Do you know what really spices up a good anime? Horror elements! There’s nothing that will shake up the old concept of anime like infusing with the dark side of the cinematic world and seeing what monster will come out.
And there’s plenty of good material to go around, hence our pursuit for the best horror anime was an enjoyable endeavor with plenty of intricate twists and turns, and plenty of discoveries we loved.
The list could be much longer than 10 items, but we figured it’s enough to begin with. In our opinion, each of these series is a must watch for any fan of the genre, but feel free to stretch the boundaries as well once you’re done and pursue further recommendations.
Top Ten Horror Anime
So what made this list? Essentially, we injected subjective opinions here, but also made sure that each of the series in the rundown fulfills certain quality criteria that can be considered objective, such as quality storytelling, top-notch animation and illustration, original and different approach, engaging characters and dialogs, good effects, and more.
With all that in mind, feel free to proceed to the Top 10 list below and see what we have in store for ya!
We’ll kick things off with a thrilling mystery horror known as “Another.” The series tells the story of the notorious Yomiyama North Middle School class of 3-3. Way back in 1972, a student known as Misaki suddenly died in class halfway through the school year. Devastated by the loss they suffered, the boy’s classmates and teachers simply continue to act as if he was still alive since facing the reality would be too much of a shock. This even leads to a strange presence on the graduation photo.
Many years later, in the spring of 1988, 15-year-old Kōichi Sakakibara is transferred to the 3-3 class in Yomiyama. There, he meets a fellow student knows as Mei Misaki. What makes things very strange is that everyone seems to ignore Mei to such an extreme extent that it looks like they don’t even notice he’s present in the classroom.
From that point on, the school’s students and their relatives start dying in strange ways. The relation to the 1972 incident becomes more and more apparent to our hero, join the journey to find out how the story ends…
– Higurashi When They Cry
Set in a small town of 2,000 people, “Higurashi When They Cry” follows the story of a student called Keiichi Maebara who had just moved to town. What seems like a peaceful community is in fact plagued by a dark mystery that occurs every year during the Watanagashi Festival, an annual event in celebration of the local god Oyashiro.
Keiichi learns that for the past four years, one person was murdered and another one went missing during the festivities, discovering four stories in which a person becomes paranoid and a heinous crime is committed. He continues digging deeper and eventually the disturbing truth is unveiled. Join the ride for full details!
We recommend getting onboard with the season one Blu-ray edition for best viewing experience. The four-disc package will bring you around 650 minutes of pure psychological drama of the highest quality, and if that’s your type of thing, better buckle up!
– Elfen Lied
If you are a fan of the sci-fi genre combined with some good ole horror, we recommend checking out the “Elfen Lied” series. The anime is set in the Japanese city of Kamakura and focuses on a newly bred mutant race called Diclonius, a combination of humans with exceptional abilities and different appearances.
Diclonius have similar looks to regular humans, but come with the ability to use their invisible telekinetic arms called Vectors. The series’ main character, Lucy, is also a member of the Diclonius race. Held in a research lab at first, Lucy escapes her imprisonment and is constantly followed by the Special Assault Team that wants to capture her, badly.
During the escape, the lass got injured, causing her to develop a second, child-like personality known simply as Nyu. On the outside, the Diclonius race stands out with horns, or horn-like protrusions on their heads, making them distinguishable and easy to spot in public. This will be an intense ride for Lucy and her companions, get the anime to see how the story develops!
We recommend getting the Complete Collection edition for maximum enjoyment – 2 discs, 350 minutes of content, and even an affordable price. What more can you ask for?
Small villages can have something horrifying about them when darkness falls. If that desolated gloom is something that intrigues you, we say check out “Shiki.” Set in the quiet Japanese village of Sotoba in the 1990s, this anime kicks off with a series of mysterious deaths that start occurring as soon as an odd family moves into the Kanemasa mansion, which was abandoned in many, many years.
At first, everyone doubts that an epidemic has occurred. However, it is very soon that our hero becomes convinced that there is a much darker and more disturbing reason behind those deaths. No spoilers here, so join the ride and better buckle up!
This is a dark and gloomy series, and if you are up for exploring that side of anime, this is the perfect starting point. The title comes in an awesome Limited Edition package with four discs and 300 minutes of content in part 1. The anime was written by Kenji Sugihara and directed by Tetsurō Amino, featuring top quality music from composer Yasuharu Takanashi.
Let’s get down to some good ole zombie undead hack n’ slash now, shall we? Focused on the Royal Order of Protestant Knights, which was originally led by Abraham Van Helsing, the series has a few very simple goals – to bring you blood and compelling storytelling.
