Fans are desperately searching for anime that could match the grandeur of Attack on Titan and its gory nihilistic vibe. There is, most definitely, an increasing appeal towards dystopian fiction and Attack on Titan has excelled in that field. The news of the anime concluding in the upcoming season has caused some disarray. However, I have curated a list of 10 anime that you can watch if you wish to watch shows that emulate the experience of Attack on Titan.
- Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress
Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress is one of the obvious contenders in this list. Fans have raved about its similarity to Attack on Titan's initial 'doomed humanity' premise. The story of the anime takes place during the industrial revolution where a virus in the form of undead monsters, called Kabane, threaten the existence of humanity. Akin to the intricate strategies required to kill titans (such as the nape), the only plausible way to kill a Kabane is by piercing its heart with an iron plate. Humanity lives inside a fortress to protect themselves from the monsters. However, things take a turn for the worse when the monsters manage to break into the fortress. Sound familiar?
- God Eater
Another frequently suggested anime for Attack on Titan fans is God Eater. The apocalyptic force is strong with this one as well. The setting of the society is a futuristic dystopian one that takes place in 2071. In the nation called New Asian union, there exists an organisation called Fenrir which protects people from monsters called Aragami. In doing this, they also use divine weapons termed as 'God Arcs'. These weapons are composed of biological material and are wielded by a special faction of soldiers called, "God Eaters". This faction is sent on a crucial mission to destroy these creatures and take back the planet. This anime is based on a video game and embodies the thrill of an apocalyptic world like Attack on Titan.
- Hellsing Ultimate
Hellsing Ultimate may be incredibly short (10 episodes) however its impact on dark fantasy anime runs deep. The anime focuses on a special organization called Hellsing that dedicates itself to eradicating supernatural forces that threaten the existence of humanity. The organization is headed by a powerful woman who commands an army. But the major takeaway from this character is her greatest weapon - a vampire called Alucard. The gore and brutality isn't the only thing it shares with Attack on Titan. But it also boasts an excellent and well thought out storytelling just like Attack on Titan.
- Seraph of the End
One look at Seraph of the End would be quite misleading. As they say, appearances can be deceptive. The characters in posters appear very soft and like typical action fantasy characters. However, the anime possesses dark facets to its story. The premise is a post-apocalyptic world where all the adults have ceased to exist and there only remain children under the age 13. The earth is dominated by vampires and other forces while humans slave their blood away in exchange for protection. The story follows two orphan boys - where one sacrifices his life for the other. The remaining boy seeks out vampires for revenge however, his journey is confronted by an awful twist.
- Tokyo Ghoul
Tokyo Ghoul is a popular anime whose popularity is often debated along the likes of Attack on Titan. Tokyo Ghoul focuses on a storyline where humans and ghouls exist in society. Ghouls are creatures that look exactly like humans however they prey on humans for nutrition. While they attempt to blend into society, their bloodlust for humans is no joke. The story follows Kaneki Ken, a victim of a ghoul attack, as he discovers that his surgery resulted in the transplantation of ghoul organs into his body. The drastic biological change has made him half-ghoul and he must learn to live with his new identity. Similar to Eren, Kaneki also becomes the very creature that he fears or in Eren's case, despises.
Castlevania is another anime that has created quite a bit of buzz within the anime fandom. It is undeniably one of Netflix's best works in anime. This anime can be described loosely as a Dracula adaptation - one of the best, I must say. The anime currently has three seasons with the latest one receiving positive reviews from fans. The story dabbles with creatures such as dark monsters and vampires. Inspired from a video game, the story follows the last surviving member of the disgraced Belmont clan, Trevor Belmont in his attempt to save humanity from the grief-stricken Dracula along with his misfit posse.
- Elfen Lied
The posters of Elfen Lied don't hint at its dark fantasy setting almost bordering on horror. The anime heavily focuses on a race called 'Diclonius' who look exactly like humans except for the little horns sprouting from their head. They're viewed as monsters as they possess invisible arms that can grasp and go through solid objects allowing them to destroy anything on an atomic level. The race is known for its atrocities against humans. The anime follows a Diclonius called Lucy who finds herself trapped in an experimental facility. The story begins when she escapes from the facility but ends up suffering from amnesia.
Berserk is frequently suggested to those searching for an extremely dark fantasy-horror series. The manga of Berserk is ongoing however the adaptations mostly focus on the early arcs of the story. Without giving much away, the show focuses on the main character, Guts, who is driven by revenge. Guts is part of a mercenary organization called the Band of Hawks where he meets Griffith. As Guts and Griffith grow close, the mysterious aura surrounding Griffith becomes more prominent. Berserk is a dark tale that holds no stone unturned. Revenge and betrayal are some of the driving forces of the story and fans drawn towards Attack on Titan's nihilistic theme would definitely love this.
Claymore is often compared to Berserk so it makes the list as well. Claymore is a dark fantasy adventure anime that is set on a Medieval island where humans are targeted by humanoid shape-shifting beings that eat them. There exists a mercenary organization of women, who are part monster, that hunt them for a fee. These women are identified by their claymore swords and beautiful silver eyes. The island has 47 districts with a Claymore warrior assigned to them.
- Goblin Slayer
Goblin Slayer has a simple yet quite effective storyline. The story follows a priestess who becomes an adventurer - an inexperienced one, at that. After joining a guild, their contract job goes awry with every member eradicated except her. This miraculous turn of events (at least, for her) is credited to the mysterious 'Goblin Slayer' who rescues her. Soon, she accompanies the Goblin Slayer in his quest to eradicate each and every goblin in the frontier lands. I'm sure Eren's most popular quote, "I'll kill them all" comes to mind while reading this. The anime has a very realistic and gruesome take on dark fantasy just like Attack on Titan.