We all have our favorite animes. We have those that we relate to most and those that we love to binge-watch. However, not all anime are the same. Some are more serious, some more light, and some even fall into genres that we wouldn’t expect. Today, however, we are focusing on the dark side of anime.
The animes focus on the darker aspects of the world. The animes that make us think and maybe even make us shed a tear. So, without further ado, here is our list of the top 40 dark anime to watch.
A little warning: these are mature animes. As such, there might be few to a great degree of sexual scenes.
Content Navigation (TL:DR)
- Akame Ga Kill
- Aoi Bungaku: Ningen Shikkaku (Blue Literature: No Longer Human)
- Attack on Titan
- Berserk 1997
- Cossette No Shouzou (Le Portrait de Petit Cossette)
- Death Note
- Death Parade
- Deadman Wonderland
- Elfen Lied
- Fate Zero
- Full Metal Panic
- Gunslinger Girl
- Hellsing Ultimate
- Higurashi: When They Cry
- Inuyashiki: Last Hero (Iuyashiki)
- Jigoku Shoujo (Hell Girl)
- Juni Taisen: Zodiac War (Juuni Taisen)
- Junji Ito Collection
- Made in Abyss
- Magical Girl: Spec Ops Asuka
- Parasyte: The Maxim
- Phantom Requiem For The Phantom
- Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World (Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu)
- Red Garden
- School Days
- Shinsekai Yori (From the New World)
- The Promised Neverland
- Vampire Hunter D
- Vinland Saga
- Zankyou No Terror (Terror in Resonance)
Akame Ga Kill
Unlike the other animes in this list, Akame Ga Kill will leave you with emptiness after the show. You can add depression to what you will feel.
The anime is that dark and twisted!
The story revolves around an innocent boy in search of a better life. Instead, he joined an assassin group. And his life would never be the same.
Aoi Bungaku: Ningen Shikkaku (Blue Literature: No Longer Human)
This anime portrays the darkness of loneliness. It expresses how humans can be at their lowest.
Though brief, No Longer Human captures all the horrors that can befall an alienated high schooler. Here, you will get to see the crumbling life of one such loner, the battle through adulthood and social vices, and the eventual death.
Attack on Titan
Centuries ago, humanity was slaughtered to near extinction by monstrous humanoid creatures called titans, causing them to live in fear behind huge stone walls. They don’t eat humans for food, but for what appears to be their own pleasure.
However, hell broke loose when the titans invaded as the wall tore apart. From there, there was violence, senseless killings, and WTF moments.
Berserk 1997 follows the story of a Guts. Wherever he goes, be sure that he will spill blood and slash guts open.
Guts is that wild, dark swordsman with a twisted backstory. His origins are somewhat creepy.
A dead body hanging from a tree birthed Guts. And his life since then oozes dark, blood, and violence.
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Dracula got tired of humans. Now, he wants to kill us all.
Deadly enough, the strongest vampire alive has employed the dark, hellish, vicious night creatures to bid his human hatred.
Unfortunately for us humans, night creatures are bloodlust monsters that will tear up anything or anyone in sight. No one is safe!
Cossette No Shouzou (Le Portrait de Petit Cossette)
Cossette No Shouzou ooze cryptic in all its elements. The animation is weird, and then there is the theme song – dark, immersing, and heavy.
Anime doesn’t get more mystical than Cossette No Shouzou! Here you can expect a combination of mystic scenes, supernatural features, and horror.
The story centers around how a murdered girl meets with an art student. She then narrated her stories to the latter. From there, the plot got scary, mind-nerving, and deep.
Twisted and sick is what Death Note summarises. The plot is one of the darkest on this list.
Here, all you need to kill an individual is to write the name inside the death note. After, watch the series of dark events that will eventually lead to the said person’s demise.
In this anime, the book fell into the hand of a human. And he plans to cleanse the world of crime and injustice with it.
Forget what you thought happens when people die. Death Parade has the answers!
In this anime, you will get a taste of brutal death games and uncertainties.
The story centers around a bar. This said bar is where people go when they die. And the bartender decides who makes heaven or hell.
Deadman Wonderland is a dark anime that revolves around brutal and vicious death games. Here, be prepared for endless and wild violence.
The story started with Ganta: an innocent convict. He soon went to a prison where inmates battled to the death to survive.
Note: this show is a bloodbath. It is a dark anime, after all!
Be warned: Dororo isn’t for the faint-hearted. Here, you will experience a war-torn Japan filled with samurai and demons.
The story revolves around a killer machine. Originally a sacrifice to the demons, he survived, and now he has built-in swords in his arms. And blood and sorrow follow wherever he goes.
Elfen Lied is a story of rejection, betrayal, and revenge. The plot is particularly brimming with darkness and bloodlust.
