One of the most common story tropes in anime involves demons from the depths of hell, who rise above to Earth and spread terror and fear. But some anime series break from that with demons that are far from the usual, often exhibiting unexpected traits and story twists.
As a general rule, the anime genre dictates how the demons come across. For example, shonen anime tends to play demonic characters straight, while isekai anime tends to have elements that make them unique. Either way, demons can be either protagonists or antagonists.
Here are our picks for the best anime series about demons and hell, featuring characters across all anime archetypes.
13. Black Clover
Black Clover is an anime series produced by Studio Pierrot, adapted from Yuki Tabata's manga of the same name. It revolves around the magicless boy Asta and his struggles in a world full of magic.
At first, it was all about the battle of magic between elves and humans, when the concept of "devil" was a myth. It was believed that a devil resided in the fifth leaf of a clover grimoire, which was obtained by Asta, granting him the Anti-Magic Swords.
As the story goes on, a more powerful and sinister character is introduced: a devil who manipulates both races in his attempt to acquire a body and a grimoire. The story gets more intense as more and more demonic characters are introduced.
12. Blue Exorcist
Blue Exorcist is an anime adaptation (produced by A-1 Pictures) of the manga of the same name (written and illustrated by Kazue Kato). The story revolves around Rin and Yukio Okumura, twin sons of Satan who are born to a human mother.
After the death of Shiro Fujimoto (their foster father), Rin enrolls in a school for aspiring Exorcists under Yukio, who's already a teacher in that school and a full-fledged Exorcist. The series features Gehenna (the hell where Satan rules) and Assiah (the human realm).
The Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun anime series is an adaptation of Osamu Nishi's manga of the same name. It centers on Iruma, a boy who was sold to the demon Sullivan and was brought to hell to live as the demon's grandchild.
He receives special treatment in the new world because he's the grandson of a high-ranking demon and becomes friends with characters who don't even know what a "friend" is.
Though he lives a life that seems way better than his life before, there are still other demons who are suspicious of him being a human.
Beelzebub was a manga by Ryuhei Tamura that was adapted into a 2011 anime series. In real-life ancient history, Beelzebub (or Beelzebul in some writings) was regarded as the prince of hell, so the title itself tells us that we should expect a demonic character in this anime series.
But against all expectations, the demon in Beelzebub is a cute green-haired baby that emits electricity when he cries and can flood cities just by peeing. The story also features Oga Tatsumi, the babysitter of the extraordinary baby who brings him a not-so-ordinary life.
The Seven Deadly Sins is an action fantasy anime series adapted from the manga written and illustrated by Nakaba Suzuki.
The captain of the Seven Deadly Sins group is Meliodas, a former high-ranking demon and the son of the Demon King, who defected from their race and joined the other races in the Holy War.
The first season of the series follows the story of Elizabeth and her search for the Seven Deadly Sins, in hopes that they will help her free the kingdom from the hands of the Holy Knights.
The second season's Revival of the Commandments Arc shifted the story in a darker direction as the elite warriors of the Demon Clan were released from their seal. Though the change in animation studio affected the series in terms of animation quality, the anime is still worth watching.
Devilman Crybaby is a 2018 original web animation directed by Masaaki Yuasa and based on Go Nagai's manga Devilman. It follows the story of Akira Fudo, who's possessed by a demon.
Unlike most other stories about spiritual possession, Akira manages to overpower the demon who takes over his body, thus giving him the ability to turn into a devilman—and control its powers.
The dark theme of the series revolves around demons who manage to live on Earth by possessing human bodies, and their overall plot to destroy humanity. The survival of the human race lies in the hands of the devilmen who retain their own souls and their demons' powers.
The Devil Is a Part-Timer! is an anime series adapted from the light novel series written by Satoshi Wagahara. It follows the story of Satan, who travels to modern-day Tokyo after his near-defeat in being cornered by the forces of the continents he wants to conquer.
Powerless in the world he's in, Satan and Alciel adapt to the human way of life while trying to find a way back to Ente Isla. Until then, Satan (now known as Sadao Maou) works as a part-timer in a restaurant.
Despite heavy on demons and warriors, the series inserts lots of comedic relief that helps lift the darker themes of the story.
6. Blood Lad
Blood Lad is the anime adaptation of the manga series written and illustrated by Yuuki Kodama. The story revolves around Staz, an otaku vampire who lives in the demon world, which we all know is called hell.
Unlike his vampire ancestors, he does not crave human blood. Instead, he wants to indulge himself in manga, anime, and video games, which are typically human otaku lifestyles. There's also the ordinary high school girl, Fuyumi Yanagi, who gets lost in the Demon World.
After dying there, Staz promises to bring Fuyumi back to life, giving the series its action and comedic direction.
5. Black Butler
Black Butler is a manga series written and illustrated by Yana Toboso, which was adapted into an anime series of the same name. It follows the story of a young boy named Ciel Phantomhive and his pursuit of revenge for his murdered family with the aid of a demon.
Sebastian Michaelis, the demon with whom Ciel makes a contract, disguises himself as the boy's butler. The dark theme of the series features the typical concept of demons, who roam and blend in with society by offering help and services in exchange for a price.
High School DxD is an anime adaptation of the light novel series of the same name, written by Ichiei Ishibumi and illustrated by Miyama-Zero. It follows the story of Issei Hyodo, a boy who wants to rule a harem world—who's killed by his date, a fallen angel disguised as a girl.
He's revived by the demon princess Rias to serve her and her family of demons. Unlike the other demons on this list, the demons in this series are quite charming and seem like there's no reason to be afraid of them. But take note: Rias holds the Power of Destruction.
Inuyasha is an anime series adapted from Rumiko Takahashi's manga of the same name. It follows the story of a modern-day girl Kagome Higurashi, who's accidentally transported to the late Sengoku period.
We follow her journey in collecting the magical sacred jewel shards scattered around, with the help of the half-demon Inuyasha.
This classic anime series features a world full of demons, from low-level and harmless ones to vicious and powerful demons like Naraku and Sesshomaru, including the titular character Inuyasha.
D.Gray-man is an anime series adapted from the manga of the same name, written and illustrated by Katsura Hoshino. It follows the fight of the Black Order (an exorcist organization) against Millennium Earl and his demon army, known as Akuma in the series.
D.Gray-man puts a creepy twist on the demon concept, resulting in a new take on demons never seen before in anime: the Akuma are dead individuals brought back to the living realm by the wishes of someone they love—wishes that are granted by Millennium Earl.
After being brought to life, the soul is corrupted and literally wears the skin or body of the one who wished for them to come back.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is an anime series adapted from the manga of the same name, written and illustrated by Koyoharu Gotouge.
It follows the story of Tanjiro Kamado in his journey as a Demon Slayer after his family is murdered and his sister, Nezuko, is turned into a demon by Muzan Kibutsuji.
It's one of the best anime series from recent years, and it received various awards (like Crunchyroll's Anime of the Year) and positive reviews for the action-packed high-tier animation and compelling storyline.