Wayne Rock, Anime Head Writer
As an avid anime fan, I can’t count the number of times a person of the elderly persuasion turned up their noses and exclaimed “Big man like you still watching cartoons?” And to you I say, “Do your children’s cartoons have copious amounts of violence and blood? No? Okay well go back to watching Grey’s Anatomy Season 47 starring none of the Greys and leave me to my viscera in peace.”
I love my anime like I like my steaks. Juicy, thick and bloody raw! You can’t deny that anime and blood are as an iconic a pair as salt and pepper, macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly and Trinidad and crime. With that my gore hounds, let’s dive right into my top picks for the Top Seven Bloodiest Animes I’ve Seen. And why seven? Because we are celebrating seven years of Robot Mango Reviews with seven Top 7 lists. Now back to the bloody anime.
Let’s kick things off with some honourable mentions. If you’re hungry for a bloody good time you can’t go wrong with Highschool of the Dead, Parasyte: The Maxim, Mirai Nikki or Jujutsu Kaisen. Now let’s get to the gory stuff!
Let’s kick things off with an anime I think doesn’t get the love and appreciation it deserves and also one that I hope receives the Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood treatment in the future, Claymore. The anime focuses on one of a group of all-female half demon, half human warriors, who all wield giant claymores (large Medieval swords) and battle demons. It’s one part Berserk and one part Demon Slayer, if you will.
The main character, Clare, is actually the weakest of all the Claymores, but we follow her as she tries to track down this rogue member, Priscilla, who has fully embraced her demonic side and slaughtered one of the strongest of them. In her quest, there is an excess of impalements, bisections, demons devouring guts, and limbs being cut and torn off, all in graphic detail. I won’t spoil too much here because at just 26 episodes, Claymore is perfect to binge in a couple days and I really think more people should check it out. Also, the art in the Claymore manga is astoundingly beautiful, so much so that the anime kind of almost looks dull in comparison. So, if you get a chance, check out the manga as well.
#6 Wicked City
If you saw this entry and immediately though “Spider Lady with vagina teeth” then you my friend were traumatised as a child. Wicked City (1987) was definitely not for children, but adults usually don’t pay much attention to what their kids are watching when the VHS at the rental place was nestled between Astro Boy and Street Fighter II: The Movie.
As a preteen, I really don’t remember much in the way of the narrative, which after a quick Google search tells me that it’s a sci-fi fantasy about demons secretly inhabiting the human world and a human and demon partnering up to protect a human/demon peace treaty and slowly falling in love. What I do remember is how beautifully animated it was, because Madhouse, the studio responsible for works like Monster and Hunter X Hunter, did the animation. It was also bloody and violent and of course, who could forget the spider-demon who had toothy lady parts. Lots of demons bursting out of human skin suits, dismemberment, beheadings and a little too much pervertedness, it’s still worth checking out if you love that classic 80’s style anime and have 90 minutes to spare.
#5 Ninja Scroll
We jump decades to the 90s for our next entry, which should need no introduction if you’re an anime fan. Of course, we’re talking about the OG Ninja Scroll. The 1993 film is part of a genre of Japanese films called jidaieki-chanbara, which means period-drama, swordfighting. Taking place in feudal Japan, the film follows Kibagami Jubei as he fights his way through the Eight Devils of Kimon after being blackmailed into doing so by a Tokugawa spy, Dakuan.
Just like Wicked City, this film also has a perverted old man, and the female lead gets assaulted numerous times. Probably because they were directed by the same guy, Yoshiaki Kawajiri, who also directed Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. Apart from all the bloodshed, which we will get to you animals, the film is genuinely amazing. The animation is crisp and top notch with fluid action scenes and a riveting plot. We watch Jubei and Dakuan fall for each other (just like in Wicked City…wait a minute) all the while they face off with the Eight Devils, who each have unique and sometimes grotesque abilities. The blood mostly sprays during these fight scenes with lots of impalements, a few beheadings, another spider-lady (no word on if her lady parts are toothy or not) and one particularly memorable death involving a guy who’s body was a literal beehive. SPOILER ALERT: He drowns and as a result all the bees burst out of him, filling the river with viscera and floating body parts. Awesome stuff.
If you haven’t seen this one yet, you are not an anime fan. No hate, just facts.
#4 Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal AKA Samurai X: Trust & Betrayal
I promise this is the last animated film cheat on this list and then we’ll move back to serialized anime, but there was no way I could leave Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal off this list. For most of us anime fans, Samurai X (the Westernised name for anime Rurouni Kenshin) was our gateway into anime and even the ultra-sanitised Sony dub that aired on local Trinidadian televisions in the 90s was seen as overly violent. That’s why when Samurai X: Trust & Betrayal started circulating, it blew everyone’s collective minds.
