The Cosmic Horror Story that is Neon Genesis Evangelion. Half of humanity died in the Second Impact, war killed off even more, the oceans are barren, and the remaining ecosystems are on the brink of complete ecological collapse. The humans who managed to survive that are now trapped in a war with the Angels. The only means of defense is to send what few children were born at the right time out in gigantic Angel-derived Evangelions. But it's actually worse than that. The children who are supposed to pilot the Evangelions are traumatized, broken, neurotic and mentally unstable to begin with, and the rest of the cast is growing to be increasingly generally bitter, psychologically incompetent, and pessimistic. Also, the entirety of existence basically revolves around the Hedgehog's Dilemma, which is the philosophical notion that if you go near other people, you become Hell to them and they become Hell to you, but when you go far from them, you cannot survive. As time passes, the dysfunction and insanity only gets much more worse in scenes that are more and morehorrifying and madness-inducing, while everyone is forced to watch them in all their gory details, the most memorable of them being played with unfitting music, finally culminating in what the masterminds who masqueraded themselves to be humanity's protectors had in mind in the first place: ending the world in a manner that suits them through a controlled mass Mind Rape and suicide of all humanity caused by the fusion of two dead-yet-almighty Eldritch Abominations. The only positive thing is that humans can be reborn, but the world would have been left as a totally alien and deserted Hell by then.
7 Seeds has earth at the time when the characters awaken. Post-Apocalypse, everything flat out sucks. It's pure survival, with tons of animals, raptors, insects and even dinosaurs roaming around that can easily kill you, the only signs of civilization are old ruins that are now so rusted through or otherwise corroded that a simple touch can make them crumble, and any electricity you might find ends up being in said ruins that end up destroyed or dangerous, anyway.
Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds has Satellite, where Yusei has lived a hard life. This changes later on in the series. The post-apocalyptic world Z-one, Antimony, Paradox and Aporia come from is also this.
The City In Blame! is immeasurably vast and completely unmonitored, with countless civilisations existing within it; most of which are run by cruel and corrupt cyborg overlords. A common goal for anyone in the 'verse who hasn't already modified (or had modified) their bodies to the point of looking only vaguely human, is obtaining access to the Net Sphere - which would serve the dual purpose of stopping the chaotic expansion of The City (which, by the end of the manga, had consumed a majority of the Solar System) and providing an on-line paradise for anyone and everyone. That's right; in this world, absolute escapismis the only hope humanity has left.
The Great Kanto Desert in Desert Punk is also one of these. It is a place where caring for your fellow man and helping others out of the goodness of one's heart is openly mocked (especially by the main protagonist) and the lifestyle most mercenaries follow is to only look out for number one (none as much as the main protagonist). The narrator doesn't make things any better, stating every few episodes how the humans are all idiots who will never learn from the past, and are doomed to repeat it, which they more or less do. Add to that the nearly tyrannical Oasis Government who controls all of the West Kanto region and an army of old-world robots which were the cause of the original apocalypse and you have an extremely depressing and all-around crapsack atmosphere (especially due to the selfish, vile, and disgusting attitude of the main protagonist).
Go Nagai's Devilman, at least the manga version. Half the time, Akira's efforts amount to nothing, if he even gets the chance to fight the Monster of the Week. Humanity's reaching the end of its rope, demons can possess people with little to no effort, and humanity believes signs of said possessions can be seen in people that don't follow the lock-step. Hence, by the final volume in the series, Witch Hunts are carried out... except half the time the actual possessed people take part to hide their true nature. And the end result? Our hero loses faith in humans and kills a lot of people.
The end result of things getting worse is the world of Violence Jack, where society has completely broken down After the End and the remnants of humanity are divided between the strong and the weak. The evil warlords and biker gangs that rule this world are by far the worst villains that Go Nagai has created since Amon from Devilman, and mainly like to torture, rape and murder people in horrific ways.
But wait, there's more! It turns out all iterations of the Devilman 'verse are interrelated because The entity known as God has put the whole setting in a perpetual time loop to torture Satan with the death of the one he loves over and over and over again.
For the most part life in the GUNNM / Battle Angel Alita universe sucks hard. The few somewhat decent places happen to use things like Mind Control in order to maintain said decency. We don't know very much about Jupiter and Venus other than the facts that the people of Venus eat babies (genetically engineered to be non-sapient) and on both planets the people have Biological Immortality, which as a result they do not allow the birth of any more children. The places that don't have this limit are in a civil war (Mars), or just happen to be hellholes that don't legally exist which results in assorted miscreants doing whatever the hell they want in said places including and definitely not limited to wiping them out, which occurred on Earth and some asteroid colonies (like the nursery colony the Guntroll team was from).
