There’s nothing that lives up to the feeling of watching revenge-themed anime, and there is nothing that matches the rage and angst that’s present in a good revenge arc. From psychological thriller anime with dystopian worlds that strive on controlling its citizens, to noir-esque, visually intriguing anime with the mafia, here are some of the best revenge-themed anime that will definitely make you question how far characters would go to punish those who have wronged them.
6 Black Butler (2008-2017)
Black Butler follows the story of a Young Earl of Phantomhive, Ciel, who was orphaned and kidnapped by a cult at the age of ten. As the boy is taking his dying breaths, he is somehow able to summon a demon. The young boy forms a contract with the demon to save him and to help in finding the people responsible for his parents’ deaths in exchange for his soul. What makes the series fascinating is that Ciel keeps insisting he does not only wish to get revenge, but also to humiliate those who have wronged him. It’s a bit refreshing to see that Ciel is under no illusions that this is a noble quest. He’s quite well aware of who he is and what he aims to achieve. It’s fascinating and unique to see the demon butler pair with a human boy to not only seek his own revenge, but to solve a variety of different cases. Although, some of these cases can get rather dark at times.
5 Psycho Pass (2012-2019)
Those who enjoy Orwellian works of fiction will absolutely love Psycho Pass. The events in the anime take place in a totalitarian world where an omnipresent computerized system, referred to as the Sybil System, measures the mental states of people. People must have a Psycho Pass Crime Coefficient below a certain value, otherwise they’re isolated as latent criminals. The anime centers around Akane Tsunemori, a new recruit in the Public Safety Bureau, who firmly believes in the values and power of the Sybil System. However, when she meets an enforcer by the name of Shinya Kougami, her belief system begins to crumble. It seems that Kougami is out to avenge the death of his former partner. Shogo Makishima, who is responsible for the death, is able to escape the system as he is able to control his own Psycho Pass. Kogami goes rogue to take matters into his own hands to get his revenge, as the Sybil System is no help. Psycho Pass has three seasons and three movies, with a fourth that’s set to release sometime in the near future. The dystopian setting with the controlling Sybil System and the rather smothering atmosphere of the anime leave the audience with a feeling that there’s more to the story than what appears on the surface.
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4 School Days (2007)
School Days is based on a visual novel of the same name, and despite how the name gives off a nostalgic feeling, the show is anything but. As with most visual novels, School Days had around 20 different endings, depending on the route the players took. However, as the anime was limited to 12 episodes, the production team decided to opt for the most unexpected and dark ending. Initially, the show seems like your regular hareem anime, with Makoto stuck in a love triangle between Sekai and Katsura. However, as the series progresses, Makoto not only sleeps with both his love interests, but also with a variety of other girls at school. Until the very last episode, the audience is left wondering who Makoto will end up with, if any of the two girls. However, it seems that Makoto isn’t lucky enough to escape the clutches of fate, as his wrongdoings catch up to him in quite a gruesome manner. For those who expected a sweet, flowery ending will be surprised to learn that revenge is best when served on a platter (literally).
3 Hell Girl (2005-2017)
Sometimes karma catches up and serves justice, while other times one is left with rage burning in their heart as those in the wrong roam around freely. Well, in moments like these it would have been rather convenient to have someone who takes revenge on others’ behalf. Well, that’s exactly what happens in Hell Girl. People are able to place requests on a website called Hell Correspondence to get revenge on others who have wronged them. The requests are often forwarded to Hell Girl, Ai Enma, who then investigates the request further and decides if she should offer her services or not. As punishment for those in the wrong, Hell Girl sends them directly to Hell. However, there’s a little twist to the anime. It’s not just the wrong-doers that she sends to Hell. As payment for her service, she also sends the client to Hell. Hell Girl definitely makes one wonder if revenge is really worth it or not. In addition to the overarching revenge theme, the anime does address a lot of other themes such as bullying, animal cruelty, insanity, and quite a lot of complex human emotions.
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2 Castlevania (2017-2021)
Based on loosely connected games of the same name, the Castlevania franchise is a dark-fantasy action series that follows a bloodline of hunters from the Belmont family as they battle against Dracula and his followers. From vampire hunters to monsters to castles with labyrinths, the series has everything you’d want from a good dark fantasy series. The anime starts by telling the tragic love story of the human Lisa and the vampire lord Dracula. Their courtship is short-lived as the Church burns Lisa at the stake when they find out about it. The death of his lover throws Dracula into a fit of fury as he unleashes hordes and hordes of demons to torment humans. Castlevania has four seasons and is able to capture the audience from the get-go, making it binge-worthy.
1 91 Days (2016)
91 Days is a noir-esque mafia anime that takes place during the Prohibition era in the fictional city of Lawless. As the name suggests, no laws bind the city, and it’s ruled by the mafia and other illegal gangs. The anime follows a young man named Angelo Lagusa, who is on a path to avenging the murder of his family. Adopting a new identity, Avilio is able to infiltrate the mafia family, Vanetti, and is soon able to befriend one of the Vanetti sons, Nero. Over the course of the anime, the two form a bond of sorts making one question if Avilio/Angelo is willing to let go of his revenge. The path to Angelo’s revenge is dark and bloody, and it seems as if he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty. In addition, it gives the audience a glimpse of how deep the pain runs for Angelo. The story itself is quite engaging, but the animation style, in addition to the opening song Signal is just a cherry on top.