Best Dark Anime Series to Watch

Best dark creepy anime characters
Come to the dark side, we have cookies and good anime. Contrary to popular opinion, dark anime spans a whole spectrum of themes and so many dark anime shows choose to take other paths and directions other than the blood, guts and monsters route. Dark anime series offer us gripping, violent, deep, psychological anime, shows full of uncomfortable themes that many do not dare to delve in to - they can dive to the depths of our darkest horrors hidden in plain sight. From psychological thriller anime to dystopian societies with subtle, twisted elements that give these shows a morbid, bleak or downright twisted atmosphere, to gothic anime, horror and sexual violence anime shows, here is a list of the best dark anime to watch.


Darkest Anime Shows to Watch


31. Monster

Best dark creepy anime characters
One of the most enjoyable dark anime series to watch ever, it is set in 1986 and follows Dr. Tenma, a brilliant brain surgeon engaged to Heinemann's daughter, Eva, with a bright future ahead of him, being next in line to become the director of neurosurgery. One night, a boy called Johan, one of a pair of twins, is brought to the hospital in critical condition after being shot in his head. Nina, the other twin, is also being treated for shock. Ignoring the order of the hospital director, Dr. Tenma performed an operation to save Johan's life. This leads to a series of murders involving all of the people connected to Tenma. Regretting his part of the creating of the most terrifying "Monster" on earth. embedded inside Johan by the operation, Tenma tries to thwart his crimes. It's an amazing suspenseful dark thriller anime that is incredibly thought provoking.

30. School Live ( GAKKOU GURASHI! )

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School-Live! is an amazing anime filled with twists and turns, emotion, and overall great cinematic direction. It presents such a unique perspective, we see Takeya Yuki is in love with her school. For her, it’s a wonderful and comforting place, where she enjoys her school activities, especially the activities of her club: School Life Club. The club has Rii-chan as the president, Kurumi-chan as another member, and the teacher, Megu-nee, always there for them. This anime sounds like it shouldn't belong on this list, yet there is something much darker going on. A really cool and creepy psychological thriller! Definitely check this one out to discover more!

29. Blue Literature: No Longer Human

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One of the most thoughtprovoking anime series you may ever watch, it consists of six animated adaptations from six classical Japanese literature pieces, including No Longer Human (Ningen Shikaku) and Run, Melos (Hashire, Melos) by Osamu Dazai, Kokoro by Natsume Souseki, Hell Screen (Jigoku Hen). You get a lot of Japanese culture in there too, which also makes it so enjoyable to watch. It is meaningful, wholesome, yet tackles very dark themes in a beautiful way. It conveys themes such as depression and battling with mental demons, feelings of being a failure at being human, hence the title, ‘No Longer Human’. It touches on themes of alcohol abuse and mental illness, and is somehow so comforting, especially to those who have experienced similar thoughts.

28. KINO NO TABI: THE BEAUTIFUL WORLD

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In this dark coming of age anime we see Kino, a 15-year-old traveler, forms a bond with Hermes, a talking motorcycle. Together, they wander the lands and venture through various countries and places, despite having no clear idea of what to expect. After all, life is a journey filled with the unknown. Throughout their journeys, they encounter different kinds of customs, from the morally gray to tragic and fascinating. They also meet many people: some who live to work, some who live to make others happy, and some who live to chase their dreams. Thus, in every country they visit, there is always something to learn from the way people carry out their lives. It is not up to Kino or Hermes to decide whether these asserted values are wrong or right, as they merely assume the roles of observers within this small world. They do not attempt to change or influence the places they visit, despite how absurd these values would appear. That's because in one way or another, they believe things are fine as they are, and that "the world is not beautiful; therefore, it is." 