Mirai Nikki is set in a world where God arranges battles for kicks. For perspective, the former most sympathetic character, the Woobie lead, was last seen massacring orphans in a desperate attempt to bring his dead parents back to life. His father killed his mother, and then his father was killed by the mob. The second most sympathetic character is a full-blown terrorist Mad Bomber.
The female lead is an Ax-CrazyYandere who, upon being told by the protagonist that he loved her, drugged him and tied him to a chair so he'd never leave. He got out, but he's still with her. Yay!
Other candidates for said battle royal include a blind girl who was gangraped by her own worshipers after her parents were assassinated, a four-year-old whose parents died in the massacre of said cult, an honest cop who finds out halfway through the ordeal that his son is dying, and a woman running an orphanage who gets to watch all of her orphans be massacred right in front of her.
It's also implied that God and/or his assistant manipulated the participants lives to make them as miserable, crazy, and desperate as possible. At least partially for their own amusement.
The demons get screwed, too. The price that people pay to become demons, in addition to sacrificing the people closest to them, is a guaranteed trip to Hell after they die. Hell is a nightmarish vortex of damned souls that drags your spirit into it, where you suffer indescribable pain and torment until all traces of your being has been utterly consumed in a sea of eternal suffering. And thanks to Griffith/Femto taking advantage of the Skull Knight's dimension warping attack, that Hell has literally broken loose. That Hell where all demons go when they die? Everyone goes there. No exceptions. The only reason why demons have it worse than humans is that to stave off death a bit longer, they have to make gut-wrenching sacrifices that will haunt them for the rest of their lives and beyond. If you're a good person? You get sent there sooner with the next bandit raid, rampaging monster or invading army. Life in Midland sucks hard.
Claymore is in much the same boat as Berserk above, as far as ravenous, human-eating monsters are concerned (there are lots of them and they are pretty much unstoppable for normal humans), but normal people tend to be, on average, significantly nicer than they are in Berserk. Just by a bit. But then the heroines find out that everyone on their island, demons, Awakened Beings, and Claymores alike, are being manipulated so that they can become perfect weapons to fight the truly horrific monsters on the mainland.
However, there are the Seven Ghosts of Pieta which are trying to change the continent, either by killing an Eldritch Abomination greater than the others (Priscilla for Clare), or is leading a full scale rebellion against the Organization (Miria). So far ...both seem to be succeeding.
Miria's rebellion is a complete success, the means of making Awakened Beings and Yoma is destroyed, and the only thing left is the last Abyssal One like Cassandra as well as Priscilla.
Played extremely straight in the anime Texhnolyze. The entire population of Lux are either: a) evil, selfish bastards, b) poor broken woobies, or c) some combination of the two. Not to mention that they all live in a cave underground and the entire city survives because of Rafia, which grows from people.
And don't think you can escape by going to the surface. It's not pretty.
Ergo Proxy. 85% of the world's population has been wiped out. The environment outside the dystopia-style domes is completely destroyed and most people who set foot there are killed from infection. People on Earth are unable to reproduce. What's more, the Ridiculously Human Robots are all going insane, and the... things... directly ruling the Earth will all die when the permanent cloud cover dissipates and they get exposed to UV radiation.
Wolf's Rain takes place 200 years After the End of civilization as we know it. Most of humanity is crammed into crumbling domed concrete cities ruled by warring Nobles, and the environment outside is slowly decaying. Maybe the most telling line in the entire series is spoken by the wolf Hige, who looks at the sky and says, "C'mon, birds, let's see some flying up there." But we don't see any birds at all after that — maybe they're all extinct. Until the final episode, when the world is regenerated.
Not quite. That world was the previous one before ours, and while the world did regenerate, it was corrupted by Darcia's bloody eye falling in the purifying waters of rebirth, making the next world (ours) also a far cry from Paradise. There is still some hope left, though, as in the last shot a reincarnated Kibaappears to start his quest for Paradise anew.
