In this article, we review the 25 Best Horror Anime to Watch this Year. If you are a lover of horror comics, then these lists if perfect for you.
Through the years, horror anime originating in Japan has metamorphosed from simple animations to complicated action scenes involving quick moves, spooky scenes, eerie settings, and gory details. 21st century animes have a robust style not intended for the weak hearted as they contain graphic images intended for a mature audience. It is advised that newbies to the anime world watch this in the day time as they contain very disturbing scenes.
25 Best Horror Anime to Watch This Year
Table of Contents
Some of the best horror anime leaving viewers gripping with terror are listed below:
1. Higurashi (When They Cry)
When They Cry anime is set in the rural town of Hinamizawa where everything seems perfect; happy faces, sunrise, peaceful and serene environment. The calm atmosphere in Hinamizawa is disrupted by weird occurrences. The seemingly cheerful characters then become psychotic, deranged and begin murdering each other in brutal ways.
The aim of this anime is for the viewer to put the pieces of the puzzle together and unravel the rural village and uncover conspiracies of the events. This anime is the epitome of horror and not for the faint hearted as it contains disturbing scenes such as bodily harm and torture.
Another anime is a supernatural thriller centred on a fresh transfer student Kouichi Sakakibara who upon arriving at his new school Yomiyama North Middle School is disturbed by the grave atmosphere. He is attracted to a mysterious outcasted girl named Mei Misaki who is ignored by all the students in the class. As he gets close to Mei, he learns more about the gruesome history of his class and he is set into a roller coaster of tragedies that may end his life and that of his course mates.
3. Violence Jack
As the name implies one can expect lots of violence from this anime. Violence Jack anime is set in the post destroyed cities of the Kanto region in which only the strong survive. Violence Jack emerged from the rubble to display savagery to the world. Jack stands at 10 feet tall, muscle mass of a damn gorilla and a jack knife. Jack is the go to guy in this anime to take down bandits, rapists and killers. Violence Jack is said by most to be the best action horror anime.
In this anime, Parasytes from an alien planet take over the human world with one single objective-brain control. This anime is a masterpiece filled with episodes of laughter, sadness, happiness and tears that will leave viewers glued to the edge of their seats. It is a combination of intrigue and thriller. Parasyte is the best mystery horror anime.
5. Attack On Titan (Shingeki No Kyojin)
Attack On Titan is an action-filled fantasy that focuses on the lives of Eren Yeager a human boy, Mikasa Ackerman his foster sister and his friend Armin Arlert, on their journey in the military to fight war against a colossus titan who destroyed a section of the outer wall to let in other titans which are focused on consuming every human in sight. Eren’s mother ended up being eaten by the titans and Eren is on a revenge mission to avenge his mother’s death.
6. Urotsukidoji: Legend Of The Overfiend
Legend of the Overfiend anime is often termed one of the darkest, most infamous anime series. It is mixed with horror, violence and sadistic scenes of rape. The overfiend ran through a series from 1987 to 2002.
In this fantasy story, legend has it that the human race is not the only dominant civilization on earth. Two other races exist: the Makai(a demon race) and the Juujinkai(half man, half beast race).
Once in 3000 years a Choujin(over fiend) will emerge and bring balance on all three realms on earth. In this story, it is discovered that the Choujin named Nagumo is not the Choujin but an evil entity with a mission to destroy the living beings on earth. This fantasy is horror at its peak.
7. Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories
Yamishibai is a combination of old Japanese tales which have been in circulation for ages. It is great for quick, scary and terrifying stories. It has deep roots in Japanese cultures and the story line is quite diverse spanning ventriloquism, first loves and spooky scenes.
8. Boogiepop Phantom
Boogiepop Phantom is a very fascinating story in which there is believed to be a character called Boogiepoop walking the streets and taking away girls before they turn ugly.
This anime is presented in pieces and perspectives. It is an unorthodox way of storytelling combining psychological horror and interesting art style. It deserves more attention than it presently has. It is an underrated anime just waiting to be watched.
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9. Tokyo Ghoul
In Tokyo Ghoul anime, monsters and ghouls infiltrate Tokyo with one mission-blood. These ghouls mimic the physical appearance of humans and are able to disguise themselves as humans by doing human things like eating and working though they are actual carnivores and cannibals.
In the plot, Ken Kaneki a university student falls in love with Rize Kamishiro who is a ghoul. Kam Kaneki gets a transplant from Rize Kamishiro and later becomes a one-eyed ghoul hybrid. This story is one of Ken Kaneki’s struggles as he tries to balance his human desires and his desires as a ghoul.
Berserk follows the story of the blackswords and Guts in his adventure of killing humongous monsters with a sword much bigger than himself. Along Guts adventures, he encounters situations where he has to save people from corruption.
Along this path, he picks up companions. It is left for the viewer to watch and discover if the companions become a hindrance along his journey or further help him in his quest to rid the world off corruption.
11. Paranoia Agent
Paranoia Agent is a series involves unmasking Lil Slugger who terrorizes the town in a random string of assaults with the aid of a baseball bat.
The viewer is left with a puzzle that is, to put the pieces of this mysterious series together and discover the reasons for the attack. It contains gory and heart wrenching scenes and is indeed a horror to watch.
