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Darkness Induced Audience Apathy / Anime & Manga

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  • Afro Samurai's main character is a borderline sociopathic Villain Protagonist with little redeeming moral features who cares about nothing but killing the person who killed his father, resulting in him killing large amounts of people just to find his father's killer. The person who killed his father, Justice, while having well-meaning but rather not necessarily morally right motives, is very morally gray. The only reason the audience only sympathizes with Afro, in spite of his goals being identical to those he fights, is because we saw his backstory, and didn't see theirs.
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  • AIR: Many detractors of Air will say that nothing ever happens in the entire series, due to the fact that Misuzu still ends up dying after finally finding love. Even Key/Visual Arts views it as an Old Shame.
  • Ajin. It's hard to root for the characters most especially the main protagonist who ended becoming a Sociopathic Hero and both sides have very flimsy reasons to get back at each other.
  • In Aldnoah.Zero, Inaho and Slaine are highly flawed characters, and their many faults or self-inflicted mistakes can make it hard for the audience to sympathize with them. The fact that Slaine becomes the Big Bad by the beginning of season 2 doesn't help, even with its supposedly overall positive ending.
  • The Animatrix: Given how many times the Second Renaissance segment is mentioned on the film's Nightmare Fuel page and how grotesque and cartoonishly disturbing the imagery and violence in it is, you'll understand if more then a few viewers are turned off or disturbed by it. The Humans Are Bastards being taken Up to Eleven doesn't help.
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  • The Area 88 manga falls victim to this. Much of the story takes place in Asran, a North African kingdom experiencing an unending civil war in which neither side gains a long-term advantage. Amoral arms dealers are happy to take advantage of the conflict. Many of Area 88's pilots are lost souls who have abandoned any hope of living a normal life (or, living to see next week). Shin never seems to make any headway in his attempt to earn enough money to break his mercenary contract, leaving him frustrated and melancholy. Shin's time at Area 88 leaves him so traumatized and maladjusted that when he receives not one but two opportunities to resume a normal life, he returns to a life of combat both times. By the time the manga reaches its bittersweet ending, the audience likely has ending fatigue.
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  • Bakuman。 features this in-universe with the main characters' reactions to Nanamine's "Classroom of Truth," in which everyone, including the main character dies, with Mashiro saying that having the main character's efforts turn out to be in vain doesn't work.
  • Basilisk: Both ninja clans have more than their fair share of Jerkasses. Oboro is incredibly naive and indecisive and boy does she pay for it. Any character is going to be killed in a few episodes. And the whole contest is being held by corrupt nobles.
  • The second season of Birdy the Mighty: Decode was criticized for some for going out of its way to be Darker and Edgier and Bloodier and Gorier than the first season, including one of the main characters of the season being a revenge-driven serial killer who also engages in self-loathing, the realization that the title character is a genetically-engineered Super Soldier forced into being a Space Police officer, and issues of Fantastic Racism which ties into the other two.
  • The narrative of Bitter Virgin piles up so much trauma, woobieness and weepy melodrama on Hinako, Daisuke and the reader, and uses a complicated theme like sexual abuse so liberally as a plot device (i.e, Hinako was not only sexually abused by her stepdad in her backstory, but she's almost raped again in story for no other reason than motivating Daisuke into beating her would-be rapist to almost death), that it can become a chore to read.
  • Black Bullet's setting is so very crapsack and the main characters are hopelessly ineffectual in stopping the Gastrea threat, not to mention, the author's tendency of killing off a good number of characters (or at least put Rentaro and Enju through sadistic hell) before they receive sufficient Character Development, means people can simply get bored of the darkness. Detractors accuse the author for putting too emphasis on sadistic treatment of the characters while ignoring to clear up several plot points such as Enju's high corrosion rate. Taken Up to Eleven with the Fugitive arc (volumes 5 and 6) where the author decides to put every main character in the worst possible suffering he can imagine.
  • Bleach ends up falling into this during the Thousand Years Blood War Arc. Once again, the Gotei 13 goes from actually being able to turn the tide to... being taken out by the bad guys with relative ease. Even when someone finally has an upper edge, a new set of Antagonist Abilities is whipped out to quickly close the gap. Pretty much every victory in this arc is a Pyrrhic Victory. While this is far from new to Bleach, it had been done so often that readers had come to expect it and were practically asking if they could just skip the part where the Gotei 13 loses since they know it's not going to move the plot forward.
