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If you are a chill and thrill-seeker, just any other activity might not sound as exciting as settling in for a night with some delicious take-out meal and a dark anime series! Anime from the dark genre might have different meanings for different people but essentially encompasses all things gritty – from violence, blood, and monsters to psychological themes that will have you questioning the morbid thought processes of the characters.
Anime and manga are among the many consumed entertainment options all around the world, given that the global industry is valued at a whopping USD 23.56 billion!
Anime series from the dark genre has grown to be favorites of many ardent otakus all over the world. Some of them might even choose to spend their time watching and enjoying the content that is a stark contrast from the slice-of-life and humorous anime series that are also quite popularly consumed! Some of them might even give you a wide range of unique cosplay names to choose from!
Dark anime can often be viewed as deep and violent, with concepts and storylines that dive into the dark side of the soul. The characters in anime from this genre often traverse the grey areas between good and bad, indicating that there are often no clear demarcations between the 2 categories.
Some of the dark anime also involve 18+ rated content, so if you enjoy unusual themes that are a far cry from happy-go-lucky genres, read on to discover our top 8 best dark anime series for the weekend!
8 Best Dark Anime Series
Not much screams enjoyable entertainment than villainous characters with good sides, and do-gooders with a streak of notorious thoughts and behaviors. While Naruto might be your most favorite anime by far, our list of the best 8 dark anime that you need to include in your watchlist are:
1. Blue Literature: No Longer Human (Aoi Bungaku: Ningen Shikkaku)
A series created around the literature novel classic by Osamu Dazai, No Longer Human is a part of the several stories that make up the Bungaku series. The animation is brief but is centered around the life of a high school student who is alienated from his peers and is “failing at life.” The story goes on to display how the protagonist is riddled with severe depression and narcissistic tendencies, finding it near impossible to relate to any other human in his environment. He considers himself a failure at being a normal human being – one of the darkest sides of the soul. With themes of mental illness and alcohol abuse, this is not an anime for the faint at heart!
2. Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka
A dark seinen anime that is divided into 12 episodes, this is a series that is set in a dark universe where the world is being attacked by inter-dimensional beings named Dias. These inter-dimensional beings are blood-thirsty and do not hesitate to demolish those in their path. They can also not be defeated by regular human weapons and this prompts a group of girls to enter a contract with the Spiritual World. This enables them to gain magical powers that are used to defeat the Dias and protect the world. 3 years after the defeat of the Dias, the girls disband and their leader chooses to enter high school. Things, however, take a darker turn when the girls come to realize that there are members who have survived and are interspersed with their society. This anime also contributes to excellent cosplay ideas for 2021!
3. Death Note
A must-watch for dark anime lovers, Death Note is a story of high-school Light Yagami discovering a book that belongs to the death god. Dissatisfied with the world’s ways at the point in time, Light goes on to write a criminal’s name in the book and is shocked to discover the death of the criminal not too many days later. Recognizing the power and significance of the book, Light decides to create a world that is free of all crime and criminal activity. This causes a series of deaths that leave the authorities confused, leading to the entry of detective L. A show that leaves its viewers in considerable suspense, Death Note is a watch for those who enjoy a touch of supernatural elements with ideologies that question regular society structures.
Another excellent dark anime series that has themes of thriller, supernatural, and mystery vibes – Shiki is the story of the village of Sotoba. During an extremely hot summer, the village that is 1300 people strong begins experiencing a series of mysterious deaths. Around the time of these incidents, a new and strange family enters the scene and moves into the abandoned mansion that is in the village. The dean of the village hospital, Toshio Ozaki, cannot understand what is causing the death of so many people in his village. His initial suspicions include an epidemic that is plaguing the village. However, as investigations are conducted by the residents and hospital staff, it comes to the villagers’ realization that their home, friends, and family are being attacked by blood-thirsty vampires.
5. Terror in Resonance – Zankyou no Terror
Terrorism is not a concept that is unknown to us in today’s world, but Zankyou no Terror puts the highlights the grey areas that terrorism creates. The story is centered around 2 adolescent protagonists who seek to gain recognition and identity through a series of terrorist activities. Viewers are thrust into the protagonist’s world and forced to question the constant battle of nature versus nurture in society. There are no “bad guys”, criminals or “good guys” in this series. If you are someone who is looking to explore the blurring lines between good and bad, this is an excellent show for you to watch!
6. Black Bullet
This is a story that is set in the future where the world as we know it is undergoing attack by viral parasites called Gastrea. This causes the humans to bundle up and live in a small territory and in utter despair – terrified of the workings of the parasites. The story then goes on to bring in protagonist Rentaro who is a member of “Civil Security” – an organization that is specialized in fighting against parasites. Rentaro goes on to accomplish a series of dangerous tasks against the Gastrea with his partner Enju. Both these characters are bestowed with peculiar powers that allow them to fight against their enemies. This continues happening until one day, they receive an assignment from the government. This is a secret mission designed to prevent the destruction of Tokyo! If you enjoy darkness with a touch of heroic action – this one is for you!
7. Tokyo Ghoul
Another classic anime that combines all things gory, bloody, and monstrous – Tokyo Ghoul is a must-watch for those who enjoy dark animations. There is a range of themes that are covered in this series – from morals and philosophy to racism, bigotry, and prejudice. The story is centered around ghouls who are humanoid species that prey on humans and are hunted by specialized agents referred to as Doves. With deep psychological twists and turns, this is a show that begs the question – what is murder if murdering is the only way to survive? The irony of murdering an animal versus murdering a human is thrown into sharp and focused light with this series – making it a must-watch for those who enjoy the dark genre!
The last dark watch in our list, Another is centered around the story of Yomiyama North Middle School and the class 3-3. A popular student passes away during the middle of the school year, and soon after the town is shrouded in a fearful and dark atmosphere where secrets are kept hidden deep. Twenty-six years after the passing of the student, Kouichi Sakakibara is transferred to Class 3-3 and notices the dark and gloomy atmosphere that hangs thick in the town. Attracted to mysterious student Mei Misaki, Kouichi begins discovering a gruesome phenomenon plaguing the town and students of class 3-3.
This is a list that involves anime that may not be considered traditionally “dark”, but is a much-needed addition to the list owing to the gritty storylines and unconventional characters. Choose the anime that most resonates with you and settle in for an excellent watch that is going to keep you awake for a long time!
My name is Roger Senpai. I’m a cosplayer that’s been in the community for well over a decade now. I’ve traveled all over the world to Anime and Comic conventions and hosted my own cosplay events. Now I’m writing articles for new and experienced cosplayers like you to help inspire, save you money and improve your cosplays!