Here we go guys, in this article, we will be looking for the best Dark anime series you must watch. As we all know, Anime is known for its diverse range of genres, from heartwarming romances to thrilling action-packed adventures. However, there is a subgenre of anime that tells dark and twisted stories. A dark anime series explores themes like violence, death, and psychological turmoil, leaving viewers riveted.
In recent years, dark anime series have gained important viewership, delivering a compelling and harsh viewing experience. These series explore themes that explore human nature, often delivering gritty and thought-provoking storylines.
So, without wasting the time let’s explore the 35 best dark anime series list you must watch.
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35 Best Dark Anime Series You Must Watch
1 – Attack on Titan
Attack on Titan, one of the famous dark and intense anime series, directed by Tetsurō Araki (1–59), Masashi Koizuka (26–59), Yuichiro Hayashi (60–), Jun Shishido (60–). Best known for its thrilling action, intricate characters, and thought-provoking themes about human nature and survival in the face of overwhelming odds.
The story follows the journey of a group of young soldiers in the Survey Corps, who are fighting against the Titans in order to regain control of their walls and protect their people. Along the way, they uncover deep secrets about the Titans and the true origins of their presence, as they toil to survive and understand the bleak world they inhabit.
2 – Parasyte: The Maxim
Parasyte: The Maxim, a dark and exhilarating anime series, written and illustrated by Hitoshi Iwaaki. It follows the story of Shinichi Izumi(a high school student) who finds his right hand has been infected by a parasitic alien life-form. As the alien, which he refers to as Migi, takes control of his hand, Shinichi must navigate the danger of other parasitic aliens who seek to take over humanity and harness the power of their new hosts.
The series packed with intense action, intrigue, hazard, and complex relationships between humans and parasitic aliens. As Shinichi fights to protect himself, his loved ones, and humanity from the parasitic aliens, he starts to question what makes us truly human and what it means to have sympathy for others.
3 – Death Note
Death Note, a popular Japanese anime series, written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. It follows the story of a high school student, Light Yagami, who finds a supernatural notebook that can kill people whose names are written in it.
He becomes consumed by the power of the Death Note and decides to rid the world of criminals, creating a dangerous game of cat and mouse with the mysterious detective known only as L.
A 37-episode anime television series adaptation, produced by Madhouse and directed by Tetsurō Araki, broadcast on Nippon Television from October 2006 to June 2007.
As of April 2015, the Death Note manga had over 30 million copies in circulation, making it one of the best-selling manga series.
4 – Tokyo Ghoul
Tokyo Ghoul is one of the famous dark and twisted anime series, written and illustrated by Sui Ishida. It tale explores the life of Ken Kaneki, a young man who unknowingly becomes involved with a world of ghouls – creatures that look and act like humans but feed on human flesh. After a violent encounter with one of these creatures, Ken finds himself transformed into a half-ghoul and forced to navigate a dangerous and brutal world full of violence and betrayal.
By January 2021, Tokyo Ghoul had over 47 million copies in circulation worldwide, making it one of the best-selling manga series of all time.
5 – Berserk
Berserk is a dark anime series, written and illustrated by Kentaro Miura. Best known for its graphic violence and mature themes, including betrayal, torture, and psychological trauma. It reveals the story of Guts, a skilled warrior wandering a medieval world in search of revenge against his former best friend Griffith.
Despite the grim tone, the anime series also explores themes of friendship, loyalty, and sacrifice. Fans of dark fantasy and gritty storytelling are sure to find plenty to appreciate in Berserk.
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6 – Psycho-Pass
Psycho-Pass is one of the popular dark anime series, produced by Production I.G. Co-directed by Naoyoshi Shiotani and Katsuyuki Motohiro and written by Gen Urobuchi.
The story follows Akane Tsunemori, a young inspector working for the Public Safety Bureau’s Criminal Investigation Division, as she investigates various crimes and navigates the moral complexities of a society where freedom comes at the cost of privacy and personal autonomy.
Psycho-Pass originated from Production I.G.’s interest in making a successor to Mamoru Oshii’s achievements. Inspired by several live-action films.
