10 of the best horror-themed anime series

10 of the best horror-themed anime series

October is always the special time of the year to justify the reason to indulge in various horror films and series, especially in 2022 which sees countless tantalizing independent horror films from Pearl (2022) to Barbarian (2022). Still, you may find yourself getting tired of live-action horror flicks, so why not give these creepy horror anime series a shot, both instant classics as well as underrated gems.


Aided by the versatile animation medium that recognizes the importance of tapping into the audience’s imagination, many gripping horror anime shows not only employ conventional jump scares, but explore the depths of psychological and folkloric horror that both alienate and terrorize viewers.

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‘Soul Eater’

An obvious choice for the spooky season given the prominent Halloween-inspired characters, Soul Eater is a supernatural action comedy anime that not only offers a unique take on iconic horror icons ranging from witches to Japanese god of death – Shinigamishows the show even one David Lynch‘s Twin Peaks reference that screams crossover.

Soul Eater takes place in a world where human hybrids with the ability to transform their bodies into deadly weapons capable of destroying evil beings, and the famous Death Weapon Meister Academy exists solely for the purpose of raising these demon weapons and weapon masters to fight evil that lingers in the world as you learn the importance of unity of body and soul.

“Mononoke”

A spin-off of the horror anime anthology series Ayakashi: Samurai Horror Tales, Mononoke sheds light on traditional Japanese folklore, albeit with a modernist stylish animation style that elevates its unsettling storytelling and atmosphere.

This oft-overlooked anime gem sees a vagabond-like character known as the “Medicine Seller” travel across feudal Japan in search of vengeful spirits called mononoke to slaughter. Armed with the mighty sword of exorcism, the medicine seller must learn the spirit’s form, truth, and reason before returning peace to both the human world and the supernatural realm.

‘Hell Girl’

The world has no shortage of cruelty and injustice, driving many loving individuals to the brink of morality before resorting to extreme and irreversible actions. Hell girl is an episodic supernatural horror anime series that explores the good, the bad, and the ugly of being human.

Each episode usually follows the formula of a self-contained story in which a person faces a problem that has brought more suffering than they can handle. Rumor has it that an ominous website domain will become active at midnight, where the afflicted can access the Hell Correspondence website, and Ai Enma, “Hell Girl” will take the name of grudge to hell, not before moments of physical and emotional torture felt as eternal.

‘Blood C’

If you’re a fan of torture porn and body horror movies, be sure to check it out Blood C out. This is an action-horror series that is most infamous in the anime community for a specific sequence that involves terrifying monsters feasting on harmless citizens in the most creative, gross, blood-spattered way possible.

A follow-up to the equally entertaining vampire anime series Blood +, Blood C follows Saya Kisaragi who is an ordinary high school girl and shrine maiden by day while a fearsome monster hunter by night. Trained by her father to be a skilled swordswoman, Saya will do everything she can to protect the charming little town she lives in, but everything changes when she overhears a disturbing truth about her village.

‘Ghost Stories’

Ghost stories is a controversial anime series due to its vastly different versions of storytelling from the Japanese and English dubs respectively. While the original Japanese series is a decent horror anime series on its own, the plethora of wall-breaking and pop culture references along with the lack of political correctness is what cements Ghost Stories’ status as one of the best English-dubbed anime shows.

Centered around a group of children who learn that their local schoolyard is haunted, the mystery show sees a pair of siblings and their new friends attempt to escape from creepy ghouls while trying to exorcise them according to a book left behind by the pair’s late mother.

Sankarea: Immortal Love

Have you ever dreamed of a zombie boyfriend? Sankarea: Immortal Love gives audiences a sneak peek at what life will be like if you manage to stumble across an undead love interest who eats hydrangea leaves to survive.

The supernatural romance show follows protagonist Chihiro Furuya, a high school student with a keen interest in zombies. He meets a girl named Rea Sanka who is in constant pain due to her overbearing father, and she decides to drink a resurrection potion made by Chihiro according to an ancient manuscript, thinking it is poison. Although it fails to kill her on the spot, the potion becomes effective when Rea survives falling off a cliff, then becoming an undead.

xxxHolic

Based on a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by popular manga group Clampis this supernatural mystery drama full of stunning and elaborate illustrations, dealing with Japanese urban legends such as “The Angel Game” and local superstitions such as the taboo of cutting nails after 10:00 p.m.

Explores people’s deepest insecurities and fears, xxxHolic mainly revolves around the daily interactions between a high school student with the troubling ability to see the supernatural, Kimihiro Watanuki, and a powerful, mysterious woman, Yuuko who owns a store that only those with complications can enter.

Shiki

Shiki is a vampire horror anime series that rejects the mainstream media’s interpretation of vampires as romanticized, charming bloodsuckers with redeeming qualities. The shikior corpse demons, in this anime show the characters are constantly forced into fight-or-flight situations as it’s all a matter of survival of the fittest.

Set in a small, isolated town in Sotoba, Japan, a gruesome series of deaths begin to strike the once idyllic village, causing the residents to lose trust and wary of each other. The town’s doctor Toshio Ozaki begins to investigate and discovers that the mysterious illness may originate from the Kirishiki family who have just moved into a castle built on the outskirts of town.

Death parade

Not involving any ghouls or otherworldly beings, Death parade is a fine example showing that humans can be complex monsters scarier than some urban legends or vengeful ghosts.

The suspenseful supernatural drama takes place in the Quindecim Bar, a place between heaven and hell where only a couple of people can enter at a time. Arbiters host bartenders, and the dead must participate in games with painfully high stakes, where the participants’ souls will be judged and either sent to reincarnation or banished to the void.

Kemonozume

From the creators of Devilman Crybaby and Ping Pong The Animation comes to a criminally underrated anime that is an amalgamation of different genres from romance to supernatural action elements, not to mention Masaaki Yuasaits signature frenetic and psychedelic animation style that guarantees an adrenaline-inducing viewing experience.

Kemonozume focuses on the forbidden romance between a young woman who happens to be a flesh-eating monster called shokujinki and the heir to a martial arts school dedicated to hunting these man-devouring creatures in the shadows. Unwilling to kill the young woman when others have discovered her true identity, the man abdicates responsibility and settles into a life of constant flight to be with the one he loves.

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