Anime is a medium that offers a diverse range of genres and themes. Plenty of options exist for those who prefer darker and more mature content.
From psychological thrillers to horror, the world of dark anime series can be both unsettling and captivating. With so many series available, figuring out where to start can take time.
That’s why we’ve compiled a list of our top picks for the 30 best dark anime series you can’t miss. Whether you’re a long-time anime fan or just starting, these series will leave a lasting impression. So, grab some popcorn, settle in, and prepare for thrilling and unforgettable viewing experiences.
Dark Anime Series
This list will discuss the most popular dark anime series you should check out. From psychological thrillers to horror and everything in between, there’s something for everyone on this list. This series will satisfy all your needs of watching something different than what anime could offer.
1. Taboo Tattoo
In anime, the word “taboo” often carries much weight. It can be used to describe something morally wrong or socially unacceptable, and it can also be used to add an air of mystery or suspense to a story.
In the case of Taboo Tattoos, the latter is true. The anime follows the story of Seigi, a young man who comes into possession of a mysterious tattoo. This Tattoo gives him the power to fight against evil but also puts him in the crosshairs of some very powerful people.
Taboo Tattoo is a dark and gritty anime that pulls no punches. It’s full of violence, swearing, and sexual content. If you’re looking for an anime that’s not afraid to go there, then this is the one for you.
2. School Days
School Days is an anime that follows the story of a high school student named Makoto, who becomes caught up in a complicated love triangle with two girls, Kotonoha and Sekai.
The anime delves into love, jealousy, and betrayal themes and is well-known for its shocking and controversial ending. Based on a visual novel of the same name, School Days has become a cult favorite among anime fans and has been adapted into a manga and video game.
3. Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka
Asuka is a young girl who was orphaned at a young age and taken in by a secret government organization that trains young girls to become soldiers. She is the best of the best and is sent on dangerous missions to fight evil. Asuka is an amazing fighter and has magical powers that help her defeat her enemies.
She is brave and determined and always puts others before herself. She is a true hero and always stands up for her beliefs. If you are looking for an action-packed anime with a strong female lead, you must watch Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka. It is one of the best dark anime series out there, and you will not be disappointed.
4. Redo Of Healer
In the anime series Redo of Healer, Keyaru is a powerful healer who is taken advantage of by others. He is used and abused by those in power until he finally snaps and unleashes his full potential. This dark anime series is full of twists and turns and will keep you on the edge of your seat.
If you’re looking for a dark anime series to watch, you can’t go wrong with Redo Of Healer. The series follows Keyaru, a man who is reincarnated and able to heal people’s wounds.
However, he soon discovers that his world is far from perfect. Redo Of Healer is a dark and gritty series that isn’t afraid to tackle difficult topics. The series deals with themes of slavery, rape, and abuse, making it one of the darkest anime series out there.
However, despite its darkness, the series is also incredibly thought-provoking and well-written. If you’re looking for an anime series that will leave you thinking long after you’ve finished watching it, then Redo Of Healer is worth checking out. Just be warned: this series is not for the faint of heart.
5. Midori: Shoujo Tsubaki
With a title that means “Green Girl: Camellia”, Midori: Shoujo Tsubaki is not your average slice-of-life anime. The story follows the life of Midori, an orphaned girl who a doctor and his wife take in.
However, Midori is no ordinary girl – she has a strange condition that causes her to see horrific things when she looks at people.
As she grows up, she tries to come to terms with her ability and ultimately decides to use it to help others. While the premise may sound dark, the anime is heartwarming and features some beautifully-rendered artwork.
If you’re looking for something different from your usual anime fare, try Midori: Shoujo Tsubaki!
6. Happy Sugar Life
Are you in the mood for a dark and twisted anime series? Then you need to check out Happy Sugar Life! This anime is all about a girl named Satou Matsuzaka, who seems like your typical high school student on the outside.
But on the inside, she’s a complete sociopath who will do anything to get what she wants. And what she wants is Shio Koshinaga, a younger girl who she’s completely obsessed with.
Satou will stop at nothing to make Shio hers, even if it harms those around her. If you’re looking for an anime that’s both disturbing and addictive, then Happy Sugar Life is definitely for you!
