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10 Survival Anime About Children Trying To Avoid Getting Murdered, Because That’s Apparently A Genre

Survival anime

You may not realise that it’s a genre, but survival anime have always been a great way to keep you on your toes as you watch the protagonists overcome all odds and, well, survive. 

survival anime - children avoid getting murdered
Image credit: @pythiee

A Twitter user discovered that VRV – a streaming service only available in the United States – took it upon themselves to create a tragically hilarious sub-genre of anime dubbed “Children avoiding getting murdered”.

The tweet blew up as users couldn’t believe that such an absurd genre was real, and just to follow up on this wacky phenomena, we created a list of survival anime that features children trying to avoid getting murdered.

1. The Promised Neverland

survival anime - the promised neverland
Image credit: TVアニメ「約束のネバーランド」

The Promised Neverland is set in Grace Field, an orphanage surrounded by a huge forest and towering gates. Isabella, the orphanage’s main caretaker, is also known as the “mom” of all the children at Grace Field as she is the one who raises them.

The children there lead a peaceful and happy life until one day, Emma and Norman – two of the oldest children there – discover the truth behind the orphanage.

Spoiler alert: All of the children that were successfully “adopted” were, in reality, murdered to be consumed by terrifying demons. The orphanage is thus a guise, and the children are unfortunately livestock for the demons.

As a result, Emma, Ray, and Norman have to come up with a plan to escape from both Isabella and the orphanage with all the kids so as to avoid their imminent deaths.

You can watch The Promised Neverland on Netflix.

Genre: Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Suspense
Length: 2 seasons, 23 episodes
Release date: 10th January 2019

Video credit: Aniplex USA

2. Made in Abyss

survival anime - made in abyss
Image credit: アニメ「メイドインアビス」

Made in Abyss follows Riko, a young girl who lives in an orphanage in the town of Orth. In the middle of the town lies a huge mysterious hole of unknown depths, known as the Abyss.

The Abyss contains many artefacts and technology from aeons ago and is thus a popular spot for raiders. The deeper one descends into the Abyss, the higher the chance of finding valuable loot. 

However, “The Curse of the Abyss” prevents most adventurers from descending too deep as the curse manifests itself as one ascends the abyss. Ascending too much could even be fatal – which is why very few who have descended deep into the lower areas of the Abyss made it back safely.

Riko meets a robot boy – who was probably created deep in the Abyss – on one of her expeditions and vows to reach the bottom of the Abyss and discover the truth behind it all. However, will Riko be able to survive the cruel reality of the Abyss?

Genre: Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Mystery, Sci-Fi
Length: 13 episodes
Release date: 7th July 2017

Video credit: KADOKAWAanime

3. Attack on Titan

survival anime - attack on titan
Image credit: TVアニメ「進撃の巨人」

Attack on Titan depicts a post-apocalyptic world where humanity has been devoured almost to extinction by giant humanoid monsters known as the Titans, and the only humans left dwell behind the safety of towering concentric walls that keep them safe.

One day, a colossal Titan manages to open up a huge hole in the wall, allowing other Titans to enter the humans’ once-safe haven.

After witnessing the cruel massacre and losing his mother to a Titan, Eren Yeager decides to join the Survey Corps – the military branch that is most involved in Titan combat – along with his adoptive sister Mikasa and his childhood friend Armin.

The three of them vow to fight the Titans with their lives on the line in order to protect the rest of humanity, while finding out the truth behind the history of the Titans.

You can watch Attack on Titan on Netflix.

Genre: Action, Drama, Fantasy, Mystery
Length: 4 seasons, 87 episodes
Release date: 7th April 2013

Video credit: ぽにきゃん-Anime PONY CANYON

4. Dr. Stone

survival anime - dr stone
Image credit: TVアニメ「Dr.STONE」

In the world of Dr. Stone, all of humanity has been turned to stone by a mysterious green light that flashed across the entire earth. 

One day, Taiju awakes from the petrification and finds that all traces of modern civilisation have been completely eradicated. All that’s left in its wake is the flourishing of nature.

Taiju meets his science geek friend Senku soon after and finds out that Senku has been awake for several months. Senku aims to revive all of humanity eventually with his extensive knowledge of science.

With Senku as the brains and Taiju as the brawns, the two soon find a way to revive those who have been petrified. However, one of the people they revived – Tsukasa, a famous martial artist – is opposed to Senku’s plan.

Tsukasa believes that the modern world of science and technology was corrupted and should not be revived. Instead, Tsukasa believes in the survival of the fittest in a world that is free from the perversion of modernity.

Senku now has to deal with Tsukasa, who wants to kill him for the sake of his own ideology.

You can watch Dr. Stone on Netflix.

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi
Length: 2 seasons, 35 episodes
Release date: 14th January 2021

Video credit: TOHO animation チャンネル

5. The Orbital Children

survival anime - orbital children
Image credit: オリジナルアニメ「地球外少年少女」

The Orbital Children is set in the year 2045, when artificial intelligence and advanced technology are ubiquitous in space. 

The story follows three gifted children on a sponsored trip to a Japanese commercial space station as part of a promotional event. The station also houses two children, who were born on the Moon.

While on the station, a massive accident causes the children to be separated from the adult staff. The children now have to try to survive the aftermath of the accident – their oxygen supply has been cut off, and a part of the station has been damaged and is leaking air.

