The 20 best horror anime to watch (if you have enough courage for it)

Ready to have nightmares? We select for you some of the most macabre and interesting anime that every good horror fan (and anime) needs to see!

Attention: the titles that appear in the list are not sorted in order of better or worse. They are only our suggestions on which we consider the best anime within the genre. ?

20 best horror anime

20. Umineko no Naku Koro ni (2009)

best horror anime

If you are one of those looking for an anime with deep characters and a plot without “loose ends”, then it is better to go to the next title on our list … But if you are passionate about the scenes of VERY strange deaths and a mystery behind On the other, Umineko no Naku Koro ni is it the anime you can’t miss.

The story takes place on an island where the characters are trapped and, one by one, they begin to die in terrible ways. Bathler Ushiromiya is the protagonist of the plot and will have to discover if the murders are the work of human beings or … of something else. Originally, Umineko no Naku Koro was not based on one of the chapters of the When They Cry game series, developed by the 07th Expansion group, as well as another title also known to anime fans: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni.

19. Kagewani (2015 – 2016)

best horror anime

Kagewani ( “Shadow Crocodile” ) is a short anime series of just eight minutes each, created exclusively for television.

The anime tells the story of Sousuke Banba, a renowned scientist who travels the world investigating monstrous creatures (known as “UMA” – Unknown Mysterious Animal) that emerged recently and are destroying humanity.

18. Ghost Hunt (2006 – 2007)

best horror anime

This is probably one of the best-known horror genre titles among anime fans. And it is not for less, Ghost Hunt does justice to its fame and manages to provoke many scares with its well-constructed script and chilling scenes.

As its name suggests, Ghost Hunt presents the stories of a team of paranormal investigators who are hired to solve bizarre and creepy cases.

We can expect several typical elements of the horror / horror genre in this anime , from ghostly ghosts, demonic possessions, undead, vindictive spirits, etc.

The anime is based on the Japanese light novel of the same name created by Fuyumi Ono in 1989.

Just one last warning: seeing Ghost Hunter before bed means having many ballots to have not very pleasant dreams … Run at your own risk.

17. School Days (2007)

best horror anime

Well, at the beginning we cannot define School Days as a horror anime , I know … But, as the story unfolds, as a seemingly innocent slice of life , the plot begins to take such an unexpected form and bizarre that will leave you in shock when you reach the end!

School Days shows the darker side of human beings, the distortion of values ​​and the loss of moral principles.

We advise you not to judge this anime for its first episodes. Despite its initial appearance, it is much deeper and contains several important lessons that can lead you to have your next existential crisis.

16. Pet Shop of Horrors (1999)

best horror anime

This anime tells the story of a pet shop been run by the mysterious Count D . Obviously, it is not a common store, but is specialized in the sale of “special animals”. At the time of taking the pet home, the client must sign a contract with three conditions. If any of the rules is violated … Well, the new owner of the animal will have to bear all the consequences.

Many people consider this animation an OVA, due to its short duration: only 4 episodes, of 25 minutes each.

Each episode presents a different story, showing the reasons that lead the characters to look for this “special” animal shop.

As expected, when several strange and unexplained deaths begin to happen, all the signs point to a common place: the animal shop of Count D. At that moment the homicide detective Leon Orcot enters the scene, who assumes the investigation About this mysterious place.

Originally, the anime was based on the manga by Matsuri Akino, published between 1995 and 1998.

15. Mirai Nikki (2011 – 2012)

best horror anime

Mirai Nikki revolves around Yukiteru Amano, a rather peculiar student who has trouble making friends. As he has no one to talk to, the boy decides to create a diary on his mobile phone, recording everything that happens in his day to day.

In one of his moments of introspection, the “dominating god of time and space” invades Yukiteru’s thoughts and challenges him to participate in a game. Divinity gives the student the gift of foreseeing the future through his mobile phone, but only about what is around him, that is, his own destiny will remain a mystery to him.

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Like Yukiteru, another 11 people also receive “special diaries,” and each has a different ability. The challenge that the “god of time and space” proposes is for everyone to face death and, whoever survives, will take the place of divinity. Funny huh?