7. Le Portrait De Petit Cossette
Le Portrait de Petit Cossette is a three-episode anime series that aired in 2005. It is based on a manga of the same name and tells the story of Eiri, a young man who falls in love with a glass figurine named Petit Cossette.
The anime series was produced by Shaft and directed by Akiyuki Shinbo. It features beautiful artwork, animation, and an interesting and unique story. Le Portrait de Petit Cossette is one of the best dark anime series out there and is definitely worth watching.
8. Higurashi When They Cry
In Higurashi When They Cry, a small town in Japan is shaken by a series of murders and disappearances. The police are baffled, and the townspeople are terrified. But there may be more to these crimes than meets the eye.
Higurashi When They Cry is a dark anime series that will keep you on the edge of your seat. It’s full of twists and turns; you never know who might be behind the next crime.
If you’re looking for a suspenseful and dark anime series to watch, Higurashi When They Cry is one to check out.
9. Black Bullet
Black Bullet is set shortly, where mankind has been pushed to the brink of extinction by giant man-eating monsters called Gastrea. To combat the Gastrea, mankind developed Charon Industries’ “Cursed” Bullets, which are made from Varanium: a metal that can harm and kill Gastrea.
These bullets are effective, but they also come with a price: anyone using them will become a cursed person, slowly becoming a monster. Enter Rentarou Satomi, a young boy who has sworn to protect his friend and fellow cursed person, Enju Aihara.
Together, they fight against the Gastrea as part of the “Black Bullet” team, hoping to one day find a way to lift the curse from themselves and others like them.
Black Bullet is an intense, dark anime series that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The characters are complex and interesting, and the world-building is top-notch. Black Bullet is worth checking out if you’re looking for an anime series that will keep you hooked from start to finish.
10. Red Garden
If you are looking for a series with a dark atmosphere, then you should check out Red Garden. This anime is set in New York City and follows the lives of four girls who have been cursed. They must kill other people to stay alive, and the series is full of twists and turns.
The characters are well-developed, and the story is engaging. If you are looking for a dark anime series to watch, Red Garden should be at the top of your list.
11. Selector Infected WIXOSS
The 11th series on our list is Selector Infected WIXOSS. This show is set in a world where a card game called WIXOSS exists. Girls play the game with special decks of cards, and the winner becomes a selector, who get to have their wishes granted.
However, the price for becoming a selector is high, as they must face off against other players in battles that can have deadly consequences.
12. God Eater
Arguably one of the best dark anime series of all time, God Eater is set in a post-apocalyptic world where humanity has been forced to retreat behind walls to escape from monsters known as Aragami.
The story follows the God Eaters, people with special abilities who can use the Oracle cells of Aragami to weaponize them. They are the only ones able to fight against the Aragami and protect humanity.
With amazing action scenes and a gripping plot, God Eater is a must-watch for any fan of dark anime. The characters are incredibly likable, and the story engages from start to finish. If you’re looking for an anime that will keep you on the edge of your seat, this is it.
13. Talentless Nana
Nana is a young woman with a special ability. She can copy the talent of anyone she comes into contact with. When she meets a talented musician named Shu, she realizes that she may have finally found her true calling.
However, as Nana’s skills begin to improve, Shu starts to distance himself from her. It soon becomes clear that he has his reasons for withholding his talent from her. As Nana tries to uncover the truth about Shu’s past, she also wonders if her abilities are more a curse than a gift.
Talentless Nana is a dark anime series exploring talent’s nature and what it means to be truly gifted. The characters are complex, and the plot has twists and turns. If you’re looking for an anime series that will keep you guessing, then this is the one for you.
14. Le Chevalier D’Eon
Le Chevalier D’Eon is a dark anime series that follows the life of a French knight who is forced to become a woman. The story is set in the 18th century and explores issues of gender, politics, and religion. The series is known for its complex plot and dark themes.
The animation is beautifully done, and the characters are rich and complex. This is an excellent series for fans of dark anime.
15. Gunslinger Girl
In the not-too-distant future, the Social Welfare Agency operates secretly, using orphaned girls as assassins. These young killers are called “fragments” because they have been broken by tragedy and rebuilt with cybernetic implants and intense training.
Each girl is paired with an adult male handler who controls her with special eye implants called “gauges.” As their first assignment, teenage Cyborg Henrietta and her handler Triela infiltrate the Mafia to assassinate a senator.
