Parasyte had a lot to live up for. Not only is it inspired by an award-winning manga, but the anime was well received too! And needless to say, with two movies produced from its source material in just one year – you know these directors have something special and unique on their hands.
Anime shows like Parasyte -the Maxim- are a rare find, and for a good reason. The manga from which it came had been around since the 80s but managed to be animated in this day of age with an intriguing storyline that’ll keep you on your seat while being absolutely terrifying at times. It’s one of those titles that may not have its own horror genre category under Netflix or Amazon Prime but will most likely scare the living lights out of you if you watch it alone late at night without turning any lights on!
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What’s It About:
The aliens were coming. Without warning, they descended to Earth and quickly infiltrated humanity by burrowing into the brains of vulnerable targets. These insatiable beings acquired complete control over their hosts. They could morph in various ways depending on what they need at that moment to feed on unsuspecting prey.
As a 16-year old high school student, Shinichi Izumi falls victim to one of these parasites. Instead, the parasite ends up in his right hand and cannot relocate must rely on him to stay alive. The pair is forced into an uneasy coexistence as they are faced with nasty parasites that hope to eradicate this new threat to their species.
The show doesn’t take a break from reality, even at the start, by showing us the grim horror. The first few seconds of this series are without a doubt enough to make your stomach turn and question why you ever thought about watching it in the first place- but that is precisely what makes it so convincing because they don’t hold back when showing us how brutal these parasites can be. If that’s what you like, here are our anime recommendations for anime like Parasyte – The Maxim, a.k.a.: Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu.
11. Vampire Hunter D (1985)
D, the vampire hunter with a bounty on his head, is pursuing Charlotte Elbourne, who has been kidnapped. D must find her before it’s too late, and those hunting him are successful.
Vampire Hunter D and Parasyte: The Maxim have a lot in common. Not only are they both hand possessors, but also the two main characters share an exciting parasite/possessor-host relationship that’s not one-dimensional at all–in fact, it could be said to develop into something extraordinary. Like Parasyte: The Maxim, Vampire Hunter D has its fair share of violence, making for plenty more thrills!
Check Out: Top 20 Vampire Anime Of All Time
10. Gantz (2004)
After dying, Kei Kurono and an unlucky few find themselves inescapable room with a mysterious black sphere. That sphere is the “Gantz”, and it now controls their life. Gantz gives out some of the most dangerous missions, but there’s an incentive: if they succeed, they have a chance at either getting their life back or saving someone that has been killed. But getting to receive the reward from Gantz might seem like much too big of a task.
Gantz is not as loved or popular a series as Parasyte, but it does have some similarities. Both present alien invaders and characters who must fight them off to survive–the central theme in both stories! In terms of storytelling mechanics, Gantz might be less than stellar with its character development skills; however, the action scenes are absolutely thrilling.
9. Elfen Lied (2004)
Elfen Lied is a story about an inhuman girl named Lucy who has been apprehended by the government because of her psychic power. She escapes from them and meets two people who take care of her. When she tells them that government agents are looking to take her in, they still choose to let Lucy live with them despite not knowing what could happen next!
With a more mature theme, Elfen Lied is for the mature audience who wants to experience some brutal battle scenes and violence. The protagonist of both stories is a creature that fights against other creatures. They use their innate abilities to win these battles, despite not being entirely human themselves. If you enjoyed the content in Parasyte: The Maxim, Elfen Lied would offer more of what you like.
Check Out: Top 40 Dark Anime To Watch In 2021
8. Death Note (2006)
Light Yagami saw a black notebook fall from the sky and had no idea that it would change his life. When he picked up this seemingly mundane book, Light didn’t know its power of death was capable of killing anyone whose name is written in it. After realizing what could be possible with such an item, Light starts to use the Death Note‘s powers for good rather than evil – trying to kill all criminals worldwide so everyone can live peacefully without fear or danger lurking around every corner! He dons the name “Kira” and poses as a god and savior.
Not everyone agrees with the way he does things, though. One of them is “L”, a mysterious guy with a brilliant mind. L is the world’s most brilliant detective with exceptional deduction skills that make it hard for Kira to win. And so begins an epic battle of wits between these two geniuses while Death Note-wielding humans play their part in deciding who gets justice served first!
The darkness is what binds these two anime together. In terms of setting and plot, both are dark enough to give you chills up your spine. There’s plenty of grim secrets (many deadly), but the most important secret kept by our main characters in each show is their knowledge about a “Death Note” or “Parasytes”.
7. Claymore (2007)
Claymore is a series that follows Claymores, warrior women who slay Yomas. The first time the audience meets Clare, she’s saving Raki from one of these evil creatures disguised as his family. The village throws Raki out in fear that he might also be a Yoma. With nowhere to go, Raki follows Clare, and they soon form a partnership and take out Yomas together.
In both amazing anime, we the creatures disguise themselves as humans. Like Shinichi, the Claymores are half human, half monster hybrids with strength and supernatural powers unattainable by a normal human. We would later encounter giant creatures that were once Claymore and Yoma. This is also an anime with lots of action and plays on dark themes and harsh twists when we uncover the organization’s hidden agenda and the true meaning and purpose of the Yoma.
Check Out: 20 Of The Best Anime Sword Fights To Watch
6. Deadman Wonderland (2011)
Deadman Wonderland follows Ganta Igarashi, a middle school student who wanted his friends to go with him to Deadman Wonderland. Unbeknownst to Ganta, his whole class gets annihilated by an unknown assailant, and he’s accused of the incident. The story follows Ganta’s quest for redemption while battling foes inside Deadman Wonderland and uncover hidden agendas and connections to the man who massacred his classmates.
