1. Everything from Violence Jack
And if you’re curious about his debut, it’s this famed OVA series. The plot isn’t all that important, since it’s essentially Devilman meets Fist of the North Star with every sin imaginable. That last bit not only explains why it’s at the top of my list, but it sums up the motivation behind nearly every decision made throughout the narrative. If you skip to any random part of the series’ nearly two-and-a-half-hour total runtime, you’ll almost certainly catch a glimpse of some horrific act of violent depravity.
To show this, we instructed Google’s RNG to select five integers between 1 and 8640 (approximately the number of seconds it takes to reach the end) and then used those numbers to determine the timecodes we would jump to. We’ve even left you the passwords so you can watch along and share our shock. In the end, we got:
A man being dismembered by a chainsaw as his girlfriend watches and is then raped (5782 or Violence Jack: Hell’s Wind 6:33); a female sex slave trader shows two recently captured victims a room full of kidnapped women being raped before taking them to her own room to rape them herself (4305 or Violence Jack: Harlem Bomber 16:19); the eponymous hero standing among the haphazardly (1159 or Violence Jack: Evil Town 19:19).
2. The Ending from Devilman Crybaby
As an innovator in the manga industry, Go Nagai has been at the forefront of several subgenres, including mecha, magical girls, and ecchi. No, we won’t be discussing any of that today, because looking for unsettling elements in his work will inevitably lead you to Devilman. This manga was a study in blood and guts, as hordes of demonic villains committed increasingly revolting acts before being met with increasingly horrible retribution from the story’s anti-hero protagonist.
The 2018 animation directed by Masaaki Yuasa gets the closest to doing justice to the story’s many brutal acts of ultra-violence, although none of them have achieved completely. It’s the only one to go all the way through, and it’s the only one to marry exaggerated and distorted character designs with strikingly realistic movements, making every frame deliberately unsettling and adding its own uniquely transgressive elements, like Devilman raping one of his enemies as he’s killing her solely for the sake of being able to nut while on the job.
There are several surprises in the climax that would be spoiled if we gave our typical play-by-play, but the combination of Nagai’s increasingly bizarre thoughts and Yuasa’s increasingly unsettling visuals culminates in an existential heart attack. It’s safe to say that the misanthropic terror and obscene brutality that create the setting for the appropriately apocalyptic conclusion will disturb even the most hardened of viewers on a physical, mental, and emotional level, making this Nagai’s second most unsettling adaption.
3. The Bomb from Hadashi no Gen (Barefoot Gen)
Surviving residents of Hiroshima, such as Keiji Nakazawa, have been our only source of information on what it was like in the moments immediately following the detonation of the Little Boy atomic bomb. At the tender age of six, he witnessed the devastation of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, where he later wrote the novel Hadashi no Gen.
A montage of the instant atrocities caused by the nuclear bomb goes on for more than two minutes as the opening sequence of the anime version. Men, women, and even animals can be impaled by flying debris and sent careening through the air, creating a horrific collage of charred skin and melting eyeballs. Those lucky enough to escape being mutilated beyond recognition are abandoned to their fate among the burning structures.
There are a lot of deaths, and they’re all unpleasant. The fact that this bomb existed and that countless lives were lost as a result further heightens the tragedy. Even if it’s just images on a screen, we all know it’s not a dream. Hadashi no Gen knows that the last thing anyone should be when watching innocent people get vaporized by an atomic weapon is comfortable.
4. Goosh, Goosh from Tokyo Tribe 2
The concept of an anime on street gangs is intriguing. Many excellent tales have been told about the yakuza, underground gambling rings, and other forms of organized crime, but the idea of an anime centered on young, underprivileged street thugs contains vast unrealized potential and opens up a sea of opportunities.
You probably didn’t consider the possibility that a senior anime director like Tatsuo Satou would engage in a violent, unlubricated gay butt-rape that would force the victim to cry loudly in pain before dying in a vast pool of blood that originated from his violated anus.
Almost a whole minute is devoted to the events described above, with no censorship of any type, other than animating the actual penetration in silhouette, so he and studio Madhouse must have believed this was just what their urban gangster drama needed. Even for the scene’s most important shot, they didn’t bother. broadcast on television, as well.
The kicker is that it’s yet another meaningless scene of sexual assault. The only thing we learn about the characters is that the rapist is a rapist, and the victim isn’t even a named character, thus this serves no plot purpose and reveals nothing about them. It’s just a load of violent, sexually explicit, jizz-soaked garbage that will make you miss Deliverance.
5. The Eclipse from Kenpuu Denki Berserk (Berserk)
Both newcomers and longtime followers of the series are aware that the cast of Berserk endures horrific treatment, and this moment has become synonymous with the series. On paper, this seems like it may end well: Griffith, one of our deuteragonists for most of the plot up until this point, reaches his lowest point and makes a Faustian bargain with the almighty god hand group, sacrificing the lives of his entire army to gain godly powers; however, like so many other memorable anime scenes, its execution stands out.
