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Remember, a Central Theme is not the same as An Aesop; a theme is a question, idea, topic or concept that the text explores, while an Aesop is a conclusion the author reaches about the theme or a lesson they wish to impart to the reader. As such, you should avoid phrasing your examples as conclusions.


  • 20th Century Boys:
    • Should childhood fantasies remain as fantasies?
    • The absurdity of taking childhood fantasies too seriously, and the consequences that result from it.
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    • You can make up for the past, but it's important to let go of it too.
    • Good vs. Evil, and the question of whether such concepts, as portrayed in children's manga and cartoons, are in any way applicable to the real world.
  • Accel World: Can our emotional flaws have the potential to become our greatest strengths?
  • Afro Samurai: Two in one:
    • What is the real meaning of power?
    • Can revenge ever be justified?
  • Aggretsuko: No matter how they act, there's always more to people than meets the eye, and a lot of them wear a mask around others.
  • Ah! My Goddess:
    • True love.
    • Feelings that heal rather than hurt.
    • Staying together through thick and thin.
  • Air: Coping with loss.
  • AKIRA: The anger and frustration of youth.
  • Angel Beats!!: The difficulty of moving on after tragic life events.
  • Angel Crush: Coming to terms with the past in order to build a better future.
  • Angel Densetsu: The folly of jumping to conclusions about someone's character based on only rumors and their appearance.
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  • Angelic Layer: Does everything have to be Serious Business?
  • Arrietty:
    • The world is a dangerous place for the Burrowers.
    • A developing friendship and mutual understanding between two different people (Specifically, between small and large people).
  • Assassination Classroom
    • Having a caring, supportive teacher who'll always be there for you always goes a long way.
    • You needn't be defined by your past or social status, what matters more is what you can do and how many lives you can change in the process.
    • Failure is inevitable in life. Take the chance to learn from your failures and always have a backup plan ready.
  • Astra Lost in Space:
    • The only way we can survive is by working together.
    • Family is who you belong to, not who you were born to.
  • Attack on Titan:
    • Cruelty and beauty in the world.
    • Freedom/Confinement.
    • Whether the ends justify the means.
    • Whether comfort and power are worth the price of complacency and apathy.
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    • The idea of the "Other", and how it perpetuates bigotry and war.
  • Baccano!: The appreciation of life regardless of its length.
  • Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts: The conflict between internal values: how important are grades? How important is friendship?
  • Beastars:
    • Trying to keep the inner beast under control and how animals of the opposite backgrounds can live in peace with one another.
    • The duality between instincts and personal desires, and how they intertwine and conflict with each other.
    • Can one be called evil if they're simply following their instincts? How much should they be repressed, if at all, and how much do those instincts shape the morality and culture of a world populated by carnivores and herbivores?
  • Beck: The price of success, and whether it is ultimately worth it. The beginnings of greatness.
  • Berserk: Despair and what people are willing to give up to overcome it.
    • If God exists, does man have to submit to him no matter what? And can a single man push himself to the point of stopping said God?
    • Never giving up on achieving your dreams and goals, and what doing so can really entail.
    • Is it better to give up or cling to hope that you will be saved, or to strive to survive no matter what this world throws at you?
  • Bleach:
    • Becoming a believer changes you completely.
    • Everyone has different gifts.
    • All life has value.
    • Struggles are normal.
    • Friends are invaluable.
    • Overcoming the fear of death.
  • Black Clover: How those without power can still become powerful.
    • Empathy and kindness are always better alternatives to anger and hate.
  • Black Lagoon: Does a person's horrible past or crappy situation justify them becoming a criminal? And even if it is to them, is it ultimately worth it?
  • Blood+: The role of blood relations vs love in defining family.
  • Bloom Into You: What it means to try to be someone you're not, and what it takes to accept yourself for who you are..
  • Blue Flag: Life is made of choices.
  • Blue Phobia:
    • The sacrifices made for progress and whether they're actually justifiable.
    • Science is good, but humanity can use it for evil.
  • Bokurano: What do you do with the little time left in your life?
  • Buso Renkin: What will you do with the new life given you?
  • Cardcaptor Sakura:
    • Becoming emotionally mature and how love (as well as heartbreak) plays an important part in growing up.
    • How people experience love differently.
    • Second Love.
  • Canaan: There are many ways to see things, from the dead or living, from like and love, from light and despair. But the best way is to see everything.
  • Castle in the Sky (Ghibli):
    • The lust for power.
    • The capacity of Applied Phlebotinum for both creation and destruction, and the need to keep it out of the hands of armies and tyrants who would abuse it.
  • Cells at Work!: What happens inside your body and how amazing it is.
  • Chainsaw Man:
    • Ignorance Is Bliss.
    • The power of fear. Every devil is represented and empowered by the fear of their subject.
    • How affection, or lack thereof, can influence and change a person.
