When it comes to school life in anime, it’s uncommon to find any that may be dark, horrific, or gory. In most cases, school life anime series are a mixture of fun, silliness, drama, and heartwarming moments… all of the things you’d expect from the popular slice-of-life genre.
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The reason is that the main demographic watching this specific genre of anime are in high school themselves. They want to watch a show that they can relate to without having to deal with bullies, deadlines, and the stress of studying and exams. While much rarer, there are some anime series that contain these common school elements, but with a dark twist to them.
10 Vampire Knight – Secret Classes Filled With Beautiful Vampires
In this dark shojo anime, Yuuki Cross and her friend Zero Kiryuu are members of the disciplinary committee at Cross Academy. However, this school has a dark secret. It houses two different classes, the Night Class and the Day Class. What the Day Class doesn’t know is that the beautiful and intense students of the Night Class are vampires, and not all of them are the good kind. This series is filled with dark supernatural events and does grow darker as the character’s stories are revealed, but it’s not overly gory or violent.
9 Death Note – Cleansing The World One Corrupt Person At A Time
Death Note is one of the most popular and highly ranked shonen anime series, for good reason. This series follows Light Yagami, a high school student from a prestigious school who stumbles upon the Death Note. Inside it is a message that states that the person whose name is written inside the notebook will die, so long as the user follows the rules. This then leads this high school student down a very dark path as he attempts to cleanse the world of corrupt individuals.
8 Kakegurui – Psychological Manipulations From The Elite
To everyone else, Hyakkaou Private Academy is an elite school that prepares its rich students for the outside world. It follows the normal curriculum and ensures students are ready to take over their family’s businesses.
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But at night, this academy takes a dark turn as students learn to gamble and manipulate people. Those who come out on top in these gambling games sit at the pinnacle of the academy. This series doesn’t focus on fantasy or gore to make it dark. It focuses on the darkness of psychology and manipulating people for money and power.
7 Another – A Town Shrouded In Fear And A Class With A Gruesome Secret
The town of Yomiyama is plagued by a fearful atmosphere after the death of a popular student, Misaki of class 3-3 from Yomiyama North Middle School. Twenty-six years after this death, a fifteen-year-old boy named Kouichi Sakakibara transfers into class 3-3 of Yomiyama North but discovers a gloomy darkness engulfing the class.
For some reason, he’s drawn to Mei Misaki, who everyone treats as if she doesn’t exist. Instead of listening to their warnings, he grows closer to the girl and discovers the gruesome phenomenon surrounding the class. Another is a dark supernatural horror and thriller anime series that is worth watching.
6 Gosick – A Historical Academy With Ghosts And Sinister Plots
Gosick is an unusual supernatural anime with a historical and mystical twist. Kazuya Kujou is a Japanese exchange student now enrolled at Saint Marguerite Academy, a luxurious boarding school in a Southern European country.
To his fellow classmates, he’s known as the Black Reaper (an urban legend about the traveler who brings death in the spring) due to his black hair and dark-colored eyes. In search of ghost stories, he makes his way to the school’s luxurious library and meets Victorique de Blois, a doll-like girl who believes their fates are now intertwined. Together, the two explore the unsolved mysteries of their school and uncover a dark and sinister plot that surrounds them.
5 Erased – Transported Back In Time To Save A Classmate And His Mother
Satoru Fujinuma is a 29-year-old manga artist with an ability known as Revival. During this phenomenon that only he can experience, he is transferred back to a moment just before a life-threatening event occurs. It’s almost as if someone is forcing him to stop these events from taking place.
But when he’s wrongfully accused of murdering his own mother, he’s transported eighteen years into the past. It’s here that he realizes the murder is somehow connected with the abduction and killing of one of his classmates. In this psychological mystery series, Satoru must uncover what happened to his classmate in order to protect the people closest to him.
4 School-Live! – Denial And A Zombie Apocalypse
School-Live! Is an incredibly unsuspecting horror anime series. This series follows Yuki Takeya, a young girl who loves school so much that she’s a member of the “School Live Club,” a club for students who live at their school.
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For some, it sounds like an average, boarding school-style anime… but it’s not. None of the students want to go home, and for good reason. Due to a zombie outbreak, the girls are unable to go home, or they risk death. Yuki, unfortunately, has convinced herself that nothing bad happened as a coping mechanism and her friends help her by creating a somewhat normal environment for her despite the hell they are living in.
3 Dusk Maiden of Amnesia – A Ghost With Amnesia And A School Full Of Mystery
Seikyou Private Academy has a dark past. For the past sixty years, it’s been haunted by the ghost of a former student, Yuuko, who died mysteriously in the basement of the old school building. In Dusk Maiden of Amnesia, Teiichi Niiya enrolls at Seikyou Private Academy. One day, while getting lost in one of the school’s old buildings, he meets Yuuko, who reveals herself to be a ghost with amnesia. They quickly become close and work together to investigate the mysteries of the school and Yuuko’s death.
2 King’s Game – A Game With Deadly Consequences
Nobuaki Kanazawa transfers to a new school with no intention of making any friends. But the reason why soon becomes clear to his new classmates. His class received a text message from “The King” with instructions on how to play the “The King’s Game.”
Everyone in the class needs to participate or there will be deadly consequences. Nobuaki has played this game before and has seen his friends die because of it. But his classmates don’t believe him until the game claims its first casualty. Now he has a choice but to save himself or attempt to save his classmates – something he couldn’t achieve before.
1 Danganronpa: The Animation – A Bear, A Trap, And A Deathmatch
Danganronpa: The Animation follows Makoto Naegi, who was recently accepted into Hope’s Peak Academy, an elite high school that only accepts the most talented of students.
In the beginning, the fifteen students accepted into Naegi’s year are thrilled to be there. That is until they meet the principal of the school, who happens to be a bear that traps them in the school. Their only escape is to murder one of their classmates without getting caught. If they are caught, the murderer is executed, and the students must continue their deathmatch.
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