Death in anime is something that is often censored, especially if the target audience tends to be children. Shows like Dragon Ball and Pokémon have tried to come up with alternatives to the typical depiction of death or Hell, like creating "friendlier" afterlife worlds. Yet oddly, these alternative metaphors for death or hell are actually worse than dying. Animation studios usually create these creepy representations for younger audiences to try to soften the blow of losing a character. From censored scenes in Yu-Gi-Oh to the Negaverse in Sailor Moon, these death and Hell metaphors ironically make for far scarier fates and more horrifying stand-ins.
Then there are other anime that are unabashedly aggressive in creating a nastier alternative to death or Hell. Take Gantz, for example - as soon as you die, you find yourself in a literal death match filled to the brim with brutality. From "deletion" to being turned to stone, here are the craziest anime stand-ins for death and Hell that are worse than dying. Vote up the scariest metaphors for the afterlife in anime.
The Astral World From Berserk Represents Your Worst Nightmares On Acid
Also ominously known as the Netherworld, the Astral World overlaps the "Physical" and "Ideal" worlds of Berserk, and is certainly the one you might want to skip over if you were doing a tour of the trinity. The Astral World is made up of four layers, each more surreal and terrifying than the last. The scariest layer is the Abyss, where most people cannot keep their sanity or even their sense of self.
The False Gate Of Truth In Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood Represents A Different Hell
The idea of stepping through a gate to access Heaven or Hell is common in most cultures. In Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, the Gate of Truth is a metaphysical separation between the forbidden realm of God and man. Gluttony's stomach actually contains a false Gate - a failed attempt by Father to create one. Functioning like a pocket dimension, once activated, it opens to reveal a huge eye at the center capable of hungrily consuming everything within its field of vision. The consumption is instantaneous, too, making escape practically impossible.
Just like Gluttony's appetite, the space inside seems to be terrifyingly endless. What's even creepier is that once Gluttony has consumed someone, they're eternally trapped in his False Gate. This means that not only are all the bones of his victims still in this Hell, but so is their blood. If you ever step inside, you'll probably drown in a sea of red. It will literally be a space that reeks of death, rot, and gore until you join the mass of skeletons just floating inside Gluttony's stomach.
The Gates Of Hell In Bleach Represent No Escaping The Inevitable
Very few representations of the afterlife are as complex and vast as Bleach's Soul Society, but only human souls who have lived good lives are granted the chance to go there. After death, some human souls mutate into Hollows that can be cleansed by dutiful Shinigami, but Hollows originating from sinful humans are Hell-bound. Bleach's Hell is made up of five levels, each more torturous than the last, but the entrance alone is terrifying enough. Guarded by skeletons, when the Gates of Hell open, a huge, demonic creature from the other side stabs the Hollow and drags it through, laughing as it disappears inside.
Bars Like Quindecim In Death Parade Represents A Fate Worse Than Death
Some believe that you either go to Heaven or Hell when you die, but what if you ended up in a bar instead? That's the crazy premise for Death Parade. Once you die, you find yourself on one of the floors of a building. Nearly every floor has an otherworldly bar with a bartender. The anime mostly takes place on the 15th floor, Quindecim, where a guy named Decim acts as the bartender.
The bartender is also an arbiter, forcing his recently deceased patrons to wager the future of the very fabric of their existence in a "Death Game." As arbiter, the bartenders decide your afterlife fate. If you win, you get to be reincarnated, but if you lose, you're banished to the "void." Good luck!