A good fraction of anime isn’t afraid to go dark, and feature such female characters. It doesn’t necessarily make them bad people, it just gives a distinguishing personality. A lot of these characters carry “baggage” as demonstrated in the previous edition to this list such as Ai from Jigoku Shoujo, and Yuuko from Tasogare X Amnesia. Beyond these characters, there has also been Four Murasame from Zeta Gundam, who was subjected to psychological and neurological re-programming, which has rendered her emotionally unstable. However, dark characters come from many backgrounds beyond abuse. In addition to our previous list, who are some of the newest Top 10 Dark Anime Girls? WARNING: There will be spoilers, but we promise to do our best to keep things at a minimum.
10. Rei Ayanami from Shin Seiki Evangelion (Neon Genesis Evangelion)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: October 4, 1995 – March 27, 1996
Kicking off this list is Rei from the iconic Evangelion. When we’re first introduced to her after Shinji refuses to get into EVA-01, she is rolled out on a stretcher while still heavily covered in bandages to make it clear to the audience that she’s going to pilot it as humanity’s last hope. Without hesitating or saying any words, she indicates she’s willing to follow orders. For a good majority of the series, Rei is stoic and emotionless unless Shinji talks about his father (for which she slaps him) but other than that, she’s withdrawn and mysterious. Yes, her pale design is a dead giveaway as to why she’s dark, but when you see her throughout the series, she’s mysterious and void. Rei only speaks when spoken to, and keeps things at a minimum. As the series progresses, you naturally learn about her origins, which ultimately explains the dark nature of her character. She’s a dark character, but the mysterious kind due to her quiet and blank nature.
9. Akane Tsunemori from Psycho-Pass
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: October 12, 2012 – March 23, 2013
Coming in at number 9 is Akane from Psycho-Pass, a detective in a dystopian Tokyo. If you could take Philip K. Dick novels and make it into an anime, then Psycho-Pass is certainly it (after all, the anime takes influences from movies based on his novels such as Blade Runner). However, it also takes inspiration from another of his stories, Minority Report, as to how the police can enforce laws and keep its crime rate low. When Akane discovers the truth behind why they can enforce the law, the series takes her to a dark place. If this were Hollywood, she’d probably go rogue against the system in order to take it down. However, despite her personal disgust at the truth (and other circumstances beyond her control), she’s willing to comply! Her presence on this list makes us wonder if there’s truly such a thing as compromising for the right reasons, and makes us re-evaluate the true value of security vs. freedom, and is there truly such a justification for such measures.
8. Mio from Dororo (2019)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: January 7, 2019 – June 24, 2019
Re-introduced in the first half to the remake of Osamu Tezuka’s Dororo is Mio, a lone teenager who takes care of amputated war orphans. While she is a dark character, compared to most of the characters on this list, Mio is still a forward thinking person. Besides the conditions she lives in, what is it about her that makes her dark? It’s how she makes money by prostituting herself to samurai soldiers on both sides of a conflict. Nobody pointed a blade to her head and forced her to do it. She wasn’t swept away from her home in the middle of the night and forced into a sex trafficking ring. Mio is doing it out of her own free will so she can make money to support the children, and whenever she’s home, she puts on a happy front despite how much she’s actually suffering. When she’s at work, Mio tries to pass the time by singing a song to show her sadness. As visibly portrayed, her job has given her an illness which she tries to conceal and eventually, her actions get her and the rest of the orphans she cares for slaughtered.
7. Ymir from Shingeki no Kyojin Season 2 (Attack on Titan Season 2)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 1, 2017 – June 17, 2017
On the outside, Ymir, one of the latest recruits to the Scout Corps, may seem like a regular girl, but deep down inside, she’s probably one of the loneliest girls in this series. Upon her introduction, she’s anti-social, pushes people away, and is harshly critical of them (especially when she knows they’re phony). As the audience is given her origin story, we start to see that she’s probably one of the tragically darkest characters in this series. For more than 5 decades, Ymir roamed the world alone in her titan form after being exiled from Marley feeling like it was an endless nightmare since she had little to no human contact. After regaining her human form, she thought she could go back to having a normal life, but it was still too difficult for her. As she knew the truth about Krista, the friendship she builds with her (and the true nature of Krista) ends up tearing up her heart as she doesn’t know who to be loyal to, her new friend? Or her fellow native countrymen? Or ultimately, to herself?
