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Anime with philosophical concepts?
Posted 3/22/12 , edited 3/25/12
A few I can think of are

Ergo Proxy (Identity, humanity, 'I think and therefore I am', epistemology, and more)
The Book of Bantorra (Humanity, justice)
Serial experiments Lain (Identity)
Stein's Gate (Determinism, Chaos theory)
Death Note (ethics, morals, justice, utilitarianism)
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Welcome to NHK does it for me.
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code geass
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Posted 3/22/12

blackcl0v3r wrote:

A few I can think of are

Ergo Proxy (too many concepts)
Serial experiments Lain (Identity)
Stein's Gate (Determinism, Chaos theory)
Death Note (ethics, morals, justice, utilitarianism)


Define "philosophical." If you look hard enough, you'll find it in anything.

Lucky Star (Ethics, Epistemology, Ideal existence, Value, Social Norms)
Kampfer (Gender, Friendship)
Naruto (See your Death Note listing)
Listen to me girls, I'm your father (Parenthood, Love, Responsibility)

Or do you mean animes that attempt to shove their respective philosophies down your throat? In that case,

Ghost in the Shell, Voices of a Distant Star, Evangelion, Madoka Magica, Time of Eve, Pale Cocoon, Monster, Mushishi, Now and Then, Here and There.

Take your pick. If you want to break down and analyze truth (I consider that the goal of philosophy), You need data. Make all anime philosophical if you want, there's truth to be found in all of it. Or do you prefer to be spoon-fed your truth?
Posted 3/22/12

theYchromosome wrote:


blackcl0v3r wrote:

A few I can think of are

Ergo Proxy (too many concepts)
Serial experiments Lain (Identity)
Stein's Gate (Determinism, Chaos theory)
Death Note (ethics, morals, justice, utilitarianism)


Define "philosophical." If you look hard enough, you'll find it in anything.

Lucky Star (Ethics, Epistemology, Ideal existence, Value, Social Norms)
Kampfer (Gender, Friendship)
Naruto (See your Death Note listing)
Listen to me girls, I'm your father (Parenthood, Love, Responsibility)

Or do you mean animes that attempt to shove their respective philosophies down your throat? In that case,

Ghost in the Shell, Voices of a Distant Star, Evangelion, Madoka Magica, Time of Eve, Pale Cocoon, Monster, Mushishi, Now and Then, Here and There.

Take your pick. If you want to break down and analyze truth (I consider that the goal of philosophy), You need data. Make all anime philosophical if you want, there's truth to be found in all of it. Or do you prefer to be spoon-fed your truth?


Philosophy->love of wisdom/ what is <fill the blank>

They can't be found in all anime, some sure contain a few shallow conspiracy theories but they never really go beyond the writers' own ideals. Ghost in the Shell and Pale Cocoon seem like good examples.
Define truth, is there really anything we humans can know beyond absolute doubt? There's a difference between accepting things because it's easier to believe in something and accepting that as humans we can't know anything for certain. So no, I don't prefer spoon-fed truths. Stuff like Ergo Proxy aren't really there to shove philosophical theories up people's arse just because they can, they can be there to make you think/ question shyt.

The reason I made this post is because anime nowadays (from my observations) have become more and more dull and idealistic. I can't seem to enjoy watching things as much as I used to. I usually watch things of the shounen genre. I don't see the point of watching a bunch of ignorant teenagers trying to save the world or whatnot, pushing their own naive ideals on the rest of the world. Who do they think they are and what gives them the bloody right to play justice?

Some may retort: "Meh, it's just anime, it's not meant to be realistic. it's a form of escape! You're missing the point if you're going to be that rational about them!"
You don't say? Am I really missing the point, or was there really no point to them at all?
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Philosophy->love of wisdom/ what is <fill the blank>


So an anime with philosophical concepts is an anime that loves wisdom? Without knowing the author's intentions, which I don't claim to do, I don't know that I can say that any anime loves wisdom. Also, semantically, I don't think an anime can love anything, but that's not really important. For the sake of practicality, I quite like your "what is <fill the blank>" definition a little better. When you try to find out what something is, you seek to know the object, which means modeling a picture that describes reality. What an object really is, is equivalent to the truth of the object. There are plenty of books on the matter, and I don't plan on solving the idea of truth in a forum. If you are asking what humans can know for certain as opposed to say, having really good support for, I'm sure you can agree that logical implications can be known for certain, while things like "gravity" are just probably true. "I think, therefore I am" is a famous example of what I mean by a logical implication. 1+1=2 is another famous one. You don't need to be sure of the existence of "1," you just need to define it and "+." Once you do that, it must be true that 1+1=2. Again, this is just a response, I would rather not discuss it in a forum, as there is a lot of material already on the matter. My goal here to figure out what sort of thing you were looking for in this post, and answer in the best way I can.


they can be there to make you think/ question shyt.


