People are messed up. No matter where you go in the world, there are weird people with strange thoughts. I’ve found Japanese culture to be more accepting of the exploration of the strange, whereas Western culture generally tries to repress it. With all that in mind, it seems that anime, more frequently than other mediums, produces moments that leave you stunned and wondering what just happened. There’s no better way of putting it, because these moments cut down to your very core and have you asking, “what is going on in my life that lead me to watch that?”
This can be true of an art form, but the anime medium has particular circumstances, which increase the likelihood of these moments. While being animated, a majority of the content is adult oriented. There are many gory and disturbing live-action movies in the world, but they usually target a person’s visceral reaction to visual realism. If it looks like real intestines and it looks like they’re really being pulled out of a gash in someone’s belly, your body will react to that sight. Anime is different; since it is visually distinct from reality, the same types of visceral reactions are rare. Instead, what you find more commonly are mental assaults on a person’s imagination.
This list is a collection of some of the most disturbing moments in all of anime. These moments don’t necessarily translate to a negative or positive impact on the show they are from. Neither are these moments necessarily based on their shock value or an unexpected twist. These moments are ranked on the level they leave you wondering, “What the in the world did I just see?”
Lastly, I wanted to make the obligatory mention of the SPOILER ALERT. As these are scenes from shows and can be from any point, including endings, so be prepared to encounter spoilers. If you don’t care about that and just want to see something weird, by all means continue and enjoy yourself. Also, DEFINITELY NSFW.
10 Hajime no Ippo: The Fighting : Takamura Pulls Down Ippo’s Pants at a Bar
To start the list, we have a relatively soft example. Think of this as dipping your toe in the water to check the temperature. Hajime no Ippo is a show about the journey of a high school student to becoming a pro boxer. The protagonist, Ippo, is socially awkward, timid, and full of a tenacious spirit. After meeting Takamura, the soon-to-be middleweight boxing champion of Japan, Ippo starts training at the same gym and becomes a pro boxer. It’s a well made, but typical show. Hard work pays off, the protagonist is always the underdog, etc.
The long running joke in the show is, though he is timid about it, Ippo has a big dick. Somehow, this is constantly used to embarrass him and bring him shame when Takamura makes big dick comments. After Ippo’s debut match, all the boxers go out to celebrate his victory at a bar. While talking to some girls who find Ippo cute, Takamura pulls down Ippo’s pants to prove that he can’t be cute with his “gigantic thing.” Fade to black, roll credits. I know this kind of gag exists in almost every high school movie, but the abrupt nature of the scene and how it leads straight into the credits leaves the viewer questioning what it is they just witnessed.
Apologies for the terrible English dubbed version, but the bad voice acting makes it all the more cringe-worthy.
9 Deadman Wonderland: The Entire Classroom is Gruesomely Obliterated
This one is an example of one of these moments actually contributing positively to the show. Deadman Wonderland is a show about, well it doesn’t matter what it’s about because this scene is the opener. Just a simple classroom scene of a few friends talking about the upcoming field trip to Deadman Wonderland, a sort of prison theme park. While you’re trying to wrap your head around the concept, the friends continue joking around together, establishing a deep relationship and knocking out a bit of exposition. Class bell rings and …wait, is that guy in red, tattered rags floating outside the window? Flash of white light. The main character regains consciousness and we see shades of a ravaged classroom. He looks to the side and sees some blood and an arm. Dazed, he asks his friend if she’s okay, except it’s not really her …well, not all of her. It’s just her decapitated head being held by the man in tattered red clothes.
The show continues to ramp up the gore throughout the series, but this opener was a perfect sucker punch of a tone setter for it.
8 Berserk: Guts Watches Casca be Raped by Griffith
WARNING: Besides the gory self-mutilation, you will see animated titty. Please guard your sensibilities.
This scene is as far as the anime adaptation of the story goes. To catch up readers who’ve never seen the show, Griffith leads a band of mercenaries with his two top officers: our protagonist, Guts and his love, Casca. The show is set in a realistic slice of medieval Europe and for most of it, you don’t witness anything supernatural. You get hints to there being something more, but not much. Then, in an abrupt fashion, ambitious Griffith makes a deal with demons, sacrificing his band of mercenaries for their demonic power. In this demonic netherworld, all the other soldiers die except for Guts who fights his way up to find Griffith. Guts, being held back, uses a broken sword to tear away his own arm in an attempt to break himself free and attack Griffith. Meanwhile, Griffith has begun raping Casca for no other reason but to provoke him. It is a scene that brings blood to Guts’s eye. Was that a typo on my part and meant to be “tear?” Was it a metaphorical expression for rage? No, I mean literally blood in Guts’s eye from the claw that gouged him while holding him down to make him watch.
Sidenote: This is porbably one of the best anime series to ever air.
7 Another: Professor Shoji Kubodera’s Suicide by Knife in Class
Another is an anime that’s a cross between The Ring and the Final Destination movies. It has a typical “ghost girl” setting, especially by Japanese standards. Schoolgirl dies in 1972, new kid at school is the only one who can see her still haunting the school, and his entire classroom is cursed to die in implausible and mysterious ways. This censored version of the series is filled to the brim with gore and it is overflowing in the uncensored version (lucky for you, the above link contains the uncensored version). I chose the death of the class’s professor, because this is where all cards are laid out on the table. No mystery or circumstance; just a crazed man, a knife, and thirty teenagers. This may also be one of the sloppiest suicides ever depicted on a show.
The faces of the class say it all.
