You don’t need to watch horror anime to get nightmares. Sometimes, watching a few top dark anime characters will lead you to a sleepless night.
But a dark character doesn’t necessarily have to be evil or manipulative. They could be crazy or carry out acts that make you question their sanity. They could be twisted in some way or could be good characters turned bad.
Here we have compiled 15 top dark anime characters. Before diving in, prepare for a thrilling ride and put on your anti-spoiler glasses.
1. Madara Uchiha (Naruto Shippuden)
Very few will disagree that Uchiha Madara is one of the darkest villains in anime. The fans of Naruto have a love-and-hate relationship with this character. They love him for his fighting prowess, calculative mind, and arrogance. They hate him for his ruthless and manipulative nature.
Madara’s goal of achieving peace is righteous, and no one can refute that. The methods he uses are questionable and forceful.
He manipulates all the events leading up to Rin’s abduction. Then Obito watches her die in the hands of his best friend, Kakashi. Madara arranged all this to shed Obito’s naivety and make him easy to control. He also placed a forbidden curse tag in Obito’s heart, so he can’t defy him.
Madara’s twisted mindset stemmed from growing up in the war and losing his family members one by one. The last nail in the coffin was losing the last of his brother, Izuna. It causes him to lose hope in humanity. So he chose to walk on the path of darkness and evil.
2. Eren Yaegar (Attack on Titan)
In the beginning, Eren was a loud-mouthed and hot-tempered boy fueled by vengeance. He had only one desire. Get revenge for his mother and free the world from the Titans.
However, at the start of season four, Eren completely changed. He was no longer the naive and kind boy from before. Now, he is calmer and much more resolute. So much that he killed off over 80% of the world’s population for his objective.
Eren played the role of a necessary evil, so both Eldia and Marley join hands together to kill him. He even deceived his friends, so they would not hesitate to be his enemies. And his plan was a success.
3. Sosuke Aizen (Bleach)
Sosuke Aizen is a villain who is too strong, too beautiful, and too dark by the standard of a villain. In addition, his calm nature and genius mind make him one of the darkest characters in anime.
Sosuke had the ambition of killing the Soul King and standing on top of everyone. To achieve his goal, he did many things that were very dark.
He deceived everyone in the Soul Society for years without letting his true intention known. Everyone but himself was a pawn. No one noticed he faked his death using Kyoka Suigetsu. And impaling Momo, his vice commander and greatest admirer, with no remorse was just the tip of the iceberg of what was to come.
4. Shogo Makishima (Psycho-Pass)
Shogo claims to be on the side of humanity. He loves them or the dark aspects of them. So he wants to free society from the Sybil System’s control, which is turning people into mindless machines.
Shogo has no qualms about using forceful measures. He will kill anyone who gets in the way of his goal, either himself or using subordinates. His unparalleled charisma and calculative mind allow him to manipulate people to do his bidding.
He used Yuki, Akane’s best friend, to lure Kogami into a trap. In the end, killing her in front of Akane when she fails his test.
5. Light Yagami (Death Note)
Light starts off as a normal high-school student bored out of his mind. He received the death note thanks to his encounter with Ryuk, a Shinigami, that changes him for the worse.
At first, Light wanted to make good use of the death note. He killed off people who were bad and deserved to die. However, soon, tainted by the newly found power, he declares the world as rotten. And he needs to reshape it by killing evil and unjust people.
Light is a villain that shows us how a person can get drunk in power and get ruined. Even so, he still remains one of the most popular dark anime characters.
6. Mahito (Jujutsu Kaisen)
Mahito is a cruel and sadistic cursed spirit born from people’s hate towards each other. So, he believes humanity needs to be eradicated, and cursed spirits should rule the world instead of humans. For that cause, he would do anything.
Due to the nature of his birth, Mahito is extremely adept at understanding and manipulating humans. He exploits their insecurities to make them do his bidding.
That’s how he sweet-talked Junpei into becoming a sorcerer. Junpei didn’t notice till the end that he was being manipulated as he died tearfully at Itadory’s feet.
Mahito feels joy at toying with human emotions and seeing them suffer. Perhaps, that’s why he is a dark character hated by all.
7. Donquixote Doflamingo (One Piece)
Donquixote Doflamingo is the opposite of one who you expect to be dark. Or at least his flamboyant appearance would suggest so. However, his cruel and merciless nature makes him a character deserving to be on this list.
Doflamingo has an arrogant and sadistic nature stemming from his celestial dragon lineage. He killed his own father when he was only ten years old and later his brother while feeling no remorse.
If that’s not enough, he controlled the king of the Dressrosa kingdom, King Riku using devil fruit. Then he made him go berserk, killing everyone in sight. When all seemed lost and everyone started to despair, Doflamingo made a hero’s entrance to stop the mad king. The people accepted Doflamingo as their new king while not knowing anything.
Worst of all, everyone who defied him was turned into a toy. Talk about dark.
8. Gaku Yashiro (Erased)
Sometimes, you will see characters everyone hates. Gaku definitely falls into that category.
