479 voters

The 14 Best Survival Game Anime Ever Made, Ranked

Updated July 29, 2021 2k votes 479 voters 14.2k views14 items

Games are supposed to be fun...right? Not so much in survival games. If losing the game means losing your life, the only one having fun might be the audience. But if you like high-stakes action and don't mind a little - or a lot - of blood, there's a lot of fun to be had. 

For this list, we'll be counting down some of the greatest survival game anime recommendations. Looking for an anime so gory and brutal you might have to look away from the screen? Try Gantz, an anime that takes hunting aliens in the afterlife to its most brutal extremes. Want something a little more chill? Try Sword Art Online, where the consequences of losing are high, but you don't have to watch people getting dismembered all the time. Interested in a complex plot? Try Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor, an anime about gambling gone wrong. Not enough yanderes in your life? Future Diary might be right up your alley. 

  • Photo: Asread

    Future Diary is among the most well-known survival game anime, so if you only watch one, it's a strong contender. A group of twelve people are given "diaries" - cell phone apps that give them information that seems useless, but can help them in the survival game they've been thrust into. Whoever wins becomes a god - but to do that, they have to annihilate everyone else first. Hoping to get through the battle alive, Yukiteru Amano teams up with his stalker, Yuno Gasai. But Yuno may actually be the scariest thing about the competition. Will Yukiteru manage to survive?

    Great anime?
  • Photo: Nexus

    After answering an invitation to play an online game called Darwin's Game, high schooler Kaname Sudou is bitten by a snake that slithers out of his cell phone. At first, he writes this off as a hallucinatory experience, but he soon discovers that that's not the case. The next time he boots up the game, he discovers that his in-game opponent is present in real life - and he's coming after him with a knife. What he thought was a simple video game is actually a fight for his life. 

    Great anime?
  • Photo: Manglobe

    What was going to be a slightly bizarre field trip to a prison called Deadman Wonderland becomes life-altering when Ganta Igarashi's entire class is eliminated by a mysterious figure dressed in red. Ganta is accused of the crime and locked up in the prison he's visiting. But Deadman Wonderland is no ordinary prison. Ganta is forced to wear a collar that monitors his location and continuously injects poison into his bloodstream - poison that can only be neutralized by taking medicine that's acquired through winning violent competitions. Luckily, he has some help from a mysterious girl named Shiro...but Shiro may not be all that she seems. 

    Great anime?
  • 4

    The Fate Series

    Photo: ufotable

    Each iteration of Fate is centered around a contest to take possession of the Holy Grail. Each no-holds-barred contest is fought of seven mages and their servants. The winning duo will have a wish of their choice granted, but nobody gets there without taking a few lives along the way, or risking their own. What's more, the Grail itself has been corrupted over time by all the bloodshed, so the wishes don't always go as planned. Exactly how it goes down varies depending on which Fate series you watch, most of them will scratch the itch for a great survival game anime. 

    Great anime?