Anyhow, the mentioned organization in the anime is currently led by Sir Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing, who inherited her position after watching the death of her father.
To make things even more spiced up, Nazis are involved, and in need of some whoppin’ too! But don’t think that this one is just about gore and violence, either! Sure, those are a part of the whole equation, but there are also some compelling characters and awesome dialogues here, so keep your eyes peeled for those as well.
The “Hellsing” anime TV series directed by Umanosuke Iida and written by Chiaki J. Konaka, featuring music by composer Yasushi Ishii. The best option for kicking this journey off – in our opinion at least – is the Ultimate Collection BluRay edition. With five discs and running length of 180 minutes, the package truly has everything a fan needs.
– Tokyo Ghoul
This one is borderline horror and more in the dark fantasy realm, but we still figured it’s more than appropriate to make the rundown. Anyway, “Tokyo Ghoul” tells the story of an alternate reality in which humans and flesh eating monsters live in the same cities. The monsters look very similar to humans and it’s difficult to set the two apart, allowing them to thrive in the same environment.
The reason why ghouls crave for human flesh is pure survival, for without it they die. The story follows a fella named Ken Kaneki, who gets bitten by his date Rize Kamishiro, who turns out to be a ghoul.
This transforms our hero into a half-ghoul, which is a stronger and superior creature to regular ghouls. They have stronger senses, increased speed, ability to regenerate, and develop a special predatory organ called Kagune.
In this whole mess, Ken is left to struggle with his new life, survival, and the point of living as a half-ghoul. As always, it turns out that there is more to both human and ghoul side than meets the eye, and we would like to leave it to you to discover that world.
Directed by Kenichi Shimizu and written by Shōji Yonemura, “Parasyte” tells an intricate story of a 17 year old guy named Shinichi Izumi. He lives in the world that is infested by Parasites, dangerous worm like creatures that take over the brains of human beings by entering their bodies through noses and ears.
One day, a parasite attempts to enter Izumi’s ear, but since our hero was wearing headphones at the moment, the creature fails to reach his brain, taking over only his right hand (left hand in the Tokyopop version). Now, the two actually start operating as a team, keeping other Parasites away from Shimizu, and even fighting the aliens.
This brings on a vast array of interesting topics and deep questions regarding both sides, and keeps the viewers on the very edge of their seats! Whether or not the two manage to defeat the aliens, and whether they remain a team in the first place is something we’d like to leave on you to discover by watching the series.
– High School of the Dead
If you like the spooky stuff combined with a load of action set in high school surrounding, the “High School of the Dead” just might be the best anime for you. The story is set in modern day Japan, and follows a group of high school students as the world is struck by a massive pandemic that turns humans into zombies.
The group finds its way through the infested wasteland our planet is becoming, fighting off zombies and battling corrupt humans along the way. Soon enough, they make it through a mall and a police station, reaching an elementary school that is supposed to be a safe zone. Whether or not it really turns out to be one is on you to discover by watching the series, which we very much recommend.
– Hell Girl
Spicing things up with a pinch of mystery, up next is the “Hell Girl.” This series operates not as one large story, but rather as a string of different stories brought by each episode. Each story is of course connected by the presence of Hell Girl, who is summoned via a website, of course.
The way it goes is that each episode shows a person who has been tormented by an acquaintance to the point of madness, at which point they contact Hell Correspondence site and submit a request to have that person removed.
Needless to say, things don’t always go as smoothly as planned, ultimately involving the press, the authorities, and the whole world. Join this ride if mysteries are your thing, you’ll absolutely love it.
If you like complex plots, and a strong chunk of psychological thriller vibe, “Monster” is your choice! This anime follows the story of brain surgeon Dr. Kenzō Tenma, who saves the life of a man named Johan Liebert. Nine years later, after a string of plot setups, Johan is identified as the man behind some heinous actions.
How Kenzo reacts to the fact that the man he saved is a “monster” is left for you to discover, but take our word for it – you won’t blink throughout this entire series. We think that the best purchasing option is the DVD Box set, it has everything you need, including three discs and 325 minutes of footage. Recommended for everyone, top notch stuff!
In a nutshell, each of the listed titles is worthy of consideration for the flattering title of the best horror anime in the world. They all come with an exciting storyline and are engaging to the point that you will find yourself standing on the edge of your seat.
These series will scare you, excite you, make you thing, and just have a very good time. So join the ride, as it just might turn out to be a journey of a lifetime.
First of all, make sure you know what you want and what your personal preferences are. With that out of the way, proceed to choose your perfect angel from one of the listed 10. Highly recommended, a major thumbs