All of us were attracted to anime for different reasons. Maybe it was the exciting battles or the complex character relationships, or if you became a fan in the 80s, the awesome transforming mecha. Maybe you were drawn in by sexy visual fanservice, or by shows that explored themes that would be forbidden in most other mediums. Along the way, we encountered anime that embraced violence as a vehicle for telling more grown-up stories. Let’s explore the subject of violence in anime, especially through the new Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni Sotsu anime!
(There will be some bloody gore anime gifs in this post, so be warned!)
The Importance of Violence in Anime
One of the reasons anime has been embraced so widely around the world is its ability to tell really compelling stories with characters who are far more complex than in other genres of animation. And depending on the story being told, this often involves the use of violence to tell a shocking story, with characters in mortal peril on a level that goes beyond the adrenalin-filled battles of shonen anime.
We’ve probably all have had that first experience of watching a truly violent anime, one that made us downright uncomfortable. And yet, like a pair of jiggling boobs or a car accident, we found ourselves unable to look away. For many fans, that anime was probably Higurashi When They Cry.
The New Season of Higurashi is Filled with Violence
If you want some exquisite violence in your anime, look no further than Higurashi When They Cry Sotsu (When the Cicadas Cry Graduation), which is currently being broadcast. It’s the sequel to Gou, which aired earlier this year, and will be the culmination of the Question, Kai and Rei arcs, if you follow the visual novels the anime is based on.
Higurashi is the visual novel and anime that proved that a fictional work could be 18+ despite having no sexual content. Rather than put its characters in horrible situations where they could be merely murdered, it’s a looping story, where characters are all trapped in the fictional village of Hinamizawa in June 1983 due to the influence of a guardian deity known as Oyashiro-sama.
No matter how an arc in Higurashi ends, things will always start up again, with a new story from a new point of view being told, and more murder-death-kills waiting. It’s as if they made several anime series focusing on the many deaths of Mayuri during the looping episodes in Steins;Gate.
Other Examples of Violence in Anime
The show that sort of got the ball rolling in terms of depicting violence was Fist of the North Star, an extended love letter to Mad Max: The Road Warrior, and the violent “revenge porn” films by Charles Bronson. There’s nothing quite like hearing Kenshiro utter his famous line before his opponent’s head blows up spontaneously.
Code Geass was an amazing and well-written series that went from a light-hearted school drama about a cultural festival to country-spanning violence in no time. The scene where Lelouche accidentally used his hypnotism power ordering Euphie to “kill all Japanese” was over the top.
You can’t tell a dramatic story without your characters being in harm’s way. Madoka Magica blew all our minds by reminding us that even magical girls can die.
I’ll admit it: I resisted watching Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure for the longest time because it’s such a long story, and I assumed the fandom was over-hyping the series. When I finally watched the show, I found the writing to be outstanding, with conflicts that were so cleverly presented, I couldn’t help but get drawn in.
A recent show that used violence to tell one of the most high-stakes stories imaginable was Vivy: Flourite Eye’s Song, about two artificial intelligence who go on a century-long journey to try to prevent a war between A.I.’s and humans in the future.
Can violence be a tool for comedy? Sure! Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan is an anime about an angel assassin sent from the future to prevent the main character from committing a terrible crime…so she basically murders him then reincarnates him repeatedly in each episode.
Finally, no exploration of violence in anime can be complete without the mention of Elfen Lied, a super-cute anime with moe moe kyun! character designs… about characters who are monsters capable of cutting anyone to pieces using their minds. It’s one wild ride.
Thanks for reading this post exploring the importance of violence in anime to tell certain kinds of stories. What was the first truly violent anime you watched? Tell us in the comments below, or on Twitter!
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