Guro Anime Subgenre
On the extreme side of anime subgenres is guro – anime’s answer to blood, gore and the grotesque. As the animated equivalent to slasher and splatter films (with similar ratings too), guro is defined by excessively detailed or bizarre deaths, liberal amounts of blood, and everything from visibly broken bones to piles of organs. The subgenre can also go beyond the usual definition to include disfigurement, the physically surreal and decadence. Stemming from the word “grotesque” itself, anime featuring guro will try its best to be repulsively detailed while indulging in as much death or malformation as it can.
It should be noted that while the term guro is often associated with porn, there is a separate metagenre called ero-guro where excessive gore combines with sexuality to create snuff films – series where sex combines with gore. This summary will be dealing primarily with non-porn guro anime.
Inside out. Blood and gore can be found enough in your average action series, but guro always takes it further. It’s not enough to spill blood and contort the human body until it dies, the subgenre must spill its guts – literally – or otherwise go the extra mile for body horror.
Suffering. It’s not enough for characters to just die; they or the characters watching them really need to feel it. Whether it’s the psychological torture of seeing someone slowly dismembered or the pain of clinging to life when near death, you can bank on there being ample amounts of suffering or at least deep shock.
Focus on atmosphere. Horror and guro’s roots are closely intertwined when it comes to anime, meaning that the two often share characteristics. Atmosphere is key for both genres as slow or deliberate build-ups pay off when death is given emotion and meaning. Some guro shows will discard this however in favour of more comnstant bloodshed.
Horror. When it comes to art, guro’s application can be pretty broad, but when it comes to anime it’s almost exclusively part of a horror series. Not all horror series are guro, particularly when psychological themes are popular, but you’ll find a whole lot of horror in guro.
OVAs. Action series can get away with ample amounts of blood, but any detail given to what’s bleeding or broken needs to be censored – meaning gore-fests need to keep to home releases only, OVA being the primary format.
Hentai. Sadly, or not so sadly, guro combines with hentai often enough that it has its own subgenre. Just take all the things that define this subgenre and throw in more sex and sex-related suffering and you’ll get the result. On the other hand, if you like guro, chances are you won’t find the average hentai scenario as appealing.
Here's our top 10 'Best Guro Anime Recommendations'
1. Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne – The immortal private detective Rin and her assistant Mimi run an agency dealing with all sorts of mysteries. It’s when these mysteries start to run together that the two are drawn into tortures spanning 60 plus years, all lead by a man who wants to sacrifice Rin to the tree of life. A truly violent series that mixes a mystery plot in with detailed torture.
2. Shiki – The quiet village of Sotoba is on the verge of an epidemic. Not only are its residents dying off one-by-one, there are rumors that the dead are coming back to life. As the town’s newest resident, a doctor, and a priest delve into the supernatural mysteries, they must confront the blurring line between what makes us humans or monsters. A strongly atmospheric horror series that indulges in death and gore when the proper time comes.
3. Midori – Newly-orphaned Midori has nowhere to go, so it’s not hard for the nearby travelling freakshow to trick her into joining the crew. Instead of a warm new home or loving pseudo-family, Midori is brought into a carriage of horrors as she is abused by the circus crew aboard it. A simple movie made entirely by one person that gives its all to depicting grotesque horrors.
4. Elfen Lied – As humans have advanced, some have also mutated, becoming human beings with telekinetic powers. As these mutants are confined and experimented on by the government, one manages to escape, losing her memory in the process and ending up in the home of two innocent boys. As the mutant Lucy regains her memories, she must contend with her murderous intent rising to the surface. An exploration of hatred and revenge that pushes shock values further and further.
5. Shigururi – In the era of loyalty and honor, two samurai of the same school must face each other in a tournament and prove they are the better swordsman. Though one man is blind and the other is missing an arm, their rivalry is as fiery as ever. This is their story and their battle for the top. An artful depiction of the blood and pain that comes with rivalry, betrayal and the path of the samurai.
6. When They Cry – Keiichi’s fresh start in a new town turns from innocent fun to horrific bloodshed as his friends begin to turn into monsters beyond comprehension. As the town reveals its true nature, perspective is the only thing that can reveal the truth. A psychological thriller anime told in story arcs, though the art style may be too much to watch.
7. Deadman Wonderland – When middle school student Ganta is framed for the slaughter of his entire class, he is swiftly sentenced to death. But death means nothing when he is kept in Deadman Wonderland, the prison where inmates battle for survival and the entertainment of the masses. As Ganta discovers he can wield his blood as a weapon, he vows to uncover the secrets behind his incarceration. A cruel and violent series with a touch of the supernatural.
8. Gantz – Kei and Katou’s deaths don’t lead to the heaven they think is waiting for them. No, afterlife has something much crueler in mind; it’s drafting them both into a Battle Royale against any alien target it deems worthy, with the ultimate goal of earning enough points to allow its players passage back to the world of the living. The anime that wraps violence and gore in a game.
9. Another – Kouichi’s move to a new school isn’t the smooth transition he expects, especially when his new class is oddly afraid of their fellow classmate Mei. Try as Kouichi might to stay away, he can’t help but be drawn to her mysterious presence, sending him down a path of bizarre deaths affecting everyone around him. A supernatural mystery/thriller with plenty of creative deaths and blood.
10. Genocyber – The world government’s last enemy is privately owned armies, the strongest of which is the Kuryu Group. As a mad scientist delves into development of the cybernetic biological weapon “Genocyber” to turn the tides, activation of the weapon lies in the hands of psychic girl Elaine and her disabled sister Diana. A spectacle of gore and violence that shows its age.