6. Asuka Ootoori from Mahou Shoujo Tokushuusen Asuka (Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 12, 2019 – March 30, 2019
Very little do we get to see characters who are already established as heroes and Asuka is one of those characters. At 16, she’s already world weary and for good reasons as fighting in the Distonia War from when she was much younger and even lost her family (we’ll not get into that). Just like a lot of 80s action heroes who try to live the retired life, she’s forced back into the game. Asuka is certainly not your daddy’s magical girl hero as she’s not your typical cutesy hero. She’s cute for sure, but she’s a soldier suffering from some trauma. Asuka has the skills to save the world from a new threat, and she doesn’t want to fight and by no means are they for selfish reasons. Throughout the series, not only does she have to overcome her issues, she has to face new ones and you see her trying to keep it together. Asuka is a very unique portrayal of PTSD, which is why she qualifies for this list.
5. Homura Akemi Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica (Puella Magi Madoka Magica)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 7, 2011 – April 22, 2011
From the hit magical girl anime that defined the genre in more ways than one, we have Homura Akemi, who has her role to play in it. Like Asuka, being a magical girl has made her world weary, but Homura is the originator as it regards to this role. Due to her experiences, it has made her traumatic and paranoid in regards to how she wants to protect Madoka to the point that she goes to certain extremes to do so. Due to how far she goes with wanting to protect Madoka from Kyubey and the things she does to make that happen (which we don’t wish to spoil), it makes Homura dark. Let’s also say with her powers of time travel through her shield, it has exposed her to numerous experiences that also damaged her morally.
4. Kagari Shiina from Steins;Gate 0
- Episodes: 23
- Aired: April 12, 2018 – September 27, 2018
Kagari is a character who really had it rough for the 22 years she has been alive. First, she grew up in a world gone to ninth layer of Hell as it took away her birth parents. In that future, she’s adopted by Mayuri, Okabe’s best friend. Even in the future, Kagari loses her adoptive mother and in order to prevent the world from going to ruin, she decides to go back in time with Suzuha. While time traveling, they ended up getting separated and Shiina ends up in the year 1999 at the age of 10. Kagari then finds the Prof. Leskinen of her time and tells him that she’s from the future. So, what does he do to her? He submits her to mind control experiments to make her the ultimate assassin. By the time she’s introduced as an adult, she’s more or less lost everything and when she regains her memories, Kagari exhibits the ultimate case of trauma (due to the Hell she grew up in and the brainwashing), which is why she qualifies for this lit.
3. Tanya von Degurechaff from Youjo Senki (The Saga of Tanya the Evil)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 6, 2017 – March 31, 2017
In comparison to most of our entries here, we can’t deny that Tanya is a different kind of character since she’s the reincarnation of a Japanese salaryman who retains her memories, and dials her original personality (based on statistics and numerical values) to 11. Taking into consideration the situation she’s in (as in an alternate version of World War 1), it allows her to still be herself but with a different kind of canvas for a different kind of creativity. As a commanding officer, Tanya only sees her soldiers as quality slave labor and in a sense, she views herself in the same way due the system she’s in, and she wants to increase her value. She has a twisted sense of expressing and applying her values. She’s good at playing with the cards she’s dealt with, and isn’t afraid to bluff when necessary. In spirit, Tanya is still the same person as she was in her previous life, but is put in a war zone which allows her to be sociopath, which makes her uniquely successful. What makes Tanya dark is rather difficult to put into further words, and it’s something that’s meant to be seen.
2. Nezuko Kamado from Kimetsu no Yaiba (Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 6, 2019 – (Ongoing)
At a close second, we give it to Nezuko from Kimetsu no Yaiba. Nezuko was once a regular girl from 1920’s Japan, but she was cursed to become a demon after losing most of her family to one. Even before then, her family was living an impoverished life, but still made due. Since then, her journey is truly about what it means to be human as she loses a large fraction of her memories and emotions. Where she is spiritually is a state of limbo as she may have more emotions than a demon, but not to the same extent as a human. Yes, she can do a lot bad ass things as a demon, but it can go out of control to a point that she could harm the people she loves. Due to her inner conflict with her predicament, she is one of the darkest characters in modern anime.
1. Lucy from Elfen Lied
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: July 25, 2004 – October 17, 2004
While Lucy is a repeat offender from our previous list, there’s no way we could ever deny her as one of the darkest anime girls. Her journey in this controversial series is the ultimate exploration of the nature vs. nurture argument. Her introduction is certainly one of the most riveting moments in the history of anime, but it’s not the actions that are truly disturbing, but the reasons behind them. As a diclonius, Lucy has deadly abilities known as vectors in which she can telekinetically slice people into mincemeat. Tragically, it’s human nature to fear what they don’t understand so her race is not only discriminated against, but de-humanized and some are subjected to experimentations such as Lucy. As a result, she ends up becoming a merciless killer, and it’s not because of her natural born abilities.
