If there is one constant thing in the history of our world, it’s the fact that regardless of the time we live in, there is always something terrible going on somewhere on the planet. There are wars in the Middle East, genocides in Africa, terrorism in Europe, crime in the Americas, mad dictators in Asia, and the list goes on and on. It never seems to end. Since the Middle Ages, people have had to fear for their lives on a daily basis. Of course, if you live in Canada or the United States, you don’t have to worry so much about dying when you leave your home as you would have to if you lived in Syria or Caracas.
Nevertheless, fear is very much a vital part of the lives of all human beings. At some point in your life, you are afraid of something, and it doesn’t matter if it was the monster in your closet or the violent neighborhood drug lord. But even though we live under some sort of stress because of fear, other worlds make the violence and fear surrounding Earth seem like a gentle breeze as opposed to a thrashing hurricane.
And the fun part in all of this is that most of us are sadistic enough to binge-watch the misfortunes of the folks who live in those terrifying worlds. And yes, we’re talking about anime. The particular entertainment medium that makes Hollywood disaster movies seem more like romantic comedies. So without waiting any further, here are 15 terrifying anime worlds that will make you cherish Earth.
15 Death Note
Few animes in history have ever escalated as quickly as Death Note did. As the title itself explains, this is a world where one human being, by a sheer matter of luck, gained the power of killing another person by just writing that person’s name in a notebook. It seems like a harmless prospect unless you find yourself on the wrong side of the individual who acquired said power. Other than that, you couldn't care less about who had the notebook and what the hell they would use it for, right? Wrong.
As series protagonist Yagami Light quickly proves, someone gaining a power like the killer notebook could have world-changing proportions. Would you be able to live calmly if you knew somewhere around the world that there would be someone watching for every single little crime anyone committed, just waiting to pass righteous judgment on the wicked? What if this person’s biggest pet peeve was jaywalking?
There is also the prospect that someone without the sense of justice of Yagami Light would be the one to acquire the notebook. Just imagine if a terrorist had it. A frightening prospect indeed.
14 Neon Genesis Evangelion
Arguably one of the most famous and amazing anime of all time, Neon Genesis Evangelion is also one of the animes with the most terrifying spin on what could happen to Earth in the future. First of all, a scary part of this anime is that the story starts in 2015; 15 years after a global cataclysm, the Second Impact almost annihilated the human race. With that logic, most of us would’ve probably died 17 years ago. And yet, the prospect of being already dead does not seem so bad when you take a better look at the world that the humans who survived the Second Impact have to live in.
People in the world of Neon Genesis Evangelion do not have to live in fear of terrorists or thieves. They fear angels. Because unlike most religious people like to think, the Angels in Evangelion are a mysterious alien race that has no will other than to destroy humanity. And might we add that they are pretty good at doing their job.
13 One Punch Man
A world full of heroes does not sound so bad when you first hear the concept. More than that, having a hero who can kill any kind of monster with a single punch makes you feel safer than you ever would in our world. But then, you have to consider a fact that most people rarely think about when they talk about worlds where superheroes live in. Those are usually the places where there are most destructions.
Somehow, having the strongest heroes doesn’t usually mean that you live in the safest place. Actually, it seems to be exactly the opposite. One Punch Man is the perfect example of that. Throughout the whole series, we are amazed at the strength of Saitama and how quickly he can dispose of threats. The one thing we forget to account for is that, like all other heroes, he is always late to save everyone. With that, the monsters have a field day with the poor ordinary people who find themselves at the beasts’ mercy until the hero arrives.
12 Psycho Pass
Are you scared of being controlled by the government? Do you fill your head with conspiracy theories and find that every single one of them has some truth in its roots? Then Psycho Pass is the perfect anime for you. Because, as entertaining and mind-boggling as it is, this horror anime also portrays one of the most terrifying futures we could have.
Psycho Pass is set in a future where the government has control of a network of psychological scanners that measure a person’s potential to commit crimes at any given point; a concept that on paper seems superb and an amazing idea to eradicate crime from the world. Then, you remember how badly you wanted to kill that friend of yours when he or she spoiled The Red Wedding for you.
