5 Great Seemingly Cute Anime With Surprisingly Dark Themes

Anime isn’t a stranger to making a statement by juxtaposing attractive characters with depressingly gloomy subjects, making them all the more horrible. Generally speaking, anime is sometimes rejected by certain individuals for seeming too “kiddy.” Given the medium’s propensity for bright colors, exaggerated faces, charming characters, and other eccentricities, this isn’t too surprising. Antihero likes watching and reviewing anime. They have a lot of expertise to share! 

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5. “Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!”

This one seems extremely bizarre, but hear me out. Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! is about a selection of high school kids that suffer/have suffered from “2nd-grade syndrome” which makes them throw aside reality for a dream world. Of course, this will appear light-hearted on the surface, but when you actually delve into it, this is quite a troubling thought. These kids suffering from “2nd-grade syndrome” do not want to confront the society they live in. They would rather the world establish their own one within this where things are far more simple, where magic rules over everything and is handed to the good and the wicked are defeated, where anyone can be saved and they’re not obliged to simply face reality without a second thought.

They wish for a world where embarking on journeys may remedy injustice and the evil in the world can be readily destroyed. What I believe to be the truly troubling premise of the anime is how the people around them are still ruthlessly trying to draw them back into the real world without any type of transition. They try to compel children to accept reality, passing 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.

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai

4. “Mirai Nikki”

There are a lot of people familiar with the idea that Yuno and Yuki’s relationship is troubling, so I don’t know if this will be obvious or if people are just used to the notion that this is a horrible anime. That thing, yes, which we all adore despite the fact that we shouldn’t. I don’t consider this to be a spoiler because this relationship is well-known and is made clear very early in the anime. A cute girl saves Yuki (the protagonist) from peril at the beginning of the anime. So far, it’s very ordinary; it’ll most likely become a ship. After this, we learn that the girl, Yuno, has a phone that can exclusively predict the future of Yuki.

That immediately sets off a red signal, and she takes advantage of this by stalking Yuki with her instrument. Even though she repeatedly tries to take advantage of him, she still manages to come across as adorable. Of course, despite the fact that she stalks him and is mentally ill, the entire fandom still loves Yuno and Yuki. The anime has managed to almost twist the audience into ignoring all of this as if we were into Yuno’s own psyche and would ignore any crime for them to be together. This romance is just so damned wrong. Mirai Nikki has a creepy quality to it that I really appreciate.

Mirai Nikki

3. Shinsekai Yori

Isn’t it just the cutest thing? I’m still reeling from the emotional toll this production took on me. Admitting that it was difficult for me to get into this anime is an understatement. During the first episode of the anime, a group of four children hears of a giant beast that will eat children who stay out late or do anything to disobey the laws of their society, and they decide to investigate the rumor. More bizarre social conventions emerge, such as the world’s largely veiled history and the ease with which people fall in love later in the anime.

Rumors about monsters eating infants and people turning into “ogres,” insane creatures consumed by the powers of the people of this era, are the most horrifying. They learn about the village’s history, the “monster rats” that work for them and their true origins as the anime unfolds; all of it is horrible and horrifying, along with the consequences such knowledge brings to the young protagonists and how everyone else accepts it. It’s hard not to think about the ethics of our species after reading this one.

Shinsekai Yo

2. “Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni”

You may think I’m repeating myself here, but I feel the need to say it nevertheless. With its brutal and ruthless themes, Higurashi, initially a visual novel, managed to shock people just as much in both its theatrical and anime versions, in my opinion. When this was recommended to me, I doubted what people were saying about it since, although this anime opens with a VERY DARK scene, it instantly does a time warp to cutey and harmless and takes a while to escalate, it kind of gives you a false sense of security. For its gruesome savagery, Higurashi is arguably most known. They’re all meant to be lovable, then *shudders* the worst things happen to them. Is this anime ever going to become much uglier or crueler?

In this anime, the most heinous aspect appears to be the severe application of religion over the small community. The entire town seems to be up to something, and they seem to be oblivious to the goings-on of their own youth. What I learned about some of the anime’s characters enraged me greatly. It’s impossible to explain in words what’s going on, especially without spoiling it.


1. “Fractale”

It’s here! First and foremost! There are probably a lot of people who disagree with this, but for me, this one was the worst. In a nutshell, Fractale is set in a society where regulations are obeyed without question and life is blissful, so long as religion is placed above all and daily prayers are offered. Clair receives a visit from a mysterious girl, who leaves behind an equally mysterious girl named Nessa. The early baddies in this anime are clumsy morons with ill-advised schemes to kidnap Nessa. It’s then when the show really begins. Corruption, violence, death, and extortion are all present. Even more upsetting to me is that the anime doesn’t seem to be making a big fuss over the situation. It’s as if this were a well-done unbiased documentary rather than an attempt to sensationalize it.

The more you discover about the religion that is practiced by everyone on this planet, the more troubling it becomes. This includes the way people live and their dependence on an unnatural resources. For my top five, I’ve come to an end! For me, the best kind of anime is one that looks cute but is actually scary as hell because it makes you feel like you’ve been thrown for a loop. I find it impressive that the producers of each of these cartoons have mastered the art of making me think about them on a regular basis. Please, if you know of any other shows like this, let me know in the comments. I’m particularly drawn to stories about the sweetness of human triumph over adversity.