The Most Disturbing Dark Anime (& Their Mental Effects)

In this brief guide, we will look at some dark anime shows and movies and their mental effects.

List of Dark Anime

Here is a list of dark anime that includes dark psychological anime, dark scary anime, and surprising dark anime:

  • The Promised Neverland 
  • Re: Zero, Starting Life in Another World 
  • Black Butler 
  • Tokyo Ghoul: re
  • Erufen rîto 
  • Death Parade 
  • Serial Experiments Lain
  • Ajin 
  • Darker Than Black
  • Mushi-Shi 
  • Blood-C
  • Higurashi: When They Cry – New 
  • Gantz 
  • Munemoshune no musume tachi 
  • Shiki 
  • Corpse Party: Tortured Souls 
  • Boogiepop Never Laughs: Boogiepop Phantom
  • School-Live!
  • When They Cry: Rei 
  • Kara no Kyoukai: The Garden of Sinners – Remaining Sense of Pain 
  • Ghost Hound 
  • Death Note
  • Stein;s Gate
  • Grave of the Fireflies
  • Future Diary
  • Hellsing Ultimate
  • Taboo Tattoo
  • Akame Ga Kill
  • Mirai Nikki
  • Another
  • Death Parade
  • Elfen Lied
  • God Eater
  • Fate Zero
  • Berserk
  • Ungo
  • Perfect Blue
  • When Seagulls Cry 
  • Kara no Kyoukai: The Garden of Sinners – A Study in unlawful killing – Part 2
  • ChäoS;HEAd 
  • Red Garden
  • Judge
  • Night Head Genesis
  • Demon Prince Enma 
  • Ghost Hunt
  • When They Cry: Kai

Dark Anime: Elfen Lied

Elfen lied is one of the best examples of a dark anime, and in this show you see a human-like experiment that goes wrong, and the subject of this experiment Lucy is being hunted after managing to escape a top-secret laboratory, the same place she’s born.

The ending is depressing, and what happens in between is full of horrific, maddening ferosity.

This is an incredibly dark anime because of themes like Child abuse distributed through it, and you should watch if you have a strong heart, for sure.

Dark Anime: Hellsing Ultimate

Hellsing Ultimate is a dark anime about Vampires and Hellsing is a secret organization sponsored by the British government, to hide the presence of vampires and protect the blissfully unaware populace.

Hellsing has secret armaments and its own personal army, and it has controlled a very strong vampire, Alucard, for years.

This show is not as psychologically disturbing as some of the others on this list, but it is still disturbing enough and makes for a great watch.

Dark Anime: Serial Experiments Lain

Serial experiments Lain is another great dark anime, and it focuses on Lain Iwakura, an adolescent middle school girl living in suburban Japan, and her introduction to the Wired, a global communications network which is similar to the Internet. 

A series of bizarre incidents start to take place after she learns that girls from her school have received an email from a dead student, Chisa Yomoda, and she pulls out her old computer in order to check for the same message. 

Lain finds Chisa telling her that she is not dead, but has merely “abandoned her physical body and flesh” and is alive deep within the virtual reality-world of the Wired itself, where she has found the almighty and divine “God”. 

The themes of technology and computers are what make this a truly dark anime, and you may even liken it to the tv show Black Mirror, which is equally disturbing.

Dark Anime: Monster

Monster is another great option if you are looking for dark anime to watch, and in this show, you meet Kenzou Tenma, a Japanese brain surgeon in Germany, who has everything he could want, incredible skill at his work, a rich and beautiful fiancee, and a promising career at his hospital.

When he becomes disenchanted by hospital politics, he chooses to save the life of a young boy who got shot in the head over the life of the mayor and due to this he loses his prestigious position and everything else.

Some time after this the hospital director and the doctors that replaced him are killed, and he becomes the chief suspect, which leads to him not having a normal life anymore, while the boy he saved is also different somehow.

Dark Anime: Aoi Bungaku: Ningen Shikkaku (Blue Literature: No Longer Human)

This dark anime is an animated adaptation of 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 see the crumbling life of an alienated high school student through adulthood, and eventually his death, in this dark anime, and themes like depression and narcissism are prevalent in this show.

You see the lead character experiencing failure at being human, hence the title, ‘No Longer Human’. Ningen Shikkaku tells his tale in a most despairing manner, and leaves a crawling, off-kilter feeling at the end.

The themes of alcohol abuse and mental illness make it even more a dark anime, and the little humanoid monsters which personify the main character’s fears and self-image make it even harder to watch.

Dark Anime: Death Note

Death Note is another dark anime that is accepted as such almost by everyone.

This dark anime is about Light Yagami, who is an ace student with great aspects who’s bored out of his mind when he suddenly finds something called the Death Note, a notebook held by a shinigami (Death God).

Light decides to create a perfect world without crime or criminals and the Death Note is his armament to do this.

There are various twists and turns in the entire show and the character Ryuk has also become extremely famous among all circles for who he is and how he acts, which is yet another reason to watch this dark anime.

Dark Anime: Shiki

Shiki is almost universally accepted as a very dark anime, and with reason, too.

In this anime, one finds themselves watching a fiercely hot summer in Sotoba go on, where in a peaceful and quiet village with a population of 1300 people, a series of bizarre deaths begin to occur.

At the same time this is happening, a strange family moves into a long abandoned mansion in the region.

The dean of the local hospital, Toshio Ozaki is unable to figure out the cause of death in the deceased, initially suspecting an epidemic.

