Dark and Violent Animes

Updated: Jul 19


There are many different genres of anime, especially subgenres. The following animes follow a more dark and violent subgenre then most anime viewers are accustomed to. We see the depravity of humanity and the lengths they are willing to go to meet an end. Whether it be revenge, monetary value or survival, these animes hit a little bit of everything in the underworld scene.

Viewer Discretion Advised: The following animes contains graphic and disturbing material! You have been warned!

Gangsta

  • Genres: Action, Drama

  • 1 Season, 12 Episodes

In the city of Ergastalum, a criminal’s paradise, Nicholas Brown and Worick Arcangelo are known as the "Handymen," or mercenaries. Nicholas and Worick handle jobs that no one else can handle. Doing for the cops and the mob Nicholas and Worick are never short on work. However, things everything changes when a new power threatens the delicate balance of power. Throughout this series we follow Nicholas and Worick as they work as mercenaries to survive in crime filled city. This is an anime that doesn’t shy away from the violence when showing it on the screen, but it does provide a sense of realism to the anime regards to the criminal world. We see a bit of everything in this show from drugs, prostitution, and other illegal activities. Gangsta is its own kind of anime, from the setting, plot and character design. We have characters rolling up onto the scene in its '64 Impala, giving you the gangster vibe and knowing how this show is going to be like. One downside, to his anime is the pacing. In my opinion the pacing of the anime is bit fast, and they leave a few plot holes where it could be touched upon more. However, Gangsta is an enjoyable anime. I liked the action, how it didn't pull any punches with ultraviolence, and that it was gritty and unapologetic with a hint of enhanced drugged humans. Anime that truly stands out.

Banana Fish

  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama

  • 1 Season, 24 Episodes

Ash Lynx, a 17-year-old gang boss runs the streets of New York when he accidently stumbles upon a mysterious drug called “Banana Fish.” Everything changes for Ash when he discovers the drug. The infamous godfather of the mafia, Dino Golzine, is now after Ash. Survival is now of the essence! Is Ash able to escape the gang wars and the mafia while searching for the truth behind the mysterious drug Banana Fish? Now this is a very graphic anime that is not suitable for all viewers. This series covers many sensitive topics that will leave you disgusted with humanity. This series we follow Ash and Eiji Okumura, who are Japanese photographers reporting on American street gangs. Ash and Eiji go down a dark and dangerous rabbit hole of drugs, and violence. We have nonstop action in series as we get deeper to source of Banana fish. Our protagonists create a sense of calm, love and understanding for one another. They give each other what they need most in. This series has a little bit of everything: drama, action, romance and betrayal. We see how they struggle to survive and purse in life. Alongside, strong character development we have a wonderful color palette to accompany the story. This is anime you will not be disappointed in starting. 10 out of 10 in my book.

91 Days

  • Genre: Action, Drama, History

  • 1 Season, 12 Episodes

Witnessing the death of his family, Angelo Lagusa is forced to go the run to survive. Vowing to seek vengeance against the Vanetti Mafia. Willing to put everything on the lie for his revenge, Angelo returns to his hometown with a new identity and a plan to bring the Vanetti to their knees. Will Angelo’s plan succeed, or will he be discovered and killed? The anime is set during the Prohibition era, as the mafia runs ramped throughout the town with illegal alcohol operations. We see Avilio (Angelo) infatuate the Vanetti family slowly gaining the trust of the mafia. With every decision that is made we see Avilio come closer to his goal. However, the steaks just become higher and higher. Now this story isn’t something spectacular, but it is solid. The characters are mission oriented making it difficult for character development, but we see how dilemmas of the characters as they face each obstacle that is thrown at them. However, it is a very straight forward anime with action packed scenes. This is more like a movie then a series, so grab the popcorn and be ready to be at the edge of your seat.

Black Lagoon

  • Genre: Action, Drama

  • 2 Season, 12 Episodes, 1 OVA

Within Thailand is Roanapur, a depraved, crime-ridden city where not even the authorities or churches are untouched by the claws of corruption. A haven for convicts and degenerates alike, the city is notorious for being the center of illegal activities and operations, often fueled by local crime syndicates. We follow the mercenary group called Black Lagoon as they go varies life threating missions. Black Lagoon is a staple within the anime community. There are people that will recommend this series to new anime fans since it is popular and well-liked series. Black Lagoon is a non-stop, high-octane thriller. As we get to know our character, we begin to question the depths of human morality and virtue. We especially see this with the interactions between Revy and Rock. As learn to watch depths humanity will sink to. From the beginning of this series

Baccano!

