Anime comes in different shapes and sizes. There are good anime, bad anime, romance anime and there’s your occasional dark anime. If you’ve stumbled on this list, then I have a feeling you want to shudder at night. Perhaps you just want a change of pace from all the comedy and wholesome stuff you’ve been watching. Well, don’t worry because I have just the thing for you. The anime listed here are all dark and categorized into different categories. Some are dark due to their wicked themes, others because they contain a lot of gore. Whatever your definition of dark anime is, you’ll probably find it here. So buckle up, you’re not leaving here with a sound mind.
List of dark anime
- Hunter x Hunter
- Darker than Black
- Akame ga Kill
- Attack on Titan
- Made in Abyss
- Goblin Slayer
- Parasyte The Maxim
- Future Diary
- Shinseki Yori
- Youjo Senki
- 91 Days
- Elfen Lied
- Madoka Magicka
- Hellsing Ultimate
- Perfect Blue
- Paranoia Agent
- Code Geass
- Death Note
- Death Parade
- Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor
- Mawaru Penguindrum
- Serial Experiments Lain
- The Promised Neverland
- Zankyou no Terror
- Garden of Sinners
Steins;Gate is the first dark anime on this list. Time is precious, and we should spend it wisely, but what if you can manipulate it? Steins Gate tries to answer this paradoxical question grimly when a group of friends discover how to go back in time.
All is well and good until a big corporation starts hunting them down to get their hands on this device. The show is both nasty and dark in its presentation of power-hungry people and how they can go to any length to get their hands on power!
El Psy Congroo.
Hunter x Hunter
Hunter X Hunter is a story about an adolescent boy who wants nothing more than getting to see his father once again. But to see him again, he‘ll have to become a Hunter, an exceptional being who is capable of greatness. For this, he’ll have to pass the hunter exam first. Hunter X Hunter isn’t primarily a dark anime per se, but when it has its moments. When it does get dark, you’ll wonder if you’re watching the same show. Chimera Arc is one of the darkest arcs in shounen anime.
The show gets to your nerve pretty quickly with its dark and emotional plot. But, if you haven’t watched it yet, you’re in for a treat!
Akane Tsunemori, a diligent policewoman who puts her faith into the computerized Sibyl System, because she thinks it will be for the good of humanity, but these ideals of hers fall flat when she discovers a mastermind who can elude the system.
The Sibyl System can sing out humans even before committing a crime; this sets a dark tone for the show as the computerized system passes judgment on humans! Psycho-Pass first season is nothing short of a masterpiece. It’s a dark anime with psychological elements done right. But only the first season is a banger and the sequels are somewhat disappointing.
Darker than Black
An anomaly in space-time known as Hell’s gate suddenly emerges over Japan; the heavenly bodies we know of disappear and are replaced with fake stars!
These events lead to a particular type of humans, known as Contractors to emerge. These humans kill in cold blood, and the nations take advantage of this. But, as the name suggests, this show gets darker than black!
Set in the warring states period of China, Kingdom doesn’t disappoint. The show borrows elements from historical dramas and raises them even more profoundly.
Ancient China was a grim place; there was constant war and no stability, leading to people’s suffering. The show is stern in many ways, so brace yourselves before you give it a watch.
Ryouta is stunned when he realizes that the real-life version of his favorite game has been made. Nevertheless, he decides to go in, even risking his life. If you die in the game, you die in real life!
Initially opposed to violence, Ryouta makes a choice; to survive, he’ll have to get blood on his hands and give us viewers a time of our life!
Akame ga Kill
If political upheaval and military coups are what interests you, then Akame ga kill is the show for you. It follows the story of the members of the revolutionary army who strive to bring in a new age!
The path they’ve laid out for themselves is full of risks, but nothing comes to those who don’t risk; with this in mind, they set to overthrow the incompetent Prime Minister.
Attack on Titan
Set in a post-apocalyptic world plagued with giant naked man-eating monsters, attack on titan is a modern classic in the making. Follow the adventure of Eren as he tries to eradicate the Titan threat.
The show is probably the darkest in all of anime history. Yet, it surpasses all our expectations, one episode at a time. That being said, the final arc of the manga was very disappointing. Many fans are not happy with it, and I even made my own alternate ending that you can read here.
Watching Attack on Titan made me question the phrase “its the journey that counts and not the destination.” If the destination is really bad, you sometimes have to question the journey that got you there. Anyway, as you can see I have a love-hate relationship when it comes to Attack on Titan.
At the end of the day, Attack on Titan is one of the more popular dark anime on this list.
