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Old 2014-04-29, 20:56   Link #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: UK
Age: 22
Question Looking for Dark, Emotional, Character Developing Anime to Watch...

I'm looking for suggestions on what anime to watch next, I've to come to one of those moments where I have no idea what else is out there and I need other people's help.

My favourite's so far have been Naruto, Death Note, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood and Monster.

The anime that interests me the most are ones with dark themes or just a dark feel to it. On top of that, its always great to emotional, I want whatever I'm watching to make me feel something deep, you know? Something even tear-jerking; the amounts of times I've cried at Naruto is unreal haha. I think it pretty much goes hand in hand with being emotional but I love there to be pretty damn good character development too; I love to see the way characters evolve, to understand and fall in love with them, even if they're the opposite of the stereotypical protagonist type that everyone loves like Naruto...Darker individuals have stories to tell and reasons behind things too. Finally, of course, plot is also a very important factor, the whole reason I watch something (or read) is because of some amazing story it has to tell.

I'm also always fond of supernatural themes in anime, but its not necessarily a must since I found monster to be incredibly intriguing. Blood-bath style animes don't usually interest me very much, but if it has the above qualities I can get past that. Romance is cool, but that so much I don't mind either way whether its there or not.

Any suggestions based on what I've said? Sorry if I've made this sound very complicated, but thank you! xoxo
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Old 2014-04-29, 21:05   Link #2
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Madoka Magica

It has everything you're looking for. Unless you just can't stand magical girls whatsoever, you should probably check it out. If you do so, give it at least three episodes.

Other suggestions...

Shin Sekai Yori
Ergo Proxy
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Old 2014-04-30, 01:16   Link #3
Join Date: Apr 2009
Well, based on what you've listed, Triple_R's recommendations are a good place to addition, I might add:

Attack on Titan
Black Lagoon
Kara no Kyoukai
Ga-Rei Zero
Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni
Mirai Nikki
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Old 2014-04-30, 01:56   Link #4
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Ga-Rei Zero -A tale of two sworn sisters from exorcist families who come into conflict when the older one "goes to the dark side" so to speak. The series drops the viewer right into the action, then flashes back to when the main characters first met, establishes the bond between them, and proceeds to show just how someone as strong and caring as the older of these two girls could become the monster we see at the beginning of the series. It then catches up to the events of the beginning of the series and shows the conclusion.

Mai-HiME -This is something of a proto-Madoka Magica, though its widely considered a weaker show due in part to its ending. You might really like it though because it's all about the character's feelings, relationships, and motivations. It also has some fantastic character development. It doesn't become really dark until fairly late in its run though.

Macross Frontier -Like HiME, this one doesn't start off particularly dark but becomes much more so later on. It also has some really good character development particularly when it comes to the character of Sheryl Nome. It also has some pretty cool action and an absolutely awesome soundtrack.

All three of these series are favorites of mine and all three of them pack a serious emotional wallop once they get to full steam. All three also get dark though most have ultimately happy endings and only Ga-Rei Zero starts off particularly dark -the other two get dark in the late game.
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Old 2014-04-30, 06:56   Link #5
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Kokoro Connect. Sounds like it has everything you want - some dark themes, some supernatural elements, lots of drama and emotion, and excellent character exposition that moves the plot forward. Your mileage may vary on the primary plot device.
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Old 2014-04-30, 09:33   Link #6
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Tokyo Majin
Birdy the mighty decode - more in second season than first one.
Densetsu Yuusha no Densetsu - don't let first episode confuse you...
Argento Soma
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Old 2014-04-30, 12:45   Link #7
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Adding a few more recommendations to the three I made earlier, including one that has already been mentioned.

Black Lagoon: A Japanese salaryman gets kidnapped by modern day pirates/smugglers/mercenaries while on business in the South China Sea. Turns out the disk he was carrying contains a dirty secret his company doesn't want to leak out, so his company hires a group of hardcore South African mercenaries whose objectives don't include retrieving said salaryman alive. After helping his kidnappers outwit their pursuers the salaryman ends up joining their "delivery company" and begins a new life in the ridiculously crime ridden fictional Thai city of Roanapur. (Warning: This series is highly offensive.)
Full Metal Panic The Second Raid: Sequel to an action comedy about a socially inept child guerrilla turned teenage counter terrorist who is assigned to go undercover to protect a short tempered high school girl in an alternate reality where the cold war never ended and mechs called Arm Slaves rule the battlefield. The first season might actually has some of the elements you like as well but they're arguably less prominent than they are in the sequel.
Gunslinger Girl: A series that follows brainwashed and cybernetically enhanced child assassins, their adult handlers, and their foes. It set in an alternate Italy where the government is fighting against separatist terrorists from the northern part of the country. There's also a second season but it was made by a different studio and it sucks.
Rainbow: A series about a group of boys in Japan's rather messed up 1950s juvenile prison system. Sometimes a bit too extreme/over the top for my taste, but it has its merits

Black Lagoon, Gunslinger Girl, and Rainbow were all made by Madhouse, the same studio that made Monster.
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Old 2014-05-01, 09:01   Link #8
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Baccano! - while it is not a tear jerker and has comedy elements, it still is a pretty dark anime with some gore and entertaining characters.

