By brutal horror anime we mean gore, violence, and a total emotional gut-punch in the feels. Brace yourselves, the anime list is coming!
10. Ga-rei: Zero
The Prelude to the manga series Ga-rei, it sets in motion the antagonistic relationship between two swordswomen. Much pocky and bloodshed is shared. While it might seem a little tame at the beginning, in terms of what is shown on-screen and the violence that occurs just off-camera, by the end of the series you will have your heart ripped to shreds by the horrifying conclusion.
9. Highschool of the Dead
Japanese high school students run for their lives from hordes of zombies. There’s plenty of blood, boobs, and guns in this one, served with a heaping spoonful of depressing, “It’s end of the world we are so screwed” types of feels. This series starts out intense and only gets crazier as it goes on. And yes, it does have an obligatory onsen (that’s hot spring resort to you noobs) episode. Score!
8. Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni (When they Cry)
Do not let the cutesy anime style fool you. The kids in this anime are brutal af. Everything from killing people with baseball bats to torture is in this one. Some of it is not shown on-screen, some of it is implied, but with what little violence it does show, “When They Cry” packs a serious punch. Add to it the mystery of whether or not the small town has a curse and is ruled by a real supernatural force (dark god/devil/hell ogre) or if the children are just batshit insane, this one will leave you wondering where your faith in humanity has gone.
Just FYI, this series follows the game it was based on, so it is a series of stories, starting with a bad ending, and progressively getting worse as more of the mystery surrounding the town is solved. So when you see characters get killed and show up in the next episode, it’s because the game story re-set and it is starting over again in the anime– with different results, new side characters and new plot revelations. They don’t retreat the old stuff you’ve already learned, so it doesn’t get tedious to watch. (There’s also a few movies put out for this one as well. They’re worth a watch!)
This horror anime takes place in a medieval fantasy world where demons (youma) possess people and go on rampages, killing and devouring everyone in their wake. To combat the demons, a select number of women have been chosen and given demonic powers. They were made to destroy the demons, and after a while, their demonic powers consume them.
The series starts with a possessed man devouring his family, and only goes downhill from there.
The ending is a bit anti-climactic, mainly because they ended the series before the manga was done, but it’s not as bad as some other gecko endings, and the story is so good that it’s easy to forgive the weak finale.
6. Umineko no Naku Koro ni (Umineko: When They Cry aka When the Seagulls Cry)
The Ushiromiya family is wealthy and very well off. When the head of the family declares that he is dying, the entire clan heads over to their island to pay their last respects. Soon, it is clear that their patriarch has some unfinished business; specifically, an evil witch named Beatrice and his hidden hoard of gold. Unfortunately for them, Beatrice loves to torment and kill people, and they have to solve her riddle before they’re all brutally murdered.
This was made by the same people who created “When They Cry,” and is also based on a video game. It is even more brutal and bloodier than its predecessor.
Vampires move into the bucolic countryside. They promptly start eating people and it’s up to a doctor and a young man to figure out who the vampires are, and how to stop them. Part mystery, part action, part Yu-Gi-Oh! art, “Shiki” packs quite a punch. People are treated like cattle, some rise again and have to deal with the horrors of being ravenous undead, and some of the witnesses just go insane. This one includes impaling vampires and suicide by immolation. Also, the angst of being a lollipire- forever. (Lollipires= little girls that are vampires. It’s a thing in anime. Don’t ask me, I didn’t come up with it.)
The art is a little off-putting at first, and takes a while to get used to (like two or three episodes). Between the wacky eyes and the crazy chunky hair, it is hard at first to take this one seriously. But give it a chance. It is a very serious anime, and has some really horrible things happening in it. Definitely worth the watch.
4. Tokyo Ghoul
In “Tokyo Ghoul”, ghouls are supernatural creatures with magical powers, that can only eat people. They can’t eat anything else. Regular food is disgusting to them. When Kaneki is attacked by a ghoul (during which a horrible accident almost kills him), he is given her organs and starts to change into ghoul. The painful transformation is gut-wrenching. What will he do? What can he do? Who should he trust? Will he sacrifice his humanity to save the people he loves? Or will he become a monster and turn his back on mankind?
This is body horror anime at its finest.
3. Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan)
Eren Yaeger and his friends join the military to fight the giant Titans after his walled city is attacked and people are devoured whole. Eren has to come to terms with being able to transform into a Titan, and how people treat him once his secret is revealed.
Giant naked cannibals aka Titans (the result of alchemical warfare) attack human settlements, where they pick up the villagers and eat the alive. The main characters have to watch their friends and families get devoured by giant monsters. If that isn’t horrifying and brutal to you, I don’t know what is.
“Another” starts out innocently enough, with the main character about to transfer to a school in his deceased mother’s home town. But nothing is what it seems, and his classmates are terrified. It seems that his particular class is cursed. Every year, one extra student shows up. This extra person is a ghost. But no one, not even the person who is actually dead, knows who the extra person is, nor if they themselves are dead. Soon after the extra person’s arrival, people start dying in what the classmates call “the Calamity.”
Who is the extra person this year? Why does the calamity happen? Can it be prevented?
This horror mystery series is full of paranoia and bloodshed. Characters die in the most horrific ways. After watching “Another” you will never look at an umbrella the same way again. No joke.
1. Mahou Shojo Madoka Magica (Magical Girl Madoka)
Remember all those cutesy magical girl animes about friendship and love? Yeah…”Mahou Shojo Madoka Magica” is a total deconstruction of that genre. It’s about Madoka and her journey to become the most powerful magical girl ever. Kyubey, a fluffy alien cat-thing tries to get her to make a wish, and when it is granted, she’ll be turned into a magical girl and be able to fight evil witches and stop them from killing people.
She and her friends struggle to decide if they will take him up on his offer, and when they do give in to his promises, and become magical girls, horrible things happen. Their wishes quickly turn sour, and they are tormented by their decisions.
This anime is visually striking, beautifully told with amazing music, and it has some of the most heart-wrenching, gory moments ever made. Remember, be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.