Yes, we get you. If you are here, you are tired of the classic sappy love stories with light and cheerful tones.
Then all we can tell you is that you have clicked on the perfect article for you.
So carve out 5 minutes of your time, because we’re going to find out which are the best dark romance anime to add to your watch list.
Just remember that as always this list is made based on our personal opinion and experience.
Table of Contents
20. Devils’ Line
This thrilling anime explores a world where vampires live among humans in secret, and emotions can trigger their thirst for blood.
Follow university student Tsukasa Taira as she discovers the existence of vampires and becomes drawn to human/vampire hybrid Yuuki Anzai.
Their unconventional romance is filled with intense emotions and action as they navigate the dangers of society’s underbelly and Anzai’s primal nature.
Devils’ Line is a gripping and thought-provoking anime that explores the boundaries of love and society’s prejudices with a great touch of action.
If you’re a fan of vampire romance anime Devils’ Line is a solid choice.
19. School Days
With its elements of drama, romance, and psychology, School Days is a 2007 anime released in 12 episodes.
The main character Makoto is smitten with Kotonoha, a stunning girl he sees on his daily train ride to school. Sekai, Kotonoha’s friend, intervenes in their relationship to help Makoto, but she is secretly in love with him.
This sets off a love triangle that quickly spirals out of control as Kotonoha reveals her frightening yandere tendencies.
School Days is a divisive anime that has mixed reviews. While it tries to be innovative by taking a different approach to the typical harem story, some aspects of the plot are questionable and not entirely appropriate.
But one thing must be admitted: when this anime wants to get dark, it does it damn well, with raw and unpredictable twists and turns.
18. Future Diary
Future Diary is an incredibly popular anime released in 2011 with 16 episodes.
The story follows Yukiteru Amano, an antisocial and depressed boy who records daily events on his cell phone as if talking to an imaginary friend named Deus Ex Machina, the lord of time.
But one day Deus suddenly becomes sentient and starts predicting future events. This leads to a deadly survival game where participants must kill each other and destroy their opponents’ future diaries to become the new god of time and space.
Future Diary is definitely not a masterpiece, but an entertaining anime with mainly survival themes and a good romance subplot popular thanks to Yuno Gasai, one of anime’s most famous yandere.
If for dark themes you’re mainly looking for gore scenes and lots of deaths, then this is a good choice, 100%.
17. Elfen Lied
The story of Elfen Lied starts in a lab where Diclonius, a race of beings with special abilities, are subjected to brutal experiments to make them lethal weapons.
One of them, Lucy, manages to escape but is gravely injured in her head causing her memory to vanish, only to be found by Kota, a young boy with ties to her past.
Elfen Lied is an intense anime that explores love and trauma in the face of government secrecy and conspiracy.
Although it’s condensed into 13 episodes, it still manages to convey dark themes and emotional depth and have a satisfying ending.
But be warned, it contains graphic violence, transgressive subject matter, and nudity, making it suitable only for mature audiences. But if that’s exactly what you’re looking for, give it a chance.
16. Domestic Girlfriend
If you’re looking for an anime that tackles the darker side of romance with raw, unflinching honesty, Domestic Girlfriend is a good pick.
This show takes on complex and messy relationships with a frankness that is quite refreshing and direct.
The story follows Natsuo, a boy who had his first sexual encounter with Rui, a girl he just met who then dumped him, stating that she was only interested in sex.
Natsuo feels regret what happened and feels like he has betrayed his crush, his teacher Hina.
But later, Natsuo finds out that both Rui and Hina herself have become his stepsisters, and he must live with them since their parents have gotten married.
Domestic Girlfriend deals with mature and sensitive themes, such as taboo love, desire, depression, and apathy.
We cannot promise you a masterpiece or well-written characters, but it may still be a good choice if you are looking for some good dark themes.
15. Akame ga Kill!
Akame ga Kill! is a popular 2014 anime released in 24 episodes.
Join Tatsumi as he becomes a member of the Night Raid, a covert assassination branch of the Revolutionary Army fighting to overthrow a corrupt Prime Minister and bring peace to the land.
Akame ga Kill! is a unique and complete series, condensing into one story an excellent dark fantasy setting, action scenes, love plots, and above all many dark and gory scenes.
It’s a real emotional rollercoaster that we are sure will keep you glued to the screen, which we recommend you to watch if you have not already done so.
14. Myself; Yourself
Get ready for an anime that will grip your heart and take you on an emotional rollercoaster. Myself; Yourself is a captivating dark romance that will immerse you deeply in drama and turmoil.