7 – Serial Experiments Lain
Serial Experiments Lain, a dark anime series created and co-produced by Yasuyuki Ueda, written by Chiaki J. Konaka, and directed by Ryūtarō Nakamura. It received the Excellence Prize at the Japan Media Arts Festival in 1998.
It follows the story of Lain Iwakura, a meek and introverted high school student, who gets caught up in a mysterious and dangerous world of technology and the internet. As she navigates through this world, she discovers the existence of a mythical being called the “Wired,” an omnipresent network that connects humans to each other and to their surroundings.
8 – Hellsing Ultimate
Hellsing Ultimate is a dark and intense anime series, written and illustrated by Kouta Hirano. It follows the story of the Hellsing organization, a group established to eradicate supernatural threats in England. Led by the powerful vampire Alucard and his human master Integra, the Hellsing organization must face off against an army of undead soldiers, deadly vampires, and other supernatural enemies.
9 – Mirai Nikki (Future Diary)
Mirai Nikki aka Future Diary, a dark anime series, series written and illustrated by Sakae Esuno. Mirai Nikki is a twisted and thrilling anime that explores the psychological battles and violence that come with the game, making it a must-watch for fans of the horror genre.
It follows the story of Yukiteru Amano, a high school boy who forced to participate in a survival game against other diary holders with the future diary that he has. The future diary allows Yukiteru to predict the future, giving him an edge against the other players. The game becomes even more dangerous when he crosses paths with Yuno Gasai.
10 – Elfen Lied
Elfen Lied is one of the best dark anime series, written and illustrated by Lynn Okamoto. It explores the story of a mutant species known as Diclonius. These beings possess psychokinetic powers and considered to be a threat to humanity.
The story pivots around Lucy, a Diclonius with multiple characters, who escapes from a secret research facility and rescued by a university student named Kouta. As the sequence progresses, Lucy’s past is revealed, including her traumatic childhood and the abuse she endured, which led to the formation of her alternate personality.
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11 – Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion often referred to simply as Code Geass, one of the famous Japanese dark anime series produced by Sunrise, directed by Gorō Taniguchi, and written by Ichirō Ōkouchi. Code Geass received in Japan, selling over a million DVD and Blu-ray Discs.
It follows the story of Lelouch, an exiled prince who earns a mysterious power known as the Geass. Using this power, Lelouch sets out to overthrow the tyrannical Empire of Britannia and create a better world for his sister and those he cares about.
12 – Monster
Monster, a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Naoki Urasawa. Published by Shogakukan. The manga has sold over 20 million copies, making it one of the best-selling manga series of all time.
The manga has won several awards, including the 46th Shogakukan Manga Award and the Japan Media Arts Festival.
It follows a story of brilliant young doctor, Kenzo Tenma, who inadvertently saves the life of a serial killer. The repercussions of his actions lead to a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse as Tenma tries to stop the killer from causing further harm.
13 – Black Lagoon
Black Lagoon, a Japanese Dark manga series written and illustrated by Rei Hiroe. The series features high-octane action sequences, intricate plot twists, and remarkable attention to detail in its portrayal of its dark and dangerous setting.
It follows the story of adventures of a group of mercenaries called Lagoon Company, who operate in the criminal underworld of the fictional city of Roanapur.
14 – Neon Genesis Evangelion
“Neon Genesis Evangelion”, a famous dark, psychological anime series, produced by Gainax and animated by Tatsunoko, directed by Hideaki Anno and broadcast on TV Tokyo from October 1995 to March 1996.
It follows the story of Shinji Ikari, a teenage boy who forced to pilot a giant bio-machine called an “Evangelion” to battle monstrous beings known as “Angels.”
15 – Claymore
Claymore, a Japanese dark fantasy manga series written and illustrated by Norihiro Yagi.
It follows the story of Clare, a young woman who is part of an organization of half-human, half-demon warriors called Claymores. These warriors are tasked with hunting and killing yoma, powerful demons that feed on humans.
