Shows Like Attack on Titan
Caught up and craving more dark fantasy with lots of gore, existential nightmares, and high body counts? Look no further.
Attack on Titan (or Shingeki no Kyojin in Japanese) is currently in its long-anticipated final season. The first half of season 4, part 3 is currently available to watch on Crunchyroll and Hulu, and the second half is set to air sometime much later in 2023.
But maybe you already know all this. Maybe you’ve just caught up with Attack on Titan and are desperate for more. AoT fans are well accustomed to waiting—it took four whole years for season two to come out—but here’s some similarly depressing and action-packed anime for you to try in the meantime.
They may not be titans, but the demons in Devilman Crybaby still corrupt their hosts’ humanity and give the protagonists a reason to fight for their loved ones. Also, it probably goes without saying, but like most shows on this list, it’s pretty explicit and not for kids.
What it’s about: Akira, a mild-mannered high school student, merges with a demon in order to save his childhood friend Ryo. But most people don’t react well to the existence of demons in the world, and chaos ensues.
Yeah, there’s a lot of anime about humans fusing with devils/demons/horrifying cannibalistic parasites in order to fight other devils/demons/horrifying cannibalistic parasites. They just have that certain je ne sais quoi.
What it’s about: In an alternate version of the ‘90s, a man named Denji merges with a devil named Pochita (the most marketable plushie you’ve ever seen) and now his head’s a chainsaw. What can we say, anime titles can be extremely literal.
Like Attack on Titan, Jujutsu Kaisen follows a teenager who inherits special powers (after some light cannibalism) and uses it to fight monsters. The difference is that in this anime, the horror takes a more supernatural turn.
What it’s about: High school student Yuji swallows a gross old finger in order to protect his friends from the ghosts and monsters they summoned to their school. In order to free himself from the evil spirit that now possesses him, he has to train as an exorcist and eat even more gross old fingers. It’s not easy being a teenager in a horror anime.
This is one of the more grounded titles on this list; it’s not a fantasy, but a historical drama about real-world Vikings. But like Attack on Titan, it features a bunch of Europeans fighting each other and traumatizing children with the horrors of war. Fun times.
What it’s about: Vinland Saga is about Thorfinn, an explorer who’s out for some bloody revenge after his father’s murder. The story starts in England but leads up to the Vikings’ exploration of North America, hence the name “Vinland.”
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You’ve probably heard of Death Note, even if you’re not a huge anime person. From Hot Topic merch to its own musical, it has its otherworldly demonic talons fully in the American psyche.
It’s a little less action-y than Attack on Titan, but it literally has “death” in the name, so I don’t think I need to say more.
What it’s about: Death Note is a supernatural thriller about a vigilante named Light who gains the power to kill anyone with an otherworldly notebook (the titular Death Note). He uses his powers to kill criminals in secret, but is constantly on the run from the police and a detective named “L.”
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Congratulations! Easily the most meme-able anime on this list, Neon Genesis Evangelion is a cult classic. Think of it as the Attack on Titan of the ‘90s. It’s a mecha anime, but Titans are kind of like giant fleshy mechs, right?
What it’s about: In a futuristic version of Tokyo, a teenage boy named Shinji joins a team of mech pilots to fight mysterious monsters called Angels. It may sound like a simple concept, but gets super existential and convoluted, leading to numerous spin-offs and sequels.
Danganronpa: The Animation
Okay, hear me out on this one: no, Danganronpa is not a sprawling fantasy epic, and yes, it’s much goofier than Attack on Titan. But if you want to see a bunch of teenagers murder each other and fall into apocalyptic despair, this anime is for you.
What it’s about: Based on the hit series of video games, Danganronpa is a story about a group of students who find themselves trapped in their high school on the first day of the semester. There are no teachers, staff, or classes: just one talking stuffed bear who wants them to murder each other. And boy, do they!
Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Hey, I said hear me out, right?
Sure, Madoka Magica looks like a standard magical girl anime from the outside. The characters may be wearing colorful pastel dresses, but this show doesn’t pull its punches when it comes to death, guilt, and plot twists. What’s more Attack on Titan than discovering the dark truths of your world?
What it’s about: In a very Sailor Moon moment, a middle school girl named Madoka is offered magical powers by a mysterious extraterrestrial cat. But not everyone wants Madoka to accept the deal, and there’s more to the story than you’d originally expect.