10 Gritty Anime That’s Only Dark For Dark’s Sake

Anime is a flexible medium that can go in any narrative direction. Some stories are the happiest romance anime while others have complicated political and social themes. The anime even features some incredibly dark stories. While comedy and magic quest anime can have serious or heartbreaking moments, some anime focus very specifically on dark themes.

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In their own way, each gritty anime dives deep into nightmares and the evil side of human nature. Magic doesn’t help much in these stories – in fact, that might be the problem. Anime heroes fail and dark forces conspire in stories not for the soft hearted.

ten Lucy The Diclonius Proves Childhood Trauma Runs Deep (Elfen Lied)


Lucy One Eye Covered Angry in Elfen Lied

Under normal circumstances, a pretty girl with small horns and telekinetic invisible hands might be an alluring magical girl in an anime story. In elf lied, however, it is an unfortunate human subspecies called Diclonius. Unfortunately, her special abilities prompt scientists to perform gruesome experiments on her while trying to figure out her powers. When she escapes, it seems like the story is on a brighter path. Instead, the story is on a very dark, downward spiral to a shocking and bloody climax.

9 Six Gems of Japanese Literature Reveal Enigmatic Truths (Blue Literature: More Human)


Aoi Bungaku Series

This anthology series adapts a series of short stories by Osamu Dazai, Ango Sakaguchi, Natsume Soseki, and Ryunosuke Akutagawa. Each story is considered a classic of modern Japanese literature. The stories examine dark aspects of life and human nature, from existential angst to occasional torture. At Osamu Dazai’s Ningen Shikkaku, for example, a high school student turns to narcotics to fill a void but finds only unanswered questions about the meaning of life. There are no easy answers or escape from a guilty conscience in blue literature.


8 A cute cat offers a cruel and deceptive deal to magical girls (Madoka Magica)


Madoka Magica Death of Mami

The magical girl trope becomes kind of a cruel joke in Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Kyubey resembles a cute cat and typical magical girl mascot who offers girls he meets by chance the chance to grant a wish. There is a catch: they have to become magical girls. Naturally, it looks a lot like middle schoolers like Madoka Kaname and Sayaka Miki. But Kyubey isn’t much of a cat and the case isn’t what it seems. The magical girls are drawn into an endless war against witches that has life and death consequences.


seven Post-war Germany is the setting for a psychopathic killer (monster)


Post-war Germany is a disturbing and unstable place that also serves as the setting for Monster. Kenzo Tenma, a neurosurgeon in Düsseldorf, saved the life of a boy named Johan Liebert. Saving Johan’s life, however, involves Kenzo challenging his own boss in the hospital.

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His decision comes back to haunt him when he realizes that Johan is a cold-blooded killer with no conscience. The darkness in Monster comes from its graphic depiction of a violent psychopath. Monster is a suspenseful thriller with a shocking climax.


6 D’s journey through a dystopian nightmarish world takes many dark turns (Vampire Hunter D)


Vampire Hunter D audiobook header

D is a half-human, half-vampire, and his adventures are told in two animated films: Vampire hunter D and Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. He seeks answers to the mysteries of the nightmarish post-nuclear apocalypse world of AD 12,090 – a future where humans are barely fighting against a dwindling population of vampires called the Nobility. D hates vampires, who shun his half-breed status. D is a hero to humans, however, as he tries to take down all the nobility he can. His story takes many disturbing turns in a dark fantasy world.


5 Alucard is the darkest of anti-heroes (Hellsing Ultimate)


Alucard and Walter defend Integra at Hellsing

When the hero of a story is a fashionable, selfish, flamboyant vampire capable of extreme cruelty, it’s clear that the story will take many pitch-black twists. Alucard is ultimately a friend to humanity and capable of softer feelings, but his adventures lead him directly into battles and conflicts with murderous vampires. The bloodshed in this series is not for the faint of heart and the darkness of Hellsing is more than the story or the color scheme; that’s the whole tone of the anime.


4 The Depressing Story of an Orphan Girl is a Dark Slice of Life (Midori: Shoujo Tsubaki)


Manufactured in 1992, Midori: Shojo Tsubaki is arguably the darkest anime of all due to its realism. It highlights the sad life of a young orphan girl. Its world is filled with cruelty and neglect, and viewers were shocked by the anime’s brutal portrayal of sexual assault and animal abuse.

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There are no happy endings or lighter moments, and the psychedelic imagery only enhances the eerie and disturbing effect of the anime. Midori: Shojo Tsubaki is something of a legend among anime fans as the most gruesome anime of all.




3 Emma and her friends look forward to the future until they learn of their terrible fate (The Promised Neverland)


Emma, ​​Gilda, Norman, Don

Initially, The promised never-never land seems to be the story of a group of adorable children in an orphanage. Gradually, however, the facade of a happy childhood is peeled away to reveal a truly horrifying secret. Narrative darkness invades the audience as the story progresses, and the true nature of the house they live in and its purpose become clear. While not everyone has to die a horrific death, any progress comes at a cost to the children who start out as happy children at the Grace Field House Orphanage.


2 Sadistic teddy bear tricks students into killing each other (Danganronpa)


Monokuma introduces players to Danganronpa the animation

Danganronpa features sixteen high school students locked inside Hope’s Peak Academy. Monokuma, a menacing talking bear, is in charge. They can only leave by murdering another student without being detected. After each new body found, the students gather for a trial. If they guess the killer, that group is executed. If they don’t, the killer is released and the others will be executed. Danganronpa is a dark descent into the worst of human nature and its resolution only drops the survivors into an uncertain world.


1 Prison Life’s Worst Abuse Leads To Revenge (Rainbow: Nisha Rokubo no Shichinin)


RAINBOW Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin Ishihara Cropped

Seven young delinquent boys end up in the same holding cell at the Shonan Special Reformatory near Tokyo in 1955. The Reformatory is a hell of abuse and violence that claims the life of one of the seven boys. The boys band together to survive their hellish environment and manage to get revenge for their comrade’s death, but the experience scarred them for life. Rainbow: Nisha Rokubo no Shichinin is a dark look at the lives and challenges of Japan’s poor in the post-war world.

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