25+ ANIME Where MC has a Dark/Tragic Past (Recommendations)

anime where mc has a dark past

The most important part of a plot is the carefully written past of a character. A character’s personality and behavior depend upon the kind of past they had to endure

There are lots of examples where the main character in an anime had a gruesome past which fueled them to go on with their lives. Thus, today we will be bringing you 26 anime where the main character has a dark/tragic past.

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Table of Content

26. Chrono Crusade (Chrono)

Chrono Crusade
MC's Past Plot Drama Total
5/20
5/10
5/10
15/40

Genre: Action, Supernatural
Episodes: 24

Anime Storyline:

The time of the 1920s saw America getting plagued by demons. As a result, they decide to establish the Order of Magdalene to combat these demons. Our main characters are Rosette and Chrono who are posted in the New York Branch.

They are well known for causing a lot of collateral damage with their tasks. Wait a minute! That sounds familiar. Yes, that pretty much describes all of Fairy Tail. But Chrono and Rosette have a dark past surrounding them which involves Rosette’s missing brother and a demon named Aion.

 

25. Utawarerumono (Hakuowlo)

MC's Past Plot Drama Total
6/20
5/10
5/10
16/40

Genre: Adventure Fantasy
Episodes: 26

Anime Storyline:

One day, Eruruu finds an injured man in the woods. She acts like a good samaritan and brings the man home despite not knowing anything about him. He is given the name of Hakuoro by her grandmother and little sister.

As the days go on, he begins to fall in love with his new place but as is the case with most stories, the peace doesn’t last quite long. A rebellion starts against the tyrannical emperor and he also decides to take part in it while trying to uncover his mysterious past.

 

24. Trickster (Yoshio)

MC's Past Plot Drama Total
7/20
5/10
5/10
17/40

Genre: Detective Novel
Episodes: 24

Anime Storyline:

The two words to describe Trickster are suspense and twist. There is a Boys Detective Club founded by Akechi that takes on any cases be it large or small. One day their junior member Kensuke finds a boy named Yoshio who just can’t die.

This is apparently a very tricky situation since he has a death wish too. So, Kensuke cuts a deal with him whereby Yoshio will help them with their cases, and in turn, they will discover a way for him to die. This event changes Yoshio’s life forever but will the others be ready for Yoshio’s mysterious past that will be revealed later?

 

23. World End: What do you do at the end of the world? (Williem)

worldend
MC's Past Plot Drama Total
8/20
5/10
5/10
18/40

Genre: Mystery, Fantasy
Episodes: 12

Anime Storyline:

Just like the long title, this anime also has a long dark past of the main character. Our hero is Willem who goes on to defeat a monster while leaving his loved ones behind. Although he manages to emerge victoriously he gets frozen in ice for 500 years.

His efforts are in vain too as he wakes up to find that his race has been wiped out by Beasts. He takes shelter on floating islands with other races and comes across a group of Leprechauns who are used as a means of weapon. This moves the heart of Willem as he soon becomes a father figure to them.

 

22. Unlimited Psychic Squad (Kyousuke)

unlimited psychic squad
MC's Past Plot Drama Total
9/20
5/10
5/10
19/40

Genre: Action, Supernatural
Episodes: 12

Anime Storyline:

This story is about ESPer with our focus on one of them named Kyousuke. Long ago he was betrayed only to return as one of the most powerful ESPers and live as a fugitive. His main goal is to protect ESPers from humans who mistreat them.

He also operates a group known as P.A.N.D.R.A and does his job with diligence. As a result, he has managed to earn the loyalty and trust of all those he has rescued till now. But what were the incidents that led to his betrayal all those years ago?

 

21. The Legend of the Legendary Heroes (Ryner)

Legend of the Legendary Hero
MC's Past Plot Drama Total
10/20
5/10
5/10
20/40

Genre: Action, Adventure
Episodes: 24

Anime Storyline:

There is a special set of eyes called Alpha Stigma that can analyze any type of magic. Ryner is the beholder of such eyes who used to study in Magician Academy of the Roland Empire. But many of his classmates died in the war which made Ryner determined to bring peace to his nation.

After his best friend, Sion, became the king of Roland, he asked Ryner to search for relics of legendary warriors that would help their nation. This is the perfect chance for Ryner to not only keep his promise but also find the secret behind his eye.

 

20. Stigma of the Wind/Kaze no Stigma (Kazuma)

stigma of the wind
MC's Past Plot Drama Total
11/20
5/10
5/10
21/40

Genre: Action, Supernatural, Romance
Episodes: 24

Anime Storyline:

Kazuma is a wind element user also known as the user of Fuujutsu. Four years ago he was banned from his household after losing to his younger cousin, Ayano

But now he is a changed man and hopes to restore his status in the family. But to make matters worse several of his family members get murdered by Fuujutsu which places him under the most suspicion.

