10 Dark Anime That Only Gets Darker

Anime can be very uplifting or deeply downbeat, and some of the most fascinating shows are the ones that don’t shy away from dark impulses.

There is something for absolutely everyone when it comes to animated. The animated medium engages in over-the-top storytelling and visual spectacle that often feels like it’s impossible anywhere else. There are certain tropes that define the many unique genres that anime embraces, but there’s also a wonderful ability for anime to use these same conventions to subvert expectations about where the story is headed.

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Anime can be very uplifting or deeply downbeat and some of the most fascinating shows are the ones that do not turn away from the dark impulses. Sometimes an anime needs to relax into its evil nature, while other series start out in bleak places and just drag their characters and audiences into darkness.

10 Puella Magi Madoka Magica turns magical girls into ghastly weapons

The magical girl genre is a cheerful and upbeat style of anime storytellingbut Puella Magi Madoka Magica uses these well-established tropes to tell a psychological horror story where magical girls are manipulated into eternal contracts that end in widespread destruction. Madoka debates whether he should accept this magical responsibility, but as he weighs his options, he witnesses the death of his closest friends. The most overwhelming element of Puella Magi Madoka Magica it’s that he cleverly wins a happy ending, only to callously discard it at the last minute in favor of forever trapping his magical girls in endless conflict and misery.

9 Elfen Lied is lost in the endless torture and falls of mankind

Lucy apologizes to Kouta

The basic premise behind Elfen lied it is something that conditions the audience to expect a happy ending. Kouta encounters a human-like alien who has lost his memory, but possesses extremely deadly psychic powers that threaten the very existence of humanity. Elfen lied he constantly tortures his Diclonius test subjects, who are repeatedly told they don’t belong. Kouta’s efforts to provide these creatures with some sense of normality are beyond his means. The Diclonius do their best, but Elfen lied recounts years of abuse and features a somber ending that reinforces the dangers of the unknown instead of the importance of acceptance and understanding.

8 Happy Sugar Life is a disturbing descent into mental illness and manipulation

Matsuzaka's killer eye from Happy Sugar Life Matsuzaka a little crazy in Happy Sugar Life

One area where anime is unparalleled is its ability to hide behind genre conventions and adopt a comforting art style, only to pull the rug out from under the audience and create a deeply disturbing experience. At first sight, happy sugar life it seems like a joyous slice-of-life series about two friends.

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In reality, Satou Matsuzaka is a very unstable individual who kidnaps a girl, Shio, after he becomes obsessed with the purity of the innocent girl. happy sugar life It’s only 12 episodes, but death, abuse, and mind manipulation are par for the course in every installment.

7 Texhnolyze presents a nihilistic world that is beyond repair

Texhnolyze ladder

Many anime series are set in nihilistic dystopiasbut often there is at least a glimmer of hope or some guiding light to help disenfranchised characters move on. Texhnolize it’s an exercise in endurance that begins with Ichise, an entertainment fighter, falling on hard times that only progressively kicks him once he’s down. Ichise is forced to flee, losing vital parts of himself in the process. Texhnolize it’s only 22 episodes long, but there’s enough dread and doom and gloom to last twice that length. Ichise is repeatedly confronted with proof that the world is a jaded, broken prison.

6 Future Diary corrupts the innocent and turns bloodshed into entertainment

Yuno from Future Diary losing her mind to madness

Radical Death games have become more and more popular. in anime and shows like future diary they are illuminating deconstructions of the corrupting nature of power. Suddenly, a group of teenagers compete to become omnipotent, sparking a violent and grim game of cat and mouse between the potential candidates. Future Diary The premise is inherently depressing, but most of its cast is damaged and on the brink of being lost. It’s really tense as Yuki and Yuno get further into this sordid game. The anime’s grand finale can technically be seen as optimistic under certain conditions, but Yuki resigns himself to an empty and lonely existence.

5 Higurashi: When They Cry is set in a hopeless universe where chaos reigns.

Mion Terrified At Higurashi When They Cry Anime

Higurashi: when they cry is another masterpiece of subterfuge that secretly unleashes its dark themes when the public least expects it. Cute “moe” character designs create a false illusion of security that is quickly dispelled through rampant murder, a mysterious viral illness, and a time-loop narrative that hammers away at the grim notion that success is impossible.

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Higurashi: when they cry It’s become a complex franchise with many moving parts, but it’s very comfortable to repeatedly execute its innocent characters while others struggle with their desperate efforts. Every time happiness is achieved, it feels like it will be snatched away immediately.

4 Neon Genesis Evangelion cleanses humanity and is lost in the carnage

EVA-01 with bandages from Neon Genesis Evangelion

3 Another is a dark and disturbing mystery where not even children are safe.

Sakakibara and Mei Misaki from Another

Other is an all-black psychological horror anime that keeps the audience ever on their toes over the course of a dozen suspense-filled episodes. Koichi Sakakibara is a simple transfer student who experiences a rude awakening when his admission to Tomiyama North Junior High is filled with death and pain. Koichi befriends a moody girl, Misaki, but is soon left wondering if she needs help from her or some lost spirit. Other It starts in a dark place, but the unfolding mystery becomes increasingly moody as the characters and the audience must consider who is really dead in this story.

two The blue gender gives monsters the power and turns humanity into disorderly martyrs

marlene holds yuji in blue gender the warrior

Anime frequently blends science fiction and horror to great effect and many of these productions amount to deeply dark stories. gender blue watch humanity on its last legs as they retreat from an alien threat that has taken control of Earth. gender blue treats survival as a lost cause and Yuji Kaido makes for an excellent audience surrogate when he wakes from his cryogenic sleep in a new world that barely resembles what he’s known. Yuji’s unique condition positions him as a crucial figure in this extraterrestrial conflictbut death and body horror dominate the narrative.

1 Attack On Titan creates an endless war that progressively erases humanity

Eren used the Founding Titan's ability in Attack On Titan to cause the Rumble

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