Take a closer look at the word dark and you will see it can mean many things. To some, it means violent, deep and anime based on psychological anime concept. It can include violence and sexual content.
Some argue that some dark anime series are not a million miles away from Hentai and porn. It is true – most shows are for age group 12 + so you to make sure you realize what you are letting yourself in for. Let's get started...
1. Psycho Pass
Heads up warning is required when it comes to Psycho Pass. This is truly a gruesome anime and features extreme sexual violence.
This dark series take place in a futuristic society that I hope that we never end up living in. Psycho Pass is very scary and not for people who get upset easily.
Can I just point out that there is no way that a 12 year old or even at 15, should look this show. In my opinion, this should have an 18 certificate.
2. Death Parade
Death Parade deals with the matter of life and death and asks what happens when we die.
According to the creators of Death Parade, you end up stuck in between heaven and hell, having to prove that you are worthy of ending up in heaven.
If you can't, your financial destination will be hell. Not for the faint-hearted and will have you holding on the edge of your seat . But, if you like having your mind played with, I assume that you will like this dark series.
With a name like that I had expected a Viking anime series, but that was not what I got. Instead, I ended up this rather horrific series about arms dealing.
One thing is for sure, it certainly gave me an insight into the lifestyle of an arms dealer. Jormungand made me realize a lot of things about the world. We certainly have got our priorities wrong.
The dark story features child soldiers which is something that some of view may find upsetting. I don't consider that a lot of girls who otherwise enjoy anime will like this one even though it does feature female characters.
4. Gunslinger Girl
I did not know what to determine after having watched the first episode. I thought Gunslinger Girl world was a bit bizarre and even deprived.
The story line is completely out of this world. I can't even begin to imagine how someone managed to come up with the concept. In short, teenage girls who are very ill or about to die have their lives saved but are turned into killing machines.
It deals with matters such as brainwashing and other concepts that do not feel comfortable. One thing is for sure, it certainly makes you think.
I am not sure what to make of Parasyte. When I view this show for the first time, it felt like I was stepping into someone's warped fantasy universe.
It does have a good story line but is at times a bit far fetched. But then again, that is what many would say that good dark anime is all about.
Parasyte tells the story of a young man who encounters a parasite. The parasite tries to take over his brain but ends up taking control of his arm instead.
Weird, huh? It is really weird but some would argue that weird is what dark anime is all about.
6. Hell Girl
Now taking a look at the main character and you would certainly not call her Hell Girl. Well, start watching and you will soon change your mind.
As we learn, there are some people out there who can only be described as having a negative influence. If you don't realize what I am talking about, you will certainly have a better idea after you have seen the first episode of Hell Girl.
7. Classroom Of The Elite
Classroom of the Elite was first a novel which was turned into an anime. It is perhaps more mainstream than other anime series of this genre but can at times be spine tingling.
This is why it is on this dark list. I consider that it is best of anime and I like watching it.
It is one of those anime series shows you can dip in and out of and still keep up with the plot. Classroom of the elite first came out in September 2017 and it still look new.
8. The Promised Neverland
As far as I am concerned The Promised Neverland is a must-watch. The series will hold you in suspense from the very first episode and I have a feeling that you will like this series if you like fantasy violence and gore world.
It is not a series for young adults. In my opinion you need to be at least 15 to view this dark anime shows.
9. School Live
Well, you would not have thought this dark series would deal with problems such as PTSD and psychosis. But it would seem that the creators of School Live are not frightened of touching on the most delicate topics.
The main characters in School Live world often finds herself in a great deal of emotional distress. Eventually she goes on to become delusional in order to cope with daily lives.
Hey, you are probably wondering why I am mentioning this psychological anime show? I see so many young kids who have a hard time coping with life today.
One minute they are happy at home playing games, the next one day they find themselves confronted by a mass shooting at their high school. Another day in Trump's America...
Shiki has got the darkest screen that I have ever seen in any anime shows. I am not sure how to describe Shiki.
The story evolves slowly, but all of a sudden it takes on a much faster pace. Yes, this is a dark manga series that can be truly horrific at times. I assume it has all of the essential elements to make it a horror anime classic.We certainly have a lot of regular cinema horror classics, and for anime fans, I guess Shiki would be right up there if you understand what I mean.
11. Death Note
Okay I am going to sum up Death Note with one word – freaky. It is disturbing, scary and dark along with representing a totally warped view of the world.
Who's had did this come out of? It does make me wonder? No matter what, you can't take anything away from Death Note. Perhaps one of the best dark anime series in the world.
Great art work if you appreciate art on that sort of level.
