**This article contains mature content not suitable for minors! Must be 18 year of age or older!**
When are you struck by disgust? When you are, do you react in horror or in laughter?
The idea of being shown something alien to your daily life is a common feature of storytelling and anime is certainly no exception. In fact, there is a sizeable portion of keen anime fans who actively seek out the horrifying and the exotic. This article is a love letter to them.
However, note that this article chooses not to include some of the more progressive sexual themes in anime in our consideration of what is disgusting. One may not find Koi Kaze or Hourou Musuko to be very appetising when it comes to challenging our view of appropriate sexual relationships or gender identity, but there is nothing that can be described as inherently disgusting about such works. Instead, this article focuses on the immediate impact of the “what the hell did I just watch” factor in certain shows that no one wants to tell their friends they watched.
For anime, disgusting shows often come hand-in-hand with scenes that aim to disturb because of its narrative effect rather than purely through aesthetics. Each selection will take into account the relevant context of the disgusting elements and leave to our readers to make your own judgement. A deliberate attempt has been made to touch on well-known shows before gradually introducing some of the lesser known, more exotic works that has come out of the industry.
So, without further ado, let us present Honey’s Anime’s selection for the Top 10 Disgusting Anime.
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: October 2012-March 2013
Savvy readers who already watched this brilliance of a TV anime show might’ve been so immersed in one of the most riveting anime narratives of this decades to remember how disturbing some of the earlier stories had been. Possibly to fit his gory and almost nihilistic writing style to the TV airwaves, the first half of Psycho-Pass is a collection of Gen Urobuchi’s imaginatively violent murders ranging from our first exposure to death by molecular deconstruction (through the Dominators used by our protagonists) to sawing up a corpse so that it can be flushed into a toilet bowl.
Admittedly, Psycho-Pass is among Urobuchi’s tamer works, especially compared to almost all of his prolific visual novels. However, it is possibly his most gut-churning anime as you realise that one of the victims in the show ended up with their legs attached to where their arms are supposed to connect with their shoulders, in an almost beautifying way no less.
9. Nazo no Kanojo X (Mysterious Girlfriend X)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: April 2012-July 2012
16 year old Akira Tsubaki gets into a relationship with fellow classmate and loner Mikoto Urabe. Having a setup so similar to many anime romances, it shouldn’t be wrong for any innocent viewer to assume that this show is about Akira and Mikoto’s adorable couplehood and their learning to come into terms with being with one another. Well, they wouldn’t be wrong either…
However, Nazo no Kanojo X is especially disconcerting because the entire basis of the main couple’s relationship and sexual attraction to one another is based on them dwelling (both mentally and very, very graphically) on each other’s spit. There’s an element of rawness in the show’s frank depiction of Akira and Mikoto’s pent up frustration despite the Ghibli-inspired fantastical aesthetics, giving an almost poetic meaning to their salivary exchanges as they learn to accept the weirdness in their significant other. Whether it is appealing to watch is something we have decide on our own.
Watching Nazo no Kanojo X is akin to visiting your neighbours and then absolutely enjoying yourself as their puppy runs enthusiastically onto your lap, only for you to realise in horror that his entire body is covered in the stink of his uncleaned waste. You can definitely learn to ignore the stench and enjoy his antics, but that would definitely be more of a compliment to your strength of mind.
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: July 2010-December 2010
Shiki is an anime about vampires. Not many vampire anime exist, and among the most popular shows of the past decade are a shoujo love story and a high school romantic comedy. In stark contrast to its motif predecessors, Shiki tells a story of the conflicts between the humans and ‘shiki’, long-living vampiric creatures, in a rural Japanese village that escalates into a desperate war of survival at the cost of morality and compassion. The show does a great job of making every death count.
While Shiki resembles a horror show more than anything else in the first half of its run, there comes a point when the viewer is no longer astonished by the vampires but instead by the sheer violence that both sides are capable of. In one particular scene, village doctor Toshio Ozaki becomes so consumed with his hate for the ‘shiki’ that he heartlessly dissects one of their kind both in our and his conscious victim’s view. The scene, in all its disturbing glory, ends up being a turning point in demonstrating to us that some of the most disgusting and revolting conflicts are those of when people try to regain their normal lives.