The eclipse sequence is further evidence of Berserk’s tendency to borrow heavily from the best in the fields of fantasy and horror. Smaller elements appropriated from other geniuses like Zelazny, Dick, and Herbert are mixed in with the cosmic dread of Bosch and surrealism of Escher, and the lonely paranoia of H.R. Giger, and then a mound of graphic violence is piled on top.
As with the rest of the novel, it points in a clear direction and proudly displays its influences, but it doesn’t make it any less disturbing. Even until this point, the tale was unsettling, but now it’s just gone completely wild.
6. The Magician Scene from Chika Gentou Gekiga: Shoujo Tsubaki (Midori)
However, a competent anime director can get a lot out of the medium with very little by combining imagination, know-how, and ingenuity. Many otaku equate effective anime graphics with fluent animation and plentiful sakuga. Enter Hiroshi Harada, one of the most passionate artists working in the animation industry today and a somewhat successful animator and storyboard artist.
The sequence in which the vertically challenged magician Wonder Masamitsu uses his talents to lash out at an unappreciative audience is perhaps the clearest example of Harada’s dedication to making Shojou Tsubaki all by himself over the course of five undoubtedly torturous years. The subsequent mayhem is a fusion of psychedelics, body horror, and all things rad and mind-bending.
All the people in the throng suddenly mutate into hideous, grotesque caricatures. Their bodies distort and mutate into unrecognisable forms; they may develop abnormal appendages or even burst open, exposing bloated masses of misshaped organs. Harada’s animation pays justice to each tragedy by depicting their faces as they shift into weird emotions between between delight and misery.
7. Fingernail Torture from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (When They Cry)
Is there some sort of anime bias against fingernails? We’re not yet halfway through, and we’ve already shown you two moments of nail agony and alluded to a third. Unfortunately, the scene isn’t quite as effective as the equivalent one in Mezzo Forte, mostly because it lacks the explicit violence that would be required to comply with broadcast standards and because the sound effects aren’t nearly as gritty. However, it does have a foundation.
This isn’t some minor interrogation; rather, it’s a cult’s extreme punishment for a cute anime girl: she must tear three of her own fingernails out in a shack full of bladed tools and weapons, while a large group of her friends and family watch and do nothing but imply that they will all ostracise her if she doesn’t.
Indulging in its oppressive mood, the show focuses on every painstaking, agonising de-nailing, pausing between pulls for a long, drawn-out fit of tortured screaming, and making it abundantly obvious that it has no intention of making this even remotely easy on the audience. A lesson to be learned from this is that if you think pulling out a single nail is excruciating, wait until you see three of them go in at once.
8. Fingernail Torture from Mezzo Forte
Anyone who’s watched Kaiji knows that fingernail torture is unpleasant, but is it genuinely disturbing? During a scene in which the villain’s minions interrogate Kenichi, one of our characters, Mezzo Forte poses and resolves this very question. He doesn’t break character simply because he’s been captured; nevertheless, the goons have a secret weapon: a flathead screwdriver.
It’s tough to put into words, and it’s even more challenging to witness. He yells in agony as they press the screwdriver farther and deeper into his nail, eventually ripping it off his finger. His nail begins to separate from its bed and lose its colour, eventually coming off with a startling crack and a splatter of blood. However, it is the sound that gives this scene its unsettling undertones. Mezzo Forte ensures that you won’t be able to forget this scenario no matter how many technological aids you employ, whether it’s the actor’s scary vocal work or the teeth-grinding sound effects.
9. The Molestation Scene from Genocyber
If we’re talking about anime that starts out on the wrong foot with young characters, the opening episode of Genocyber focuses heavily on a mute feral youngster with secret powers that can unleash the apocalypse and befriends a little homeless boy. Despite their language barrier, they share some touching moments together, but the episode is marred by the juvenile thugs who repeatedly try to extort money from the boy.
After Genocyber decides we’ve had enough goofing about between the youngsters, it shows the boss of the thugs telling their underlings about the new acquaintance their victim has made. And then, abruptly, the teenagers stumble upon the two on some random street. And as for why they’re there, well, we find out pretty shortly when two of the bullies shove the boy out of the way and the third rapes the girl. While that is happening, the other two rip the boy’s pants down and begin groping him.
If you’re wondering why two kids are sexually assaulted in this story, it’s so that we won’t feel bad for the raptors when a third kid with superpowers shows up and transforms them into puddles of blood and viscera. Having gratuitous child rape in your fiction is far more terrible than having any rape at all.
10. Goblin Rape from Goblin Slayer
Sure, this isn’t your pa’s fantasy show, but it’s not your typical one, either. It’s got a lot of goblin rape and murder, but what really sets it apart is its edge. Goblin Slayer’s decision to have this event occur to a group of people we know nothing about at the beginning of the story is likely an attempt to separate out from the countless other fantasy light novel adaptations that have come before.
That objective was met, which is a relief because, outside of hentai, it’s unusual to see that kind of stuff in an anime’s premiere episode. While the first episode of Goblin Slayer aims to shock, it falls short in part because of the scene’s attempts to be titillating while simultaneously keeping the most unpleasant portions offscreen.
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