Dark fantasy has always been synonymous with series like Berserk—rest in peace Kentaro Miura—and Attack on Titan as they show just how evil some worlds can be. Filled to the brim with darkness in various forms, the beauty of Dark Fantasy is how it twists and distorts our perception of what we deem fantastical. When you think of unicorns and elves you rarely think of unicorns piercing the hearts of people or elves slaughtering humans for just existing. Dark fantasy is often visceral and hyper-violent and we have noticed anime studios are pushing the genre further than ever before.
It is easy to wonder why dark fantasy is thriving so much in this current generation. In our minds, dark fantasy is doing well for several reasons and we’d like to discuss said reasons in our article below. We will explore the beauty of the growing genre and why it needs to stick around for generations to come. Get ready readers, its time to enter the upside-down world of fantasy and into the nightmare scape that is dark fantasy!
Light Needs Darkness
Typically, fantasy has always had this air of otherworldly escape filled with miracles and dream-like joy. As nice as that is…it really isn’t always exciting to think of a fantasy world with little to no threat. Dark fantasy corrects this by having heroes or summoned spirits entering a world that is quite fantastical to their original and having them struggle in numerous ways. Need proof that our logic is sound? Let’s discuss two recent dark fantasy anime and show why they are helped by this train of thought.
Re:Zero and The Ancient Magus’ Bride are quite different tales but they share a similar theme aside from the dark fantasy title. Each series examines fantasy worlds filled with surprise and wonder but that are equally drenched in chaos, darkness, and evil. In the Ancient Magus’ Bride, Chise is initially sold as a slave, and while she is rescued by a good “creature”, that doesn’t change the fact she was being sold! Subaru in Re:Zero also deals with a dark world that pushes his mental fortitude beyond normal limits by having him deal with constant waves of death and failure. Dark fantasy aims to prove that even in the brightest environments, shadows loom and are just waiting to overtake the helpless souls who fail to realize they are there…
Adventures in Maturity
The world of Made in Abyss is a place that screams adventure! Yes, it is perilous and wrought with death for those ill-prepared but that is what adventure is even in the real world. Dark fantasies like Made in Abyss show a level of maturity you can’t find with your normal dose of fantasy storytelling. Adventure should be an adrenaline rush that forces you to grow up and mature. Regular fantasy might have cool adventures but unlike the real world, the level of risk is weak and makes the overall experience feel shallow and simple.
Unlimited Stories Await
When Attack on Titan first released, how many of you out there were hit with utter shock at the overall story? Have you ever seen a story like Claymore or Dororo? No, you probably haven’t. Simply put, dark fantasy has so much raw potential that even when we think we can’t be surprised, a new anime is made and just grabs us by the collars and reminds us “you haven’t seen everything just yet”.
Berserk Needs to Continue Onward
The recent death of legendary Kentaro Miura has left Berserk fans both crippled with depression—rightfully so—and fear. Will Berserk continue after Miura’s death or will it be thrown into the hell that is permanent hiatus? In our minds, it can go in either direction but we believe that Berserk needs to continue not just as a manga series but also as an anime.
Despite the weakly reviewed anime seasons of Berserk, that hasn’t made this nearly perfect dark fantasy series any less beloved. Berserk is in many ways the original dark fantasy manga/anime and needs to continue to pave the way for darker tales of struggle, survival, and adventure. Dark fantasy works akin to Berserk rarely happen but if this series can survive like Guts, then we know that dark fantasy as a whole will never die out but only get better as creators continue to admire and value Kentaro Miura’s work.
Dark fantasy anime hasn’t slowed down as of late and we are truly pleased by that fact. Every year a new dark fantasy series releases and every year we sit down, grab a snack and ready ourselves for a journey into a beautiful nightmare. Dark fantasy will never grow old and we think there is still a multitude of untapped resources for creators out there to find and run wild with! Here’s a question for you otaku out there. What is your favorite dark fantasy anime? Comment below to let us know and for even more articles like this one keep stuck to our not-so-dark hive here at Honey’s Anime!