Netflix’s ‘Good Night World’ is a fantasy drama series based on the Japanese manga series of the same name written and illustrated by Uru Okabe. The anime recounts the story of a dysfunctional family of four that tries to find some sense of normalcy in their lives by playing a game known as Planet. Unaware of each other’s real-world identities, the four of them end up paradoxically making a simulated happy family in the game world with the rule that they will never try to get any information on each other’s private lives. Sadly when the line between the virtual and real world begins to blur, the harsh truth that is revealed starts to have a concerning effect on reality.
The psychological drama series offers viewers a nerve-racking experience and is a great watch for anime fans who enjoy a show dealing with complex themes. In case you have already watched the series and wish to watch something similar, then we have a few recommendations for you. You can watch all these anime like Netflix’s ‘Good Night World’ on Crunchyroll, Funimation, Hulu, or Netflix.
8. Haibane Renmei (2002)
Rakka has no memories and after she is reborn from a cacoon in a strange village, she finds herself confused about her identity or purpose of life. As if this was not bad enough, she also has to follow the strict rules laid out for her by the villagers. Although the series is not entirely focused on Rakka’s dilemma, we see the anime use her experiences to offer an insight into the crisis of her kind i.e., Haibane—a being with a halo and small gray wings. If we strictly look at the premise of ‘Haibane Renmei’ and ‘Good Night World’ it is quite apparent that there are not so many similarities. However, for anime fans who are looking for another series with some serious psychological drama then ‘Haibane Renmei’ can be a great watch.
7. Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995 – 1996)
Now you may be tempted to ask what a mecha anime is doing on the list. While at first it may seem out of place, ‘Neon Genesis Evangelion’ is well-known as a classic psychological thriller that explores profound ideas like identity, choice, and consciousness. Like the ‘Good Night World,’ the mecha series explores the psychological trauma of its characters and offers an intriguing drama that hooks the viewers to the edge of their seats. ‘Neon Genesis Evangelion’ primarily revolves around humanity’s existential struggle against monstrous celestial beings that wreak havoc everywhere they go. In the wake of the attacks, the only hope humanity has is a mysterious organization that uses humanoid robots for defense. But should one trust them? Often referred to as one of the best anime ever made ‘Neon Genesis Evangelion’ is a treat to watch.
6. Paprika (2006)
Atsuko Chiba and Kosaku Tokita are two brilliant researchers who have been working relentlessly to make a device that could open a window into the human psyche. While there are countless positive things that could be achieved using this technology, it is also quite obvious that it could be used for psychological terrorism. Concerned about these legitimate fears, Atsuko Chiba and Kosaku Tokita decide to work with one of the people taking the experimental therapy to study the thin line between dream and real world. Unlike Netflix’s ‘Good Night World,’ ‘Paprika’ instead explores the dreams. But interestingly, we see that in the latter as well reality gets so entwined with dreams (game in the case of ‘Good Night World’) that they start influencing each other. Therefore, if you have either watched the show or the film, then you are bound to love the other as well.
5. Perfect Blue (1998)
Mima Kirigoe is a successful J-pop idol who decides to pursue her dream of becoming an actress. After doing a crime drama series, her career transition appears to be going smoothly until she learns that some unhappy fans have started stalking her relentlessly. Soon, the harassment becomes even more intense to the point that Mimi is unable to distinguish reality from fantasy. The psychological drama movie recounts a riveting tale that explores the dark side of the entertainment industry. While it does not solely revolve around a game, it still offers a haunting look at how fantasy (game) can influence reality.
4. Steins; Gate (2011)
Despite his relentless hard work, the eccentric scientist Rintarou Okabe has only managed to make a microwave that turns ordinary things into strange green goo. When he attends a conference of the neuroscientist Kurisu Makise, he learns some shocking revelations about time travel. Soon after this, he realizes that the microwave he made can send messages to the past. Unbeknownst to the far-reaching consequences of his actions, Rintarou ends up altering reality to the point that it becomes too complicated to separate one timeline from another. ‘Steins; Gate’ is a great psychological sci-fi thriller that explores the reality-altering discovery of a scientist that would remind fans of ‘Good Night World’ about the mysterious game that influences reality in strange ways. While the similarities are few, both anime serves as a warning to the viewers that choices have far-reaching consequences.
3. Seven Senses of the Reunion (2018)
Six elementary school friends who are collectively known as Subaru have managed to secure the top rankings of the well-known MMORPG Union in the year 2034. While their success is obviously praise-worthy, things take a turn for the worse when one of their members dies tragically following his death in the game. This led to a further shutdown of the Union. For the next six years, nothing really changes until one day another game with identical rules and mechanics is launched.
While this in itself is not too strange, what makes things even more complicated is the fact one of Subaru’s original members meets his late friend in the game world. Perplexed by the strange incident, the members of Subaru reunite again to get to the bottom of the mystery. ‘Seven Senses of the Reunion’ much like Netflix’s ‘Good Night World’ uses a game as one of the chief plotlines. When the story unfolds, viewers learn that the incidents in the game world have real-world implications. This makes the show quite similar to ‘Good Night World’ even though the characters face many different realities and struggles.
2. Serial Experiments Lain (1998)
Lain Iwakura’s ordinary life takes a grim turn when she along with some of her schoolmates receives an email from a student who has recently committed suicide. When she finally decides to open it after gathering enough courage, she gets connected to a virtual world of communication networks not realizing how it is going to affect her life. Soon she finds herself followed by strange men who know far more about her than she knows about herself and she is pushed to make crucial decisions that have far-reaching consequences. Lain’s dilemmas often blur the fickle line between reality and cyberspace, something that viewers must have experienced in Netflix’s ‘Good Night World.’ In case you wish to watch another psychological drama that evokes the same kind of emotions, then you would definitely enjoy ‘Serial Experiments Lain.’
1. Tomodachi Game (2022)
Yuuichi Katagiri is a high schooler who is close friends with Yuta, Shiho, Makoto, and Tenji. While they appear to share a very intimate bond, things go south after the funds for a school trip get stolen. Soon afterward, they are forcefully summoned by controversial figure Manabu-kun and informed that are made to play a dangerous game against their will to pay off a twenty million yen. Although they are supposed to work together, things do not necessarily go their way once the dark realities of their past are revealed. ‘Tomodachi Game’ is a psychological thriller just like Netflix’s ‘Good Night World’ that explores emotional bonds that are tested in dangerous situations.
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