27. Death Note

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One of the most popular dark anime shows to watch, it revolves around the idea of holding power over life and death. A shinigami, as a god of death, can kill any person - provided they see their victim's face and write their victim's name in a notebook called a Death Note. One day, Ryuk, bored by the shinigami lifestyle and interested in seeing how a human would use a Death Note, drops one into the human realm. High school student and prodigy Light Yagami stumbles upon the Death Note and - since he deplores the state of the world - tests the deadly notebook by writing a criminal's name in it. When the criminal dies immediately following his experiment with the Death Note, Light is greatly surprised and quickly recognizes how devastating the power that has fallen into his hands could be. With this divine capability, Light decides to extinguish all criminals in order to build a new world where crime does not exist and people worship him as a god. Police, however, quickly discover that a serial killer is targeting criminals and, consequently, try to apprehend the culprit. To do this, the Japanese investigators count on the assistance of the best detective in the world: a young and eccentric man known only by the name of L. 

26. Shiki

Best dark creepy anime characters
Many anime fans will probably quote Shiki as the one of the scariest anime series they've ever seen. It's definitely one to watch if you love scary dark anime shows! It goes beyond the usual dark vampire anime series and is set during a fiercely hot summer in Sotoba, a peaceful and quiet village with a population of 1300 people, where a series of bizarre deaths begin to occur. This marks the beginning of what appears to be a ferocious epidemic that turns the hot summer into a season of blood and terror. A young doctor named Toshio Ozaki begins to doubt the nature of the disease and comes to understand that to discover the truth, he must abandon his humanity. Meanwhile, Natsuno Yuuki, an antisocial youth from the city, is haunted by the sudden death of Megumi and must realize the pain of friendship in the face of his own tragedy. Toshio and Natsuno form an unlikely pair as they work together to save Sotoba before it transforms into a ghost town of vampires.

25. Vampire Hunter D

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In this dark vampire anime, a young girl requests the help of a vampire hunter to kill the vampire who has bitten her, and thus prevent her from becoming a vampire herself. When Doris Lang is chosen as the next bride for the vampire Count Magnus Lee, she will hire a mysterious vampire hunter known only as D in an attempt to escape her ill-gotten fate. Set around 10,000 years in the future, the world has become a very different place; monsters roam the land freely, and people, although equipped with high-tech weapons and cybernetic horses, live a humble life reminiscent of millennia past, yet plagued by monster attacks...

24. Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni

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After moving into the quiet town of Hinamizawa, Maebara Keiichi spends his days blissfully in school often playing games with his local friends. However, appearances can be deceiving. One fateful day, Keiichi stumbles upon news of a murder that had occurred in Hinamizawa. From this point on, horrific events unfold in front of Keiichi, as he soon learns his close friends may not be all that they seem. Based on the amateur mystery game by 7th Expansion, the story is told in a series of different scenarios. 

23. Hellsing Ultimate

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In this intense and dark anime, There exist creatures of darkness and evil that plague the night, devouring any human unfortunate enough to be caught in their grasp. On the other side is Hellsing, an organization dedicated to destroying these supernatural forces that threaten the very existence of humanity. At its head is Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing, who commands a powerful military and spends her life fighting the undead. Integra's vast army, however, pales in comparison with her ultimate weapon: the vampire Alucard, who works against his own kind as an exterminator for Hellsing. With his new vampire servant, Seras Victoria, at his side, Alucard must battle not only monsters, but all those who stand to oppose Hellsing, be they in the guise of good or evil. In a battle for mankind's survival, Hellsing Ultimate proves that appearances are not all they may seem, and sometimes the greatest weapon can come in the form of one's worst nightmare.

22. Mirai Nikki

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Also known as The Future Diary, this psychological thriller, based on the manga written and illustrated by Sakae Esuno, is about Yuki, a loner who's not very good with people. He prefers to write a diary on his cell phone and talk to his imaginary friend, Deus Ex Machina - The God of Time and Space. However, Yuki soon learns that Deus is more than a figment of his imagination when he makes Yuki participate in a battle royale with eleven others. The contestants are given special diaries that can predict the future, each diary possessing unique features that give it both advantages and disadvantages. Within the next 90 days, the contestants must try to survive until there is only one left standing. The winner will become the new God of Time and Space.

21. Zankyou no Terror (Terror in Resonance)

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An incredibly in depth and fascinating anime that explores the story of two badass boys who attack a nuclear facility and soon become known as terrorists throughout the whole of Japan - but the only clue to their identity is a bizarre internet video! Going by the names Nine and Twelve, these characters challenge the government and police forces with all of the havoc they wreak upon the city. They should not exist, yet they stand strong in a world of deception and secrets while they make the city fall around them. Such a must watch anime and nothing short of totally badass!

