39+ Best Dark Anime Shows that Will Leave You Scarred

guts with sword and scary girl
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Are you looking for some insanely dark anime shows?

Anime that will leave you saying, “WTF DID I JUST WATCH?” Show that will leave you psychologically scarred?

Well in this post, that’s exactly what we’ll be going over.

These shows will leave you in shock and horror. And if you haven’t watched any truly dark anime before…

prepare yourself.

You’ll be INSANELY surprised at the things you see. Because I know I was.

In fact, some of these anime I could not finish, simply because they were too dark for me.

So you’ve been WARNED!

Don’t watch these…

1. Berserk 1997

berserk 1997

Berserk was the first truly dark anime I watched, which wasn’t good for me because it’s by far one of the darkest shows I’ve seen in my life.

You follow a man named Guts, he’s commonly referred to as the Black Swordsman. His name and title are truly fitting…

…Whenever you see Guts, he’s about to spill someone’s “guts”. And he carries a giant black sword that only he can truly wield.

Guts was born from a dead body that was hung up in a tree. 

He was adopted, abused, and later joined a mercenary gang that fought wars for other countries.

The leader of that gang is Griffith. Even though Griffith is the leader of this crazy mercenary gang, he truly stands out. 

As if he was some kind of King that ruled over a vast land.

They go around fighting some insane battles. 

No, it’s not crazy over the top battle like you see in Dragon Ball Z or One Punch Man. They’re fairly grounded and it’s what makes it brutal.

You can truly see Guts suffering and see him suffering. 

He’s one of the strongest characters in the show but you still feel sorry for him.

This show takes place in a fantasy medieval Europe. It’s cold, dark, and gritty. 

It’s a story of the greatest betrayal in anime history in opinion and I’ve watched LOTS of anime.

If you haven’t watched this show, you’ve never truly witnessed a dark anime.

I would recommend starting this show with the classic Berserk 1997 version.

I think the 90s style really increased the darkness of anime. 

And from there you can watch the 2016 and 2017 shows which carry on the story. 

They’re nowhere near as good but still enjoyable. Guts starts to fight with some seriously strong foes that push him beyond his breaking point. 

You’ll be able to see how touch he really is. Overall, a must-watch series.

2. Dororo

Dororo was an anime I couldn’t finish because it was too dark. I thought it was a bit much and decided not to watch it.

It takes place in a war torn Japan in the time of the Samurai. 

And it truly shows the war torn nature. The only work is for men to become soldiers and women to sell themselves.

A Samurai Lord made a deal with demons to save his town from a famine. 

But of course, you can’t make a deal with a demon without being scarred for life. The Samurai Lord exchanges his newborn son with the demons. 

The son ends up surviving but doesn’t really have a body. He ends up being adopted by a medical man who gives his prosthetic limbs instead. 

But these limbs have swords inside of them so he’s basically a killing machine. 

A killing machine that doesn’t have any human emotions and hunts down demons.

It’s similar to Berserk in the way that people in this world very rarely experience any joy whatsoever.

Watch this if you dare.

3. Akame Ga Kill

akame crying

What makes this anime so dark that I should give it a go?

You know the feeling of finishing a good show? The feeling where you feel kinda empty and even depressed?

Well this show elevates that feeling to a whole new level. I won’t tell you why because I don’t want to spoil it for you.

You follow a young boy named Tatsumi. He’s the greatest swordsman in his village and his village is on the brink of starvation.

So Tatsumi and 2 of his friends decide to head to the capital to make some money for their village.

Long story short, the capital is not what he expected. He was warned but was too naive to take their warnings seriously.

The Kingdom is ruled by a corrupt Minister. He rules because the King is only a child that only stays in his palace. 

The child King has no idea what’s going on in his Kingdom but he’s assured that everything is OK by the minister.

The greatest threat to the Kingdom is a group of Assassins called Knightraid. 

They go around murdering people in the night.

Tatsumi ends up running into the group of assassins and is forced to join them.

Yup, Tatsumi went from an innocent village boy to a deadly assassin.