This places Kazuma in an extremely tricky situation. First of all, he has to clear his name, and second of all, he has to work together with his family who doesn’t like him that much (which is a bit of a stretch).

 

19. Akashic Records of Bastard Magic Instructor (Glenn Radars)

Akashic Records of Bastard Magic Instructor
MC's Past Plot Drama Total
11/20
6/10
5/10
22/40

Genre: Action, Fantasy
Episodes: 12

Anime Storyline:

A prestigious magic school known as the Alzano Imperial Magic Academy exists in the Alzano Empire. Everyone wishes to attend this school since it trains students to utilize their potential to the fullest. 

Fibel and Rumia are two friends who attend this school under the guidance of their favorite teacher. But their favorite teacher soon retires and he is replaced by Glenn Radars.

His indifferent attitude doesn’t sit well with Fibel and Rumia. What’s even more frightening is that nefarious forces become active within the empire and now they need to deal with it. Does the appearance of Glenn have some connection to this incident?

 

18. Darker Than Black (Hei)

Darker Than Black
MC's Past Plot Drama Total
11/20
6/10
6/10
22/40

Genre: Mystery, Sci-fi
Episodes: 25

Anime Storyline:

The time of the 1920s saw America getting plagued by demons. As a result, they decide to establish the Order of Magdalene to combat these demons. Our main characters are Rosette and Chrono who are posted in the New York Branch.

They are well known for causing a lot of collateral damage with their tasks. Wait a minute! That sounds familiar. Yes, that pretty much describes all of Fairy Tail. But Chrno and Rosette have a dark past surrounding them which involves Rosette’s missing brother and a demon named Aion.

 

17. The Fruit of Grisaia (Yuuji)

MC's Past Plot Drama Total
12/20
6/10
6/10
24/40

Genre: Harem, Psychological Drama
Episodes: 13

Anime Storyline:

Yuuzi is a new transfer student who has just been admitted to Mihama Academy. Similar to most other students, he just wants a normal school life without any fuss. But this wish of his may not be fulfilled since Mihama Academy is not like the other schools.

Only five students are there other than the principal. Yuuji soon learns that the reason for that is that all of them share some traumatic experience or the other. They are like fruit that has fallen far away from the tree. Thus, this anime provides a whole lot of tragic stories of the past besides the main character too.

 

16. Classroom of the Elite (Kiyotaka)

Classroom Of The Elite
MC's Past Plot Drama Total
5/20
5/10
5/10
15/40

Genre: Psychological Thriller
Episodes: 12

Anime Storyline:

When the schooling system is based on the merit of the students and they are divided on that, you just know that the main character who has been placed in the lowest class has a dark past. Such is the system of Koudo Ikusei Senior High School where Kiyotaka finds himself.

He soon gets acquainted with some of his classmates who are determined to get themselves promoted to class A since the classes are not permanent. Will Kiyotaka try that too or will he just accept his fate as a Class D student?

 

15. Black Bullet (Rentaro)

MC's Past Plot Drama Total
14/20
6/10
6/10
26/40

Genre: Action
Episodes: 13

Anime Storyline:

Coincidentally this anime is set in the year 2021 where a virus named Gastrea infects people and turns them into monsters. Does it sound familiar? 

Well, the situation is almost similar except for the monster part. Now humanity has been pushed to the sides and they have to rely on Initiators. Initiators are girls with a trace amount of virus that gives them supernatural abilities.

They are a recognized group by the Tendo Civil Security who send them on missions to kill these monsters created by the Gastrea Virus and prevent them from reaching humanity. Will they be able to complete their task or will the origin of this virus bring a new twist to the story?

Rentaro had a tragic past with his parents passing away when he was only 6 years old. 

 

14. Trigun (Vash)

trigun
MC's Past Plot Drama Total
15/20
6/10
6/10
27/40

Genre: Action
Episodes: 26

Anime Storyline:

Surely a man with a huge bounty on his head will have a dark past? Vash the Stampede is the man we are talking about who is known as a merciless villain. Destruction and death follow him everywhere he goes which has earned him the nickname of “The Humanoid Typhoon“.

But apparently, he is nothing like that and has a soft heart who is also a pacifist. He just has a doughnut obsession and travels the planet Gunsmoke with two insurance agents. As they continue on their daily adventures, will we come to know why people think such dangerous things about him in the first place?

 

 

13. Elfen Lied (Lucy)

Elfen Lied
MC's Past Plot Drama Total
16/20
6/10
6/10
28/40

Genre: Dark Fantasy, Sci-fi
Episodes: 13

Anime Storyline:

A story involving illegal experiments and the main character doesn’t have a tragic past? That is just not possible. Lucy is the victim here on whom the government has conducted many inhumane experiments which have given her a pair of horns and telekinetic powers.

