10 Deceivingly Cute Anime That Will Now Surely Horrify You

Every now and again, an anime that is a complete delight to watch comes along. Conflict, violence, and despair are nonexistent. Choosing an anime based on appearance might be simple while skimming through cover art after cover art. However, appearances can be misleading, and one occasionally gets more than one anticipated. A more evil scheme may be concealed under a cute aesthetic or fine visual style. Basically, anybody may watch it to take a much-needed break from the dozens of anime series with gritty and depressing storylines.

But there could be a moment when that specific “happy” anime changes its genre or turns out to be far darker than everyone anticipated. Anime isn’t a stranger to making a statement by juxtaposing cute characters with depressingly dark themes, making them all the more horrific. However, just because an anime looks like it was made for children doesn’t mean it actually is.

Here are our 10 Deceivingly Dark Anime Recommendations for you guys to check out.

1. Made in Abyss

Cute Rating: 6/10
Made in Abyss

Of course, I had to mention Made in Abyss as the second season is now airing and impressing all of the viewers. The plot follows a young, daring girl called Riko and her companion Reg as they search the vast underground Abyss for Riko’s lost mother. It is based on a manga by Akihito Tsukushi. People who enter the Abyss cannot exit, and climbing has potentially lethal consequences, while falling has severe repercussions the lower one goes. Reg is also not human and appears to have originated from the Abyss itself, which is the cherry on top of everything else. They continue, nonetheless, despite this, coming across new allies and dangers along the road.

You can probably guess from the summary above that this show becomes rather dark. Trust me, it always gets darker when you think it can’t possibly be much darker as you watch. Made in Abyss has much horror potential, but the psychological component is where it shines. This anime will take you by surprise and shatter your heart in the greatest possible ways with its plethora of intriguing secrets, distinctive characters, and heartbreaking backstories.

2. Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Cute Rating: 6/10
 Puella Magi Madoka Magica

You may be familiar with the magical girl/maho shoujo subgenre, which includes well-known works like Sailor Moon and Tokyo Mew Mew. Still, Madoka Magica introduced a more recent, specialized subgenre within it: dark magical girl. This subgenre is currently prevalent in numerous comics and some anime. The anime centers on middle school friends Madoka and Miki, whose lives are turned upside down after they meet a mysterious cat-like creature named Kyubey and a transfer student named Homura. Yes, there are head-tilt scenes because, guess what, it is produced by Studio Shaft. It was one of the most memorable shows of 2011, even cited in the popular American TV show Euphoria. They are required to transform into magical girls and battle witches in a different weird planet in exchange for Kyuubey granting whatever wish they desire. At first, everything seems enjoyable, but Madoka and Miki soon realize that all they had dreamed of was unreal.

The show’s renowned opening music “Connect” by ClariS (which you may have heard without even viewing it) and its unique closing song “Mata Ashita” by the well-known Aoi Yuuki and “Magia” by Kalafina complement the dark, inspirational, and spooky features of this original anime. I definitely recommend watching Madoka Magica if you appreciate good old-fashioned moe and are interested in violent combat set in a mysterious setting.

3. Happy Sugar Life

Cute Rating: 8/10
Happy Sugar Life

How sinister could an anime be with such a clear title? Very is the response you are gonna get. The plot centers on Sato, a stunning high school student with a reputation for having sex with various guys, until she experiences her first true love with Shio, a younger girl, and that’s already a flag there. The narrative was originally published as a brief manga by Tomiyaki Kagisora. The two, who live in one other’s flat secret from the world, fall madly in love. Satou struggles to keep Shio away from her family and the outside world and resorts to drastic methods to maintain their “happy sugar life” as a result.

Happy Sugar Life is an anime about obsession. Almost every character is obsessed with something and considers it to be their “Happy Sugar Life”, their source of happiness. Their aspirations, however, are frequently harmful and cause harm to both themselves and other people around them. This anime is for individuals who are comfortable with shoujo-ai and like the yandere elements of Future Diary. Happy Sugar Life promises to be a thrilling adventure with tremendous cliffhangers, unconventional romance, and a shocking conclusion.

4. Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni

Cute Rating: 7/10
Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni

Although it wasn’t the first of its sort, the original Higurashi: When They Cry arguably kicked off the 2000s trend of gruesome anime with deceptively adorable character designs. In actuality, Higurashi appears to the outsider to be a family-friendly slice-of-life anime about a nice trip to the Hinamizawa countryside. This initial perception simply serves to heighten the shock and terror of the character’s suffering (which includes gruesome torture and heinous deaths). The worst part is that Keiichi, Rena, Rika, and everyone else perish repeatedly throughout a multiverse of parallel universes from which they are unable to escape.

Higurashi does what psychological horror best: it plays off the characters’ mental anguish. It creates an unsettling atmosphere where just enough little things are off to make the whole experience feel terrifying. Its complex cast of characters and critical tone questions the rationality of fear and explores the fragile nature of trust. While the ending can be a bit disappointing for viewers hoping to uncover the mystery of its plot, the remarkable pacing, and ambiguous atmosphere make for a chilling experience that delivers as many shudders as it does questions.

5. School-Live!

Cute Rating: 8/10

If you have no idea what this show is about, you’re one of the lucky few that can still dive into this quirky ‘slice of life at school’ show blind. About 19 minutes into the first episode, School-Live! It seems like your typical moe slice-of-life series about adorable girls slacking off at school. Still, when it aired in 2015, the final minute blew everyone away and introduced a horror story executed in a way no one had seen before.

