Top 10 Most Shocking Moments in Anime [Best Recommendations]

For better or worse, there are certain moments that stand the test of time. Whether they have far-reaching consequences or pop up completely out of nowhere, several scenes refuse to be ignored. In hindsight, these unexpected twists tend to leave the longest lasting impression and define their respective series or movie. Anime is stacked with notable revelations capable of haunting our nightmares!

In some cases, "shocking" implies an almost traumatic experience, as viewers are forced to witness something that left them in a state of bewilderment. Anime has essentially no limitations, so it takes something truly outlandish to leave such a noticeable impact. These upcoming moments will never be forgotten!

-- Spoilers Ahead! --

10. The Fifth Eclipse from Kenpuu Denki Berserk (Berserk)

  • Episodes: 25
  • Aired: October 1997 – April 1998

Referring to the 1990s version of Berserk, the final episode sees Griffith promoted to the level of a deity by sacrificing the Band of the Falcon. Over the course of the "Golden Age" storyline, Guts develops from a battle-driven loner to a respectable member of the team. Besides becoming Griffith's best friend and temporarily providing a distraction from his twisted dream, Guts forms an emotional connection with Casca, the Band of the Falcon's unit commander.

While the incident is foreshadowed, nothing could have prepared viewers for the fifth Eclipse's insanity! Up until this point, Guts has mostly fought other humans, so the sudden leap to demonic armies was a huge change! More importantly, audiences are forced to watch these terrifying entities tear the Band of the Falcon apart.

Alas, Griffith left the worst for Casca, as this entire ordeal culminates in the likable young girl being raped by the person she once idolized. There is simply no forgetting this whole episode, and the anime's failure to warrant a sequel meant that closure was not provided. Putting aside 2016's Berserk series, a fan's final memory of the anime was this brutal massacre.

9. Nina Tucker’s Transformation from Fullmetal Alchemist

  • Episodes: 51
  • Aired: October 2003 – October 2004

In a franchise packed with legendary scenes and revelations, Nina Tucker's tragic conclusion ranks as one of the industry's most heartbreaking moments. A sweet girl who loves her father Shou and her pet dog Alexander, Nina may be the friendliest person in the entire series and she quickly develops a touching relationship with Edward and Alphonse. As she is only four years old and lacks a mother, the siblings are rather protective of Alexander's daughter.

Unbeknownst to Nina, her mother did not actually run away, but she was used as an unwilling test subject by Shou and died in the process. As the deranged researcher faces losing his license after a year of aborted experiments, Shou does the unthinkable and attempts to create a Human Chimera by merging Alexander and Nina. While the transmutation is deemed a success, this once beloved girl is left as nothing more than a broken mutation.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood's version is also very good, but the original anime's earlier arcs are better paced, so audiences are allowed more time with Nina prior to this horrific turn of events. As the realization of what transpired slowly takes hold, Edward reacts by beating Shou to hell and back again. Frankly, he got off easy.

8. Dog Beating from Elfen Lied

  • Episodes: 13
  • Aired: July 2004 – October 2004

Yes, we are going to discuss this damn moment! Elfen Lied largely consists of a string of bloody scenes featuring half-naked girls who can tear people to shreds with a mere thought. Over the course of 12 episodes, countless children and adults are butchered, but the most infuriating death does not even involve a human.

Subjected to some rather harsh experiments and mercilessly bullied, Lucy finds solace in a small puppy that she meets in the wilderness. Sacrificing her own meals to supply the dog with food, this adorable little pooch is the only thing that keeps the young girl from completely losing her sanity. Eventually, Lucy befriends another child and confides in her about the puppy's existence, a move that proves to be a mistake.

Lucy's tormentors learn about the dog and proceed to brutally torture and kill the puppy in front of the girl. Frankly, words fail to do justice to this scene's horribleness! Thankfully, Lucy punishes the dog killers with a bit of her own murdering! Animal cruelty and massacred children, Elfen Lied is truly a family show.

7. Shinji Ikari Masturbates from Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion

  • Episodes: 1
  • Aired: July 1997

Starting out as a relatively ordinary mecha series about teenagers fighting massive alien-like creatures, Neon Genesis Evangelion's final two episodes took viewers on a peculiar journey into the protagonist's shattered psyche. Angsty and submissive, Shinji Ikari gets a bit of a bad rap, but the boy was pushed into a situation that is far beyond anyone's imagination. Sure, it is comfortable to believe that our behavior would be closer to Gurren Lagann's Kamina than Shinji's constant whining, but life is packed with disappointment.