It’s reasonable, given that he is a sadistic and psychotic person who takes enjoyment in the killing. Initially introduced as a kind teacher from Satoru’s elementary school, he is later revealed to be the perpetrator behind all the killings in the series.
He tries to drown Satoru after he gets found out, which resulted in Satoru being in a coma for 15 years.
The source of his killing desire started in his childhood when he tried to drown his pet hamsters. He saw one hamster standing above the dead ones, where they had spider strings above their heads. So, after turning an adult, he starts seeing those strings above specific children’s heads and felt compelled to kill them.
Killing children and feeling enjoyment from that? Now, that’s dark.
9. Shiro (Deadman Wonderland)
You can’t help but pity Shiro as a character, even though she did a lot of terrible things. She was experimented on to become the first deadman which caused her body to often deteriorate and fall apart.
The nanomachine experiments done on Shiro left her with unforgettable traumas. Trying to cope with the excruciating pain, her second personality called the Wretched Egg or Red Man was born.
The Wretched Egg caused a natural disaster as a way to suicide. However, she failed.
You may want to sympathize with Shiro, but it doesn’t change the fact that she is one of the best dark anime characters ever.
10. Alucard (Hellsing)
By nature, Alucard is a sadistic and cruel person. He loves to torture and humiliate his opponent in a fight while looking down on them. Every one of his fights is left with gore earning his place on this list.
Alucard is a vampire who is essentially immortal. So, he doesn’t care about his well-being in a fight. In fact, he often uses himself as bait to get the opponents to let their guard down. Alucard has two large caliber guns as his weapons. But, for victory, he will not hesitate to use his fangs to pull out the enemy’s flesh.
Completing the mission given to him by Integra is Alucard’s first priority. Everything else is inconsequential, whether it be killing his opponents with a smile or leaving them in humiliation.
11. Shou Tucker (Fullmetal Alchemist)
Shou appeared in only one episode, but he is definitely one of the vilest and dark anime characters.
First, seen as a soft-spoken, mild-mannered, and kind person. But, in truth, Shou is a selfish, vile, and manipulative person. Advancing his research and showing results appropriate for an alchemist is the only thing he has in sight.
For that, he uses his own wife and 5-year-old daughter as sacrifices. Worst of it all, after his deeds were found out, he didn’t show an ounce of remorse.
12. Griffith (Berserk)
A handsome face beautiful enough to get mistaken for a girl. Griffith is most likely to go down in the history of anime to be one of the darkest anime characters.
He is a narcissist who believes he is superior to everyone else. That’s why he didn’t mind sacrificing others to achieve his objectives. However, meeting Guts changes everything. His thought process and even his long life goal of becoming a ruler of a kingdom.
So, Griffith started to hate him. So much so that he chose the path of becoming a demon and defiling Casca in front of him.
13. Keyaru (Redo Of Healer)
Redo of the healer is definitely an underrated anime. But, the darkness of Keyaru, the protagonist, can’t be underestimated. He is a cruel and twisted hero turned villain-who wants to get back at everyone who has done him wrong.
Not that you can blame him. Imagine getting summoned to another world only to be betrayed, imprisoned, drugged, and molested to the extent of insanity. By a stroke of luck, he manages to get his sanity back and return back to the time when he was summoned using the philosopher stone.
He doesn’t care about his methods as long as he can exact his vengeance. In one instance, he executes his revenge by defiling and brainwashing the main perpetrator to love him. And that’s not even the darkest part. He turns the knight captain responsible for his older sister figure, anna’s death, into a woman. Then he commands the brainwashed subordinates to violate him/her.
14. Yuno Gasai (Future Diary)
At a first glance, Yuno comes off as the perfect girlfriend material; kind, sweet, and feminine. But, under that facade is a ruthless and calculating person who will do everything in her power to assure her and, more importantly, Amano’s safety.
She has no qualms about using violent means or taking advantage of others to achieve her goal— the survival of both herself and Amano.
Yuno has yandere tendencies and will go to the extreme if anyone ever tries to harm Amano or take him away from her. Once, she considered using violence when thinking if Amano’s mother opposed their relationship. Fortunately, that didn’t happen.
15. Hei (Darker than Black)
Hei is probably one of the darkest anime characters despite not having a dark and evil nature. Everything about him, from the deadpan and expressionless face to the way he carries himself has a dark vibe to it.
Known by his code name BK-201, Hei is an assassin that kills anyone if given the order. He silences targets that are dangerous to his organization, the Syndicate.
Hei, however, is a lonely person to his core. He never wanted to be a killer but had to pick up weapons to protect his sister, Bai.
After Bai goes missing in the Heaven’s Gate incident, Hei becomes colder and no longer had any hesitation in killing people, even if they are children.
What makes Hei special is that he never rationalizes his killing. It’s his job, so he does it. That’s why he is such a loveable character, despite being dark.
There you have it, the top 15 dark anime characters ever. Did we miss anyone? Let us know in the comments.