The world of Akame Ga Kill is brutal. Nothing is fair and loved ones are being killed, left, right, and center.

What I really love about this show is how every character is well built. They grow on you. 

And when you see things happen to them, it’s difficult. There are so many “WTF” moments.

4. Higurashi: When They Cry

A series of mysterious deaths have been going on. One person is brutally murdered and one person has disappeared without leaving a single clue. 

The murders and disappearances have been blamed on a divine act by god.

A lot of questions are being raised and the plot is fantastic. It makes for a great mystery anime that has some brutal stuff going down.

The plot is fantastic and even unconventional. It’s one of those shows that will keep you hooked till the brutal end.

5. Another

You follow a boy named Koichi Sakakibara. Koichi has recently transferred to a new school, when suddenly…

…his classmates are being met with some of the most brutal deaths. 

These deaths are completely senseless as they are random.

It’s a mystery series that is filled with gore. 

So if you love that type of crazy blood spurting. Give this series a watch. [1]

6. School Days

This show looks innocent on the outside, but it’s seriously messed up. 

Probably the most messed up series in the romance genre.

It may seem like a stupid show if you’ve never experienced love. 

However, for those who have, it’ll leave you seriously disturbed.

It seems like a hippy-dippy upbeat anime at first but becomes disgustingly dark and twisted.

7. Elfen Lied

Elfen Lied

This show focuses on Diclonius, a newly mutated species. 

They look like humans but you can only tell the difference because they have two horns on their heads.

You follow a Diclonius named Lucy that was rejected by humans and now wants revenge. 

She was held in a facility for experiments but has managed to escape.

The organization is trying to capture her which makes for brutal and cruel fights. 

It’s filled with so many violent scenes that a normal human could not think of. [2]

8. Hell Girl

Hell Girl

This anime really shows the true and brutal side of humans in reality. What they’re capable of doing and would do.

You follow Hell Girl, people just think Hell Girl is an urban legend. But she’s very real.

If you hold a grudge and want revenge, there’s a simple website you can go on to request it. 

It’s accessible only at midnight and people with strong grudges only can see it.

It’s a really unique idea that will keep you entertained. [3]

9. Psycho-Pass

Psycho Pass

The Japanese government relies on the Sibil system. A system that can figure out what your Psycho-Pass is. 

A Psycho-Pass determines whether you’re likely or not to commit a crime. It determines if you can fit into society. 

A gun is pointed at you to determine your Psycho-Pass. If you can fit back into society, the gun will just paralyze you. 

But if you’re not a fit, you’ll be blown to pieces. It’s an incredibly cold and corrupt way to determine someone’s worth. 

There are people who can go undetected by the system. 

So they can commit a brutal murder in front of a crowd and not be arrested for it. 

Talk about corruption! You follow a young woman named Akane Tsunemori. She’s a new inspector that has people working for her. 

However, these people were previously inspectors as well. 

They had just seen so much dark stuff that it messed up their Psycho-Pass score and end-up as slaves. Talk about cruelty.

10. Castlevania

A classic vampire hunting anime that you can stream on Netflix.

Dracula, the strongest creature alive, wants to kill all of the humans in the world. How will he do this? 

He used night creatures. Creatures that are transported from Hell to the Earth. 

These night creatures are brutal and will tear up anyone in sight.

I was genuinely shocked at how dark this show was. 

I could have never imagined in my wildest dreams how certain characters would act.

Especially the son of Dracula. It will completely take you off guard.

11. Death Note

You’ve probably seen this show before but I’m going to include it here anyway. 

After all, a list of dark anime would not be complete without this show.

You follow a high school student named Light Yagami. 

He finds a Death Note randomly on the ground.

Little does he know that Death Note was dropped accidentally by a Shinigami. A God of death.

Light realizes that if he writes someone’s name in the Death Note, they will die. 

After realizing this, he decides that he will become the God of this new world. 

And he will kill anyone and I mean absolutely ANYONE if they try to get in his way.

The only thing that stands between him and being a God is a detective named L. 

Making for an incredible battle of the minds.