The Future that Trunks came from in Dragon Ball Z, a ravaged post-apocalyptic wreck where two powerful Androids go around killing anyone who opposes them, and have already killed the most powerful heroes of Earth. What makes it worse is that the Dragon Balls are gone because Kami, who shares a soul with Piccolo, one of the aforementioned heroes, is dead.
In the main timeline Earth is implied to be one of the few places other than the afterlife exempt from this. The galaxy at large is a Crapsack World, because its most politically powerful resident, Frieza, is an Axe CrazyEvil Overlord who correctly believes that he is the strongest being in the universe. So you have someone more evil than anyone in human history who is his own Death Star and who's been running around the galaxy for decades doing whatever he likes because there's nothing anyone can possibly do to stop him or even scratch him. Until Goku goes Super Saiyan.
Most of the stories in Osamu Tezuka's Phoenix series. The historical chapters feature a decidedly unromantic depiction of feudal Japan full of war, famine, disease, filth, corruption, death & copious amounts of mutilation with sharp objects. But at least the characters in those stories had the breathtaking beauty of nature to raise their spirits. Those who have the misfortune of being born in this world's bleak, Zeerusted future get no such luck. In addition to having all the above mentioned problems, the world is ecologically screwed, full of bigots who mistreat clones and robots, and occasionally ruled by an oppressive theocracy. After people start piling into rocket ships to escape this awful mess, the Earth eventually faces an immigration crisis when the space colonists & their children start coming back in droves because most of the other planets in the universe are even worse than the world that they left! When humanity finally goes extinct in the (chronologically) final chapter, it comes as something of a relief.
The war-torn desert planet that Now and Then, Here and There takes place on, mostly because it's a (slightly) exaggerated version of modern Africa.
The planet is actually Earth, 10 billion years in the future. The sun is expanding into a red giant and will eventually destroy the world.
If you're an Average Joe or Jane, you're a (literally) dirt-poor peasant scraping by on your meager provisions. You'll be constantly on the lookout for roving brigands and vicious biker gangs who, if you're lucky, will savagely beat you and steal all of your possessions, effectively sentencing you to death in the desert wasteland. If unlucky, you'll likely wind up murdered, either for your stuff or just for their sick amusement; and possibly raped if you're female. Also, you must worry about power-mad martial artists enslaving you and your loved ones and slaughtering you on a whim as they set out to establish themselves or their empire. And just to make things worse, this isn't one of those nuclear After the End series that forgot about fallout; if you don't starve and aren't murdered, you might end up with radiation sickness.
If you happen to practice one of the superpowered martial arts disciplines of the series, odds are you'll fare little better. If you're a low-level villain/lackey, you'll undoubtedly fall to the head-detonating protagonist, Kenshiro, or possibly to another "good guy" after you kick one dog too many. If a low-level hero, you must constantly battle thugs, and there's no telling when one of the previously mentioned power-mad martial artists (who will be light years beyond your ability) will carve a swath of destruction through your homeland, either killing, enslaving, or imprisoning you. If a high-level villain, odds are even greater that you'll be killed by Kenshiro, though there is a rare chance of being killed by another high-profile martial artist (such as Rei or Toki). Finally, Kenshiro himself has arguably the worst fate of any character in the series: he loses his father, all three of his brothers (granted, he kills one of them, the evil Jagi); his best friend Shin, who was corrupted by Jagi; his two other martial artist allies Rei and Shuu and most of his other friends throughout the series. And worse, the "off into the sunset" ending with him and his lover, Yuria, is rendered bittersweet when it's revealed that Yuria is dying of radiation poisoning and has a limited time left to live.
There is one brighter possibility in all of this: the environment has begun to recover slightly by the end of the series. And you have to figure most of the bandits are dead by that point.
Though from what was seen in the New Fist of the North Star OVAs, set years later, the world hasn't really decided to clean itself up just yet.
In the manga, the Colonel reveals that the world before the nuclear war is this. He served his country of Japan faithfully for years. However, he was summoned to a meeting where he discovers that his corrupt superior the general is having an orgy along with corrupt politicians and corrupt corporate executive officers, who effectively rule the world and he has to serve them. Oh, and the nuclear war, it was apparently an accident triggered by the politicians and the corporate heads. Too bad those corrupt leaders blew themselves up along with lots of other people.
The world of Casshern Sins is a decaying mess; all the robots are rusting, and presumably something equivalent is happening to any humans. Only the protagonist is unaffected by the ruin, but he's the one that caused it in the first place; and he's amnesiac, so he can't work out why 99% of the population wants to kill and eat him.
