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5 Great Seemingly-Cute Anime That Are Actually Really Dark

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Antihero loves watching and reviewing anime. They have a lot of knowledge to share!

5. "Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!"

"Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!"

"Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!"

This one seems really weird, but hear me out. Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! is about a selection of high school students who suffer/have suffered from "2nd grade syndrome" which makes them cast aside reality for a fantasy world. Of course, this will appear light-hearted on the surface, but when you actually look into it, this is quite a disturbing concept.

These kids suffering from "2nd grade syndrome" do not want to face the world they live in. They would prefer to create their own one within this where things are much more simple, where magic rules over all and is given to the good and the wicked are defeated, where anyone can be saved and they're not forced to simply face reality without a second thought. They long for a world where embarking on quests can resolve injustice and the evil in the world can be easily destroyed.

What I find to be the truly disturbing concept of the anime is how the people around them are still cruelly trying to drag them back into the real world without any kind of transition. They try to force them to accept reality, sending across a message that this is just the way the world is and we can't achieve change with only ourselves and our delusions, the world is unwilling to wait for us.

4. "Mirai Nikki"

"Mirai Nikki"

"Mirai Nikki"

Ugh I feel like this one may either be blatantly obvious or people are just so accustomed to the fact that this is a disturbing anime but I'm kind of going at it from a different angle, the angle of the relationship between Yuno and Yuki. Yeah, that thing we all love for some reason even though we really shouldn't. This relationship is well known and also becomes apparent EXTREMELY early in the anime so I don't consider this to be spoilers.

Cut to the start of the anime, we see a cute girl save Yuki (MC) from danger. Ok, pretty standard stuff so far, probably will turn into a ship. Hot on the heels of this though we find out that the girl - Yuno - is in possession of a phone that can only tell Yuki's future. That triggers a red light immediately and as well as this, she takes advantage of her tool and stalks Yuki with it. She even tries to take advantage of him multiple times, yet still appears as cute.

Of course, the whole fan following (pretty much anyway) ships Yuno and Yuki despite the fact that not only does she stalk him but she is also mentally disturbed. This relationship is just so damned wrong but the anime has managed to almost twist the audience so much so that we ignore all of this as if we are entering Yuno's own mindset and will ignore any crime for them to be together. Admittedly this disturbing factor is one of the things I love most about Mirai Nikki.

3. "Shinsekai Yori"

"Shinsekai Yori"

"Shinsekai Yori"

Looks so cute, doesn't it? This show broke me. I will admit this anime was hard to get into, but wow, was it disturbing. The anime begins following a group of four children hearing of the rumor of a great beast that will eat children who stay out late or do anything to break the rules of their society really.

More strange rules of society emerge, such as the very much obscured history of the world and the easiness of love seen later in the anime. Most disturbing are the rumors that guide characters' actions, like the rumor of monsters eating children and people becoming "ogres," crazed creatures consumed by the powers that the people of this era.

As the anime progresses the group of friends learns of the history, the "monster rats" that serve them, and the truth behind these rumors that hang over their village, and all of it is extremely sickening, along with the punishment such knowledge brings to the young characters and how it is accepted by everyone else. This one really makes you consider the ethics of our species.

2. "Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni"

"Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni"

"Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni"

Feel like I went obvious again but this one has to be said. Higurashi was originally a visual novel adapted to anime and I think it managed to shock people just as much on both releases with its violent and merciless themes. When this was suggested to me I didn't believe what people were telling me about it because, although this anime opens with a VERY DARK scene, it immediately does a time warp to cutey and harmless and takes a while to escalate, it kind of gives you this false sense of security.

Higurashi probably is best known for its gruesome violence among the cast of adorable kids. They're each made to be lovable then have the most horrible things done to them and *shudders*. Just when you think this anime can't get more gruesome or cruel, it does.

The cruelest thing in this anime appears to be the strict application of religion over the small village. The whole village seems fishy and as if they're in on this and are simply ignoring the on-goings of their own youth. The discoveries about some of the characters in this anime actually made me really angry. The whole thing is messed up and it's hard to put into words anyway, especially without spoiling it.

1. "Fractale"



Here it is! Number one! I bet a lot of people are going to say my two or three should be here but for me personally, this one messed me up the most. In basic summary, Fractale is set in this world that I think is meant to be in the future where rules are followed without question and life is blissful, so long as religion is placed above all and prayers are offered every day. The main character, Clain, is visited by a mysterious girl and when she leaves finds she has left behind an equally mysterious girl called Nessa.

This anime starts off cute with the initial bad guys being bumbling morons with idiotic plans to kidnap Nessa. Then the anime really kicks off. Fighting, corruption, blood, death, extortion... everything is in there. And what was really disturbing to me is that it seems like the anime doesn't make a particular deal of it, that's just how it is and it's not really even made to look unfair, it's as if this were very well done unbiased documentary.

The further into the anime you go, the more disturbing this gets as you learn the true intentions of the religion worshiped by all in this world and even things as simple as the way that people live and their reliance on an unnatural resource.

A still from the show.

A still from the show.

So that does it for my top five! If this had just been anime that disturbed me the list would have been endless, but I believe anime that are made to look cutesy but are actually disturbing as hell is the best as they throw you for a loop. Each of these anime weighs heavy on my mind every so often which is quite an admirable skill that the creators have managed to utilize. Please, if you have any recommendations for anime similar to these leave them below, sugar-coated worlds of struggle seem to make the biggest impression on me.


Bella on September 09, 2020:

I lovr animae so much can't belive they evil :P

zMrCrazy on May 08, 2020:

Hmmm I consider Happy Shuger Life cuter and darker then future diary bit this isent my list. I've been looking for things that are cute and dark I'll check out the ones I haven't seen

AortaPlatinum on April 04, 2020:

Aw what, no classics?

Cowboy Bebop definitely deserves a spot, of course the overarching plot is very loose up until the last few episodes, most episodes have a self-contained arc, but a lot of those arcs fit really well here, starting normally and then getting pretty fucked up. Asteroid Blues, Jupiter Jazz [both parts], and Pierrot Le Fou are all perfect contenders.

Neon Genesis Evangelion also fits the bill. Sure it starts pretty depressing and horrifying, but oh god it just keeps getting worse and worse. Depending on your interpretation, the ending isn't much better...

Idk wut to put here lol on July 04, 2019:

Okay... i watched all these after i read the blog... 2 i didnt need to see cuz i already saw it but 1 is soooo disturbing like what the french toast

Someone with common sense on April 09, 2019:

Ya'll freaking forget that this is a post made in 2016, and some of the stuff you're recommending is more recent. SMH.

Beep Beep on April 05, 2019:

You are all forgetting a really,really messed up anime....

Happy Sugar Life....cute,but scary as hell and not exactly the sweet,innocent anime people would be hoping for

Dot Dot Bott on March 27, 2019:

The Promised Neverland should definitely be top on this list.

It takes you on a rollercoaster between

It's adorable... and then just hilarious, to frightened out of your god damn mind and finally.. crying your eyes out.

Jsoeh on September 20, 2018:

Madoka Magica should be the top spot without any competition.

mikasa on April 26, 2017:

i think u should check "my future diary" out because it's cute, but u can blaintantly see the darkness of this anime