Dark anime are almost loved by every anime lover, because we all have a dark side, right?
Welcome folks, today we’re gonna be taking a look at the top 33 best dark anime ever, ranging from psychological thrillers to dystopian societies with subtle twisted elements!
So let’s get started!
Here are Top 33 Dark Anime You Should Watch Right Now:
This anime is very dark and is very violent in containing certain imagery, which is so disturbing it was actually banned worldwide and most of its copies burnt.
It only survived because of a few copies were saved from tell assigning prior to the rest being burnt or confiscated to be destroyed.
Even now, the movie has an incredibly well rating due to how many people were sickened by its content.
Story is about a young orphaned girl who joins a freak show circus troupe, whose members, well, let’s just say it would be better for her to have died out on the street in the cold alone and scared rather than go through what the freak show members do to her.
This anime is considered one of the most disturbing in the world with its intense violence, animal violence being shown from start to finish.
This isn’t designed to be fun or entertaining, this anime with its dark parts in them is designed solely to shock and frighten.
2. Tokyo Tribe 2
Here’s one you may have heard for one reason and one reason only.
Majority of the story revolves around gang wars and turf wars which in itself is a little dark and not any darker than you’d expect from your average anime.
However, there is one scene in particular that stands out, making it picked for this list.
One single scene revolving around the man called “Bupa”, a tall obese man who is ruthless and rotten to the core, completely self-absorbed and single-minded.
An innocent bystander is brought into the behemoth of a man for his pleasure.
Although we don’t see everything, the copious amounts of blood as a man is violated to death, it’s more than enough to put us off our dinner.
This is the most recent dark anime on our list.
The story follows “Zen Seizaki”, a public prosecutor and the newly formed shinichi, district of Tokyo.
Zen and his partner Fumio, investigate a case involving false advertisement.
Then as they investigate, a pharmaceutical company that lied about the results of a new drug they’ve been testing.
The file of someone called Shin Inaba, an anaesthesiologist, connected to the crime and the case suddenly gets much darker.
When they discover a page that’s covered in a mixture of blood, hair and skin with the letter F written all over it, they had no idea what they were getting themselves into.
As the plot thickens and is revealed to be much-much deeper than originally anticipated.
Revolving around political corruption and the story behind the Shinichi district, only one thing I want to say to you guys…
Do not watch this anime if you cannot handle the intensity!
4. Black Bullet
Do you like Attack on Titan? But would you like to see a rendition of the idea at a modern setting with more children dying?
Then black bullet is the one for you.
The story is about a parasitic virus that quickly takes over the world, called the “Gastrea Virus”.
This virus infects hosts and mutates the body into monstrous beings and then attack and infect other humans.
Almost like how a zombie apocalypse starts.
However, in rare circumstances pregnant woman can’t be infected, they pass it on to the child instead.
Giving birth to a seemingly normal human girl, these children have the same super strength and abilities that the gastrea monsters have.
And are used to combat the monsters to keep the last few cities in the world safe.
These children are outcasts who can are treated harshly.
One of the children in a particular scene had no food to eat, so stole a small amount of food.
She was caught dragged to a secluded building and shot multiple times.
Situations like these show the real monsters are actually humans, not the creatures.
5. Gunslinger Girl
This anime is set in Italy, which makes this series rather unique with that alone.
We follow the social welfare agency, a so called charitable organization sponsored by the government.
They say that they help rehabilitate physically injured people.
But are actually a military organization that specializes in counterintelligence and counterterrorism.
They employ young girls who have had traumatic experiences or near-death experiences.
Fit them with cybernetic enhancements and are given an adult male trainer to recondition them.
The result being that these girls are brainwashed into working as spies and deadly assassins for the government to fight terrorists.
With not only is that a dark concept by itself but there are many conspiracies that go along with the probability.
That the governments may actually be doing this, which is very frightening!
Overall, Gunslinger Girl is a deep, thought-provoking show that really shouldn’t be missed.
The characters, the guns and overall the story, make this one to have on your must-see list.
6. Gakkou Gurashi
Warning! This one has a spoiler.
So if you have this one on your to watch list, maybe skip this.
This is mostly a high school slice-of-life series with four cute anime girls centralizing around the main character “Yuki Takeya”.