Hell Girl is ostensibly set in the real world. But with each grudge Enma Ai satisfies, it's more obvious that hers is a world of miserable bastards. On the one hand, we have her targets, almost always selfish people who deceive, abuse, and hurt those around them. On the other hand, we have her contractors — who, while usually sympathetic, nonetheless resort to damning their enemies and themselves to hell to solve their problems (The most generous thing you can call it is assassination). And then there are the cases where the contractors are just as bad, and even where the targets are completely innocent. Ai will take pretty much anyone's contract, and she never lacks for work. The ultimate proof of this World Half Empty is the final storyline of Futakomori, in which hundreds of people in one town go vengeance-crazy, damning even their friends and family. It's a great show, but watching too many episodes in a row is hard on the soul.
Futakomori (the 2nd season) is sick and sad enough...but wait until you see Mitsuganae (the 3rd season); it will shatter you soul into a million little pieces.
Then there was the episode where a nurse (who was a good, hardworking person in every way) is sent to hell by a person she doesn't know because said person was a sick bastard who wanted to send her to hell because... well, just because he could.
Pick a Hideshi Hino manga. Any Hideshi Hino manga. Good luck sleeping afterwards.
Any work of Mohiro Kitoh qualifies, most especially Bokurano (the manga at least), which takes place in a Multiverse Half Empty with, without giving anything away, about as hopeless a scenario as anyone can imagine. As well as his effectiveness in savaging modern day life, his work focuses on the individual effort of people to stay noble in the face of such circumstances.
The Universal Century of the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise. The One Year War which causes the deaths of half the population of the Solar System is between the Earth Federation, a corrupt, incompetent, and racist government unable to properly defend the solar system vs the Principality of Zeon, who started the war by gassing a colony full of millions of people and dropping it on the Earth. Even after the One Year War was over, war constantly sprung up due to the weakness (and/or the malice) of the Earth Federation, and totally evil bastards as faction leaders are incredibly common. You can seriously argue that the solar system would have been better off if both sides had wiped each other out.
To be fair, after Neo-Zeon had been eradicated once and for all, the Earthsphere and its colonies enjoyed a long period of peace with minor conflicts until Crossbone Gundam and Victory Gundam, and even in Victory Gundam after everything-it's a hopeful ending. People are TIRED of War.
... but yet the same tragedy repeats in G Saviour. People never learn...
This even applies in G Gundam, where they established the Gundam Fight specifically to avoid war. While the wealthy and powerful escaped to space colonies, the people left behind on Earth have to endure their cities and landscape being torn up every four years, and Gundam Fighters are specifically absolved from causing property damage because most governments have just stopped caring about Earth. Several nations hire thugs or assassins as Fighters, or use coercion and blackmail to get them. And when someone tried to improve the system a tad, it winds up creating the Big Bad.
Gundam SEED starts off similar to UC calender series, where most of the conflict stems from political and ideological reasons, but soon goes off the deep end and degenerates into hell on earth, literally. The earth is going through an energy crisis due to nuclear power jammers that have been integrated by ZAFT, almost the entire world is controlled by one side or the other through draconian military regimes, much of Earth is in ruins due to the war, and both sides are equally willing to use WM Ds on their enemies and ALLIES equally. In addition, the main source of scientific progress has come from a series of genetic experiments that spawned a worldwide terrorist ideology and the war itself and recently reached the utter abandonment of the value of life in order to pursue a goal that would give birth to Kira Yamato and Rau LeCreuset. And the leaders of both sides are monsters to boot.
The setting of Gundam 00 is a crapsack world as well, with the people living in poverty suffering endless warfare while the rich people relying on the giant solar panel system not giving a fuck about them. In the first season, political games among the three greedy, corrupt global superpowers still exist, and the second season is basically all the corrupt politicians banded together to continue torturing people who suffer in extreme hardship under their tyrannical grips. In both cases, we have the Byronic Hero Celestial Being who are among the very few people truly willing to change the world for the better even though their methods are questionable at best.
Setsuna F. Seiei: Exia R2, Setsuna F. Seiei, clearing the way for the future!!