  • Charger Girl: How we interact with and help people suffering from depression.
  • Children Who Chase Lost Voices: In honoring the dead, do we risk neglecting the living?
  • Chobits:
  • Chrono Crusade: According to Word of God, "the idea of time running out." The bonds between people also seems to be a major running theme (Moriyama indicated in an interview that he felt that one of the themes was the relationship of the two main characters, and there's three pairs of siblings that are very important to the plot.)
  • CLANNAD: The importance of family.
  • Claymore: Love's role - not only romantic, but the love between parent and child, siblings, friends, comrades in arms, mentor and student, etc., in other words, any manner of social bonding- in defining humanity.
  • Code Geass - Do the ends justify the means?
    • Is it always a good idea to know the truth?
  • Cool-Kyou Shinsha's works tend to focus on couples and how they interact and get along with one another. Many of these couples are far from conventional as well. In addition, themes like racism, class anxiety, and the expectations of society are frequent.
  • Cowboy Bebop: Is it possible to outrun your past? Virtually eveyr episode explores the consequences of the past onto the present. Even Episode 10 with its Spoof Aesop of 'Don't leave things in the fridge' still works since it's a metaphor for the theme, albeit a comedic one.
    • Samurai Champloo, it's Spiritual Successor, has a similar theme. Or maybe it's "is it possible to let go of the past". Or some combination of both. There's also a more subtle theme on how foreign influences can effect a society.
    • Cowboy Bebop, The Big O, Karas and Tiger & Bunny all seems to have the same central Aesop- you can live neither by clinging to the past, nor rejecting it to blindly march towards the future. Each explores it in a different way - in Karas it takes form of conflict between tradition and progress; in Tiger & Bunny it's the clash between different brands of heroism with new ones claiming the old to be outdated as well as Barnaby's breakdown once he finds out his memories are fake; in Cowboy Bebop it's contrast between Spike's inability to let go of his past, Jet's ability to confront and deal with his, and Faye's amnesia and susbequent struggle to try and find out who she was; and in The Big O it's constantly showing that even disconnected from his past, man will still build on his future on it's legacy. Apart from that, some of them have additional central themes they explore:
      • Karas: The relationship between The Cowl archetype and the city he protects.
      • Tiger & Bunny: Relationships between co-workers. Overcoming prejudices. The causes and consequences of prejudice.
  • Cross Ange: The conflict between the desire to protect oneself and the need to open up to others. Can someone ultimately be responsible for another person's future?
  • Daily Lives of High School Boys: Explores society's desire for maturity and the amusing circumstances that get in the way.
  • DARLING in the FRANXX:
    • What does it mean to be human?
    • Coming of age, discovering your sexuality and finding independence - and coming in conflict with older generations in the process.
    • Living Is More Than Surviving.
  • Death Note:
  • Death Parade: The complexities of judging someone's life and understanding their feelings.
  • Deca-Dence: Going beyond your limits, both those you set for yourself and those that were forced upon you by the world.
  • Delicious in Dungeon: Food. Appreciating it, making it, respecting it, exploring tastes and ingredients, the necessity and pleasures of it.
  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba:
    • The main theme is family. Everyone in the series has family and loved ones and they are willing to do whatever it takes to protect them. This applies to both the protagonists and the antagonists.
    • Even if turned into a demon, just remember that the demon Was Once a Man.
    • Can there be a good demon? And how long can they hold onto the last remaining parts of their humanity? And what rewards lie ahead for a good demon? For example, Nezuko gaining sunlight resistance and speech because she chose to not act like the other demons and receiving a curing medicine to change Nezuko back into human thanks to the help of the demon doctor Tamayo.
    • A theme for the main protagonist, Tanjiro Kamado, is how he is able to maintain his good nature and determination when he has to constantly face so many challenges in his world, all caused by Muzan.
  • Detective Conan:
  • The Devil Is a Part-Timer! - Can true evil even hope to thrive in the current day and age?
  • Devil Survivor 2: Differences between Utopian utilitarianism and old-fashioned idealism.
  • Devilman: Difference between accepting your dark side and letting it control you and what happens when humans give up to their worst instincts.
  • The Digimon anime franchise as a whole: The role of discovering one's true character and true companions when coming of age.
  • Dorohedoro: Everyone has a bad side. The question is whether you let that be the side in charge.
  • Dororo (2019): The needs of one vs the needs of many.
  • Doushitemo Furetakunai:
    • Not letting your past define you or weigh you down.
    • Life is full of uncertainty.
  • Dragon Ball:
  • Dr. Stone: Science is not only good, it's awesome, inspiring, saves lives and is the heart of humanity's evolutionary triumphs.
  • Durarara!!: Love as something that motivates everyone, even if for some people it becomes rather cracked and twisted. Whether it's good or evil, selfish or selfless, sane or insane, one-sided or mutual, everybody's in love with someone or something, and even if you're a freak or an outcast there's probably someone out there capable of loving you.
