From Attack on Titan to Demon Slayer, IMDb has compiled a list of the top dark fantasy anime.
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The Dark Fantasy subgenre of anime has produced some of the most popular works in recent years. There are mature themes, such as horror or violent violence, as well as a supernatural or fanciful setting, which can range from full medieval fantasy to magical realism. Dark Fantasy is the appropriate genre for people who seek out fantasy settings with high stakes narratives, brutal action scenes, and plenty of emotional moments.
As a result of the wide range of anime that falls under this umbrella, the selection can be bewildering. IMDb users have voted these dark fantasy anime as the finest of all time.
1. Angel’s Egg – 7.7
Director Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell, Patlabor) and illustrator Yoshitako Amano collaborated on the film Angel’s Egg in 1985. (Vampire Hunter D, Final Fantasy). Angel’s Egg is an ethereal, existential, and mostly wordless masterpiece of visual narrative that remains one of the most beautiful animations ever created.
When Amano and Oshii don’t speak, they can tell the frightening, emotional narrative of an isolated girl who is doing everything she can to save a mystery egg. Because of its reliance on symbolism and allusion, this isn’t a film for everyone, and it has long been the most divisive in Oshii’s discography. Those who admire weird, nuanced work will appreciate Angel’s Egg’s sad grace. The OVA is worth the aesthetic pleasure alone.
2. Ninja Scroll – 7.9
An landmark of’samurai cinema’ and one of the most influential anime films ever made, Ninja Sword is a must-see for fans of the genre.
Yoshiaki Kawajiri, one of the co-founders of the renowned animation studio Madhouse, which is responsible for such classics as Perfect Blue, Trigun, and Death Note, wrote and directed Ninja Scroll. The action portions in Ninja Scroll, which revolve around a mercenary’s quest to defeat eight evil supernatural ninjas in order to protect the Shogunate, are the film’s actual highlights. Even though the plot is simple, the animation remains visceral and enthralling, with the visuals taking center stage.
Despite the fact that there have been other newer samurai anime, including a 2003’sequel’ series, the film still holds up. Dark Fantasy fans searching for a throwback to the ’90s will enjoy this samurai classic.
3. Puella Magi Madoka Magica – 8.3
The Magicians Known for utterly flipping the script on the Magical Girl subgenre, Madoka Magica delivers one of the most frightening turns in anime history, and Madoka hasn’t even begun yet. Twelve episodes of emotional whirlwind explore guilt, morality and responsibility in a psychological horror series that begins with the snap of a Witch’s jaw.
When it comes to dark fantasy, Madoka’s universe isn’t exactly what most people envision. However, this is exactly why the series is so popular. It is Madoka’s unique take on the legendary mahou shoujo that examines the realities of putting the burden of saving lives on the shoulders of a young girl. Even while the program isn’t afraid to deliver some of the most unforgettable shocks and tearjerker moments, its depth of passion and character have made it a worthwhile experience.
4. The Promised Neverland – 8.4
Even while The Promised Neverland doesn’t appear to fall under the “dark” fantasy category, its many twists and turns were what first drew in devotees. Neverland is a terrific fantasy thriller with plenty of horror aspects hidden beneath its idyllic English countryside setting. It’s a genre that director Mamoru Kanbe, well known for his work on the supernatural horror film Elfen Lied, excels at.
Neverland, a limited-run drama with two seasons, tells the story of three orphans who discover the shocking truth about the institution where they were raised. The protagonist Emma and her two pals, Norman and Ray, face many perilous situations on their journey to safety, which keeps viewers on the edge of their seats the entire time.
5. Princess Mononoke – 8.4
If you’ve never seen it, Princess Mononoke from Studio Ghibli is one of the best-known and most famous anime films of all time. For its stunning cinematography, emotive storytelling, and intricate narrative structure, Mononoke is a beloved historical fantasy film. In this novel, there are no obvious moral lines or ‘villains.’ Instead, it is a story about modern technology’s negative effects on the environment. While the film depicts the negative effects of technology on the environment, it also shows how it may aid those in need, San and Lady Eboshi are two likable and well-written characters.
