Photo: Wit Studio

15 Anime That Are Super Dark For Being A Shonen Series

Some people think that shonen anime is for kids. This isn't true. While some of it is geared towards middle schoolers, some of it is actually targeted at older teens. That huge demographic range means that while some shonen is family-friendly, some of it deals with some truly dark content. 

One of the darkest shonen anime is The Promised Neverland, which follows a group of orphans as they try to escape from a grisly fate - being sold as food to human-eating demons. There's also D.Gray-man, which features the souls of the deceased being used as high-tech weapons. If you love disturbing shonen, this list has something on it for you. 

Photo: Wit Studio

  • 1
    1,361 VOTES

    When many people think of dark shonen, Attack on Titan is the first thing that comes to mind. The series begins with the protagonists' homes being destroyed by gigantic, man-eating monsters. At first, they seem like a simple but terrifying threat - and the series does not skimp on the graphic violence. But as further details are revealed about the Titan's origins, things get much darker. More than just monsters, they're the focal point of generations of political strife and ethnic discrimination. It's nearly impossible to tell who the good guys are, and the raw brutality doesn't let up while you're trying to figure it out. 

    1,361 votes
  • 2
    872 VOTES
    Akame ga Kill!
    Photo: White Fox

    Do not get attached to any of the characters in this series. Whether their head is on a pike or they're being eaten alive, nearly every character bites it in one the most gruesome way imaginable. Considering the fact that the story is about a group of assassins using their power to unseat a corrupt government, it's not surprising that things would get violent, but this series is less 'violent' than it is 'blood-soaked.' 

    872 votes
  • 3
    968 VOTES
    Death Note
    Photo: Madhouse

    Death Note is a grim and fascinating take on hubris causing a person's downfall. After Light Yagami finds a magical notebook that lets him end the life of anyone whose name he writes inside, he decides to use this new ability to start eliminating criminals by giving them fatal heart attacks. With help from Ryuk the Shinigami, he begins the process of trying to create a new, peaceful world with himself at the helm.

    But the power quickly goes to his head. Soon, it's less about taking down evildoers and more about trying to defeat his enemies and amass power. He betrays his allies left and right and eliminates people who are completely innocent. The darkest moments are the ones where we see the monster that Light has become. 

    968 votes
  • 4
    403 VOTES
    Photo: Madhouse

    If you're looking for something grim, gritty, and dark, Claymore may be one of your best options. Claymores are created by cutting open a human and inserting youma flesh into their bodies. This, along with the training that few survive, gives them the supernatural ability they need to take down youma. Only female Claymore are created because males become too aggressive. Most are orphans or other people who have been discarded by society. Once transformed, most people hate and fear them despite their mission to keep humanity safe. 

    403 votes
  • Deadman Wonderland
    Photo: Manglobe

    What was going to be a slightly weird school trip to a carnival-like prison turns grisly when all of Ganta Igarashi's classmates are slain by the mysterious 'man in red.' Ganta is accused of the crime and locked up in the prison. There, he'll have to endure painful and dangerous 'survival games' that he can't opt out of unless he wants the collar around his neck to destroy him.

    Just getting through his daily trials in the Wonderland Prison is challenging enough, but there's also a frighteningly personal mystery behind the 'man in red' to contend with. How is this shonen exactly?

    479 votes
  • 6
    485 VOTES
    Future Diary
    Photo: Asread

    Yukiteru Amano is a lonely high school student who spends most of his time recording random observations on his phone. His life changes dramatically when the god of time and space gives him a Random Diary, which records information that will help him during a survival game that could make him a god but could end his life. By his side his yandere stalker Yuno Gasai, whose diary tells him everything that he does all day. She loves Yukiteru so much that she'll destroy anyone who gets in the way of their union - even Yukiteru himself. This show is a bloody thrill-ride that will leave you deeply unsettled.

    485 votes