"Anime is not for kids." That's the tagline a now-defunct anime distributor once used at the beginning of their animated VHS ads. It's not hard to imagine why anyone would find that chilling warning so appealing. Generally, animation is aimed towards children in the West. On the other hand, Japan has animated series that appeal to a variety of ages and can get away with way more risqué material than the cartoons shown in the States.
Nonetheless, even Japanese networks have their limits when it comes to depicting violence or airing material deemed offensive. The characters on Naruto may bleed and even die a heroic death, but you won't see any of them get decapitated right in front of your eyes. However, Original Video Animations, or OVAs, could get away with that.
The emerging market of OVAs during the 1980s and 1990s saw Japanese anime studios crossing territories they never could have crossed on TV. Eroticism was no longer a taboo subject, and neither was its correlation with extreme violence. Thus, OVAs became a huge factor in shaping the public perception about anime in Japan. Compiled here are the most shockingly violent OVAs from the '80s and '90s that painted anime as hyper-violent, pornographic cartoons. Vote up the ones that are most disturbingly bloody and savage.
The cyberpunk anime Genocyber is infamous for its crazy depiction of violence. The soon-to-be-one nation of the world is under attack by a new cybernetic weapon that exhibits psychic powers. The humanoid monster dispatches its victims in the most grotesque of ways, such as ripping a man's skull and spine straight from his face. That's not even the worse death in Genocyber. A man has his stomach ripped open, resulting in an exposed rib cage with blood and organs spilling out.
Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Overfiend
Best known for launching the tentacle rape genre, Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Overfiend mixed eroticism with extreme violence to create an animated film like no other. The anime's tale of humans, demons, and half-beasts intertwining provides an ugly world where rape and death are only minutes apart. Women are the main targets of Urotsukidoji's cruelty, as they are constantly raped and horrifically killed by chaotic monsters. Men have it a little easier - they're treated like living toys who are tortured until they break.
If you didn't guess by the title, Violence Jack is a violent anime. Set in a Mad Max-ish post-apocalyptic world, the three OVAs of Violence Jack divides what's left of humanity by the weak and the strong. It's not just strength that rules the day, but heartlessness. For example, wandering thugs torture a man to death by chainsawing his legs, chest, and finally, his head - all in front of his woman.
One of the most gruesome scenes in the film is in Violence Jack: Evil Town. In this OVA, viewers see young children being butchered one by one. Evil Town faced many issues with censorship, with some countries simply banning it.
Devilman: The Birth
The Devilman TV anime series never truly captured the harshness found in the original manga. However, the OVA series picked up the slack. It began with Devilman: The Birth, which didn't shy away from the repulsive violence. The Birth is an everyday story of a typical kid learning there's an upcoming war between humans and demons, and humanity's only hope of survival is summoning the all-powerful Devilman.
Sex and violence, as with most of these shockingly violent anime films, play a key role in the story. One scene has hypersexual nightclub dancers engaging in fisticuffs until their true demonic forms are revealed. Devilman mercilessly crushes them to death, going so far as to squeeze a demon's skull with his bare hands to produce an explosion of blood.