All anime lovers look for different genres that are manifested in gritty, cutting-edge, no-nonsense stories that have you wanting more and more. And what better way to go for the dark fictional world with magnificently directed and executed anime?
Dark anime uses clever plotlines and skillful animation to bring out the unknown in the psyche of its protagonists and characters. Therefore, delving into the lesser-understood aspects of the psyche with anime might just not be one for the faint of heart.
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Not everyone has the taste or stomach for a dark anime, with superfluous characters and dystopian plotlines. However, if this does sound like something that you might be interested in, read on to discover the top 8 dark anime to add to your watchlist!
op 8 Dark Anime Series
Dark anime series are not PG-rated and are often intended for an older audience with specific viewer discretion. All the elements that encompass a dark anime series include everything from supernatural entities, to futuristic and disconnected human societies and the horrors that exist within the human mind.
This might be a stark contrast from animes like Naruto Shippuden, but given the right attitude and approach, can make for amusing and interesting watches!
Some of the most recognized and appreciated dark animes series of the time include:
- Naoki Urasawa’s Monster
Monster follows the accounts of brain surgeon Kenzo Tenma, who is convinced that a “ghost” is responsible for certain inexplicable murders. Set in the era of Post World War II in Germany, the brilliant characterization of the psychopath in the show makes this a gritty watch for those looking to spend their weekends indoors with a dark anime series. Shedding light on the politics that happen in hospitals, Monster takes you on a journey into the darker side of the soul.
Even considered a suspense thriller, the plot of the anime develops slowly and steadily before culminating in a turn of events that will have you shocked and keep you at the edge of your seat!
Shiki is a supernatural anime with horror and thriller elements that will have you hooked from the first episode. Set in the village of Sotoba that has a population strength of 1300, the story revolves around a number of bizarre deaths that begin occurring across the village. Around the same time, a family of unknown origins shifts into the abandoned mansion that stands its grounds in the region.
The dean of the hospital Toshio Ozaki tries his hardest to determine the cause of deaths in the village, but as investigations continue, one thing becomes apparent – the village is under attack by supernatural beings.
- Death Note
Death Note centers around Light Yagami who is a student with impeccable potential who one day stumbles upon a book called ‘Death Note.’ This is a book that had been held by a Death God (called Shinigami). Determined to create a world that is 100% free of all criminals and villains, Light Yagami begins writing the names of criminals in the book – causing them to drop dead one after the other.
With an ending that is going to have you wondering what just happened, Death Note is an excellent anime for those looking to explore the grittier side of human nature.
- Mirai Nikki
Yukiteru might be a character that millennials will resonate with. Often choosing to spend time writing a diary on his cellphone, the protagonist rejects multiple offers to spend time with his friends. He believes that he has an imaginary friend named Deus Ex Machina. But on a specific eventful day, Deus suggests that Yukiteru play a game along with 11 other people. The winner of the game becomes the next Deus and contestants need to use their diaries to eliminate the others from the equation.
An action-packed, supernatural anime that you can watch on a lazy night, Mirai Nikki tests to what extent human beings are willing to go to achieve what they desire.
- Zankyou no Terror (Terror in Resonance)
This dark anime series begins with a sudden terrorist bomb blast that strikes Tokyo, which is executed by 2 young boys who refer to themselves as Sphinx. They move on to create a game that takes over the entire of Japan, shedding a significant amount of light on humans in the constant battle between nature and nurture.
With the protagonists seeking recognition via chaos and terrorism, this is a series that highlights the grey between the good and the bad. If this is something that interests you, maybe even befuddles you – do consider giving this series a shot!
If you are someone who enjoys watching hauntings pertaining to students and classrooms, this is one for you! The story revolves around a popular student of class 3-3 in the year 1972 who passed away in the middle of the school year. Following her death, the town is shrouded in an atmosphere of darkness and secrets. The story then fasts forward 26 years, when Kouichi Sakakibara is transferred to the same classroom and discovers the gloom that is haunting the town.
Drawn to the mysterious Mei Misaki, Kouichi begins discovering the truth behind the experiences that students of class 3-3 have been having. Try a couple cosplay to enhance your experience of this dark anime!
- God Eater
An action-packed anime with demonic appearances and supernatural phenomena, God Eater surrounds Japan in the year 2071 where the world has been destroyed by the Aragami – a mysterious group of monsters. To combat the Aragami, an organization named Fenrir is created which uses weapons that are made from the cells of the monster. Those who work to eliminate these monsters are referred to as God Eaters.
Given the action and drama that is a part of this show, consider setting aside a good 2-3 nights’ worth of binge-watching hours to gain the full experience of being in this futuristic and dangerous world.
- The Ghost Hunt
Lastly, The Ghost Hunt revolves around Mai Taniyama who enjoys sharing ghost stories with her friends who merge paths with Kazuya Shibuya who has been sent to investigate paranormal happenings occurring in a haunted school. With a penchant for getting into trouble, Mai Taniyama finds herself in a dangerous situation where she is then rescued by Kazuya’s assistant. This results in the assistant’s death and Kazuya demands that Mai take over as his assistant and aid in paranormal investigations.
A mix of Shoukoujo, horror, the protagonist, and mystery, The Ghost Hunt is an excellent anime for those looking to enter the genre of dark shows!