Ria is an avid anime and sci-fi fan who loves gushing about her latest favorite shows.
Anime Like Tokyo Ghoul
With Tokyo Ghoul:re ending and no further sequels announced, fans of the gory supernatural franchise will likely be seeking similar anime to watch. Fortunately, there's no shortage of creepy shows about demons, vampires or other supernatural beings. Here are some new and classic anime with a premise or dark tone similar to Tokyo Ghoul's.
The premise of Hell Girl, or Jigoku Shoujo, is simple at first: there's a website where someone with a deep grudge can arrange for someone they hate can be sent to hell. The only price is that the person who makes the request is also condemned to hell.
However, the complexity of the show is bound to be a treat for fans of Tokyo Ghoul's more heartrending moments of moral ambiguity. Ai, the titular Hell Girl, isn't the judge of people's sins, but viewers can still do plenty of judging for themselves. The show also gets more complicated as new characters show up to make Ai's job more complicated.
While there's not as much action in Hell Girl as there is in Tokyo Ghoul, Hell Girl still manages to be scary. With over 80 episodes over four seasons, there's also a lot of Hell Girl to watch—and most importantly, the show stays consistently good throughout, with the exception of the lackluster final six episodes.
Blood+ is an emotionally-charged saga that accomplishes far more than most vampire shows. Main character Saya thinks she's a normal high-schooler until her true identity is revealed, and she must fight monsters called chiropterans alongside various allies. There's tension between multiple characters as they fight to do what's best for Saya, and some of them pay the ultimate price as they protect her and the world around them.
The plot of Blood+ spans centuries, and the characters travel the globe, but the show never forgets its roots. Saya's adoptive family plays a key role throughout the story, even as her enemies change. Its premise may be different, but its key themes and overall tone are similar enough to Tokyo Ghoul that fans of the latter will be thoroughly satisfied.
If you liked Blood+ but want something even darker, its spiritual sequel Blood-C may be right up your alley. Don't let the cute school uniforms and Clamp character designs fool you—Blood-C is much more brutal than its predecessor. The gore and torture in the final two episodes are probably too much for most fans, though luckily, the broadcast version of the show edited out a decent portion of the horror.
Still, the short series is full of great twists, and it's a welcome diversion from more episodic monster-of-the-week shows. There's also a movie, Blood-C: The Last Dark, which provides worthwhile but slightly disappointing closure to the series.
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This recommendation comes with a major caveat: the D.Gray-man anime adaptation is good, but the first anime series ends awkwardly after 103 episodes. There's a 13-episode extension titled D.Gray-man: Hallow, but there's little point to this continuation, since viewers will still have to switch back to reading the manga to get the rest of the story anyway.
That said, D.Gray-man is still worthwhile for fans of Tokyo Ghoul. It has the same fast-paced action, interesting cast of characters, and dark tone, though its conflict often lacks the moral dilemmas and other sources of tension that Tokyo Ghoul has. The worldbuilding in D.Gray-man is somewhat richer than that of Tokyo Ghoul, so fans of dark fantasy will find a lot to like here.
If you finish the main anime and want to continue reading the manga, you can start off from the middle of volume 16. Hallow continues the story until midway through volume 23.
Another series where the anime adaptation is good, but doesn't quite do the manga justice. Claymore features a half-yoma, half-human woman who travels around a medieval fantasy world taking on yoma monsters. There are many women like her, and their battles aren't always with yoma—they're sometimes with other humans.
Like Tokyo Ghoul, Claymore explores the ways humanity can discriminate against beings who aren't quite like them. Main character Clare is a compelling figure, but her relationships with the others are what make Claymore a truly standout show. The action is fairly good, though it sometimes falls into typical shounen tropes and predictable patterns. Still, the show keeps the stakes high and doesn't shy away from showing the horrors of a supernatural war.
Psycho-Pass may be a cyberpunk anime, but it's a solid recommendation because it offers similar conflicts and tone to Tokyo Ghoul without rehashing the same supernatural tropes. The main characters of Psycho-Pass are police officers in a supposedly utopian sci-fi setting, and over the course of the show, they're forced to confront the morality—and lack thereof—of their actions. The "bad guys" are more complicated than they first appear, and when the dust settles at the end of the first season, loyalties have shifted.
Unfortunately, the second season isn't as good, partly because it was too short to keep up the excellent drama and plot development that season one offered. The movie sequel was more well-received, and an additional three-part movie series has been announced for 2019.
Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress
Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress offers less drama and character development than Tokyo Ghoul, and instead offers more explosions and action. It's an entertaining show that carries the same dark tone and supernatural trimmings, thanks to its antagonists essentially being zombies and two main characters being half-human hybrids. The cast is likable enough, and the 12-episode series has just enough time to introduce them decently before ending.
While Kabaneri is also very similar in plot to Attack on Titan, the latter has much more drawn-out plot development and worldbuilding. Kabaneri's worldbuilding is a little more manageable, so fans of Tokyo Ghoul's relatively straightforward setting and mythos may like Kabaneri better than Attack on Titan.
There's now a sequel movie, too, so hopefully fans can get a little more closure than what the series had to offer.