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Some people say you ain’t a true gamer if you still haven’t played (or beaten) Dark Souls.
And to some extent, I’d say they’re actually right! After all, Dark Souls is one of the best titles from this decade.
It truly is one of the most iconic games to date – and there’s no doubt that Hidetaka Miyazaki really outdid himself with the series.
With that said, what kind of crossover would we get for anime fans who love Dark Souls (or the Soulsborne series)?
Well here’s our picks for anime recommendations that would fit the theme perfectly.
10. Akame ga Kill!
Here we have one of the most action-packed fantasy/medieval anime series to ever be released.
Akame ga Kill! is a show I would recommend to anyone, simply because it’s a subversive masterpiece that throws you a curveball right at episode 1.
Don’t worry, I won’t spoil it for you here.
But let’s just say it has a great opening that makes it abundantly clear it isn’t going to be just another generic Shounen title.
It’s dark and realistic from the get-go in the sense that none of the characters are safe from the threat of dying horrible deaths.
It’s kind of like Game of Thrones now that I think about it, which makes sense because Hidetaka Miyazaki’s a huge fan of George RR Martin. Fingers crossed for Elden Ring!
9. Attack on Titan
Attack on Titan is yet another dark anime title that’s set on a post-apocalyptic world overrun by man-eating giants.
Unlike Dark Souls, it has very few fantasy elements to speak of, if none at all.
Aside from the naked tall people, of course.
It’s about as real as it gets — from the portrayal of day-to-day hardships or main characters dying sudden deaths.
What it has in common with Dark Souls, however, is its subtle yet masterful use of bleak themes and imagery.
Very few anime encapsulates that slight sense of dread you have in every Dark Souls boss fight, but AoT nails it.
Which says a lot about just how thrilling this show is.
8. Goblin Slayer
Speaking of dark anime series…
Goblin Slayer is practically infamous for coming in with one of the darkest and most messed-up first episodes ever.
As the protagonist once said, “The only good goblins are the ones who never come out of their stinking holes.”
And I guess it’s safe to say that the very first episode did a pretty bang-up job driving this point home.
The Goblin Slayer’s world is dark and full of terrors – and it shows right from the start.
The plot does lighten up a bit as the series went on, however that sense of danger and unease is still palpable in every episode.
7. Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?
Let’s take a short break from tragic anime titles and focus on something a bit more light-hearted, shall we?
DanMachi (the show’s shortened Japanese title) is a title that you’ll definitely love if you’re a fan of Dark Souls’ RPG mechanics.
The story of the series itself is not bad, but what really stands out with DanMachi is that it features various game elements that would most likely get any gamer interested.
The soundtrack and the art style are pretty great too.
Not to mention it also goes heavy on the fanservice if that’s your thing. No judging here!
6. Hellsing Ultimate
Hellsing Ultimate is just one of those shows that just absolutely pops off whenever the main protagonist is around.
There’s no way around it.
Alucard is the star of the show and carries it on his back.
Of course, the side characters are pretty compelling too. But there’s just something about this immortal centuries-old vampire’s swagger that makes him stand out.
Much like Dark Souls, the overall “dark and foreboding” theme of Hellsing Ultimate is enhanced by its fantastic soundtrack.
Moreover, the series also features bizarre and haunting imagery that somehow comes off as cool and awesome, rather than offputting.
Like that scene of Alucard unleashing Baskerville for the first time, for example. That scene was just *chef’s kiss*.
5. Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash
Here we have another laid-back yet still oddly realistic fantasy anime.
Grimgar (in my opinion at least) is one of the most underrated Isekai titles to have ever come out in the past decade.
It certainly holds its own story-wise, which is something I couldn’t really say for the loads of Isekai anime that are being released recently.
It’s realistic in the sense that the danger and the stakes for the main characters are always present, although it’s not at all exaggerated like it is for some of the anime on this list.
And just like it features a ton of exciting action scenes, it also has several slice-of-life moments in between that don’t make the show boring at all.
If anything, it just made the show more refreshing in my eyes.
After all, I think it provides a break from some of the more hectic and tragic plot points in the series.
Overlord is yet another Isekai title that stands out as one of the most popular and well-crafted of its kind.
Interestingly, it’s also one of the very few anime that features an inhuman character as the main lead — Momonga.
Now, we might’ve spent countless hours pawning (and dying to) undead enemies in Dark Souls, but Momonga is one eldritch monstrosity that we probably can never beat.
Overlord might not be the first anime to ever feature a ridiculously overpowered main character (in fact it’s definitely not).
But the show certainly does its job in portraying him and the supporting cast well enough.
To keep it simple, Overlord is a story of a human who turned into a monster.
Despite that, however, the plot overall is lighter compared to some of the titles on this list.
Unfortunately for us fans, Claymore will always remain as a series that could’ve been one of the greats.
Backed with a phenomenal manga as an adaptation source, it’s no wonder people were surprised that the anime was abruptly canceled.
Nevertheless, I still think it’s a very solid title that I would’ve loved to see more of as it reminded me of titles with Dark Souls-esque charms like Berserk and Goblin Slayer.
On that note, I do recommend this anime because it’s simply that good.
Though it must also be said that the way the series ended might come off as a bit rushed and underwhelming, so please watch it at your own risk.
2. Devilman Crybaby
Coming in closer to the top with this series, and here we have quite possibly one of the edgiest and darkest anime titles of all time.
Of course, it would be a travesty for me to say that this is all Devilman Crybaby is.
It’s chock-full of action, drama, tragedy, and some religious undertones much like Dark Souls.
It isn’t afraid to delve into darker and more surreal themes to tell a compelling story.
In fact, It’s so darn great that it’s been confirmed by Miyazaki himself that he keeps copies of its manga at the top of his bookshelf!
Does this mean that Miyazaki was inspired by this show’s manga version? It’s a long shot, but I do see more than a few thematic similarities between Dark Souls and this anime.
Coincidence? I think not!
And here at the top spot we have the one and only Berserk —Kentaro Miura’s brilliant magnum opus, and one of the most lauded anime titles of all time.
Moreover, it’s also the only anime/manga series that’s been confirmed to have provided Hidetaka Miyazaki some inspiration – not only for Dark Souls but also for his other games.
I mean, it’s pretty obvious now that I think about it.
The characters? The monsters?
Heck, even the armors and the weapons?
They all look like they’d fit right in Lordran, to be honest.
Better yet, the series has the same bleak yet engaging feel + visuals of the Souls games.
This is especially true in the later arcs of the anime.
In the end, I just can’t recommend this series enough. And while you’re at it, I insist that you read the manga too. You won’t regret it!