As investigations continue between the hospital staff and the residents, it turns out that the village is being attacked by vampires, and that is where things start turning around.

Shiki is a very dark anime not just because of the horror or gore, it just generally gives you the creeps and yet it’s not something you can ignore either.

Dark Anime: Zankyou no fear (fear in Resonance)

This dark anime starts out with an immense subversives incendiary device that is orchestrated by just two boys who are known as Sphinx now, beginning a massive game that envelopes Japan.

Innihilism is a hot topic in the world today, and nothing puts that into perspective quite like fiction, which is why this dark anime serves as a very good entertainer that is hard to watch but you also can’t stop watching it.

Zankyou no Terror is a dark anime which deals with topics of nature vs. nurture through the eyes of its protagonists who are fighting for individual identity and recognition in a world hell-bent on burying its mistakes, which are some very deep things to watch unfold.

The protagonists of this anime try to achieve their goals through fear, innihilism and chaos, which is again something that one will see in the world around them all the time.

There are no “good guys and bad guys”, and it does a good job of skewing right and wrong in the face of justice.

Dark Anime: Psycho Pass

Psycho Pass is a very dark anime, and you should probably expect that from the name itself given that it says Psycho, and there are some very “mature” themes in this anime.

This very dark anime starts out with a woman almost getting abused in a gritty run-down part of the city but even other than the frequent ferosity, Psycho Pass does a good job of storytelling, portraying a futuristic society, and staying on track.

Given the current world we live in, our biggest fears as a society tend to revolve around being a part of a very advanced civilisation that becomes more and more rigid and primitive in the way things are run and how people are controlled.

Playing on these fears, Psycho-Pass takes the frightening concept of a “Smart City” and applies it to criminal justice where the technology of this world can scan a person and know they have a predisposition to criminal behavior and stick them in a database, a hive mind. 

To begin with, the idea of that type of overwhelming trespass of personal privacy is in itself disturbing, but added to the fact that it does not consider the actions of the individual, only their fleeting thoughts, means that it shows what would happen if you were held accountable for every aberrant thought you have ever had.

Basically in this dark anime, every time someone has a high propensity for criminal behavior but never acts upon it, they also get tailed and logged just like a criminal would, which calls into question how many personal freedoms are trampled upon in this world’s attempt to minutely control illegal activity. 

While the current climate is all about police brutality across the world, this dark anime could speak to even more personal levels of real time horrors, and this may speak to many regular people throughout the world.

Dark Anime: Berserk

Berserk is a very dark anime in a psychological sense, and it poses the question of what you are living for? 

Whenever something you are watching questions you about free will against predestination you can be sure that your mind is going to bend in very uncomfortable ways, which is why this is such a dark anime.

There is a battle of human suffering in the wake of divine fate and the ambition of a man and it is set in a medieval world of strife, vast green lands obscure the supernatural demonic powers lurking in the unseen shadows.

In this story about a world full of evil and brutality, of dreams and despair, one visits the existence of people as they find themselves in the midst of it all and question the meaning of their own existence. 

This dark anime also ponders the question of what happens to people when they don’t experience friendship and love easily, and when you finally see people experience these things after their hardships, you will find that it can bring tears to your eyes.

The relationships shown in Berserk are more meaningful than almost any you’ll find in anime, which just makes it an evendarker anime because of what is before and after the good and bad things shown.

Dark Anime: Red Garden

Red Garden is a very psychologically dark anime about a group of female heroes thrown, quite unwillingly, into a supernatural war between a mysterious organization and berserking humans who want nothing more than to kill. 

Red Garden poses the idea that death is not so very permanent as people believe, and indeed, is quite fickle when the right people get their hands on a corpse, which makes it not just gore related, but also extremely psychologically dark.

Whenever a tv show or a movie challenges our notions of death and life it automatically strikes us as dark and gritty, because our survival instinct is simply far too strong for us to be okay facing death.

This dark anime is therefore very Gory and dark, and the fact that sometimes it can be a bit flippant with the “value of a human life” and can be an unnerving watch.


In this brief guide, we looked at some dark anime shows and movies and their mental effects.

Anime and other entertainment options like tv shows or movies can be a great way to expose yourself to the kind of psychological horror that does not exist in the real world.

It can also be great to watch dark anime to get a sense of what would make you uncomfortable and consider the various mental effects of entertainment on your mind.

If you have any questions or comments about dark anime and their mental effects, please feel free to reach out to us at any time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Dark Anime (11 Dark Anime and their Mental Effects)

What are the darkest anime?

Some of the darkest animes are:

Hellsing Ultimate. 
Zankyou no Terror (Terror in Resonance) 
Jigoku Shoujo (Hell Girl)
Aoi Bungaku: Ningen Shikkaku (Blue Literature: No Longer Human)
Death Note. 
Vampire Hunter D 2000. 
Tokyo Ghoul.

What is dark anime called?

Dark anime may be called psychological anime, and the names of some of them are:

School Live.
Kino’s Travels (The Beautiful World) 
Future Diary. 
Black Bullet. 
Taboo Tattoo.
Higurashi: When They Cry. 
School Days. 

What is the most messed up anime?

Here are some of the most messed up anime:

Elfen Lied. Summer 
Paranoia Agent.
Corpse Party: Tortured Souls.
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (When They Cry) Spring 2006. 
Serial Experiments Lain. 

Which is the #1 anime?

The #1 anime according to IMDB is Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, which is an anime show about two brothers learning about alchemy and going on a quest to restore their bodies to the previous state after an experiment gone wrong.


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