That Mononoke has stood the test of time is largely due to its capacity to elicit such strong emotional responses from viewers. A sense of sincerity and realism permeates the film, even when it depicts scenes of gory terror, such as the corruption of the boar deity.
6. Fullmetal Alchemist – 8.5
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, the sequel to Hiromu Arakawa’s popular series, was released in 2009, but 2003’s take on Hiromu Arakawa’s legendary classic has enough to appreciate. Edward and Alphons Elric’s journey in Fullmetal Alchemist had to be constructed from scratch without the benefit of the manga storyline to follow, making it differ substantially from Brotherhood’s storyline. In reality, this only means that there will be more episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist to look forward to rather than fewer.
The tone of the 2003 series is frequently compared to that of Brotherhood, with many claiming that it has a more bleak and gruesome tone. It also tends to move at a slower pace and stretch out its storylines longer than FMAB, such as the iconic Nina Tucker narrative. 2003’s Fullmetal Alchemist series is ideal for those looking for a darker twist on the franchise.
7. Berserk – 8.7
While the long-running and legendary manga of Berserk is the most well-known, the 1997 anime adaptation remains an unforgettable and iconic fantasy series. However, Berserk isn’t content to just fling swordfights and gore at the spectator; rather, it takes a more in-depth approach to violence and brutality.
Even though Berserk is set in a medieval fantasy world populated by “huge men with swords,” it has a depth of theme and intricacy of language that is rarely found in medieval fantasy series. In addition to its well-choreographed action, Berserk’s appeal comes from its unwavering devotion to portraying the human condition in a realistic, harsh light. Berserk is one of the best examples of a ‘dark fantasy’ ever made, and it does it better than any other series.
8. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – 8.7
Demon Slayer, now in its second season, was an instant hit when it first aired, and it has continued to grow in popularity since then. Everything about the show is memorable, from its unique animation style and eye-catching character designs to the series’ poignant plots and heart-wrenching themes. Tanjiro and his newly-turned demon sister were the lone survivors of their family’s tragedy, but the story has grown to encompass a big cast in an engaging world—all of them are trying their best to battle against the demons threatening their existence.
More lovely breathing techniques and heartbreaking situations abound in Tanjiro’s journey in the show’s second season, which has stepped up the ante even further. As the story progresses, the action in Demon Slayer only intensifies, making this an excellent moment to begin watching the series.
9. Jujutsu Kaisen – 8.7
Jujutsu Kaisen, a new spin on the “devil slaying” genre, is a hugely popular ongoing series. It’s a modern-day shonen with some of the most fluid and sophisticated battle scenes in modern anime with a level of genre literacy that allows it to both flaunt and mock traditional shonen anime tropes. Even while the program doesn’t shy away from horror with its frightening demon designs and bloodshed, the friendship of its central trio keeps the show from becoming overly depressing.
The action and aesthetics of Jujutsu Kaisen make it stand out, but its characters are what really resonated with viewers. Aside from being one of the best “female friends” in recent shonens, Nobara Kugisaki stands out as one of the best ‘female friends’ ever created in a shonen. Fans would be wise to take advantage of the impending release of the new season and get caught up on the show before it ends.
10. Shingeki No Kyojin (Attack on Titan) – 9.0
Shingeki no Kyojin has become a cultural phenomenon since its debut in season one in 2013. The most popular anime of the last decade, it has brought a new audience into the medium. AoT’s renowned action sequences, enormous cast, complex themes, and dark and captivating environment have kept fans committed throughout Eren Jaeger’s journey, despite occasional controversy.
In January, the long-awaited conclusion to this massive storyline will finally come to a close. Those who haven’t seen the series yet have the opportunity to catch up before the final episode airs and the story of the titans finally comes to an end.