20. Black Bullet

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In the year 2021, a parasitic virus known as "Gastrea" infects humans and turns them into monsters. What is left of mankind now lives within the Monolith walls, walls that are made of Varanium, the only material that can hurt Gastrea. To counter the threat that the Gastrea pose, "Cursed Children"—female children whose bodies contain trace amounts of the virus which grant them superhuman abilities—officially called Initiators by the Tendo Civil Security, are given partners called Promoters, people who work to guide and protect the young Initiators. These teams of two are sent out on missions to fight the monsters created by the Gastrea virus and keep them at bay. Black Bullet revolves around the team of Enju Aihara, an Initiator, and Satomi Rentaro, a Promoter, as they go on missions to fight the growing threat of Gastrea in their hometown of Tokyo.

19. Hell Girl

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Have you heard of Hell Correspondence? Those with a powerful grudge may only access this mysterious website at midnight, allowing them to enter anyone's name and have that person be ferried straight to hell. Ai Enma, the Hell Girl, will not judge whether or not the chosen target deserves punishment; she will merely exact revenge on them for you. Not much is known about this young girl other than that she swiftly carries out her tasks with the help of three straw dolls. There is just one catch, however - as payment for carrying out such a request, the user must condemn themselves to an afterlife in hell. While worthy for its creepiness alone, Hell Girl succeeds in the way it presents its moral choices.

18. Taboo Tattoo

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Seigi, a martial arts trained middle schooler, often feels driven to protect the weaker people around him. One day, he defends a homeless man against some punks, and the man gives him a strange tattoo on his palm in return. The tattoo is a secret weapon produced in the arms race between America and the Serinistan Kingdom. Seigi finds himself in over his head when a powerful girl, using the same secret weapon, violently pursues him in order to retrieve it. His skill at martial arts may not be enough to keep him alive, but will he be able to learn how to trigger the power of his tattoo in time?

17. Tokyo Ghoul

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This fresh addition to the horror genre presents a dark fantasy work that is well worth a watch! There are humans and 'ghoul' beings living amongst each other in the city. What makes the ghouls frightening isn't their hunger for human flesh, but their ability to blend in amongst humans, undetected. This series stars college student Ken Kaneki, who ends up on date that goes badly wrong - when he wakes up he finds he has been transformed in to part ghoul. He must now grapple with a secret life of being half human, half ghoul and everything that entails!

16. Another

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More of a gory horror ghost anime, In 1972, a popular student in Yomiyama North Middle School's class 3-3 named Misaki passed away during the school year. Since then, the town of Yomiyama has been shrouded by a fearful atmosphere, from the dark secrets hidden deep within. Twenty-six years later, 15-year-old Kouichi Sakakibara transfers into class 3-3 of Yomiyama North and soon after discovers that a strange, gloomy mood seems to hang over all the students. He also finds himself drawn to the mysterious, eyepatch-wearing student Mei Misaki; however, the rest of the class and the teachers seem to treat her like she doesn't exist. Paying no heed to warnings from everyone including Mei herself, Kouichi begins to get closer not only to her, but also to the truth behind the gruesome phenomenon plaguing class 3-3 of Yomiyama North. Another follows Kouichi, Mei, and their classmates as they are pulled into the enigma surrounding a series of inevitable, tragic events - but unraveling the horror of Yomiyama may just cost them the ultimate price. Another presents an occasionally creepy ghost story with a serious penchant for gory bloodbaths.

15. Ghost In The Shell

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In the year 2029, the world is made borderless by the net; augmented humans live in virtual environments, watched over by law enforcement that is able to download themselves into super-powered, crime busting mecha. The ultimate secret agent of the future is not human, has no physical body and can freely travel the information highways of the world, hacking and manipulating whatever and whenever required.