However, in doing so, they risk losing their humanity and becoming the very monsters they hunt. As the story progresses, Clare frays the truth behind her own past and the true nature of the community she serves.
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16 – Steins;Gate
Steins;Gate, a Japanese anime television series created by the animation studio White Fox based on 5pb. Directed by Hiroshi Hamasaki and Takuya Satō, and written by Jukki Hanada.
It follows the story of a group of friends who accidentally discover time travel. The main protagonist, Rintaro Okabe, is a self-proclaimed “mad scientist” who becomes obsessed with altering the past to change the present.
17 – Darker than Black
Darker than Black, one of the popular Japanese anime series created and directed by Tensai Okamura and animated by studio Bones.
It follows the story of Hei, a mysterious contractor. Hei works for a secret organization, taking on dangerous missions and dealing with other contractors who also wield special powers. As Hei delves more in-depth into his missions, he starts to uncover the dark truths behind the organization’s motives and the root of contractors.
18 – Another
Another, a 2012 Japanese adult animated horror television series produced by P.A. Works and directed by Tsutomu Mizushima. Kouichi Sakakibara and Mei Misaki investigate strange and gruesome deaths at their school.
- Genres: Anime, Horror, Drama, Thriller, Animation
- First episode date: 9 January 2012 (Japan)
- Final episode date: 27 March 2012
19 – Ergo Proxy
Ergo Proxy, a Japanese cyberpunk anime television series, produced by Manglobe, directed by Shūkō Murase and written by Dai Satō. The series, heavily influenced by philosophy and Gnosticism, features a combination of 2D digital cel animation, 3D computer modeling, and digital special effects.
The story follows Re-l Mayer, an investigator who begins to uncover secrets about the nature of their society and the truth behind their origins. Along with her companion, an android named Vincent Law who is haunted by his past, they journey towards the truth while facing dangerous foes along the way.
20 – Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, a dark anime series set in a futuristic world where humans have the ability to transfer their minds into cybernetic bodies. Produced by Production I.G and based on Masamune Shirow’s manga Ghost in the Shell. It was written and directed by Kenji Kamiyama.
The story follows the members of Public Security Section 9, a special police unit tasked with hunting down cyber criminals and terrorists who threaten the safety and stability of their society.
21 – Black Butler
Black Butler, a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yana Toboso. It follows the story of a young boy named Ciel Phantomhive and his highly skilled butler, Sebastian Michaelis. Ciel is the head of a powerful family in Victorian-era England and is known for his ruthless business tactics. By July 2022, the Black Butler manga had over 32 million copies in circulation.
22 – Hell Girl (Jigoku Shoujo)
Hell Girl aka Jigoku Shōjo: Girl from Hell, a Japanese anime series, produced by SKY Perfect Well Think, Tokyo MX, Wakasa Seikatsu, Fujishoji, Aniplex, and Studio Deen.
It follows the story of a young girl named Ai Enma who offers exceptional service to those seeking revenge. Victims of injustice can access a mysterious website known as the Hotline to Hell, where they can submit the name of the person who wronged them. In return, they receive a straw doll with a red string tied around its neck.
23 – Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Puella Magi Madoka Magica also known simply as Madoka Magica, a Japanese anime television series created by Magica Quartet; and animated by Shaft. The story follows a group of middle school girls, led by protagonist Madoka Kaname, who make supernatural contracts to become magical girls.
24 – Vampire Knight
Vampire Knight, a Japanese manga series written by Matsuri Hino. The story takes place in the prestigious Cross Academy, which is home to two distinct classes: The Day Class, which applies to only humans, and the Night Class, which applies to only vampires that the day class is unaware. The anime uses many of the same voice actors as were used for the drama CDs.
25 – Goblin Slayer
The series, Goblin Slayerm a famous dark anime series that follows the story of an adventurer whose sole aim is to eliminate goblins from the world. The series set in a medieval fantasy world where goblins regarded as the weakest and most common monster, but also the most brutal and dangerous. The protagonist, Goblin Slayer, is a mysterious figure who never reveals his true identity and wears full armor all the time.