    • Going too far in your attempts at making life more exciting for you and your friends have dire consequences, as seen with Mikado in x2.
    • Keeping secrets from or avoiding present issues with your True Companions can also lead to trouble.
  • Eden of the East: Noblesse Oblige.
  • Elfen Lied: To see the darker sides of humanity and what it means to be human.
  • Enigme: The Power of Friendship. Some things can only be done when you work together.
  • ERASED: Sometimes you just need to believe that you can achieve.
  • Ergo Proxy: Coping with loss and abandonment in a healthy way.
  • Eureka Seven: Can love overcome war?
  • The Familiar of Zero: When one rises above their intended station, it may inspire others to change their narrow-minded worldview in a world ruled by nobility who hold a low opinion of, and often oppress those born in peasantry.
  • Fantastic Children: Memory.
  • Fist of the North Star:
  • FLCL:
    • Be honest with yourself.
    • There's a difference between acting mature and being mature.
    • Nothing will happen until you "swing the bat". You can talk about change and self-improvement all you want, but that's not a substitute for actually doing it.
    • Growing up is weird.
  • Food Wars!: Hard work as the real source of success and skill, rather than the nature of someone's birth, be it money or talent.
  • Frieren: Beyond Journey's End: The ephemerality of things and people in the world, and how they still matter regardless, or even because of it.
  • Fruits Basket: The necessity and difficulty of change.
  • Fukushuu Kyoushutsu: The Cycle of Revenge is endless and fruitless. There's no happiness, justice or satisfaction to be found on revenge, and there's nothing it'll cause besides violence.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
  • Full Metal Panic!: Can a soldier truly learn to be a normal civilian again?
  • Fushigi Yuugi: How a journey changes heroes and the people left behind.
  • Gakuen Babysitters:
    • You Are Not Alone, there's always someone who is looking after you, as well as someone for you to look after
    • Even if children can be brats, they're also a blessing and can bring the best out of several people.
  • Galaxy Express 999:
  • Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet: The difference between Ledo's upbringing and the lives led by the inhabitants of Gargantia.
  • Get Backers: Paul Wan himself states the central theme in volume 2 of the manga "...Money, status, cars, jewelry, lovers, anything worth having is worth someone else stealing. It's how it is, and how it always will be. If someone takes something important from you, then be sure you take it back. But don't look for happiness in material goods, cause the thing that truly bonds us with one another is the fact that we've all lost things we'll never recover."
  • Ghost in the Shell - What does it mean to be human?
  • Giant Robo: The Day The Earth Stood Still:
    • Can happiness be achieved without sacrifice?
    • How can a son honor his father's legacy?
    • How the past affects the present.
  • GeGeGe no Kitarō - The excesses of modern times in making people apathetic towards the environment and society.
  • Getter Robo:
    • The good and bad consequences of humanity's ability to press foward no matter what.
    • Nature. Everything is a part of it, it controls everything, its purpose is a mystery and its methods are morally questionable. One such method is survival of the fittest: humans can adapt to anything and create a robot that can adapt to any conditions, thus nature favors them, and they dominate.
    • The manga's story can be described as a Lensman Arms Race or a Serial Escalation of Godzilla Threshold. It starts with dinosaurs wanting to take Earth back from humans, who respond by creating a robot, and ends with aliens making jumps to the past that blast entire galaxies apart just to destroy said robot. Getter Robo Go is the best example of this: dinosaurs create a machine than can change Earth's climate at the risk of messing up its orbit, Russia responds by firing a nuke at it, and Japan sends a robot that absorbs both the nuke and the machine into itself and then flies to Mars, eventually becoming a threat to the entire Universe.
    • The Needs of the Many trope frequently pops up in relation to Hayato, the most recurring character throughout the Getter Robo Saga. It's repeatedly shown that the man is ready to sacrifice anything for humanity's survival.
  • Goblin Slayer:
    • Respect the people who handle the little things. They are the reason those problems stay small.
    • Reconnecting with others after a traumatic experience.
  • Golden Boy: Is there a place for idealism in today's world?
  • Gourmet Girl Graffiti: Sharing the experience of food with others.
  • Great Teacher Onizuka: Can teachers and students cooperate?
  • Guilty Crown - How filthy can one's hands get while fighting for the greater good? At what point does a hero become the villain? Also explores trust vs. betrayal, despair vs. courage, and strength vs. weakness.
  • Gundam Build Fighters: There's no one right way to enjoy or get into a hobby. What's most important is that you have fun in your own way. In spite of these differences, you might make some unlikely friends in the process.
  • Gungrave: Can Undying Loyalty and a bond of friendship last in a crime-ridden universe?
  • Gunslinger Girl: Accepting imperfection, in life or in others.
  • GUN×SWORD: Which is more important: world peace, universal contentment, and the common good, or the freedom of the individual to pursue happiness according to his or her individual dreams and desires?