    • Since Bleach was also at risk of being Cut Short, people also started to assume that it was going to be all lost and nobody would have an interesting fight due to the rapidly approaching Cosmic Deadline. Gerard Valkyrie in particular suffers a lot from this - he's revealed to be the Heart of the Soul King, and an almost invulnerable opponent who just loses his fight by default because Yhwach takes his and Jugram's powers - meaning that unlike Lillie, Pernida, and Askin, no clever plan is made to defeat him.
  • Blood-C is this since the characters kept holding the Idiot Ball despite the danger around them which is why viewers care less when they are brutally killed, most especially the Red Shirts. It doesn't helped that Saya is a Failure Hero and whatever she does, many people die which irritated a lot of viewers. And at the end, it turns out most of Saya's friends are assholes who are hired to act those roles. You won't feel sorry for them when they're gruesomely killed and the Big Bad turns out to be Saya's friendly neighbor, Fumito, who got away with another of her supposed "friends", leaving tons of corpses on the trail and the town in ruins. The only characters who are sympathetic or redeemed were Itsuki, Tadayoshi and dog (who is Watanuki's corporeal form). And yet, Itsuki and Tadayoshi died, and Watanuki is powerless to do anything to help Saya since he cannot leave the shop.
    • The movie tries to step out of this trope. However, the climax just made it worse, depending on how you see it: Saya fulfills her revenge except that she found out that Fumito is in love with her and all of her actions are for her survival, regardless that he killed thousands of people in the past and abused her emotionally and psychologically. Also, she can't go back to Mana again after she found out that she killed her dad at the beginning of the movie. Because of this, Saya is established as a Tragic Hero.
  • In regards to Candy Candy, more than one watcher/reader ended up getting tired of all the relentless, neverending, borderline ridiculous melodrama surrounding Candy's life and ended up dropping the series.
  • Cannon God Exaxxion. The alien invaders are basically Nazi Elves. The boss of the defending humans doesn't give a crap about collateral damage and will kill and destroy at will. While Kenichi Sonoda had dipped his toe in this trope before, this was when he took a freefall into it, and never really surfaced, as evidenced with the reaction to Gunsmith Cats Burst.
  • As soon as the second episode, Side:Future of Danganronpa 3 got this reaction. A large problem with the anime was the frequent killing of characters who had barely been introduced, making it rather difficult to care what was going on given that most of Future revolved around the new cast.
    • Episode 5 takes it up a notch: All five deaths that occurred up to that point were of fan-favorites and likable characters. The anime started entering Eight Deadly Words territory, as the characters left are mostly from the controversial Radical Faction and Munakata's Sanity Slippage slowly turns him into The Scrappy.
  • DEAD Tube really goes over-the-top with the atrocities the cast commits against each other. Not even the main characters are all that better than their competition. A lot of readers give up on caring and those who continue to read after not caring mostly read it to see just how hilariously fucked up things get.
  • Don't bother getting attached to story arc characters in Darker Than Black—they'll be dead in a few episodes.
  • Desert Punk, albeit a comic series falls into this. Almost every single character is a massive Jerkass, and the few exceptions never prosper in this world. By the middle of the series, it's quite clear that none of the three major characters have a Hidden Heart of Gold. Pretty much summing things up is the comment by the Lemony Narrator in the last episode in respect to the After the End setting, which is to the effect that "With people like this, it doesn't matter if humanity goes extinct."
  • In A Devil and Her Love Song, there's so much drama and emotional conflict on latter volumes that it becomes really hard to root for the characters, especially if those who make others suffer go unpunished. Specifically, Maria's old best friend Anna gets Put on a Bus after more or less acting awful to Maria after she came to school to see her, and Maria's father, John, never explains why he raped her mother and she never chews him out for it, though he is a priest and clearly trying to atone for his actions.
  • The Devilman franchise. Where to even start?! Devils are either rapacious monsters or innocent victims of persecution and humanity is at its absolute worst on every imaginable level. With lovely scenes of death, destruction and so much more. And in the end, Akira is killed, Devils are extinct, Satan has destroyed all life on Earth and God destroys the entire planet to start things over from scratch so he can punish Satan yet again. Many fans have come to the conclusion that the "crybaby" subtitle in DEVILMAN crybaby is referring to the viewer. Being that it's the Trope Codifier of grimdark, this shouldn't come across as too surprising.
