10 most horrific moments in shonen anime

The Uchiha Clan massacre, a rather disturbing shonen anime event (Image via Studio Pierrot)
The Uchiha Clan massacre, a rather disturbing shonen anime event (Image via Studio Pierrot)

Although shonen anime is often synonymous with bombastic, high-octane action tropes, many horrific moments can be found in even the most unlikely places.

From Cell's first appearance, wherein he absorbed a man's life and nutrients down to nothing, to the bloody Uchiha Clan massacre, there are countless examples throughout shonen anime of moments that have left fans horrified.

Note: Content warning for depictions of violence, mass death, body horror, s**ual abuse, and other such topics. This article will likewise contain spoilers for all the anime listed and is unranked, with only one example per shonen anime.

Ten awful moments in shonen anime

1) Cell's first appearance and subsequent rampage (Dragon Ball Z)


Cell dialed the horror elements in the shonen anime Dragon Ball Z up several levels. The Human Extinction attack and History of Trunks were considered, too, but the former went by way too quickly, and the latter was more of a tragedy.

Cell, by contrast, was horrifyingly on-screen for a lengthy period. His first appearance had Piccolo investigating the strange creature Kami sensed for over four years.

Arriving in Ginger Town, Piccolo was stunned to find all of the inhabitants gone with only their clothes remaining as a news report stated that over 15,000 residents had gone missing. Cell revealed himself by graphically absorbing the richest man in Ginger Town before he and Piccolo fought. It is probably one of shonen anime's most effective villain intros.

Subsequently, Cell would absorb an entire bus full of Battle Ball players and ransack Nicky Town. It was graphic and horrifying for the time, especially the manner of absorption of plunging his tail into someone and absorbing them till they were nothing but a withered husk and then dust.

2) The Fall of Shiganshina (Attack on Titan)


Of all the horrifying moments in the dark shonen anime Attack on Titan, the one that still sends chills down every fan's spine is the Fall of Shinganshina. Why is it that entry over the revelations flashback episodes where Grisha's sister was fed to dogs, the Beast Titan's introduction, the revelations of Connie's village, or the Rumbling?

Subsequent horrors became interspersed with the Scouts fighting back, with the series becoming more action horror.

The opening episodes are survival horrors against nigh unstoppable forces of nature that kill and consume at leisure. This horrific start to a shonen anime is exemplified in Eren's scared and desperate cries as he witnesses his mother being eaten by the Smiling Titan.

The nearly useless resistance put up by the cannons as the Armored Titan breaks the secondary walls and endless screams echoing only add to the terror.

Eren's revenge quest to wipe out all the Titans is started here and sets the overall tone for the rest of the shonen anime, made even worse when the Smiling Titan was revealed to be Dina Fritz, Grisha Yeager's first wife and mother of Zeke/the Beast Titan.

3) Uchiha Clan massacre (Naruto)


This massacre is iconic among the many in shonen anime. Readers must recall that Sasuke was barely seven at the time of these killings. It was horrifying for him to witness and even more so for Itachi to commit. Overall, it was a sad story for all involved in this shonen anime.

The entire story is very convoluted, but here's a summary. Since the Hidden Leaf was formed, many of the village elders viewed the Uchiha clan with suspicion thanks to longstanding rivalries between Senju and Uchiha, Madara trying to destroy the Hidden Leaf, and Obito's attack with Kurama that led to the death of the Fourth Hokage.

The massacre was forced thanks primarily to Danzo Shimura's machinations, and its death included everyone from the Uchiha clan but Sasuke and Itachi. The former was forced to restart life in Tsukuyomi, while Danzo profited from gaining Sharingan eyes graphically removed and stitched onto his right arm.

This act traumatized Sasuke and got him obsessed with revenge, made Itachi flee the village in tears, and would spell Danzo's death down the line when Sasuke assaulted the Five Kage Summit.

4) Diva's killing of Riku (Blood+)

Diva and her sister, Saya, in the dark shonen anime Blood+ were raised as science experiments, as immortal vampire creatures called Chiropterans. When Saya finally released her, she went on a rampage and killed everyone at a birthday party.

Diva would continue doing this for years, killing and rampaging before setting her sights on Riku Miyagusuku, the younger brother of Saya. During a raid on the "zoo," where Diva and Saya were imprisoned, Diva managed to ensnare Riku with her singing and start draining his blood.

Saya stopped this act and was forced to turn him into a servant, or Chevalier, to prevent his death.

Later, Diva became madly obsessed with Riku and infiltrated the monster-hunting Red Shield organization's headquarters to find him. After her Chevalier Karl caused a distraction, Diva found Riku, r**ed him, and killed him.

This act enraged Saya, and after failing to kill Diva and the loss of Red Shield's HQ, she became wholly focused on avenging Riku's murder. To put an extra dark touch on this, Riku was only 12 at the time, and Diva did indeed give birth shortly before her death.

The kids, however, weren't killed by Saya but raised by her friend and confidant Kai to honor Riku's memory.

5) The Chimera revelation (Fullmetal Alchemist)


It was tough to pick between the failed human transmutation that set off the shonen anime Fullmetal Alchemist's lead protagonists Edward and Alphonse Elric's journey, the Ishvalen massacre that set up the backstory for Scar and many of the Amestrian military, or the 2003 version's ending.