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
    • Going Beyond the Impossible. Just keep on going and overcoming it.
    • Evolution and growth.
    • Believing in oneself and in others.
  • Haibane Renmei:
    • Salvation: in particular, extrinsic salvation.
    • The importance of relying on others, and the idea that nobody can shoulder their burdens alone.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya:
    • What you mean to others.
    • In a mundane world, what does it mean to have adventures?
  • Hayao Miyazaki's films focus on themes of feminism, pacifism, the effects of war, growth and progression, love, environmentalism, and family.
  • Hell Girl: Is it possible to hate someone so much that you would sacrifice everything you are and everything you will become to destroy them? Alternatively, how evil does someone have to be that other people are willing to sell their soul to see them gone?
  • Hellsing:
    • Is the line that separates humans from monsters really so clear?
    • The pointlessness of war. The heroes are those who hate what they've become and want to stop people from ending up like them; the villains are those that revel in conflict for its own sake.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry:
    • Is it ever wise to distrust one's friends?
    • Revealing the dark secrets that surround us.
    • Gou: How the fallout of friendship can create consequences, as the overarching conflict between Rika and Satako shows us.
  • Hinamatsuri: The people who raised you weren't perfect. Your kids won't be either. Appreciate them anyway.
  • High School D×D: How far would you go for the ones you love?
  • Highschool of the Dead: How the collapse of social norms can bring out the best and worst of people.
  • Hunter × Hunter:
    • There's no plan. The world is chaos. Grab some friends and chase your dream.
    • True evil (Hisoka) does exist, but no one's a saint, and decent people sometimes clash. Don't judge too quickly, some enemies become friends, and not all antagonists are villains.
    • One can't always rely on brute strength alone; intellect is often just as important, and knowing how to strategize and take advantage of opportunities, as well as your enemies weaknesses, is vital in a world full of deadly, intelligent people.
    • The difference between bravery and life-threatening recklessness. Determination can be admirable but so too is self-awareness; being aware of your own skills and level of experience is necessary against all opponents, and rushing in blindly won't do anyone any good.
    • The idea of Might Makes Right, and just how brutal a world that adheres to that would be.
  • Hyouka - What constitutes as a "rose-colored life"? Is our current situation fine? Is there something we want more?
  • If My Favorite Pop Idol Made It to the Budokan, I Would Die:
    • How the connection between fan and star affects one another and how one is perceived by the other on the opposite side of this relationship.
    • Giving genuine support no matter what thee current situation is or what kind of circumstances one find themselves under.
  • Inuyasha: How long can you put off making a choice?
  • Inuyashiki:
  • Jagaaaaaan: Humans, and their relationship with their inner desires. People often suppress their desires for the sake of saving face, and more often than not this leads to more harm than good.
  • Jewelpet:
  • Jojos Bizarre Adventure:
    • What does it take to tap into the power of one's resolve, even in the face of impossible obstacles?
    • "What makes a human a hero?" as best shown in Phantom Blood and Stone Ocean.
    • Always have an ace in the hole. And if you don't, improvise.
    • Even gods are not absolute in the face of humanity.
    • A strong resolve and pure ingenuity can Overcome any fate.
    • Generations, and how an incredible legacy of good (or evil) can begin with the simplest choices.
  • Junjou Romantica: Moving on from your First Love that didn't work out to your next one.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love is War: Who people are on the inside vs the masks they wear in public.
  • Kaiji: The world is a brutal, competitive place, but that makes ethics more important, not less.
  • Kaiju Girl Caramelise: Body image. Finding people that love you for more than your appearance and growing comfortable with it.
  • Kakegurui: Nothing worthwhile is obtained without risks. Achieving something big will require one to make big bets.
  • Kanojo ni Naritai Kimi to Boku: Be Yourself, living genuinely as who you are, regardless of what others might think.
  • Kanon: The pain of loneliness (the anime version, at least).
  • Kaze no Stigma: Spirituality and Religion.
  • Keijo!!!!!!!!: Improvement and strength will only come about through hard work, but it will come slowly. Also, part of getting better is being honest with yourself about what your strengths and weaknesses are.
  • Key the Metal Idol: The preciousness of life.
  • Kiki's Delivery Service: Is growing up necessarily a negative experience?
  • Kill la Kill:
    • What ties the world together is not conformity, but diversity.
    • Is Fanservice inherently trashy? Or can it contribute to telling a wonderful story?
    • Clothing, nudity, secrets, and the roles all three play in human relationships.
  • Kindaichi Case Files: The central theme varies between volumes but the main one that stretches around the entire series is, is murder ever a wise solution when someone has wronged you?
  • Kiniro Mosaic: No matter our differences, we can still find ways to connect with one another.
  • Kino's Journey:
    • The rules we live by.