    • Violence Jack., the sequel to Devilman, manages to be even worse in regards to this than the original series, with a Crapsack World 10 times more brutal and depressing, full of rapists, sadists, murderers and scumbags of the highest order, and the protagonist, Jack himself, starts off as an apathetic and sadistic Sociopathic Hero, not caring about anyone but himself (thankfully this changes due to some character development), with some very innocent, well-meaning and kind-hearted characters always constantly suffering at the hands of the sadistic villains who Jack fights. As a result, it's pretty hard to go through this series for some. Not helped by the fact that the series is notorious for containing graphic scenes of child-murder, rape, cannibalism, and even zoophilia at one point.
  • In Domina no Do!, the amount of crap Takeshi suffers from chapter to chapter due to the women around him will pretty much frustrate readers whenever they're not being astonished at all the other crazy stuff that happens in this manga.
  • Elfen Lied, for some. The lack of subtlety in the narrative, the Black-and-Gray Morality, and the exaggerated emphasis on how 90% of Humans Are Bastards to the point of being Card Carrying Villains is often enough to make the viewers exhausted and angry instead of sympathetic to the Diclonius' plights (who themselves are Ax-Crazy by nature to some extent anyway). Granted, this is toned down in the anime and later on in the manga, making such characters as Bando, Mariko, Kurama, and even Lucy more... well, human in the end.
  • Ergo Proxy can, in its early stages, fall victim to this trope. Near the beginning of the series, there were a few moral dilemmas stemming from black and black morality. Stop the Proxy that's loose in Romdo and the fascist government regains total control over the city. Don't stop the Proxy and it'll continue a murder spree.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • This is one of the main criticisms of the first Fullmetal Alchemist anime (which had a Gecko Ending), especially compared with the manga and Brotherhood anime (which adapted the manga faithfully). The manga featured some extremely dark moments as a way for the characters to earn their happy endings, but the 2003 anime is consistently dark throughout and never stops making things worse for the protagonists.
    • Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shamballa (the sequel to first anime) is arguably an even more extreme example. By the end Ed and Al are together again, but are trapped forever in another universe as World War II is about to break out. By comparison, the manga ends with Ed and Winry happy together with children.
  • Future Diary: Almost everyone (except one participant, who is The Hero) in the Deadly Game is almost irredeemable and insane. The Hero's female deuteragonist is only slightly less irredeemable than the others. Eight Deadly Words ensues when The Hero becomes instantly insane after his parents are killed by one of the participants, making him as unsympathetic as the other participants. There are no completely sympathetic characters, even those who are sane and are minor role characters. However, the story manages to Earn Your Happy Ending with The Hero winning the Deadly Game and ascending into godhood as a reward. He replaces Deus, because the latter is dying, and revives everyone, including the Deadly Game participants. It's quite a chore to read from the beginning till the end.
  • Gantz, aside from the blood and gore everywhere and the overly gritty tone, it's really hard to sympathize with the main characters as many of them are jerkasses at best and downright malicious at worst. Even with the series getting Earn Your Happy Ending, it still feels like a chore to read through for some.
  • Genocyber: The extremely graphic and disturbing violence, lack of any genuinely likable characters and incredibly nihilistic tone ended up turning a large number of people away from this series.
  • Gilgamesh has immortal monsters made from antimatter that want to create some sort of new reality. And on the other side, a Manipulative Bitch whose main reason for getting rid of the reflective sky (which gives the heroes their incredible powers by the way, meaning they probably shouldn't be serving her) is being dumped by the guy who engineered the future. And the children are such Wide Eyed Idealists that they get used by both sides. It's actually a relief when Everyone Dies. And it somehow makes even that terrible because TeaR is killed by a Gilgamesh spawn from Kiyoko after it destroys everything, therefore everything is gone forever and can never be brought back potentially better. Then again, the mangaka who wrote the source material has made other work that gets hit with this, so it's not entirely surprising.
  • Goodnight Punpun has a protagonist that suffers through a Trauma Conga Line of events that change his life, turning him into a miserable kid with a lot of Wangst inside. Considering that he doesn't ever change throughout the story and that it's mostly focused on him, it can be very hard to care about him or his problems.
  • The anime version of Hanebad! has been hit rather hard with this. In addition to the anime toning down most of the comedy to add in more drama to the story, several of the characters have gone through Adaptational Jerkass in the making.
