Getting trapped inside a building can be terrifying, especially if there are dangerous creatures around. But once you get out, you’re safe. The threat remains contained within those four walls. Of course, that’s assuming the darkness and despair haven’t spread into the surrounding area or town. If that’s the case, then there’s no escaping it — and there are quite a few anime series that support this claim by showing us just how terrifying these places, no matter the size, can be. So, here are the five scariest locations in anime.
The Abyss (Made in Abyss)
Made in Abyss centers around Riko, a young orphan girl who lives near the edge of the Abyss, a giant mysterious pit. The Abyss contains many hidden treasures, but seeking them out may cost you your life. Those who dare to venture into the Abyss often die from its “Curse” on their way back up. The effects of the Curse range from nausea to madness — and even death. But that won’t stop Riko.
While many have survived the Abyss, they didn’t go past its 6th level, The Capital of the Unreturned. This point of no return makes it physically impossible for explorers to return to the surface. The Curse subjects the diver to unimaginable pain and transforms them into a messy pile of meat. Even those who somehow avoid this cruel fate eventually lose their intelligence and conscious. With options like these, death sounds like a cake walk.
Fake Mitakihara (Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion)
In the world of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, young girls can get their wishes granted by turning into magical girls. One such girl is Madoka Kaname who, unlike the other girls, doesn’t have a wish; she just wants to be a magical girl. But she still has to fight witches, dark creatures that disrupt the normal flow in life, just like the other girls.
These witches are so powerful that they spread their despair and disaster to entire cities, such as Mitakihara, the town where the story takes place. At first glance, it looks like the girl’s hometown. But upon closer inspection, the real evil hiding beneath the surface becomes visible. It seems that this Mitakihara is a self-contained illusion, a maze with no exit that lures people and leads them astray. Every time the girls try to step foot outside the city, they find themselves re-entering it. Mitakihara is a creepy labyrinth that expands to the whole universe.
Human Activity Zone (Attack on Titan)
Humanity lived in peace for centuries. Then, the Titans, giant humanoid monsters appeared, appeared out of nowhere. These mindless creatures brought mankind to near extinction. As a result, humanity has locked itself behind giant walls. But the Human Activity Zone would come crumbling down when a Colossal Titan broke the outer wall. Luckily, there’s the Survey Corps who, with their omni-directional mobility gear, can fight these human-eating monsters.
Although it would be awesome to fly and jump around buildings fighting monsters, you’d do well to avoid the Human Activity Zone. Beyond the difficult-to-kill Titans, there are the humans who control everything from behind the scenes to worry about. Yes, the people chosen to protect humanity are actually leading the Military faction — their last defense — astray with their backdoor deals. And its citizens, including the armed forces, have no clue. It’s hard to focus on survival when you can’t even trust your neighbors.
Impel Down (One Piece)
One Piece follows Luffy as he sails through treacherous waters to become the Pirate King. During the journey, he and his crew, the Straw Hat Pirates, face impossible challenges. But nothing could’ve prepared them for the horror that is Impel Down, a maximum-security prison for the most dangerous criminals and pirates.
Set in the middle of the ocean and surrounded by marine battleships and monsters, Impel down is divided into six different levels. With each descending stage, the tortures inflicted on prisoners worsen. These inhuman punishments earn each level a title describing different types of hell (e.g., Crimson Hell or Freezing Hell). Even those who possess Devil Fruit powers can’t escape the six levels of hell. Navigating through a nightmarish, Dante-esque dungeon is scary enough, but it becomes utterly terrifying when you meet those who have landed there — such as Shiki the Golden Lion, one of the most powerful pirates around. This large prison is one of the scariest anime locations out.
Hinamizawa (Higurashi When They Cry)
Imagine living in a place where summer never ends. It sounds great, but not everything that glitters is gold, including the village of Hinamizawa. Taking place in the summer of 1983, Higurashi When They Cry follows Keiichi Maebara after he moves to the little town. He quickly makes new friends and enjoys playing various games with them after school. But this soon comes to an end when one of his friends gets insanely jealous. The obsession drives young Keiichi mad, leading him to commit gruesome crimes.
And the horror doesn’t end there. After Keiichi murdered his friends, the timeline seemingly resets itself, and the terror begins all over again — but with a different lead. The only one aware of this reboot is Rika, one of Keiichi’s friends, who has lived through this event for almost 100 years. Anyone who lives in Hinamizawa is doomed to die a horrible death, either by murder or by suicide. The only way to escape fate is to leave Hinamizawa before the reset.