    • Is there any underlying point to the stories, any unifying concept? Perhaps. It could be seen as an extended lesson in the law of unintended consequences.
    • H. L. Mencken said, there is always an easy solution to every human problem: neat, plausible, and wrong. That is really the theme of this series. In every place that Kino visits, there was a problem that was solved by the adoption of a solution that was neat and plausible and far too simplistic. And in each case, we eventually learn why the chosen solution was wrong.
  • Kiznaiver:
    • How sharing pains and bad experiences can bring people together as friends.
    • The human need to connect with others and how these bond happens.
    • Love Hurts, but the fact that it hurts shouldn't stop you from loving or feeling things
  • Kokoro Connect - Hiding and accepting our flaws, and the Power of Trust.
  • K-On!: Is having fun such a bad thing?
  • Kotoura-san:
  • Legend of Galactic Heroes:
  • Little Witch Academia (2017): New Generation vs Old Generation. The need to grow out of overt conservative traditions while still respecting them and often updating them.
  • Lone Wolf and Cub:
    • The special bond between father and son.
    • What does it mean to be a Samurai?
  • Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions:
    • Running away from and facing our problems.
    • Also, the challenges of having to grow up.
  • Love Hina - Can you hold onto your childhood dream even as you grow up?
  • Love Is in the Bag: With the right set of friends, it's all in the bag.
  • Love Live!: Nothing in life is easy or permanent, but that just means we should enjoy every moment along the way.
  • Lupin III Part 5 revolves around the main criminal protagonists going up against modern technology.
  • Lyrical Nanoha: As Erica Friedman notes, the entire Nanoha-verse is the story of creating one's family for oneself. What makes a family? The community one is born into? Beyond that, individual seasons have their own central themes:
  • Magic Knight Rayearth: Is it possible to be so strong as to not need others at all?
  • Manga/Mahoromatic: The pursuit of happiness (the anime series, at least).
  • Martian Successor Nadesico: Don't take your fandom too seriously.
  • Midori Days: No matter how comfortable (or scared) you may be, relationships can't stay the same forever. Take the next step.
  • Mon Colle Knights: The Power of Friendship.
  • Monster: Can any human being be considered a monster, beyond redemption? Is it wrong to take a life, even to save others? It explores these questions right to the logical conclusion, then leaves it to the viewer to figure it out.
  • Monster Rancher:
    • Journey vs Destination.
    • The Power of Friendship.
  • Mob Psycho 100: Whatever it is that makes you unique doesn't make you above others. People that lack the same outstanding skill as you might have another skill, however mundane, that you lack, so ultimately, nobody is above anyone else.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: War Is Hell. Is either side of a conflict truly good or evil? Is it possible to just sit on the sidelines during war? Is it possible to fight tyranny and hatred with compassion? Can there be real peace without understanding? Many of the series, both in the Universal Century and Alternate Universes, tackle most of these themes.
    • Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: Can you reconcile the difference between the idealized version of a concept or memory or person with reality? Are the bonds we forge between others worth the pain when we're misunderstood or separated?
    • Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ:
      • Growing Up Sucks
      • At the end of the day, those who truly care about you will help.
    • Mobile Suit Victory Gundam:
      • Tragedies such as war affect everyone, especially the young.
    • Mobile Fighter G Gundam: Is it possible to understand each other through fighting?
    • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: What is peace, and what is the meaning of being a soldier in a time of peace?
    • After War Gundam X:
      • Selfishness VS Altruism.
      • Living means changing, having to deal with change, and learning to move on.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED: How does one define an enemy? Does destroying that enemy lead to more enemies being born because of hatred and grief? If so, what happens when the Cycle of Hatred grows out of control?
    • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny: There series has a few along with continuing its predecessor's themes.
      • Freedom vs Destiny. Which would be preferable? A world where everything is decided for you? Or where you can choose your own life?
      • The mistakes of the past are easily repeatable if you refuse to learn from them or move past your trauma. Cutting yourself off or refusing to look at someone else's point of view will also only result in this.
      • Power attracts opposition and conflict. It can also lead to you becoming the very thing you tried to prevent. However, if you do not have power, you cannot truly hope to change anything.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam AGE: Vengeance begets vengeance, and the future should not burden the grudges of those of the present.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam 00: What would you take to convince the warring sides to stop fighting?
    • ∀ Gundam:
      • People will come into conflict even when everyone has the best intentions. What's important is that everyone takes the time to try and properly communicate in spite of that, rather than deciding things impulsively.
      • History Repeats because people refuse to learn or withhold information from others that are willing. It's worth the effort to share what you know and work towards something better with everyone.
    • Gundam: Reconguista in G: It's not enough to learn about the world solely from hearsay. You need to get out into the world and experience it and talk to who you can in it and truly take your own stance. There is no absolute good or evil, just different viewpoints.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans: Should loyalty be unconditional or not? Also, a family can exist even if said people are not related, rather they are related by bond, hardship, and friendship.