For those who like vampire stories, Shiki is a must-watch. The story centers on a village where strange deaths have been occurring. The strange deaths are initially believed to be a result of a medical epidemic but a doctor soon discovers that these deaths are a result of a vampire-esque creature. This story is set in 1990 and a village boy has to deal with Shiki head-on. In this anime, the lines between right and wrong are challenged.
Umineko is a story of a deadly reunion of a reputable family- the Ushiromiya family set in 1986. This year, the family gather for their yearly conference. A prominent family member is about to die and discussions arise as to the division of the wealth. In the midst of all this, a storm suddenly hits and six family members die.
It is further revealed that there is a riddle to be unraveled and unless this is resolved the family members would keep on dying. This is a gory movie not suitable for the faint-hearted.
14. Hell Girl
Hell Girl is a series for those who love revenge stories. In Hell-Girl there is a website for anyone seeking revenge thus anyone seeking revenge can check the website at midnight and enter the person’s name whom you have a grudge on.
After entering the person’s number the person is thus sent to hell but this comes at a high price for the offended to pay. This is a classic horror for those who like horror tales.
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15. School Live
School Live story centres on a school girl-Yuki Takeya and her journey with friends in a school living club which was created for the sole purpose of improving school life.
The story seems like a simple one until the end. This anime focuses on the psychological aspect of surviving where death is imminent. The girls act in a horrific way while the world crashes and burns around them.
Castlevania is a highly rated series available on Netflix. It is a popular horror anime inspired by a video game. It can be categorized as a medieval fantasy series.
It follows the story of Trevor Belmont and his buddies- Alucard and Sypha who try to save the nation of Wallachia from the hands of grief maddened Dracula and his minions. This series is a combination of action, adventure, horror, dark fantasy and drama all packed in one.
17. Madoka Magica
Madoka Magica is highly rated by lovers of animes and is available on Netflix. The story follows a group of female middle school students who choose to become magical girls and in their quest battle surreal enemies termed witches. This is a dark fantasy, psychological thriller.
18. Ergo Proxy
Ergo Proxy is a Japanese cyber punk, suspense, psychological fiction, thrilling and suspense filled anime television series produced in 2006. It is set in a future where humans and robots co-exist peacefully until the robots become self-aware thus leading them to commit a series of killings.
It is soon discovered that the plot is twisted and the robots are actually the subject of a series of secret government experiments. Ergo Proxy is rated as the best psychological horror anime.
Blood-C is a 2011 horror Japanese anime. It focuses on the story of Saya Kisaragi-a skilled swords woman charged by her father to defeat monsters who feast on human town.
On the outside, Saya appears to be a normal girl who serves as a shrine maiden to a country town. As Saya’s battle progresses, she uncovers gripping truths about herself, friends and the town. This movie is an action-horror genre.
20. Deadman Wonderland
Deadman Wonderland is a 2011 anime that follows the story of Ganta Igarashi who is the only survivor of murderous activities on his class of 29 students. He is set up, falsely convicted and sent to a privately owned prison- titular Deadman Wonderland.
This prison is just like any privately-owned prison governed by corrupt officials within the infrastructure. In prison, inmates have to perform dangerous activities for privileges. Ganta tries to prove his innocence in addition to surviving.
21. Elfen Lied
Elfen Lied story revolves around Lucy a first of her kind genetically modified human species as she is prematurely let loose from her facility off the coast of Kamakura. Lucy appears unassuming but she is capable of eliminating the human race with just her mind as she has got telekinetic power.
22. Murder Princess
Murder Princess is set in the year 672 where the royal palace of Forland is under attack by wilder beasts. The king of Forland is about to die and his last words were to his only daughter-Alita –the heir of the Forland Kingdom.
He instructs her to escape through the forest to keep the family name alive. As she escapes to the forest a giant wilder beast is already there lashing out attacks but there is also a female bounty hunter named Falis who is also fighting back the wilder beast. In the sequence of attacks, the wilder beast approaches both Alita and Falis on a cliff thus making them dive down to great depths. In the process of diving Alita and falis switch bodies and the new Alita (in Falis body) becomes a bloody killer.
23. Ninja Scroll (Juubee Ninpuuchou)
Ninja Scroll is a remorseless swordsman who unleashes pain on his victims without flinching. A town close by to Jubei was in ruins by an unsuspecting plague and a group of ninjas were sent to remedy the situation.
All but one of the ninjas was killed by a man beast. This survivor ninja is Kagero who is saved by Jubei. Jubei saves Kagero with the means of his sword straight down the middle of the man beast.
The viewer would have to watch and find out if the duo of Jubei and Kagero would piece the puzzle and find the relationship between the plague and a group of ninjas known as the devils of Kimon who want to overthrow the government.
Monster is a story of a young prominent brain surgeon named Tenma. He is given a choice to save the life of either a boy or a reputable mayor. He chooses to save the boy as the boy comes first.
This decision leads to the death of the mayor and a string of mysterious murders begin to suddenly occur. This story is an interesting psychological horror suited for a mature audience. It is timeless and a masterpiece of a story for years to come.
Gantz is one of the best sci-fi horror created. It is not for viewers disturbed by gory scenes and gruesome murders. Gantz is deadly, disgusting and horrific.
Limbs are severed, heads are blown up and people constantly face death in classic sci-fi horror fashion. It is intended for mature audiences only. It is the story of two men who attempt to save the life of a destitute but the men end up dead themselves.
They then discover they are in a barren apartment with a black sphere known as Gantz. Here, their lives belong to a being who forces them on missions to kill aliens.