6 Hellsing Ultimate : Seras Forced to Relive the Rape of Her Mother’s Corpse
Recipe for one serving of Hellsing Ultimate: start with one vampire hunting organization (Van Hellsing's family lineage) in present day London with Dracula as their trump card. Throw into the mix the other two main players: fanatical, monster-hunting Catholics and Nazi vampires, and baby, you got a stew going.
During this triple-threat match, you'll see thousands of gallons of blood spilled and the majority of characters appearing on screen being dismembered. With a show trying its best to numb a viewer to gore and violence, what scene can possibly stand out? Well, later in the show, we enter the mind of the minor protagonist, Seras. She's being forced to relive her most painful memory. We're made to watch an adolescent Seras hide in the closet as her parents are shot dead. Naturally, her reaction is to do what no one else would and run out to stab the gunman using the classic, fork-to-the-eye technique. Pissed off, the gunman shoots her in the stomach and rapes the mother's corpse as Seras bleeds out. He probably ended up losing that eye, but how can he pass up the opportunity to get it in? Priorities.
5 Kill la Kill : Satsuki is Molested by her Mother
COMPLETELY UNSAFE FOR WORK: Also, this clip has no sub-titles. Doesn’t matter, just nonsensical plot exposition.
I'll be honest, from this point on in the list, it will be next to impossible to explain, justify, or put into context any of these moments.
Kill la Kill was a hit in the anime world, a visually striking and satirical comment on over-sexualization in anime. Like every other industry, anime typically lean on sex to help sell their product. In comes a show about anatomically incorrect characters (think Barbie dolls and GI Joes) who gain power through their clothing. There’s also the rule, for no good reason, that the more revealing the clothing, the more power they gain. Spolier alert plot twist: the clothing fibers are actually a parasitic alien life-form, which has chosen humanity as a host.
Despite the convoluted premise, at least it was trying to open the discussion on the ridiculousness of how sexualized anime have become, right? This show was so over the top, it gives you a new perspective with which to look at the medium. It should be given credit for having good intentions. Oh, and now Satsuki is being finger banged by her mother while taking a bath. Credit retracted.
4 School Days : The Boat Cruise Ending
This ending is infamous in anime. School Days is a terrible high school drama about a love triangle between two girls, Sekai and Kotonoha, and a sociopathic male protagonist, Makoto. Makoto isn’t even an interesting sociopath like Sherlock or Hannibal. Makoto has no redeeming qualities. Expectedly, the love triangle gets out of hand and the show comes to a head with Sekai spotting the other two embracing on the train. Later, after Sekai and Makoto meet up to talk about having an abortion, Sekai comes up from behind him and brutally stabs him to death. Kotonoha finds his dead body and then decides to behead him. Why, you may ask? Well, to put it into a bag and present it to Sekai before butchering her. Cut to an aerial shot of a boat cruise and zoom in to find Kotonoha cuddling with his Makoto’s severed head. Roll credits.
I guess the redeeming quality of this ending is that it satisfied the rage everyone suffered through watching the show.
3 Nisenmonogatari : Toothbrush Incest
I don't know why you're sticking around to read this, but fine, let's get into it. Here we have a teenager's, fully clothed, sexual dominance over his sister with a toothbrush. I know where your mind just went and no, that's not what happened. He just brushes her teeth. I don't know what else to say, the scene just carried on. They both get more and more aroused and he just keeps brushing her teeth. It just keeps going. There’s no point in summarizing the show, pointing out any plot points or themes. I’m not even going to get into the names of the characters. None of that information matters. The title alone would have sufficiently given you the context for why it is this high on a list of disturbing moments.
The scene ends with someone walking in and asking the two siblings what they are doing. I think the question is actually being directed to the viewer. What are we doing?
2 Elfen Lied : Dog Scene
Dog lovers, do yourselves a favour and skip this one. It's unnecessary and will only make you feel bad. Though, if you've come this far in this list, you'll probably watch it anyway. It's like sour milk, you don't want to smell it, but you have to take a whiff to see for yourself.
There's no real set-up needed for this one. Picture cat-eared people as a race and regular humans being racist towards them. Make whatever real-world correlation you need to help you set the scene. This way you’ll have a basis for why such an unnecessarily cruel thing is happening. If it makes you feel any better, all the racist children in this scene pay their dues for what they do to the dog by literally blowing up. Did I forget to mention that the cat-eared girl has powers and that everyone in this scene is a child? This high on the list, I don’t think you could have expected any different.
If nothing else, I hope this scenes puts into perspective how useless and ridiculous unbiased hate of a group of people is.
1 Tokyo Tribe 2 : Goosh Goosh
You don't need to do it.
Life on the other end of this video will always be a shade darker than the life you have right now. This isn't even like "2 Girls 1 Cup" or "BNE Pain Olympics." This is not a test of how much you can handle. This is not something you'll brag to a friend about watching and dare them to do the same. No one will be impressed. This is right on the border of most disturbing, while not being in the category of the previously mentioned videos.
You watched it, didn't you? I'm sorry. If you didn’t, good job. You spared yourself witnessing a man being, literally, anally raped to death by a much larger man. If you think about it objectively, this is the perfect disturbing video. At only 29 seconds, it is much shorter and more condensed than other videos on this list, while not sacrificing any of its disturbing qualities. The pacing is also perfect to trap a viewer. Once the action starts, anyone watching is stunned and by the shock of what they’re experiencing, but by the time they regain enough sense to stop the video, the video concludes on its own. It’s like a perfect one-two punch combination. By the time you realize you’ve been hit by a jab, you’re already on the floor from the straight punch.
You might as well just watch the video at this point.