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26 – Devilman Crybaby
Devilman Crybaby, a 2018 Japanese (ONA) series based on Go Nagai’s manga series Devilman, which is directed by Masaaki Yuasa, produced by Aniplex and Dynamic Planning, animated by Science SARU, and released by Netflix.
It follows the story of Akira Fudo, a high school student who discovers the existence of demons. In order to protect his friends and loved ones, Akira merges with a demon to become Devilman, a powerful being with the strength to fight against the demonic threat.
27 – Deadman Wonderland
Deadman Wonderland, one of the most prominent Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Jinsei Kataoka & Kazuma Kondou. It follows the tale of Ganta Igarashi, a high school student who is falsely accused of a massacre and sentenced to the eponymous prison park, where prisoners are forced to participate in death-defying games for the amusement of the public.
28 – Shiki
Shiki, one of the popular dark anime series that examines the concept of vampires living in a secluded village and their impact on the town’s inhabitants. The story starts when a series of mysterious deaths occur, and only a few people realize that vampires may be the cause.
29 – Blood+
Blood+, a Japanese anime TV series produced by Production I.G and Aniplex and directed and written by Junichi Fujisaku. It follows the story of a girl named Saya, who doesn’t remember anything about her past beyond the last year. As she sets out to uncover the truth about herself, she soon discovers that she is a powerful vampire hunter known as “The Chiropteran Queen.”
30 – No. 6
The anime version of No. 6, an adaption of the novels. It has eleven episodes and one season.
The story follows Shion, a gifted boy who lives a comfortable life in No. 6 until he meets Nezumi, a mysterious fugitive who opens his eyes to the corruption and oppression of the city’s government. As they uncover the truth behind No. 6, Shion and Nezumi must navigate dangerous territory and confront powerful enemies to protect themselves and their loved ones.
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31 – Ghost Hunt
Ghost Hunt, one of the famous dark anime series. It follows the story of Mai Taniyama, a high school student who finds herself involved in paranormal investigations after accidentally smashing a camera at her school’s ghost-hunting club. She becomes an assistant to the young and enigmatic Kazuya Shibuya, CEO of the Shibuya Psychic Research Center, as they journey into haunted locations and investigates strange occurrences.
32 – Texhnolyze
Texhnolyze, a Japanese anime TV series animated by Madhouse, directed by Hiroshi Hamasaki, and produced by Yasuyuki Ueda.
The series follows Ichise, a young fighter living in the bleak underground city of Lux. Following a violent encounter with a strong crime syndicate, Ichise is left with a lost arm and leg, and is offered the chance to have them replaced with advanced biomechanical limbs called “Texhnolyze”.
33 – Paranoia Agent
Paranoia Agent, a Japanese anime TV series created by director Satoshi Kon and produced by Madhouse.
The story explores the mental and emotional breakdowns of different characters. The story pivots around the urban legend of a dreadful boy who attacks random people with a golden baseball bat, known as “Lil’ Slugger.”
34 – Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin
Rainbow: Nisha Rokubō no Shichinin, one of the popular manga series written by George Abe and illustrated by Masasumi Kakizaki. A 26-episode anime television series adaptation produced by Madhouse and directed by Hiroshi Kōjina was broadcast on Nippon TV from April to September 2010.
It follows the story of seven teenagers who are sent to a brutal juvenile detention center in post-World War II Japan.
35 – Gantz
Gantz, one of the most watchable Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hiroya Oku. Best known for its gratuitous violence, mature themes, and psychological exploration of the human mind under intense pressure.
It follows the story of Kei Kurono, a teenage boy who is killed in a train accident and finds himself in a mysterious room with a black sphere called “Gantz.”
In conclusion, Dark anime series offer a unique viewing experience for those who enjoy exploring the darker side of humanity. These series delve into themes of morality, justice, and the consequences of one’s actions, leaving viewers with a lot to think about. Whether you’re a fan of psychological thrillers or dark fantasy, there’s a dark anime series out there that’s sure to captivate you.