Yes, we all have murderous thoughts from time to time, and in the world of Psycho Pass, that could mean that at any given point, your crime coefficient could go up and you would become a latent criminal.
11 One Piece
The whole feel-good atmosphere surrounding the main cast of One Piece might hide from some people the fact that the world in which Luffy and his crew live in is a terrifying one. A world where fishmen are able to take over an island and turn its human citizens into slaves? A world where the most wicked of humans can get their hands on fruits that give them superhuman powers? A world where a dude named Blackbeard controls the power of darkness? No, sir, thank you, but we think we will pass on living in that world.
If the creators of One Piece wanted to turn the goofy adventure into a horror story, they would have more than enough material to do so. And for those of you who think you could offset all of this by just eating a devil fruit, just remember that it would take one little push into the water and you would drown without being able to do anything to save yourself.
Although they are not as large as the Angels from Neon Genesis Evangelion, the monsters known as Yoma are just as terrifying. These demonic entities roam the world of Claymore, killing and feeding on humans. The only people able to kill, or even fight, these Yoma are the human-Yoma hybrid female warriors known as the Claymores. These powerful women are fairly successful in their attempts at killing the Yoma and saving a given human population for a certain fee.
Nevertheless, the terrifying truth of this world is that if any of the Claymore reach what the show calls a “s*xual climax,” they eventually awaken and become an Awakened Being, which is nothing less than a superpowered Yoma.
So, not only do the normal people who live in this world have to pay to be kept safe from the regular Yoma, but they also have to live in fear that if any of their saviors decide to have a little night out, they will turn into a super Yoma and end up killing everybody.
9 Dragon Ball Z
Dragon Ball Z is awesome. Together with Naruto and Pokémon, it is arguably one of the animes with the largest followings in history. Who here didn’t cheer when Goku turned into a Super Saiyan for the first time? Or when Gohan transformed into a Super Saiyan 2 and went to town on Cell? Seriously, we could stay here and name the wonderful Dragon Ball moments that marked our childhoods for days. But as awesome as the anime was, we would be damned if we ever chose to live in that world.
First of all, it doesn’t take too much time into Dragon Ball Z to realize the human beings are weak (sorry Krillin). And as we find out many times throughout the show, for most of the villains in the Dragon Ball universe, it takes less than a flick of a finger to destroy our entire planet. Sure, at some point, we will be brought back by the Dragon Balls, but dying again and again for the sake of the show has to suck.
For a lot of people, the existence of aliens is a source of hope that we will find a friendly race that could help us evolve even faster than we have been developing over the past years. For other folks, aliens are nothing more than a fantasy. But for even more people, aliens are a source of fear. These are beings that could come from God knows where, with whatever kind of intentions they might have, and most likely with the technology to annihilate us in a blink of an eye. And yet, somehow, the world of Parasyte seems to take that prospect of fearing aliens a whole new step further.
In this anime, instead of killing off the human race, a race of parasite aliens invaded the planet and took over people’s minds. Of course, one parasite didn’t quite managed to do so and ended up infecting our hero Shinichi’s hand instead of his head. But despite the prospect of being controlled by an alien being terrifying enough, we have to add that the humans who were infected might have been the lucky ones. And that is because a primary goal of these parasites is to eat any human who is not infected.
7 Gurren Lagann
The main theme Gurren Lagann carried throughout the whole series was that despite all of its shortcomings, humankind would always find a way to evolve and to be better than it was the day before. With that theme, to go along the amazing mecha battles and memorable characters, Gurren Lagann has arguably one of the greatest storylines in the history of anime.
Seriously, if you have not checked out this masterpiece yet, put it on top of your to-watch list because you have to experience this story.
Without spoiling anything, we can tell you that despite the funny tone it carries through most of the narrative, the world in which humanity has to make due in Gurren Lagann is nothing short of a barren wasteland. Humanity has been driven to the brink of extinction, and the only pockets of mankind still alive are forced to live under the surface because on the surface there is nothing but terror waiting for those brave enough to venture up there.
6 Code Geass
Think of a world divided into three parts—the Americas, Asia, and an alliance between Europe and Africa. That is the political landscape of Code Geass, a mind-blowing mix of drama and adventure that takes place in Japan, a.k.a. Area 11. Mostly due to the development of super-weapons called Knightmare Frames, the Holy Britannian Empire (the Americas) conquered what used to be Japan and turned the Japanese people into second-class citizens of the Britannian Empire.