However, when Triela is brutally wounded in the line of duty, Henrietta begins questioning her programming and wondering if she is just a “fragment” of a human being.
Gunslinger Girl is a dark and gritty anime series that explores the question of what it means to be human. The characters are well-developed, and the plot is engaging. The action scenes are top-notch, and the artwork is beautiful.
If you’re looking for an anime series that will keep you on the edge of your seat, look no further than Gunslinger Girl.
16. Goblin Slayer
Goblin Slayer is one of the most popular dark anime series ever. It follows the story of a young man who sets out to kill goblins and save the world from their evil deeds.
The series is full of action, adventure, and suspense. Goblin Slayer is a must-watch if you’re looking for a dark anime to keep you on the edge of your seat.
17. Akame Ga Kill!
If you’re looking for a dark and gritty anime series, then look no further than Akame Ga Kill. The story follows a group of assassins known as the Night Raid tasked with taking down corrupt government officials.
The catch is that the assassins use special weapons known as Teigu, which gives them unique abilities. However, these weapons come at a price, as they slowly drive the user insane. The series is full of bloodshed and violence and is not for the faint of heart. But if you can handle it, then you’re in for an amazing ride.
18. Mirai Nikki
A disturbing psychological thriller, Mirai Nikki is not for the faint of heart. The story revolves around a high school student, Yukiteru Amano, who keeps a diary on his cell phone.
However, this is no ordinary diary – it can predict the future. When Yukiteru’s diary tells him that his world will end in 30 days, he enlists the help of another diary user, known as Deus Ex Machina, to try and prevent the impending disaster.
With complex and interesting characters, a well-developed plot, and plenty of suspense, Mirai Nikki is a dark anime series that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Mirai Nikki is one to watch if you’re looking for an anime that will keep you guessing until the very end.
Another is a 2012 Japanese anime television series based on the novel of the same name by Yukito Ayatsuji. The story follows a group of high school students who are haunted by a curse that causes them to die one by one. The only way to break the curse is to identify the person who is responsible for it.
The anime series was produced by P.A. Works and directed by Tsutomu Mizushima. It aired in Japan from January 8, 2012, to March 25, 2012, and was also released on Blu-ray and DVD in North America by Sentai Filmworks.
20. Elfen Lied
Elfen Lied is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Lynn Okamoto. The story revolves around the Diclonius, a species of mutated humans with horns and telekinetic powers, and their interactions with the human race.
The series is dark, dealing with themes such as murder, rape, child abuse, and suicide. It was serialized in Shueisha’s seinen manga magazine Weekly Young Jump from June 2002 to August 2005 and was collected into fourteen tankōbon volumes.
Elfen Lied has been adapted into two anime series: a thirteen-episode television series produced by Arms Corporation that aired on T.V. Tokyo from July to October 2004; and an original video animation (OVA) series of twelve episodes produced by Genco that was released from July 2006 to June 2007.
The anime series “Metropolis” is set in a future city where the wealthy live in a society of advanced technology while the poor are forced to live in squalor.
The series follows the story of a young boy named Kenichi who befriends a girl named Rina, and together they try to survive in this dark and dangerous world. If you’re looking for a dark anime series, you can’t go wrong with Metropolis.
This cyberpunk series is set in a future city where humans and robots live side by side. However, tensions between the two groups are high, and it’s not long before violence breaks out. The animation is top-notch, and the story is engaging, making Metropolis a must-watch for any fan of dark anime.
School-Live!: If you’re looking for a dark anime series that is both popular and well-rated, then you can’t go wrong with School-Live! The story follows the lives of four girls who are part of the “School Living Club”, tasked with ensuring their school remains running despite the zombie apocalypse that has engulfed the world.
The series is known for its dark themes and the character’s emotional journey as they try to survive in a world that has already ended.
23. Casshern Sins
Many dark anime series out there are popular and well-loved by fans. One of these series is Casshern Sins. The story is set in a post-apocalyptic world where robots called “cyborgs” have taken over. Casshern is a cyborg who was created to kill humans.
However, he soon realizes that killing humans is wrong and begins to fight against the other cyborgs. This series is full of action, drama, and suspense. It’s one of the best dark anime series out there.