An 18 year old school girl who lives in Megurigaoka private high school along with the other four main characters of the series.
And her cute Shiba Inu dog.
They stay inside the school at all times and have general interactions with each other in typical slice-of-life fashion.
Sounds pretty cute, right?
Well, that’s your first mistake!
Turns out, these five characters are all living in a zombie apocalypse.
And Yuki is delusional, pretending that none of it is real and her other classmates are all alive and healthy.
Going so far as to talk to them on a daily basis and have conversations with them in their head, this is all revealed at the end of the very first episode.
It is a bombshell for anyone who have the opportunity to watch it without having it spoiled for them.
From the second episode onwards, you’re then doubting who’s real and who isn’t.
How did the outbreak begin? Is there anyone to help them? Will they survive?
And is any of it real in the first place?
It isn’t a particularly violent or gruesome anime either, it’s very tame as regards to violence.
However, it’s still very dark and won’t shy away from murder and the death of children.
7. Paranoia Agent
Paranoia Agent is a fascinating concept turned into an anime which was produced by Madhouse, that alone making it a series worth checking out.
The story follows a girl “Tsukiko Sagi”, who created a character called “Maromi” which was a pink dog and incredibly popular around the world.
As she was on her way home one night, she was attacked by a schoolboy on inline skates and a bent golden baseball bat.
At first, the two detectives called in to investigate the case believed Tsukiko is lying until several more assaults take place.
The detectives were unable to track down the assailant and the public began to fear for their safety more and more as the attacks grow more frequent.
The mystery behind the satirical thriller is intriguing enough on its own.
However, as the story unravels, plot thickens and grows darker with every episode until the truth is finally unveiled
8. Blue Literature (Aoi Bungaku)
The story of this anime is told in the form of notebooks.
Reminiscent of an amnesia game and tells details of his early childhood to his late 20s.
It’s written into four memorandums, beginning with his inability to make friends during his childhood and also is unfortunate abuse.
The second memorandum is when things start to go downhill as he ends up taking up drinking, smoking, sleeping around and even tries to commit a double suicide with an unwilling participant.
This isn’t even revealing the entire story, this poor man goes throughout the rest of the book.
Not long after it was published, Osamu sadly took his own life.
The book was animated into four episodes as part of an anthology series called “Aoi Bungaku”.
What sets this apart from all the other anime on this list is that this is based off a real human being, that these things really happened.
And the imagery depicted is frighteningly accurate!
9. From the New World
This story is about an outbreak but not of a virus this time.
Humanity suddenly gains Psychokinesis, though only a very small percentage do.
You’re probably thinking this would be a great shounen anime about heroes vs. Villains.
However, the sad reality is that there’s many more people who would use their powers for evil but then good.
And when you can literally control things with your mind, there’s not many people who can stop you.
The world devolves into chaos with these powerful mind mutants taking over the world and recreating humanity.
With the main story following a group of children, a thousand years into the future, growing up together, being friends, going to school and then getting banished.
Having everyone in the town have their memories erased from them.
This isn’t just a dark anime but a very unique coming-of-age story.
We get to see the aftermath of what happened to the anime and seeing the characters we follow grow up and become adults.
This is a masterpiece dark anime!
The story follows “Dr. Kenzō Tenma”, who is a well esteemed neurosurgeon and is set to marry the love of his life.
Everyone around him loves him and praises him for his work and all is well with the world.
That is, until one day he has to perform surgery on an immigrant worker, then suddenly told to switch patients so that he could help a famous performer.
As a result of this, the worker dies.
Similar situation comes up again but this time it’s a young boy who needs an operation and is being requested to perform on the town’s mayor instead.
He stands by his choice to help the boy and as a result the mayor dies.
Kenzō loses his social standing, that’s not the dark part however.
But the boy grows up to become nine years later, that’s what gives the anime and the manga its title.
He grows up to become a monstrous murderer, ending lives that would have gone on if his own life hadn’t been spared.
Set in the underworld of crime syndicates and corrupt law enforcement.
Gangsta offers exposure to various low-life type characters, substance abusers, pimps, sexual harassers, hookers, muscle for hire, assassins and Twilights.
A version of super humans looked down on by society, categorized by the classic anime ABS type ranking.
