Humanity, in general, is a morbid beast. Everywhere you turn there is some sort of media about society breaking down in one way or another, and among it all, there is some brave hero that survives it. The reason this sort of dystopian, post-apocalyptic media is so popular is because we all like to imagine ourselves as that one hero. It’s fun and it hurts no one to imagine yourself as such, it might even imbue you with some confidence to go be heroic in your real life. So why not feed the need to see humanity’s destruction? There is definitely no shortage of it as a setting in anime.
Attack on Titan
Since it’s premiere, Attack on Titan has risen to be one of the most popular anime series ever. What made it so popular? While the opening theme, beautiful animation, and those sweet, sweet Mikasa abs probably didn’t hurt, but mostly it is the titans. As these giant naked humanoids have such disturbing faces they are a thrill to watch whether they are just running through a field like they are running towards a long lost lover or devouring your favorite character. However, they are also responsible for walling up what remnants of humanity that seem to be constantly on the brink.
Knights of Sidonia
We like to believe that humanity might stand a chance in a battle with aliens, but since we can’t even get to our nearest planetary neighbor, chances aren’t good. However, Knights of Sidonia follows humanity after it has master galactic travel and poked the void, so to speak. Of course, when the void poked back, it nearly destroyed them, forcing them to launch seed ships in order to find a new home. Unfortunately, the enemy alien race followed them. Things don’t look good, but the series follows a hero that can turn the tide.
Parasyte is another one of humanity’s alien nightmares. How can you even stand a fighting chance when you don’t even know you are being attacked? In Parasyte, aliens invade silently one night and take over humans as their host. However, thanks to the main character sleeping on his arm, the alien gets trapped in his right hand and they are forced to co-exist together. Unfortunately, the other parasitic aliens don’t like humans or failures, putting a gigantic target on his back. While this series never gets to full blown humanity is almost dead, it very well could have.
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Somewhere between the high philosophy and Shinji masturbating to coma girls, we forgot the very reason that these children needed to get into giant mechas to fight the angels – it was because they were destroying the world. It is pretty easy to miss how trashed Tokyo is during these battles and the fact that they have pretty much forced humanity to rest their hopes on a bunch of hormonal teenagers.
High School of the Dead
While High School of the Dead does its damnedest to distract you with boobs and butts, there is an apocalypse anime underneath it all. This time it is good old-fashioned Romero-style zombies that kind of sweep the city and the world quickly one day. Boobs, butts, blood, and guts? Humanity could go out no finer way, I suppose.
Claymore has the disadvantage of being set in a somewhat medieval setting, which was enough to almost wipe out humanity in real life. Unfortunately for all those peasants, they not only have to deal with Black Death, but with flesh-eating demons as well. Luckily there are Claymores to stop them! Well, they would if they didn’t live miserable short lives as well.
Seraph of the End: Vampire’s Reign
A lot of anime series like to make the plot about vampires living among us. They aren’t always necessarily good like Alucard in Hellsing, but they aren’t completely terrorizing the world. However, Seraph of the End is about just that. Vampires wiped out the majority of humanity and keep a select handful alive for food. Of course, the fight back against that seems futile enough, but those daring humans make a go of it.
Black Bullet is kind of like Attack on Titan meets Parasyte. Within, humanity is threatened by a parasitic virus that, when it infects people, it turns them into horrible monsters. In order to preserve what is left, humanity fled behind their walls. Of course, in order to battle this, humanity also has the Cursed Children, girls that have trace amounts of the virus in their blood so that they can fight this enemy.
Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress
Also known as “that one Attack on Titan rip-off” by some fans, Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress is good enough to stand proudly on its own at times. The story follows humanity as it is going through an industrial revolution, but from this is born flesh-eating monsters. With steel surrounding their hearts and a bite that turns humans into undead, they are incredibly hard to fight. Naturally, humanity fortifies itself in with the main character having the right set of skills that might just save them all.
In another Attack on Titan-esque series, God Eater tells the story of humanity that has been pushed to extinction by flesh-eating monsters that are immune to conventional weapons. As the monster breed in mass and humanity struggles to survive each night, a new hope is born in the form of the titular God Eaters who are infused with Oracle cells so they can wield the only weapons that can defeat these monsters. However, mastering these weapons is no easy task either.
In Ergo Proxy, there are no monsters wiping out humanity, we did it to ourselves. Now because the landscape is so inhospitable, humans live in massive domed cities with android-like Auto-Revs to survive. Some live in luxury, but others, not so much. However, just because you live within the dome does not mean you are safe, especially when brutal and mysterious murders start to occur.
Toppa Tengen Gurren Lagann
In Gurren Lagann, the surface of the Earth is left mostly barren and under attack by massive beasts. In order to endure it, a portion of humanity retreated underground where the dirt sky is all they knew. However, one man and his friend dared to dream to go to the surface to unravel all its secrets. Thus kicks off an adventure that will take them to the Earth and the sky above.
Gargantia on the Verderous Planet
Not unlike Knights of Sidonia, in Gargantia on the Verderous Planet, a good portion of humanity abandoned Earth after it was destroyed and must fight their alien menace each day to survive. However, after the main character is flung through warp hole and lands on a mysterious water-laden planet he discovers that is is Earth, and even more surprising, humans still live there, sailing the waters on massive boats. However, throughout the series, you discover that Earth may hold the key to the ancient alien enemy that his people are fighting as well.
It is easy to just write a horrifying monster to wipe out humanity, but to destroy them through war is a more realistic beast. Saikano is a war story where the female lead is a human weapon that is slated for tragedy. Even more heartbreaking is this series is also a love story about a pair of lovers that you just know will never be together.
Space Battleship Yamato 2199
This series is another tale of aliens versus humanity. Within, the aliens bomb the Earth so relentlessly that humanity is forced to leave it. After retreating to space just one year in the future, they are near extinct. However, hope comes in a mysterious transmission from a far away planet that states they have a device to restore Earth. The problem is that the path is right through alien territory. However, the brave souls aboard the Space Battleship Yamato are up to the task!
Did we miss anime more good anime recommendations for series in which humanity is threatened? Let us know in the comments section below.