Ready to have nightmares? We have selected for you some of the most macabre and interesting anime that every good horror (and anime) fan needs to see!
Attention: the titles that appear in the list are not arranged in order of best or worst. These are just our suggestions on what we consider to be the best anime within the genre.😉
Miko Yotsuya is very used to using any distraction technique available to ignore, at any cost, the horrible ghosts and spirits that plague her every day. Unfortunately, these spirits always want her attention, and she is the only one who can see them. So her strategy is to annoy Miko’s friends and classmates until she sees them.
But Miko is tenacious, and after promising herself never to acknowledge his existence again, she will do everything in her power to keep her promise. Even if they scare her so much it makes her want to cry.
33.Tenkuu Shinpan (2021)
Yuri Honjou witnesses a heinous crime that leaves her fearing for her life. Trying to run away from her, she finds herself locked inside a building where all avenues of escape seem blocked. Upon reaching the roof, however, she sees that the rest of the city is a desert. She is determined to run away, but when she discovers that her brother is alive and in the same complex, she decides to find him and run away together.
Basada en el manga originae de Tsukina Miura y Takahiro Oba.
32. Dorohedoro (2020)
Hole (“hole” in Spanish) is an anarchic kingdom where society is divided into those who possess magic and those who do not. The magical beings make the place a hell, killing and maiming all who oppose them, not to mention the dangerous experiments they carry out on the population.
In the central axis of this story we follow Kaiman, a reptilian man who does not know about his past or the reason for his appearance. His only mission is to find who did this to him, but he has no palpable clues beyond his constant nightmares.
31. Koutetsujou no Kabaneri (2016)
The world, in the midst of the industrial revolution, is shaken to its foundations when mysterious creatures are created in the wake of a virus that makes them need to eat human flesh. Worst of all, it is contagious, and anyone bitten by these beings is doomed to die and rise again to join their supernatural forces.
On Hinomoto Island, safety is a priority, as they are one of the few nations standing after this incident. The only way in and out of these fortified sanctuaries is through heavily armed trains. Ikoma, a young man in charge of creating these trains, believes he has discovered the key to ending the monsters called Kabane.
30. Yakusoku No Neverland (2019)
Despite having a dismal second season, The Promised Neverland is an excellent example of what is known as suspense and terror. The first season is masterful within its genre, using the visual and musical elements to generate a terrifying atmosphere without much effort.
We follow a trio of orphans at the Grace Field Orphanage, where they live peacefully and safely in the care of their “mother”, Isabella. But all the children of Grace Field know that one day they will have to be adopted, and Emma, one of the eldest, suffers greatly to see them go. Especially since she never receives a letter from the children who have left.
The day that one of her favorite little girls leaves is very hard for her, and when she discovers that she left behind her stuffed bunny, she asks her best friend Norman to accompany her to deliver it to her before she leaves.
But what Norman and Emma discover is that the orphanage is not what it seems, and their caretaker is not what she says she is.
29. Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu (2015)
This series is full of body horror , and a lot of its terror relies on visuals. With an alien invasion story and a very endearing protagonist, Parasyte is a favorite title for many fans.
One day, they just came. Humanity was overwhelmed by alien series with parasitic qualities that could develop inside any human being. Now, they could all be enemies hidden behind a normal appearance.
Young Shinichi Izumi falls victim to one of the parasites, but when it fails to take over his brain, it ends up lodged in his right hand. They are both in danger, Izumi quickly learns, and they will have to work together if they are to survive in this world where absolutely everyone is a predator.
28. Deadman Wonderland (2011)
In Deadman Wonderland , the atmosphere very well serves its purpose of confusing the viewer and building suspense. We are in a Japan devastated by an earthquake that sank 70% of Tokyo. But our protagonist did not have to live through the disaster, and he just wants to have a normal life.
Ganta lives in Nagano Prefecture, which is home to the famous Deadman Wonderland prison, a place where inmates perform for visitors as part of an entertainment system. One day, the young man is scheduled to visit that prison, until the mysterious red man appears in his life.
After massacring his entire class and embedding a mysterious crystal in his chest, the man leaves, leaving Ganta deeply traumatized. But as if that were not enough, now they accuse him of having killed all his companions, and he ends up entering the prison they were going to visit that day.
27. Devilman: Crybaby (2018)
This Netflix original ONA takes another approach to the classic hyper-violent story of Go Nagai, one of the most important mangaka in history. In the 1970s, Go Nagai attempted to tell an extremely human story by focusing on the friendship of two young men, Ryou Asuka and Akira Fudou. The original series is from the year 72, with 39 chapters in total.
However, this new story from another point of view belongs to Masaaki Yuasa, who kept the psychological terror and visual horror using a macabre chromatic explosion in all the catastrophic scenes. Yuasa’s version of Akira as Devilman is a walking contradiction, and his reasons for fighting and maintaining his humanity are very easy to sink in with the audience. Also, Ryou’s role as co-star and master manipulator behind the scenes is also very interesting.
26. Hellsing Ultimate (2006)
The reason why we mention Hellsing Ultimate instead of the original Hellsing anime , is that Ultimate takes the horror element a little further. It is a ten-episode OVA and is the favorite of manga fans, since it sticks much more closely to its story.
