What is Dark Fantasy Anime?

An introduction to the depths of what dark fantasy anime has to offer would best be described as that surreal moment when you understand that everything is not okay. Dark Fantasy isn’t like most other anime where the protagonist flawlessly solves all of their problems with minor to no sacrifices. Often character development comes from endless struggle, lost love, and a series of uphill battles ending in defeat. If you are looking for an anime to captivate you in a way that is much more intense than the typical run of the mill content, then you should look into the Dark Fantasy Genre. 

Dark Fantasy Starting Recommendations

Dark fantasy anime has recently become substantially more popular with the release of a popular anime title: Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack On Titan). This series is based in a world where all of known humanity lives in massive cities protected by colossal walls. These walls are a form of protection for inhabitants and are meant to keep them safe from man-eating giants. Attack on Titan quickly submerges you in a world that is bleak and grim. The viewer is often lead to believe that the characters of the show have little to no hope in achieving various goals and odds are stacked against them. Time and time again, characters in the series often perish in trying to achieve various goals or fail miserably. However, there is just enough suspense and hope developed by the writers to keep you tuning in to watching every week. While this show is a mainstream example of the Dark Fantasy genre, it is also often at the top of most anime must-watch list. It is a great show to get started before taking deeper dive into Dark Fantasy. Most readers of this article might also have already seen Attack on Titan, and not realized that it is part of the Dark Fantasy Genre. Another notable dark fantasy that I recommend is called, Claymore. 

Claymore has a dreary Dark Fantasy setting, set in a medieval-style era where humanity is at the mercy of man-eating creatures called Yoma. The most terrifying aspect of these creatures isn’t the fact that they consume human flesh, but it is their ability to shapeshift into other forms. They often take the shape of people to disguise themselves, so they may do as they please undetected. In an effort to fight against these creatures humanity crossbreed humans hybrids into a new species known as, “Claymores”. They are a human/Yoma hybrid group of armored female warriors. They often wield enormous swords specifically designed to cut through tough Yoma flesh. Claymore not only has a good storyline and unique setting, but the way it portrays character progression through failure makes it fit superbly within the Dark Fantasy Genre. This show is not lacking in terms of gruesome scenes, dead characters, and misdeeds. 

Dark Fantasy Characteristics

Something I notice that Dark Fantasy portrays well that you don’t often see in other anime shows would be the facial expressions of characters. Dark Fantasy usually does well with showing emotions and adding to the misery of the moment. You often find yourself feeling sorry for characters and wanting to keep watching to see how they resolve their problems. Dark Fantasy anime can also have a wide range of styles. Some dark fantasy shows are all about action and gore. Meanwhile, other dark fantasy shows prefer taking the deep psychological thriller route.

 This subgenre of fantasy used to be more niche but has had a growing audience over the last decade with plenty more titles adding to the list. If you are a fan of unique and unpredictable plot twists, blood and gore no common in shonen, or character development based on burden and circumstance; then this is absolutely an anime genre to check out. Below you will find a list of Dark Fantasy Anime that I recommend checking out. 

Dark Fantasy Anime You Should Check Out

  • Attack on Titan
  • Claymore
  • Berserk
  • Ajin
  • Goblin Slayer
  • Akame ga Kill
  • Re-Zero
  • Drifters
  • Made in the Abyss

Larthian & Syanka

Afar Anime is a co-managed site operated by a husband and wife anime-loving team. Since an early age, they have both shared a love for all things anime. Some of their favorite titles include Naruto, Sailor Moon, and Hunter X Hunter. Post are published weekly and old articles are updated accordingly. If you are interested in collaborations, feel free to reach out at animeafar@gmail.com.