Suddenly one day, when leaving the convenience store, Subaru is transferred into a fantasy world. In this world, evil and dark forces watch over him, putting roadblocks in his. He tries to pull himself out of this mess but gets killed.
Fortunately, he reawakens every time after being killed. The show is one of the best isekai’s in recent times, and worth a watch!
Made in Abyss
The Abyss. A world inside a world, there is a gaping chasm inside the earth where innumerable and weird creatures run free. This place is full of mystery and adventure; those who dare to venture are brave.
On their expedition, these brave divers encounter weird phenomena which they have to fight off. The show sets a gloomy tone from the beginning and end with a bang! Don’t let the appearance of this show fool you! On the surface, you might think that this anime is a cute anime based on the design of the show. Once you get deeper into the show, you’ll realize that you were dead wrong.
Made in Abyss is a dark anime that is one of a kind. It’s a solid show and the best part is that the sequel is coming out in 2022.
Goblins may seem frail creatures, and they are, but this causes them to run free, wreaking havoc. Unfortunately, due to the cheap bounty in them, no one seems to care about killing goblins.
They often kidnap women from villages and loot houses. Our protagonists set to eradicate this goblin plague once and for all, but it won’t come easy; there will be many blood spilling and gore, which will keep us, the viewers, entertained!
Just watch the first episode, and you’ll know that this is a dark anime that isn’t playing around. Watch at your own peril.
Parasyte The Maxim
An other-worldly parasite tries infecting our protagonists, who see this happening stops the creature’s progress at once. Now the animal is fused to his arm and can detect other parasites!
Our character now needs to kill every single parasite, or else the world will fall to these vile creatures. The action in this anime isn’t for the weak-hearted; many times getting extremely gory!
Keiichi, tired of city life, moves into a quiet village. But this village only looks quiet, the strange mysteries surrounding the village are gruesome, and many have disappeared trying to overcome it.
Keiichi soon realizes this, even drawing a relation between the village festival and the disappearings. The anime is one of the scariest in the genre and will leave you feeling terrified.
In the quiet town of Sotoba, mysterious deaths start occurring. These deaths are somehow linked to the family moving to the castle near the city.
On investigation by a local doctor, it is revealed that the deaths are being caused by blood-thirsty beings known as Shiki! These beings are similar to vampires but even more fierce and scary. The anime has all the ingredients to keep you up at night! Shiki is a dark anime that is very underrated. Please give it some love!
Having the power to know your future seems pretty great, doesn’t it? But there’s a cath, you have to use the control, not for the betterment of people but to survive!
Twelve people get their hands on Future Diaries capable of telling the future, and they have to battle it out so that only one survives. The show has a great plot and unpredictable twists and turns; if you like thrillers, then you’re in for a treat!
In a world where children awaken psychic power, there can be carnage at any moment; in such a wretched world, our main cast has to survive. The show, simply put, is a coming-of-age story of Saki and her friends.
They want to live happy lives, but they’re pretty gullible and don’t about the dark and grim fate the human society has laid down for them; it is only a matter of time before all hell breaks loose!
Tanya Degurechaff is a scrawny little sorcerer who’s probably the strongest in the imperial army; though being so powerful, she’s pretty small, everyone’s amazed by her abilities, but what they don’t know is that the little is a man who’s been reincarnated as her!
The plot is bonkers, there is action in every episode, and the pre-WW2 era fighting is like a breath of fresh air, make sure to give this show a try.
There’s no creature out there that’s more dangerous than a man who’s out for revenge!
91 Days tells the story of a man who’s family was murdered by the Mafia when he was in prison. He’s thirsty for revenge, but will he get it easy, or will he have to fight for it?
Mysterious human-like beings known as Ajins are roaming freely in the human world. They are to be feared as they can harness the power of evil and cause harm to the people.
Our main character gets reincarnated as an Ajin and has to find his place in a society that despises his existence. The show is a commentary o our natural world, and hence gets real dark real fast!
Ever since a girl passed away during the school year, class 3-3 of Yomiyama North has always been shrouded in fear.
In the future, a 15-year-old boy Kouichi starts getting close to a girl with an eye patch known as Mei, but for some weird reason, no one except him acknowledges her existence. Watch as Kouichi unravels the dark mysteries of class 3-3 and the town.
Lucy is the result of government experiments; she has phenomenal powers and has small horns on her head. After years of solitary confinement, she finally loses control and kills everyone to escape.
She then stumbles upon Kouto and Yuka, who help her out, but they don’t know what kind of being they’re harboring, and soon the government will be on their tails!
Madoka Magica is one of those shows which just make you smile and have a good time. Though at times it tends to get dark, still, it is a show about magical girls and their coming-of-age struggles!
