There is hardly a genre that anime hasn’t conquered, and horror is no exception. There are some haunting horror anime that are extremely spooky, and in some cases, pretty disturbing as well. They toy with the psychology of the viewer and are often too gruesome to handle. The form of horror might be philosophical, psychological, or even a simple narrative about the supernatural, but these horror anime have entertained the fans over the years.
In this video, we have brought together a collection of some of the best horror anime that will be the perfect watch in the aftermath of Halloween. Some of these are even banned in many countries owing to their disturbing content. Pull up the blankets, and leave the lights on as we take you through this eerie journey!
Paranoia Agent (2004)
The streets of Tokyo are suddenly threatened by a young attacker who assaults his victims with a baseball bat. It starts when Tsukiko Sagi, a character designer, is attacked by this young boy and detectives Ikari and Maniwa get on the case. They soon discover that the attacker picks his victims such that their life actually gets better following the assault.
However, soon the attacks turn more violent, and a confession from Tsukiko sheds some light on the identity of this mysterious assailant. This surreal and psychological anime is a treat for those who like their anime with a dark theme. It is certainly for a mature audience because Paranoia Agent doesn’t hesitate to go into some unpleasant characters and terrible situations.
Satoshi Kon lives up to his reputation, and for those not used to his style of work, a nasty surprise is in store! Under the cover of the thrilling story, the series throws a powerful insight into the terrible price of repression. The thin line between reality and perceptions blur as the horror unfolds. The stories of the victims in the story are inter-twining, and they provide a thought-provoking narrative that rattles the viewer.
The emotional and powerful climax, in particular, has a cleverly masked metaphor for life that is very enriching. The series was shown only on satellite networks in Japan because the harsh content was deemed unsuitable for prime-time network television. However, you wouldn’t want to miss out on this gem of an anime from Satoshi Kon, who tried out a TV anime series for the first and last time with this one!
Midori is a young, vibrant little girl whose life turns disastrous after her mother dies from an illness. Her father also moves out, and a circus producer tricks her into entering his funfair. She is repeatedly raped and abused as she lives in agony and absolute hopelessness. Things change when an enigmatic magician joins the group. Midori finds a glimmer of hope in her hellish life as she is acquainted with him!
This is a dark and unsettling anime that involves a twisted manga-style animation. It is believed that around 5000 paintings by the director, Hiroshi Handa, were used, and the man invested five years of his life in getting this done. He invested his life’s savings for this film as no studio was willing to invest.
While the animation is charming, the characters are not, and the script has some profound reflections on these gut-wrenching characters. It is an original interpretation of Maruo’s sizzling source material that has plenty of graphic violence and animal mutilation. This grotesque masterpiece has an intriguing storyline, but censorship found some moments to be too revolting.
The ending is a bit abrupt as we don’t get to know what happened next to the little girl. This anime film was banned all over the world, and even in Japan. The audiences in Japan found this so disgusting that most copies have been destroyed, and only a handful remain today! Watch it only if you feel that you can handle such disturbing content!
Pet Shop Of Horrors (1999)
There is a strange pet shop in an area called Chinatown that sells some rare pets to the customers. The owner, Count D, is an interesting fellow who provides a contract with each sale. As long as the customer abides by the contract, he has nothing to worry about, but a violation might bring danger and misfortune.
Some unexplainable deaths occur in town, and a detective traces them all to be customers of the pet shop. He now seeks to unravel the mystery behind the strange deaths and their relation with the pet shop!
The makers drifted a bit from the source material that is of a lighter style and full of humor. Instead, they made things darker and infused a lot of violence. The plot is interesting and will hold your interest, but the depressing moments will deal a blow to your enthusiasm.
There is a metaphorical interpretation of the plot, and you can view the pets to be symbolic of our desires and feelings. The artwork for this anime is done with extreme care, and the effects are delightful. The characters are well-drawn, and the entrancingly effeminate and mysterious owner of the shop will draw your curiosity.
The four episodes connect various storylines, but the ending left much to be desired as fans were handed out a cliffhanger. Pet Shop of Horrors rips off your mental defenses and leaves you feeling vulnerable. We advise caution while watching this, as the bloody violence is not everyone’s cup of tea!