Be ready for violence and brutal exchanges than you can phantom!
The story centers around a rejected two-horned, human-look-alike, mutated species. Humans abandoned her, and now she wants revenge.
No mercy in Fate Zero. This anime is full-time heavy, dark, and bloody. Even the protagonist is hell and disgusting.
At some point, you will even wish all of them excruciating deaths. They are that insane!
But in the end, you will enjoy the sheer force and violence even if it leaves you exhausted afterward.
Full Metal Panic
Want romance, mystery, and action? Try Full Metal Panic.
This anime promises somewhat a chilly outplay, unlike the others in this list. Here, a boy protects a high schooler. The latter found out and a romance brewed in all the mystery.
Funnily enough, both don’t know why the high schooler is so important that she needs protection.
Gantz is similar to Death Parade. Here there is no bar. Nevertheless, the story follows the same “you are not going to heaven or hell after death.”
In Gantz, you will fight even after death. This point is where the darkness comes in.
The more kills you have, the more likely the chances of getting back to life. So, you cannot spare any lives.
Genocyber is arguably one of the darkest anime of all time. Talk of violence, twisted plot, and messed up mind games, and you will find them all in this 1994 show.
The date of creation also added to the fun of Genocyber. Then, there was no censorship. For that reason, violence was at its barest here.
Like the name implies, Gunslinger Girl is all guns, blood, and violence. It is a dark anime you don’t want to miss.
The show follows the template of corrupt government systems and their lies. It shows how the greedy lot took advantage of sick girls and turned them into war machines.
You want blood, war, vampires, mystery, action, and darkness – don’t you? If yes, Hellsing Ultimate is for you. This show is one of the bloodiest anime of all time.
The story takes place deep in the English territories where the Britons hold superior power. And any resistance meets disaster and sad ends.
Higurashi: When They Cry
Want something brimming with murders and strange disappearances? If yes, try Higurashi: When They Cry.
Here you will find pure darkness and a mystic backstory. The fun part: you won’t even know how enthralled you will be until the end of the anime.
The story follows a series of murders and disappearances that people blamed on gods.
Inuyashiki: Last Hero (Iuyashiki)
The last Hero depicts the nature of human differences and the darkness that lies thereof. The plot involves several psychological plays that will intrigue you.
A UFO hit a middle-aged man and a teenager. The former turned out to be a good guy. The teen, originally a psychopath, took the “bad guy” reins.
The rest of the movie then explores how the key actors live to cancel each other’s maneuvers, and they will meet their eventual end. It was all mind games from the start till the end.
Jigoku Shoujo (Hell Girl)
The Hell Girl, as the name implies, sends people right to hell. Funnily enough, she also ends up in the same hellish situation afterward. Such a twisted anime!
In Jigoku Shoujo, you will find mysterious things about human nature. Or how else could you explain sacrificing one’s soul to send another’s to hell?
The crux of it all: each episode revolves around specific mystery and immorality.
Juni Taisen: Zodiac War (Juuni Taisen)
Like the other anime in this list, Juni Taisen has a dark backstory and graphics. Unlike others, all characters are “good guys.”
The best part: each character has its unique mystic story. Plus, the anime circles around survival. Everyone strives to survive; everything works.
The story revolves around a once-in-12years deadly tournament. Here, 12participants with their respective and unique Chinese zodiac signs fight to the death until one remains.
Junji Ito Collection
This collection is from the master of horror himself: Junji Ito. The best part of all is the diverse plots you get to enjoy.
A scene could be about a vile woman trying to snarl at young men. Another one could be of demonic towns and cities where people battle in blood and terror to save themselves.
This collection has it all!
Made in Abyss
From the start to finish of Made In Abyss, you can always tell there’s something sinister about it all. Indeed, the anime seemed like a kid anime. But it is not.
The story started with a kid that lost his mom. With the help of a robot friend, he ventured into the abyss to find her. That is when the fun begins!
By fun, we mean the darkness of this anime. Here, you will find violence such as body horror and mutilation. More importantly, the series shows the brutality that humans face.
Magical Girl: Spec Ops Asuka
This anime takes the form of typical school kinds. However, the story is as dark as other animes in this collection.
Here, you find delight in the war violence between bloodthirsty beings and the magical girls. The said aliens continued to ravage human existence in one of the most gruesome scenes we have seen until the girls appeared.
Indeed, the magical girls won the bloody encounter. However, the exchange is not over. The ops sound found out that there is a resurgence from the enemy’s camp that threatens the world once more.
Monster is a dark anime about how harmless help can turn one’s life around to hit the doldrums. That is what happened to Kenzou.
The brain surgeon rescued a boy from death’s grip. He lost his position and comfort in life as a result.
The people that dismissed Kenzou soon met disastrous fates afterward. Now, Kenzou must clear his name.