While the series' finale is interesting, Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion tends to be considered the anime's true conclusion. Be it Rei's colossal transformation or the story's general madness, scenes from this one film could make up this entire list; nevertheless, the biggest shock comes about during one of the quieter moments. Unconscious in a hospital bed, Asuka Langley Souryuu has been reduced to a shell of her former self. Despite treating him like crap, Shinji decides to visit his former partner, but things take a turn for the perverse when Asuka suffers a wardrobe malfunction.

Unwittingly and unknowingly exposed to the world, Asuka's vulnerability sparks something in Shinji, who decides to "relieve" some tension while in the hospital room. Considering the amount of stress he has been under, it is a small miracle that the resulting release did not drown everyone in the building.

6. The Queerats Used to be Humans from Shinsekai Yori (From the New World)

  • Episodes: 25
  • Aired: September 2012 – March 2013

Gorgeous but haunting, Shinsekai Yori tackles themes of utopia, social tension, and corruption. In this universe, a minuscule percentage of the population gained psychokinetic powers, which rocked the natural order of things. While the normies had an overwhelming numerical advantage, they quickly found themselves under the boot of these new superpowered humans, resulting in the psychics creating a new world order.

The anime takes place many years after this battle. Establishing certain rules to maintain the equilibrium, society consists merely of psychics, while anyone born without powers seems to disappear off the face of the planet. For the most part, the series deals with a war between humans and an ugly species known as queerats. In an attempt to shift the power balance in their favor, the latter try to overthrow their oppressors, but they end up falling short of their goal. Throughout the entire series, the queerats are clearly presented as the villains.

In the final episode, Shinsekai Yori throws out a frightful revelation that retroactively changes the entire experience: queerats are powerless humans. In order to further establish their dominance, psychics twisted the genes of everyone else so they would resemble animals rather than people. The queerat leader Squealer reveals this to an audience of uninformed psychics, who merely laugh at the absurdity of his claim.

5. Reiner’s Reveal from Shingeki no Kyojin Season 2 (Attack on Titan Season 2)

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: April 2017 – June 2017

Is it possible to pick only one moment from Attack on Titan? While Wit Studio's anime may be the most mainstream release of the last decade, the story regularly subverts expectations. The pilot episode features a shocking scene involving the protagonist's mother and the teeth of a Titan, while episode five threw out an unexpected curveball with Eren's own (temporary) demise. In summation, Attack on Titan understands how to keep its audience guessing.

Occurring in the phenomenal second season, the anime nearly broke the internet when Reiner Braun and Bertolt Hoover were declared to be the Titan-Shifter and the Colossal Titan respectively. Sent to infiltrate Wall Maria and act like spies, these two sought to kidnap Eren and Krista Lenz.

For more than 30 episodes, fans grew to appreciate Reiner and Bertolt as endearing members of the Scouting Legion. Obviously, this admiration flew out the window when these two reveal that they are responsible for the murder of countless people. This twist is actually just spouted out abruptly by Reiner, with little build-up or fanfare; suddenly, Reiner and Bertolt are Titans.

4. Cutting Riko’s Arm from Made in Abyss

  • Episodes: 13
  • Aired: July 2017 – September 2017

Oh, come on! How could this adorable anime about two adventure-seeking rascals be anything other than precious and endearing? Kinema Citrus' Made in Abyss deserves every ounce of praise flung its way and the second season needs to happen sooner rather than later! Based on Akihito Tsukushi's manga, the premise centers around a seemingly bottomless chasm that opens in the middle of a town. Motivated by the allure of the unknown, many Divers seek to investigate this strange phenomenon, although the odds of survival get exponentially worse as someone ventures further down into the abyss.

Aided by an amnesia-suffering robot named Regu, Riko aims to reach the bottom of the chasm and reunite with her mother. Immediately, the anime establishes that this task is effectively impossible, but the duo manages to survive the first couple of levels without too much trouble. Just as they start to get comfortable, Riko's arm gets poisoned and the only option seems to be an amputation.

Well, the anime went through with it. In a five-minute scene that feels like it lasts forever, Regu botches an attempt to separate Riko from her arm. Shown in all of its graphic glory, Made in Abyss quickly reminded viewers that this journey was not meant for the faint of heart!

