Some high school students experience what is referred to as a “emo” phase. That person’s appearance is fairly universal – dark or black clothing, dark hair, a lot of make-up, and a general sense of apathy or despair. But what exactly is emo? What does this imply?
The term is an abbreviation of “emotional,” which is meant to give the shortened form a bit more oomph. Emo is usually thought of as a fashion style or a type of music, but it has evolved into its own culture.
So, what exactly defines an emo anime? While most anime contains some form of emotional content, there are a few that stand out. These anime address serious issues that we may not want to think about or discuss in our daily lives. They’re darker and hit a deeper emotional chord with the audience – more emotionally hardcore or “emo” in general. Here’s our top picks for the best emo anime!
10. Ergo Proxy
Romdo is one of the last places humans, along with their android-like robots, live in the doomed apocalypse of civilization. As a result of contracting a disease known as the “Cogito Virus,” these “AutoReivs” have begun to gain self-awareness. Re-l, the ruler of Romdo’s granddaughter, is dispatched to find out why this is happening. Re-l, on the other hand, quickly learns more than she bargained for when she learns of a sinister conspiracy. Re-l must uncover the truth with the help of an AutoReiv specialist named Vincent Law and a child AutoReiv named Pino.
Re-l embodies many of the outward characteristics of an emo person, and she is roughly the same age as most people when they go through that stage of life. Ergo Proxy is a dark film that challenges many of our preconceived notions about life. This series’ animation is excellent, capturing the dark despair and apocalyptic nature of the setting in a way that feels very real. Re-l and her companions will discover what it means to be human as they learn more about the truth in Romdo and the beings known as “Proxies.” This anime, on the other hand, is more analytical than emotional at times, which is why it is ranked lower on our list. Ergo Proxy, on the other hand, is a fantastic example of an emo-styled anime.
9. M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane (M3: The Dark Metal)
Since the beginning of time, the Lightless Realm has been terrorizing people. Staying in the darkness for too long can be dangerous to one’s mental health, let alone if one is attacked by one of the Admonition monsters that live there. No one seems to know why the Admonitions are attacking people or where the Lightless Realm came from, but humanity must fight back! To combat the Admonitions, eight adolescent boys and girls have been gathered. Their past and present selves will collide in an unexpected inertia of emotional pain as they get closer to the truth. Will they be able to see the war to its conclusion?
M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane is a distorted and dark mecha that embodies many of the characteristics of a good emo anime. The fact that the people fighting the Admonitions are teenage boys and girls is perhaps the most startling aspect of the series. They’re at the heart of the fighting force, as well as the mysteries that surround the Lightless Realm. With a couple of plot twists, these young people will face even more undeserved suffering and sorrow than they have already experienced in their lives. While this anime may be perplexing at first, the emotional roller coaster is well worth the ride!
8. Hell Girl (Jigoku Shoujo)
According to legend, you can access a supernatural website called Jigoku Tsuushin at midnight if you have a grudge against someone. If you enter someone’s name on that website, they will be immediately sent to hell. The punishment will be carried out by Ai Enma, the Hell Girl, with the assistance of three straw dolls. She doesn’t even consider whether the target is guilty or not; any person whose name appears on the website is automatically condemned. Anyone who writes a name on Jigoku Tsuushin, on the other hand, is doomed to spend eternity in hell.
One of the most jarring and thought-provoking anime on this list is Hell Girl. This anime is about the darkness that exists within humanity. Each episode of the series focuses on a different character and their story, demonstrating why they choose to condemn someone else to hell, thereby becoming condemned themselves.
Ai Enma is a terrifying character who comes after each character to both help and harm them. The goal of this show is to emotionally invest the audience in each of the characters so that you will want to see them achieve their goals in life, even if it means writing their names on Jigoku Tsuushin.
Hell Girl succeeds admirably thanks to its lovely and dark animation style, making it one of the few horror anime on our list. And it is unquestionably an anime that is well worth your time.
7. Darker than Black (Darker than Black: Kuro no Keiyakusha)
Darker than Black is an anime that follows the story of an investigator and a “Contractor” known as the Black Reaper. People began seeing Contractors – supernatural beings who have exchanged their humanity for powers – when the mysterious Gates known as Heaven’s Gate and Hell’s Gate first appeared on Earth. This group includes the Black Reaper, also known as Hei. He works for the Syndicate in the shadows while also uncovering a dark plot that threatens everything the Contractors have worked for.
Darker Than Black is a one-of-a-kind anime series. This is evident in both the way it tells its story and the plot itself. The anime, which is set in a neo-noir style, deals with psychological and investigative questions about the world in which it exists. These questions, on the other hand, are directly applicable to the human experience in the present. This series is full of dark emotion and has a few unexpected twists and turns.
Yuu Otosaka is finally caught by Nao Tomori after years of getting ahead in school by using his ability to control others (for five seconds at a time). Yuu and his sister Ayumi are persuaded to transfer to a school for the supernaturally gifted by Nao, who then forces Yuu to join the student council! The student council is in charge of finding young people who are abusing their power. Along the way, Yuu and his friends face numerous formidable challenges and learn that having powers comes with a price.
