10 Dark And Gritty Anime Series For People Who Think Anime Is For Kids

Unlike live-action, animation offers audiences a wider area for imagination while allowing greater visual freedom. With huge potential to top someone’s impression of what they’re about to get in the first place, most audiences’ first thoughts about anime are probably fixated on works by Studio Ghibli, whose animated works usually take on cute drawn characters set in hyper-fantasy environments.

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If you’re someone you grew up with Toonami and Swimming for adultswhether your introduction to the world of anime was through working as Cowboy Bebop and Neon Genesis Evangelionthen these following anime recommendations will hit the nail right on the head about anime being versatile genres.



Before the CGI horror of a remake released in 2016, the 1997 series is the first anime adaptation from the late manga artist. Kentaro Miuras groundbreaking adult manga Berserk, and one that has received the most critical acclaim and praise from fans.

Exploring a wide range of themes, from child abuse to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Berserk left many viewers horrified and disgusted for its darker realistic take on the fantasy adventure category, accentuating the horrors of war and the wickedness of demons. The series can be seen as a prequel to the status of the main character Guts as the respected Black Swordsman. Undeterred by the abrupt ending that leaves people with more questions and fear, Berserk is a must-watch for its exciting exhibits of popcorn-worthy violence, but never loses sight of the complexities of humans, even during war.


Perhaps the most daring and graphic representation of samurai that cinema has no use for, Shigurui begins with a cliffhanger, a fighting tournament featuring the one-armed Fujiki Gennosuk and blind Irako Seigen. While in the past wooden swords were used, this time real swords are brought into play.

Before being who they are in the present, Gennosuke and Seigen were both disciples of the greatest swordsman in Japan, Iwamoto Kogan, whose long list of creepy behaviors is sure to make audiences crawl. By describing their intertwined destinies full of jealousy, fertility, sex and taboos, both swordsmen prove who will be the last man to survive despite their disadvantage.

‘Elf Song’

The anime that inspired the creation of the hit series Weird stuff, Elf Song spares nothing when it comes to showing the barbarity of humanity. Dog lovers should also shield their eyes from a particular scene in the series.

Two students come across an injured girl with short horns on her head, whose sweet and innocent demeanor leads them to take care of her. Little did they know that the girl’s sweet and light-hearted demeanor concealed her murderous tendencies, a split personality she’d acquired while escaping the inhumane experiments she’d endured in the government lab. The girl is Lucy, a special human race known as the Diclonius, and has the gifted ability of telekinesis. Soon, the two students will find themselves in a world of deception, government conspiracies and violent violence.


Despite possessing a cheerful title, Rainbow provides an astute insight into the promise of a second chance at life. Set in Japan in 1955, the series follows the struggles and humiliation suffered by seven young inmates during their time at the Shounan Reform School.

A sadistic prison guard and a doctor with a penchant for young boys offer to make the youngsters’ lives hell. Guided by elderly cellmate/ex-boxer Rokurouta Sakuragi, the inmates must remain optimistic and do whatever it takes to survive to see life after redemption, in addition to promising a reunion in post-war society.

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‘Black lagoon’

For fans of Cowboy Bebop but was expecting more shootings and foul mouthed badass anime women, look no further than black lagoona playful hybrid of A piece‘s pirate pilgrimages and a John Woo-like signature style of action movies. Heck, there’s even a character named Chang in the series who mirrors Chow Yun-vet‘s dual weapon-wielding characters in Woo’s movies.

When salaryman Rokurou Okajima reluctantly joins the Lagoon Company after being held at gunpoint, he must quickly adapt to the mercenary’s precarious lifestyle with illegal dealings, kidnappings, gunfights and constant abrasive encounters. He is joined by a short-tempered colleague, Revy, a Chinese-American sniper with a penchant for bloodshed and chain smoking.

‘Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo’

A loose adaptation of Alexandre Dumas‘ novel of the same name, Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo is much more than just a tale of revenge. With multiple discernible differences from the original source, Gankutsuou takes place in a futuristic setting where people coexist with the alien and mecha is an everyday element.

With a unique animation style that is a cross between Western Impressionism and Japanese Ukiyo-e, the 24-episode series mainly follows the wide-eyed Viscount Albert de Morcerf who becomes enthralled by the mystifying Count. Unbeknownst to Albert, the Earl plans to exact revenge on his father, who was one of the masterminds who had betrayed the Earl in the past.

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Hellsing Ultimate

When the Millennium Organization, made up of Nazi vampires, threatens to wipe out all human existence, it’s up to Hellsing, a sub-rosa organization dedicated to destroying supernatural forces to save the world.

Not your typical hero, Hellsing’s ultimate weapon of choice is Alucard, the most powerful vampire to ever walk the Earth and possesses abilities such as excessive regenerative powers, shape-shifting and hemokinesis. With his half-human, half-vampire sidekick Seras Victoria by his side, audiences will get a huge kick out of watching Alucard exact his sadistic tendencies on his victims and wipe out the entire Nazi army.

‘Vinland saga’

Loyal fans of the “Vinland Sagamanga certainly didn’t expect the anime adaptation to be a pretty faithful and surprisingly enlivening watch. Paying tribute to Scandinavian sagas, the series centers on Thorfinn, a young mercenary who works for Askeladd, a skilled swordsman and leader of a band of Vikings.

Because Askeladd killed Thorfinn’s father when he was a child, Thorfinn swore revenge and, as he honed his combat skills, hopes to one day challenge Askeladd to a duel. Despite his initial dreams of living in a peaceful land where war and carnage are absent, Thorfinn’s survival instincts become increasingly refined during the escalating war between the English and the Danes.


Inspired by the American crime drama of the 60’s The refugee, Sample was a manga artist Naoki Urasawa‘s first work to receive international recognition. The 74-episode anime adaptation is exceptional in its own right, meticulously executing the intricate motivations behind each character with support from longtime Studio Ghibli animator Kitaro Kosaka and a haunting closing theme sung by an English songwriter denthusiastic Sylvian.

After rescuing Johann Liebert as a child over the town’s mayor many years ago, skilled brain surgeon Kenzou Tenma is enveloped in emotional turmoil when he discovers that Johann turns out to be a psychopath, prompting those he met to admit to it. to their cardinal sins. resort to committing crimes or worse, suicide. Determined to put an end to Johann’s nefarious practices, Kenzou begins to investigate Johann’s past and uncovers something far more sinister, particularly past incidents that had taken place at an orphanage known as 511 Kinderheim.


Imagine battle royale (2000) or The hunger Games (2012), but set in 1614 feudal Japan. basilisk follows two rival ninja clans who are instigated to fight each other to determine which grandson of shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu will become the next heir.

The deadly league consists of ten elite warriors chosen from each clan, Tsubagakure of Iga and Manjidani of Kouga, who represent the heirs of each potential shogunate. Torn between their love for each other, Gennosuke Kouga, heir to the Kouga clan, and Oboro Iga, heir to the Iga clan, must choose whether to kill the person they love or lead their respective clan to the slaughter.


Nice anime that is actually depressing to watch

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