My suspicion is that this is what you were looking for when you asked for philosophical anime. Anime that makes you think about things is what I meant by spoon-fed truth. Rather than the anime making you think about or question things, if you're bored with just watching something, you ought to think about or question it anyway. It's not a matter of the anime making you think about things, it's a matter of you wanting to think about things. Naturally, it's a lot easier to watch some shounen series without thinking about it, but you might find that there are some interesting concepts to think about if you look for them.


You're missing the point if you're going to be that rational about them!"


I would disagree with this representative by saying you ought to think more rationally them. Take this --


Who do they think they are and what gives them the bloody right to play justice?


Try and give a serious answer to that question as the ignorant teenager. The question implies that this person does not have the right to pursue justice. Given this, I see these implications: either, justice should not be pursued, or, this person is mistaken regarding their conception of justice, and thus cannot truthfully pursue it. There may be other possibilities, but I don't see them. To get to my point, by asking the question, it seems to me that you must necessarily be claiming that "justice is wrong," or that "he is wrong about justice." I have never met anyone that has seriously argued that they think justice itself is wrong, so I will guess that you think the latter implication. If you are claiming he is wrong about justice, It's a matter of induction that you believe you know, to an extent, what justice is. To use your words, what gives you the right to play justice? lol. I am not saying I'm right about this either. In fact, if serious, I think I would probably disagree with myself here. It's irrelevant though -- my point is that as a result of these shows, I thought about this topic. I don't need to think about these topics to understand the show, but I have anyway. With a series like Ergo Proxy, however, you pretty much need to think about the topics to understand the show. In a way, it's easier to think in a show that makes you think. That was what I meant when I said "spoon-fed." Thus, if you are looking for anime that makes you think, my opinion is listed in my above post under the "throat-shoving" anime, which I admit was a poor choice of words.

Jesus, that was a long post. I've been getting into way too many of these discussions lately.
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lucky star.. FTW
Posted 3/23/12 , edited 3/23/12

theYchromosome wrote:



Philosophy->love of wisdom/ what is <fill the blank>


So an anime with philosophical concepts is an anime that loves wisdom? Without knowing the author's intentions, which I don't claim to do, I don't know that I can say that any anime loves wisdom. Also, semantically, I don't think an anime can love anything, but that's not really important. For the sake of practicality, I quite like your "what is <fill the blank>" definition a little better. When you try to find out what something is, you seek to know the object, which means modeling a picture that describes reality. What an object really is, is equivalent to the truth of the object. There are plenty of books on the matter, and I don't plan on solving the idea of truth in a forum. If you are asking what humans can know for certain as opposed to say, having really good support for, I'm sure you can agree that logical implications can be known for certain, while things like "gravity" are just probably true. "I think, therefore I am" is a famous example of what I mean by a logical implication. 1+1=2 is another famous one. You don't need to be sure of the existence of "1," you just need to define it and "+." Once you do that, it must be true that 1+1=2. Again, this is just a response, I would rather not discuss it in a forum, as there is a lot of material already on the matter. My goal here to figure out what sort of thing you were looking for in this post, and answer in the best way I can.


they can be there to make you think/ question shyt.


My suspicion is that this is what you were looking for when you asked for philosophical anime. Anime that makes you think about things is what I meant by spoon-fed truth. Rather than the anime making you think about or question things, if you're bored with just watching something, you ought to think about or question it anyway. It's not a matter of the anime making you think about things, it's a matter of you wanting to think about things. Naturally, it's a lot easier to watch some shounen series without thinking about it, but you might find that there are some interesting concepts to think about if you look for them.


You're missing the point if you're going to be that rational about them!"


I would disagree with this representative by saying you ought to think more rationally them. Take this --


Who do they think they are and what gives them the bloody right to play justice?