  • Mujin Wakusei Survive: The need to grow up in order to face the world and new challenges.
  • My Bride is a Mermaid: Loneliness.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • What does it mean to be a hero?
    • What does it take to be the Ideal Hero? Can pure, unrelenting empathy and the drive to save everyone be an inspiring character trait, or symptomatic of an unhealthy martyr complex?
    • What does it take for a person to perfectly embody an abstract concept like Pure Good or Pure Evil, and what kind of person is capable of doing it?
    • Legacy and Passing the Torch, the influence of one generation over the other.
    • Individualism vs. Collectivism
  • My Neighbor Totoro:
    • Life, family, fear, and childhood.
    • Environmentalism.
  • My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!: The value of bonds, both platonic and romantic.
  • My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU:
    • Is there such a thing as a truly honest person? What are the effects of lying in society?
    • The difficulty of solving problems instead of avoiding them.
    • Also explores the complicated inner workings of relationships and social acceptance in general.
  • Naruto:
    • It starts out seeming like a straight To Be a Master series but later two major themes emerge: How much pain can a person endure without turning their back on the world? Will your family's legacy ever stop being a part of you? With the second in mind, it also deals heavily with the Cycle of Revenge. Most evil characters have had terrible pasts and wish to either get revenge, run away, or restart the world from scratch, and Naruto redeems them because he too has had a terrible past but his drive and love have seen him through to brighter days. Oh, and he is well on his way to being a master after all because of it.
    • The damage that being ostracized by others can do.
    • Following the rules vs. doing what's right, or as Kakashi puts it, "those who break laws are scum. And those who abandon their friends to follow the law... they're lower than scum!"
    • The qualities of a good leader.
    • The importance of forming your own principles and sticking to them.
    • Forgiveness.
    • The Last: Naruto the Movie: Don't let the past hold you back from living a happy life.
  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind - Is it better to try to understand what we do not know, or to fight against it?
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • A 26 episode critique of the Otaku lifestyle and deconstruction of the conventions of Humongous Mecha anime, while ironically setting new conventions to replace the old.
    • Responsibility and how people deal with it.
    • Love is also a major theme; all the characters are motivated by a desire to love, and be loved in return.
    • The Hedgehog's Dilemma: how people unavoidably hurt each other when they try to get emotionally closer, and what happens when one tries to run away from their relationships with other people. This includes the above mentioned themes of responsibility and love.
    • You Are Better Than You Think You Are.
    • The consequences of playing God and tampering with nature.
    • Is a father's love something that can be earned?
    • The emotional problems people deal with vs the external forces seeking to destroy them.
    • Mankind as it's own worst enemy.
    • Trauma, and the things it makes us do.
  • The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl: Fate vs Coincidence.
  • No Guns Life: The difference between a person and a tool, and how a person's value is more than just what they do.
  • Now and Then, Here and There: Redemption.
  • Oishinbo: Trying new things, broadening your horizons, and going out of your comfort zone. Also, appreciating one's own culture and traditions without being held back by it.
  • One Piece:
  • One-Punch Man:
    • How to grow in a world that no longer has much conflict, as it's now easier to live in than it has ever been. Has life become boring due to all the advancements?
    • Dealing with boredom, depression, loneliness, and finding one's purpose in life.
    • Dealing with people who look down on you for your (real or perceived) inferiority.
    • Real heroism is more important than the glory or fame that might come with it.
    • The struggle to become more strong and powerful — and how that's not always a good thing.
    • Don't let your personal insecurities or obsessions consume you, or else you may lose some of your humanity in the process.
  • Outlaw Star:
    • Summed up in the opening dialogues of each episode, and the series as a whole in the second episode and in the great Toonami promo Dreams. In short, there's a whole universe of possibilities, opportunity, and adventure waiting for you to fulfill your dreams. You can't let your fear stop you from pursuing those dreams. Going on this journey, to fulfill childhood dreams, is a necessary part of becoming an adult.
    ''A boy has the right to dream. There are endless possibilities stretched out before him. What awaits him down the path, he will then have to choose. The boy doesn’t always know. At some point the boy becomes an adult and learns what he is able to become. Joy and sadness forever will accompany this. He is confronted with a choice. When this happens as he bids his past farewell in his heart. Once a boy becomes an adult he can no longer go back to being a boy. The boy is now a man. Only one thing can be said, “A boy has the right to dream.” For those endless possibilities are stretched out before him. We must always remember, all men where once boys..."
    • Freedom, of being independent from any larger group or entity, which is what it means to be an outlaw within the universe of the show. Gene Starwind and his crew's loyalty are only to each other as they deal with both planetary governments and pirate guilds.
    • Being a good man.
  • Paranoia Agent - The cost of escapism, and the need to face reality as it is.
  • The Pet Girl of Sakurasou:
    • Always seek to better yourself, and never give up, even when you fail.