Gundam AGE is a blend between this and Crapsaccharine World (in part because of Art-Style Dissonance). On the one side, The Federation employs a powerful State Sec that operates by falsifying history and laid the groundwork for a decades-long war when they turned every victim of a failed colonization project into UnPeople rather than bring them home. On the other, the UE/Vagan have a sympathetic cause that they ruin by wiping out civilian colonies, which sets several otherwise-decent people on lifelong quests for retribution. Also, Anyone Can Die, and if they don't they'll probably betraumatized by fighting in battles that definitely do not involve Bloodless Carnage.
In pre-timeskip Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann humans have been driven from the surface into underground villages. If anyone dares to climb to the world above, they're mercilessly hunted down and killed by the Spiral King Lordgenome's Beastmen. Of course, all it takes is a band of insanely badass fighters led by an exceedingly charismatic and determined idiot, and then his young friend/stepbrother of sorts to turn everything around. Then the aliens show up.
Neither the Pre-timeskip world nor the Post-timeskip world looked too good. First people were forced to live underground, so there would never be 1 million humans on the planet. After timeskip, they are forced out of their underground homes, where they were safer, only to reach 1 million and get attacked by aliens, though those are easily repelled... until they toss the Moon at Earth, just to make sure humanity is exterminated. It gets better, though, when Simon and Co. turns the Moon into the Cathedral Terra, a giant battleship later named Chouginga Dai-Gurren.
Plus, post-timeskip, the ruling government was entirely staffed by idiots who had their position based not on merit, but merely because they were friends with the protagonist.
The crapsack nature of the E.U. is expanded on with the OVACode Geass: Akito the Exiled, in which it is revealed that the Japanese are also being prejudiced against there and that the ruling class are almost as despicable as in Britannia.
Barefoot Gen. An autobiographical work set in the author's youth. He grew up in Japan during World War II. The climax takes place on August 6, 1945. No fantasy or fiction is needed to create a world of horrors, we ourselves have done a fine job of it.
Japan in Speed Grapher is a crapsack world. Everyone person in power is corrupt, and a Mega Corp. has bribed even the police force. All but a handful of characters are monsters.
The vampire Nazis don't manage to destroy the world, but they manage to completely destroy London, to the point that absolutely everyone other than Hellsing forces was killed. The political effects of that could not have been good.
When describing the world in Black Lagoon, Revy says it best:
When I was a brat, crawling around in that shithole city, it seemed God and Love were always sold out when I went looking. Before I knew better, I clung to God and prayed to Him every single night — yeah, I believed in God right up until that night the cops beat the hell out of me for no reason at all. All they saw when they looked at me was another little ghetto rat. With no power and no God, what's left for a poor little Chinese bitch to rely on? It's money, of course, and guns. Fuckin' A. With these two things, the world's a great place.
Blue Drop. If you're a Magical Girl, you're a Child Soldier bomb disposal unit. If you're a schoolgirl, you're little more than a sex slave. If you're a guy, you're used as a lab-rat for transgender experiments if you're lucky. If you're not so lucky as to be part of an experiment, you're an animal, a third-class citizen treated like freed Africans in Antebellum America — not a slave, but only just. If you're one of the Arume, alien lesbians who made Earth like this, then you're living with the knowledge that your species is extinct and living on borrowed time, the only option for survival being a cultural change none of them have the courage to make. Both sides are ravaged by and living in the ruins of a war that was literally entirely pointless because of that lack of courage.
Amberground in Letter Bee is a corrupt world of perpetual night, where a man-made sun shines over the capital city of Akatsuki. Life is rough almost everywhere, and even the people assigned to deliver some happiness throughout the world through letters—the titular Bees—could be killed by or lose their Life Force (Heart) to mechanical monsters along the way.
It gets worse when it turns out the man made sun is made by constantly draining the people of their heart.
The world of Saikano, while never directly shown, is undoubtedly this. We know that there's a large-scale war going on from the beginning, but halfway through we find out that the protagonist's hometown is peaceful because Chie's specifically protecting it, and everywhere else has gone to hell. By the end of the series, all the different countries have either been destroyed, or are committed to plans of mutually assured destruction, and Chie's lost most of her humanity and turned into a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds out of a desire to give everyone a nice, painless death. There's a very good chance this was the best thing left to do at that point.
