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

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Unlike live action, animation offers audiences a wider realm of imagination while allowing greater visual freedom. With massive potential to top the impression of what they’re going to get in the first place, most viewers’ first thoughts on the anime are likely to be obsessed with the works of Studio Ghibli, whose animated works usually adopt beautifully drawn characters placed in hyper-fantasy settings.


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If you are someone who grew up with Toonami and adult swimmingor your entry into the world of anime was through works like cowboy bebop and Neon Genesis Evangelionthen these following anime recommendations will put the finger on the fact that anime is a versatile genre.

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‘Berserk’

Prior to the CGI abomination of a 2016 remake, the 1997 series is the late manga artist’s first anime adaptation. by Kentaro Miura revolutionary adult manga Berserk, and the one that received the most critical acclaim and praise from fans.

Explore a wide range of topics ranging from child abuse to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Berserk left many viewers disgusted and horrified due to its darker realistic take on the fantasy adventure category, emphasizing the horrors of war and the malignity of demons. The series can be seen as a prequel to main character Guts’ status as the revered Black Swordsman. Undeterred by the abrupt ending which leaves people with more questions and fear, Berserk is a must-watch for its exhilarating displays of popcorn-worthy violence, but never losing sight of the complexity of humans, even during war.

‘shigurui’

Perhaps the most daring and graphic representations of the samurai of which the cinema has nothing, Shigurui begins with a cliffhanger, tournament fight involving one-armed Fujiki Gennosuke and blind Irako Seigen. While wooden swords were used in the past, this time real swords are brought into play.

Before being who they are in the present, both Gennosuke and Seigen were disciples of Japan’s greatest swordsman, Iwamoto Kogan, whose long list of creepy behaviors are sure to have audiences cringing. Detailing their intertwined destiny filled with jealousy, ferocity, sex and taboos, the two swordsmen prove who will be the last man standing despite their disadvantage.

“Elfen Lied”

The anime that inspired the creation of the hit series stranger things, elf lied spares nothing when it comes to displaying the barbarism 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 behavior leads them to care for her. Little did they know that behind the girl’s sweet, airy demeanor lurk her murderous tendencies, a split personality acquired during her escape from the inhuman experiments she had in the government lab. The girl is Lucy, a special human race known as Diclonius, and has the gifted ability of telekinesis. Soon, the two students will find themselves in a world of deception, government conspiracies, and vehement violence.

‘Rainbow’

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

A sadistic prison guard and a doctor fond of young boys propose to make the lives of young people a hell on earth. With guidance from older cellmate/former boxer Rokurouta Sakuragi, inmates must remain optimistic and do whatever it takes to survive to see life after redemption, in addition to the promise of a reunion in post-war society.

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‘Black Lagoon’

For fans of cowboy bebop but i was expecting more gunfights and rude badass animated women, look no further than black lagoona playful hybrid of A playit is pirate pilgrimages and a John Woocharacteristic style of action movies. Heck, there’s even a character named Chang on the show that mirrors Chow Yun Fatthe dual-gun characters in Woo’s films.

When wage earner Rokurou Okajima reluctantly finds himself joining the Lagoon Company after being held at gunpoint, he must soon adjust to the mercenary’s precarious lifestyle involving illegal dealings, kidnappings, shootings and constant abrasive encounters. He is joined by a hot-tempered colleague, Revy, a Chinese-American gunman with a penchant for bloodshed and chain smoking.

‘Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo’

A free adaptation of Alexandre Dumas‘ novel of the same name, Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo is more than just a story of revenge. Bearing multiple discernible differences from its original source, Gankutsuou takes place in a futuristic setting where humans coexist with the alien and the mecha is a commonplace element.

With a unique animation style that sees a cross between Western impressionism and Japanese ukiyo-e, the 24-episode series primarily follows the wide-eyed Viscount Albert de Morcerf who becomes captivated by the mystifying count. Unbeknownst to Albert, the Count plans revenge on his father who was one of the masterminds who betrayed the Count in the past.

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‘Ultimate Hellsing’

When the Millennium Organization of Nazi vampires threatens to erase all human existence, it’s on 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 inordinate regenerative powers, shapeshifting, and hemokinesis. With his half-human, half-vampire sidekick Seras Victoria at his side, audiences will be thrilled to watch Alucard impose his sadistic tendencies on his victims and wipe out the entire Nazi army.

“Vinland Saga”

Loyal fans of the “Vinland Sagathe manga certainly didn’t expect the anime adaptation to be a fairly faithful and surprisingly invigorating watch. With odes to Norse sagas, the series centers on Thorfinn, a young mercenary working for Askeladd, a skilled swordsman and leader of a band of Vikings.

As Askeladd had murdered Thorfinn’s father when the latter was a child, Thorfinn swore revenge and while honing his fighting skills, hopes to one day challenge Askeladd to a duel. Despite his initial dreams of living in a peaceful land where war and slaughter are absent, Thorfinn’s instinct for survival grows ever sharper amid the escalating war between the English and the Danes.

‘Freak’

Inspired by the 1960s American crime drama The fugitive, Freak was a manga artist Naoki Urasawafirst work to receive international recognition. Its 74-episode animated adaptation is exceptional on its own, carefully executing the complex motivations behind each character with support from longtime Studio Ghibli animator. Kitaro Kosaka and a haunting ending theme sung by the English songwriter DPassionate Sylvian.

After saving Johann Liebert as the child of the city mayor many years ago, skilled brain surgeon Kenzou Tenma is shrouded in emotional turmoil upon discovering that Johann turns out to be a psychopath, prompting those he met to give in to their cardinal sins, resort to the commission of crimes or worse, to suicide. Determined to put an end to Johann’s nefarious ways, Kenzou begins to investigate Johann’s past and uncovers something far more sinister, specifically past incidents that had occurred at an orphanage known as 511 Kinderheim.

‘Basil’

To imagine battle royale (2000) or The hunger Games (2012), but set in 1614 in feudal Japan. Basil follows two rival ninja clans who are drawn into a confrontation to determine which grandson of shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu will become the next heir.

The deadly competition involves ten elite warriors chosen from each clan, Tsubagakure of Iga and Manjidani of Kouga, representing the potential heirs of each 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 clans to slaughter.

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