  • Season one of Hell Girl in particular can get a little ridiculous. Every episode, you're introduced to a new villain with no real objective other than to prove his/her guilt in as many obvious ways as possible. Even when they get what's coming to them, it's not before they've completely ruined someone, or many people's lives, sometimes irrevocably. And you know the next episode is just gonna feature someone even crueller. The first season tries to rectify this by introducing the Intrepid Reporter Hajime, who starts trying to prevent people from using the Hell Correspondence and getting Enma Ai to send their tormentors to Hell in exchange for their own souls. Problem is, Hajime never succeeds until his own daughter Tsugumi gets mind raped by Enma Ai, (she and her dad are descendants of a person from Enma Ai's Dark and Troubled Past), and then Ai tries to use it on him, and if anyone should know not to use the Correspondence, she should, so what she does makes her a monster only slightly more sympathetic than the villains in the series.
  • Highschool of the Dead: apart from the obvious bloodshed, gore, and people turning into zombies, it's very hard to sympathize with the characters who are willing to cross moral boundaries simply just to survive the zombie apocalypse. The very blatant right-wing politics and the villain's infamous orgybus also doesn't help.
  • Hot Gimmick is one of the few shoujo manga that fits this trope. Every character is a Jerkass or an idiot, and nobody receives any major character development (in fact the opposite seems to happen). The Esoteric Happy Ending doesn't help, not even when the novel ended up fixing it via having the girl finally get a chance to walk out on the Bastard Boyfriend.
  • Ichi the Killer treads perilously close to this trope. A psychological drama set in the brutal (albeit colorful) world of a nigh-lawless Tokyo red-light district could be forgiven for a cast whose morality comes in various shades of gray, but Jeez Louise… Nearly every character in Ichi either skipped gleefully past the moral event horizon long ago or is presently teetering on its edge. Almost everyone of plot significance is either 1) a murderous, manipulative bastard, 2) completely deranged, 3) a depraved sadist and/or masochist, 4) some other kind of sex pervert (you want necrophiliacs? Ichi's got 'em!), 5) a cold blooded mass murderer, 6) willing to do absolutely anything for money, 7) some combination of the foregoing. The two main protagonists? Completely deranged sadomasochistic mass murderers. Yeah. It’s so over the top that one character, a Yakuza *hit man* with a functional family life and a few glimmers of empathy, starts to seem like a nice guy just by comparison. So why would anyone who occasionally goes outdoors for something other than a load of canned meat and tarp read this? It’s the plot (tense, coiled and well-paced), and Ichi’s surprisingly incisive exploration of identity and desire.
  • The Island of Giant Insects: Most of the cast is comprised of unlikeable assholes, incompetent buffoons, incompetent buffoonish assholes, and attempted rapists. There's also a good deal of Fan Disservice with young, attractive ladies getting eaten alive while naked.
  • Jormungand: Most of the characters are all bloodthirsty bodyguards for a deranged woman with a god complex who claims to want to save the world by killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people, and that's not even getting into the logical fallacies her plan actually has.
  • While Kichikujima seems to be going for a mix of What You Are in the Dark and Humans Are Bastards as its theme, it takes very little time for most of our main group to reveal themselves as a bunch of cowards who will stoop to absolutely any low for a chance to save themselves. On top of that, almost every revelation about their characters makes them look even worse than they did before. The main character is at the very least ashamed whenever he does something wrong and one girl who was already on the island seems good and normal enough (to the point that the cult mistake her for the reincarnation of the Virgin Mary because she's the only person they've ever met who wasn't horribly selfish), but beyond them all the characters do is panic and scheme to stab each other in the back. It's to the point that the insane, mutant cannibal cultists manage to be some of the most sympathetic characters, because they at least seem to care about each other in some warped sense of the word.
  • Koizora definitely feels like this, with the main character Mika experiencing heartbreak, rape, unwanted pregnancy, then a miscarriage and even more stuff that seems like it just wants the audience to dry up from reading the series, when all it does after a while, makes you think what sad thing won't happen to this girl!
  • Lone Wolf and Cub is filled to the brim with violence, with countless people, both good and bad, meeting violent or otherwise unfortunate ends. Only a few side characters get what could be considered a happy ending. In addition, the unjust and unequal caste system of Japan in the Edo period is shown in all its dubious glory. Hence, it may be difficult for some to really care about the plot and the characters.
