Gore is not an uncommon part of media these days. From video games to movies, books and of course, anime, gore fans can find a lot of different options. And for the fainter at heart, there are quite a few titles out there to avoid. While gore is most common in the horror genre, it does show up in science fiction, fantasy, and action/adventure stories as well. But when it shows up in anime versus live action especially, there’s something about gore that is just...different.
Gory anime can be particularly gruesome to watch. Even for people that don’t mind gore in games and movies, sometimes in anime it’s a bit too much. But why? Why is it that gore in live action that should be more “realistic” is less intense and gruesome than gore in anime? Just what makes a gory anime so much more intense? And what makes gore in anime even more appealing to gore fans everywhere, and simultaneously too much for people that usually can handle it in other media forms?
The Only Rule Is…
When it comes to gore in anime, basically the only rule is that there are no rules. As with a lot of things in anime, there aren’t a lot of limits to what animators can put into their work. Of course, if they want it to be broadcast on normal television, they have to be more considerate. That’s why anime like Danganronpa changed all of the excessive blood to its signature bright pink colour. It’s why Tokyo Ghoul cuts away a lot during violent scenes or leaves half the screen in a black shadow. These anime want to be broadcast during prime time, so they have censored their violence level to do so.
But not all anime is so concerned with this, and a lot of gore anime is niche enough they already know they won’t get the prime time audience. Thus, they aren’t worried about censorship. Literally, anything becomes okay to be in the anime. People being dismembered, splattered, and crushed, eaten alive, impaled, burned, ripped, and more - it’s all there. And while sure, you can see some of that stuff in live action horror movies, but anime can make it last as long as the animator wants to. They can add in extreme excess of blood, they can make it all happen in slow motion, they can even show an x-ray effect of what is going on, on the inside.
Basically, for gore anime that is going to be mostly consumed in a private home after buying a Blu-ray, just about anything is okay. Actually, we can’t really think of anything that isn’t okay; Genocyber breaks the unspoken rule of not killing children on the screen, after all. Gore anime doesn’t feel the same kind of pressure that other media may feel to bring the blood but keep a certain rating to sell - the world of anime can do whatever it wants. And people will watch it, sometimes for that very reason.
The Only Limit Is…
Like most creative media, the only limit is the imagination of the creator themselves! Gory anime are the same, just with a much darker and arguably twisted imagination at work. Live action stories are always limited by what they can achieve with special effects and the budget. Anime doesn’t have such limitations. If the animator can envision it, it can be brought to life.
That means that gore anime writers can put anything they want into a story. The more over the top and gory, the better! Do they want to show someone eating the intestines out of someone else? No problem. Want to make an entire world out of blood and bones? You got it. Can someone’s head come off and blood spurt for an indefinitely long time like a fountain from the wound? Of course! Whatever an animator has in their dark mind can be brought to life through anime. So if they can imagine it, it can come to life.
That limitless imagination and ability to put anything into the story is only exemplified by the lack of rules. When animators don’t have to worry about ratings and finding a suitable audience because they already know one is out there, they can push all their limits. They can be creative and try new things that they only dared to imagine before. And they can bring gore to the screen in ways that other media would never get away with, and never be able to achieve. There’s a lot of power in anime, and gore animators use that power to make some of the most gruesome and intense anime out there.
While a lot of gore out there on the market can be described as “gruesome,” anime definitely wins as being the most so. So just what makes anime so much more gruesome than movies, games, books, and TV? Basically, anime can do whatever it wants. There is no “within reason” or “to an extent.” There’s no hidden clause or limitation to hold anime back from being as gory as it wants to be. Anime can do whatever it wants and audiences will still consume it, many happily so because gore anime can do what other gore cannot. It always pushes the imagination to the limit and is happy to make people feel uncomfortable. And if gore anime achieves that, then it has done its job.
How do you feel about gore anime? Do you think it really is the most gruesome? Do you have another reason we can add to our list? We would love to hear your comments below!