There is a tendency to associate animated shows and movies with content for children. This rings even more true for anime series, which have a tendency to include colorful characters and fantastical animation. However, unlike many animated shows, the majority of anime is generally geared toward more mature audiences. There are, of course, family friendly options like Pokemon or Doraemon, but they are harder to find than one would think.
It’s common for anime series to have mature language, violence, gore, sexual themes, and dark premises. In fact, some of the most popular series have most of these things. Many of them aren’t so inappropriate for older kids, but there are those that take mature content to a new level. There are anime that are so gratuitously violent or with so much fan service that even some adults shy away from them.
Here are some of the best anime that are definitely not for kids!
Blood-C follows a “normal teenager”, Saya, who is a shrine maiden in a country village. However, she has a secret life as a trained swordswoman who defeats monsters that come to destroy her village. It was a straightforward life that her father pushed on her, but she realizes that not everything is at it seems, and there are a lot of dark secrets lurking in the shadows.
An average teenager that fights some type of monsters at night is a common plot in many anime, but what makes this one stand out is the sheer amount of violence. The anime can be classified as a horror, with its disturbing creatures and dark methods of killing. The violent scenes are graphic and seem to just get gorier as the show goes on. Like the name warns, there is a lot of blood.
9 Prison School
Prison School is about five boys who are transferred to a private academy that used to be girls only. They begin to accept boys, but only start out with with a very few, leaving the boys to be singled out. To make matters worse, they peep into the girls’ bathing area, earning them a month in the school’s prison. This includes being under constant surveillance of the school’s Underground Secret Counsel and being condemned to doing hard labor.
The aspects of this show that differentiates itself from the rest of the anime with enormous amounts of fan service is the relationship between the Underground Secret Counsel and the main group of boys. During their imprisonment, the Underground Secret Counsel acts as the boys’ sadistic dominatrices, humiliating, bullying, physically torturing, and subjecting them to their perverted ideas. This is all done in a comedic light, but it is very mature content, nonetheless.
8 Goblin Slayer
Goblin Slayer takes place in a typical fantasy world full of creatures, adventurers, and guilds. An inexperienced priestess joins an equally inexperienced adventuring team and takes on a mission involving goblins. However, it quickly goes wrong, and she has to be saved by someone known as the Goblin Slayer. The Goblin Slayer’s sole purpose is to brutally and indeterminably slaughter any goblin that he sees. She ends up joining his team and grows accustomed to his merciless ways.
The violence and gore this anime is intense. Within the first 10 minutes of the first episode, a shocking scene depicting the sexual assault of one of the priestess’s teammates by a group of goblins takes place and sets the dark tone of the series. The raw and graphic violence can be difficult for even adult viewers to watch.
7 Hellsing Ultimate
Hellsing Ultimate takes place in a universe where vampires are widespread and dedicated to terrorizing England. To combat them, an organization specifically to exterminate them, Hellsing, is created. Their most powerful asset is a vampire who is willing to fight his own kind, Alucard. He and the rest of the organization must stop a vampire warlord from using his army to declare an eternal war on England.
This series has been referred to as, “one of the most violent anime of all time.” There’s extreme bloodshed, sexual violence, burning people alive, and loads of other disturbing material. It’s not for the faint of heart, and it’s definitely not for children.
6 Highschool DxD
High School DxD follows a slightly perverted high school student named Issei, who, unfortunately, gets murdered on his first ever date. He’s brought back to life by a beautiful demon named Rias, who turns him into a demon, as well as her servant. Rias involves Issei into the Occult Research Club and teaches him all about the world of angels and demons, as well as how to hopefully survive in it. He also starts a harem, something he’s always dreamed of.
This series is one of the most popular ecchi anime, which, by nature, has massive amounts of nudity. This is directed almost entirely at Issei’s harem, frequently showing them undressed with close-ups of their bodies. There’s no explicit sexual content, but it does contain more sexual suggestions than actual dialogue.
5 Attack on Titan
Attack on Titan revolves around Eren, a young man who lives within a walled city that is constantly being attacked by giant creatures called Titans. Eren joins the military to help the cause and to avenge his mother, who was killed by Titans when he was young. He and the rest of his friends start to realize that the Titans are more complicated than they realize and the challenge of killing them becomes increasingly difficult.
While this series is one of the most popular in recent years, that doesn’t mean that it’s for everyone. The anime features incredibly disturbing deaths, many of which include characters being eaten alive by Titans. These death scenes are extremely graphic and have a tendency to be drawn out for the full, spine-chilling effect.
Berserk (2016) is a continuation of the 1997 series by the same name. It revolves around Guts, who was a past mercenary for a group called Band of the Hawk until its leader betrayed him and the rest of the group. He sacrificed them, with the exception of a few survivors, to become a “God Hand.” Those who did survive are marked, and this mark constantly attracts evil spirits that Guts has to deal with on his path of vengeance.
This anime, like many of the others on this list, has endless gore and graphic violence, as well as a myriad of disturbing trauma that the characters have faced. The themes, stories, and violence throughout are extremely dark.
3 Interspecies Reviewers
Interspecies Reviewers takes place in a fantasy world with a huge assortment of magical creatures inhabiting it. Naturally, because of this, there are also an endless amount of brothers featuring these creatures. The main characters take it upon themselves to visit each of them to create reviews that show everyone which ones to go to.
This anime was actually purchased by Funimation, but they cancelled and stopped streaming it after a few episodes due to its NSFW content that didn’t fit into their standards. While there are no explicit depictions of the actual act, it comes about as close as possible without crossing that line.
2 Promised Neverland
Promised Neverland takes place in a universe where there is a pact between humans and demons to keep their worlds separate, but only if certain conditions are met. The series starts out in an idyllic orphanage, where all of the children are well taken care of by the “mother” of the orphanage. The only inconvenience they have is having their intelligence tested everyday. They soon realize the dark and twisted reality of what happens when they reach a high enough intelligence level and are “adopted.”
This series has surprisingly wholesome animation, which makes it so much more shocking when the story turns dark. There isn’t much gore throughout the show, leaving the disturbing imagery and twisted premise to take center stage. No matter how child-friendly this anime looks, it is the exact opposite for both the characters and the audience.
1 Parasite: The Maxim
Parasyte: The Maxim follows high school student, Shinichi, in a world where alien parasites have infested the Earth. The parasites need a host to survive and will do whatever is necessary to take over a human’s brain, including taking different forms to trick their future host. Shinichi is attacked by one of these parasites, but it doesn’t manage to take over his brain fully. Instead, it takes up residence in his hand, and the two are forced to coexist in order for each of them to survive.
This series could be considered a horror anime, with the tjump scares, gore, and violence that would typically be associated with it. However, the most disturbing aspects of this show have to do with the body horror that is frequently present. The parasites are able to disform the humans in various ways, creating twisted images that are more horrific than the any jump scare or excessive use of blood.