  • A number of Magical Girl Genre Deconstruction works suffer from this:
    • Magical Girl Raising Project: The reaction to the series was mainly this, with many mixed to negative reactions over yet another Magical Girl Genre Deconstruction show being aired at a period in which more typical takes on the genre have become very seldom (at the time, only Maho Girls Pre Cure, Sailor Moon Crystal and Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Vi Vid were mainstream, and all of them were new installments of old-established franchises instead of fully new works). Even Crunchyroll staffers showed themselves frustrated about it on the live portion of the Fall 2016 Rollout special where they first announced they were simulcasting the anime adaptation of Magical Girl Raising Project.
      • Eight Deadly Words is a very common complaint, even by fans of the show themselves, is that it is hard to feel any impact at the death of characters who barely get any development before being mowed down. Part of the fault goes to the anime attempting to adapt all the side stories and backgrounds of the cast from the first arc, which leaves no screen time to dedicate individually to every one of them given the short length of the series. Being a twelve episode anime trying to flesh out sixteen characters meant that it could not even focus on a single character per episode.
      • It's hard to care about some war arcs as the factions are nominal at best and corrupted or outright evil at worst, and the fact that bad guys always win doesn't help, at least in early war arcs.
      • This problem actually is endemic to the light novel itself, as many fans agree that the characters in the first arc, which the anime adapts, were weaker in terms of characterization. Later arcs were much better received both in character depth and world building.
    • Magical Girl Site isn't so popular because it is a horribly grim-dark Magical Girl Genre Deconstruction manga, that tells about a suicidal protagonist who is also a victim of her brother's abuse. Thankfully she gets a chance to join the Magical Girl Site contract, where all the girls can become magical girls. Except... the contract turns out to be a Hope Spot where she has to sacrifice a certain amount of her lifespan every time she uses her magical attack and fight nothing but between the girls who have also joined Magical Girl Site in a form of Deadly Game. Also, the fact that this manga runs in a Shonen magazine doesn't help at all. Seeing all these premises, the audience might expect our poor protagonist to die in a few moments during the deadly game (or even after she wins and has become the true magical girl).
  • Masamune-kun's Revenge: The series isn't dark, per se, but the entire premise of the love story between two polarizing and heavily flawed characters like Masamune and Aki can come off as a hard sell of a romance story. Masamune goes out of his way to manipulate and lie to those he calls his friends and Aki frequently shames and humiliate anyone who declares their love for her. One anime reviewer even declared it the worst anime of 2017 for this reason.
  • Done beautifully in MD Geist. Our hero really isn't any better than the Big Bad and eventually releases the Death Force simply because he knows how meaningless his life would be without something nasty to fight. Let that sink in for a moment: he obliterates humanity just to be an asshole. He obliterates humanity. Just to be an asshole. Our hero, ladies and gentlemen.
  • Michiko & Hatchin is set in a Crapsack World filled with Jerkasses, and the few people who are genuinely good and want to help people (most notably Hana, the Deuteragonist) are completely powerless to change anything for the better. Many episodes consist mainly of rotten people pushing around helpless victims or other rotten people with little to no payoff. Making matters worse is that Michiko actually began as a pretty good person, genuinely caring about Hana and rescuing her from danger, but Michiko grew increasingly selfish, abusive, and perpetually angry as the series went on.
  • Now and Then, Here and There: After the Non-Indicative First Episode, the series pulls no punches in being grim-dark, complete with one of the most abominable villains in history and a main character who is near-powerless to change much. In the end, the protagonist has no great influence and is able only to inspire the actually-powerful Lala-Ru to bring about a more-or-less happy ending. The mostly-positive outcome feels insignificant after the series' overall dark journey.
  • The final episodes of Paranoia Agent, when a mysterious but solitary menace turned into a city-wide all-consuming biomass, destroying uncounted Innocent Bystanders amongst a handful of previously developed characters. Fortunately this was a brief enough period to avert Ending Fatigue, and still got the point across by changing scope.
  • In Overlord (2012): The main characters are hopelessly overpowered when compared to the rest of the cast, and also, for the most part, extremely evil. Even the one exception to this—Sebas—is willing to punch the girl he spent several episodes nursing back to health to death at a moment's notice if Ainz asks him to, though fortunately he stops him at the last second. It's very clear how most plot arcs are going to turn out; the only question is the level of collateral damage caused in the process. And one infamous arc in the third season is dominated by a lot of what could charitably be described as torture porn. Depending on your level of tolerance, and your patience, it can become very difficult to care about how any of this ends.
