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Anime Series That Are Way Too Smart For Kids

Updated June 14, 2019 6.3k votes 1.8k voters 43.6k views17 items

List RulesVote up the most intelligent anime that sails over the heads of children.

When you're a kid, it's usually a safe bet to assume that most animated media is for you. Sure, adult cartoons like South Park, Rick & Morty, and Family Guy exist as well, but the line between children's and grown-up's content is usually pretty clear. But, when it comes to anime, the line can be much harder to see - particularly for new, young fans. There are a ton of reasons why anime is not for kids and there are just some shows that kids should not watch. It's not just because of graphic content, but because the intellectual themes will simply sail over their heads.

Just because an anime has epic mecha battles or neon-haired protagonists in the promo art doesn't mean it's necessarily a kid's show. If you've dismissed anime before because it looked too childish, then maybe you missed out on something profound. Compiled here is a list of intelligent anime series that are way too deep for kids to understand. Check out the titles to see if you may have missed the bigger picture when you were younger, and vote up the anime that's way too smart for kids to fully understand. 

  • 1
    Photo: Madhouse

    On the surface, Death Note is the story of a boy, a detective, a demon, and a magical book. But, scratch a little deeper and you'll find a complex crime thriller that is also a supernatural horror fable rolled into one. The majority of the series is comprised of highly intelligent characters playing mental chess with one another. Though the anime does its best to dramatize these scenes (sometimes with hilarious results), densely written stories like this don't usually go down well with kids.

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  • Photo: Aniplex

    Fullmetal Alchemist may have occasional whacky moments, but the gags are sandwiched between large amounts of highly conceptual stuff, like alchemic transmutation, the philosophical idea of "Equivalent Exchange," and the existence of parallel worlds. In addition to fantastical ideas, the show also explores some weighty, more down-to-earth themes such as discrimination, ethics in science, and the brutal aftermath of war. 

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  • Not only is Neon Genesis Evangelion not suitable for kids on an intellectual level, it's also not the ideal introduction to the mecha genre. Why? Because it's considered to be a complete deconstruction of it. To understand a deconstruction, you first have to become really familiar with the genre itself. It would be like reading Watchmen as your first superhero comic book, and anything that requires homework first is bound to be off-putting for a kid. 

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  • 4
    Photo: Madhouse

    In the same way that Yuri!!! On Ice isn't about ice skating lesbians, Monster isn't really about the snarling, red-eyed, hide-under-your-bed kind of monsters you might expect if you take the title literally. It's more about the other kind of monster - humankind. Essentially, this anime uses the "would you save a baby even if it turned out to be Hitler?" ethical debate and spins it into an entire story with terrifying results. Younger viewers should probably stick to Pocket Monsters instead. 

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