10 Awesome But Overlooked Supernatural Anime

10 Awesome But Overlooked Supernatural Anime

Halloween may not last forever, but supernatural anime is always in season. It’s not surprising that dozens of stories about exorcists and demons and yokai are produced every year. Japanese folklore in particular is a gift that keeps on giving, and stories that have been around for centuries often leave their mark on modern anime.


RELATED: 10 Scariest Yokai in Anime

For every explosive hit that Chainsawman or Jujutsu Kaisen, a few huge supernatural series fall by the wayside. These shows are no less wonderful for missing the spotlight, and fans of all things spooky or whimsical should check out these gems if they haven’t already.

10/10 Natsume’s Book of Friends is a perennial hit…in some countries

Some anime work better in different locations. Cowboy Bebop has always been greater in the West than in Japan. Likewise, shows that win the adoration of Japanese fans may fail to make a splash overseas. Such a show is Natsume’s friend booka charmingly heartfelt slow burn of a series about a boy who can see yokai.

Set in Kyushu and animated under the careful direction of acclaimed writer Takahiro Omori, Friends book takes a slow pace and an almost Ghibli-esque level of whimsy throughout its run. Although the average western fan may only be vaguely aware of the series, it has been around for no less than six seasons Friends book, as well as two feature films that boast wide theatrical releases in Japan. Deep inside, Friends book is a near-perfect coming-of-age story that combines careful storytelling with Japanese folklore and subtle characterization.

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9/10 Zettai Karen Children: The Unlimited does almost everything right

Sporting such a long title did Zettai Karen Children: The Unlimited get services. A spin-off based on an early 2000s manga about psychic children, The unlimited may have seemed too niche to lure in potential viewers. In reality, the series is an exciting, accessible entry in the ESPer subgenre.

RELATED: 10 Best Anime Psychics The decision to cast a mental refugee as the main character is surprisingly effective here, and the show, produced by Manglobe before it collapsed, delivers 12 excellent episodes of drama and action. Unfortunately, nary a whisper of The unlimited is pronounced decades later.

8/10 Kemono Jihen should have been huge

In a world where Demon Slaughter and Tokyo Ghoul took anime fandom by storm when it’s hard to believe Kemono Jihen failed to leave anything close to their impact. Like most modern shonen hits, Kemono Jihen is a gruesome supernatural series featuring monsters, magic, violence and an inhuman protagonist.

The lack of interest is puzzling. Character design reminiscent of Hunter x hunter and offbeat, quirky horror elements that echo horror shows Dorohedoro somehow work together here. Audiences put off by the art style should give the show a real shot. Kemono JihenStory beats, characters and horror elements are all prime fare.

7/10 Chaika: The coffin princess is bone at its best

The same year that Bones, Inc. produced hits such as Noragami and Space Dandy, Chaika the coffin princess debuted to considerably less fanfare. The story follows Chaika, a young sorcerer who teams up with a wandering ex-soldier and his sister. The three traverse a post-war fantasy landscape in hopes of collecting the magical remains of the former Emperor.

Bones can be relied upon to deliver excellent animation and inventive direction. While no studio hits a home run every time, Bones is among the most consistently solid anime creators in the scene. Chaika is no exception.

6/10 Sunday without God is unforgettable

People accept death as a necessary part of life, but perhaps take death for granted in a more conventional sense. IN Sunday without God, God has left the world. As a result, people have stopped dying and giving birth, and society has fallen into a state of desperate stagnation.

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Only beings known as Gravekeepers, like the protagonist Ai, have the ability to truly put the undead to rest and save them from an eternity of decay. Few series have ever so successfully tackled such a vast and existential theme, only to be rejected by anime fans.

5/10 Dusk Maiden Of Amnesia is as scary as it is heartfelt

Dusk Maiden of Amnesia is a smartly directed paranormal series about a school built on top of a shrine and then haunted by a girl named Yuuko.

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The anime walks a fine line between tragedy and comedy, nailing both at different points. At times funny and at times cruel, Amnesia has the hallmarks of a modern horror classic.

4/10 The Morose Mononokean is fluffy medicine for the soul

Supernatural shows don’t have to be bleak or even morbid to make an impression. The Morose Mononokean know this better than most. Light-hearted to a fault, this anime about an overworked high school exorcist and a kind if bumbling classmate who stumbles into his spectral teahouse feels like a close, dear cousin to Friends book.

The pair soon become partners, banishing and befriending yokai as needed. While the series takes a distinct shounen-ai line that never quite takes off, Mononoke reimagines traditional stories through a charming, modern lens.

3/10 Have fans forgotten about Ghost Hunt?

Ask just about any modern otaku about Ghost Hunt,and they have to think about ghost stories, a cult classic known for its deliberately bad English dub. Ghost hunting is a completely different show, and it’s another great example of great but forgotten gold.

Among the earliest examples of anime focused on paranormal school clubs, Ghost hunting was written in the 90s, but received an excellent anime adaptation in 2006. The beloved horror and high school tropes are all on display, but a compelling shoujo romance also takes center stage. A balancing act for the ages, fans of the paranormal should dig up Ghost hunting.

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2/10 Gegege No Kitaro has an unpredictable legacy

Many anime fans around the world are familiar, but vague, with Gegege No Kitaro. It’s one thing to know that this is a Showa-era classic about a half-yokai boy who keeps the peace between humans and spirits, and another to recognize the indelible impact the series has had on everything from anime to modern Japanese sensibilities. Shigeru Mizuki almost invented the supernatural anime genre.

Mizuki was a historian, researching centuries-old works to learn more about yokai, gradually incorporating classic, all-but-lost folktales into his landmark series. As a former WWII soldier, prisoner of war and amputee, Mizuki also became an outspoken pacifist. Mizuki preached empathy and peace in his works, even acknowledging Japan’s war crimes at a time when most writers attempted to rewrite brutal history. Today in Japan, both grandparents and grandchildren love each other Kitaro and his unlikely band of inhuman and human friends. It should be like that all over the world.

1/10 The Eccentric Family is an underrated masterpiece

Not enough people appreciated The eccentric familywritten by Tomohiko Morimi, the same writer who created The Tatami Galaxy. The eccentric family tells the story of a group of shape-shifting tanuki struggling to live in modern Kyoto, where storybook monsters and monstrous people abound. Yasaburo does his best to keep his headstrong brothers and mother in line after the sudden brutal death of his father.

A tanuki leader, Yasaburo’s father was cooked and eaten in a hotpot by none other than the human woman Yasaburo has been in love with for years. With complex characters, a deep dive into folklore, surreal imagery and existential introspection, The eccentric family has everything – and humor.

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