The Alternate Universe medieval Japan of Kagerou-Nostalgia. The nation has been engulfed in a civil war for decades, with eighty percent of the country under the control of the psychotic Kiyotaka Kuroda, who organises random massacres of the population by Sociopathic Soldiers just for kicks. The remaining twenty percent of the country go out of their way to avoid opposing Kuroda, even aiding the "People Hunts" in some cases so that he'll leave them alone; generally speaking their governments seem to be either crooked or cowardly. People who do go to war with Kuroda have a tendency to go insane, coming home and spreading even more misery around. And that's without mentioning Gessho Kuki, The Man Behind the Man to Kuroda, and the armies of demons and monsters he summons to bolster the General's ranks. The world's only hope at this point are six kids, who don't like one another, have yet to defeat a single major enemy, and whose major accomplishment as of the most recent volumes have been getting their leader killed and her kingdom decimated, and suffering a betrayal by one of their own. They've yet to really help anyone, and the entire setting is pretty much overwhelmed with a sense of cynicism and despair.
Kazuma Shudo: "In the end we were powerless, again. We fought like mad, but all that's ever left is the devastation."
Basically it's a whole Crapsack Universe in Galaxy Express 999, with only a few bright spots here and there. But the majority of planets Tetsuro and Maetel visit are either:
run by corrupt governments,
on the brink of destruction,
inhabited by oblivious, arrogant people,
stricken by severe poverty or
all of the above.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Are you a Muggle? Enjoy getting Driven to Suicide, dismembered and eaten by a Witch. Are you a Witch? Enjoy a life as a horrifying Eldritch Abomination trapped in its own Hell-dimension, then being killed by a Magical Girl, then having your Soul Jar eaten by an Incubator for energy after said Magical Girl uses it to cleanse the corruption of her own Soul Jar. Are you a Magical Girl? Enjoy isolation from all your friends and spending the rest of your life at a shitty job fighting insanity-inducing abominations where the smallest misstep can spell swift death. And it doesn't even stop there — by accepting the contract with Kyubey to become a magical girl, you basically become a Lich, and if you don't die horribly at some point, you WILL mutate into a Witch. And the universe itself?Is undergoing entropy, such that it will eventually die if not fed by the Incubators a steady diet of emotional energy harvested from the despair of said Magical Girls when they inevitably fall and become Witches (though we still don't know whether that is even true or if Kyubey is just fucking with people's heads for its own amusement). Fun for everyone!
Kyubey never lies, though he's often used half-truths. So it's implied that the universe-saving thing is at least partially true. Though it's not like humans will be around to enjoy it when his plan is through.
Through Madoka's wish and ascension to goddesshood in the final episode, though, things have gotten a little better. However, with the disappearance of witches, all magical girls now have a new problem to deal with in the form of demons born from the curses of humanity, because Incubators still need the energy to stave off the heat death of the universe. Indeed, the meguca battle never ends...
Psycho-Pass takes us 100 years into The Future, by which time people's minds can be quantified and people's "criminality coefficients" are tracked by the Sybil System. If you so much as have a brief thought about harming someone, you will be either drafted as a special police officer or summarily executed without trial by a gun that turns you into Pink Mist. Oh, and juvenile statutes have since been revoked, so there are no exemptions for children. (Sound familiar? This series was written by the same guy as Madoka above.) This has all led to a brutal societal emphasis on sanity at all costs, to the point where antidepressant abuse has skyrocketed and a certain girls' boarding school advertises its old-fashioned sheltering from the world...and most art has been restricted.
Planet Gunsmoke in Trigun is a barely-habitable desert planet that humanity is forced to retreat to after it has already killed Earth, but even mankind's fight for survival isn't enough to unify the people. About half the population is made up of resource-hording tycoons and trigger-happy bounty hunters with no disregard for the well-being of bystanders.
Loveless takes place in a rather shitty world. To put things into perspective- almost all of our main characters are or were abused children and are severely emotionally fucked up; even people on the 'good guy' side do very bad things (Ritsu-sensei, anyone?); the few decent people who try to help are useless; kids as young as twelve get dragged into presumably-very-dangerous spell battles; Seven Moons Academy gets attacked and the ones dealing with the resulting mess are the students; and, at least for now, The Bad Guy Wins.
Gantz, for innumerable reasons. People are forced against their will to fight against aliens to the death in a game, for no apparent reason at all. People die by the bucketload, even all of the main characters. It gets worse when it's clear that not all the aliens are even aggressive, and that many of the humans are terriblepeople. It is eventually revealed that all of the fighting and dying was just a training exercise for the apocalyptic arrival of an alien race of giants who decimate the planet.
