The 15 Most Brutal Anime Series, Ranked

Looking for the most brutal animes ever made? Face your worst fears with these stomach-churning anime series.
The 15 Most Brutal Anime Series, Ranked

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If you're all about brutal animated violence, then we have the perfect anime series recommendations for you. Did you think anime was all cute and bubbly? Think again!

While many animators put painstaking effort into drawing beautiful and detailed environments, others take the time to bring the most vivid, gut-wrenching fight scenes to life.

Let's talk about the darker side of anime! You know, the gruesome series that are pouring with violence and scenes of bloody destruction. Here are my picks for the most brutal animes of all time.

15. Terra Formars (2014)

Action, Horror, Sci-Fi

Originally aired 2014 to 2016

26 episodes (2 seasons)

7.00 on MAL

If you have an insect phobia, turn away now. Terra Formars tells the story of an attempted colonization of Mars, in which 21st-century scientists thought it'd be a great idea to spread algae and cockroaches on Mars to purify its atmosphere.

500 years later, a mysterious disease plagues Earth and the only cure lies on Mars. When a group of astronauts land on Mars to search for the cure, they're bombarded by cockroaches that have grown in both size and strength. (Let's hope scientists never send cockroaches to space!)

14. Fist of the North Star (1984)

Action, Drama, Sci-Fi

Originally aired 1984 to 1987

109 episodes (4 seasons)

7.96 on MAL

The 1980s gave us some of the most influential anime series, with Fist of the North Star paving the way for shonen anime and highlighting just how brutal anime could be.

The story follows Kenshiro as he travels across a post-apocalyptic landscape looking for the man who kidnapped his fiancée. With his mastery of Hokuto Shinken martial arts, he can make opponents burst into a bloody explosion by striking certain pressure points.

The violence in Fist of the North Star is distinctly over the top (as was common in action films of the decade) and the anime does nothing to tone down the gore of the manga.

This also happens to be the anime that gave us the iconic line "Omae wa mo shindeiru" (literally "You are already dead") shortly before a thug's head and torso explode in a bloody mess.

13. Gantz (2004)

Action, Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

Originally aired 2004

26 episodes (2 seasons)

6.99 on MAL

In theory, getting resurrected sounds like a great idea—you get to breathe crisp air again, see everyone you missed, and keep doing the things you love.

However, after watching Gantz, I think I changed my mind about wanting to come back to life.

Gantz follows Kei Kurono, a teenager whose good intentions got him killed. Kei and a friend attempt to rescue a homeless man on the train tracks, only to get hit by an oncoming train.

Although they both die on impact, they're transported to a strange room with a group of other people who also had a brush with death.

They soon find out that they must partake in a game that involves finding and killing aliens scattered throughout Japan.

12. Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995)

Action, Drama, Mecha, Sci-Fi, Suspense

Originally aired 1995 to 1996

26 episodes (1 season)

8.35 on MAL

Most of the animes on this list are brutal in a physical way, but the magic of Neon Genesis Evangelion is that it brutalizes your emotions as much as it showcases blood and gore.

Neon Genesis Evangelion never shies away from showcasing the horrors of battle. As giant robotic EVAs rip the invading Angels apart, blood and organs splatter across the scenery in intensely unsettling ways.

Yet despite all the violence, it manages to be one of the most brutal anime series of all time without showing nearly as much blood or gore as the other shows on this list.

More importantly, Neon Genesis Evangelion has a cerebral edge that sticks with you for years. Combined with how thoroughly depressing the show is, it's a deeply uncomfortable yet compelling anime to watch.

11. Blood-C (2011)

Action, Horror, Mystery, Supernatural

Originally aired 2011

12 episodes (1 season)

6.53 on MAL

Saya Kisaragi is your typical high school girl. She's a bit uncoordinated, but she's very outgoing and friendly. Did I mention that she's responsible for defending her village against vicious monsters?

In Blood-C, you can watch Saya hack and slash away at Elder Bairns, creatures that assume the form of inanimate objects and hunt humans for their blood. Can she save her friends before they fall victim to the Elder Bairns?

