Anime and manga have been rising in popularity for years now. With recent hits like Jujutsu Kaisen and Demon Slayer taking the industry by storm, more and more people are turning to anime and becoming fans of the genre. Because it covers a whole range of genres like romance, action, mystery, and adventure, among others, anime attracts fans from all walks of life.
However, not all anime is fun and games. Some anime like Hajime Isayama's Attack On Titan are some of the darkest anime of the current generation. With unique tropes and unpredictable characters, these anime take chilling turns when audiences are least expecting and turn dark faster than one can say, "Oh."
9 Everything Goes South In The First Episode (Attack On Titan)
Attack On Titan starts with Eren, who lived in Shiganshina with his parents and Mikasa. When the Titans attacked the walled city, chaos ensued. In the very first episode of the series, Eren's mother is eaten by a Titan, making audiences take a minute to fathom what had just occurred.
As Attack On Titan progressed, more serious themes like genocide, racism, war crimes, and isolation, among others, were explored in incredible detail. The series got darker as it moved forward, especially due to Eren's character and personality.
8 An Innocent Wish Leads To A World Of Pain (Fullmetal Alchemist)
Brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric tried to bring back their dead mother at the beginning of Fullmetal Alchemist. Since they didn't entirely understand the laws of alchemy at that time, they ended up losing a lot.
Ed and Al go on a journey to find the answer to their questions and get their whole selves back. However, they find themselves in a corrupt world where the Homunculi had wreaked havoc. They also come across the victims of the war on both sides, coming face-to-face with the reality of the world.
7 Aliens Invade Shinichi's Body (Parasyte)
Parasyte is an anime that has enjoyed great acclaim. Parasitic aliens invade the earth and take over humans by entering and burrowing in their brains. However, the alien trying to invade the brain of the main protagonist, Shinichi, failed to successfully complete his mission because Shinichi woke up.
The parasite, Migi, burrows in Shinichi's right arm instead and thus begins the constant conflict between the two to control the body. With themes of invasion, war, personal growth, and more, Parasyte is one of the most popular dark anime out there.
6 Being An Assassin Brings In Money (Akame Ga Kill!)
Akame Ga Kill! follows Tatsumi, a young man traveling to the Capital to earn some money for his poverty-stricken village. Akame Ga Kill! deals with intense themes of corruption, desperation, poverty, and helplessness. Saved from inconceivable torture by an assassin group, Night Raid, Tatsumi joins them to lay waste to the corrupt Empire.
As Akame Ga Kill! progresses, situations, as well as emotions, become too intense to handle. Tatsumi unearths the many secrets kept from the public regarding the Empire's administration and strives to expose them with the help of Night Raid.
5 A High School Student Becomes God (Death Note)
Death Note is one of the most popular anime series of the 2000s. Following Light Yagami, a genius high schooler who was bored with his monotonous life, and Ryuk, a bored Shinigami, this anime deals with intense concepts of morality, ethics, murder, and a vicious god complex that consumes Light.
What unsuspecting viewers assumed to be a high school anime turned out to be one of the darkest thriller anime of the 2000s. Light's descent into madness and eventual death leave a huge impact on viewers, irrespective of how many times they've already watched it.
4 Dating Leads To Life As A Monster (Tokyo Ghoul)
Kaneki Ken from Tokyo Ghoul is arguably one of the most popular characters in the dark anime genre. His first date as a college student leads to him turning into a ghoul against his wishes. While Kaneki adjusts to life as a half-ghoul, he realizes how much humans despise and fear ghouls.
Dealing with major themes of acceptance and discrimination, Tokyo Ghoul grows darker and darker as it progresses. Kaneki finds himself fighting for his very existence despite being half-human. A series not recommended for children, Tokyo Ghoul definitely chills viewers to the bone.
3 Existential Dread Leads To Self-Reflection (Fate/Zero)
Fate/Zero deals with some very mature themes of conflicting ideologies, characters with strong and staunch ideals, and a battle royale story that attracts viewers of all types. Along with this, Fate/Zero displays some of the most amazing animation for an anime of its time and generation.
In the context of the Holy Grail War, Fate/Zero perfectly depicts the mental state of people during an ongoing war, as well as the blood and guts that are spilled in order to win. This anime has the perfect amount of gore and character development.
2 The Journey To The Afterlife Isn't As Easy As It Sounds (Death Parade)
An anime that deals with death, darkness, and the afterlife, Death Parade is one of the darkest anime out there. People who have died are sent to a bar and made to compete with others to decide who goes to heaven and who goes to hell. The concept of Death Parade seems simple on the surface.
However, people are made to play high-stakes games against people they care for deeply. They must choose between companionship and self-preservation. The bartender of the bar, who is in charge of everything, also has his own sob story; he's waiting to pass through the limbo that is the bar.
1 An Orphanage Isn't Just That (The Promised Neverland)
Just like Attack On Titan, The Promised Neverland has a chilling first episode. What initially seems like an orphanage that cares for children and trains them to be good members of society turns out to be a supply unit for highly intelligent commodities, sold off to the highest bidder.
Unsuspecting viewers believe that The Promised Neverland deals with the lives of orphans who grow up together in a loving environment, only to find that they were mistaken and that the whole series takes a much darker turn than they could have ever imagined.