Berserk - old anime made me quiet attached to the characters and seeing what happens next was pretty depressing.

Elfen Lied maybe?

Fate/Zero - has pretty much everything you want.

Ga-Rei: Zero - same here. Ending still makes me sad.

Ghost Hunt - not very strong character development wise but they still are enjoyable and every arc has something new to offer. some arcs are aright, some funny, some depressing and some creepy. Show has about 5 different arcs, dedicated to different cases. Since you like supernatural stuff, it is worth checking. 1st arc is probably one of the weakest. I would recommend to at least watch 2 arcs.

You might like Hakuouki, series based around shinsegumi samurais with some additional supernatural stuff. I would recommend to start with its prequel Hakuouki Reimeiroku. Over all there are 3 seasons.

Since you listed Naruto, how about Hunter x Hunter? Original season is more dark in comparison to the new one. It starts kind of innocent but eventually starts to explore some dark themes. The 2011 season is still ongoin and covers Chimera arc that was not animated in old series. Also old series has several OVAs as continuation.

Jigoku Shoujo - not much character development wise here since it is episodic series that follow a Hell Girl who will take your revenge for a price, your soul. Every episode is centred around new character and their problem, some more enjoyable than others. Gradually we do get to learn more about Hell Girl herself and her story is quiet depressing.

Kokoro Connect - might seem as innocent series like K-ON but no, it explores some dark themes and has nice character development going on in there with additional drama here and there.

Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica - will be surprised if you didn't watch it yet.

Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom - has pretty much everything you want.

Psycho-Pass - another entertaining, dark series.

Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin - follows a group of people who befriended each other in prison. Story is kinda divided in small arcs that follows characters lives both together and separately. Dark themes, drama... Worth watching.

Seirei no Moribito - bodyguard Balsa is forced to protect young prince Chagum that is wanted dead by his own father emperor. Adventure, some dark themes, nice action, good character development, some drama... really strong series.

Serial Experiments Lain - that's a weird one... have hard time explaining or rating it. It is something you need to watch for yourself, especially if you have any kind of interest in symbolism and psychological series.

Shiki - not strong character development wise but has some drama and towards the end you'll start to wonder just who real monsters are.

Shingeki no Kyojin - has most of the elements you are looking for, very popular show to boot.

Shinsekai yori - unique and good show with dark themes.

Steins;Gate - gets more serious in second half.

Zetsuen no Tempest - another good one.
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Old 2014-05-01, 11:46   Link #9
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Hmm. A request for a story with strong character development and supernatural themes, and no one has yet mentioned Junni Kokki ("Twelve Kingdoms")? The heroine grows from a whiny high-schooler to a
I'll also suggest Seirei no Moribito, mostly for Chagum's growth and maturation. Balsa shows some character development as well, especially in the clash between her commitment to being Chagum's bodyguard and her developing maternal feelings for her charge.

Moribito's author, the anthropologist Uehashi Nahoko, also penned another supernatural epic, Kemono no Sou-ja Erin. The story traces Erin's maturation from about eight to eighteen.

Ghost Hound might be another choice with a more modern setting. This is a story by Shirow Masamune of GitS fame. The main boy witnesses the death of his sister when the two were kidnapped as young children. He's undergoing treatment for PTSD when the story opens, but we soon discover he has the ability to use "astral projection" and travel into a world of spirits.
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Old 2014-05-01, 14:58   Link #10
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Thank you so very much guys, this is so much more help than I'd imagined. I've looked up a few already and these suggestions are pretty damn awesome. Knowing me I'm gonna actually make my way through almost all of 'em, not in any order of course; so I'm treating this thread as my 'to watch list' basically, so yeah, thanks
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Old 2014-05-02, 05:27   Link #11
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Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood(season one): This arc of the anime blends supernatural horror, tragedy, and action into Victorian era England. It begins with an orphan named Dio Brando being adopted into the wealthy Joestar family. From there a violent struggle between Dio and Jonathan, the biological son of the Joestar family, begins. It also has good protagonist and antagonist character development.
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Old 2014-05-02, 15:54   Link #12
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Elfen Lied.

Don't mind the haters. There's not much development, but it totally fits your "dark theme" and "dark feel" criteria.
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Old 2014-05-16, 10:21   Link #13
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Onani Master Kurosawa
This might fit in your criteria.
Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei
Like satire? Like Shaft? Like comedy?
This one's for you.
Tell me when you need more.
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Old 2014-05-16, 20:29   Link #14
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Madoka Magica
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure
Space Battleship Yamato 2199
Chrono Crusade
A Certain Scientific Railgun S
(S is the second season, first season doesn't fit what you want as well, but might still be worth watching)
A Certain Magical Index
Mawaru Penguindrum
Clannad: After Story
Get ready to cry. (The first season Clannad is also a good anime but is more of a rom-com, you have to watch the first season to get the 2nd one).
Full Metal Panic (first season and Second Raid - but watch out for cruise missiles down your chimney).
Neon Genesis Evangelion
The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya
You'll need to watch The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya first though to understand what is going on.
Read or Die OVAs

Cross Game - A Story of Love, Life, Death - and Baseball. What more could you want?
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character development, dark themed, emotional, plot, supernatural

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