People are crazy, just take a quick look at the news (for example the recent story from Tokyo train station) and you will get an idea of the insane things we’re capable of doing. This is probably also the reason why the arts often explore dark and grotesque themes, and anime is certainly no exception. Sometimes, however, it steps over a line, be it violence, sex, gore or horror, and such moments seem to be overrepresented in manga and anime.
Today we’re taking a look at just this – the moments where a given scene burns itself into your mind in the same way that they used to mark cattle in the old days. These are ten scenes that can’t be unseen – viewer discretion is, naturally, advised.
10. The End of Evangelion
- Episodes: 1 (Movie)
- Aired: July 1997
The first pick was a controversial movie when it came out. While some viewers branded it as a classic, others saw it as an attempt at satisfying stupid fans that couldn’t understand the cryptic finale of the TV series. The Evangelion franchise has a lot of disturbing moments for sure, not in the blood-and-guts-in-your-face sense, but due to the fact that it records the gradual mental deterioration of it’s main characters.
In one scene from The End of Evangelion, everyone’s favorite angsty teenager Shinji tries to wake up Asuka, who is in a coma, inadvertently exposing her bare breast. The camera then zooms around the room, reveling a locked door, and, as Shinji’s moaning become more and more intense, we see his hand covered in a white, sticky substance – basically leaving it up to the imagination, of the imagination of the viewer, what f***** up shit has just gone down. There is more to this scene than meets the eye, though, and it should not be interpreted as lewd fanservice.
Shinji in the Hospital
9. Pupa – “Onii-Chan”
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2014 – March 2014
Even though it was named by many as a definitive contender for the “Worst Anime of the Year”, this horror flick does manage to shock, but probably not (or maybe just exactly) in the way it intended. We have a sister and a brother that gets infected with some virus that turns them into monsters, and in order to prevent her sister from turning into a monster, big brother, Utsutsu, must let little sister, Yume, feed on his flesh. Or something like that.
We do, of course, get the privilege of observing this ritual, which couldn’t possibly be packed with more good old incest innuendo as the sister cries “Onii-chann!” and devours his flesh. The happy piano music that starts playing at one point does NOT make it any less creepy. Nor does the Teddy bear.
Pupa – Onii-chan
8. Hellsing Ultimate – “Just some nice, cosy necrophilia”
- Episodes: 10
- Aired: February 2006 – December 2012
Even for a bad-ass policewoman turned vampire, having to relive her worst childhood trauma can be a little too much to handle. This wasn’t the first, and certainly not the last shocker that Hellsing Ultimate offered us, but there is something about the sheer brutality and nastiness of this rape scene that sticks with you through the whole series.
As a kid, Seras Victoria not only had to witness her father’s brutal murder, but also her mother’s rape – after she’d been put to death. Yeah, that’s pretty much the dictionary definition of necrophilia, if you wondered.
Hellsing Ultimate Serac Victoria vs Zorin Blitz
7. Another – “Teacher’s Suicide”
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2012 – March 2012
Just one of those normal high school days we all surely had: Teacher comes in, looks up at the tired half-asleep students, then proceeds to pull out a knife and stick it into his own throat, blood splattering all over the shocked students. I personally really hated those days. (Well actually I’m lying, I didn’t go to a haunted high school like the one in Another)
Another Teacher’s suicide scene
6. Akira – “Tetsuo’s Transformation”
- Episodes: 1 (Movie)
- Aired: June 1988
Akira is the greatest anime movie of all time, there’s no doubt about it – it is one of those rare masterpieces where stunning visuals are combined with great plot and characters. Central to the story is the relationship between the leader of a delinquent motorcycle gang, Kaneda, and his friend Tetsuo, who suffers from a serious case of inferiority-complex.
You’ve probably seen this so no reason to go into details, but the last standoff between the two former friends is one of the most iconic scenes in all of anime: Tetsuo’s body starts to transform as he descends into madness – the visuals match the emotional buildup perfectly. The result is a scene that is disturbing both in the physical, visual sense, but also psychologically.
Akira Mutation Scene
5. Kyoushoku Soukou Guyver (Guyver: Out of Control) – “First Instance of Tentacle Rape”
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: December 1986
This scene isn’t all that unsettling, you might object. But, the point I want to make here is that the disturbing thing is not so much the scene itself, but the fact that it managed to spawn a whole industry centered around girls getting raped by various octopus-esque monsters – by now it’s become such a parody that people seem to forget how insane this actually is.
Guyver – Out of Control part 3
4. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (When They Cry) – “Rika’s Suicide”
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 2006 – September 2006
In this, “A quiet little town where everything is not as might appear” story, we get served some stomach-turning torture scenes. The one where Shion Sonozaki drives Rika into suicide is certainly the worst – that laughter and the facial expression is seriously one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever heard or seen in an anime.
3. Tokyo Tribe 2 – “Goosh Goosh”
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: November 2006 – February 2007
“Goosh Goosh.” Sounds innocent right? Like the sound of a cute baby playing around, before it has learned how to speak? Well, guess what, it’s not – it’s probably one of the most painful scenes you’ll ever see in an anime. The worst (or best) thing about this one is the audio: it doesn’t really show you that much, but the disgusting sound effects will give you a pretty good idea of what’s going on.
You’ll find “Goosh Goosh” in the link below, so go and check it out yourself. I dare you.
2. Elfen Lied – “Poor little doggy”
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: July 2004 – October 2004
In a series’ where the protagonist is basically a disturbed, deranged psychopath, it is very interesting that the people you’ll end up feeling the most resentment towards are a gang of elementary school students.
I am personally a cat person, but seeing those kids beat that dog to death broke my heart – this is also an example of a scene where you’re disgusted not only by the brutal visuals, but also by the sheer wickedness of those evil, evil kids. What’s almost more disturbing than the scene itself, is the fact that you’ll find yourself thinking “they deserved it,” as Lucy’s invisible arms rip through them in a unprecedented bloodbath of a scene.
Elfen Lied Dog Scene
1. Boku no Pico – “Any given scene”
- Episodes: 1 (Boco no Pico)
- Aired: September 2006 (Boco no Pico)
I have to be honest with you, I haven’t really watched this movie, except for some clips here and there. I do, however, believe I have enough empirical evidence to say that Boco no Pico represents some of the most disturbing anime you’ll find out there (at least on the mainstream, legal market).
Firstly, it doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that it features gay themes, just to get that cleared out. We could’ve just as easily chosen Kodomo no Jikan, which is a “straight” series in terms of sexual orientation, but as Boco no Pico is more graphic, it feels like a better pick for our number one.
Of course, art can handle controversial or even disgusting themes, but still be worth watching. Just think of the source material for series like Kodomo no Jikan – the great author Vladimir Nabakov’s Lolita is often named one of the greatest novels of all time. The problem here, however, is that these two anime series represents everything that’s wrong with Japan’s anime industry: it’s often explicitly sexual fixation on underage persons, cynically exploited and disguised as innocent cartoon.
Whether you call it moe, lolicon or whatever, it will, for most normal people, just be an euphemism for – yes, I know, if you’re a fan you would never want to admit this – pedophilia. And that’s probably as disturbing as it gets, at least for this author.
There should be something in here for everyone: let’s see, we have incest, necrophilia, tentacles, gore and pedophilia. Enjoy your sandwich, and, if you’re not too mentally scarred to stay away from anime forever, please stay tuned for more articles!