Blue Gender (1999)
Yuji was suffering from a serious illness and cryogenically frozen twenty years ago. He wakes up to find Earth in the middle of a losing war against giant insects called the Blue, which is an alien force. Humanity is on the brink of extinction, and only a few have managed to survive the alien onslaught. Yuji is taken to the Second Earth, where humanity still lives, and he finds out that some other cryogenically frozen people like him are being used as the force to counter the Blue.
This is a thoroughly engaging anime series that has twists and turns around every corner. You are always left to wonder what happens next, and this well-made show has no let-up in the thrill quotient. There is a deep, thought-provoking plot that deals with how humans are destroying the Earth with their carelessness.
The animation is pretty impressive, and the Blue have been provided an interesting design. It is frightening and has the necessary intimidating aspect about it. The giant bugs and the horrors they bring are some of the best parts of the series. The characters too are nicely drawn-up, and you would do best not to get attached to any because they are randomly killed off without any hint.
The voices are dark and haunting, and the music adds to the haunting theme of the anime that will give you goosebumps. Some violence and characters sans their clothing meant that the show drew the ire of the censorships, but it still remains a fascinating experience for anime-lovers.
Lux is a man-made underground city where the system has collapsed from years of neglect. There are some major battles between three factions that want to gain control of the city. Ichise is an orphan who made a name for himself as a fighter, but one such fight makes him lose an arm and a leg.
A scientist finds him and uses him as a test subject for his new design, Texhnolyze. These are powerful new limbs that allow Ichise to work for the leader of one of the factions. It soon dawns on Ichise that he is the only one who can save the falling city!
This anime has a really special atmosphere that takes you through a breathtaking journey. Even with minimal dialogues, the storytelling is flawless, and there are some carefully composed, beautifully drawn shots. There is significant bloody violence with body parts being strewn around after explosions. However, the focus is on the psychological side as the story takes form with virtual metaphors.
The characters will often talk about deeper concepts like power, redemption, and salvation, and yet the scenes do not feel forced at any moment. The first few episodes seemed a tad pretentious, but very soon, the series picked up steam. You will also enjoy some adrenaline-pumping action sequences. As long as the extreme violence in some scenes doesn’t bother you, this series can be an enjoyable watch for you!
LILY C.A.T. (1987)
In a futuristic world, companies are trying to find mining sources in distant plants. One such company wants to investigate a new planet and sends a team to explore the region. In this team is a cat named Lily. They encounter a dangerous extraterrestrial matter that spreads a dangerous infection among the crew.
The bacteria soon become capable of evolving into a hostile life-form that can mimic the form of their human victims. They realize that a robotic form of Lily is responsible for taking over the spaceship. Now the members race against time to save themselves and eject safely!
LILY C.A.T. ranks among the classic sci-fi anime and clearly has some inspiration from the conventional American science fiction movies. The plot will remind you of movies like The Thing and Alien, but it does have its originality. The animation is typical of what you would expect in the late 80s, and the music played the perfect complement to the narrative.
The monsters are pretty imaginative, but they do have a resemblance to the creatures of the 1982 version of The Thing. There are some jaw-dropping action scenes, such as when one of the crew members attack with a homemade flamethrower. With all good things being said about this anime flick, we must add that it certainly isn’t suitable for children.
Tons of graphic violence, a scene where a cat is getting killed, and some bloody action sequences make this strictly for a mature audience. The censors edited out chunks of the movie in the United States before allowing it to be viewed by the audiences.
Perfect Blue (1997)
Mima is the lead singer of a successful J-Pop group and is encouraged by her manager to quit the band and try her luck in the television soap industry. However, as she climbs the rocky road of success, a dangerous admirer of the band starts posting threats and other disturbing information on her blog.
As she struggles to figure out the cause behind these, she finds out that those who wanted her to embrace her new career are being brutally killed. Can she get rid of this obsessed, violent killer?
This anime is based on a novel by Yoshikazu Takeuchi, and a wonderful adaptation makes for the perfect movie. The director, Satoshi Kon, is an expert when it comes to combining reality and fiction to deliver a spectacular outcome. He does so yet again, with a thrilling anime flick that explores a delusion within a nightmare.
The narrative will leave you confused, and for long, you would be left wondering who is behind all the gory murders! Mima’s character has been carefully elaborated, and her paranoia immediately grabs your attention. Several plot twists offer plenty of shocks that will take some time to absorb. However, the ending offers satisfactory explanations for all your queries that might have cropped up.
