Caleb likes to think he's Jiraiya, a ninja/author. In reality, he's never thrown a punch in his life. His pen serves as his lone weapon.
If you've watched quite a few dark anime, then you know how captivating the narratives can be. These shows exemplify just how rich anime is, far from the perspectives of outsiders who often label anime as childish without giving it a chance.
Deep themes, unexpected character development, and thought-provoking storylines. Those are the things you can expect from this list of the best dark anime you should add to your must-watch list.
1. Death Parade
Ever wondered what happens to your soul after you die? Turn to Death Parade for answers. This dark, psychological series shows how people need to perform a range of tests based on which they will go to heaven or hell.
A surgeon trying to hunt down a ghost that somehow committed multiple murders. Set in a post-WWII scenario in Germany, this is one of the darkest anime series that will keep you on the edge of your seat from the first episode.
3. Perfect Blue
What happens when a fan of a celebrity goes to any extent to express his love? Watch Perfect Blue to know. This is one of the best dark anime series from Satoshi Kon that deals with obsessive fixations and various psychotic tendencies of the fan that, at times, become too extreme to handle.
4. Psycho Pass
Rape, violence, vengeance, and a story that portrays a futuristic society – this is probably the best combination to deliver a thrilling dark anime series. Psycho Pass keeps you guessing on who the criminal is. The gripping storytelling, together with the layered characters, makes the show binge-worthy.
5. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
This series deals with a simple concept: if you want to obtain something, you need to lose something of equal value. The show portrays the life of two brothers, Alphonse and Edward, who attempt human transmutation, a forbidden act in alchemy. Eventually, they pay a price for their sins.
6. Hunter x Hunter
It's easy to dismiss this show as your typical shounen anime, but despite its happy-go-lucky vibe in the beginning, violence and gore awaits toward the end. Butchering animals, searching for lost treasures in unknown territories, and a father teaching his son how to become the hunter that performs all these tasks – Hunter x Hunter gives a new, dark twist to a father-son relationship that changes their lives forever.
7. Death Note
That if you could write the deaths of hundreds of criminals and your wish came true? Would you say this is an ethical scheme? And what happens when the best detective in the world tries to catch you in your act? This dark anime will question your morality, make you bite your nails, and hope that the detective catches the killer but not before he ends the lives of a few more criminals.
8. Black Lagoon
A meek businessman is on his way to Southeast Asia when pirates take him as a hostage. They force him to join their crew. What follows is a series of dark events with Rock, the businessman, trying to find his way out of this mess.
A mad scientist rents a room in Akihabara, along with a few other lab members. Together, they decide to build future gadgets. But all their attempts don’t go as planned. The depths of scientific theory and its practicality, along with twists and turns in the storyline, will keep you thoroughly engaged in the show.
10. Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Madoka Magica takes you into a world of witchcraft and wizardry. A girl gets a wish to fulfill her dreams but in exchange, she needs to battle witches. And these are no ordinary witches. Their souls are tainted by darkness. Will the girl be able to battle them singlehandedly? Watch Madoka Magica to know more.
11. Fate Zero
How can a fantasy series deal with dark stories? Fate Zero is an excellent example of how. With alternate universes at every turn, the Holy Grail will choose a servant and a master to run the show, keeping the audience in the dark to guess what's coming next.
12. Grave of the Fireflies
Grave of the Fireflies is the story of two Japanese children who lost their parents and their home in a brutal war. This series takes the darker side of showing how the children survive in an unforgiving world.
13. Shinsekai Yori
In a world where humans possess cursed powers, will everyone live peacefully? Shinsekai Yori is one of the darkest anime shows that uphold the history of dystopian utopia. Everyone seems to lie because they don’t want others to be happy. In this scenario, how will everyone live peacefully? Watch Shinsekai Yori to know the answer.
14. Ghost in the Shell
With artificial intelligence taking over, will humanity survive? Or will cyber-terrorists rule the world? This is another anime series that presents a dystopian society and shows how technology can ruin the lives of many.
15. Tokyo Ghoul
In a world run by humans, what if Ghouls start destroying human lives? This show, with its dark, twisted storyline, keeps you in the hunch about whether the special agents will be able to catch the Ghouls or not.
16. Hellsing Ultimate
Vampires and more vampires. That's the theme of this show. However, it's not a typical horror anime show that you are expecting. Instead, it subtly presents the darkness with slow violence and explains the need for vampires to suck blood. Honestly, this one is not for the faint-hearted.
17. Ergo Proxy
Sealed communities trying to escape from a post-apocalyptic world – the storyline highlights the darkness of the show in bold letters. Find out how an ecological disaster led to a string of chemical explosions and brought an apocalyptic situation.
In a war between human brutality and human experimentation, who will outlive the other? Watch this jaw-dropping anime series with a lot of popcorn because you may want to finish it once you start.
19. Taboo Tattoo
Tattoo, an ancient relic, is now in danger of getting captured by the Kingdom. Justice, a martial artist, is the only person who can save this relic. Taboo Tattoo is the journey of Justice and how he saves the ancient relic from extinction.
Students and teachers of Yomiyama North Middle School often die randomly. What is the dreadful event that had started this chain of disasters? This gripping anime series will unfold the event slowly, keeping you waiting until you reach the last episode.
Did I miss anything? Feel free to share your suggestions by commenting below.