Yuu and his friends, especially at the start of the series, may appear to be typical carefree students. Because of the tragic and sad circumstances that occur as the series progresses, Charlotte earns a spot on our list. As we learn more about each character’s backstory and the various trials they’ve faced, the audience becomes increasingly attached to them, eventually feeling truly connected to them. As we become more emotionally invested in Yuu, Nao, and the others, the events that occur in their lives become more real to us.
Clannad is one of the most compelling anime on our list, following Tomoya Okazaki, a typical student who is bored with his life. Tomoya and his friend Sunohara skip school on a regular basis until Tomoya meets Nagisa Furukawa, a strange girl with a serious illness.
Nagisa decides that she and Tomoya are friends, and Tomoya eventually agrees, agreeing to assist Nagisa in her dream of resurrecting the school’s drama club. Tomoya and Nagisa set out to make Nagisa’s dream a reality with the help of four other girls. Tomoya helps each girl work through her problems, and in the process, he discovers a reason to live.
Clannad is one of the most well-known tragic anime, second only to anime #4 on this list in terms of popularity. Clannad appears innocent at first glance, but it has its own sadness. Clannad has a tragic emotional aspect to it, despite not having many of the darker elements that a typical emo anime does. This anime is adorable and endearing, drawing you in and making you care about each of the characters.
4. Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day (Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai)
Jinta Yadomi spends his days doing whatever he wants, including skipping school and playing video games. However, one summer day, his childhood friend Meiko “Menma” Honma appears, asking him to keep a promise he made to her many years ago.
Jinta dismisses her at first, believing Menma to be a hallucination because the real Menma died when they were still children. He soon realizes, however, that this is the real Menma’s ghost. As his old childhood group of friends reunites, they must figure out how to finally put Menma to rest and move on.
The most well-known tragedy on this list is Anohana. Jinta and his friends are dealing with the emotional trauma of losing a close friend at a young age, and you learn something new about how their lives have been falling apart since then almost every episode.
As each character deals with loss and the process of moving on, the audience can see how they might deal with their own losses in life. Every episode will have at least one scene that will make you cry, especially as the series progresses. This anime is one of the few emotionally hardcore animes that leaves you with strong emotions for years after you’ve watched it!
3. Death Note
When Light Yagami, a high school student, discovers a strange notebook known as the Death Note, his life is forever changed. Light, a genius who believes the world is collapsing, decides to put the Death Note to the test by writing a criminal’s name in the book.
After the criminal’s name is written down, he dies, and Light realizes the immense power he has discovered. Light, accompanied by the Death Note’s true owner, a shinigami named Ryuk, decides to eliminate all criminals and establish himself as the god of a new world. The police, on the other hand, are on the lookout for Light, and they’re aided by an eccentric detective known only as L.
Luminous As he attempts to eliminate all criminals, Yagami’s story is full of dark and gritty suspense. Light and L’s attempts to outsmart each other cause others to die, lose hope, or even lose their minds.
The truth is that Light and L are both heartless and calculated in their decisions because they only care about a few people. Despite this, the anime has a strong emotional component, as many beloved side characters suffer as a result of the main battle between Light and L. Death Note is a beautifully dark anime that explores humanity’s darkest natures while engrossing the audience in the story.
2. Neon Genesis Evangelion
Shinji Ikari, 14, is called upon to do more than he ever imagined in a world torn apart by a war between the Angels seeking to destroy and the Nerv agency’s Evangelions seeking to protect! When he finally meets up with his father, the head of Nerv, his ordinary life is turned upside down. Shinji is asked to join Evangelion Unit-01 as the pilot and defend humanity. With his newfound burden, this ordinary boy must become a legend overnight. Will Shinji be able to handle the situation?
One of the few mecha on this list, and unquestionably the best, is Neon Genesis Evangelion. As Shinji adjusts to his new destiny, a slew of questions arise, particularly about the weight of responsibility placed on one young boy’s shoulders.
In the way it examines and questions the situation presented, this series is dark and thought-provoking. Every character has flaws, which they must work through in a realistic manner. Evangelion takes the common perception of mecha and enhances it with its characters and story, making it far more emotional.
1. Tokyo Ghoul
People and creatures are known as “ghouls” now coexist in Tokyo. Ghouls may appear to be ordinary people, but they have a vicious desire for human flesh, making the rest of society fear them. Ken Kaneki is an introverted college student who enjoys reading. He believes he has found his perfect match when he meets Rize Kamishiro, a fellow reader.
Unfortunately, Rize isn’t who she claims to be, and Kaneki finds himself in a position he doesn’t want to be in: halfway between the human and ghoul worlds. Kaneki must start a new life, caught between the two worlds, with the help of Touka Kirishima and a few others. Will he be able to find a way to fit in?
Tokyo Ghoul is unquestionably one of the darkest anime, so it ranks first on our list. Though it is a short anime series in comparison to others, the depth of emotion Kaneki experiences in that short number of episodes is just as powerful as other, longer anime series.
Although Tokyo Ghoul occasionally gets lost in the horror aspects of being a ghoul, it also focuses on deeper emotions like loneliness and hopelessness. Kaneki’s story is tragic in that he is forced to the margins of both dominant societies and feels like he belongs nowhere.
The one drawback of this short anime is that there isn’t enough time to get to know all of the characters, partly due to the sheer number of them! Despite this, Tokyo Ghoul is the best emo anime on our list due to its premise, depth, and animation style.