As we know from many other instances, this can never lead to any good. Lucy manages to escape from the hellhole and runs into a pair of college students. They also happen to be cousins whose innocent hearts decide to help a helpless girl. But they don’t know what they are getting themselves into as a nefarious plot will begin to show itself.

12. Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign (Yuuichirou)

Seraph Of The End
MC's Past Plot Drama Total
16/20
7/10
6/10
29/40

Genre: Dark Fantasy
Episodes: Season 1: 12, Season 2: 13

Anime Storyline:

This story takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where a virus has killed everyone over 13 years of age. They have decided to spare the survivors in exchange for their blood. Yuuichirou and Mikaela are taken captive from an orphanage along with their other siblings.

The treatment they undergo after that is hard for them to bear which forces Mikaela to form an escape plan that ultimately ends in a failure. Only Yuuichirou is able to escape who is taken in by the Moon Demon Company and he vows to completely destroy the entire vampire population.

 

11. Noragami (Yato)

Noragami
MC's Past Plot Drama Total
16/20
7/10
7/10
30/40

Genre: Action, Supernatural
Episodes: 24

Anime Storyline:

Noragami is the story about a self-proclaimed God who just wants the people to worship him. As a result, he goes about doing odd jobs completely becoming immersed in this obsession. 

This frustrates his weapon partner who ultimately decides to abandon him. His luck seems to get worse when we see him about to get hit by a car.

But a girl named Hiyori saves him which causes her soul to separate from her body. On hearing that he needs a new weapon partner to return Hiyori’s soul to her body she decides to help him. This may finally mean that his fortune wheel is turning and we may just get to know the reason behind his crazy obsession with making people worship him as a God.

 

10. Rainbow (All Protagonists)

MC's Past Plot Drama Total
17/20
7/10
7/10
31/40

Genre: Prison Drama
Episodes: 26

Anime Storyline:

In this story, we find ourselves in the year 1955 where Mario has been brought to Shounan Special Reform School. Along with him, five other teenagers are also introduced who have been charged with committing crimes.

They are put in the same cell where they get to meet a former boxer named Sakuragi. Sakuragi acts like a hope of light to them and they make a promise to meet each other after finishing their sentence.

As the story progresses we see how these boys have to live in hellish conditions under a sadistic guard who has no regard for human lives. The boys need to somehow survive till their sentences are up and hope for a better future after that. But will the world remain the same after those seven years?

 

9. Deadman Wonderland (Ganta)

deadman wonderland
MC's Past Plot Drama Total
16/20
8/10
8/10
32/40

Genre: Action, Thriller
Episodes: 12

Anime Storyline:

Deadman Wonderland is an amusement park in Prison where the prisoners perform various acts for the visitors. Ganta is very excited to visit that place with his classmates. But we see a complete turn of events where Ganta’s classmates get murdered by a mysterious man in red and he is framed for that.

Ironically, Ganta is sent to the very same prison which he was looking forward to visiting. Life in Deadman Wonderland is a living hell as the only way anyone can survive is by participating in the deathly games. Ganta has to be very careful if he wants to survive. He also needs to search for the man in red and prove his innocence.

 

8. Bungou Stray Dogs (Atsushi)

Bungo Stray Dogs
MC's Past Plot Drama Total
17/20
8/10
8/10
33/40

Genre: Action, Supernatural, Mystery
Episodes: Season 1: 12, Season 2: 12, Season 3: 12

Anime Storyline:

Atsushi lives in an orphanage which suddenly seems under the attack of a mystical tiger. The strange thing is that only Atsushi seems to be aware of its presence. It leads to Atsushi being kicked out of his orphanage since everyone believes him to be the main culprit behind the strange incidents that start occurring there.

He goes to a riverbank and chances upon a drowning man named Dazai. He saves him and comes to know that he is a supernatural detective who is also investigating the same tiger. Seems like luck finally shines on Atsushi as they manage to solve the case together and he joins their firm of supernatural detectives.

 

7. Rurouni Kenshin (Hitokiri)

Rurouni Kenshin
MC's Past Plot Drama Total
18/20
8/10
8/10
34/40

Genre: Adventure, Martial Arts
Episodes: 28

Anime Storyline:

This anime follows the story of an assassin who undergoes a massive change in his lifestyle. We are talking about Hitokiri who used to live near the end of the Bakumatsu Era. His disappearance during the Japanese Revolution was quite mysterious. 10 years have passed after that and still, his name is feared by everyone.

It is then revealed that Hitokiri has been living a Kenshin Himura and has been trying to repent for his sins. During his journey, he comes across a dojo where an imposter by his name is causing trouble. He saves the owner and gets an invitation to stay there which he accepts. Thus, his journey comes to an end and a new life in the dojo begins.