Even prior to being experimented on, Lucy was already subject to cruelty due to the horns on her head. Eventually, that abuse lead her to a dark path. The girl had no proper parent or guardian to teach her right from wrong, or to teach her the meaning of kindness. When Lucy gets her fresh start as Nyu, where she’s rendered to an infantile-like state due to a head injury, she’s able to learn the value of life, love and kindness thanks to Kouta’s influence. But when her Lucy persona takes over, then you better hope you invested in life insurance. Either way, her journey certainly reminds us of the old saying of treat people the way you want to be treated.
As provided on this list, a lot of these girls are without a doubt a product of their environments, circumstances, and upbringings. Another saying we like to share is that we might not be able to control what happens, but we can control how we react to them. In some instances, that’s easier said than done when some of the characters were conditioned to act in a certain way. We see how it messes up their psyche, but they still do their best to overcome their adversities when given a chance. Then there are some who try to make due with what they got. Some choose to use such opportunities for good, and some to choose to use it for selfish purposes. Through these young ladies, we can learn how we can take responsibility with how we can proceed even under the most difficult of circumstances. Yes, there’s someone to blame in many of the instances with why these characters are dark, but as we said before, it’s on the characters themselves (and with the help of their nakama) to pull themselves out of that darkness.
When we hear of the term dark we immediately gravitate towards the realm of evil and pure insanity. While the latter may seem to fit the description, it may not always be the case and sometimes it may refer to one’s dark history, or secrets. Many times we come across characters who just can't seem to get themselves out of the dark tunnel, although they've tried to seek refuge in the light. That sense of hopelessness drags you down further into the pits of despair, with very little direction to guide you. We thought it would be great if we could shed some light on these dark anime girls, so that you all can discover what truly transformed them into the beings they've become. Whether they appear in mystery or action themed environments, our mission is to ensure you that we get down to the truth of it all.
10. Lain Iwakura - Serial Experiments Lain
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: July 6, 1998 – September, 1999
Counting down our top ten at the tenth spot is Lain Iwakura. This mind boggling anime series looks at how the role of technology has made an impact on modern society, and its perception on reality. Lain finds herself in an awkward scenario when she receives a strange email from classmate Chisa, who earlier had committed suicide. Uncertain is what would this all could mean, she hesitantly opens the email which then leads her into a mysterious world called Wired. The world is akin to that of our current internet infrastructure, but is flooded with a wave of mysterious cryptic messages that Lain finds herself plunged into.
Lain was chosen for our tenth spot because along her crazy journey through The Wired, she starts to develop a different sense of judgment about herself and the world in which she is situated. As she dives deeper into the unknown she discovers more bizarre and darker messages pertaining to her existence, and consciousness. This leads Lain to developing two types of twisted personalities, one that exists in actual reality and one in The Wired. It most certainly is spooky to say the least, but it is a prime example of how much our media has manipulated our psyche, providing us with a different mask to wear not knowing who we truly are in this world.
9. Kaede Fuyou - Shuffle
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: July 8, 2005 – January 6, 2006
Continuing on with our dark anime girl list, we've hit number nine. Kaede Fuyou grew up with childhood friend Rin in the same house after their parents died in a car accident. She is usually very down to earth, polite, and soft spoken. There are times however, when she begins to show signs of psychosis and even last out violently when a great shock upsets her. Due to this unknown trait, Rin tries not to upset her as he knows of her tendencies, and would rather not get on her bad side. Much of her relapse comes from the accident in which she believes that the reason for it all happening was on Rin.
Kaede hits our number nine spot because despite all of the positive things she shares with Rin pertaining to their relationship, her mind is in a different zone filled with darkness and shrouded with uncertainty. One half of her wants to believe everything is how it should be, while the other is filled with an enormous bowl of depression and resentment towards Rin since she claims he was the reason for everything that happened. Her bipolar attitude reflects her lifestyle as she can't seem to stay entirely focused throughout school, and resorts to self-hate when something goes wrong. While this is just an dark anime girl list, we do encourage you to find time to help one another in times of distress because in the end we all need it.