12. Goblin Slayer
This is the best frightening anime series that I have ever seen. Out of all of the dark anime series that have come out of Japan, I think it is the most chilling one.
If you are into the dark side of the anime world, you will learn that Goblin Slayer has become a bit of a cult series. It can only be described as stomach churning. Even though it is animated, it is one of those series that will affect you.
Yes, I like it but if you are new to this genre, it is not the first dark anime show you should check out.
Monster first arrived on North American screens back in 2006. It seems like a really long time ago. You would have thought that this series may have “gone out of fashion” as it were, but that is not the case.
It still remains very popular with anime fans. If you are new into anime, it is one of those series shows that you must watch. I am not going to give too much away of the plot as you have probably realized it has to do with monsters.
All I am going to say is that Monster has won many prizes in the world and even been received well by the critics.
14. Kino's Travels - The Beautiful World
I have been following this girl on YouTube who travels around the world around on her motorbike. You can check her Youtube channel which is called Onherbike. She is not Kino but she certainly seems to have a very interesting lifestyle.
Just like Kino she stops in a town or city for about 2 – 3 days and meets new people. She never gets to comfortable and quickly moves on which is another thing she has in common with Kino.
When you are in the mood for a bit of violence, mystery and excellent story telling, you should check out Kino show. Great piece of story telling by the way.
15. School Days
I am not sure why School Days sometimes falls within the romance anime genre. As far as I am concerned, this is a dark gritty anime for watch that will have you struggling to keep up with the plot.
If you like anime that has a crude touch to them, this is the best one for you.I like School Days, but I am not sure why anybody would think it is okay for a young teen to watch this. You really do need to be around 15 to appreciate School Days.
16. Taboo Tattoo
You can't go wrong with the addition of an ancient relic. That is exactly what Taboo Tattoo is all about. In many ways, it reminds me of a quest.
I read somewhere that this anime show is very popular with girls. I can see why -it has a martial hero and a lot of macho action. No matter what girls may say, they do appreciate a bit of macho action.
17. The Running Man
The Running Man was first created in 1987. It is perhaps the best dark dramatic anime on this list.
It is one of the few animes to feature racing sports. You will probably recall that Arnold Schwarzenegger made a movie by the same name. Both make a great watch and I can understand why the Running Man is one of the best anime classic.
18. Future Diary
I am not sure where the idea of Future Diary came from, but I love to play along with the characters. This is one of the dark anime series that you can get really stuck into. On the scale of 1 – 10, it certainly ranks as number 9.
In this series, the characters become part of a game and are forced to gamble with their lives. It is best perhaps described as a psychological thriller world.
19. Tokyo Ghoul
Tokyo Ghoul deserves a mention. Yes, it's certainly an usual anime series. All 12 episodes of this series are chilling and you will love them. After episode 12 you will probably find yourself wondering what happens next.
Don't worry, you can carry on enjoying, thanks to Tokyo Ghoul: re. Fantastic animation shows and you can tell that the creator behind the concept, Sui Ishida, has been involved in the creation of all of the episodes.
In 2017 it was turned into a movie and I am sure that we can look forward to further offerings from the team that created Tokyo Ghoul.
20. Black Bullet
If you are into monsters, you will like Black Bullet as it has a monster on one of his best characters. The series is packed with action, suspense and you will also appreciate it for it mature themes.
I thought it was going to be childish at first but after I had watched a couple of episodes, I realized that it was anything but childish. Great dark suspense show and a couple of cliff hangers that you will really appreciate.
21. God Eater
Once again, we have the pleasure of meeting a monster. The name of the monster is Aragami and is hunted by the God Eaters who are soldiers.
It may not be the most unique theme within dark anime series. But, in my opinion, it deserves to be on the list as it has a good story line and the animation is fantastic.
22. Ghost In Shell
Ghost in shell dates back to 1995 and was directed by experienced dark anime director Mamoru Oshii.
The year is 2029 and our world has changed taken over by cybernetics. The internet is controlled by a character called the Puppet Master and brain-hacking is the latest technology.
Yes, it is violent but it is also chilling as it makes you wonder what are future will be if we let technology take over. Fantastic story line show with a lot of twists and turns. It is one of those animes that will stick in your mind and make you think.
23. Elfen Lied
Okay, I have to say that Elfen Lied is a cute character. However, you need to notice that she is created in a laboratory.
Although the story has many twists and turns, and makes for great drama, the ending may end up upsetting you. I just thought that I would mention that so you are ready with a box of tissues.
This is a series a lot of girls like. When I checked it out, I was not surprised that this show had been reviewed by many female viewers.
24. Full Metal Panic
Mecha anime is not my favorite, but I like their offering of Full Metal Panic. It has everything in it and it is hard to take your eyes of the screen.