 

6. Black Butler (Ciel)

Black Butler
MC's Past Plot Drama Total
19/20
8/10
8/10
35/40

Genre: Dark Comedy, Dark Fantasy
Episodes: 10

Anime Storyline:

Ciel has earned himself a unique nickname of the Queen’s Guard Dog having taken care of many dangerous businesses for her. He is helped in this process by his trusted Butler, Sebastian who has many supernatural abilities. 

In due course of time, we learn that Ciel had formed a contract with Sebastian who was a demon for bringing wrath upon everyone who has wronged him.

Well, as we have seen on multiple occasions. that forming a contract with a demon can never lead to any good. Similarly, Ciel also waits for the day when Sebastian will consume his soul. But until that happens they will try to investigate Ciel’s string of misfortunes and a strong bond will likely develop between them that may just save Ciel’s life.

 

5. Assassination Classroom (Nagisa)

Assassination Classroom
MC's Past Plot Drama Total
19/20
8/10
9/10
36/40

Genre: Action
Episodes: Season 1: 22, Season 2: 25

Anime Storyline:

Class 3-E of Kunugigaoka Middle School doesn’t have a normal school life. Well, how can they when they are assigned an almost impossible task of killing their teacher? Moreover, their teacher is also not any ordinary person. He is a dangerous monster who goes by the name of Koro-sensei and has chopped the moon itself in half. 

Nagisa, our MC, was forced to crossdress when he was just a kid. Well, having such a tragic past, Nagisa didn’t let it phase his style, he moved on and worked hard to achieve what he wanted!

Back to the storyline, Koro has incredible speed and reflexes which allows him to dodge any attack directed at him. He is almost on the verge of being called an invincible being. Will the students be able to accomplish this humongous task? Or will some dark past of their teacher turn everything upside down?

 

4. Naruto (Naruto)

Naruto
MC's Past Plot Drama Total
19/20
9/10
9/10
37/40

Genre: Adventure
Episodes: 220

Anime Storyline:

Naruto is the OG anime that almost everyone has seen. It is a part of most of our childhood and it rightfully gets a mention here. The story is about Naruto who has been shunned by the entire village since he is the host of the nine-tailed beast.

As a result, he tries to attract the attention of others by performing various gimmicks. His main goal is to become the Hokage of the village so that people will ultimately notice him. In his journey he is accompanied by Sasuke and Sakura, forming the mighty team seven under the watchful eyes of their Sensei Kakashi.

 

3. Gintama (Gintoki)

Gintama
MC's Past Plot Drama Total
19/20
9/10
10/10
38/40

Genre: Adventure, Comedy
Episodes: 353

Anime Storyline:

Gintama may come off as a comedy anime but as we go deeper into the story, the dark elements begin to rise. After aliens from outer space take over feudal Japan, the use of swords is banished and the samurai are mistreated.

Amidst all this chaos, one man named Gintoki still has the heart of a samurai who is usually accompanied by Shinpachi, Kagura, and Sadaharu. Despite all the restrictions imposed they go about their lives happily while performing odd jobs and getting involved in tricky situations.

 

2. Berserk(Guts)

berserk
MC's Past Plot Drama Total
20/20
19/10
10/10
39/40

Genre: Dark Fantasy
Episodes: 25

Anime Storyline:

Guts is the protagonist of this story who was born from the corpse of his mother. Surely no one can stop such a tragic past. Guts becomes a mercenary and the battlefield becomes his home. His life goes on by moving from one bloody battle to the next.

One day he encounters the Band of the Hawk whose leader invites him to join their group. Guts slowly learns the complexities of the world after joining the Band of the Hawk as the wheels of fate slowly begin to turn.

 

1. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (Edward)

Fullmetal Alchemist
MC's Past Plot Drama Total
20/20
10/10
10/10
40/40

Genre: Adventure, Dark Fantasy
Episodes: 64

Anime Storyline:

Edward Elric and Alphonse Elric are two brothers who try to bring back their mother from the dead by using Alchemy. I guess they haven’t heard stories that it is never a wise decision to mess with the world of the dead.

Following the laws of equivalent exchange, Edward loses his arm and leg while Alphonse loses his whole body. The only solution for them is to search for the Philosopher’s Stone which can grant their original bodies back. Thus, the two brothers set on a journey as they try to leave their tragic past behind.

 

Comment Or 🔫

lucy elfen lied

This list has been kind of sad to compile. It is true that the backstories of the protagonists give them a solid reason to aim for a goal and make the plot interesting. But if a viewer watches so many heavy and tragic pasts back to back, it may leave a bad taste.

Regardless of that, these are some of the most tragic pasts you can find for the main character who has continued to persevere on their path despite such circumstances.

 

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