Follow the story of Sana Hidaka as he returns to his small town of Sakuranomori after being away for 5 years.
As Sana reunites with his childhood friends, you’ll discover the deep emotional scars and personal issues they’re all battling with. This once-close group of friends is now threatened to be torn apart by the countless struggles they’ll face.
But as Sana reconnects with Nanaka, a childhood friend, a romantic subplot will start to develop, complicating their relationship with the shadows of their pasts.
Myself; Yourself is a thought-provoking and emotionally rich anime that explores the complex struggles of its characters and delves into the dark side of the romance genre.
13. Tokyo Ghoul
Tokyo Ghoul is one of the most popular series of the 2010s, released in multiple seasons starting in 2014.
The story focuses on Ken Kaneki, an ordinary college student who lives in a town plagued by strange and violent murders.
The agents suspect that the deaths are caused by Ghouls, mysterious creatures that feed on the bodies of their victims, but nobody has seen them yet.
Tokyo Ghoul is an excellent story, with lots of action, plot twists, well-written characters, and a wonderful romance subplot that arises in a dark and brooding setting.
Too bad that as we have said over and over again, the animated adaptation is quite terrible.
We, therefore, recommend that you watch the first few episodes, and if you like the story, continue with the manga, which is by far superior.
12. Dusk Maiden of Amnesia
If you’re looking for a romantic anime with a touch of horror and mystery, then Dusk Maiden of Amnesia with its sensitive themes such as death, grief, and loss is a fantastic pick.
You’ll be drawn into the haunting story of Yuuko, a ghost who can only be seen by Teichi Niiya. As they get closer, the anime explores the consequences of their unique relationship.
But there’s more to the story than just romance.
Set in the eerie Seikyou Private Academy, this anime has a unique and intriguing plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
The group’s search for answers about Yuuko’s death leads them down a dark and twisted path, where the consequences of their actions may put them in danger.
11. She, The Ultimate Weapon
She, The Ultimate Weapon is a peculiar anime released in 2002 in 13 episodes from a seinen manga.
The protagonist of the events is Chise, an awkward girl who one fine day finds the courage to reveal her feelings to her classmate Shuji.
But suddenly, everything changes.
On a romantic trip to Sapporo, the airplane is attacked by a massive military raid, killing almost everyone and starting a terrible war.
But when Shuji will open his eyes he will witness a disconcerting revelation. Chise will be equipped with 2 gigantic metal wings placed on her back, discovering that the girl is the ultimate weapon designed by Japan.
She, The Ultimate Weapon combines romance with war, Sci-Fi, and raw psychological themes. It’s a particular anime that we recommend if you are a fan of the mecha genre, or if you want to watch something different than usual.
10. Blood +
Sink your teeth into an anime that twists the vampire romance genre itself. This series is a high-octane ride that takes you on a thrilling journey of action and suspense.
Follow Saya Otonashi‘s journey as an ordinary girl whose life takes a dangerous turn when she’s attacked by a bloodthirsty creature. Fortunately, she’s not alone in her fight against these beasts.
The mysterious man Haji and the Red Shield organization join forces with her to uncover the secrets of her past and stop these monsters.
But the show isn’t just about action and monsters. Saya and Haji’s relationship adds a captivating layer of complexity and romance to the story. As their bond deepens, the drama and tension of the show increase, making for a thrilling viewing experience.
9. From the New World
If you’re looking for a dystopian anime that will take you on a journey through a world unlike any other, look no further than From the New World.
This anime is a world-building gem that invites you to question the nature of power and authority in a society where psychic abilities are the norm.
As you follow the coming-of-age story of Saki and her friends, you’ll be drawn into a dark and thought-provoking world where power reigns supreme.
The story is filled with shocking truths that challenge the characters’ understanding of their society, while also delving into complex themes of love, loss, and the cost of maintaining a utopia.
Orange is an excellent and underrated romance anime with psychological, Sci-Fi, and romance themes that often take dark turns.
Naho Takamiya receives a letter from her 10-year-old self in the future. At first, Naho thinks it’s a joke, but changes her mind when the events in the letter happen, including the transfer of a new student Kakeru Naruse.
That person is the main theme of the letter where he is asked to treat him with as much love as possible because 10 years from now the boy will lose his life.
This course of events will lead Kakeru and Naho to have feelings for each other, but what Naho does not know is that Hiroto, her best friend, is secretly in love with her.
Orange is an incredibly well-structured romance anime that hides themes of death, suicide, and repentance under an apparently simple romance plot.