    • A lot of emphasis is put on "talent" and it impacts.... how much does talent, as we know it, matter in trying to live your passion? How do your insecurities regarding someone more talented than yourself affect you?
  • Planet With: Justice is overrated. Mercy and forgiveness are what hold the world together.
  • Planetes: Love (Tanabe) versus ambition (Hachimaki). (More pronounced in the manga than the anime.)
  • Please Save My Earth: What happened in the past informs our decisions, and that's it; history only repeats itself if we let it. (Or as xkcd put it: "the past is just practice".)
  • Pokémon: Friendship, and striving to be the best at what you do with those friends.
  • Popotan: Parting from friends is a natural part of life, but friendships can still live on in memories.
  • Pretty Sammy: Hiding our true feelings is bad and The Power of Love/Friendship.
  • Princess Mononoke:
    • Can there be peace between man and nature?
    • The toxic and corrupting nature of hate.
  • Princess Tutu - You can control your own destiny, no matter your situation.
  • Prison School: Trying to control the sexuality of others can become its own form of perversion.
  • Psycho-Pass - How far will we go to prevent crime and keep society in order?
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica:
  • Ranma ½:
  • Reborn! (2004): The conflict between remaining insular and reaching out to family and friends.
  • Re:CREATORS uses the fact that most of the main characters are Refugees From TV Land as a psychological study of the creation process of creating a fictional world and characters and how the audience perceives those.
  • Re:Zero:
    • Loneliness, isolation, trauma, how that can have an effect on a person, and ultimately overcome all of that.
    • Even the weakest person can have the greatest impact on the world around them.
    • The expectations of manhood vs. what it means to be a man.
    • It's fine to be selfless, but there is a such thing as Senseless Sacrifice. You need to take care of your own person too.
    • No matter how much you stumble or fall, you can always get back up and start over again... from zero.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena: Is it possible to be both an archetypal prince and female at the same time? Can someone like Utena who wants to be a "prince" also yearn for her own prince without contradicting herself? The show is also a deconstruction of fairytale archetypes and romance tropes present in many shoujo anime/manga of its time, showing just how unhealthy they would be if played straight.
  • Rinne no Lagrange: Growing up.
  • The Rising of the Shield Hero:
    • There are good reasons to become a cynical, misogynistic prick, but you still need to grow out of it.
    • Treating someone like trash is never a good idea. You may just need their help the most.
    • How should you treat a society that betrayed you?
    • Actions speak louder than words. And by extension, thoughtless actions have very real consequences.
  • Robotics;Notes: Family, and loved ones who are like family. There is nothing more important.
  • Robot Romance Trilogy:
    • Choudenji Robo Combattler V: Not all villains are entirely bereft of anything that resembles valor and care for their kin and even willingly die with honor; this is best shown with Garuda of all people.
    • Choudenji Machine Voltes V:
      • Tyranny and oppression vs. Revolution and Free will. Over time, a government under an iron-fisted totalitarian rule will be easily toppled by rebels fighting for peace and equality.
      • Bigotry and the struggles of accepting one's true heritage. Both humans and Boazanians alike loathe each other as a result of Emperor Zu Zambajil's desire to conquer Earth; and later in the endgame arc, the Go Brothers are outed as the children of a disgraced Boazanian royal bloodnote , thus some of the Camp Big Falcon crew are sowing distrust towards the Voltes Team.
    • Toushou Daimos: Can The Power of Love prevail in a world where discrimination, war and a Vicious Cycle of Revenge exists?
  • Rosario + Vampire has a few. True Companions are a great thing to have when going through bad times. Nothing is always what it seems. Love can still be strong even if it is only platonic. Love is also about putting others above your own needs.
  • Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise: Overcoming one's sins or imperfections to do good in spite of them.
  • Rurouni Kenshin:
    • Atoning for past mistakes. You may be done with the past, but the past isn't done with you.
    • Also redemption, and the restraint and resolve it takes to maintain it.
  • Sailor Moon: Evil may never die but neither do the ones who fight it, believe in the power of love and friendship to overcome all odds.
  • Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: The future is not set in stone.
  • Sarazanmai:
    • Connecting with others is as necessary as it is difficult.
    • Don't let go of your desires, but don't let them rule over you.
  • School Days: The things, terrible things, people will do for love.
  • School Rumble: Your life can be changed by someone you never expected.
  • Serial Experiments Lain :
    • At its core, an exploration of the impact of the information age on the human soul. At a time when the internet was only just getting off, it foretold a future where Everything is Connected. It explores the concept of a Technological singularity: "Close the World, Open the Next".
    • What it means to be human.
  • The Seven Deadly Sins: Sins and atoning for said sins is a recurring theme within the series.
    • In war there is no good or evil.
    • Who decides good and evil, by what right do they have to do so?