Great anime show with lots of action, romance and heroes. I expect that you will like it and it will go down as one of the best dark anime series.
25. Akame Ga Kill
Okay, I recognize that Akame Ga Kill pops up almost anywhere. As it is such a diverse anime series, it is hard to find a category of anime show that it fits neatly into.
Most of you are familiar with Akame Ga Kill, but just in case you are new, let me remind you.
In the series the government is corrupt and the vast majority of people live their lives as slaves. Eventually a group of assassins called Nightraid take on society with the intention of taking control and get rid of the corrupt government.
26. Higurashi – When They Cry
There is nothing like a cursed village to set the imagination racing. That is exactly what you get in Higurashi.
If you are just getting into anime, I think this one is the best for you. At times, it will have your leaping out of your seat and wondering if it is still okay to hide behind the sofa cushions. Very intense series that will soon have you hooked.
It's one of the best dark anime series as far as I am concerned.
Once again, I think that this is not one of those dark anime series I would like my 12 year old cousin to watch.
To cut a long story short, teachers and students at the Yomiyama North Middle School start to die all of a sudden. Great main character but I need to point out that it is very gory. That is why I would not want my young cousin to watch it.
28. Ninja Scroll
Ninja Scroll first aired in 1993 but still looks amazing. This is very much a classical ninja story with a dark twist. You get everything in Ninja scroll. The quest for a beautiful girl, a plaque and an even clan of demons.
Does it deserve to be listed as a dark anime series or adult anime? It certainly does. At times it is extremely violent and even contains sexual violence so is not for younger members of the family. If you are looking for action and fantasy – this is the best for you.
29. Magical Girl - Spec Ops Asuka
This series will have you fooled. It starts of giving you the impression of being a typical Japanese anime with all cute and cuddly characters.
But, before you know it, you are caught up in a maelstrom of violence and mental health problems which manifest themselves in many different ways
Out of all of the series on this list, it is one of the darkest ones. A bit of a warning. If you are new to dark anime, Spec Ops Asuka does not always make for comfortable watching if you know what I mean.
30. Made in The Abyss
This series was meant to be released in April 2020 but was delayed because of the Covid epidemic. If you have got access to Netflix or Amazon prime, you can check out on both platforms.
The story starts off innocently enough. A young girl descends into the abyss hoping to find her lsot mother.
In the Abyss she finds what remains of an ancient civilisation. The adventures of Miya Tomita starts from there.
The characters in this anime are really good and I like it. I guess you can say that it is kind of a “safe” watch if you know what I mean. It is not one of the dark anime series that is going to have you clinging on to the edge of your seat.
31. Fate Zero
Very much a classic horror genre set in different universes. An overlord know as the Holy Grail will ever so often choose a master and servant.
Fate Zero has a touch of Star Wars to it and all that is missing is a light saber or two. It is one of the more vile and disgusting anime series. If you like that sort of thing, you will certainly want to binge watch Fate Zero.
32 Samurai Champloo
Okay, my friend YaYa says that the main character in Samurai Champloo is sexy and I think that is perhaps the reason why she likes the series so much. She has always had a thing about men in glasses and I guess that is set to continue.
Although this dark series has hip-hop music playing throughout it, it still manages to stick to the point and follow the story line. Yes, if you like Samurai horror and action, this is the one for you.
33. Terror In Resonance
I am not going to say too much about Terror In Resonance apart from mentioning that the characters are really good. It is very dark and is, basically, about terrorism.
However, it would also be fair to say that it has some sort of malevolence running through it. Some parts are even disturbing. This is certainly an anime show that belong on this list.
34. Madoka Magica
Madoka Magica has been turned in a hugely successful anime movie. Fans of both the movie and series often refer to it used as Madoka.
The series is perhaps one of the best anime shows ever made. It has everything in it, and if you like to be entertained as well as a bit freaked out at times, this is the one for you. Great scenery and a good plot.
When you feel in the mood for a bit of magic and exciting adventures, the main charaters Madoka makes a great watch.
35. Angel's Egg
Angel's Egg is one of the best of anime ever. It first saw the light of day in 1985. Yes, I can think of what you are going to say, 1985 is a very long time ago.
Thanks to the excellent production quality, this anime still looks great. It is a mix between a dark anime and a sci-fi anime. Angel's Egg tells the story of a girl who protects a very large egg. Her lair is a gothic city in which she encounters all sorts of adventures.
Very dark and almost a bit disturbing at times. Beautiful animation show and a story line that you are not going to get bored with in a hurry. It gets a 5-star rating from me.
New exciting dark anime series are coming out all of the time. I will do my best to keep you up to date...