One of the best shows you’ll ever watch.

12. Shiki


A plague is killing off the village or at least that’s what they think it is. 

When in fact, vampires are killing off the village. But this show takes a twist to the whole vampire genre. 

These vampires aren’t much stronger than a regular human. Making them incredibly vulnerable, secrecy is key.

I won’t spoil anything for you. Just know that it’s a show that has a slow start, so give it a few episodes.

Shiki is a really sad anime.

There’s no one that’s coming to your rescue here.

13. Death Parade

Ever wonder what will happen when you die? 

Well this show tries to answer that question. When someone dies, they go to a bar, yup, a bar. 

And the bartender will determine whether that person goes to Heaven or Hell. 

Recently, this black haired woman has really stumped the bartender, he doesn’t know where to send her.

People must participate in death games and their soul is on the line. 

These tests are brutal and you often find yourself saying, “What would I do in this situation?” [4]

14. Tokyo Ghoul

kaneki being tortured

You follow a high schooler named Kaneki. He lives in a world where Ghouls are brutally murdering and eating humans.

Kaneki finds himself in hospital one day, trying to eat some food only to throw it back up because of its foul taste.

Why is this happening? It’s because he’s a Ghoul. 

The only way a Ghoul can live is to consume human flesh but Kaneki refuses. 

His body will take over when he starves and will kill anyone in sight.

It’s interesting seeing what he does to survive…

Unfortunately, Kaneki can’t control his powers and can’t help but hurt those close to him. 

It truly plucks at your heartstrings seeing Kaneki trying to protects his friends only to be the one to hurt them

There are 4 seasons and each one gets darker.

15. Gantz

Kei Kurono and Masaru Kato have both died in a train accident. 

They are then transported to a Japan where people can’t see them or the aliens that they’re now having to fight.

As they kill aliens, they receive points. 100 points are needed in order to be revived and go back to living in the normal world.

It’s dark and brutal. No mercy will be shown.

16. Future Diary

You follow a high schooler named Yukitero. 

He’s an introvert that’s forced to play in a game where you have to murder other plays to become a God. 

Yup, talk about crap hitting the fan.

He’s accompanied by a girl named Yuno. She is crazy… and I mean CRAZY for Yukitero.

It’s a brutal bloodbath and the twists in this show are insane.

People are trying to become the God of the world because they want to go back and change their disgustingly dark path. 

It’ll make you sick to your stomach, without a doubt.

17. Monster

Kenzou, a brain surgeon, saves the life of a young boy at the Hospital instead of the Mayor.

He then lost his position and his comfortable life went into the toilet. 

Not long after, the people who replaced him are murdered. 

Kenzou is now the main suspect of the murders and the boy he saved was not what he appeared to be.

Kenzou is now trying to get to the bottom of these murders and clear his name.

18. Taboo Tattoo

Seigi saves a homeless man for some thugs and ends up receiving a gift, a tattoo. 

Seigi is then pulled into the middle of a battle between the US army and the Kingdom of Selinistan. 

Both sides are trying to collect Power Crests. A special weaponised artifact that can shift the fate of the world.

19. God Eater

Humanity is on the brink of distinction because of a monster called Aragami. 

The remaining humans have gone into hiding and have developed a God arc. 

A type of weapon to kill the Aragami. God Eaters, a type of soldier that has these weapons infused with them. 

It has a bunch of bloody battles and epic moments.

20. Jormungand

Koko is a young arms dealer that sells weapons to different countries. It’s a cold show that really shows you the reality of war. 

There are child soldiers that have to fight and clear mines. It’s a brutal series.

21. Full Metal Panic

A surprisingly dark series. Sousuke Sagara is tasked with protecting Kaname Chidori, a spirited high schooler. 

Sosuke doesn’t tell her he’s protecting her but she eventually finds out. 

Also, Sosuke doesn’t even know why she’s being targeted by organizations. It’s a mecha anime with plenty of action and some romance.

22. The Promised Neverland

The Promised Neverland

This show takes place in an orphanage, the children are aged from newborn to 12 years old. 