It’s a struggle to make ends meet in the city of Ergastulum.
And the leads “Nicholas Brown” and “Worick Arcangelo” are by no means good guys, but they are the protagonists.
Unfortunately, it was cancelled after season 1 and there is no satisfying ending.
It just kind of stops, it’s almost like the 12 episodes were a concept demo and the full production never came to fruition.
A real shame is they had some great potential.
12. Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress
Now this is Snowpiercer meets attack on titan meets God Eater meets The Walking Dead.
Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress shows the outbreak of an extreme zombie like virus during the industrial revolution in Japan.
But the zombies aka Kabane are virtually un-killable, unless you destroy their heart which is protected by an iron plate.
It’s rated R and is gloriously violent and fast pace.
Follow the journey of a young engineer “Ikoma”, who develops a gun style projectile capable of combating the zombies aka Kabane once again.
The show ends abruptly after twelve episodes but there is a movie coming and potentially a new season in the distant future.
Here we have the more conventional and widely heard, Psycho-Pass.
This is “Minority Report” meets anime.
Psycho-pass is set on a futuristic earth where technology and AI has advanced to the point where crimes can be prevented through a system.
A system which recognizes the psychological state of the user and determine if they’re going to commit or highly likely to commit a crime.
But it goes much deeper!
The Sibyl system that’s in place by the government, determines your value in society, your right to live freely, the career paths you should be on and more.
It’s a restrictive world even with all the technological potential and people in it are a slave to the system.
14. Tokyo Ghoul
Kaneki is a weak quiet boy, manipulated by a seductive woman and then he becomes an infestation, a ghoul only satiated by flesh, always at risk of killing his one friend.
Placed in a world where he’s hunted or the only way out is death.
He suffers extreme torture at the hands of “Jason”.
His character goes through multiple life-threatening and altering events which destroy his being and create a monster.
Sadly, the quality of writing a plot deteriorates in season 2 and 3, hence, the low ranking on this list.
But the 1st season as a standalone is phenomenal and there’s some gorgeous animation.
15. Death Note
Perhaps, the most watched anime of all time “Death Note”.
I won’t explain the plot because you know it already.
But Death Note stands out for making the protagonist effectively the villain and for an appropriately skilled and intelligent antagonist.
Death Note is about corruption and justice.
What can make you corrupt?
And what is just?
And how should justice be carried out?
These are real-world philosophical and moral dilemmas to which there is no obvious solution.
And that’s what makes the show so compelling!
You watch “Light”, a somewhat normal but intelligent teen, descend into the realms of darkness and corruption as power misguides and poisons good intent.
If you have already watched Death Note then this post might be beneficial to you: 13 Best Anime to watch after Death Note
16. Grave of the Fireflies
It’s the oldest anime on this dark anime list and it’s actually a movie from the usually child tone driven movies that Studio Ghibli produced.
From 1988, grave of the fireflies retains Studio Ghibli’s distinct art style whilst capturing the tone of world war 2.
And its effects on Japan after a fire bombing, resulting in a young teen and his baby sister being separated from their parents.
It’s a heartbreaking journey as much it is true to life.
The two siblings only have each other and battle against extremely poor odds to stay alive.
17. The Promised Neverland
This show follows three protagonists Emma, Norman and Ray, along with a cast of orphans who live together.
Their lives have been full of joy that is until the protagonists learn the orphanage is really a farm where children are raised and given to demons to be eaten.
Learning that they have limited amount of time on their side, the three work-out a plan to escape with the rest of the children.
It’s a very suspenseful horror type show and it really builds up the tension.
If I didn’t include this on the list people would go crazy in the comments.
They probably still will because it’s not number one but it’s for a good reason.
So, berserk follows “Guts”, a muscle for hire, in an alternate world where two factions are at war.
Airing in 1997, on 3 a.m. slot, Berserk went under the radar for years but since then it has developed a cult-like following.
And justifiably so, it’s incredibly dark, hence the 3 a.m. show time. Each character whether a main or side has a clear motivation of driving their behaviour.
It’s a show of ambition!
Guts starts out hollow and somewhat void of meaning.
He is in pursuit of becoming more than just the muscle.