As if that “little toy” wasn’t already bizarre enough in itself, Gasai Yuno’s character contributes particularly to the disturbing and strange tone of the anime . She is one of the bearers of the “special newspapers” and is literally CRAZY of passion for Yukiteru.

The young woman is the creepiest stalker you can find. We say it very seriously: Yuno is capable of absolutely EVERYTHING for his crush. EVERYTHING!

Mirai Nikki is based on the homonymous manga created by Sakae Esuno, originally published between 2006 and 2010.

14. Chaos; Head (2008)

best horror anime

The series introduces us to the young Takumi Nishijou, a student who suffers from paranoia and constant delusions. The boy does not have many friends and spends most of his time at home, playing video games and watching anime .

However, his life is radically altered when he becomes an eyewitness to some horrible crimes. In addition, the young man also discovers the existence of people with “special gifts” that allow them to project creepy delusions on others.

The anime is full of a lot of graphic and psychological violence, not making it suitable for those who are more sensitive to some issues related to the human psyche.

The anime was released based on the game and the sleeves developed by Nitroplus and 5pb.

13. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (2006 – 2007)

best horror anime

The story of this anime takes place in the fictional village of Hinamizawa, focusing on the life of Maebara Keiichi, a young man who recently moved to that place and who, apparently, begins to have a happy life.

But everything changes when the mysterious annual Watanagashi festival arrives, a celebration of thanks to the god Oyashiro-sama, the protector of the town.

Keiichi discovers that every year one person appears dead and another person disappears during the festival. Since then, the young man is dedicated to investigating the creepy and bizarre cases involving Watanagashi and the god Oyashiro-sama.

Like Umineko no Naku Koro ni , this anime is also based on the series of games ( visual novel ) When They Cry , developed by 7th Expansion.

12. Blood-C (2011)

best horror anime

This is a perfect anime for horror gore fans! Blood-C is so much blood, probably animators used to make the red ink all existing series in Japan!

Exaggerations aside, when you watch the series, you understand why blood plays a crucial role in the plot of this anime .

The story revolves around Saya Kisaragi, a seemingly normal student who has a special mission: to fight and defeat the “Elders”, horrible creatures who only think of killing humans to draw their blood.

The character design is done by the CLAMP group (which does not need presentation for fans of the genre) and the terrible “Elders” have their inspiration in the creatures described in the stories of HP Lovecraft, such as the Myth of Cthulhu Of course, the traditional monsters of Japanese mythology, which also appear in the series, could not be left out.

Unlike other titles on this list, Blood-C was adapted to the manga only after the release of the anime.

And, for the clueless on duty, this series is part of the Blood franchise , with Blood-C being the successor to the acclaimed Blood + (2005-2006).

11. Corpse Party: Tortured Souls (2013)

best horror anime

A visually very strong and disturbing anime. By the way, this series is known for its scenes of horrible deaths that will resonate in your memory for a long time …

The story happens in an elementary school that was demolished after being the scene of terrible murders. The Kisaragi Academy was built there, a high school where the characters of the plot study.

The whole nightmare begins when a group of friends stays at school telling horror stories and, before leaving, they decide to make a friendship pact ( sachiko-san onegai shimasu ). Suddenly, a violent earthquake begins that transports everyone to a dimension where the old haunted school still exists. From there, prepare to close your eyes, because what follows is a succession of deaths to each more terrible.

The series is based on the game franchise launched in 1996 by the Team GrisGris group. Subsequently, Corpse Party was adapted to the manga , had OVAs, a live-action and even became an attraction in a theme park.

10. Another (2012)

best horror anime

Perhaps this is one of the anime with more hype on this list, managing to conquer fans due to its plot and well-built characters.

The story is about a cursed class at Yomiyama Norte School (class 3-3), where 26 years ago studied young Misaki Yomiyama, an exemplary student and adored by all. However, Misaki dies unexpectedly and his classmates continue to behave as if the boy was still alive, even conversing with the chair where the young man used to sit in class (and that had been left empty). Bizarro is little, don’t you think?