8. Reina Ryuugu - Higurashi no Naku Koro ni [When They Cry]
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 5, 2006 – September 27, 2006
Coming in at number eight on our dark anime girls list is Reina Ryuugu from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. She's a 15-year-old happy go lucky individual who is usually in high spirits most of the time. She is in love with all things cute in the world, and ensures that those around her are filled with good vibes. Despite her cheerful character, a lot of her past was filled with unfortunate events which left a terrible scar on her psyche. Rena's mother committed the act of adultery and was pregnant with the child of the man whom she had an affair with. She asked Reina to go along with her to start a new family, but Reina shunned her mother out of anger and decided to stay with her biological father who was depressed. Thinking that everything was her fault, Reina decided that cutting her wrists and neck were the solution to ridding herself of her mother's filth.
Throughout the ordeal she suffered from hallucinations, thinking that maggots were coming from out of her wounds, and behaved violently towards classmates at school smashing windows in the process. This anime is full of interesting back story entertained, but this one is so chilling that we can only feel for Reina as she's been through so much in her life. It is best to stick with the cliché and never judge a book by its cover, because you just never know what it's inside.
7. Kotoura Haruka - The troubled life of Miss Kotoura
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 1, 2013 – March 29, 2013
This next one isn't so dark and dangerous as the others, but it is still something that can be quite scary if it happened to any of us. Kotoura has the ability to read the minds of others, and while this might sound really cool there are drawbacks from this. She was completely unaware that she could even perform such a feat, assuming that the voices she was hearing were just people talking out loud. Time after time people kept getting hurt while around her, so everyone decides to avoid her. This eventually led to Kotoura giving up on everyone stating to herself that she no longer wants to be hurt anymore. Many people called her names stating that her ability was that of a monster, even her best of friends leaving her behind. In the end Kotoura felt all alone in a crowded world, and it brought pain to her spirit.
Now this is a touching yet dark emotional story because at some point we've all been there (not mind reading) and can truly feel how Kotoura feels. This example of abuse is still quite common in today's society, with many children and adults feeling left alone due to their differences. The truth is that we are all the same, but we just have managed to come from all different walks of life. So instead of picking on people on where they came from, embrace the truth and be comfortable where we are now.
6. Kurome - Akame ga Kill
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 7, 2014 – December 15, 2014
Kurome is the youngest members out of the Jaegar Clan, and the younger sister of Akame. So what makes Kurome so dark? Despite not liking to share her candies with anyone, she shares a more twisted side when it comes to the hatred towards her sister. The resentment comes from the fact that she feels Akame betrayed her which leads her to inflict that inner pain upon her enemies in battle. She is extremely cold and ruthless in battle, cutting her opponents limb from limb leaving no survivors. The way she kills them is the dark part of it since she behaves in such a kind manner pretending to let her foes die peacefully, then before you could blink she kills them without mercy.
Despite her dark past and resentment towards her sister, throughout the show she does tend to a softer side when she has her candy nearby, and when she spends time with Wave, who is the polar opposite of main character Tatsumi. We highly recommend checking out this action packed thrill ride of an anime, because you will not be disappointed!
5. Revy - Black Lagoon
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 9, 2006 – June 25, 2006
Revy is the main protagonist of the action packed anime Black Lagoon. Not much can be said about Revy's past, although throughout the series we learn a few things about her. Revy grew up in the noisy streets of Chinatown, Manhattan, spending most of her youth as a thief and murderer. Something troubles her however as numerous flashbacks often lead to a scenario which involves her shooting and killing an unknown man while using a pillow. We don't know whether the pillow was used as noise suppression or to withhold the identity of the victim who she killed. One thing is thing is certain though, her dark past has turned her into a sadistic and merciless killer, who without much thought, will kill anyone even unarmed civilians for fun.
She is one of the deadliest fighters in the series due to her superhuman like abilities to dodge bullets and put an end to just about anyone who stands in her way. Revy tends to speak the foulest out of all the characters, and really has no shame in how she takes her enemies down. She is always constantly living on the edge of life, relying solely on her power and skills to get her through to the next day.
4. Lucy - Elfen Lied
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: April 5, 2013 – June 30, 2013
Lucy is a very dark and disturbed individual but her insane past has everything to do with it, and so let us dive right into it. Lucy stood out from everyone else due to her physical appearance, she had horns while other's didn't. This led to a lot of bullying from those around her, causing her to become fearful of her surroundings. She thought she could trust one of her school colleagues who then broke her promise, which led to the boys who bullied her to kill her dog. Out of sheer rage from this torment and abuse, she summons this power called Diclonius, killing each boy instantly with a single blow. Nothing seems to get better for Lucy as she befriends a boy named Kouta, who she finally felt a strong connection with after all that happened. Kouta mentioned to her that he'd be going out of town to visit his friend and would be back to spend time with her. Unfortunately, it was a lie, which Lucy discovers and so decides to kill his entire family in rage.
