My novel Vampire Guts In Nuketown (available for purchase here) was hugely inspired by ultra-violent movies, cartoons and video games. This book is, without a doubt, the most wall-to-wall gore-porn I’ve ever written, and I owe it all to this particular obscure genre of animated movies.
The following list includes my personal favorite seven animated movies and shows that feature a near endless stream of gratuitous violence.
What the kids today would call “violence for violence’s sake.” What I call fucking awesome! I was first introduced to this insane genre way back in junior high school by a friend I’d met at church.
He had a friend who managed a comic book shop and knew everything there was to know about cool movies. I told him Evil Dead 2 was my favorite movie and I wanted to see more crazy shit like that. He grabbed a bunch of movies from the movie store and we went back to his house. We stayed up all night watching crazy flicks like Dead Alive and the first House movie. But the one that stuck with me the most that night was Akira.
I was completely taken aback by how fucking cool this flick looked. I’d grown up with Saturday morning cartoons and had even seen feature length animated flicks like G.I Joe and Transformers, along with kiddie flicks like Land Before Time and of course the Disney stuff, but this? This insanity and gut-wrenching violence took me down a dark path that I would never return from. To this day I am an unapologetic gore hound. I’ve got another list written up all about my favorite live-action gore flicks. But that list is for another day. Today, I present to you, Kevin Strange’s top 7 ultra-violent anime movies and shows.
7. Fist of the North Star (1986)
I could go into a bunch of details about the manga that this film was originally based on, or the animated TV series that came before the movie, but to be honest with you, I’m not a big fan of manga or anime TV shows. There are a few shows on this list, but those are exceptions. As a rule, manga is just too dense for me. I see an anime movie I like and someone tells me, “BROOOOOOO! You gotta read the MANGA!”
And often times I wonder if their enthusiasm is because the manga really is better, or if they say that just because there’s a thing that exists that is a manga comic and in order to be “cool” and in-the-know, you have to be as familiar with the source material as you are with whatever thing becomes popular. Manga is just too dense for me. Some of these series are produced weekly and have been around for more than 30 years.
I’m sorry, I just don’t need that much story with my story. It’s excessive and difficult to access. If you buy your manga legally, often you need to buy more than 100 books that cost 15 dollars apiece. I’m just a weird fiction writer. I don’t have that kind of money to devote to the source material of a movie I like.
Anyway, the Fist of the North Star movie is about some super macho martial artists who run around the post-apocalyptic wasteland being super macho with bare bulging chests fighting each other a lot. What saves this flick from being a douchebag bro-fest is that the made-up martial arts styles that these dudes use in the movie are beyond weird.
What happens is, they scream really loudly and then tap each other in various places on their bodies. After several seconds, huge and I mean enormous fountains of blood ejaculate from the wounds, sometimes after the administrator of the screaming pokes has turned around like a bad-ass and walked away. I mean this shit happens over and over again in this movie. It’s so fucking over-the-top and awesome. If you haven’t seen it, you gotta check it out. You’ll be yelling your head off poking your friends in the chest for weeks after.
6 .Legend of the Overfiend (1986)
Legend of the Overfiend is considered one of the most violent and depraved anime movies of all time and is often cited as the very first time tentacle rape is used in a movie. Now, I didn’t see this until relatively recently. Maybe 6 or 7 years ago, so I’d been inundated with tentacle rape LONG before I saw this little gem. In fact, a few slots down on the list I’ll tell you all about my first encounter with tentacle rape. But this? This movie is some truly fucked up shit.
I don’t even know how to describe the plot. There are three races. People, animal people, and demon people. Something happens and the demon race starts murdering the unholy fuck out of the people people and it’s up to the animal people to try to stop them? I have no idea. All I know is there is some seriously fucked up murder shit going on here. I’m talking if murder town was a place, Legend of the Overfiend would be the fucking mayor of that shit.
The scene that stands out the most for me is, yeah I have no idea why but something happens and this whole building full of people gets sucked onto this giant…cock? This huge penis is crashing through the hallways absorbing whole people onto its shaft just wreaking havoc like all giant wieners do.