You wouldn’t think that a show about kids with superpowers could be so riveting, but Deadman Wonderland will prove you wrong. Like Shinichi, Ganta encounters someone who gives him superhuman powers. The anime adaptation of Deadman Wonderland is a great watch for anyone who loves fast-paced action and suspenseful storytelling.
Check Out: Best Short Anime You Can Finish In A Day
5. Hunter X Hunter (2011)
Hunter X Hunter is an anime that focuses on Gon’s quest to become a great hunter and find his father, Ging Freecss, with the help of his friends Killua, Kurapika, and Leorio. Along the way, he meets many people who have their own motives for becoming hunters, making it an interesting anime series!
We see the characters rely on both wit and skills with intense fight scenes, something we see in both Hunter X Hunter and Parasyte. We also see a whole story arc of supernatural beings called Chimera Ants threatening humanity like the parasites from Parasyte: The Maxim.
4. Terra Formars (2014)
Mars is the planet that humans were sending cockroaches and mosses to start a life cycle on planet Mars. They had no idea that these tiny creatures would mutate and evolve into destructive life forms possessing ginormous strength and intellect in a few hundred years—but it happened nonetheless!
A deadly virus from Mars has reached Earth, and the only way to save our species will be to capture a few terra formars specimens. Fortunately, though, humanity has organized an expedition of highly capable fighters with just that mission in mind!
With Terra Formars, the conflict is much more straightforward. Suppose you’ve seen how Parasytes try to blend in with society and destroy it from the inside. In that case, it’s the opposite for Teraformars: they are fighting humanity head-on by sheer numbers alone. And their hatred of humans is a natural instinct.
3. Ajin: Demi-Human (2016)
Ajin: Demi-Human is a supernatural anime that follows Kei Nagai, an otherwise normal human who winds up in a fatal car accident. However, thanks to the unique substance dormant within his body, which saves him and turns him into a different life form and grants him immortality. But his eternal life would not grant him a peaceful life since not everyone will be happy that he is not dead. He spends his days in constant fear: Immortal and alone, Kei Nagai is faced with a world that wants him dead or alive. This Ajin has to stay on the run as government agencies race after his bounty-laden head to survive.
This fantastic anime is a must-watch for fans of protagonists receiving powers that alter the characters’ lives! With powerful, mysterious, and tense anime scenes and brutal moments where Kei has to kill off other Ajin to survive, Kei starts to question his morals just like Shinichi.
2. Inuyashuki (2017)
Inuyashiki is the story of an elderly man who has no good relationship with his family. He’s crying in a park when he is hit by an alien ship and becomes Inuyashiki-san – a living robot weapon from outer space! The anime follows him as he tries to make something out of the last few years. But he wasn’t the only one hit by the alien ship in the park that night.
Like Shinichi, Inuyashiki suffered a physical change after an alien encounter. He uses his powers to save civilians from dangerous people. If one liked the story of Shinichi, then they will enjoy this tale as well! With a nice soundtrack, pacing, and art style, this is definitely a must-watch anime.
1. Tokyo Ghoul (2018)
Kaneki Ken is a human, but not quite. In the aftermath of an encounter with one female Ghoul and his subsequent hospital stay, he learns that he has become a ghoul. However, as Kaneki’s new life unfolds before him in all its ghoulish glory (pun intended), it turns out there may be more to this whole being-a-Ghoul thing than meets the eye.
Like Shinichi, Ken Kaneki in Tokyo Ghoul loses his humanity after an encounter with a mythical creature. Their worlds are overrun by creatures of the night that seem to be connected in some way. Suppose you liked Parasyte: The Maxim’s intense plotline and thrilling chills. In that case, Tokyo Ghoul is another great horror anime for your viewing pleasure next!
Midori Days (2004)
Seiji Sawamura isn’t a womanizer. He’s just not very good with talking to girls. It doesn’t help that all of Sakuradamon High knows of his reputation bing “The Mad Dog” and the kingpin in the school who can wipe out anyone on any given day. Girls are either scared or intimidated by him, and it makes things difficult to find a girlfriend. After being rejected 20 times straight, he half-jokingly vows to finish high school with his right hand for a girlfriend.
Seiji was a bit startled when he woke up the next morning and found that his demon right hand had turned into Midori Kasugano, who just so happened to have an enormous crush on him. It’s not an ideal situation for either of them, but Seiji tries to help Midori back into her normal life. But after a big misunderstanding at the Kasugano household, they decide that it would be best if this stayed between just the two of them until an answer is found – so their relationship could evolve over time and maybe become something more than what was originally planned.
Taking a break from the psychological thrillers and monsters vs. monsters horror anime, Midori Days is a fun and fantastic anime that also borderline some mature themes. The only thing that this anime have in common with Parasyte: the Maxim is the hand that is host to something other than the person who owns it. Like any other normal human being, if you like the hand possession thing and want to take a break from the human transmutation and dark themes, this is a must-watch anime.
And there you have it anime fans: we hope you enjoyed our list of dark theme anime to watch if you liked Parasyte: the Maxim. If we missed your favorite anime, let us know in the comments below! What’s your all-time favorite dark-themed anime? Leave a comment so that other fans can enjoy it too.