Not only was the animation and character designs more realistic than the TV show, but from the opening moments it was clear how rated R this version was. In the opening five minutes we see the slaughter of Kenshin’s (then called Shinta) entire adoptive family (including a rather graphic samurai sword through the neck) followed by Hiko Seijuro uttering one of the coldest anime entrances ever to exist. In response to one of the murderers asking “Who are you?”, Seijuro responds “You won’t be alive long enough to remember my name” before dismembering said murderer in a flurry of sword slashes, blood spatter and limbs. It’s been about 20 years and I still remember it like it was my first time seeing it.
Another epic moment is when Kenshin, now a full-fledged assassin, easily wipes out an entire security detail in about 15 seconds, and deftly cuts a man’s head in half while doing it. If you liked the Rurouni Kenshin live action movies, but wished there was more blood, this animated film is your wish come true.
When the anime you’re watching has two freshly introduced characters kill each other by way of ninja needle to the throat and mouth and then one through the heart and one of the characters can literally suck all the blood of her enemies through her skin, you know you’re in for a treat. Based on the Japanese novel The Kouga Ninja Scrolls, the anime follows two ninja clans that hate the other but are bound by a no-conflict treaty. However, as part of a bet to see who will become the new ruler, the current government lifts the treaty and the two sides now become embroiled in a bitter battle to see which side has the most members standing at the end.
In the midst of this, the two unaware successors of each clan have fallen in love and hope that they can form lasting peace between the two clans. The story is a bittersweet one, filled with political intrigue, and while it is action packed, Basilisk really leans into the deception and psychological aspects of ninja warfare rarely seen in other shows. Not to worry though, there’s more than enough well-choreographed, beautifully animated fight scenes, punctuated with lots of blood and super creative death scenes to go around. If like me you’re a fan of short anime with under 50 episodes, this one is just right for you.
#2 Attack on Titan
If you asked me prior to 2021 what my favourite anime was, I’d have probably said FullMetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, but then I binged all of Attack on Titan and it took that top spot so quickly. Initially I wrote it off as “Basic shonen anime with biological mech instead of robots”. Eren seemed like the typical shonen protagonist, overly confident, “I will kill all of my enemies”, one note, super powerful anime boy. I have never been happier to say that I was so wrong.
Attack on Titan expertly used the tropes of shonen anime to hook its audience and then flipped everything on its head. What started out as seemingly par-for-the course, turned into one of the deepest, darkest stories, full of twists you will never see coming, betrayals, hidden motivations and some of the best animation and fight choreography ever put on screen. Unlike a lot of the entries on this list, where the blood is the highlight, with Attack on Titan, the blood is just the cherry on top of an elite sundae. Everything works about it. The characters, the music, the story progression, the animation, the ratio of talking to action. It just grips you and never lets go and only gets better and better the more episodes you watch.
If you came for blood, fret not, AoT has got that too. In the first episode the main character’s mother gets eaten in front of him, just to give you an idea. Titans are always getting chopped up. There’s a scene where a Titan grabs another Titan, grinds him into bite-sized pieces and then uses those pieces as projectiles. And let’s not forget about Erwin’s brave sacrificial charge, where we got to see hundreds of soldiers rage and then promptly be shredded to pieces by shrapnel raining down on them. Then the culmination of Levi’s amazing entrance into a flurry of sword strikes like the dance of a macabre ballerina. Attack on Titan is a thing of pure beauty and you’re doing yourself a disservice if you’ve never watched it.
#1 Chainsaw Man
While Chainsaw Man is a relative newcomer to the anime game, having only dropped its first season in October of 2022, it is definitely no slouch in the blood department. It is the story of homeless degenerate Denji who after losing his life is saved by merging with his chainsaw demon dog Pochita to become a human-demon-chainsaw hybrid. If that description is any indicator, this series is off the walls insane.
The anime itself is a lot deeper than it might appear on the surface, with themes ranging from the human condition to a commentary on capitalism, and the show itself loves to satirise the typical shonen anime tropes. It sure loves its blood though. Denji explodes into several showers of plasma every time he transforms. Multiple demons, including the ever-lovable Power, drink blood in order to survive. And Denji and crew hack and slash their way through hordes of demons leaving gallons of blood and guts in their wake. It’s over the top in all the best ways but still surprisingly multifaceted and profound, if you care to dig deeper. But if you’re just in it for lots of bloody showers and don’t mind vomit kisses and characters based off of Eric Cartman from South Park, Chainsaw Man is still at the top of the list.
So that’s my list? With so much bloody anime out there must quite that could be added. Sound off in the comments. And you can check out more great anime content below:
Wayne loves to complain, and that was an unintentional rhyme. When I’m not watching movies, TV, anime or trophy hunting on PS4, you can usually find me deep in my thoughts preparing my next scathing review of a bad movie. I think Zack Snyder’s take on superheroes is terrible and that The Quick and the Dead is actually a decent movie. I re-watch Death Note every year. Unlike the other fine writers on this site, I’m not a critic, but I can definitely Rock a review…(Read More)