The other awesome part about Legend of the Overfiend is that, like most of my novels, by the end there’s a giant fucking rampaging monster that’s just laying waste to the entire city. I mean major apocalyptic destruction on top of a movie that’s basically gore porn for serial killers in the first place. It’s a brutal movie and a must see for all fans of shock and gore flicks.
5. Akira (1988)
Akira actually doesn’t appear very high on my list which is odd considering that it’s the movie that got me into the hyper-violent anime genre to begin with. Made all the more puzzling considering it’s the story of a kid in a dystopian futuristic Tokyo with unlimited psychic powers who ultimately turns into a giant mass of fleshy tentacles.
Maybe it’s the fact that it’s probably considered the most mainstream anime feature film of all time, or maybe it’s just that I saw it so many times before I knew there were more films out there like it. Regardless, it is a forever classic that will always have a fond place in my heart. It’s just that the films after it on the list are even more violent, even more fucked up and have even weirder monsters.
The plot goes as follows: Kaneda is the leader of a biker gang. His buddy Tetsuo has latent psychic powers that are awakened by Akira. Akira is a super psychic being that’s being held prisoner by the government. Tetsuo is compelled to break Akria out while slowly losing his mind to his abilities while Kaneda does everything in his power to save his friend. It’s heavy, dramatic stuff. It’s beautifully hand drawn and has an epic score to accompany the breathtaking visuals.
The best part about Akira is that, while it’s probably the most mainstream anime film of all time, it’s also super violent and incredibly gory. As I mentioned before, it all ends up with a giant fucking crazy looking monster killing the fuck out of people. You’ve probably already seen it, but if you haven’t? Unfuck that. And appologize to your significant other in advance because you’ll be jumping out of bed screaming TETSUOOOOOOOO! At them for days.
4. Wicked City (1987)
So this was the very first straight-up horror anime I ever saw and BOOOY did it stick with me! It was really hard for me not to make Wicked City number one on my list. That just goes to show how fucking good and how fucking violent the other films on this list are!
In the first fucking scene, check this out. In the fucking opening minutes of this movie, a couple are in a bed fucking their brains out (which was totally awesome to see in a cartoon when I was a kid) when the naked chick starts mutating and turns into a giant topless spider with a huge fanged mouth for a vagina!
This flick is about a world where our reality and a demonic dimension have crossed over one another. The “Black World” is full of monsters and it’s up to the “Black Guard” of badass Earth agents to defend our realm against the invading Black World forces while a new peace treaty between the worlds is being drafted. Ya, ya, ya, this is all an excuse to draw really fucking cool monsters and have the main character blow them the fuck away with an AWESOME gun!
Every time the dude shoots a demon from the Black World, the recoil from the spiritual energy gun blasts him backward with such force, he ends up thrown back twenty feet. In some cases he ends up embedded in concrete walls or wrapped in fencing, having to pry his way out after he fires his gun.
Another thing I was introduced to in Wicked City was the now famous tentacle rape. Understand that back in the early 90s, before the internet, when the only way you could get these movies was by renting them from video stores or, if you were a real top level dork, buying them from mail order catalogs. So the public awareness of tentacle rape was relatively nil.
Even though it’s now a tired and overused trope, I still included a rather heinous tentacle rape scene in my novel Vampire Guts In Nuke Town as an homage to the entire genre of brutal violent anime movies. Wicked City is great. If you’ve never seen a gory cartoon before, you could do worse than starting with this one.
3. Ninja Scroll (1993)
From the same director as Wicked City, Ninja Scroll is another one of the most violent movies I’ve ever seen. This one, though, is more similar to Fist of the North Star than Wicked City. It’s not horror, not really. It’s more of a martial arts action movie with horrific elements, monsters and extreme violence.
This is another flick I was able to rent at my local video store back when those were a thing. In those days there weren’t lists like these on the internet. Hell, there was barely an internet. So if you didn’t have another nerdy friend in town to guide you through movies like these, then you just have to do what I did. I rented them all.
To say I was delighted by all of the carnage and weird monsters in Ninja Scroll would be an understatement. This flick is packed to the gills with exactly what I crave. Rivers of gore, sexy women and hideous creatures.
The story goes like this: A team of super monster ninjas known as The Devils of Kimon work for a dude named The Shogun of the Dark doing all kinds of heinous things in the name of evil including raping chicks and slaughtering entire villages for their own amusement.