14. Overlord

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A prime dark fantasy work, it begins with the shutdown of the virtual reality game Yggdrasil. In the last hour of closing, a player called Momonga decides to stay until the end - however, instead of shutting down, Momonga becomes his avatar and the NPC's also come to life. A new world envelopes them and the quest begins, to get through the game until the end. This is such a unique fantasy series and one that gamers will adore!

13. Le Chevalier D'eon

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This dark gothic anime has a historical setting and takes place in France during the reign of Louis XV. In 18th century Paris, a coffin is found floating down the Seine River. It carries the corpse of noblewoman Lia de Beaumont: a spy of King Louis XV, and whose younger brother Charles d'Eon has just been knighted. When several disappearances occur throughout Paris, the young knight believes that they are somehow connected to his sister's death. Hoping to find her killers, d'Eon joins the secret police to investigate the incidents.

12. Elfen Lied

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Lucy is a special breed of human referred to as "Diclonius," born with a short pair of horns and invisible telekinetic hands that lands her as a victim of inhumane scientific experimentation by the government. However, once circumstances present her an opportunity to escape, Lucy, corrupted by the confinement and torture, unleashes a torrent of bloodshed as she escapes her captors. During her breakout, she receives a crippling head injury that leaves her with a split personality: someone with the mentality of a harmless child possessing limited speech capacity. In this state of instability, she stumbles upon two college students, Kouta and his cousin Yuka, who unknowingly take an injured fugitive into their care, unaware of her murderous tendencies. This act of kindness will change their lives, as they soon find themselves dragged into the shadowy world of government secrecy and conspiracy.

11. Ghost Hunt

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While at school, Taniyama Mai and her friends like to exchange ghost stories. Apparently, there is an abandoned school building on their campus that is the center of many ghost stories. During the story, they are interrupted by a mysterious male figure. The person turns out to be Shibuya Kazuya, a 17-year-old who is president of the Shibuya Psychic Research Company. He was called by the principal to investigate the stories surrounding the abandoned school building. The next day, on the way to school, Mai passes the school building in question. While examining a strange camera she spotted inside, she gets surprised by Kazuya's assistant. Unknowingly interfering with the investigation, Mai breaks the camera and Kazuya's assistant gets injured. Kazuya forcefully hires Mai in order to pay for the camera and replace his injured assistant. From that point on, Mai begins to learn about the paranormal world and the profession of ghost hunting.

10. God Eater

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An anime adaptation of the God Eater video game Set in Japan in the year 2071 where the world has been mostly destroyed by mysterious monsters known as the Aragami. When these monsters drive humanity to the brink of extinction, the organization Fenrir deploys teams armed with special weapons called God Arcs to destroy the creatures and take back the planet. Those who specialize in exterminating Aragami are known as God Eaters. An incredible dark anime series to watch!

9. Ergo Proxy

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A dark futuristic anime set in the distant future, it follows the last survivors of humanity through the use of cloning and robotic servants called Autoraves. Life in the cities is strictly controlled by management dedicated to preserving their ‘utopian’ way of life. But something is causing the Autoraves to become independent and is driving them to seek to escape the city. Re-l Mayer, a female inspector from the Citizen Information Board, learns that the awakening of the Autoraves is caused by an encounter with something called a Proxy. In seeking to learn more, Re-l stumbles into a secret that management is desperately trying to hide and will go to any length to keep suppressed.

8. Fate Zero

Best dark creepy anime characters
An incredibly popular anime, compared to Fate Stay Night, Fate Zero is known to be darker and more disturbing in almost every way. It is set approximately ten years before the events of Fate/stay night and chronicles the events of the Fourth Holy Grail War. An absolute masterpiece from start to finish, this is a must see for all avid anime watchers, a classic fantasy series with alternative animes in alternate universes and incredibly dark themes. After three unsettled battles for the mystical Holy Grail, an artifact that grants a miracle to those who hold it, a fourth war begins.