Grim creatures plague the night, devouring any human insight. To counter this threat, the organization Hellsing cuts these demons in pieces! But their greatest weapon is one of the demons itself, the vampire Alucard; watch as he fights against his kind in an exceptionally written story!
Guts have a life which no one desserts; he has to kill to survive and put food on his plate. He moves from one bloodshed to another to find his path and meaning of the wretched world. And the gore in this anime is the best of all times; nothing even comes closer!
There are a lot of adaptations of Berserk. Save yourself the trouble and watch the original (first) adaptation of Berserk. The rest do not do the story and animation justice. Sadly, the author of Berserk recently passed away so whether we get the ending to this epic tale is still up in the air.
J-Pop idol Mimi has decided to quit her career to pursue a new one, but some fans aren’t happy with her decision and demand other things. These obsessions lead to creepy stalkers!
Watch as Mimi battles out her inner demons and outer ones at the same time in a gut-wrenching story!
An assassin with his golden bat is terrorizing the entire ad town with his brutal murders. Lil Slugger looks like a kid, but his murders look gory and inhuman. This show isn’t for the weak-hearted!
Code Geass is the face of grand storytelling, 2010 the holy kingdom is planning to invade Japan, but this is met by resistance and Lelouch getting phenomenal powers. Watch as he ensues a plan of revenge against Britania once and for all!
Light Yagami tries to play god when he gets the Death Note from the Shinigami Ryuk, but Mortals can’t play god, and he soon finds himself in a mess. Death Note is the quintessential piece of anime ever made for many; this alone should convince you to watch it.
In the world of Death Parade, there is no Heaven or Hell, only endless suffering if you lose. Suppose you win though, you can get reincarnated. The show is famous for its take on the afterlife and the struggle of people who find themselves in this situation for the first time.
Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor
Left to pay off the debt his friend tricked him into, Kaiji has to gamble his way up to the amount. But this won’t be easy as the goons whose money he has to pay won’t let him be. The anime shows how people change in times of desperation, which, to be honest, is the reflection of the human psyche.
Mawaru Penguindrum is a story about siblings who desperately go to any lengths measurable to keep their sister alive. The time’s ticking, and the brothers don’t have much time if they succeed in their endeavors their sister lives. The show is excellent at depicting the love siblings share for each other!
Is the worth of human life different for a rich guy and a poor one? This is what the show tries to answer; Monster shows the struggle of Dr. Kenzou, who is forced to change patients to save the life of the rich one. This leads to the needy migrant dying. The fact that Kenzou let a man die still haunts him to this day, and will soon come for his life!
Not to be mistaken with the spice, Paprika is an anime that revolves around a device called DC mini, which allows a person to delve into the dreams of others.
Use this correctly, and you can save millions from psychological diseases, but in the wrong hands, this will lead to psychological terrorism. And unfortunately, the device is stolen, and the protagonists have to bring it back before a full-blown epidemic!
In the dystopian-futuristic nightmarish city of Lux, factions control the different parts. These factions are constantly fighting, leaving the common folk impoverished. The anime has many intertwined plots which amalgamate at a point at the end, which is fantastic to experience. If you like Sc-Fi, then you’d love Texhnolyze!
Serial Experiments Lain
From the creator of Texhnolyze, you get another masterpiece in the form of this anime. What lain will affect both the natural world and the wired one as well. The show delves deep into the human psyche and the horrors it is afraid of; it indeed is a mind-blowing show to watch!
The Promised Neverland
What looks like a happy home for small kids turns out to be a nightmarish hellscape from which there is no escape. When our main characters realize this, they are both stunned and horrified, but they still try to escape. Watch as they run away from the demons that haunt them!
Zankyou no Terror
Two boys bring the entire nation of Japan to its knees in one swift attack when they destroy the nuclear facility in Tokyo. Months after this, they release a video telling about their intentions; the public is horrified by this and panics. Even the police are unable to act!
The show is dark, as it shows us a world where the government’s incompetence is on full display.
Garden of Sinners
In 1988, the entire nation was shocked by the suicides of multiple school girls for no reason whatsoever. These suicides are too frequent and correlate; this the time when the detective agency which specializes in paranormal behaviors starts making strides. They are slowly but surely uncovering the mystery, but are they ready for the truth?
The show is heaven for those who love thrillers, definitely, a must-watch!
And that’s a wrap! I hope you found a dark anime to watch from this list! If there are some anime that you think deserve to be on this list then do leave a comment.
Perhaps once you’re soul is worn out by the darkness, you might feel like watching a feel good romance anime. Well, I have just the thing for you in this ultimate list of romance anime with a happy ending! Anyway, thanks for reading and have a nice day!