Anime is never without plot twists, and here are 10 of the biggest anime that changed their series forever. Changing the current direction of a series is one thing, but some of the best episodes in stories are those that completely change the genre the story is told. A change on that level essentially creates a whole new story for people to invest in, and when it’s rolled out seamlessly, it elevates the story in question to a new level of quality that defines it for the rest of time and beyond.
Some of the twists listed here occur near the end of their respective anime, but others happen relatively early, even early in the series, in some cases. Either way, each of these twists has a major impact on their stories, and it’s hard to imagine how each would proceed without them.
10 Kill La Kill – Satsuki betrays Ragyo
The first major anime plot discussed was Kill la Kill’s revelation that Satuski Kiryuin and her team were actually working against Ragyo and siding with Ryuko the whole time. While later episodes hinted that Satsuki wasn’t as evil as she originally portrayed her to be, the revelation that she was completely on the side of the heroes completely changed the way her character was viewed. What’s even more amazing is the way it plays out: Satsuki reveals her true colors by stabbing and nailing Ragyo perfectly, and the over-the-top nature of the scene fits perfectly with the essence of the show.
9 Zombie Land Saga – The entire premise of Anime
Another anime with a big makeover is Zombie Land Saga. Prior to its premiere, nothing was known about Zombie Land Saga other than regarding the girls becoming zombies, and when it was last premiered, it was revealed that the girls had been turned into zombies so they could become an idol group and revive Saga Province. It’s a completely irrational direction that no one could have predicted, and it has led to a series of movies that aren’t afraid to unleash more and more absurdity one after another.
Fullmetal Alchemist is rife with plot twists, and one of the biggest concerns is the true nature of the Sorcerer’s Stone. Finding the Sorcerer’s Stone has been Edward and Alphonse’s goal from the beginning of the series, and when they eventually gain real lead, it leads to the discovery that the Sorcerer’s Stone is made of human life. That revelation not only turns the Sorcerer’s Stone into something terrible the Elric brothers don’t want to be involved in, but it also turns the story into a puzzle rife with conspiracies, and unraveling all of them will remain at the heart of the story for the rest of it.
7 Neon Genesis Evangelion – Human Tool Project
Neon Genesis Evangelion is famous for its dark plot, and one of the most notable of these revolves around the truth of the Human Tool Project. The Human Tool Project was mentioned several times throughout the anime, but it was not until the end of the series that it was revealed to be a means of uniting humanity into a single being and allowing a select few to become gods. This revelation will be at the heart of nearly every version of the series, and it will forever add an existential element to the franchise that will take it far beyond simply being a dark mecha anime.
6 Code Geass – The Connection Between Ragnarök and Marianne .’s True Nature
Code Geass is another anime filled with plot twists, and the largest of them revolves around the Ragnarök Connection and the character Marianne. After two vague seasons surrounding the Ragnarök Connection, Charles finally reveals that it will unite all of humanity into a single being to create a world free of lies, and Marianne, who is actually still alive, has wholeheartedly supported it. In addition to setting wide scope for Charles’ ambitions, the reveal adds complexity to him and completely erases the saintly personality associated with Marianne, all of which adds a sense of irony to Lelouch’s character just as the series draws to a close.
5 Death Note – Almost beat the light
Of the many twists and turns that surround Death Note, the biggest one is also the last: nearly defeating Light. Although it initially looked like Light would win again, Near managed to outmaneuver Light and expose him as Kira, which ultimately led to his death at the hands of Ryuk. While Light is the villain of the series, considering how things have gone up until then, it’s reasonable to assume he’ll find a way out, so it’s not surprising that he’s so completely defeated in the end.
4 Bleach – Aizen’s True Nature
Of all the major twists that exist throughout Bleach’s story, the biggest one is undoubtedly the reveal of Sosuke Aizen as a villain. While Aizen was initially portrayed as a heroic figure tragically killed as part of an ongoing conspiracy, the Soul Society section ends with the revelation that Aizen is not only still alive, but responsible for everything that has happened up to that point. The reveal of Aizen completely changed what people were expected to think of the Soul Society installment, and it created someone who will be at the heart of almost every plot point in Bleach for the rest of it.
3 Naruto – Tobi .’s True Identity
Tobi has been a mysterious character since his second appearance in Naruto, and the lead up to the reveal of his true identity is fraught with twists and turns again and again. At first, it seemed the big deal was that Tobi was Madara Uchiha, but that was eventually revealed to be a red herring; Madara was truly a separate person, and Tobi’s identity was eventually revealed to be Kakashi’s childhood friend, Obito Uchiha. Each turning point adds more and more mystery to Tobi’s character, and the final twist about him being Obito completely changes the context Naruto and his friends are fighting for.
2 One Piece – Luffy’s Gear 5
Luffy’s powers in One Piece are usually very simple, but there is a huge change regarding his most recent power, Gear 5. After dying to Kaido, Luffy revives with a white dyed body that he calls Gear 5 and is revealed to the audience as the awakened form of his Devil Fruit, its true identity as a Human-Human, Model: Nika. Gear 5 itself was a big turning point, but combining it with the revelation that Luffy’s Devil Fruit holds the power of a literal god completely changed the significance of the role Luffy was expected to serve in the series.
1 Dragon Ball – Goku Is an Alien
The final turning point that will be discussed is Dragon Ball’s reveal that Goku is an alien. Although Goku initially appears to be a strange monkey-man, inspired by Son Goku in Chinese folklore, it is eventually revealed that he is one of the Saiyans, an alien race that genocide the planets for a living, and only thanks to Goku’s amnesia that he doesn’t do the same to Earth. This shouldn’t be difficult for anyone getting started with Dragon Ball Z, but for anyone who watched Dragon Ball in the first place, this completely changed Goku’s personality and changed the series from a silly fantasy story to the sci-fi fighting epic known today.
A great plot needs to be something that greatly influences the story and the characters that embody it, and the 10 anime listed here all do it in one way or another. Some happen more recently than others and some happen earlier in their respective stories than others, but after all, each person strives to completely reinvent their stories and elevate their quality to even greater heights. None of these anime is the same without plot twists, and the way they change their respective stories isn’t all that appealing.