It gets scary at times and is outright exciting, something that thriller-fans will cherish. Initially, it was planned that the movie would be a live-action feature, but it was made into an anime after the financial backers pulled out. The infamous stabbing scene, the protagonist shedding her clothes for much of the movie, and many other moments of graphic violence, caused some jitters with the release. However, it was eventually loved and appreciated by anime fans from all over the world.
Serial Experiments Lain (1999)
A girl named Chisa commits suicide, but her classmates start getting emails from her. As such rumors grow stronger in school Lain tries to have a conversation with the dead girl. Chisa tells her that she killed herself because she did not need her physical body any longer. She now exists in a virtual realm, and Lain becomes obsessed with this strange world called The Wired. Her only question is that why someone would try out something like Chisa did?
This anime series will leave you in a combination of multiple emotions through engaging, intelligent, and bittersweet storytelling. While it might be interesting, watching this series can be pretty demanding on your mind. Lain is a mystifying character, and for much of the series, you will find yourself relating to her dilemma. She starts off as a shy girl who doesn’t care about computers and goes on to become an expert with a gigantic computer that keeps growing in potency.
It might not be an action-packed story, but the series raises some questions about our lifestyle and society that are very relevant. The animation is subtle and minimalistic, and intelligent storytelling will appeal to those who appreciate a thought-provoking series. As long as you can brave the violence and some depressing moments, you will have a wonderful time with this one.
Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories (2013)
This popular horror anime series featured stories of ghosts and urban legends. An old man would appear in a children’s playground and tell them some uncanny stories based on myths and folklore. Later on, from the third season, a young boy takes over his role. These tales feature some of the most horrifying incidents that will make your blood run cold!
This series features five-minute episodes of supernatural stories that will immediately strike a chord with horror fans. Every episode explored a different story, and they pretty much conquered all domains of horror. There are moments of jump-scares, and several tense moments make for an exciting watch.
The dark, unnerving stories are just the kind of stuff that gives you sleepless nights. The style of representing these stories and the use of some classic anime style makes for a visually pleasing experience. There are six seasons of this horrifying series that you set on your watch-list for a post-Halloween marathon.
At times the going got tricky for this show because some gruesome deaths and morbid violence caused the censors to step in. Brave through the chaos, and we promise you a thrill-ride through these short but potent episodes!
Wicked City (1987)
Peace between the two realms of Earth and the Black World is bound by a treaty that dates back hundreds of years. However, when the time comes for the treaty to be renewed, some evil forces want to disrupt it. A human named Taki, and a demon, Makie, are assigned the task of protecting a diplomat, who holds the key to everlasting peace.
They have an entire army of assassins in pursuit, and it will take every ounce of strength from the duo to succeed in the mission. Although Wicked City is packed with lots of action-packed entertainment and a brilliant plot, it becomes an easy target for the critics for being borderline hentai. That being said, even the so-called explicit scenes in this anime are very much a part of the story.
For many, it is a retold story of Demon City and is even written by the same guy. However, the representation is as different as chalk and cheese. The action-lovers are bound to get a kick out of this one, with several battles, cool guns, and explosions all through the anime. The animation is praise-worthy as well and adds to the delightful experience. Several countries had issues with the content and banned or censored the anime severely. While it clearly isn’t fit for children, it certainly is a guilty pleasure that you wouldn’t mind checking out!
The World YAMIZUKAN (2017)
This horror anime series consists of thirteen episodes of five-minute-long narratives of strange and bizarre incidents in our world. From cursed civilizations to eerie paranormal events, from UFOs to creepy supernatural powers, the stories feature everything in this picture show styled series. It tries to recreate the retro atmosphere of pulp horror stories and succeeds with a delightful anthology-style narrative.
This series offers something out of the ordinary that you wouldn’t easily find elsewhere. The stories are unique and often pretty scary for late-night binging. The anime-style might not be to everyone’s taste, but the fluent storytelling will be to your liking. Some of the episodes will make you aware of strange little tidbits that you had no idea happened! Despite the exciting little stories on offer, the strong language and some questionable scenes put this under the radar of the censors. If you do not have a problem with such content, feel free to watch and enjoy this amazing series!