  • Pupa, particularly the series, which is usually viewed as a disjointed, directionless mess on account of being only twelve episodes long, with each episode clocking in at around two minutes - certainly not enough time for the story that's trying to be told. The extreme gore, rampant cruelty, creepy incestuous overtones, largely unlikable cast and sub-par animation make for a show that's hard to sit through,note  let alone become invested in.
  • Re:CREATORS didn't have this initially, but toward the end of the series, it really began setting in primarily thanks to the Elimination Chamber Festival, wherein Altair challenged every other Creation to a fight and either killing or incapacitating them without breaking a sweat thanks to how the love of the fans give her new abilities completely out of thin air (plus, the fact that almost nobody outside of the main cast seems to ever grasp what's actually going on and what kind of threat this poses to not just Creationkind, but also to humanity as a whole). Coupled that with the fact that Altair was ultimately defeated in a scene derided as an Anti-Climax (one where none of the heroes are involved, no less, and does involve a character who had been dead up until this point and has had little characterization) and effectively Easily Forgiven for her actions (which allows her to avoid answering to her atrocities) and you have people decrying the series as a series where nothing of real note has been accomplished. Magane never being brought to task for any of her crimes either (in addition to getting to live in the real world and continue indulging in her lifestyle unimpeded) is just the cherry atop the shit sundae. Unsurprisingly, it's considered to be one of the most disliked anime of 2017 and has become one of the biggest Acceptable Targets for recent anime.
  • Redo of Healer: The main character is a Serial Rapist and a very creative torturer with a harem of slaves and his female enemies (that he either bought or brainwashed)... but he's still a saint compared to his enemies. So yeah, it's very easy to not care about what happens to anyone, unless you're into rape/sex and Black Comedy scenes.
  • Re:Zero: Kicks in during the later episodes, where Subaru's punishments for screwing up become more visceral. For some people this borders on unnecessary cruelty.
  • The Rising of the Shield Hero: The World of Jerkass setting as well as the fact that the bad guys often pull a Karma Houdini (well, until much later) can make the viewers simply unable to care about what's happening to the main characters.
  • Sakura Gari, Christ on a cracker. Out of the main characters only one (Masataka) is unambiguously good, and he gets horribly raped and broken through the story. And while Masataka manages to walk out and away to start rebuilding his life, the other protagonist (Souma) is all but stated to have died.
  • The School Days anime, since it adapts the darkest aspects of the visual novel. By the end of the series, there are absolutely no sympathetic characters left, as everyone turns out to be some combination of malicious, selfish, and/or psychotic.
  • School-Live!:
  • Shiki enters this territory when the humans become aware of the existence of the Shiki who are responsible for the declining population of the village and the deaths of several of their loved ones. Due to the nature of the series being Grey-and-Gray Morality, both sides crossed many lines to fight for their survival. If you have a favorite character on either side, chances are that they would either be dead or broken. It doesn't help as the ending shows the humans won against the Shiki but lost their loved ones and their homes are burned down and the Big Bad got away scot-free though she felt some amount of remorse for her actions.
  • A Silent Voice is filled to the brim with the message that Bullying Is Wrong and while that message is certainly truthful, the manga did not let up on the drama after it turned from a one-shot into a series, including the point of some characters attempting to commit suicide. And even after those events, the manga is still very heavy on the emotional aspects of grief and being emotionally broken, to the point that one cannot care for very long anymore.
  • Texhnolyze. While there are characters who are noticeably better or worse than others, no one is truly good, with even the most sympathetic characters being Anti Heroes. A lot of viewers saw the show's Downer Ending coming a mile away, and were just waiting for everyone to give up and die.
  • Tokyo Ghoul and its sequels. Some fans feel the overall and increasingly dark tone of the series makes it difficult to care about the confusingly large number of characters. As the series advances and turns up the darkness Up to Eleven, the amount of angst, traumatic experiences, and Abusive Parents can come off as just excessive.
  • The well-known Hentai series, Urotsukidoji, rivals Devilman in pretty much every way possible when it comes to this trope. The amount of rape scenes (including tentacle rape, which this series is well-known for being a trope namer for.), extremely graphic violence (which borders on Guro at times), and each installment ending on a downer, has put off a lot of people from this series.