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Well, things get really tense when Misaki’s spirit appears in the class graduation photo. At that moment the chills begin … Since then, Mikasi’s chair was never occupied by another person, and if the opposite happened, students and teachers had to prepare themselves to deal with the “consequences”.

The protagonist of the plot is Sakakibara Kouichi, a young newcomer to the city who is going to study Yomiyama. Guess where? Exactly, in class 3-3. After a series of macabre events, Kouichi and some friends try to unravel the mysteries that surround the class.

Of course, we cannot forget Misaki Mei, a mysterious student who wears a patch and, apparently, can only be seen by Kouichi.

9. Elfen Lied (2004)

best horror anime

We advise you to be for the psychological trauma that this anime will cause you. Elfen Lied will talk about the diclonius , a kind of human mutation with horns, and their conflict and violent relationship with other human beings.

This is definitely not an anime for minors. Elfen Lied is full of gore scenes, nudity and much physical and psychological violence. Not suitable for sensitive stomachs …

However, the anime presents in the background interesting topics to be discussed, mainly social issues, such as prejudices and preconceptions, for example.

Elfen Lied is based on the popular manga series created by Lynn Okamoto, published between 2002 and 2005.

8. Tokyo Ghoul (2014 – 2015)

best horror anime

In Tokyo Ghoul , humans are no longer at the top of the food chain. In this anime we are introduced to the terrible ghouls, creatures similar to human beings, but who feed exclusively on fresh meat. In this way, humans become the favorite dish of those “butchers”.

The story revolves around Ken Kaneki who, after being attacked by a ghoul and struggling between life and death, discovers that he has become a half-ghoul. Therefore, like cannibal hunters, Kaneki needs to consume human flesh if he wants to stay alive.

This anime develops a plot with a lot of quality that has been praised by several critics. The characters are also well built and the scenes are going to leave you unduly disturbed, mainly due to the brutality of the dystopian reality lived in this terrifying Tokyo.

Tokyo Ghoul is based on the manga by Sui Ishida, published since 2011. In 2017 the live-action adaptation directed by Kentaro Hagiwara was released.

7. Ghost Hound (2007 – 2008)

best horror anime

Ghost Hound (not to be confused with Ghost Hunt ) is produced by the same creator of the acclaimed Ghost in the Shell, Masamuse Shirow.

The plot shows the small town of Suiten being invaded by macabre supernatural events and ghosts. Three boys, who share horrible childhood traumas (the protagonists of the story), are “responsible” for investigating the horrible events that plague the region.

For the rest, at first sight the characters may be a bit cliché, but as the story unfolds we can understand the depth and complexity of all of them.

After the release of the anime , Ghost Hound also won an adaptation in manga, with the name of Shinreigari ANOTHER SIDE (2007 – 2008).

6. Boogiepop Phantom (2000)

best horror anime

This series is considered by fans an example of “gloomy anime”. Boogiepop Phantom is also routinely described as a complex anime, being compared to another Japanese cyberpunk production of the 1990s, Serial Experiments Lain .

It is necessary to be very attentive to the plot, since it is much more complex than usual. The story is told covering a period of five years and at all times we are led to witness past and present events, which follow one another without a linear order.

A large beam of light appears and causes some people to gain special powers. At the same time, some young people begin to disappear mysteriously, being these disappearances attributed to Boogiepop, a creature from a local urban legend.

If you don’t have the patience to waste time with frames that don’t lead anywhere, Boogiepop Phantom is an excellent choice. History goes straight to the point and without nonsense, constantly maintaining the climate of tension.

5. Jigoku Shoujo (2005 – 2009)

best horror anime

What would you do if you had the power to send your enemies immediately to the ends of hell? In Jigoku Shoujo we can see what the consequences of such actions would be …

The anime revolves around Ai Enma, a mysterious girl who is responsible for realizing the requests for revenge that are made through the Jigoku Tsuushin site (which can be translated as “Correspondence from Hell”).