24. Full Metal Panic!
In a world where the Cold War never ended, Full Metal Panic! is the story of Sousuke Sagara, a teenage soldier sent to protect Kaname Chidori, a normal high school girl. Of course, nothing is ever that simple, and Sousuke has to deal with enemies from both sides as he tries to keep Kaname safe.
Full Metal Panic! is an action-packed series with plenty of humor and heart. The characters are all incredibly likable, and the stories are always engaging. If you’re looking for a dark anime that’s also a lot of fun, Full Metal Panic! is worth checking out.
25. No. 6
Whether you are into gothic horror, psychological thriller, or simply enjoy a good dose of darkness in your anime, these top 6 popular dark anime series of all time are sure to send chills down your spine.
From the death game of Sword Art Online to the gritty streets of Akira to the blood-thirsty world of Vampire Hunter D, there is something for every fan of the dark and macabre in this list.
So curl up with a blanket and some popcorn, and get ready to be scared!
If you’re looking for a dark anime series, you can’t go wrong with Shiki. This series is set in a rural village that a group of vampires is terrorizing. The story follows a group of people who are trying to stop the vampires from taking over the village.
The animation and art style are top-notch, and the story is engaging. If you’re looking for a dark and suspenseful anime series, then Shiki is worth checking out.
Texhnolyze is a dark and gritty anime series that follows the struggle of humans trying to survive in a ravaged city full of advanced technology. The series is full of violence, betrayal, and despair, making it one of the most popular dark anime series ever.
There is something about dark anime that just seems to captivate viewers and leave them wanting more. Perhaps it is the allure of the unknown or the sense of adventure that these series provide.
Whatever the reason, dark anime has become increasingly popular over the years, with new series constantly popping up.
If you’re looking for a dark anime series to watch, you can’t go wrong with Texhnolyze. This 2003 series takes place in a city called Lux, where people have advanced technology implanted into their bodies.
The story follows a young man named Ran, who is drawn into the world of underground fighting. With stunning visuals and an interesting plot, Texhnolyze is a must-watch for any fan of dark anime.
28. Hell Girl
As the first series on our list, Hell Girl is a must-watch for any fan of dark anime. The story follows Ai Enma, a girl who works in the underworld as a “hell girl.”
Her job is to ferry the souls of others who have been wronged to the afterlife, but she only does so if they first agree to condemn their tormentors to eternal damnation.
While this may seem like a simple premise, Hell Girl is anything but. The series is rife with moral ambiguity, as Ai’s victims must weigh the cost of their revenge against the weight of their souls.
The show also explores the dark side of human nature, depicting how even the most innocent person can be driven to commit horrible acts if pushed far enough.
If you’re looking for a dark anime that will leave you thinking long after the credits have rolled, then Hell Girl is definitely for you.
29. Devilman: Crybaby
Devilman: Crybaby is a dark anime series that follows the story of Akira Fudou, a high school student who turns into a demon after fusing with the body of one. The series is full of gore, violence, and nudity, making it not for the faint of heart.
Despite this, the series has been incredibly popular, especially among those who enjoy dark and edgy anime. Devilman: Crybaby should be at the top of your list if you’re looking for a dark anime series to watch.
Jormungand is a popular dark anime series that tells the story of a world where war is a constant reality. The series follows the exploits of a group of mercenaries who work for an international arms dealer. The show is noted for its gritty, realistic portrayal of war and violence.
Jormungand is a dark anime series that follows the story of Koko Hekmatyar, a young arms dealer who sells weapons to both sides of conflicts. She is accompanied by a team of bodyguards, including the stoic Jonah, who has a past full of violence and bloodshed. Together, they travel the world selling their wares and getting into all sorts of trouble.
The series is known for its gritty action sequences and complex characters. It s a gripping tale of morality and survival in a dog-eat-dog world. If you’re looking for an anime series that will keep you on the edge of your seat, then Jormungand is worth checking out.
After looking at the top 30 most popular dark anime series of all time, it’s easy to see why this genre is so popular. These shows are full of action, suspense, and sometimes even horror.
We hope you enjoyed our top 30 popular dark anime series list. These shows are perfect for anyone looking for something different and will keep you entertained from beginning to end. If you haven’t seen any of these shows yet, we highly recommend trying them.