3. Mami Tomoe’s Decapitation from Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica (Puella Magi Madoka Magica)

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: January 2011 – April 2011

Okay, things really did escalate quickly! If it looks and acts like a magical girl anime, then it must be a magical girl anime. Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica preys on this false assumption, as Shaft's highly rated anime lures viewers into a false sense of security. Be it the unbearably happy opening theme or the protagonist's airheaded behavior, Puella Magi Madoka Magica's initial three episodes stick strictly to the tropes and clichés associated with the genre, but this illusion is shattered by a single scene.

Serving as Madoka's sensei, Mami Tomoe is a cheery magical girl who strives to save the lives of everyone around her. In other words, Mami is aces and seems borderline unstoppable. While the veteran fighter puts on a brave face, Mami suffers from bouts of loneliness, so Madoka hopes to repay her teacher by becoming her partner. Just when things are set to improve for Mami, she is mercilessly killed during a battle with a witch!

Nowadays, anyone with a passing knowledge of anime knows that Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica is a borderline horror series masquerading as a magical girl story; however, this was not the case during the anime's original run. For some odd reason, violent decapitations and Sailor Moon do not seem to gel together!

2. Megumi Shimizu’s Death from Shiki

  • Episodes: 22
  • Aired: July 2010 – December 2010

Horror stories are often used to comment on social issues, although the vast majority of them tend to revolve around "humans being the real monsters." Admittedly, this idea is about as unexpected as Goku unlocking a new form of Super Saiyan but certain examples manage to say something new despite utilizing the same exact words.

Shiki requires patience. Taking place in a small town cut off from the rest of Japan, vampires start targeting civilians in an attempt to transform this location into their new home. For the first half of the series, the humans pretend that nothing bad is happening, but things change when the town's resident doctor captures his transformed wife and performs a gruesome experiment on her. This scene could feature on this list, but there is another moment that sticks out.

A bratty fifteen-year-old who enjoys tormenting others, Megumi Shimizu is the first villager to be turned, and she is not exactly a likable character. Even though the girl deserves to be punished for the blood on her hands, Megumi's death scene is haunting. By this point, the humans have started butchering any vampire in their way, and the worst was left for Megumi. Tortured and helpless, she is run over by a tractor. Okay, that may sound slightly humorous, but there is nothing funny about watching a fifteen-year-old girl get slowly squished to death.

1. Kamina’s Death from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (Gurren Lagann)

  • Episodes: 27
  • Aired: April 2007 – September 2007

Of course, this death scene takes the top spot. Presented as the anime's equivalent of Luffy or Naruto, Kamina is simply the coolest person to ever exist. Flashy, confident, and endlessly quotable; Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann's free-spirited superstar has enough charisma to instigate a mass rebellion against the powers that be. After sitting through eight fantastic episodes, Kamina genuinely seems to be near immortal! Maybe not physically, but Gainax's character just feels like the type of person who should always be there.

Sadly, death comes for everyone and Kamina is far from an exception. In the aftermath of a particularly testing battle, everyone's favorite protagonist simply stops breathing. Describing this moment as "shocking" is a gross understatement, as words cannot capture the emotions instigated by this solitary frame. If Kamina can bite the dust, then nobody is safe!

In retrospect, Gurren Lagann's decision to kill Kamina proved to be the correct choice, as Simon needed to be thrown into the deep end to truly develop into a worthwhile hero. Still, Kamina manages to make dying seem easy!

Final Thoughts

Depending on someone's disposition, certain scenes will leave a mark that cannot be erased. Anime dishes out explosive moments at the drop of a hat so genuine surprises can be hard to come by. In most instances, rather than any lavish fights, it is the more personal interactions that leave a significant impact.

What scene shocked you the most? Please let us know in the comments section below.

Attack-on-Titan-Shingeki-no-Kyojin-crunchyroll-Wallpaper Top 10 Most Shocking Moments in Anime [Best Recommendations]


Author: Mark Sammut

Born and raised on a small island in the Mediterranean, my life goal is to experience as many different ways of life as possible. Since time and money are in short supply, anime and film provide the best opportunity to experience far away cultures and worlds. When I'm not watching the latest episode of Gintama, or wondering what series to watch next, you can find me in the corner of the closest coffee shop; writing away on my aging laptop.

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