Script written by Jason Bowman
Top 20 Craziest Anime Plot Twists
Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 20 Craziest Anime Plot Twists.
For this list, we'll be counting down the times where an anime went off the rails with a sudden narrative development. Some are good, some are awful, but all tread the line of WTF territory.
Which plot twist shocked you the most? Let us know in the comments below!
#20: Stocking Ruins Christmas
“Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt” (2010)
Panty and Stocking almost had the perfect ending… we say almost because Gainax decided to pretty much ruin everything with only a few minutes left in the final episode. After defeating the big bad Corset in climatic fashion, Stocking suddenly cuts Panty up into pieces during the after credits. She reveals that she’s actually a demon and aligns herself with Corset. With all the other characters in absolute shock, Garterbelt tells Brief and Chuck that it’s up to them to save Panty.
They were obviously setting up a sequel here, but for a long time it looked like we were never getting one. Luckily Studio Trigger announced there would be one, more than a decade after the series had ended.
#19: Trust Nobody, Not Even Yourself
"Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works" (2014-15)
Take out your notebooks kids, because like everything in the Fate-verse, things are about to get complicated. Turns out that in an alternative timeline, our boy Shirou became disillusioned with becoming a hero of justice after seeing how self-destructive humanity could be. After going on to become a sort-of-ish Heroic Spirit and brought into the Fifth Holy Grail War, he decides the best course of action to fix things is to...kill an alternative version of his younger self so as to counter the...ah forget it! Where's that wiki page?!
#18: Ruining a Great Twist
“Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's” (2008-11)
Throughout its final arc, there was a lot of mystery surrounding who exactly the masked main antagonist Z-One was. There was plenty of foreshadowing and even flashbacks hinting to the fact that he was actually our protagonist Yusei from the future, who had turned bad. Unfortunately “Yu-Gi-Oh 5Ds” chickened out of what would have been an awesome twist and went with something incredibly lame. As it turns out Z-One was just a no-name scientist who decided to get plastic surgery and alter his memories in order to become Yusei. It’s such a shame that such a great twist was ruined and made way more convoluted than it should have been during the final battle.
#17: Nina’s True Love Interest
“Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory” (1991-92)
One of the side stories in this gritty Gundam OVA was the relationship between the protagonist Kou and his love interest Nina, but the finale destroyed any progression these two had for little to no reason. As he’s trying to stop Gato from dropping a colony, Nina comes out of nowhere and reveals that she has a romantic history with the villain, and proceeds to protect him. No where in the rest of the series was this ever hinted at or suggested, with Nina not even recognizing him in the very first episode. The only possible reason for this bizarre plot twist is that when the director changed halfway through the series, they decided to do something completely different that wasn’t planned from the start.
#16: The Non-Canon Truth of Alchemy
“Fullmetal Alchemist” (2003-04)
For those of you who watched “Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood” and are wondering what this ones all about don’t worry too much as it’s completely non-canon to the original story. Back in 2003 when the original FMA was airing, only a few volumes of the manga had been released, meaning it was up to the anime staff to come up with their own backstory, lore and conclusion to the story. It’s revealed in this version of the story that Alchemy is powered by tragedy and death from our very own world. Although nowhere near as good as the true story, you have to give the 2003 anime credit for coming up with an interesting twist!
#15: Yusuke’s Demon Heritage
“Yu Yu Hakusho” (1992-94)
For the majority of Yu Yu Hakusho, our protagonist Yusuke was a human turned spirit detective after seemingly dying in a car accident. Throughout the story we see his spirit powers naturally increase through intense training and hard fought battles. For the final episodes however, everything is suddenly thrown out the window as it is revealed that he is actually a descendant of the Great Raizen, meaning he has demon DNA within him the whole time. Many felt like this cheapened the accomplishments Yusuke had made, and that there had been no hints at massive this revelation whatsoever.
#14: Aizens’ True Colors
By the end of it, the Soul Society arc had pretty much achieved GOAT status, and this shocking twist definitely cemented it. We all couldn’t believe the scene we saw when the captain of the 5th Division Aizen was discovered dead, but the best was yet to come. After the dramatic battle between Ichigo and Byakuya had concluded, it’s revealed that Aizen was behind everything and had betrayed the Gotei 13. Not only was this an incredible shock, but we were also treated to a badass scene where Aizen dropped the glasses and showed off his cool new hairstyle! This moment would have huge ramifications for the rest of the series.
#13: Estarossa’s Identity Crisis
“The Seven Deadly Sins” (2014-21)
For a good chunk of the series, we knew Estarossa as one of the Demon King’s sons and the brother of Meliodas and Zeldris. However, this is a complete fabrication and he’s actually one of the Four Archangels of the Goddess clan known as Mael. As it turns out, the original Gowther messed with his and everyone else's memories, giving him the new role as one of the Ten Commandments and making everyone think he killed Mael. The only thing he retains is his obsession with Elizabeth and his envious feelings towards Meliodas.
#12: Satoko Attempts to Expel Rika
“Higurashi: When They Cry – Gou” (2020-21)
The Higurashi franchise is home to many twists and turns, but this one was definitely out there. When Higurashi Gou first started airing, we all thought it was going to be a reboot of the original series, but as time went on the arcs became increasingly different, we knew something was up. As it turns out this new series is actually a sequel to the original, and Rika has been brought back into this time repeating hell by none other than her best friend Satoko. The reason for this being that the two drifted apart on bad terms in boarding school, and Satoko wants to change the future by making Rika change her mind about enrolling.