This site of darkness is available every day, but only at midnight. In this period, the user can write the full name of the person he wishes to avenge, sending it directly to hell. But, not only that … If the person decides to send to hell to the cause of his disaffection, it will also be marked by Ai Enma and, when he dies, he will also be taken to the underworld of darkness.

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Jigoki Shoujo has three seasons, of 26 episodes each, and in each chapter we witness a different revenge story. The series does not avoid addressing several controversial issues, such as bullying, adultery, sexual violence, etc.

The anime is based on Miyuki Etoo’s manga, originally published between 2005 and 2008.

4. Ayakashi – Samurai Horror Tales (2006)

best horror anime

For those who are fan of folklore-based horror stories, Ayakashi is the perfect anime!

This anime is inspired by three traditional (and frightening) legends of Japanese folklore, and they serve to divide the animation into three parts: Yotsuya Kaidan (episodes 1 to 4), Tenshu Monogatari (episodes 5 to 8) and Bake Neko (episodes 9 to 11).

The series already begins with a dark tone that does justice to the horror genre in Yotsuya Kaidan, which is based on a classic ghost story written in the 18th century.

The second part – Tenshu Monogatari – focuses on the “forbidden love” between a human being and a goddess, while the third – Bake Neko – surprises us with the story of a cat-shaped monster seeking revenge.

Ayakashi is an anthological series in which all the parts have a beginning, a development and an end, although each one in a different way.

For those who do not know, Ayakashi are the evil creatures and spirits that permeate the traditional stories of Japanese folklore. Among the best known Ayakashi are Oni, Kappa and Tengu, for example.

3. Shiki (2010)

best horror anime

The series takes place in a quiet village called Sotoba, a place that is the scene of several strange and mysterious deaths. The inhabitants of the village die constantly and the local doctor, Toshio Ozaki, no longer knows what to do to save the population.

Entire families gradually disappear and nobody is able to discover why … Until Dr. Ozaki finally faces reality. Pay attention to us, the worst of the Black Pests would be better than the horror that grips Sotoba.

We could easily be defined as gore to Shiki (as well as several other titles in this list), mainly due to raw scenes of violence and the huge amount of blood.

The heavy and gloomy tone does not leave the plot throughout the series, but Shiki does not stop surprising the viewers with many script twists that promise to leave us entertained from beginning to end.

Shiki is based on the manga and the light novel written by Fuyumi Ono (creator of Ghost Hunt) and illustrated by Ryu Fujisaki. The novel was originally published between 1998 and 2002, and the manga between 2007 and 2011.

2. Mononoke (2007)

best horror anime

This series is actually a spin-off of another anime we have already talked about: Ayakashi – Samurai Horror Tales , more precisely from his last part, titled Bake Neko.

The story is about Kusuriuri , a street vendor of drugs that investigates supernatural cases and performs exorcisms.

The plot is all divided into different arcs, each presenting a different type of mononoke that must be exorcised by the protagonist. But for that, Kusuriuri needs to investigate several facts about the situation that involves the spirit.

The animation contains very well done scenes, with a palette of strong colors that guarantee the macabre tone of the series. The representation of the mononokes also deserves to be highlighted, since they manage to be exaggerated and abstract at the same time, possessing a truly disturbing air.

If you are looking for a serious and free fan service free anime , be sure to watch Mononoke .

1. Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories (2013 – 2017)

best horror anime

A wonderful anime! Either by its stories that refer to the classic Japanese urban tales and legends or because of its peculiar aesthetics, Yamishibai is a masterpiece of horror animation!

The animation in Yamishibai is made to imitate the style of Kamishibai (“paper theater”), a traditional Japanese method of telling stories through figures made of paper. On the other hand, the expression Yamishibai literally means “theater of darkness.”

This anime has an anthological character, that is, each episode presents a different story, usually addressing classic myths and legends that are part of the oriental fantasy imaginary.

Yamishibai is best served in small doses, but to the right extent so that a chill runs through your back. One suggestion: to have a better experience with this anime , we recommend you watch it at night and with headphones, because its soundtrack is as chilling as its scenes.

is your best horror anime in the list?

If you have any suggestions, leave a comment. ?

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