It can be hard to imagine horror stories working well in anime, as scary jumps usually wouldn’t be as effective and impactful. However, the horror genre is about much more than cheap scares – it’s about that spooky feeling that the story creates throughout its runtime.
There may not be countless examples of great series like there are in shonen or shoujo, but anime features some horror masterpieces that are downright chilling. For fans who crave some phantasmagoria, the following are some of the greatest horror anime of all time and are downright heart-pounding.
Boogiepop Phantom is creepy and compelling
When a Japanese city is plagued by a series of gruesome, ritualistic murders, it’s obvious that something abnormal is to blame. Boogiepop Ghost follows the Boogiepop urban legend, which appears to be the personification of death. The townspeople are scared every night in this anthology series, because once someone comes face to face with the Boogiepop they’re caught – or so the rumor goes.
There’s a certain thrill to boogie pop as it will continue to drift in and out of reality, leaving audiences perplexed. The story makes good use of urban fantasies and makes viewers wonder if such malevolent evil also exists in the real world.
Devilman Crybaby is downright terrifying
The title might sound like a typical shonen synopsis, but the events get quite unsettling in crybaby devilman. The demons in this anime aren’t friendly or even chicks; they are rather oversexualized, violent and annoying. crybaby devilman can be a roller coaster for many – there’s a lot of brutality, psychedelic visuals, gore, religious subtext, explicit content and heaps of demons.
Protagonist Akira Fudo leads a quiet life until his best friend thrusts him into the world of demons and darkness – and even considers using Akira for personal gain. It’s a perfect watch for horror fans who aren’t looking for content with deep storylines.
Yami Shibai is everyone’s worst nightmare
This title is also known as Japanese Ghost Stories, so it’s clear that watching Yami Shibai will be a disturbing experience. It’s a perfect watch for anyone who enjoys good ol’ urban legend-driven horror content presented through quality storytelling. Yami Shibai follows several short stories centered on various Japanese urban legends that have been passed down for years.
This spooky horror-fueled festival will leave audiences in a cold sweat, especially those watching with the lights off. The best thing about this show is that it doesn’t waste time on overused tropes. He uses a unique yet chilling theatrical art style to tell these chilling stories. Each presentation features a different disturbing myth that will keep audiences glued to the screens.
Junji Ito collection should come with a warning
Based on the hugely popular manga, Junji Itō is an endless nightmare of short horror stories that will give viewers the creeps. Although many Ito fans would argue that this anime didn’t do the manga justice, it’s still a wonderful watch and is by far one of the best anime horror series.
Viewers are exposed to horrifying tales of a cursed town where poor travelers would find spirits cursing them at a fog-filled crossroads, or slugs growing out of a girl’s mouth. The Junji Ito Collection stays incredibly true to its nature, and there’s no turn-based when it comes to stories. It’s a Japanese horror masterpiece and a great must-have series for horror lovers.