Top 6 Best Dark Anime Series to Watch
Looking for a list of the best dark anime series to watch? Stick around as we share our recommendations…
Anime comes in different themes, but usually, these shows are all about romance, childhood, fantasy or adventure. However, there are also some anime shows that are surprisingly dark, with unique concepts depicting death or supernatural entities.
Although Japan has struggled with repressive cultural views, some artists use anime as a medium to portray artistry in terms of literature, cinema, and shows.
Some dark anime have the tendency to be heavy and might affect younger viewers.
In this article, we have compiled the best dark anime series to watch. These anime shows are thought-provoking and thrilling.
Best Dark Anime Series to Watch
1. Psycho Pass
The vibe and feel of this anime are dark, encompassing the mental state of the characters. It was produced by Production I.G. and co-directed by Naoyoshi Shiotani and Katsuyuki Motohiro.
The anime is still on-going, but the last season, season three, ended in Dec. 2019.
Psycho Pass follows the story of the 22nd century in Japan, where the country reinforces a unique justice structure, the Sibyl System.
The objective of this system is to determine the threat level of each citizen. The inspectors conduct the examination to find any signs of criminal intent, known as the Psycho Pass.
In this series, the main protagonist is a young woman named Akane Tsunemori, who aims to uphold justice. As the story progresses, Akane will discover the loopholes of the Sibyl System.
Watch this anime on Funimation, Netflix, Anime Planet, and Anime Lab.
2. Death Note
Who could forget the classic dark anime Death Note? This show became so popular that even the Western media has recreated the show for a movie. It started out as a manga and later developed into an animated series.
Death Note is written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. The animated series was directed by Tetsuro Araki and produced by Toshio Nakatani, Manabu Tamura, and Masao Maruyama. The anime aired on October 3, 2006, and ended on June 26, 2007.
The story revolves around an intelligent yet disaffected high school student named Light Yagami, who accidentally finds the Death Note.
This notebook is mysterious and can kill anyone as long as the user knows both the target’s name and face. Over time, Light learned to decode the notebook and used it to prevail justice in Japan.
Death Note is available on Netflix, Hulu, Viz.com, Anime Lab, and Tubitv.com.
Another dark anime series to watch is the intriguing story of Berserk, a character haunted by demons. The manga itself is dark, with images of killing, gore, betrayal, and struggle.
One of the longest-running manga, readers and viewers consider this series the ‘most emotionally powerful show.’
Berserk is a 2016 anime television series based on Kentaro Miura’s manga of the same title. It is a sequel to the Golden Age Arc film trilogy.
The television adaptation debuted in 1997, covering the Conviction arc of the manga. Season two did not air until April 7, 2017. Season two covers the first half of the Hawk of the Millennium Empire.
In Berserk, the protagonist, Guts, embarks on a journey where he is hunted by demons until he dies. This is already his fate and nothing can resolve it. Along the way, Guts will encounter allies and will experience danger unlike before.
The animated series is available from Anime Lab, Funimation, and can be purchased on Amazon.
4. Tokyo Ghoul
Anime also has zombies in their manga and television series. Blood, guts, and monsters—three things that can be used to describe Tokyo Ghoul.
It is dark and thrilling, but definitely worth watching because of the plot and the intriguing characters.
Tokyo Ghoul is a dark fantasy manga series written and illustrated by Sui Ishida. The television adapttion has four seasons, each with twelve episodes.
Because of the compelling story, Tokyo Ghoul gained international attention, garnering millions of views and sales in print.
In Tokyo Ghoul, protagonist Ken Kaneki was able to survive a deadly encounter with Rize Kamishiro, a creature called a ghoul.
Ghouls aren’t normal people as they consume human flesh to survive. After the encounter, Kaneki discovers that he underwent surgery that transformed him into a half ghoul.
The story will revolve around Kaneki’s journey of survival, his new life and hiding his identity from his closest friends.
Tokyo Ghoul is available on Netflix, Anime-Planet, ShareTV, and Crunchyroll.
5. Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan)
Shingeki no Kyojin or Attack on Titan is an award-winning manga and one of the most famous titles not just in Japan but worldwide.
It is dark, in all possible ways, as monsters mercilessly kill humans in an apocalyptic dystopia.
The manga was written by Hajime Isayama and adapted to television by Tetsuro Araki, produced by Tetsuya Kinoshita. Animation studios Production I.G. and Wit Studio produced this anime.
The first season aired in 2013 and the third season ended July 2019.
The story revolves around Eren, his adopted sister Mikasa and childhood friend Armin, as they hunt humanoid creatures that target humans. During this time, humanoids called Titans slaughtered mankind which resulted in near-extinction.
Titans forced humans to hide in fear behind huge walls. Humans then created an elite military unit to combat humanoids outside the walls. Eren enlisted in the military and joined the brutal war to fight with the enemies.
A lot of Attack on Titan merchandise is available online because of its popularity.
Also, the anime is available on Netflix, an American online streaming platform. Attack on Titan is also available from Anime Lab, Funimation, and Crunchyroll.
6. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (When They Cry)
When They Cry anime is not a typical high school romance show because it is one of the best yet dark anime series to date.
The anime lives up to its reputation being the most graphically violent show on television. The story depicts abuse, various forms of suicide, and torture.
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni is a Japanese murder mystery anime produced by 07th Expansion. Producers divided it into six chapters based on the first six chapters in the original visual novel series. The pilot season began in 2006 and ended in 2012 with the fourth season.
The story follows protagonist Keiichi Maebara, who just moved into the little village of Hinamizawa.
In the summer of 1983, Keiichi was able to make friends with schoolmates Rena Ryuuguu, Mion Sonizaki, Rika Furude, and Satoko Houjou.
After a while, Keiichi discovers a lot of disappearances and several murders in the village, especially at the annual festival. As Keiichi begins to ask his friends about it, he becomes paranoid as his friends are suspiciously silent and refuse to give him answers.
When They Cry is available on Anime Planet, Netflix, and can be purchased from Amazon.
Anime with a dark fantasy theme is quite common in Japan. Aside from killing, themes also include supernatural entities that hunt humans.
More than the mysterious characters, the plot of these stories also adds to the suspense. There are several titles that you can watch if you love this kind of genre. The titles listed here are popular, not just in Japan but also globally.
What do you think of our list of the best dark anime?