Apart from the fun colorful and action-packed anime that Japan has, the country also produces some of the best dark anime.
How dark do you want your anime to be? Do you want a lot of bloodshed, lots of death? Do you want the anime and its video game version to deal with grotesque things? What about monsters or twisted psychological tales that show how wicked human beings can be?
Our list here will include anime that has all these elements. So without further ado, let’s dive in!
First on our list is Monster produced by Madhouse. This popular anime has been on the radar of every anime lover who likes dark themes. The anime follows neurosurgeon Kenzo Tenma who is tasked with hunting down a serial killer who goes by the alias Ghost.
The story is set in the Post World War 2 era and this elevates the tense atmosphere in the anime. The anime aired in the mid-2000s but the artwork still holds and the storyline is gripping enough to keep you on the edge of your seat for its entire run.
It is a longer anime with 74 episodes, so it might be better for you to set aside some free time before you click on the first episode because once you do, it will be hard to look away from the screen.
2) Death Note
Is there anyone who has not heard of Death Note? Another iconic anime produced by Madhouse. Based on the manga of the same name, it has been turned into an anime, live-action, and a Netflix original series. The sheer amount of adaptation into different formats shows how much of an impact this dark anime had that even after the show ended its run in 2007, it received two live action adaptations.
The story focuses on two characters, Kira and Light Yagami or L. Kira after he becomes the owner of the Death Note, he becomes a ruthless killer proclaiming himself as God. He commits a string of murders which compels the police to bring onboard a brilliant detective, L. The stakes are high here and the cat and mouse chase between the two characters will thrill you to the core.
3) Jigoku Shoujo
Do you enjoy shows that explore the dark side of human nature? If yes, then this is the perfect anime for you. Produced by Studio Deen, the theme of the show is based on the idea of an eye for an eye.
The show explores how and why a person would hate someone so much that they would want to torture them and willingly sell their soul to the devil to see the other person get burned in hell. It shows the length to which an individual will go to unleash terror on another person.
4) Le Chevalier D’eon
Deon is the main character in this anime who tries to solve the clues that are left by his twin sister after she is murdered. The story is dipped into Christianity and there are a lot of references that will go over your head if you are not familiar with it. The religious mythology in the story is fiction but you need knowledge about Christianity if you want to enjoy the anime to its full potential.
The story takes place in both France and Russia. It is a historical anime with a tinge of psychological and horror elements.
5) Shinsekai Yori
Viewers are often fooled by the colorful artwork. At first glance, you would think this is a shoujo slice-of-life anime. The sunny surface hides very dark secrets. The world of Shinsekai Yori is only a utopia on the surface, as our five protagonists find out.
Shinsekai Yori is a peaceful place until the five leads of the show slowly start unraveling the mysteries of their so-called utopian society as they start tracing the history of their world. The world is populated by humans who have powers of telekinesis, which are said to be god powers or curses powers.
The journey to find the truth along with the five friends is worth watching.
Psycho pass will make you question whether you want a criminal justice that keeps a close eye on you at all times to keep crimes at bay.
In this world, new technology has been developed which can be used to scan a person to know whether he has any criminal predispositions. If the results turn out to be positive then he is closely monitored which breaks all kinds of personal privacy barriers and not to mention takes away one’s freedom.
This may be a good way to keep crimes low, but at what cost? There are chances of individuals never acting on their criminal instincts and still be on the radar because technology said they can ‘Possibly be one.’
You will be going on a journey with Shinjurou Yuuki and Inga as they solve various mysteries. In the world where Shinjurou lives there are humans, un-go’s, and deities that are not your typical gods. Un-go’s are the humans whose souls have turned pitch black due to the number of lies that they have told others and the sins that they have committed. The deities feed on these very souls.
Shinjurou and his associates are not exactly good guys nor are they the bad ones. They lie in the grey area. They are only concerned with truth and nothing else.
8) Perfect Blue
Perfect Blue, another dark masterpiece produced by Madhouse. The production house seems to have a lot of hit dark anime titles under its belt. The story is about unhealthy obsession and psychotic behavior. Receiving love from a fan is great and all until it enters obsession territory. This Satoshi Kon classic is not to be missed.
The titles mentioned on this list are not meant for the young eyes. The shows are very, very dark with elements that can be extremely disturbing for the young audiences.
A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.