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This dark anime revolves around unseen creatures. Unfortunately, those hidden forces are responsible for tons of destruction, death, and pain.
Amid all the confusion, a boy, Ginko, seems the likely savior. He can see and interact with the brutal creatures.
But how much can a boy do?
Parasyte: The Maxim
An alien race has invaded humanity; they take our forms and threaten to end life as we know it. This anime is a pure violent and scary animation.
The story follows how a human and one of the aliens allied to bring an end to another parasyte. Will they be successful?
Phantom Requiem For The Phantom
If you want a mix of action, ruthless bloodbath, and darkness, Phantom Requiem for the Phantom is for you. Here, you will follow the ordeals of a tourist as he witnessed a brutal assassin in action.
The story took a turn from there. The tourist was soon brainwashed and joined the assassin group himself. Now, he must kill and fight ruthlessly to regain his memories.
Like the title implies, Psycho-Pass is a deep play of mental disturbance in a corrupt justice system. The anime combines action and adventure in a sci-fi-themed display.
Here, you will also get to delight in some deep and dark martial arts fights.
The story happens in an advanced world where computers check criminal intent. They do that by analyzing the mental states of people.
Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World (Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu)
Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu is not only dark but mystic. You will find a sinister backdrop in everything about this anime – from the storyline to the characters and even the theme song.
The story centers around a boy who found himself in a fantasy world in a strange turn of events. From there, he suffered various attacks, rescue, and death. Then he woke back to the point of his torment – very mystic!
The Red Garden is another afterlife, brutal anime. After death, people must fight monsters to come back to life.
In Red Garden, three girls found themselves without their previous memories. Then, a woman approached and told them what they must do to regain consciousness.
If the three girls don’t win against the monsters, they can bid bye to life forever. Will they?
Sankara is an odd horror anime. Unlike other shows in this list, the horror lies still until a human looks for its trouble.
Here, you can expect romance and typical zombie scenery.
The story revolves around a guy that wants a zombie girlfriend. You see what we said – odd horror! He eventually got what he wanted, but at what cost?
In the beginning, this anime looked like another high school love show. But it is not.
Instead, School Days is a dark anime. It’s a love story that turns bloody.
The story revolves around a love triangle that includes strange and scary scenes. It all eventually led to murder.
Shigurui is without a doubt the sickest anime on this list. All the characters are disgusting, yet, you will love them. Odd, eh?
Also, the anime is a whole lot uneasy. The scenes are boggling – to put it lightly. Be careful how it leaves an imprint on your outlook on life.
In particular, be careful of the nudity, sex, and rape scenes. This anime is big-time crazy!
Shiki is a sad and dark anime. Here, dread and extinction loom, yet, there is no hope of help. Everyone battles for survival for a cause unknown.
The story follows a plagued village – or at least what the inhabitants thought. However, the reason behind the diseases and death is something not as powerful as regular humans.
Shinsekai Yori (From the New World)
Want a feel of impending apocalypse and strange disappearance? If yes, then Shinsekai Yori is what you seek.
This anime, like many dark kinds, shrouds its mystery behind a facade. Here, the world was peaceful, at least, until the protagonists found that it was all a lie.
The anime explores all themes from childhood through adolescence to adulthood. The best part: there is a spice of magic. Humans here have the gift of telekinesis.
The Promised Neverland
This anime oozes darkness from start to end. And the mystery, blood, and death start from the first episode.
Kids (orphans) find themselves in a somewhat twisted and shocking reality. Parents gave birth to these crops only to kill and groom them later like animals.
Fortunately, the orphans turned out to be geniuses and started unraveling the mysteries of their orphanage.
Vampire Hunter D
Vampirism itself oozes violence and bloodlust. Now imagine that with graphics and psychological stories of dark animes. That is what you will get here!
By the way, Vampire Hunter D has two versions. The first kind was from 1986 and the second came out later in 2000.
Either way, the two versions follow D, the human-vampire hybrid, and his quest to free humans from vampires.
It is ancient Viking times, and no one cares about you. You either die or survive. For that reason, you have to strive and shed blood if the need arises.
That is the theme of the Vinland Saga, a brutal, blood-spilling, and cold anime. The show does live up to its dark label.
Zankyou No Terror (Terror in Resonance)
In Zankyou, everything goes. Here, there is no antagonist or protagonist. Everyone vies for identity and recognition in a terrorism-filled world.
This anime is for you if you want a spice of darkness to your usual Shounen manga. Zankyou centers around teenagers. Yet, it depicts a world of terror and chaos.
Lastly, you can expect to see some steamy and adult scenes here. Zankyou is one you don’t want to miss.
And that’s the end of our list. Did we miss any of your favorite Dark Anime? Leave it on the comments section and we will add it to our list!