"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 perish dramatically, but you won't see any of them lose their heads 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.
The cyberpunk anime Genocyber is infamous for its gore. 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.738127Is this shocking?
Urotsukidoji: Legend of the OverfiendPhoto: Phoenix Entertainment Digital Works
Best known for launching a certain tentacle-centric 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 assault and death are only minutes apart.547135Is this shocking?
Violence JackPhoto: Ashi Productions
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.
Evil Town faced many issues with censorship, with some countries simply banning it.412103Is this shocking?
Angel CopPhoto: DAST
Angel Cop is unbelievably over-the-top. However, it is also a bit ridiculous, as its bloody scenes are paired with a horrendous English dub. It doesn't help that characters explode in pools of blood from simple gunshot wounds, either. In fact, nothing about the ways people are offed really makes sense here, yet it fits because of the so-bad-it's-good vibe.394105Is this shocking?