You will feel as if you are watching a long and harrowing race against time.
7. Welcome to the N.H.K.
This dark comedy follows Tatsuhiro Satou, a college dropout who has been living as a hikikomori for years due to past traumas.
As Satou struggles to break free from his self-imposed isolation, he meets Misaki Nakahara, a mysterious girl who might be his only hope.
But as their relationship develops, Satou must confront his deepest fears and the harsh reality of the outside world.
This anime takes a raw and honest look at mental health issues such as depression and social anxiety, and how they can deeply affect our lives.
If you like psychological romance aniome but in a comedic tone, you definitely should give it a chance.
6. Vampire Knight
This anime will take you on a thrilling journey filled with love triangles, supernatural powers, and hidden agendas.
At the center of the story is Yuuki Cross, a member of the Day Class at Cross Academy who works to keep the peace between humans and vampires.
However, things become complicated when she discovers her own connection to the Night Class, a group of powerful vampires led by Kaname Kuran.
As Yuuki navigates her growing feelings for Kaname and her duty to protect her friend Zero, who harbors a deep hatred for vampires, she uncovers secrets about her past and the true intentions of those around her.
Vampire Knight is a captivating vampire anime that explores the complexities of love, loyalty, and power, all with a solid love triangle.
5. Kemono Zume
Kemono Zume is a niche anime released in 2006 with action, horror, splatter, and romance themes.
Shokujinkis are demonic creatures that feed on humans, and to hunt them they take on their guise, hiding among them.
To fight them, the Momota family founded a martial arts school whose deadly techniques are passed down from generation to generation.
But what happens when one day Toshihiko, the last heir of this technique falls in love with Yuka, a shokujinki?
Kemono Zume is an underrated romance anime with unique and distinctive animations.
The plot is also good, with several twists and turns and themes about hate, inclusion, and love in unexpected contexts.
It’s definitely not your comfort anime, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a chance, right?
4. Fruits Basket
Don’t miss out on this classic anime that won the 2001 Animage’s Anime Grand Prix Award, available for streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.
This slice-of-life romance anime is perfect for those who want a story that’s both heartwarming and emotionally charged.
The anime follows Tohru as she finds herself living with members of the cursed Souma family who transform into zodiac animals when hugged by someone of the opposite gender.
Tohru’s relationships with these family members, including Yuki and Kyo, are the driving force of the story.
But Fruits Basket isn’t just as sweet a romance as it may seem. It tackles serious and dark themes like abuse, loss, and envy.
If you’re looking for a romance anime that will tug at your heartstrings while also exploring complex themes, then Fruits Basket is the perfect choice for you.
3. Scum’s Wish
Looking for an anime that explores the raw, emotional complexity of unrequited love and apaty? Then Scum’s Wish is one of our best recommendations.
This is a bold and uncompromising anime that doesn’t shy away from depicting the sexual tension and awkwardness that can often come with teenage romance.
At its core, Scum’s Wish is a story about 2 broken-hearted individuals, Hanabi and Mugi, who find solace in each other’s arms. But despite their passionate relationship, they both harbor unrequited love for other people, leading to a web of lies and self-deception.
And as Hanabi and Mugi grapple with their guilt and shame, you’ll find yourself drawn into their complicated world, questioning the very nature of love itself and desire.
Don’t miss this thought-provoking and emotionally charged anime that pushes the boundaries of what a romance anime can be.
2. Flowers of Evil
Dive into the dark and twisted world of Flowers of Evil, a story that’ll take you on an intense and thought-provoking journey into the dangerous outcomes of love and obsession.
Follow high school student Takao Kasuga‘s descent into an obsession with fellow student Nanako Saeki.
But things take a dark turn when he’s blackmailed into participating in the disturbing fantasies of one of his classmate, Sawa Nakamura.
Flowers of Evil is not your average school-based drama. It’s a psychological thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat with creepy and genuinely disturbing moments.
Just one recommendation tho: the anime is good, but the original manga, one of Shuzo Oshimi’s main works, is a small masterpiece that we recommend even more.
Get ready to experience the raw and powerful world of punk/rock stars in Nana, a 47-episode masterpiece that defies your typical romance anime.
Nana intertwines the lives of 2 young women both named Nana, leading to heartbreak, hardships and difficult moments that will jeopardize their dreams.
The anime challenges viewers to question love, friendship, and success as it explores the challenges of relationships and overcoming heartbreak.
All while also dealing with sensitive and difficult issues such as drugs, depression and even death.
We are 100% sure to say that Nana is one of those anime that you can’t miss for any reason.