#11: Oh, This? It’s Laced with Satan
"Devilman Crybaby" (2018)
You know how it is, one day you're just kicking back, and then the next thing you know your best friend turns out to be the Prince of Darkness. After discovering his true identity, Ryou tries to recruit Akira into his plan for wiping out humanity and declaring war on heaven. Given how Ryou was the one who set him on his demonic path to begin with and inadvertently caused the death of his beloved Miki, Akira is not exactly in a cooperative mood.
#10: Reincarnated and it feels so good
"Naruto: Shippuden" (2007-17)
Most fans tend to gloss over Naruto and company's final battle with Kaguya, simply because it introduced so many crazy new concepts in such a short space of time that it ended up doing the anime a disservice. Out of the medley of sudden twists, the fact that Naruto and Sasuke are implied to be the reincarnations of the Sage of the Six Path's children takes the cake for us. Wasn't this series originally all about fighting against fate, prophecies and all that malarkey?
#9: Jibun Wo-h Come On Now
"Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2" (2008)
From the get-go, it was clear that Lelouch's father was a scumbag wrapped in the body of a dictator. After all, he didn't think twice about enslaving the Japanese and using the power of Ragnarok in the hope of taking control of all beings. So yeah, definitely not dad of the year material. But on the positive side, at least Lelouch's mother was a sweet and caring woman, one who was tragically killed when -- oh wait, nope, she's just as bad as her hubby, as its revealed she went above and beyond in setting things in motion in the hope of unleashing Ragnarok. Even as a Geass ghost she's a deceitful witch of a woman!
#8: Homura Ruins Everything
“Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion” (2013)
The original Madoka Magica series had some incredible plot twists, such as the big reveal of Witches originally being Magical Girls, and Madoka essentially becoming a god at the end. The sequel movie however tried to blow all of those out of the water with its shocking conclusion, in which Homura undergoes a complete personality change. Just as we’re getting our seemingly happy ending, Homura pretty much betrays Madoka out of love, taking away her powers and rewriting the universe and in the process calls herself a demon. Some felt that this weakened the original series ending, leaving it open to a sequel which we still haven’t received almost a decade later.
#7: Deus Ex Machina
“Future Diary” (2011-12)
In this deathmatch to determine a new god, one character that stands out from all the rest is the murderous Yuno Gasai, who is completely obsessed with our protagonist Yukiteru. After all the twists and turns this series gave us, none of us were prepared for this bombshell towards the end. It’s revealed that the Yuno in this story is from another timeline. After losing her beloved Yukiteru, which resulted in her winning the game and becoming god, Yuno travels back in time in order to save him. What makes this even more insane is that in order to do this, she had to murder the version of herself in this timeline!
#6: The Hideauze Are Humans
"Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet" (2013)
In the end, you can always count on mankind to find some way to mess everything up. As a soldier for the Galactic Alliance of Humankind, Ledo was raised believing that the space-squids known as the Hideauze were nothing more than monsters in need of exterminating, but how wrong he was. After finding himself stranded on Earth, which had now literally become a waterworld, he discovers that his alien enemies were once humans who had decided to genetically alter themselves in the hope of escaping into space. That certainly wasn't in the galactic handbook.
#5: Congratulations Shinji
"Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo" (2012)
Poor, poor Shinji. No matter what he does, no matter how hard he tries, he always ends up getting kicked to the curb. Contrary to the previous film's ending, which had us believe that Shinji had managed to save Rei by letting his EVA unit go full-on God Mode, this third entry in the Reboot franchise reveals that he actually messed everything up, and now everyone hates his guts, even getting fitted with an explosive collar in the process. Will someone give this guy a break?
#4: Trigger Does Maury
"Kill la Kill" (2013-14)
Starting to see a pattern here? Anime loves nothing more than giving us as much twisted family drama as possible. Case and point, when main girl Ryuko discovered that she's actually the artificially augmented daughter of psycho-fashion diva Ragyo. Unfortunately, mommy dearest's affection for her daughters happens to come in the form of either brainwashing or outright violence. The fact she proved their connection by literally tearing out Ryuko's heart in front of her is just the icing on the cake.
#3: Ancient Aliens
"Darling in the Franxx" (2018)
You just couldn't help yourself, could you Studio Trigger? We were perfectly fine with a show about adolescents dealing with puberty and sexual confusion through the medium of co-piloting giant robots...but then you decide to throw in aliens at the last minute. We already had the mystery of the Klaxosaurs to contend with as well as APE's insidious exploits, did we really need the likes of VIRM to come along and shake everything up? Too many cooks spoil the broth you know!
#2: Guillotine Gorilla
"Samurai Flamenco" (2013-14)
This isn't so much a twist as it is a betrayal of the anime's own premise. The fact our hero was nothing more than a male model who wanted to be a superhero due to a romantic sense of justice was oddly flattering, especially in its realistic portrayal of how such an idea often led to him getting wailed on by each criminal he encountered. And yet in one scene that all goes out the window. As Flamenco finds himself taking on a giant gorilla that has a guillotine in place of a stomach, all before finding out there is an evil organization out there that wants his head. Uh, a little late to be going the tokusatsu route guys.
#1: Eren’s Manipulation
"Attack on Titan" (2013-)
Attack on Titan is littered with many shocking moments and twists, with one of the biggest ones being when Eren’s father massacred the Reiss family in order to take the founding Titan. As it turns out, there was a lot more to this scene than we expected. It is later revealed to Zeke that Grisha did not initially want to go through with the massacre, however due to the Attack Titan’s powers, Eren manipulated him to commit this heinous act. Not only does this twist give us a new perspective on this moment, but it shows us Eren’s true intentions.