  • Genres: Action, Comedy, Mystery, Supernatural, Historical

  • 1 Season, 12 Episodes

During the early 1930s in Chicago, the transcontinental train, Flying Pussyfoot, is starting its legendary journey that will leave a trail of blood all over the country. At the same time in New York, the ambitious scientist Szilard and his unwilling aide Ennis are looking for missing bottles of the immortality elixir. In addition, a war between the mafia groups is getting worse. On board the Advena Avis, in 1711, alchemists are about to learn the price of immortality. What does this all mean? Are they related or not? Baccon is based off an award-winning light novel. In this anime, we follow serval events that can be a bit confusing if you are not paying attention. Now this is an anime you will not be sad in starting. This anime merges the action, comedy and drama nicely. If feels as if you are watching a movie instead of a series. Baccano has a solid story coupled with some amazing characters. This anime being set in the early 1930s, we have a great western influence within the series that adds to ambience of the series and helping the plot progress. Alongside the great characters and plot the music brings everything together. This is one of my top picks. Go watch it! NOW!

Wolf’s Rain

  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Mystery, Sci-Fi

  • 1 Season, 26 Episodes

In a dying world, a lone wolf named Kiba finds himself drawn by an intoxicating scent to Freeze City, an impoverished town under the rule of the callous Lord Orkham. This scent is believed to lead to the gateway of paradise. However, they are not the only ones seeking paradise, and those with more sinister intentions will do anything in their power to reach it first.

This is another older anime that was released in the early 2000s. This is a great hidden gem in the anime world. Kiba, Hige, Tsume, and Toboe are the last remaining wolves of the world. Disguising themselves as humans they try to live in a desolate dystopian world. A mysterious smell has brought them together. This series does a great job in capturing humanity destroying themselves in comparison to other series where we have external forces destroying the world. The animation and character design were great for the early 2000s but is lacking for modern times. Wolf’s Rain has an incredible amount of depth, metaphors, and symbolism that can be missed if you are not paying attention. Although this is a great anime, it does have an issue with recapping the series and it can get a bit confusing. However, this is a great show to watch.

Gungrave

  • Genres: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi

  • 1 Season, 26 Episodes

Brandon Heat and Harry MacDowel, two friends so close they could be called brothers, enter the infamous mafia syndicate Millennion. Pledging loyalty to the organization Brandon and Harry try to raise their ranks within the organization but what happens when Bradon is betrayed by his brother? Gungrave is based off the third-person shooter video game under the same name. This is an older anime, and it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. However, I believe the plot truly makes this anime. The characters are well done for anime released in the early 2000s, but the character interactions can be frustrating. This series is not as graphic as the other ones listed on here, but it makes the cut for the dark atmosphere and the use of violence/ drugs. This was a great series to watch, it had me hooked after the third episode. The series does start off a bit confusing since we it starts off in the future, but the series goes back in time to see how we got to current situation. This anime isn’t your typical mafia-based anime since they throw in some “zombie-like” creatures in the story, which can take away from plot but overall, it is an enjoyable anime.

Afro Samurai

  • Genres: Action, Adventure

  • 1 Season, 5 Episodes, 1 Movie

When he was a young boy, Afro witnessed his father be cut down in a duel at the hands of a man known only as Justice. Witnessing his father’s death, Afro seeks revenge. Forcing young Afro on to a dark and treacherous path of blood, sorrow and hardships. Will Afro achieve revenge, or will he be killed before avenging his father? This is another non-stop action anime from the first episode. This isn’t your typical anime series. We have a heavy coupled with its comedic relief atmosphere but wrapped in predominately Black Culture. Afro Samurai does not shy away from the gore and violence. Although this anime is considered a classic with anime community it is a bit difficult to appreciate it. As expected of a 5-episode series, the story is not very detailed on character backgrounds or plot. The characters and storyline are very straight forward and doesn’t leave room for character growth. However, the art style and voice acting are great. Especially, when you Samuel Jackson voicing Afro! The art style provides a fresh of breath air from your traditional animes. Plus having a Moreover, for a 5-episode anime it does a phenomenal job keeping the viewer entertained throughout the series. So, set some time aside to check this interesting and unique anime.

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Honorable Mentions

  • Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom

  • Nior

  • Canaan

  • Tokyo Revengers


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