The works of Junji Ito tend to be cosmic horror stories. Everyone is doomed, they just don't know it yet. The setting of Uzumaki in particular is a pretty horrible place. That's what happens when a town is built over the ruins of a Genius LociEldritch Abomination city that is obsessed with spirals and hates humans. The only way to avoid a horrible death or fate worse than death is to devote the rest of your life to spirals without ever leaving the area. Which is also arguably a fate worse than death.
Acid Town is set in a Crapsack World- There is no mention of school, all of the main characters are orphans, gangs and mob bosses rule the streets, children and teenagers resort to drug selling and prostitution to feed themselves, and war planes and biohazard zones are frequently mentioned.
The world during Apocalypse no Toride. If not already apparent by the Plague Zombie reaching the secluded prison, when the main characters bust out and drive to Tokyo, the city is completely overrun and in shambles.
The Legend of the Legendary Heroes—if you're a Cursed Eye bearer, you'll be victim to severe Fantastic Racism and likely die young. If you're a commoner, you're at the mercy of poverty and of the nobles, who'll be more than happy to kill you for petty reasons. War is also rampant, meaning that there's a good chance you'll be dragged into one regardless of who you are, with age meaningnothing. Furthermore, what with war breaking out across the entire continent and Fantastic Nukes in the hands of many, your country is likely going to be conquered sooner or later—in which case you better pray that the one doing the conquering accepts surrenders. Oh, and the world is destroyed every thousand years, with the next deadline being about ten years away. There's a reason why most of the cast are desperate to change the world.
Attack on Titan gives us a world where humanity was driven to near extinction by being eaten by giants, forcing those who are left to hide in a walled citadel. Food is scarce because there's very little space for plantations, the resident army is pretty much Titan food and the whole Power of Trust deal is harshly deconstructed. If you're a human who lives in this world, chances are that you're either going to be eaten by a Titan, see your relatives and friends get eaten by a Titan or die of hunger. Have a nice day.
And just in case roving giants weren't enough, Mikasa's backstory reveals that human traffickers (with all the ugly nastiness that implies) are also something of a threat on the village level.
But hey, at least life's pretty decent so long as you live inside the walls and away from the Titans, right? Wrong. Both the ruling class within the city and the Military Police responsible for maintaining order are horribly corrupt and more concerned with lining their own pockets than dealing with the Titan threat. They're quite willing to sacrifice 20% of the city's population to the Titans just to avoid having to feed them. It's implied that the city has a thriving criminal underworld responsible for sex trafficking girls as young as nine years old. The main religion within the city is an insane cult that worships the walls as goddesses and considers any kind of modification to them (including things such as repairs and fixed cannon emplacements) to be heresy. Oh, and the walls themselves? Nobody has any idea where they came from, and they might not be as safe and benign as they appear to be...
The world of Naruto was this during the Warring Clans Era, their version of the Sengoku Period. Clan feuds were so prevelant that shinobi wouldn't say their last names to outsiders, for fear of being attacked by an enemy. The average life expectancy was barely 30 years old for both civilians and shinobi due to the high death toll among the clan's Child Soldiers. Became a World Half Full after Hashirama founded Konoha alongside Madara, since a lasting peace actually began and the average life expectancy started to rise.
Frighteningly, it's mentioned that the world was even worse before the Sage of Six Paths introduced the chakra arts and sparked the Warring Clans Era. That makes sense when you consider that this was the time when the Juubi was rampaging across the world.
Death Note gives us a world where, at any moment, you can be killed - either because a megalomaniac has decided to make an example of you, you've gotten in the way of the people trying to stop said megalomaniac, or a supernatural being needs to add some time onto its lifespan. Crime is rampant, even more so than in our world, to the point Light can find hundreds of targets for his Death Note in a week. The detectives with the best chance at stopping Light are, in the order we meet them, a sugar-obsessed eccentric with very little separating him from Light, a freaking Mafioso, and a boy with Ambiguous Disorder and no real sense of morals. And two of them end up dead before it's over. And when all is said and done and one of these things kills you, you cease to exist.
The Tower in Tower of God. In the Outer Tower, it seriously sucks to be normal: think feudalism with hobnails on. As a Regular, you get a constant life-and-death struggle of power, status, material gains, constantly shifting political machinations the nature of which you will never fully grasp and constant exam pressure... And, that's not taking into account the various environments and native wildlife of different Floors. Rankers don't get it much easier: whether you're at the bottom, middle of top of the heap, you're in for a rough ride with a very good chance of never making it to your happiness even after you've "made it" to the "top". Only those at the very apex of the social structure have a chance at A World Half Full: if then. And, just don't ask about being an Irregular... It's hardly surprising that there are rebellious factions.
