Top 5 darkest anime shows of all time

Top 5 darkest anime shows of all time

There are some anime that introduce themselves as mild experimentation with the genre of thriller and eventually get darker in the process, while there are others that simply introduce themselves as an interaction with the sinister and push their narrative into even deeper pits of darkness. The darkest anime shows of all time are not the ones that solely explore the darkness of the characters but the ones that interrogate the darkness of the social structures and society as a whole. This makes our listicle of the top 5 darkest anime shows of all time an amalgamation of various stories that are simple and versatile yet troubling, conflicting, and complex in their nature.

Top 5 darkest anime shows of all time (ranked)

5. Monster

Top 5 darkest anime shows of all time
Monster. (Image credit goes to Studio Madhouse)

MAL Rating: 8.87
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Suspense
Platforms: NetflixFunimation
Total Episodes: 74

Monster anime is a dark narration of slow-paced events that are as much psychological as they are physical. The show progresses in a very mature and progressive manner, but at the same time accomplishes the task of wounding the viewer emotionally. Considered one of the darkest anime shows of all time, Monster begins to identify and question the nature of observations made as a part of the narrative.

Monster is a dark anime that isn’t hesitant to pose difficult questions with no apparent right or wrong answers. It follows the story of Dr. Kenzo Tenma and his decision to operate on a poor patient in order to save their life which ends up assuring the livelihood of a serial killer. Monster anime has a calm and meticulous pacing, but it still begins with evil crimes and losses. Monster holds the ability to properly explore its gloomy ideas, and the true impact of guilt can be charted over Tenma as escalating disasters unfold.

4. Happy Sugar Life

Top 5 darkest anime shows of all time
Happy Sugar Life anime. (Image credit goes to Studio Ezόla)

MAL Rating: 6.78
Genre: Drama, Girls Love, Horror
Platforms: Prime VideoBilibili
Total Episodes: 12

Happy Sugar Life is an anime that continues to be unrivaled in its ability to hide behind genre tropes and adopt a soothing aesthetic style, only to yank the rug out from under the spectator and introduce a dark and unforgettably horrifying experience. At first sight, it appears to be a lighthearted slice-of-life show about two friends, but as the show progresses the mysteries unfold and it takes the viewer to a plane of utter disgust, fear, anxiety, and guilty confrontation.

  • Happy Sugar Life expresses the theme of darkness through the character of Satou Matsuzaka, who in actuality, is a profoundly unstable guy who kidnaps a young girl, Shio, after becoming enamored with the innocence of the child.
  • Happy Sugar Life has only 12 episodes, but each installment features death, abuse, and mental manipulation to the most unimaginable degree.

3. Future Diary

Top 5 darkest anime shows of all time
The Future Diary anime. (Image credit goes to Studio Asread)

MAL Rating: 7.41
Genre: Gore, High Stakes Game, Psychological, Survival
Platforms: CrunchyrollFunimation
Total Episodes: 26

Future Diary exposes the corrupting nature of power in a rather disgruntled and disfigured representation of reality. It stands as proof of how radical death games have grown in popularity in anime, and how shows like these hold the ability to establish a dystopic reality that is obsessed with the playmaking of power. It follows the adventures of a group of youngsters who find themselves in the race to become an omnipotent being, sparking a violent and gloomy cat-and-mouse game between the potential candidates.

The premise of Future Diary is inherently dismal, but the majority of its cast is on the verge of losing themselves. As Yuki and Yuno move deeper into this heinous game, the tension mounts. Under certain settings, the anime’s grand climax can be interpreted as optimistic, yet Yuki is resigned to an empty, lonely existence.

2. Another

Top 5 darkest anime shows of all time
Another anime. (Image credit goes to P.A. Works)

MAL Rating: 7.48
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Supernatural
Platforms: Crunchyroll
Total Episodes: 12

Another is a pitch-black psychological horror anime that keeps the audience on edge for a dozen tense episodes. It tells the story of  Koichi Sakakibara, a straightforward transfer student who is given an unpleasant awakening upon his arrival at Yomiyama North Junior High, which is mired with death and sadness.

  • Koichi befriends a melancholy girl named Misaki, but he’s soon left wondering whether she’s in need of his assistance or some lost soul.
  • Another begins in a gloomy place, but the mystery that unfolds becomes increasingly depressing as the characters and audience are forced to speculate on who is genuinely deceased in this drama.

1. Attack on Titan

Top 5 darkest anime shows of all time
Attack on Titan (Image credit goes to Wit Studios)

MAL Rating: 8.54
Genre: Action, Drama, Suspense
Platforms: CrunchyrollFunimation, Disney+ Hotstar
Total Episodes: 88

As one of the darkest anime of all time, Attack on Titan explores the themes of love, loss, and betrayal in a very open manner. Death and gore are central figures in the narrative and the characterizations are highly fluctuating in nature.

  • The world has fallen into darkness by the time Attack on Titan’s last season premieres.
  • The incessant battle between humanity and Titans is at one point resolved in a manner that the darkness of humanity is exposed through the medium of revisiting the past.

As the story’s sturdy hero, Eren Yaeger is betrayed, he naturally morphs into humanity’s greatest threat. As the series progresses, AoT embraces evil and corruption, but it is also a gloomy anime that shows the violent killing of Eren’s mother in the first episode.


The darkest anime of all time is a categorization that is very dynamic in nature. While differentiation and attribution are relative concepts, we must remember that the true nature of darkness in an anime is only revealed when it interrogates a central social question or fallacy. It is in the argumentation based on that flaw that the entire narrative is set and the story is absorbed into the genre.

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