When you think about anime for kids, you probably don't think about people and animals passing away, psychological breakdowns, cities being destroyed, or police brutality. But while kid-oriented fare tends to stay relatively PG, there are moments when things go totally off the rails.
Viewers of shows like Yu-Gi-Oh!, Digimon, and even Sonic X and Yokai Watch will remember the series' more disturbing moments. Kyosuke Kiryuu being tortured in prison was only one of the horrifying moments that Yu-Gi-Oh! had to offer, while Juri's breakdown in Digimon Tamers will stay with viewers forever.
Dark moments from kids anime aren't necessarily a bad thing. They can help their intended audience process difficult subjects in a safe way, and they can keep the adults and teens in the room from being bored out of their minds. That said, if a kid isn't prepared for a scary moment, it can be damaging.
Which scary anime moments seem the least kid friendly?
Juri Has A Breakdown In 'Digimon Tamers'Photo: Toei Animation
After her partner Digimon Leomon passes away, Juri (known as Jeri in the dub) is devastated by his demise - so devastated that her mind is a perfect portal for the D-Reaper to use to start wreaking havoc on the world. This process forces Juri to experience nightmarish visions that include her late mother and her hand puppet coming to life and berating her. This was ten times more upsetting than anything that had happened in the series so far, and most Tamers fans are still a little traumatized by it.26117Was this dark?
The Mimikyu Episode In 'Pokemon'Photo: OLM
Mimikyu, a mysterious Pokemon who is known for imitating Pikachu, can come across as pretty cute - but when it first appears in the anime, it's anything but. Rather than simply wanting the love that Pikachu recieves, this Mimikyu hates Pikachu with every fiber of its being. Basically, it's wearing a Pikachu costume for the same reason that B does in the Death Note light novels.
It also says terrifying, demonic things that only Pokemon can understand - Meowth is too intidimated to translate. Underneath its cute Pikachu costume is pure darkness, which nearly ends Meowth's life. Is this a horror movie or is this a kid's show?27250Was this dark?
The Dark Ocean In 'Digimon Adventure 02'Photo: Toei Animation
The Dark Ocean is one of those things that Digimon never really followed up on, possibly because they realized that they were a kids show, and kids shows probably shouldn't reference Cthulu. In one particularly weird episode, Hikari (known as Kari in the dub) is lured by creepy fish monsters into a hazy netherworld that lies somewhere between the real world and the Digital World. What do they want with the 11-year-old girl? To make her into their Queen. It's so creepy that after watching the mini-arc, you kind of want new eyeballs that have never seen it.17120Was this dark?
Stoutland Passes Away In 'Pokemon'Photo: OLM
When kids shows confront death, it tends to be with with animals, as that can be easier to understand than a person passing away. But that doesn't make it any less unsettling when it does happen. In one particularly sad episode of Pokemon, an elderly Stoutland, who has been raising a young Litten, begins to have trouble breathing. Stoutland isn't sick or hurt, but is simply passing away from old age.
Litten's devastation at the loss of their friend combined with the somber imagery makes this episode one of the darker ones the series has to offer.21742Was this dark?