  • Under the Dog: The OVA is viewed as this. Hana ultimately fails in her mission to save Nanase, and Anthea does a Mercy Kill on Hana. This results in the deaths of Hana's family. Anthea later confronts and kills the Pandora, which turns out to be Nanase's transformed father. Then it turns out that Nanase isn't the candidate they were looking for, so Anthea kills him as well, rendering the entire OVA pointless.
  • Valvrave the Liberator: Some viewers are finding it increasingly hard to care about the series (even with all the Camp) because the majority of characters are either Jerk Asses, Too Dumb to Live or is Too Good for This Sinful Earth. The episode where the majority of the Module 77 students are massacred essentially turns the series into a "Shaggy Dog" Story, and the 200 year timeskip shows certain characters' survival as a Foregone Conclusion.
  • The Wolf Guy - Wolfen Crest manga is set in such a ridiculously Darker and Edgier Crapsack World, uses heavy themes (like rape, bullying, etc.) in such grossly exploitative manners and has characters so into Black-and-White Morality... that many readers have simply given up on it.
  • The 1996 movie of X1999 is regarded as this by modern viewers since it was released while the manga was ongoing. While the Dragons of Heaven are still benevolent, the Dragons of Earth become sociopaths including Kusanagi who is the Token Good Teammate and a Friend to All Living Things. There's also the fact the both sides ended up losing their members and the barriers got destroyed leaving Tokyo Tower as the last building standing.
    • The manga is leaning towards this as of the hiatus. Yuzuriha is missing, Arashi is controlled by Hinoto's Dark Side who is responsible for sending random attack to the Dragons of Heaven and Subaru, inheriting Seishirou's role as the Sakurazukamori assassin which got him to join the Dragons of Earth with the belief to make Kamui realize his true wish. And the real kicker? It's revealed Kamui's true wish was not to return Fuuma back to normal and the Cliffhanger chapter ends with Kamui, lying down on the ground as Fuuma is about to stab him. And now a decade has already passed, readers seemed to care less about what's going to happen.
  • The fantasy manga Yakushoku Distpiari isn't very popular, due to its gruesome premise: The Hero can only level up by killing his party members and obtaining their skills. Because of this premise, many readers ended up getting tired of reading.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V has this with it's anime. Part of the story is for Yuya to learn what exactly is the best way to make people happy. But as the series progressed, it became really hard and at points outright uncomfortable to watch what's supposed to be a kid who wants to enjoy card games and make people happy be essentially kicked in the teeth for his efforts. Reality Ensues can be explained for Yuya's earlier ignorance and naivete, but after a while it just felt like puppy-kicking.
  • Your and My Secret is supposed to be a comedic "Freaky Friday" Flip story in which Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy duo Nanako and Akira swap bodies. Nanako proceeds to establish herself as a selfish, messy, violent, domineering bully who loves the freedom her new male body gives her, refusing to give it back to Akira and living it up, whilst at the same time threatening him with verbal and physical abuse if he dares think of doing something she doesn't approve of with the body she doesn't even want back. Akira's own family tell him, to his face, that they prefer the more "conventionally masculine" Akira that Nanako provides, and Nanako's grandfather, the Mad Scientist who caused this mess, likewise refuses to repair the machine that could switch them back because he prefers the quieter, more demure Nanako that Akira makes. The closest thing Akira-as-Nanako has to a friend is his "best friend", Senbongi, who constantly sexually harasses him, including kissing him by force and groping his breasts and genitals. Akira ends up falling in love with Senbongi, simply because he's the only person who seems to "care" about Akira. When Nanako's grandfather fixes the machine at last, Nanako destroys it so she can keep Akira's body and her stolen life. About that point is where most readers dropped the manga and wanted nothing to do with it — which is all the more understandable when you learn that the manga ends with the two of them basically deciding to stay in each other's bodies.
  • Your Lie in April runs off of the main character Kousei's misery. When it's not being Played for Drama, it's being Played for Laughs. Even when things seem to be going well for Kousei, like him overcoming the trauma of his abuse to play piano again, the story punches him square in the balls with Kaori's death. That combined with everybody besides Kousei being huge jerkasses is enough to utter the Eight Deadly Words.
  • The tone of Yuureitou can get pretty harsh sometimes, and many of the characters have less than pleasant secrets they're willing to hide and aren't afraid to get their hands dirty. It's definitely par for the course for mystery, but with no true good figure in the tale, it becomes somewhat difficult to root for the protagonists.


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