One that still scars fans of FMA, even today, is the reveal of Shou Tucker's depraved experimentation on Chimeras.

Shou Tucker, Nina Tucker, and their dog Alexander are shown to be a nice enough family when the Elrics come to visit. The Elric brothers were referred to Tucker, the so-called "Sewing Life" alchemist who created a chimera two years prior to research a way to restore Al's body.

Over two days, the brothers poured over Tucker's knowledge and even played around with Nina and Alexander.

But on the third day, the horrible truth was revealed. Shou Tucker had succeeded in creating a chimera capable of speech, but it was by fusing Nina and Alexander!

This reveal sent Edward into a raging spiral, and Al was the only reason he didn't kill Tucker right away as he was forcibly restrained. Shou Tucker would reveal that the Chimera he created years prior had been his wife, earning him a spot in the most sinful parents' list for many fans as he only cared about preserving his job.

6) "Delete! Delete! DELETE!" (Death Note)


Smart though the main protagonist, Light Yagami, of the dark shonen anime Death Note is, maybe he should've thought better than giving the power of death itself to a lunatic like Teru Mikami? This moment makes it above the former's death or his ultimate fate because of how truly unhinged Mikami is revealed to be.

Some background information: Teru Mikami is a criminal prosecutor chosen as the Hand of Kira by Light himself, and his moral compass for "justice" is more skewed than Light's.

Mikami believes anyone who is "lazy" doesn't contribute to society and that a person with even a minor criminal record (petty theft, for instance) should die. He also worshiped Kira as a God.

This culminated in him screaming "delete" repeatedly as he wrote multiple names in the Death Note in rapid succession. This caused numerous deaths and sent the Special Task Force into chaos.

Mikami truly believed Kira was God incarnate, so he asked no questions and did everything Light told him to do.

7) Toga's bloody interview (My Hero Academia)


Himiko Toga is already nightmare fuel in My Hero Academia, more so than even the Hero Killer Stain since she gets more screen time. She drinks an opponent's blood, and the more she ingests, the better handle on his power she gets.

This came in handy during her "interview" with the meta liberation front members. Long story short, the League of Villains needed manpower to wage their war against the Hero society. So they went recruiting.

One of the revolutionaries' leads, Chitose Kizuki, accosted Toga and fought her to a standstill. On the losing end of the battle, Toga's Quirk underwent an Awakening and gave her access to Ochaco Uraraka's Quirk, Zero Gravity.

This allowed Toga to kill all of her attackers by sending them into the air and letting them fall back to Earth in bloody heaps! All with a disturbing and sickening grin on her face.

This image of the half Ochaco, half Toga burned itself into fans' minds as greater nightmare fuel than even the shonen anime's main villain, All for One. It also meant Toga got stronger, which Deku and Ochaco had to deal with later in the series.

8) Megumi stalking Natsuno while he sleeps (Shiki)


Megumi Shimizu from the dark shonen anime Shiki was a rather lovely, if two-faced, person when alive. She hated Sobota village, where she grew up, and ultimately had dreams of leaving it to go to a big city. Unfortunately, those dreams were cut short when she died of heart failure.

That would typically be tragic if not for the fact that she rose again as a Shiki, or vampire. She was the first Shiki to wake up, and soon after, Megumi began stalking her crush, Natsuno Koide.

Like a Yandere, she first started by hiding in bushes and watching him from afar until nighttime, when she made her move.

At first, Natsuno believed himself to be imagining Megumi's ghost haunting him. He saw her pale, eyeless figure staring at him from underneath his best friend Tohru's bed.

Then, the creepy, doll-like movements and cracking of joints filled the room as Megumi slowly killed Tohru by biting him while taunting Natsuno about how he would be all hers.

9) Bunnies ripping people apart (Blood-C)

This straight-up gore fest in a shonen anime is seen more out of context to shock people. Long story short, the bunnies are dubbed the Elder Bairns and are a race of demons contractually bound to kill humans at a special time.

This happened in Episode 12, wherein the town was besieged by the beasts, and people were killed en masse. Of course, the whole thing was a set-up by the main villain, Fumito, to test the heroine, Saya's, Elder Barin powers.

The town is wiped clean save for three people, and Fumito himself flees the scene. Until the Blood-C: The Last Dark movie, that is.

Imagine seeing your classmates and everyone you knew slaughtered only to find out it was all fake, including the hopes, memories, etc. However, they eventually get ripped apart, despite being promised protection! No wonder Saya brutally murdered Fumito.

10) Isabella's true nature (The Promised Neverland)


The Promised Neverland seems innocent enough, a shonen anime about orphans dreaming of being adopted one day! Their "Mama" Isabella also provides and cares for them, with the only constraint being don't go into the forest or beyond the main gate!

Well, guess what happens one day when Conny gets adopted, and Emma, Norman, and Ray decide to see her off? The three find their friend's corpse being fed to a demon.

Likewise, Isabella reveals her true nature while never breaking that happy motherly smile. She's raising kids to be fed to the demons outside.

That would be messed up on its own, but adding breaking Emma's leg in three places like a twig. So it's a long game from that point forward between the kids and their "sweet" caretaker.

It's pretty messed up how even the most sweetly appearing, friendly people can turn out to be horrid folks. There's more to it than that, of course, but readers are invited to watch the shonen anime/read the manga themselves for that one.

Disclaimer: This article only represents the author's opinion.

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