Anime stories can be unpredictable, never failing to throw in plot twists and shocking reveals that elevate narratives to new heights.
Most plot twists need solid build-up in order to be meaningful, but some of the best ones came out of left field—and when executed well, they can truly blow us away with some real badass moments.
Plot twists aren't just great because they're surprising, but because they have tangible impact on character developments and story plotlines, injecting new elements that keep things fresh for viewers.
Here are my picks for the most epic revelations and surprises in anime that successfully caught us off-guard in meaningful ways.
Warning: As expected when discussing plot twists, there are spoilers below. If you spot an anime you don't want spoiled, we won't blame you for scrolling down to the next one.
10. Emeraude's True Feelings (Magic Knight Rayearth)
The story of Magic Knight Rayearth centers on young girls who are brought to another world, tasked with saving Princess Emeraude the Pillar of Cephiro from the hands of her abductor, Zagato.
As the story nears its end, it's revealed that Zagato isn't actually a bad guy! In fact, Princess Emeraude was in love with Zagato from the start. It's a truly twisted, heartbreaking story of love, fate, and magic.
9. Tanjiro vs. Sabito (Demon Slayer)
Tanjiro's fight against Sabito gave us a few intense scenes where his life is apparently at stake. When Tanjiro finally manages to slice his opponent's mask, we see that Sabito has vanished.
Instead, Tanjiro has finally managed to slice the boulder in half, a task he struggled to accomplish as part of his final test.
In fact, Makomo and Sabito—who were aiding Tanjiro in his struggles—were simply spirits who were dead all along. Later, Tanjiro encounters the demon who killed them during the Final Selection.
8. Ray's Identity (The Promised Neverland)
Isabella is the one in charge of one of the plantations in The Promised Neverland, and she has many children under her care. Among them is Ray, a top-class model student alongside Emma and Norman.
The Promised Neverland is a dark story where children are sold to demons for consumption, and the children of this story are planning to make an escape before they succumb to the same fate.
As the story goes on, it turns out that Ray was actually Isabella's son—and he knew this right from the very beginning. Not only does it catch Isabella off-guard, it makes for a fascinating but disturbing twist.
7. The Beast Titan (Attack on Titan)
The first season of Attack on Titan ended with humanity winning the battle against Annie, who ended up being the Female Titan.
Then, as the second season starts, we're smacked with one of the most surprising twists of the anime: the Beast Titan who can speak!
Up until that point, we'd seen all kinds of weird titans and a few special titans—like the Armored Titan and Colossal Titan—but none of them actually spoke.
So when the Beast Titan appeared and initiated a conversation with Miche, it left us shocked and opened up all kinds of new theories.
6. The Uchiha Clan's Fate (Naruto)
We all know that Itachi slaughtered the Uchiha Clan and left his brother, Sasuke, as the sole survivor. Over many years, Sasuke never forgot his hateful promise to exact vengeance on Itachi.
Later in the series, we learn that Itachi actually killed the entire Uchiha Clan in order to prevent further bloodshed. The operation was orchestrated by Danzo, who used Itachi as a pawn.
Another interesting aspect of this plot twist was that Itachi wasn't acting alone, but in cooperation with Tobi (who was posing as Madara).
5. Yamamoto's Fate (Bleach)
Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War brought a lot of surprises to Bleach fans, what with its exploration of Ichigo's Quincy side and the development of Sternritter using Bankai.
One of the most epic surprises, however, was Yamamoto's defeat. After the explosive combat, we're convinced that Yhwach is done. However, the "real" Yhwach appears from behind and kills the Head Captain.
4. The Truth of One for All (My Hero Academia)
At first, My Hero Academia presented the One for All Quirk as little more than an enhancement Quirk that allowed Midoriya to have powerful punches, which could be passed down from wielder to wielder.
But with Blackwhip, we learn that there's more to the One for All Quirk than meets the eye. Within the core of One for All rests the life force and Quirk Factors of all previous wielders.
Now, with his newfound powers, Izuku Midoriya (the current wielder), trains hard to control the Quirks bestowed on him—all while All for One strives to steal this very interesting Quirk from him.
3. Rika's Identity (Jujutsu Kaisen 0)
Early in the Jujutsu Kaisen 0 film, we're hooked by Rika's existence. She was once a young girl who was dear to Yuta Okkotsu.
But after her death, she became a powerful and terrifying monster due to her promise and feelings towards Yuta, thus cursing the latter with her existence as a monster. At least, that's what we're led to believe.
Eventually, Gojo reveals it was Yuta who cursed Rika! This revelation also explains his ancestral origin and who he really is.
2. Unohana's True Powers (Bleach)
In the early parts of the Bleach series, Captain Unohana is really just a supporting character who's there to heal people. She isn't given a lot of interesting development, often disappearing into the background.
But in Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War, we finally get to see her in action as a powerful combatant—not just against some villain, but against one of the monsters of the Gotei 13 in Zaraki Kenpachi!
Unohana, who was introduced as "beauty and brains," is a badass fighter inside. And when she says "Bankai," we're hit with a whole new level of awesomeness that nobody could've seen coming.
1. Dabi's Identity (My Hero Academia)
Throughout the early parts of My Hero Academia, Dabi's relationship with Shoto and Endeavor remained a mystery.
The only real hint as to their relation was his fire-based Quirk with flames that were bluish in color, so there were many fan theories involving the idea that maybe Dabi was a long-lost relative of the heroes.
Eventually, he reveals himself to be Touya Todoroki, the son of Endeavor and brother of Shoto. This revelation is made even more epic because it sheds light on other mysteries, like why he has critical burns despite the fact he should be resistant to fire.