9 Ultra-Violent 1980s Japanese Anime Movies You Must Watch

Western audiences began to get their fill of Japanese anime in the mid-90s as more and more titles were released in the United States. It was a major culture shock for many anime movie fans, thanks in part to their propensity for violence and adult content. It’s part of what led to anime’s popularity in the West and opened the doors to an entire pop entertainment subculture.

Source: Akira

1980s animated films weren’t interested in pampering censors. They went straight to the jugular with extreme amounts of violence and shocking gore, making them unsuitable for children. The young teenagers, however, were captivated and couldn’t get enough. With bloodshed on this particular scale, it wasn’t hard to see why.

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Black Magic M-66 (1987)

Source: Black Magic M-66, Bandai, DVD

At the time, Dark Magic M-66 introduced violence not typical of previous animated films. The product of Masamune Shirow, the creator of ghost in the shellthis film centers on two military androids who spiral out of control and must be put down before they can kill their creator’s granddaughter.

The violence in the movie mostly consists of androids beating up various soldiers trying to take them down. Most of it is of the red mist variety, but there are a few blood and gore scenes that helped make it notorious enough for western anime fan scene to take notice.

Wicked City (1987)

Source: Wicked City, Madhouse, Blu-Ray

This interesting anime focused on a 20th century reality where demons lived side by side with humans in our world, necessitating the need for a supernatural security force known as the Black Guard. It wouldn’t be complete with bloodshed to go with it.

The violence in question is mostly centered on the demons themselves, with less human blood. It also contains one of the most brutal slow-motion punches in all of anime, ending with the fist going straight through the opponent’s face, knocking their eyeballs out of their skull in gory detail.

Golgo 13: The Professional (1983)

Source: Golgo 13, Toho, DVD

Golgo 13 has taken many forms over the years, including a fantastic detective-style animated television series in 2008’s The 1980s Movie; however, that is an entirely different matter. It’s much faster and its level of violence is quite high.

The bloodshed is what anyone would expect from a series centered around a well-paid international assassin. There are plenty of gunfights, knife fights, and other combat storylines that help serve up a double dose of bloodshed, which is in keeping with Golgo 13’s extremely violent career choice.

Akira (1988)

Source: Akira, Toho, Blu-Ray

While not the most violent animated film of the 1980s, there was enough bloodshed to warrant its approval. Akira is more about psychological horror as opposed to physical horror. However, Tetsuo’s character manages to cause enough carnage that people are caught in the crossfire, often with horrific results.

One scene involves Tetsuo using his unstable psychic powers to implode the surrounding area, reducing those there to body parts and blood stuck to the ceiling. Another scene shows her body mutating into a large creature that inadvertently crushes her friend Kaori.

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Guyver: Out of Control (1987)

Source: Guyver – Out of Control, Bandai

the Guyver The series has always been an acclaimed favorite in Japan, but it’s still relatively unknown here. His notoriety was ensured thanks to films like Out of control, an extremely violent animated short that serves as an excellent introduction to the character.

There’s a ton of blood spilled in the movie, with lots of severed limbs, fountains of blood, and flying innards. He would prove influential enough to give the green light to the popular Guyver: bio boosted armor series, which ran from 1989 to 1992.

Vampire Hunter D (1985)

Source: Vampire Hunter D, Toho, DVD

One of the darkest animated films ever made, the original Vampire hunter D fully capitalized on the adult horror genre, and it showed. Most of the blood and gore is inflicted on the various monsters and demons in the movie, but the innocent people get it too.

The follow-up suite Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust wouldn’t enjoy even a third of the bloodshed of the original, even if it were more elegant. No, the original is still king, thanks in large part to its horror imagery and refusal to shy away from tattered characters.

Devilman: The Birth (1987)

Source: Devilman, Manga Entertainment, Blu-Ray

The story of evil man is directly connected to Abuseanother ultra-violent anime series set in the same reality. The birth tells the story of Akira Fudo, a kind-hearted teenager who is destined to become the fearsome Devilman, a satanic being he is able to control and wield for good.

the evil man The series has always been bloody, but this animated movie is the one that really solidified it. The scene where the titular antihero finally emerges in an underground club is one of the film’s highlights, where he slays a variety of demons in a variety of gruesome and shocking ways.

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Fist of the Northstar (1986)

Source: Fist of the North Star, Toei Company, Blu-Ray

Based on the original manga comics and animated series of the same name, this ultra-violent 1980s film unleashed bloodshed and gore to insane levels, making it one of the most notorious films of the decade. It loosely follows the story of Kenshiro, the legendary Fist of the North Star, who battles evildoers in a post-apocalyptic future landscape.

Kenshiro’s legendary martial arts training gives him the ability to deliver lethal blows to his opponents, shattering them from within. If that wasn’t enough, the film was littered with plenty of dismemberment and gore scenes to make Clive Barker blush.

Violence Jack: Evil Town (1988)

Source: Violence Jack, Eastern Star, DVD

Undoubtedly the most violent animated film of the 1980s, Abuse was either banned or heavily censored in many countries because of the subject matter. Jack’s character is one of anime’s most brutal anti-heroes, and he’s never shy about tearing his enemies apart limb by limb in all sorts of grotesque ways.

Abuse also didn’t shy away from tackling sexual content, including rape, making this a movie that should never, ever be played in front of children. His follow-up suite Violence Jack: The Winds of Hell was equally notorious, most notably for an opening scene showing a man dismembered and murdered with a chainsaw, while his girlfriend is forced to watch.

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