Try and give a serious answer to that question as the ignorant teenager. The question implies that this person does not have the right to pursue justice. Given this, I see these implications: either, justice should not be pursued, or, this person is mistaken regarding their conception of justice, and thus cannot truthfully pursue it. There may be other possibilities, but I don't see them. To get to my point, by asking the question, it seems to me that you must necessarily be claiming that "justice is wrong," or that "he is wrong about justice." I have never met anyone that has seriously argued that they think justice itself is wrong, so I will guess that you think the latter implication. If you are claiming he is wrong about justice, It's a matter of induction that you believe you know, to an extent, what justice is. To use your words, what gives you the right to play justice? lol. I am not saying I'm right about this either. In fact, if serious, I think I would probably disagree with myself here. It's irrelevant though -- my point is that as a result of these shows, I thought about this topic. I don't need to think about these topics to understand the show, but I have anyway. With a series like Ergo Proxy, however, you pretty much need to think about the topics to understand the show. In a way, it's easier to think in a show that makes you think. That was what I meant when I said "spoon-fed." Thus, if you are looking for anime that makes you think, my opinion is listed in my above post under the "throat-shoving" anime, which I admit was a poor choice of words.

Jesus, that was a long post. I've been getting into way too many of these discussions lately.


I prefer the what is X definition as well. Reason and rationality helps humans understand what the world is really like, but even so, I don't think there's anything we can know beyond an absolute doubt, just beyond a reasonable doubt. 'I think therefore I am' contains a logical fallacy that can be easily missed. One can think only proves that there are thoughts, it doesn't suggest that there must be a thinker. Descartes' argument flows in a circle as he claims that we think therefore we exist, and why do we exist? Because we think. He should have just said I think and therefore I have thoughts. This leads to the mind-body problem, but to save you from reading my boring essay, I'll just say that I agree with the view that the mind is a function of the brain and the mind cannot survive the death of the brain.

1+1=2 might seem like common sense, but in philosophy of math it seems unclear. An example of this in science is the speed of light (C), if you compare the speed of C when you shine a light on a wall with C while shining a light on the wall as you're traveling at 100 km per hour, C is always the same. So in this case, you can't add things up.

Excuse my horrid examples, I'm not good at explaining this stuff since most people start nodding off when I talk about things like this.

Moving on then,
Yes, I do find interesting concepts in almost all shounen (and eve a few shoujo) anime, but they're still rather difficult to watch when so many main characters are naive and simple-minded.

As for justice, I didn't say justice is wrong as a whole, but I think it is wrong for someone to assume that their views of justice is more correct than everyone else's and try to push those values on others. I don't think there is an objective way to do justice, it's all quite relative really (like ethics). I take on the post-modernist perspective on justice, but if I had to choose a view, I'd probably go with utilitarianism.
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Code Geass, Death Note. Great examples of humanity shown here.
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I think that this is becoming too far removed from the original question posed, and I would thus recommend that we stop the conversation in this post here. I have given you my idea of what I would call "Philosophical" anime and made whatever suggestions I deemed relevant.

I am, however, still very much interested in the questions and ideas that we were discussing, and would like to continue talking about it. If you think this would be something that others might want to post about, I would be happy to respond if you made a new forum topic. This could lead to a more focused discussion, and might interest some others to posting their views (Although I don't know how many here might actually be interested) Alternatively, you can PM me and we can discuss it that way. Otherwise, if you want, we can just drop it. Either way, I think the we've fleshed out the anime portion of the post, and should thus drop it, or discuss our points in a more appropriate location on the site.
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The problem with labeling something as Philosophical is that if you really wanted to, you could label anything as philosophical.

Is something philosophical if it gives you a life lesson? Couldn't any show do that depending on the person watching the show and that person's experiences in life?

Eh screw it, Ill try to just give my list to see if there is a connection in there somewhere.

Nisemonogatari is one I think off the top of my head.....but then again that might be strictly due to Kaiki's rants about life and what not, so I cant say if its a recurrent thing in that show or not.

Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei probably would claim the number 1 spot in my list, simply because the entire show is based around what happens in society and then criticizing it all to hell.

Welcome to the NHK definitely gave me an interesting perspective about how a NEETs life could turn out.

*sigh* I get depressed whenever these types of shows end

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Posted 3/23/12
fun fact if you click on the first link on Wikipedia page that is not in () or quotes you'll always end up to philosophy
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Posted 3/23/12
Trapeze, I suppose. If you can call it philosophical. It mostly just dealt with psychological issues.
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Posted 3/23/12 , edited 3/23/12
Serial Experiments Lain
Ghost in the Shell
Monster (sorta)
I find FMA 1 & 2 to be incredibly philosophical as well, they deal with morals, ethics, human lives, war and other similar topics in a very mature, realistic fashion and make you question what is right/wrong

And yes, Death Note left me questioning the justice system for days. I always will be a firm supporter of Kira's ideals. He did what he had to do, being the only person who could achieve what he set out to accomplish.
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Damn, totally forgot about the monogatari series. They aren't really Philosophical by nature, but there are some very philosophically interesting topics talked about.



Both Bakemonogatari and Nisemonogatari were incredible.
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