The children are told never to go by the gate by their caretaker, known as “Mom” to never go next to the gate because it’s dangerous. 

And of course, there are those few children who don’t listen and go pass the gate. 

Only to realise that the world is nothing like they’ve been told. 

The plot revolves around the children trying to escape without alerting the Mom. 

It’s a brutal world out there but they want to go out there instead of waiting to be “adopted” which isn’t what really happens to the orphans. 

It’s a great show that will leave you on the edge of your seat.

23. Claymore


Have you watched a popular anime called Bleach? 

I’m guessing you have seen it or at least heard of it. 

Claymore is kinda like Bleach except if it was a Horror show. 

You follow a Clare, she’s a Claymore which is something that’s half human and half Yoma. 

Yoma are monsters that terrorise humans and so the humans call in Claymores to get rid of them. 

It’s a great adventure show that has a lot of horror. 

When you finish the show, I would highly recommend the manga since that gets much darker.

24. Gunslinger Girl

Gunslinger Girl

This… is just too damn sad.

There’s a Social Welfare Agency, known as the “Agency” that’s presented as a charitable organization sponsored by the Italian government. 

When in reality, they’re a so-called anti-terrorism organization.

Imagine taking advantage of teenage girls that are on their deathbeds and supposedly “saving” their lives. 

With the intentions inserting cybernetic implants in them and turning them into hitmen.

They’re brainwashed and have no choice but to obey orders no matter what.

25. Parasyte

Aliens known as Parasytes have suddenly started to rain from the sky, taking over people’s brains. 

But this one Parasyte fails and only manages to take over a hand. That hand belongs to the 17 year old Shinichi. 

Both of them have their own distinct personality and have come to an agreement. 

They’ll do whatever it takes to survive since they’re being attacked by other Parasytes. 

To be honest, the Parasytes are really disgusting looking, so if you’re a little girl, you should probably skip this show.

26. Drifters


Shimazu was fighting a bloody battle, only to be teleported to some other Earth. 

This Earth brings in Drifters (people from another Earth at a different time period) and places them in one particular Earth. 

An Earth where the Black King is trying to get rid of all the humans on the planet. 

The Drifters are tasked with taking down the Black King as well as fighting the Human countries. 

As time goes on, you kinda sympathise with the Black King. Humans are doing unspeakable acts in this world to Demi humans such as elves. 

Showing some of the most shocking scenes you’ll ever see. 

Famous people from history appear in this film such as ancient Samurai and Roman Emperors.

27. Deadman Wonderland

DeadMan Wonderland

Ganta is framed for the brutal murder of his classmates by a man dressed in red. 

The man in red inserts a crystal inside Ganta which later gives him special powers. Gant is sent to Deadman Wonderland. 

A prison where the inmates have to compete in brutal death games to survive.

The inmates wear a collar that injects a lethal poison into them constantly. 

And when you survive the brutal games, you get the antidote and the chance to live another day. 

It’s a brutal show based on survival. Not to mention one of the bloodiest series of all time. 

Since Ganta’s power is being able to control his own blood as a weapon. Jeez!

28. Attack on Titan

Attack on Titan annie crying

If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t seen Attack on Titan, let me explain…

Humans have been forced to live within giant walls because there are titans outside of the walls. 

Titans are giant, human-looking creatures that only eat humans. One day the wall is broken and a bunch of Titans invade. 

You follow a young boy named Eren, he watched a Titan eat his mothers like a Snickers bar.

There are so many WTF moments and plot twists in this show. 

So many! Every season you’ll be in for lots and lots of shocks.

It’s a crazy roller coaster ride and I would highly recommend it.

29. Made in Abyss

Made in Abyss

A light-hearted and children’s show is what Made in Abyss looks like at first glance…

..however, you should never judge a book by its cover.

You follow an orphaned girl named Riko, she’s trying to find her mother but doesn’t know where she is. 

When one day, she receives a letter telling her that her mother is at the bottom of the abyss.

The abyss is a cursed place at the bottom of the world which is cursed. 