The show’s ultimate theme is bloodshed, ambition and the sacrifices one has to make to achieve their goals in such a harsh environment.
If you love anime demons, then you should definitely checkout this Top 10 Best Anime Demons List
19. Zankyou No Terror
Alienated from a society through a cruel childhood lab experiment to achieve child IQ super soldiers, nine and twelve intend to expose the suffering they endured and the corrupt nature of corporations.
They commit several terrorist level attacks throughout the show’s eleven episodes and demonstrate a disturbing level of cold behaviour hardened by suffering.
And yet within all that, they paint the word “VON”(means “hope”) after an initial attack in the opening of the series.
Now “VON” actually means hope, suggesting with all the pain nine and twelve have injured, a brighter future could still exist for some, maybe.
And that right there is the tone of the show!
One of my favorite animes of all time, “Erased”
It’s not action-packed, there are no superheroes but Erased has heart-wrenching moments all throughout.
A horrifying reality of events, can and do happen in the real world.
It’s the hidden dark side of some of humanity and the light that decides to do something about it.
A less than average, 29 years old travels back in time to the fifth grade to prevent his mother’s death.
And finds out the story doesn’t quite end there.
It’s an emotional roller coaster and I’m not going to explain or spoil the ending.
It is truly dark and it’s emotional
21. Akame Ga Kill
Night Raid is the covert assassination branch of the revolutionary army.
An uprising assembled to overthrow Prime Minister “Honest”, whose grief for power has led him to take advantage of the child emperor’s inexperience.
Without a strong and benevolent leader, the rest of the nation is left to drown in poverty, strife and ruin.
Though, the night raid members are all experienced killers.
They understand that taking lives is far from commendable and they will likely face retribution as they mercilessly eliminate anyone who stands in the revolution’s way.
This merry band of assassins newest member is “Tatsumi”, a naive boy from a remote village who had embarked on a journey to help his impoverished hometown.
And was won over by not only night raid’s ideals but also their resolve.
Akame ga kill follows Tatsumi as he fights the Empire and comes face to face with powerful weapons, enemy assassins, challenges to his own morals and values.
And ultimately what it truly means to be an assassin with a cause.
22. Big Order
Ten years ago a fairy by the name of “Daisy” appeared and asked the child “Eiji Hoshimiya” what his one and only wish was.
Although his wish remains a mystery, the consequences were catastrophic.
In an event called the “Great Destruction” the role started to fall apart as everything collapsed and countless people died.
Now Eiji is a high school student whose only concern is his sick sister, he does not remember what he wished for.
Although he remembers that his wish caused the great destruction.
In the years since that event, thousands of other people have also received abilities to make their heart’s desire come true.
These people called “Orders” are believed to be evil and are hated by the general public.
However, some of these Orders are after Eiji’s life, in vengeance for those that he killed.
Will Eiji be able to survive the numerous assassination attempts?
And the biggest mystery of all
What did he wish for?
And what were his intentions in wishing for something that caused so much desolation?
23. Ajin Demi-Human
Mysterious and mortal humans known as “Ajin” first appeared 17 years ago in Africa.
Upon their discovery, they were labelled as a threat to mankind as they might use their powers for evil and were incapable of being destroyed.
Since then, whenever an Ajin is found within society, they’re to be arrested and taken into custody immediately.
Studying hard to become a doctor “Kei Nagai” is a high school student who knows very little about Ajin.
Only having seen them appear in the news every now and then.
Students are taught that these creatures are not considered to be human but Kei doesn’t pay much attention in class.
As a result, his perilously little grasp on the subject proves to be completely irrelevant when he survives an accident that was supposed to claim his life.
Signalling his rebirth as an Ajin and the start of his days of torment.
However, as he finds himself alone on the run from the entire world, Kei soon realizes that more of his species may be a lot closer than he thinks.
24. Chaos Head
This anime follows “Takumi Nishijo”, a high-school student living in a cargo crate appartment building in shibuya, Tokyo.
One day he has sent pictures over the Internet, depicting a murder in an alley.
He later witnesses a murder resembling the ones in the pictures and believes the killer to be a pink haired girl he sees at the crime scene.
Because of his presence at the scene of the crime, he’s suspected of being the murderer and develops paranoia and experiences delusions.
