Anime is one of the most versatile forms of media with its many genres, themes, and settings that take fans to dozens of different worlds, from medieval times to futuristic utopias. Even when anime is more down-to-earth in simple day-to-day adventures like a slice-of-life series, there can be unique tones or aspects underneath the main plot of the series or at its focus.
when a slice-of-life anime incorporates a much darker approach, it creates a bizarre, alluring story that viewers can’t seem to turn away from; these series explore supernatural forces, controversial topics about abuse and sexuality, and sometimes even murder. Here are some great dark slice-of-life anime’ that anime fans of all kinds will enjoy.
7 School Days
School Days is an anime that lures unsuspecting fans in expecting a nice sweet slice-of-life romance story; however, things quickly escalate as the story grows darker and darker the more the series goes on. Lover turns into manipulation, trust turns into betrayal, and soon the series’ main characters are in a life-threatening situation.
School Days is based on the original dating simulator game, which had several high-risk endings; the anime follows one of the more popular endings and creates a spectacle of a love triangle that ends in a way no one would expect.
Citrus is another slice-of-life romance anime that dives deep into very serious topics under its cute exterior. Two young girls who become siblings through marriage wind up in an unconventional relationship that pushes the limit of controversial scenarios.
Yuzu first meets her step-sister at school, which results in an intransigent encounter that leaves Yuzu dealing with extremely complex emotions; upon discovering that Mei is her new step-sister, the two of them wade deeper into a well of confusing emotions and sexual tension after Mei steals a kiss from Yuzu. The series continues to explore both characters’ struggles with their own trauma as a romance begins to bloom.
Another is a supernatural slice-of-life series that tells a mind-bending ghost story about a cursed classroom that reveals itself at the beginning of every school year. Kouichi is a new student attending school for the first time since he was injured and placed in the hospital; upon his arrival, he is met with shady looks and an undeniable tension.
There is a curse surrounding Kouichi’s new class, and he is seen as the perp that could cost his classmates their lives. In a mysterious tale that twists and turns through a sea of red as students begin to drop like flies, Kouichi must get to the bottom of the curse to save what remains of his friends.
Satoru is a peculiar young man who delivers pizza during the day and goes back in time to prevent tragic events on the side. Erased is an exciting mystery anime that follows Satoru on his journey to stop a killer from wreaking havoc on his neighborhood as a child; while being stuck with his younger body, he and his childhood friends set out on missions to protect their community and flush out the predator stalking around in the dark.
Satoru takes the burden of holding several lives in his hands with no option but to succeed or lose everything he holds dear.
3 Violet Evergarden
Violet Evergarden is a heart-wrenching tale about a child soldier survivor who must adapt to her new life of freedom after her time-serving in the military comes to an end. Harshly scarred from war both inside and out, Violet becomes a memory Doll, a stenographer who adequately expresses client feelings on to paper in the form of letters, novels, and similar applications.
In the course of trying to decipher her own feelings as she slowly comes to terms with her trauma and grief, Violet learns that she is the only survivor of her unit, including her commanding officer, who saved her life. The episodic journey that Violet Evergarden takes viewers on is filled with beautiful animation, breathtaking stories, and truly wonderful characters.
given follows an aspiring rock band consisting of four members who, while trying to put their all into their passion, must also deal with unrequited love, their expanding sexuality, and a battle with depression and trauma. given is an emotional rollercoaster, to say the least, as the show does not pull its punches when it comes to exploring the negative themes of the series.
The anime’s main character, Mafuyu, is a survivor of abuse, emotional trauma, and the loss of his first lover due to self-harm; Mafuyu finds hope again after becoming the band’s lead vocalist and guitarist. given spends its time in the despair of the human condition but finds a way out thanks to the magic of music and its ability to free one from their shackles of negativity by expressing themselves.
1 Kotaro Lives Alone
Kotaro lives alone was released on Netflix as a light-hearted and iyashikei anime for fans of easy-going anime to enjoy; however, while Kotaro lives alone begins as a whimsical adventure of a four-year-old boy living in his own apartment, there are very mature themes explored in the show.
As the anime sheds light on the reasons Kotaro does live alone, in addition to the conflicting nature of needing to be independent vs. still being a child, the show pushes powerful emotions to the surface, succeeding in making viewers uncomfortable. Following Kotaro and his newfound family on their journey of growing up is a bitter-sweet pill that, once started, will push fans to finish it in one sitting.
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