7. Elfen Lied
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: July 2004-October 2004
Not often in fiction does sex and violence get to the point of actually disgusting its audience. Elfen Lied accomplishes this in the beginning 10 minutes of its first episode, and continues doing so for the rest of its one-cour runtime.
Just like Shiki, Elfen Lied thrives on contrasting moments of normality with unnerving images of supernatural forces at work. The anime builds upon its beginning moments of security guards being flinged about like bloody pinatas by heroine Lucy’s psychic hands that it almost has no choice but to go further into the deep end as the episodes go by. In fact, Elfen Lied is so good at doing this that it challenges our ability to stomach violence through gratuitous scenes of on animal beatings and premature girls being systematically tortured, both vivid enough to induce some vomiting from less resilient viewers.
There is little reason to Elfen Lied’s violence, which makes it all the more disgusting as you realise the meaninglessness of the characters’ suffering. However, as a piece of anime history and a focal point to the levels of gore that a TV anime is capable of, Elfen Lied is a benchmark that deserves its recognition.
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: February 2012
Most people have no idea that ufotable made Gyo, but everyone who does know about Gyo probably came across it by accident or knew about the manga that it was adapted from. Released as an hour long OVA, Gyo resembles the horror rental tapes that one might grab for a nice weekend with friends.
As one of the more straightforward anime of this list, it really is a surprise that Gyo isn’t better known among anime watchers; it could easily earn a cult following by horror fans who can stomach some of its more repulsive imagery. Gyo also happens to be the kind of monster-on-man show that is deeply interested in showing the gritty physical detail of engaging in combat with armies of shark-cyborg mutants, where even a single scratch reduces you to a zombie-like sea monster.
Somewhat ironically, Gyo actually tells a very compelling story of survival and loss, making it quite an impressive feat of where anime makes good use of disgusting elements for an intriguing viewing experience. Feel free to utilise this anime for a memorable bonding experience with the braver ones among your good friends.
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2011-September 2011
With violence being such a common tool in fictional media to impress viewers, it takes a special something for today’s anime fans for anime violence to be described as disgusting. With Blood-C, it is the ridiculous level of creativity put into scenes of its monsters massacring the human population that immediately puts it above the two other mainstream anime featuring gratuitous violence.
Bringing back to life a franchise with a dedicated cult following that started with the much-loved Blood: The Last Vampire anime film, Blood-C throws you for a loop by an nausea inducing dichotomy between awkward school life scenes and exaggerated levels of blood spilling. While this alone might be traumatising to dedicated franchise fans, the really disgusting aspect of the show are the scenes of otherworldly monstrosities indiscriminately killing innocent civilian. Whether it is people getting ripped apart at the limbs, skewered like hot snack or made into a torrent of bloody fluid as though in a blender, Blood-C finds a way to put you in awe from the sheer creativity of its violence while simultaneously forcing your eyes away from the monitor.
Blood-C is the kind of anime that is perfect material to make .gif files and freak out your friends with. No one who enjoys a decent story will put themselves through it, but it does do a good job of showing how modern anime can push the limits of what makes it to the air waves.
4. Abunai Sisters: Koko & Mika
- Episodes: 10
- Aired: January 2009-March 2009
Abunai Sisters is one of those things that no one wants to recognise as an anime, but is considered so because it was made under prolific animation studio Production I.G. The studio is best known for making great anime like Ghost in the Shell and Psycho-Pass about important things like human identity and social disorder. On the other hand, Abunai Sister is a not so great CGi-made anime about not so important issues, like Koko and Mika’s ridiculous breast physics and antagonists who obsess over them. It’s also fluently voiced in English, which is interesting since the dialogue is obviously trenched in Japanese syntax.
For the most part, Abunai Sister entertains through the ridiculousness of its aesthetics and the shallowness of its story. However, this backfires by how unappealing absolutely everything about it is, from the physical appearance of Koko and Mika to the repulsive attempts at fanservice throughout the show. There is something innately disgusting about a fanservice show that is so ugly that one can only enjoy it in an ironic sense, which is made even worse when one realises that there is absolutely no point to the entire show other than inducing a few cheap laughs.
In a sense, Abunai Sister subverts sexuality by making all elements of it in the show as disgusting as possible. However, describing it as such is a generous evaluation of the anime’s intellectual value.
