Horror anime often features high death tolls, but series like Shiki and AOT take things to extremes, killing thousands or even millions of people.
The death of major characters and the mass murder of entire communities are practically a tradition in horror anime. Having memorable murders and a high casualty rate that doesn't spare named characters are sure-fire ways for a horror anime to gain fame or notoriety. One notable anime, however, went the extra mile.
Instead of simply killing off more than one major character and at most the equivalent of a background character class, these anime slaughtered countless people by the thousands, at the very least. Most of these mass deaths were typical horror anime murders, but their brutality and scale increased. Others even transcended time and space.
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6/ Hellsing Ultimate
Death toll: 11,000,000 people (minimum)
Hellsing Ultimate culminated in The Major fulfilling his promise to Millennium by leading the attack on London. The final battalion (numbering no more than 1,000) killed most (if not all) of London's nearly 9 million inhabitants in one night. If the Nazi vampires didn't kill them, they and other named characters were killed by Vatican forces or by Alucard.
The Last Battalion's massacre is nothing compared to Alucard's, since he alone killed over 3 million people. This included those he killed in London and those he killed eons ago. Although not shown on screen, Alucard killed the 3 million souls he had accumulated in order to resurrect them. In total, the Hellsing Ultimate reboot killed at least 11 million people.
5/ School-Live !
Death toll: Probably most of humanity
School-Live! wasn't the first horror anime to see a zombie apocalypse decimate humanity, but it was one of the few to emphasize just how lifeless and empty such a world would be. As far as the School Living Club and the viewers were concerned, everyone outside the school was dead or undead. There was no sign of life anywhere else.
This was a major change from the School-Live! manga, which gradually revealed other survivors and even communities to be discovered. Since the anime only adapted the first arc, it had no reason to foreshadow these signs of hope. In doing so, it was really as if the School Living Club were the last people alive in Japan and on Earth.
4/ Type blue
Death toll: 99% of humanity
There's a good reason why Blue Gender is considered one of the most nihilistic horror anime ever made. When Yuji Kaido awoke from his cryogenic sleep, the world was already overrun by giant insects known as "Blue". While he slept, most of humanity was killed by the insects. The few survivors went into hiding or into space.
Humanity's extinction was all but assured when Gaia, the Earth spirit, killed the survivors on the Second Earth space station. With not enough people left to repopulate Earth, humanity was all but dead by the end of the anime. For some strange reason, Blue Gender disconcertingly portrayed humanity's slow death as a happy ending.
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3/ Higurashi: When they cry
Death toll: up to 2,000 people over several time loops
Higurashi: When They Cry became one of the most (in)famous horror anime of the 2000s by repeatedly killing its cast and everyone in the village of Hinamizawa over the course of several seasons. Only towards the end of the anime was it revealed that this was the case because everyone in Hinamizawa was trapped in a time loop.
Hinamizawa's population of 2,000 almost always died in each time loop. The dark Higurashi had numerous time loops both on-screen and off. It's impossible to calculate the exact number of deaths, let alone the number of times a person died. That said, we could estimate that Higurash's death toll would be in the hundreds of thousands.
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Death toll: 99% of cast plus 32,767 Parallel lands
Bokurano brutally deconstructed autonomous super robot anime by showing the death and destruction that giant robots would cause on Earth and in the known universe. As well as people dying amid the collateral damage of a giant robot duel, it was revealed that an entire alternate Earth had been wiped out when an enemy robot died.
Bokurano's darkest twists were that everyone who piloted Zearth died, and that the giant robot battles were part of a twisted multiverse "game" that staked a pilot's planet and species. While Kana Ushiro was spared piloting Zearth at the last second and the Earth was saved, billions of people from countless realities were still slaughtered.
1/ Devilman Crybaby
Death toll: everyone on Earth and in hell through several time loops
The only thing worse than Devilman Crybaby's ending with the biblical end of the world was the revelation that it was destined to happen again and again. Worse still, this cycle of death and destruction would continue for centuries. All this was intended to punish Satan, who was imprisoned in the Earth's time loops by God as punishment for his rebellion.
When Akira Fudo's friend-turned-enemy Ryo Asuka remembered that he was Satan, he declared war on mankind and killed every living soul on Earth until he was the only one left alive. Only then did he realize the folly of his evil and was cursed to repeat the cycle. In each loop, billions of people and demons have died because of Satan's ego.
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