10. Hellsing Ultimate (2006)

Action, Horror, Supernatural

Originally aired 2006 to 2012

10 episodes (1 season)

8.35 on MAL

When the main character of an anime is the world's most dangerous vampire, you know there's going to be gore. Hellsing Ultimate isn't afraid to deliver in that regard.

Alucard is viewed by the Hellsing Organization as a weapon to be unleashed on their enemies whenever it suits them. He's a killer without remorse, which makes him highly effective at his job. Sometimes, only a monster can beat another monster.

Characters in Hellsing Ultimate are dismembered, impaled, and eviscerated in every episode. Alucard himself drains several characters of their blood and takes great pleasure in ripping the limbs off of others. This brutal anime series is certainly not for those weak of heart.

The redeeming factor in all this violence is that it's usually inflicted on the most despicable of antagonists: Nazi vampires. As bad as Alucard tends to be, at least the show never makes it difficult to root for him.

9. Berserk (1997)

Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Horror

Originally aired 1997 to 1998

25 episodes (1 season)

8.56 on MAL

If you couldn't tell by the trailer that Berserk is exceptionally violent, then I think you'll finally figure it out when I tell you that the main character's name is Guts.

Guts only knows violence. After growing up as a mercenary, he later teams up with a group called the Band of the Hawk and their leader Griffith. Berserk is the Game of Thrones of anime—you get the same medieval drama and violence that's oh-so-addicting.

Berserk has two anime adaptations. I'd suggest watching the 1997 adaption before moving on to the 2016 version. The more recent adaptation isn't a remake of the 1997 version—it's a sequel.

8. Parasyte: The Maxim (2014)

Action, Horror, Sci-Fi

Originally aired 2014 to 2015

24 episodes (1 season)

8.34 on MAL

Parasyte: The Maxim takes the phrase "talk to the hand" to a whole new level. An alien parasite (called Parasyte in the anime) infects the Earth, but this parasite isn't like a tapeworm or ringworm—it takes over a human's whole body.

A parasyte attempts to infect Shinichi Izumi by entering through Shinichi's ear—that way, it can reach his brain and take full control of his body. Instead, the parasyte only succeeds in taking control of Shinichi's hand.

Shinichi now has a living, talking, breathing parasyte living in his hand. Together, they work to defeat other parasytes.

7. Another (2012)

Horror, Mystery, Supernatural

Originally aired 2012

12 episodes (1 season)

7.48 on MAL

Another is a horror-filled anime about the death of a student.

In 1972, a well-liked student named Misaki suddenly passed away during the school year. Her classmates and teacher pretended that she was still alive to cope with their grief.

Fast-forward to 1998, when Koichi Sakakibara starts school. In his class, he encounters a student by the name of Mei Misaki—who the teacher and students don't acknowledge at all.

Koichi then notices that something's amiss when a large number of his classmates and their families experience brutal deaths.

6. Attack on Titan (2013)

Action, Drama, Horror, Suspense

Originally aired 2013 to 2023

94 episodes (4 seasons)

8.54 on MAL

If you're a modern anime fan who isn't living under a rock, you've likely heard about Attack on Titan. Over the past decade, it's grown into one of the most popular anime series on the planet.

Attack on Titan is the story of humanity under siege from monstrous humanoid titans, and no one is safe in this post-apocalyptic world. Across the show's four seasons, characters who have seemed to be indispensable heroes have ended up being unceremoniously devoured.

And the brutality doesn't stop at titans eating humans. We see people get shot, stabbed, cut in half, burned to a crisp, and explode in the midst of makeshift bombs.

But the best thing about Attack on Titan? As gruesome as the titans are, they pale in comparison to the cruelty of the humans. This is an anime series that highlights one thing above all: in the world of titans, humans are the real monsters.

5. Tokyo Ghoul (2014)

Action, Fantasy, Horror

Originally aired 2014 to 2015

48 episodes (4 seasons)

7.79 on MAL

Have you ever wondered what it's like to become a ghoul? Follow Ken Kaneki's ghastly transformation in Tokyo Ghoul.

