a Freaky Friday-esque plot. We watch in amusement as Mitsuha and Taki deal with the daily struggles of their bizarre and inexplicable body swapping. But as it turns out, there is another supernatural phenomenon going on. Mitsuha and Taki are actually from different timelines, separated by three years. Taki's present life consists of a world without Mitsuha as she died three years prior from a comet that destroyed her hometown. Therefore, every time Taki switches bodies with Mitsuha, he travels three years into the past. 

    When this plot twist was revealed, it turned the entire film completely on its head. Even the film's opening could be seen in a whole different light. The tone quickly shifted into a tear-jerking, complex story about destiny and the transcendence of love.

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