More murders referred to as the new generation serial murders occur while Takumi meets a number of girls who have been interested in him.
But who he suspects of being linked to the murders?
One of them is the pink haired girl named “Rimi”, who claims to be friends with him despite him not having any previous memory of her.
Takumi learns of the existence of people called “Gigalomaniacs” who can use special powers to project delusions unto others minds.
They can also project delusions into reality which is referred to as “Real-booting”
Takumi and several of the girls he met are revealed to be such individuals and can use illusionary, DI sword, weapons projected into reality.
25. Deadman Wonderland
It looked like it would be a normal day for “Ganta Igarashi” and his classmates.
They were preparing to go on a class field trip to a certain prison amusement park called Deadman Wonderland.
Where the convicts performed dangerous acts for the on-lookers amusement.
However, Ganta’s life has quickly turned upside down when his whole class gets massacred by a mysterious man in red.
Frame for the incident and sentenced to death, Ganta is sent to the very jail that he was supposed to visit.
But Ganta’s nightmares are only just beginning!
The young protagonist is thrown into a world of sadistic inmates and enigmatic powers.
To live in constant fear of the lethal collar placed around his neck that has slowed only by winning in the prisons death league games.
Ganta must bet his life to survive in a ruthless place where it isn’t always easy to tell friend from foe.
All while trying to find a mysterious red man and clear his name in Deadman Wonderland.
26. Zetsuen No Tempest
Yoshino Takigawa, an ordinary teenager is secretly dating his best friend Mahiro’s younger sister.
But when his girlfriend Aika mysteriously dies, Mahiro disappears, vowing to find the one responsible and make them pay for murdering his beloved sister.
Yoshino continues his life as usual and has not heard from Mahiro in a month.
Until he was confronted by a strange girl who holds him at gunpoint and his best friend arrives in the nick of time to save him.
Yoshino learned that Mahiro has enlisted the help of a witch named “Hakaze Kusaribe” to find Aika’s killer.
And the existence of an entity known as the Tree of Exodus.
The witch’s brother selfishly desires to make use of its power in spite of the impending peril to the world.
However, Hakaze is banished to a deserted island and it is now up to Yoshino and Mahiro to help her save the world.
While inching ever closer to the truth behind Aika’s death.
27. GokuKoku no Brynhildr
10 years ago, Ryouta Murakami along with his childhood friend Kuroneko, set out to search for the signs of alien life.
Although Ryouta is skeptical about her theory, Kuroneko insists that aliens are real.
During their search, a tragic accident occurs which gravely injured Ryouta but kills Kuroneko.
Due to his strong memory, Ryouta cannot forget about Kuroneko.
Since then, he has been continuously staring at the night sky in order to prove that aliens exist and also to fulfil Kuroneko’s dying wish.
Presently, Ryouta is a top student in a school and the sole member of the astronomy club.
Until he gets the shock of his life when a new transfer student named “Neko Kuroha” arrived in his class.
She bears a striking resemblance to Ryouta’s dead childhood friend, although, she dismisses the fact as a bluff.
Ryouta later notices something amiss about Neko.
When a student almost drowned is saved by a mysterious force.
Neko predicted that Ryouta will also die.
After displaying superhuman strength and saving his life, it is then revealed that Neko is a witch who escaped from an alien research lab.
Ryouta becomes a part of Neko’s life, learning more about her dilemma and the hidden forces that exist in the universe.
As he sinks deeper and deeper into a world of magic and artificially created witches, Ryota must use necessary means of preserving and sheltering other escaped wishes and allowed them to live normally.
Despite knowing the scientists of the lab would kill any outsiders involved.
28. Le Portrait de Petit Cosette
Le Portrait de Petit Cosette is about an art student named “Eiri Kurahashi”.
Who works at an old antique store that roofs all kinds of weird objects.
While working there one day, the image of a girl comes to life right before his eyes and he instantly feels attracted to her.
He gets in contact with her the same night and that’s when she reveals that she was murdered and entrapped by another artist named “Marcello Orlando”.
The only way she can now be free is by convincing another man to take the punishment of Marcello’s sins on his head.
29. Ergo Proxy
Ergo Proxy takes place in an alternative advanced world where humans live with robots known as “AutoReive”.