The animals of Animal Land view their world as this. Being completely sapient, they see killing one another for survival to be extremely cruel.
There is D.Gray-Man, wherein there is doom. If you are an exorcist, you are screwed. If you are a human, you are screwed. If you are an akuma, you are screwed. If you are a Noah, you are not necessarily screwed, but the exorcists are actively seeking to kill you. AND, to top it all off, if you are dead, you are not necessarily safe.
Not as dark as some settings out there, but, if you think about it, the world of Bleach. If you're a dead human, (un)life sucks.
The closest thing to Heaven is Soul Society, where, if you don't have any spiritual power, you get to spend your life in poverty (and, if you're unlucky, in miserable conditions) and to be executed as necessary cannon fodder if needed; if you have spiritual power, the best chance you've got is becoming a Shinigami, that is, devoting your whole life to the Gotei 13, a badly-organized military organization, bending to the whims of noble families, fighting Eldritch Abominations in traumatizing situations and, if you're really unlucky, being subjected to experiments by the local Mad Scientist. Prepare to be governed by a Not-So-Omniscient Council of Bickering, which hardly allows for fair trials and has protecting their authority as their main interest - not even a Captain rank offers you a safe way to contradict their sentences if you don't find them fair. Speak ill of the Gotei 13, and you're liable to end up in the Detention Unit.
Option two is becoming a Hollow, an Eldritch Abomination that eats human souls - which can be done by being partially eaten by a Hollow. You get to spend some time as a mindless beast and chase your loved ones till they die too, until you start eating other Hollows - or is eaten by one of them. If you're lucky, your soul might just have strength enough to overcome all other Hollow souls in an Adjucha (advanced Hollow) - in which case, you get to spend your life in a desert wasteland where it's always night, eating other Hollows to avoid being eaten by them. Forever.
Option three is actually going to Hell and go insane from the endless suffering as you're crushed again, again and again by the guardians of the place, until you give upand become ash.
And not even the human world is that good of a place, as you're always in danger of being eaten by a Hollow or being caught in the endless fights between Shinigami and Quincies... And if you try to fight back, beware of Soul Society becoming aware of your powers and deciding to put you in their "must watch" list... or of the Mad Scientist noticing you and putting you on his experiment list.
And all of this doesn't even take into account the damage caused by the two Big Bads.
It is a mutable variant, however, as the protagonist's actions have been slowly causing positive impact on Soul Society and Hueco Mundo.
The aforementioned Not-So-Omniscient Council of Bickering? Due to the Gotei 13 being under new management, namely Shunsui, he's not afraid to tell that council to stick it where the sun doesn't shine. Most of the important characters have become a lot less stuck up over time, and the Gotei has even learned to bend its own rules to pay a debt of grattitude to the protagonist. This is offset because the new enemy's Badass Army has bee cutting a swathe through all 3 worlds, meaning innocent civilians are being executed just to stop the whole system coming apart. And the Mad Scientist actually complains about how this all could have been avoided if the former big cheese had shown a bit of spine a millenium or two ago.
Hunter × Hunter takes place in a world full of fantastic creatures and character designs on the cuter side of Shounen. It's also a world where people can be thrown away, collecting human body parts is considered only a slightly esoteric hobby for the super-wealthy, ecosystems are built around humans as a primary food source, a family of assassins with a small army of Battle Butlers is able to live so openly their front gate is a tourist attraction by sheer dint of the fact no-one is powerful enough to dislodge them, and the two biggest apparent world powers are the eponymous organisation of super-powered Badasses with more perks and privileges than God (and the ONLY effective requirements to join said organisation are badassery and intelligence), and the Mafia at least, before the Mafia's leadership was taken out by that family of assassins and a roving band of Übermensch bandits from that landfill-city where anything and anyone can be thrown away. Oh, and The known world map? Has been revealed to be only a small portion of a much larger world, the rest of which is so much more mindbogglingly dangerous than what has been shown so far that humanity's governments formed a treaty forbidding anyone from even going out there, because of how horrifically every previous attempt at an expedition there failed.
Fullmetal Alchemist is also, this, considering the affairs ofthe State Military, the Ishvalan War, and the involvement of the Homunculi.