You can watch Orbital Children on Netflix.

Genre: Sci-Fi
Length: 6 episodes
Release date: 28th January 2022

Video credit: avex pictures

6. Angels of Death

survival anime - angels of death
Image credit: TVアニメーション「殺戮の天使」

Angels of Death follows Rachel Gardner, who wakes up in the basement of a mysterious building and finds that she is suffering from amnesia. The only desire that Rachel has is to die.

Rachel encounters a scythe-carrying murderer named Zack, who is trying to escape from the building. Zack initially tries to kill Rachel, but later realises that he needs her in order to escape.

The two form a pact where Zack promises to kill Rachel after they leave the building. As they solve puzzles and ascend the building, they encounter different enemies guarding each floor.

Can Rachel avoid getting killed by the other enemies so that she can be killed by Zack in the end?

You can watch Angels of Death on Netflix.

Genre: Adventure, Horror, Suspense
Length: 16 episodes
Release date: 6th July 2018

Video credit: KADOKAWAanime

7. Seraph of the End

survival anime - seraph of the end
Image credit: 終わりのセラフ

In Seraph of the End, a deadly virus has wiped out most of humanity, and only children below the age of 13 are unaffected by the virus. To make matters worse, vampires emerge to bring what’s left of humanity under control, promising to protect humans in exchange for their blood. 

Yuuichiro and Mikaela, two young boys from an orphanage, are treated like livestock alongside other children and are held captive at the vampires’ abode.

The two attempt to escape with the rest of the children, but they fail miserably. A noble vampire caught on to their plans and they were all massacred, leaving Yuuichiro as the sole survivor.

Yuuichiro was then found by the Moon Demon Company, a military unit created to rid the world of vampires and reestablish human civilisation. With the single goal of eradicating the monstrous creatures that killed his family, Yuuichiro pushes on.

You can watch Seraph of the End on Netflix.

Genre: Action, Drama, Supernatural
Length: 2 seasons, 24 episodes
Release date: 4th April 2015

Video credit: NBCUniversal Anime/Music

8. Sword Art Online

survival anime - sword art online
Image credit: TVアニメ「ソードアート・オンライン」

Set in a future where technology has advanced incredibly, Sword Art Online revolves around the titular virtual reality massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). Using a special gaming device called NerveGear, players can control their in-game avatars with their minds.

Kirigaya Kazuto, better known as his in-game avatar Kirito, is one of the lucky players chosen to be a beta tester of Sword Art Online and he gets to play it before the game’s official release.

However, when he enters the game upon its release, he realises that the option to log out is missing. The creator of the game then explained that in order to log out, the players must complete all 100 levels of Aincrad – a steel castle crawling with increasingly difficult monsters in the game.

The creator also reveals that any in-game deaths or attempts at physically removing the NerveGear would result in the players’ deaths in reality. 

You can watch Sword Art Online on Netflix.

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Romance
Length: 3 seasons, 96 episodes
Release date: 8th July 2012

Video credit: Madman Anime

9. Danganronpa: The Animation

survival anime - danganronpa the animation
Image credit: TVアニメ「ダンガンロンパ」

Danganronpa: The Animation follows Makoto Naegi, who enrols in Hope Peak Academy – an elite school – after winning the lottery. However, his first day is nothing like he imagined. 

Moments after he sets foot in the school, he falls unconscious. Upon waking up, Monokuma, the school’s sadistic principal, reveals that the students are trapped in the academy and their only means of escape is to play Monokuma’s sadistic game.

Each student will have to murder another student in order to escape. However, when a body is discovered, there will be a trial to discover the identity of the killer. Should the killer be revealed, they will be punished by a horrendous death.

Will the students of Hope Peak Academy survive their predicament and successfully “graduate” from the school?

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Romance
Length: 25 episodes
Release date: 8th July 2012

Video credit: AnimaxAsia

10. Mirai Nikki (Future Diary)

survival anime - mirai nikki future diary
Image credit: Asread

Amano Yukiteru is an ordinary boy who keeps a digital diary of random events that happen in his life. 

One day, Yukiteru realises that his diary had already been written for the day, although the day had only just started. The events that had been written down in his diary actually happen for real, and Yukiteru realises that it was no mere coincidence.

Yukiteru finds out that his classmate Gasai Yuno also has a diary that predicts the future, and the two team up to fight off a stranger who suddenly shows up to murder them.

Later on, Deus Ex Machina – the God of Space and Time – explains that there are 12 diary users, including the two of them, participating in Deus’ survival game. 

The 12 contestants have to fight and kill each other using their future diaries and emerge victorious as the sole winner of this cruel survival game.

You can watch Mirai Nikki on Netflix.

Genre: Action, Mystery, Supernatural, Suspense
Length: 26 episodes
Release date: 9th October 2011

Video credit: KADOKAWAanime

Survival anime with strong children as protagonists

Perhaps it is only in survival anime where children can be portrayed as strong, intelligent, and likeable characters because they are forced to mature quickly for the sake of their survival. And perhaps that’s hella depressing, but at least it’s entertaining.

Also check out:

Cover image adapted from (left to right): TVアニメ「約束のネバーランド」, アニメ「メイドインアビス」, オリジナルアニメ「地球外少年少女」