While the anime does revolve around 4 cute students (Yuki, Kurumi, Miki, and Yuuri) inhabiting campus as part of their “School Living Club”, living does not come so easy when they are faced with a struggle for survival. I won’t spoil the antagonists for you but be alarmed that School-Live!, originally a manga written by Norimitsu Kaihou and illustrated by Sadoru Chiba, is much more than what meets the eye. Its well-written character development, intense story, heartwarming scenes, and short length make it a worthy title to binge.

6. Ranking of Kings

Cute Rating: 7/10
Ranking of Kings

Ranking of Kings, based on a webcomic by Toka Sousuke and created by the incredible WIT Studio, follows a young deaf prince named Bojji who wants to succeed his father as the next king. However, he is unable to win the affection and trust of his vicious classmates because of his severe physical shortcomings and insecurities. He embarks on a quest to get stronger alongside his new companion, Kage, a member of the feared Shadow Clan. Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? That’s what a lot of people believed until they saw the anime’s bizarre storyline turns, bloody combat, and tragic sequences that could bring any viewer to tears.

You wouldn’t want to be in any of the characters’ shoes, is all I can say without giving away major spoilers. The series has wonderful catchy openings and endings, which are the icing on the cake. They all appeared in Spotify’s top 6 most-streamed anime themes for Fall 2021 and Winter 2022, and their animation for their individual sequences is superb, lovely, and meaningful. Check out Ranking of Kings if you have an open mind and like action, fantasy, and brotherhood themes.

7. Yuki Yuna is a Hero

Cute Rating: 7/10
Yuki Yuna is a Hero

To what extent would you suffer in order to save the world?

Yuki Yuna Is a Hero is another anime about dark magical girls. The plot follows the good-hearted and justifiably motivated Yuna and her close friends Mimori, Fuu, Itsuki, and eventually Karin as they participate in a middle school “Hero Club” that performs acts of kindness for the neighborhood, such as plays for young audiences. When they are unexpectedly asked to transform into magical girls and use their incredible new talents to combat mysterious, terrible forces known as Vertexes, their obligations to the club are drastically altered. The ladies accept the challenge, excited to work together to rescue the planet, but subsequently learn that using these magical abilities has a high price.

We’re discussing close relationships. We’re discussing pain. And we’re talking about breathtaking, extraordinary, epic wars. One of the series’ finest elements is the plot, but in order to really appreciate it, you must see it from the proper perspective. As a slice-of-life story, the narrative focuses on the five primary protagonists. The novel makes you care about them and their lives and provides a satisfying resolution for each of them.

8. Selector Infected WIXOSS

Cute Rating: 8/10

Selector Infected WIXOSS, is one of the most unheard-of series and arguably the most underrated anime among the bunch. It is a unique series created during J.C. Staff’s Best Days In the anime industry. Yuuko, Yuzuki, and Hitoe are close friends who connect through their love of the well-liked trading card game WIXOSS. Don’t lose me there as they also play card games, but it’s not like Yu-Gi-Oh as, surprisingly, the anime does not focus on the card game but rather on the characters playing the game and their wishes.  The main themes of this narrative are friendship, dreams, and tragedy.

Each girl learns that she possesses an “avatar card” called an LRIG, which is a magical girl that mysteriously resides inside each of them. They also learn that they have been picked to participate in a 3D live-action version of the game on a different globe in order to play for the chance to have their greatest desire in life granted. They are now known as “Selectors.” But there’s a catch: a player’s life will be extinguished if they lose battles three times. Ruuko, Yuzuki, and Hitoe unravel the deadly mysteries of WIXOSS and learn the reality regarding LRIGs as their personal interests collide, and they encounter terrifying adversaries.

On top of an interesting premise, this anime delivers some of the most special opening and endings songs you will ever hear.

9. School Days

Cute Rating: 7/10
School Days

School Days, which is based on a visual novel from 2005, could be one of the series with the most unexpected turn at the finale. The anime chose to continue with one of the darker endings, despite the fact that the original game offers many endings. The first few minutes of School Days are rather innocent; it’s your standard high school drama about infatuation, longing, and unrequited love. The story, however, starts to take a very dark turn as the relationships deteriorate and partners start to betray one another.

The difference between School Days’ first episode and its major conclusion emphasizes how quickly tiny mistakes may result in terrible events, even though many of the series tackles difficult subjects and adult content. In the beginning, School Days starts off as a typical high school romance anime ridden with tropes. But it’s not as innocent as it seems. The main protagonist, Makoto Itou, spends most of the series as a disgusting playboy and sleeping with multiple girls. Sekai even reveals to him that she’s possibly pregnant with his child. And that’s not even the worst part. Things get absolutely bonkers when Makoto kisses Kotonoha in front of Sekai and asks her to get an abortion. Sekai snaps and stabs Makoto to death in a shocking and bloody scene.

The craziness doesn’t stop there. Kotonoha kills Sekai out of revenge and slices her stomach to confirm that she lied about being pregnant. The anime ends with Kotonoha hugging Makoto’s severed head while whispering that they can finally be together.

10. Shinsekai Yori (From The New World)

Cute Rating: 8/10
Shinsekai Yori (From The New World)

Before starting the series, you should know that Shinsekai Yori is not a light watch. This type of anime won’t make you laugh or give you cheap enjoyment. In order to truly appreciate the story, one must ponder and analyze the anime. It can be challenging for some viewers to get into the show, but it offers an experience with far more significance and weight.
There are numerous various ways that the genre of humans acquiring superhuman ability has been explored. However, many shows tend to romanticize the world and highlight only the positive aspects of life rather than the enormous amount of crime and destruction that may be performed using these newly acquired talents.

Shinsekai Yori may start off in a typical way, but as Saki Watanabe starts to notice her classmates going missing, her story starts to get deadly. The plot then swings into something much darker, with mercy killings, demons, and even government and military revolutions, even if a school full of psychic and brilliant kids may not seem offensive enough.

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