3. Utsu Musume Sayuri
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: 2003
Lasting only 3 minutes as a single episode OVA, Utsu Musume Sayuri is the shortest entry on this list by length. Despite so, it may very well be the most immediately disturbing from the moment the you are introduced to the titular Sayuri and her deformed family members, who from what any viewer can tell is part of Sayuri’s own body.
The plot for this anime is simple; Sayuri, a creature consisting of many horrifying physical features is told by her family to “hit” another horrifying creature, and she does. That’s literally it. Of course, since this anime is so short, introducing Sayuri and her family takes nearly half of its entire runtime and is just as disturbing as anything else there is to see. So little makes sense about this show that it ends up sticking to the mind as an amalgamation of all disgusting behaviour imaginable, compressed into a single act lacking any rhyme or reason and provides no closure to the horror that just a glance of this anime exposes you to.
- Episodes: 6
- Aired: December 2011-February 2016
Visual novels are infamous for birthing fictional works that depict violent and disturbing fetishisations of sex, albeit with countless counterexamples of great writing in the same medium. Euphoria is a strange animal in the sense that it is without a doubt a hideous culmination of sexual extremity and torturous behaviour, but is also recognised for its smart writing. The anime, being a low production value hentai OVA, has less of the latter while retaining the most disgusting aspects of the original game.
Some of you braver readers might have taken the initiative to check out the first episode and might be thinking, how does this any worse than any of the shows above? Well, resilient readers, do be aware that the first episode is alike a roller coaster building up for speed, escalating higher and higher before it all comes crashing down into loops of excretion-infused coupling and hyper-violent fetishisation forced on unwilling high school students, all in the name of surviving a crazy game that no one involved understands. Even the more venturous of anime fans will need a bucket nearby in case they can’t stomach their disgust hearing the desperate cries of the more vulnerable female characters. Even your sympathy for the hesitant protagonist, who carries out all of these acts, will wane as he adapts emotionally to the role of being a antagonistic deviant.
Those who are looking for an entry point to the dark side of anime need look no further, for Euphoria is the disgust-inducing gem of the industry that awaits your curiosity.
1. Midori: Shoujo Tsubaki
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: May 1992
The truth is, if this had been a list about the Top 10 Disgusting Manga, we would have came up with a much darker, much less appealing list of works. As such, it only makes sense that the top of our current list is an anime adaptation of a kamishibai (literally “paper drama”) story of young Midori during the Showa-period of Japan, who loses her parents and is forced to a position of slavery in a freak circus. That being said, this is a particularly unappetising work that cannot be recommended in good faith to anyone, and as thus its entry in this list serves as a way of your avoidance from sheer nightmare-fuel.
The anime depicts in vivid detail and avant-garde creativity of Midori’s sexual and emotional abuse under a number of physically deformed circus performers with heavy use of psychotic imagery, often to the point of grotesque sex scenes that does not excite in the slightest. It therefore follows that Director Hiroshi Harada single-handedly drew the entire film after having failed to gather a proper production staff. Fortunately (or unfortunately for those forced into watching the film), this means that viewers get the complete experience of Harada’s artistic expression, which he certainly puts into use throughout scene after grotesque scene of abstract personal horror and disgusting renditions of intercourse between numerous couples.
As much as this anime can be considered in either extremes as self-contained trash production or a pure expression of art, it is a dire challenge to the viewer’s stomach as well as to their sanity. There is no pleasure whatsoever to be gained from watching Shoujo Tsubaki as it is occupies a space in creative expression devoid of any intention of being entertaining. Instead, it forcefully expands the viewer’s worldview of what is possible of human imagination while raising very significant questions of how far one creator must be in a dark tunnel to be so dedicated in completing an anime that no one can possibly enjoy.
To those of you who looked forward to Boku no Pico, it didn’t make the list because it’s nothing more than vanilla shounen-ai/shota material. As unusually as it is, it’s entry barrier and reputation seems to be a result of myth and hearsay, rather than because of any specific demerit giving it an aspect of disgust. Well, unless if you really don’t like that sort of thing.
Writing this list presented the difficulty of introducing shows that left a particularly bad impression, and this writer has to assert that the higher placing anime really should be avoided for those looking to perform normally in your daily lives. Readers who are looking for an exotic taste of what anime has to offer should feel free to check out any of the titles in the first half of the list, and save some of the bottom half for when free time becomes abundant and fresh ideas stop coming.
Is there a more suitable anime for this list? Do you have something to share about any of the entries? Let us know in the comment section below.