In this anime, we get to witness the double life of a Britannian citizen who sides with the Japanese to wreak havoc in Area 11.
The terrifying aspect of this world is that the killing and destruction never seems to end. Civilians are again and again turned into casualties of battles and betrayals as the leaders of neither side of the conflict really appear to care about what happens to the civilians in area 11 or the rest of the world for that matter.
5 Sword Art Online
With the development of virtual-reality technologies picking up speed like it never has before, it is only a matter of time before we get to play a 100 percent virtual-reality massively multiplayer online role-playing game, better known as a VR MMORPG. A fantastic prospect, but one the people who have watched Sword Art Online will take with a grain of salt before they decide to put on those virtual-reality glasses.
Online games are fun to play and all, but would you really take a chance to play if there was the possibility that an evil programmer could take over the game and make it possible for the people who die in the game to die in real life? Some of the crazier people here would definitely be into that kind of adrenaline-inspiring adventure. On the other hand, we believe most of the gamers out there would rather keep playing their games on the PC until the VR technology was 100 percent foolproof.
4 Deadman Wonderland
We get it. Prison is not supposed to be a summer camp where everything is unicorns and roses. People who are in prison are there to be punished. But how okay would you be with living in a world where that punishment meant that anyone who committed a crime could be sent to a place like Deadman Wonderland?
Even a few years in Guantánamo Bay might seem more appealing than doing your time in a prison where, as soon as you arrive, you are fitted with a collar that not only monitors your location and vital signs but also injects you with a deadly poison.
This is what happens to protagonist Ganta Igarashi, who, along with other inmates, has to win all kind of lethal games in order to get the antidote for the poison that is being continuously pumped into his veins. No, even the mere prospect of being sent to a place like this would qualify the world of Deadman Wonderland as a terrifying place we would never want to live near.
3 Elfen Lied (Beware The Video Is As Gory As They Come)
All it takes for any normal person to realize that they would not want to live in the world of Elfen Lied is to watch the opening sequence of the anime. What seems like just another show that will be about human experiments and secret societies, quickly turns into a gory and terrifying bloodbath. The woman who makes her escape in the opening sequence of the anime is a Diclonius named Lucy. These beings might look like humans, but they couldn’t be anything further from a normal human being. Instead of just having two regular arms, these brutal creatures have invisible arms called vectors that can easily sever human bodies.
While only having one of these creatures would already be terrifying enough for people not to want to live in a world like that, Lucy is far from being the only Diclonius in the world of Elfen Lied. These, and many more aspects, make this series one you cannot take your eyes off, but also one you would never want to live through.
Vampires, Nazis, evil organizations, murderous priests, assassins, and much more, Hellsing is a show that has a villain for every taste. This is a world where no matter where you live, no matter how good you are or how evil you are, you will never be safe. Literally everyone in this show could be considered a villain depending on how you look at it. And the worst part is that throughout the whole show, you will find yourself cheering for the most bloodthirsty being you ever came across.
Perhaps the most powerful vampire in any show ever, Alucard has a blood thirst that could swallow the whole world if he wasn’t loyal to Sir Integra. But even though Alucard is kept in check throughout most of the series, the mere fact that there is a secret Nazi group trying to revive the Third Reich is already enough for us not to want even to consider living in a world like this.
1 Attack On Titan
The other worlds on this list were terrifying, and we sincerely would not want to live in any of them. But the top spot has to go to Attack on Titan, and this instant classic won the title by a landslide. Not only is it the most successful anime series of the last few years, but Attack on Titan might also be the most terrifying anime of this new generation. As the characters on the show are more than willing to announce, humanity has been driven to the status of mere livestock, hiding behind giant walls just waiting and surviving until the final attack from the glutton Titans starts and puts an end to the human race.
This is a world with little hope as all we get is tragedy after tragedy. Attack on Titan has indeed a ruthless world in which humans should not exist. But the one thing we are more certain about than the fact we would not want to live in this world is that if we had the displeasure of being alive with Eren and his friends, we would never leave Captain Levy’s side.
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