Welcome to Anime Rants! Today we’re looking at 7 examples of fantasy series that are a bit– or a lot– darker than your average anime. Let’s get started.
1. Akame ga Kill
Despite its art style, which resembles that of a fun shounen anime, Akame ga Kill is a mature show. It’s known for having many character deaths. The show is far from perfect, but it has some great characters and interesting themes. There are some good fantasy elements, such as the mysterious Imperial Arms. Another thing this show has going for it are the strong female fighters.
Claymore is a violent, thrilling fantasy tale focused on the female half-demon warriors, the Claymore. Claire is a Claymore who is resilient despite not having as much skill as most others. She is able to reach the limit of humanity, use demon powers, and manage to come back to her senses after the fight. Claire plans to use her powers and cooperate with other Claymores to one day avenge her beloved mentor who was killed by a demon called an Awakened One.
This is probably the darkest anime on today’s list. Quite frankly, it’s fucking depressing. It can also get annoyed with how preachy it is, pushing nihilism and selfishness. However, the art and the music are beautiful and memorable. The characters in Fate/Zero can be truly interesting and the fight scenes are epic. Despite its unrealistically dark and cynical outlook, this anime can be a fascinating and enjoyable watch.
4. Kenpuu Denki Berserk
Also known as Berserk 1997, Kenpu Denki Berserk is a classic in the dark anime genre. Technically, this series serves as a prequel to the main story, but I think it also stands well as it own story. Guts, Griffith, and Casca are the main characters, each highly fascinating. Griffith leads a band of fighters who are trying to spread their influence and gain power. He recruits Casca and Guts and the fateful story begins.
5. Made In Abyss
If you’re familiar with recent popular anime, you may have heard of Made In Abyss. The cute art style is deceptive, masking dark and disturbing moments throughout the show. Riko wants to become an expert explorer of the strange and massive Abyss. Reg, the robot-like boy whose origins are unknown, accompanies Riko into the depths. It’s an excellent anime for adventure and fantasy, pulling you in with mystery and intriguing you like the great Abyss itself.
6. Re: Zero (Starting Life in Another World)
This popular anime is probably darkly mature and cheerfully fun in equal parts, but when it gets serious, it gets pretty damn serious. Subaru is pulled into another world where he finds he is cursed (and blessed) with the ability to go back in time and start over after he dies. He’s in for a lot of terrifying and painful deaths as he struggles to fit into this new world and save his newfound friends.
7. Umineko no Naku Koro ni
Umineko no Naku Koro Ni (When The Seagulls Cry) is like the contorted cousin of the well-known Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni (When the Cicadas Cry). The two take place in the same universe but have very little connection. What starts as a murder mystery on a small island quickly turns fantastical with the introduction of witches, magic, demons, and more. The show is quite violent and it leaves off at a crucial part. However, the rest can be seen in the manga.
Thank you for reading! Stay safe and well. 🙂