Horror has many titles, and they cover many forms of fiction, including anime. While it’s common to see the influence of classic horror in horror anime, it’s intriguingly good when it mixes with elements of the senen plot. It can be said that this is a strange combination from which you cannot expect success, like grape jelly and pizza leftovers. This is especially true of anime with themes or messages that can be correlated with those found in Lovecraft horror or existential horror.
There is even a subgenre of senen anime, which fans have recently begun to call dark senen. The three series that many consider the “dark trio” of senen are jujutsu Kaisen, the man with the chainsaw and Hell’s Paradise. While these series are certainly darker than most, there are three more that more accurately embody Lovecraft horror. These are Claymore, Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood and The Promised Neverland.
What is dark senen?
Dark Shonen is a subgenre with not many TV series in rotation compared to more popular subgenres. Hardcore fans can choose a series from a haystack just by one look at the main character or a cursory glance at the synopsis, but the dark senen is less straightforward.
Essentially, dark senen is a subgenre of senen with stories that have a much darker theme or tone than their more traditional counterparts. For example, My Hero Academia is a traditional senen, and Jujutsu Kaisen is a dark senen. Dark senen takes the familiar elements of senen and complements them with a touch of “edge”.
H.P. Lovecraft Who?
H.P. Lovecraft is considered by many to be one of the most influential horror writers of all time. Most of Lovecraft’s works, especially his most popular short stories, define the genre of both cosmic horror and existential horror. As a result, the term “Lovecraftian” is often considered synonymous with both genres. Lovecraft’s horror conveys not just the fear of the unknown, but also the horror that arises when something unimaginably terrifying reveals previously unknown truths of the universe. This is the idea of “the end of the world as we know it” multiplied by a hundred.
In fiction, Lovecraft’s influences are usually visually represented by monsters with tentacles resembling Lovecraft’s most iconic creature, Cthulhu. Sometimes, instead, monsters will have a terrible, bizarre appearance. This genre is usually based on impotence, endless fear or punishment of humanity for going further than it should. There are many anime that reflect these ideals in different shades, but “Claymore”, “Brotherhood of All-Metal Alchemists” and “Promised Neverland” embody them from the bottom of their hearts.
Strong terrible vibes
“Claymore” is not the most popular of these three series, and for many fans it has even been lost in the sands of time. However, it was a rough diamond that just needed to be polished, and it was quite heavy due to impotence and fear. In the anime series, people live a gloomy life, never knowing when they can become food for a hungry demon. Their only salvation is in the hands of half—human warriors, whom they fear and do not trust completely. People are completely powerless, and it seems that nothing will change.
Even the Claymores themselves lead a bleak existence, walking a tightrope between dying at the hands of one of their demonic opponents or succumbing to their demonic side and becoming full-fledged demons themselves. If the Claymores succumb to their desire to transform completely, they become terrible monsters. Some of the most powerful awakened claymores, known as “bottomless” or “creatures of the abyss”, cry out about the influence of cosmic horror.
The Icarus Brothers from the anime
While Claymore brings terror and impotence, the Brotherhood of Solid Metal Alchemists (FMAB) brings people facing cosmic punishment by going too far. FMAB follows the story of two brothers, Edward and Alphonse, who seek to return their bodies to their original forms after they paid the price for trying to resurrect their mother with alchemy. They are looking for the Philosopher’s Stone, an object so powerful that it can be used to perform practically forbidden alchemical actions.
Homunculi, the main group of antagonists of the series, are named after the seven deadly sins and are born from the main antagonist of the series, who divided his immortal soul into several entities. They are mostly humanoids, but are also considered abominations.
A, B, C of cosmic horror
In The Promised Neverland, the themes return to impotence and crushing horror. Although under the one with which the main characters are familiar, there is even more of the theme of cosmic horror, a secret, terrible reality. Once they see the truth, it scares them to infinity, and it would be unimaginable if they didn’t see it with their own eyes.