This of course is just a gist of the dark and crazy things Lucy committed to throughout the series. Her story comes from feelings of betrayal and abuse, which led to her lashing out in anger towards anyone who misused her trust. The moral of the story here is to stop bullying others because of their differences, because not only can it severely scar the lives of others, but it can also backfire on you as well.
3. Nakamura Sawa- Aku no Hana [Flowers of Evil]
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: April 5, 2013 – June 30, 2013
We are coming very close to the number one spot, but before we get there let's talk a little bit about Nakamura Sawa. Sawa is a classmate of main character Kasuga who is defined as alone, isolated, and aloof. She doesn't really associate herself with anyone, and so many assume that she has no friends. One afternoon Sawa witnesses Kasuga stealing someones uniform and decides to blackmail him in order to become friends with him. Though she tends to display a saner and peaceful attitude, she has emotional outbursts towards Kasuga which throw him off. This dark and twisted turn of events leads Kasuga to believe that she is stalking him, since her only true desire is not feel alone so she targets him for that reason. The creepy part about this is that Sawa believes with all her heart that even if Kasuga chooses to stay or leave her, she will ultimately be isolated.
We've all had those moments where someone who liked us just maybe liked us a bit too much, and turned us away. Perhaps not as creepy as Sawa's situation, but the show is something that many of us can relate to. Will Kasuga end up giving in to Sawa's desires? Or will he decline her only to be left with uncertain fate looming in his presence? Only one way to find out, and that's to watch the rest of the story to see how it all turns out for Kasuga.
2. Ai Enma - Hell Girl
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: October 5, 2005 – April 5, 2006
Making her way into the number two slot is Ai Enma from Hell Girl. Her dark past is just as serious as the ones prior, so grab your popcorn and continue reading. Ai grew up in a normal rural village near the mountains. Her experience was turbulent however as strangers would bully her for being freakish in her nature. At the age of seven she was selected to be the town sacrifice, but was spared as her parents managed to hide away deep within the mountains. Sentarou was her cousin and was one of the very few who knew of her whereabouts, and would bring her food when necessary. Unfortunately, the worst had arrived as Ai was discovered and brought back to the village where not only she was the sacrifice, but her parents also. The three were buried alive with Sentarou being the first one to shovel the insect ridden mud all over them.
Ai later broke out of her grave seeking revenge, which started with burning the entire village into ashes. A spider who came to her as The God of Hell was the one who had given her these powers of destruction, and told her she must sign a pact in order to become immortal. Part of this pact also is that she must act as a deliverer of people's hatred, and must remain on the shores of hell. She now becomes a cursed girl without the right to life on earth or rest in peace in hell. This deep dark story is enough to make you realize how karma can behave when you mistreat others. Hell Girl is a cruel reminder of what our world used to be like, and how grateful we should be for the lives we have now.
1. Yuuko Kanoe - Tasogare x Amnesia
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 9, 2012 – June 25, 2012
The history of Yuuko is most definitely the darkest out of all the girls on our list, and we're here to tell you why. Yuuko and her sister grew up in an era where a deadly plague had spread killing thousands. Each day that passed more and more innocent victims would perish to this disease. She was chosen out of all the villagers as the town sacrifice, since the village heads speculated that the shrine God was angry. She was locked in a pitch black underground base without light, warmth, or food to sustain a healthy living. Yuuko also suffered a broken leg from being pushed aggressively into the base, and through this process she slowly started to lose her sanity. Despite her desperate attempts to seek help by screaming and hitting no one came to her side, leaving her to die where she laid. 60 years later with her heart filled with extreme resentment, and memories filled with darkness, she vowed to seek out why she was killed along with the help of another past spirit.
This chilling story was the very reason why we chose Yuuko as the number one filler. It shows us the life that humanity had lived prior to our modern times, having no remorse for one another openly willing to sacrifice another for the sole benefit of oneself. Tasohare x Amneisa is a brutal reminder of our dark times, and how far society has come that we no longer must resort to such barbaric and inhumane forms of human sacrifice to seek peace.
We all share a dark side inside ourselves and at times it may come out when we least expect it. Some of us can control these dark emotions very well, while others suppress it creating a much bigger monster to deal with. In the end darkness is a part of humanity and we must learn to understand its flaws in order to visualize things more clearly. We hope that you found our dark anime girl list to be entertaining not just for anime, but as a life reminder that we are most certainly not perfect by any means. Do you think there are any other dark anime girls out there? Be sure to leave them all in the comments section and discuss them among one another! We always encourage communication!
As always, for your sweet anime fill, keep it locked here at Honey's Anime.