Anime fans love new shonen like Chainsaw Man and Jujutsu Kaisen. Others are excited to see old favorites like Bleach return for the first time in years. These shows are known for their epic and fast-paced fight scenes.
At the same time, however, they can also be quite confusing. Shonen anime usually rely heavily on superpowers with rules and conditions, and they often try to deliberately mislead or deceive the viewer in order to make the reveals more exciting. This resulted in some shonen anime having some of the most confusing arcs ever.
Goku Black Saga (Dragon Ball Super)
Story arcs in Dragon Ball are generally quite simple. Typically there is a big bad guy and the good guys have to defeat him. The Goku Black saga is no different, but defeating the villain proves harder than expected. On the one hand, his identity is quite confusing.
What originally appears to be an evil version of Goku turns out to be an alternate future timeline version of the god Zamasu. Additionally, he controls time, so he is never truly killed when he is killed. At the end of the arc, he merges with the entire universe to become beyond God. It’s a wild ride that left a lot of viewers confused.
Although Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood is a classic, it wasn’t the first attempt to make Hiromu Arakawa’s manga an anime. The original Fullmetal Alchemist anime took longer to adapt previous arcs, but the anime’s ending was totally controversial, albeit original and quite confusing.
Brotherhood fans were probably quite confused when they saw the other side of the door of truth in this anime. Instead of being a metaphor for selflessness, the Gate instead leads to real-world Earth. Not just any place on Earth either, but Nazi Germany. It turned out that each character was actually an alternate universe version of a real-world Nazi. It’s a bizarre ending that completely baffled fans.
Final Showdown (Death Note)
Death Note has a lot of back and forth, and the mind games in anime are a big part of its appeal. Tracking the characters’ machinations can be difficult, however, and nowhere is it harder than in Light’s final confrontation with Near.
The two and their teams agree to meet in an abandoned warehouse. Light arranged for his servant to kill everyone but him. Near had foreseen this and changed the pages of the Death Note. But Light also foresaw Near’s foresight, and then Near took that into account as well. Throw in plenty of vague post-confrontation implications and you end up with a confusing ending that left fans divided.
Hueco Mundo / White Invasion Bows (Bleach)
There is nothing more important to a potential brain than the ability to manipulate people. Fortunately for Sousuke Aizen, villain of these Bleach parts, he has the ultimate trick. Bleach’s Soul Reapers all have abilities called Zanpakuto, and Aizen’s is one of the most broken.
What should have been a simple rescue mission becomes a totally incomprehensible affair. Aizen’s ability is called “Complete Hypnosis” and allows him to completely manipulate the senses of anyone who sees his sword. There is no time limit or restriction and there is no tell. Fighting Aizen, which should be easy, becomes a frustrating headache for Ichigo and the audience.
Season 4 (Yu-Gi-Oh! GX)
After two seasons of character antics at school, Yu-Gi-Oh GX Season 3 brought darker, more involved elements to the storylines. These dark elements would be expanded upon in the show’s fourth and final season. The characters would die and the protagonist would be possessed by demonic power. There are tons of twists along the way that really change the status quo of the series.
Except that none of this has ever reached English dub watchers. The original dub ended after season 3, so fans had to watch subtitled versions online. It would be quite confusing, but going from dubbing to subtitling created a lot of inconsistencies. Names and plot points have been changed, leaving an already confusing season even more confusing.
Arc D-Reaper (Digimon Tamers)
Digimon Tamers isn’t as popular as the Adventure anime series, but it deconstructs many anime tropes. Monsters, instead of being confined to a digital world, exist in the real world. World governments are also fully aware of the adventures regarding Digimon and Digidestined, which lead to the events of its later arcs being largely tied to the real world.
The CREEPER computer virus was one of the first malicious viral worms ever designed. Its antivirus, REAPER, was the first of its kind, and most computer and antivirus viruses are descended from both. The two and the real ECHELON intelligence network were joint discussions on the Internet at first. All three are major players in the D-Reaper arc, which was too confusing for the kids it was intended for.
Birth of Jinchurchiki from Ten-Tails (Naruto)
Madara Uchiha is perhaps Naruto’s greatest villain. Technically, his plan is coming to fruition, but seeing it happen is so confusing, not to mention the other bizarre episodes like Naruto’s confrontation with Obito. In the manga, it was even more confusing, with layers of false memories blending together.
Madara’s plan involves him faking his death more than once, and he manipulates several of his own descendants in order to bring himself back to life. All for the purpose of creating a giant tree meant to induce a siesta for everyone on the planet. At the end of it all, his plan and his powers were so complete that it took the intervention of aliens to stop him.
The Requiem Plays Quietly (Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure)
The anime can be called “weird,” but the heavy exposition generally ensures that the arcs are at least fairly well understood. But the finale of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 5 has more than confusing stands. King Crimson’s, the villain’s main stand, has the ability to skip time. This ability makes him basically invincible and is often inconsistent.
He’s not even the main threat in this arc, he’s just there too. The real main threat is Silver Chariot Requiem, a Stand evolved beyond comprehension. His ability to change everyone’s body and manipulate souls to turn people into fearsome monsters. It also doesn’t give much time to sit down, as there’s also a murder mystery to solve at the same time. It’s more than complex, even for this series.
All (Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo)
If there’s one arc that stands out as more confusing than the others in Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, it’s probably the Legendary Idiot Killer arc. The protagonists climb a tower with a giant toilet, fight in space with the power of “Are you serious?” and meet a muscular murderer who transforms into a female torpedo. However, everything in this anime is close to this level of weirdness.
Bo-bobo is above all a comedy, and it frequently dives into surreal humor. The events do not follow logically and the powers of the characters are inconsistent. The antagonists, who are supposed to forcibly make everyone bald, often have hair. Add the untranslatable puns and everything becomes even more difficult to understand.
The Last Third (Neon Genesis Evangelion)
Evangelion’s ending was so infamous that it coined the term “Gainax Ending.” This refers to when the ending is so incomprehensible that it requires multiple viewings and additional material to understand. In fact, the ending was so infamous that it required multiple movies to be added. But that doesn’t change the fact that the show literally ends with a circle of people shouting “congratulations.”
What started out as a fairly standard mecha show started to introduce religious symbolism. The robots are revealed to be genetic clones of their pilots’ mothers. Extraterrestrials are true biblical entities with terrifying and supernatural forms. Clones and the end of reality began to fill every frame. It’s hard to describe anything about Evangelion, so one should just watch it if they haven’t.