Jubei is a wandering swordsman for hire with a big, bad-ass hat. He fucks shit up for the Devils of Kimon, pissing off the Shogun of the Dark, and eventually has to try to kill all of those motherfuckers in an awesome display of ultra-gory ninja violence. Great flick.
2. Attack On Titan (2013)
Attack on Titan is the newest thing to appear on this list and is also a show, not a movie. There have actually been live action feature films made of this series now, which contradicts what I was saying before about manga and anime shows being too inaccessible and too abundant for me to invest my time and money into. Attack on Titan is an exception to that rule.
I’ll most likely do another list down the road that includes my favorite anime TV shows, and I would expect to see this one pop up on the list again. The movies are OK, but the show really has time to breathe and create a mood, which is the best part of the thing.
Attack on Titan is about a future world where giant naked cannibals have ravaged the human race to near extinction, forcing the surviving people to cower behind three huge walls built high enough to the keep the titans out.
A special defense force has been created to venture out into the open and fight the titans. They wear elaborate gear designed to give them the ability to fly around in any direction. They achieve this by using a gas-operated cable system and a pair of swords used to hit the only weak spot on the giants: the backs of their necks.
The only problem is, the defense force is pretty inept at its job and most of the soldiers are killed and eaten in horrifically violent ways any time they encounter the titans. Which makes things all the more harrowing when a new giant, skinless titan appears and kicks a hole in the outer wall, allowing the flesh-hungry titans to pour into the outer city.
Harrowing. That one word sums up this series. I also like to call it Lovecraftian because of the awful sense of the unknown. These people are caught and brutally eaten in front of their friends and families and no one knows why. No one knows where the titans came from or how to communicate with them. They just are. Like forces of nature they ravage any community they find and leave no survivors. Everyone lives with a looming, abject sense of terror because there’s just no explanation for these hideous monsters.
I can’t speak highly enough of Attack On Titan. It’s definitely one to seek out. Currently there’s only one season. Near the end of the season, a few answers are given but many more are raised. And we’re no closer to knowing where the hell the titans came from. I’m anxiously awaiting season 2, and if you’re any kind of fan of brutal monster mayhem, you will be, too.
1. Berserk (1997)
Berserk is another one of those things that started as a long-running manga series, was then adapted into this one-season show and was later turned into three feature length animated films. Last I checked, there was going to be a sequel season in 2016. That’s right, almost 20 years later.
The reason this series still has legs 20 years later is because it is one of the most gritty, violent and epic rustic fantasy series ever, from any culture, in any medium. I love Berserk so much, I named the main character of my novel Vampire Guts In Nuketown Guts after the main character of this series.
Berserk is a simple story. A lone swordsman who happens to be as strong as a fucking ox and caries a sword twice his height gets mixed up with a group of mercenaries called The Band of the Hawk lead by a beautiful, charismatic dude named Griffith.
Guts carries a sword twice his height because he was born from the dead womb of a hanged pregnant woman on a battlefield and taken in by a bastard of a soldier who never once lets Guts be weak. He made little guts carry a full sized sword into battle as a child, so no normal sized sword can do for fully grown Guts. He’s got to carry the biggest fucking sword on the face of the earth. He’s that much of a bad ass.
There are supernatural elements from the very first moment of the manga, but what the series does so fucking well is, it gives you a small tease of a character in the very first episode called The Black Swordsman. He’s missing a hand and an eye and he mercilessly hunts demons. We see a demon in the form of a snake monster in the first episode. We also see Guts AKA The Black Swordsman haunted and tormented by apparitions.
But then we jump into the past and spend the next 25 episodes learning all about how Guts met Griffith and all of the adventures and epic wars they fought together before the events that lead Guts to lose his eye and his hand. And let me tell you, it is fucking worth the wait!
The final episode of the season is fucking batshit insane crazy, violent, harrowing and fucking, I don’t even know all of the right words to describe just how cool it is. It’s so fucking cool that the entire third feature length animated film that was made recently is dedicated to the events of THAT ONE EPISODE of the Berserk series.
Berserk is one of my favorite things of all time. Anyone who reads my Guts books will see how big an influence this show is on the character and the post-apocalyptic vampire world he inhabits. You gotta check it out!