    • Love is the most powerful and beautiful feeling in the entire world. It can make a life filled with tragedy feel as though it were worth living or redeem that which was completely evil... it can, however, cause pain worse than any other. Ban and Meliodas can attest to this.
  • Seven Mortal Sins: Having vices doesn't necessarily make one a bad person. In fact, if we keep them under control, they can become our greatest virtues.
  • Shadow Star: What happens when people abuse power given to them.
  • Shakugan no Shana:
  • Shamanic Princess: The duality of the soul.
  • Shiki:
  • Shimoneta: Fanservice is still needed in society and censorship cannot be taken too far. Or else tomorrow's children will be stunted in a bad way.
  • Shinzo: The fate of humanity.
  • SHUFFLE!: Regretting hurting whom you love.
  • Simoun: Growing up, faith, and love.
  • Someday's Dreamers: Overcoming fear, particularly needless fear (the anime, at least).
  • Sonic X - While there is no real overarching theme, in the first season one message conveyed seems to be that friendship can last forever, even if two friends are apart.
  • SpeedGrapher: Respect for the person you love.
  • Spirited Away:
    • Loneliness and identity.
    • Keeping the magic alive.
    • People aren't all bad, or good and bad can be found in everyone.
    • With great power comes great responsibility.
  • SSSS.GRIDMAN:
    • You can't seclude yourself away from the outside world forever. Otherwise, it will make you feel even more miserable.
    • Looking after yourself and keeping in touch with your loved ones. With that, you have the power to protect yourself from the destructive path you may be walking on.
  • Steins;Gate:
    • What are you willing to do for the people you love? What are you prepared to sacrifice?
    • Be careful when messing with things that you don't understand, or you might make horrible mistakes.
    • The most meaningless of things can have a huge impact down the line.
  • Sword Art Online:
    • Can virtual reality change the way we experience love and friendship?
    • The choices people make in their fantasy lives are a reflection of their character. It's never "just a game".
  • The Tale of the Princess Kaguya: Regretting to live your life in a way that you don't like to live in.
  • Texhnolyze: Acceptance of the fact that everyone has a dark side.
  • Thermae Romae:
    • Bath culture stresses the importance of being able to connect with others and unwind whenever possible.
    • It is possible to learn from and incorporate other aspects of foreign cultures into your own.
  • Thigh High: Reiwa Hanamaru Academy: The power of cuteness.
  • That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime: The joy of building a community.
  • Tokyo Mew Mew: Can there be a justification for a terrible act?
  • Toradora!: The way that love hides in plain sight, eluding your efforts to find it until you realize it was right under your nose the whole time.
  • Towa no Quon: The role of emotions in making us human.
  • Trigun The plausibility of true pacifism in a very harsh and inhospitable world. This is best exemplified by the analogy in the anime of a butterfly caught in a spider's web: the Plants, a race of engineered Winged Humanoids represent the butterflies, as they are enslaved by the humans in order to make the planet habitable. Knives' plan is to wipe out the humans/spiders and save the Plants/butterflies, whereas Vash's hope is to come up with an alternative that allows everyone to coexist.
  • The Twelve Kingdoms:
    • Don’t try to fulfill everyone’s expectations. Follow your heart.
    • Only children cry out of self-pity.
    • Don’t blame others; instead, seek to improve yourself.
    • Sense of purpose.
  • Umi Monogatari: Coming to terms with the darkness residing in mankind.
  • Un-Go - When truth collides with the good of the society, which is more important?
  • Voices of a Distant Star: Long Distance Relationships. Does physical distance matter for two people in love? What if she's in another city? Country? Continent? Star System? Einstein said "The great distances between the stars is nothing compared to the infinite distance between human hearts", and this movie tries to prove him dead wrong.
  • Vinland Saga: If you don't want violence then don't commit violence. Actual Pacifist or none.
  • Violet Evergarden:
    • The importance of communication and letting your feelings clear to others.
    • Everyone has scars, but it's important to move on.
  • Waiting in the Summer: Love waits for no-one.
  • Wandering Son: All sorts of Transgender issues, with a particular focus on people coming to truly understand themselves as their true gender.
  • Wedding Peach:
    • The reconciliation of the good and evil that resides in everyone.
    • Transformation, destruction, and creation.
    • The failure and breakdown of systems of authority.
  • Welcome to the N.H.K.:
  • Wolf's Rain: Will evil always exist?
  • Yona of the Dawn: The Power of Friendship.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: There is something that you can show to others, but cannot be seen at the same time.
  • Yu Yu Hakusho: Beings of different races (humans, demons/youki, and other spiritual beings) are capable of both acts of kindness and cruelty. In turn, acts of compassion and acts of cruelty have the capacity to change a person or being to become better or worse.
  • Yuri!!! on Ice:
    • Time, and its lack thereof.
    • The Power of Love.
    • The difference between perception and reality.
  • Zetman: Is real heroism possible in a world where there are no simple solutions?
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