7. Shinsekai Yori (From the New World)

Best dark creepy anime characters
About one thousand years into the future, civilization has been retrograded and humans are living dispersed within small communities. People in this era have a psychic power called “Juryoku” which materializes things they imagine. In the absence of advanced scientific technology, people are using this power as a major source of energy. One day, a girl called Saki, along with her friends, finds a small archive robot outside the town. It records the ancient history of humans. It tells them that Juryoku was found in the 21st century and the discovery caused a world war between psychics and non-psychics. The psychics won this war and thus their reign of terror began. When the adults in town figure out that the children discovered this forbidden knowledge, they seal their Juryoku and exile them. Saki and the others end up in a forest where they meet a huge hairless bipedal mouse known as a “Bakenezumi” and get involved in a violent war the creatures are currently engaged in.

6. Jormungand

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Here we follow Koko, Jonah, and the rest of crew as they travel the world selling weapons under the international shipping company HCLI. Kicking off the list, this addictive anime series is as badass as it sounds, but there is more beneath the surface. Koko Hekmatyar is an international arms dealer who recruits reluctant and conflict raised Jonah to be one of her bodyguards, along with her squad of ex special ops soldiers. Averse to the idea of more conflict and violence, he finds himself tasked with protecting Koko and has no escape from the scary world in which he has entered, one full of assassins and danger everywhere, plus the CIA is always one step behind them! The plot line and story of this anime leads it to be put in the genres of action and adventure, but there are many themes running through. Koko is such a cool and multifaceted character! As a guns merchant she encounters many chaotic situations where the line between right or wrong is easily crossed, which ensues a lot of different sides to her personality being revealed and enables us to see her develop as a character also.

5. Psycho Pass

Best dark creepy anime characters
This dark anime series takes place in a dystopian 22nd-century Japan where it is possible to instantaneously measure and quantify a person's propensity towards criminality using a cymatic scanner. The information is recorded and analyzed by the Sibyl System, a hive-mind that controls law enforcement in Japan. Sibyl's oracular judgment determines - via various methods - one's numerical crime coefficient, one's colour-coded hue over time and one's societal profile that results in an indexed Psycho-Pass. This number determines your value in society, as well as your right to live in freedom, under observation, in custody or... not live at all.

4. Samurai Champloo

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Mugen is a ferocious, animalistic warrior with a fighting style inspired by break-dancing. Jin is a ronin samurai who wanders the countryside alone. They may not be friends, but their paths continually cross. And when ditzy waitress Fuu gets them out of hot water with the local magistrate, they agree to join her search for the samurai who smells like sunflowers.

3. Berserk

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Guts, a man who calls himself “The Black Swordsman” looks upon his days serving as a member of a group of mercenaries, the Band of the Hawk, nicknamed “the Grim Reaper of the Battlefield.” Led by an ambitious, ruthless, and intelligent man named Griffith, together they battle their way into the royal court, and are forced into a fate that may change their entire lives.

2. Kiseijuu: Sei No Kakuritsu (Parasyte)

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An incredibly gripping and suspenseful dark anime series, following 17-year-old Izumi Shinichi who lives with his mother and father in a quiet neighborhood in Tokyo. One night, worm-like aliens called Parasytes invade Earth, taking over the brains of human hosts by entering through their ears or noses. One Parasytes attempts to crawl into Shinichi’s ear while he sleeps, but fails since he is wearing headphones, and enters his body by burrowing into his arm instead, taking over his right hand and is named Migi. Because Shinichi was able to prevent Migi from travelling further up into his brain, both beings retain their separate intellect and personality. As the duo encounter other Parasytes, they capitalize on their strange situation and gradually form a strong bond, working together to survive. This gives them an edge in battling other Parasytes who frequently attack the pair upon realization that Shinichi’s human brain is still intact. Shinichi feels compelled to fight other Parasytes, who devour humans as food, while enlisting Migi’s help.

1. No. 6

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Sion is a bright teenager living a comfortable and promising life inside No. 6, one of this six remaining city-states created by The Babylon Treaty after the last great war devastated the world. On the rainy evening of his twelfth birthday, he meets a savvy adolescent who calls himself "Nezumi" (Rat) and is desperately trying to runaway from the authorities. For helping a fugitive of the state, Sion is stripped of all his privileges. Four years later, they meet once again. For better or for worse, Sion is about to unravel the secrets guarded deep inside No. 6.

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