But one day an unknown virus starts to take over these robots and grants them a sense of self-awareness.
With this newfound ability, a lot of them go crazy and commit the most brutal murders.
when Detective “Re-l Mayer” devotes her entire life to solving the mystery behind the virus, she discovers that all of it leads her to an even bigger conspiracy.
Undeniably, Ergo Proxy has quite an interesting plot that will keep you hooked all the way to the end.
But what really gives this anime an edge, is it’s dark washed out background colours that create this sense of tension in the atmosphere.
And not to mention, the main character Re-l, is the perfect embodiment of the goth culture with her pale complexion, heavily dark eye-shadow and all black clothing.
30. Hellsing Ultimate
Adapted from a manga written by “Kouta Hirano”
Hellsing Ultimate follows the adventures of the Hellsing organization that is responsible for protecting England against dark supernatural forces.
While the characters of this one are similar to that of the classic OVA “Hellsing”, it takes up storylines that were previously left unexplored.
The mere involvement of a baddest vampire, who has been created by the great “Van Helsing” himself, is enough to make this anime dark.
Not to mention Hellsing Ultimate is full of dark colors and violence that may not be suitable for all.
But if you consider yourself to be a true goth, then you’ll definitely enjoy the gora fist that it offers.
31. Soul Eater
Produced by Studio Bones, Soul Eater has a classic shounen set up that involves some of the most epic fight scenes.
It centres around an academy that is run by the Lord of Death himself.
His motive is to raise the strongest human hybrids known as “Death Scythes” and then used them for destroying all the evil in the world.
But to become a death scythe, a hybrid must consume the soul of 99 evil creatures and 1 soul of a witch.
Soul Eater Evans is one such hybrid who along with his friends, takes on the mission of killing evil beings and acquiring their souls.
This way he not only gets to fulfil his dream of becoming a death scythe but also gets to save the lives of innocents from dark forces.
Soul Eater is a dark anime series because its entire setup relies on the classic goth horror culture.
The students of the Academy are taught by Frankenstein and their headmaster is a Shinigami.
In the first episode itself, Evan ends up beating the soul of Jack the Ripper.
The anime also involves several dark mythical creatures such as werewolves, vampires, demons and even witches.
What more can you ask from a dark anime?
Checkout complete Soul Eater series review here
Kazuya Kujo moves to the city of Sauville to join the renowned Saint-Marguerite Academy.
Being of Japanese origin, from the first day of school itself, Kazuya feels ostracized by all the European students who study there.
They even start calling him the Black Reaper because of how different he looks.
Luckily for him, he later ends up becoming friends with a beautiful girl named “Victorique”.
Who is obsessed with solving all the ghostly myster that surrouiesnd their town.
Soon, even Kazuya joins her and the two set out on an unforgettable Sherlock Holmes style adventure.
Gosick perfectly fits in the dark anime sub-genre with its classic European setup and dark countryside vibe.
Apart from that the show also brings in some supernatural stories that are rooted in the history of classic horror.
Gosick is simply as perfect as a dark anime can ever be.
33. Black Butler
Set in Victorian London, Black Butler revolves around “Ceil Phantomhive” whose entire family gets murdered.
At a sensitive age of just 10, Ceil decides to summon a demon named “Sebastian”
He sells him his soul and asks for his help in getting revenge from those who have wronged him.
Soon the word about him and his demon butler spreads all over the country and the two are then hired as the Queen’s protectors.
While they still try to unravel the mysteries behind Ceil’s family’s murder, they also get to investigate many sinister incidents that commonly occur in the dark corners of London.
The classic Victorian setup itself is enough to qualify this show for the dark anime sub-genre as it’s this time period that first gave birth to classic Gothic literature.
The main character’s background is quite grim and even the present cases that he works on involves the deadliest of monsters and killers.
It’s all of these aspects that make it an almost perfect dark anime.
So what do you think of this list?
How many of these dark anime have you seen?
Are there any that were missed?
Let me know in the comments below.
I just wanted to let you guys know it’s really a big help from you guys, thanks for your support man!
Alright, don’t forget to comment what you think of this blog and also tell me what blog we should do next.
For now I’ll catch you later!