She makes her way down there and witnesses a lot of messed up stuff.

If you’re looking to see some seriously messed up stuff, give this show a shot.

30. Vinland Saga

Anime is known for the, “please save me moments” and that person does get saved. 

Well, Vinland Saga completely abandons that idea. When someone’s in danger, no one is going to swoop in and save them. 

It’s by far one of the coldest and most brutal shows you’ll ever watch. 

Not because there are lots of blood spilling type moments, but how realistic it is. 

This show really shows how hard life was back in the Viking days. Winters were hard and long. 

If you got lost, you were probably going to be lost for the rest of your life and never find your family. 

It’s one of the best anime out there right now.

31. AJIN: Demi-Human

Kei Nagai discovers he’s an Ajin. 

Ajin are creatures that possess extremely high regenerative healing abilities that trigger when fatally wounded.

Even if they’re just complete mush, they can still regenerate back to their original form. 

The government captures and experiments on them.

Kei agrees to work with the government to help capture other Ajin so they won’t experiment on him.

32. Hellsing Ultimate

Hellsing Ultimate is one of the bloodies, if not THE bloodiest anime of all time. 

It takes place back in the time of the British Empire. And any who fight back against Britain are murdered even if England is the oppressor. 

They’re fighting a world war and Alucard, the ultimate vampire is in the middle of it. 

There are so many bloody battles and you get to experience Alucard’s dark past.

33. Ghost Hunt

The high school is haunted and you follow Mai Taniyama on her ghost hunting journey. 

Ghost Hunt explores the paranormal powers of the characters, Mai’s psychic abilities in particular. 

If you like great ghost stories, this is the show for you.

34. NO. 6

Taking place in a futuristic city, you follow Shion, a privileged boy raised in an elite environment. 

Shinon gives shelter to a boy who changes his life forever. 

I won’t go any further than that because I don’t want to spoil anything for you. Just know that this is a really dark show.

35. Red Garden

Kate, Rachel, Rose, and Claire are all students at a private school. 

Waking up one morning and they feel really strange because they can’t recall anything. 

They are approached by a woman called Lula who tells the girls they’re dead. 

And they have to work for her. In return, they will be revived and live in the real world again. 

So what kind of work do they have to do? Well they have to fight monsters with special abilities that look like humans.

 If they don’t accomplish their tasks, they’ll live forever and forget their memories. Forget their friends and family.

36. Texhnolyze

This show takes place in a man made underground society. 

Ichise, an orphan loses a leg and an arm to satisfy an enraged fight promoter. 

On the edge of death he is taken in by a doctor and used as a guinea pig. 

With his new limbs Ichise is pulled deeper into a war for control of the city. He has to fight to survive.

37. Zankyou no Terror

Two teenage boys steal a prototype atomic bomb in a terrorist attack. 

They upload a video onto the web and threaten to destroy Tokyo unless a riddle can be solved. 

The two teenage boys are survivors of a secret experiment by the Rising Peace Academy to develop orphaned children into human weapons.

 Their plan is to expose the disgusting activities of the organization.

38. Vampire Hunter D 2000

You follow a half human, half vampire hunter. He’s on a quest to kill his father and wipes out anyone in his way. 

The world this show takes place in is like a post apocalyptic nightmare. It’s a dark and grim show.

39. Ergo Proxy

Thousands of years after a disaster, humans are living in harmony with robots. 

However, these robots have been infected by the Cogito virus which causes robots to become self aware. 

They commit a series of murders and the government are conducting secret experiments on a mysterious humanoid life form called a “Proxy”. 

The proxy is considered to hold mankind’s refuge. It’s a cold futuristic world that’s incredibly dark, damp, and cold


So those were some dark anime that will leave you scarred for the rest of your life.

Yup, your stomach will turn when watching these shows.

The list is filled with different types of dark anime such as fantasy dark anime, psychologically dark, as well as having grim action scenes.

 Whatever you’re into, there’s something here for you.

Some are more disturbing than others. We tried to put these in order but don’t rely on the order.

Simply read the description and click the buttons below each one for more information on the shows.