Kaneki has pretty bad luck with the ladies—he unknowingly goes on a date with a ghoul and ends up nearly getting killed.

Miraculously, a construction accident hits both of them during the struggle, killing the ghoulish girl. He later wakes up in the hospital and notices that something doesn't seem right.

The doctor transplanted some of the ghoul's organs into Kaneki's body, making him half-ghoul. Now he must deal with his craving for human flesh, all while hiding his identity from the public.

4. Corpse Party: Tortured Souls (2013)

Horror, Mystery, Supernatural

Originally aired 2013

4 episodes (1 season)

6.44 on MAL

Corpse Party: Tortured Souls is a fairly short anime of only four episodes. It's based on the popular video game, Corpse Party, and tells the story of a haunted high school.

After horrific events plagued the Heavenly Host Academy, it was completely demolished.

The community later made the not-so-smart decision to build a new high school on top of the old school's grounds. When a group of friends perform a charm that binds their friendship, all hell breaks loose (literally).

The students soon find themselves back inside Heavenly Host Academy, now rampant with undead creatures that are out to kill.

3. Chainsaw Man (2022)

Action, Comedy, Fantasy, Horror

Originally aired 2022

12 episodes (1 season)

8.58 on MAL

One of the most popular manga of the past several years, Chainsaw Man's anime adaptation landed with unimaginable expectations.

The story follows Denji, a young man who inherited a massive debt when his father died. Now, having sold an eye, a kidney, and a testicle to pay down that debt, he finds himself hunting demons to survive.

That all changes, however, when he gets killed and has his heart replaced with an adorable demon named Pochita, which allows Denji to become the Chainsaw Devil.

With a chainsaw coming out of both arms and his face, Denji brutalizes the devils in his way. There's ample blood and gore throughout the show, with both human and devil characters being disemboweled, eviscerated, and eaten on the regular.

Despite being one of the saddest main characters in anime history, there's a part of Denji that loves the violence. He revels in it more than once, embracing his demonic persona as more than just a way to earn a living—it gives his life meaning for the first time.

2. Deadman Wonderland (2011)

Action, Horror, Sci-Fi, Supernatural

Originally aired 2011

12 episodes (1 season)

7.15 on MAL

At the start of the anime, Ganta Igarashi and his classmates are about to take a field trip to Deadman Wonderland, an amusement park where convicts stage dangerous stunts for entertainment.

Sounds fun, right? Well, this plan suddenly changes when a man covered in blood appears in the classroom. The Red Man eliminates the entire class except for Ganta.

As a result, the police pin Ganta as the main suspect and he's sentenced to life in prison at Deadman Wonderland.

The prison outfits Ganta with a collar that injects poison into his body. The only way to rid himself of the poison is with an antidote that's purchased with Cast Points, which he must earn by partcipating in the prison's sick games.

1. Elfen Lied (2004)

Action, Drama, Horror, Romance, Supernatural

Originally aired 2004

13 episodes (1 season)

7.48 on MAL

Elfen Lied follows a science experiment gone wrong. Although Elfen Lied translates to "elf song" in German, this anime definitely doesn't have the cheery qualities of an elf.

The story revolves around Lucy, a young Diclonius (i.e. mutant). Her mutation causes her to have telekinetic abilities, along with a pair of horns and invisible arms. Scientists capture her and attempt to mold her into a human weapon.

She manages to slay the scientists and guards with ease, as she escapes the research facility. Unfortunately, she ends up falling off a cliff and hitting her head. This leaves her with a split personality—one side of her is deadly, and the other is harmless.

There's Plenty of Anime for Adults

These anime series definitely aren't for the faint-of-heart. If you can handle scenes of violence and horror, then you'll be able to appreciate the engaging storyline and commendable artwork of each show.

Of course, there are many other not-as-violent anime series that are more psychological and think-heavy in nature, further proving the fact that anime isn't just for kids and can be for adults.