In a world where nocturnal creatures devour humans, there is an organization in charge of ending them. Hellsing is managed by Integra Fairbrook, a woman who has an army powerful enough to keep these dangerous creatures in check.
But in addition, Integra has a much more powerful weapon than that army: the vampire Alucard, the exterminator of his own species. Together with his servant, Victoria Seras, Alucard must fight against the monsters and all those who oppose Hellsing.
25. Perfect Blue (1998)
From the master of suspense Satoshi Kon comes Perfect Blue, one of the anime that has inspired multiple American feature films due to its daring premise and gloomy atmosphere. In the story we follow the group CHAM!, a J-pop girl band that has spent two years entertaining their fans, but everything has an end, and CHAM! You will have to say goodbye to one of your members soon.
Mima Kirigoe, the girl who wishes to retire from the world of idols, dreams of becoming an actress. But that decision generates an ambivalent reaction on the part of the public, and when adding a stalker who wants to drive her crazy, that the group is doing better without her, and that her acting debut has not turned out as expected, Mima begins to feel that her world is collapsing around you. This coupled with a web page that insists on impersonating her in the smallest detail, and the poor woman begins to lose her grip on reality.
This movie inspired Black Swan, from director Darren Aronofsky.
24.Kenpuu Denki Berserk (1997)
Yes, we are aware that Berserk has multiple adaptations. But let’s pretend that this thing they did in 2016 and called Berserk doesn’t exist. Just for the sake of our eyes. The best version of this story is logically the manga, but the second best version is the 97 adaptation, which had 25 episodes.
Guts is a young mercenary who lost his mother at birth, and has been raised and shaped by a struggle for survival. He earns enough to survive, from one massacre to the next. But his life changes when he meets Griffith, the charismatic leader of the Hawk Gang. Guts proves his worth as he rises through the ranks, but little by little he realizes that the world is full of nuances and not as black and white as he originally thought.
In Berserk we will see good horror, with strong and action-packed scenes, psychological terror and more.
23. Paprika (2006)
Another suspenseful masterpiece from the amazing Satoshi Kon, Paprika is another one of his works that has inspired many American filmmakers. In this story, we see how the world of dreams is confused with reality.
In a relatively futuristic world, a company has been developing a technology specialized in dreams. The DC Mini allows whoever uses it to delve into the patient’s dreams, since it will be used for the study of important psychological disorders.
But this access to a person’s deepest psyche comes with great responsibility, and this artifact can wreak havoc if not used properly. It could even be used as a terrorist weapon. And this nightmare comes true when the technology is stolen, and people start acting very strange around them.
Many of the film’s scenes inspired Christopher Nolan’s Inception .
22. Fat (2004)
Gantz is the fever dream of any fan of visual horror and gore in the 2000s era. The series took the world by storm with its very adult and risque content for something televised (which brought it censorship in several countries). ) and the premise of it also brought with it a concept straight out of your worst nightmares.
In Gantz , death is not the end. It is only the beginning of a desperate fight to survive. The protagonist, Kei Kurono, is a good-for-nothing young man who, the first time he decides to sacrifice himself for someone else, ends up dead. Well, what is his surprise when he wakes up in a room with a bunch of strangers and a black ball that gives him weapons and a special suit…
There he discovers that he has to fight for the opportunity to return to his normal life. But the objective of it is not anything, but it is about violent aliens that increase in difficulty the longer you stay in the “game”. Gantz is definitely not for everyone as it is one of the toughest series on the list. But we can’t help recommending it.
21. Red (2014)
Unfortunately, Pupa suffered a series of delays in its production, which led to a budget cut and short episodes that completely eliminate the horror atmosphere. In fact, we highly recommend that if you are a horror fan, you can read the manga, as the story is very interesting and shows a dependent relationship between brothers who need each other to survive.
As we mentioned above, Pupa is about a pair of siblings, Utsutsu and Yume. Both of them only depend on each other, since they were abandoned by their parents, which was actually a blessing, since they were very abusive towards them. The problem begins when a mysterious virus called Pupa begins to affect the city.
Utsutsu and Yume are infected by the virus, but it creates a kind of resistance and regeneration ability in the young man, while Yume succumbs more and more to the hunger for human flesh that transforms her into a monster. Thanks to her new powers, the young man will have to see how he feeds her, while she becomes increasingly wild and hungry.
It is an extremely interesting premise and far removed from the “brother complex” that Japanese media usually have, but unfortunately the anime adaptation does not do it justice.
20. Umineko no Naku Koro ni (2009)
If you are one of those who are looking for an anime with deep characters and a plot without “loose ends”, then you better move on to the next title on our list… But if you are passionate about VERY strange death scenes and a mystery behind on the other, Umineko no Naku Koro ni is the anime that you cannot 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 find out if the murders are the work of human beings or… of something else. Originally, Umineko no Naku Koro ni was 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)
Kagewani ( “Shadow Crocodile” ) is an anime series of shorts lasting 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 have recently emerged and are destroying mankind.
18. Ghost Hunt (2006 – 2007)
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 cause many scares with its well-constructed script and chilling scenes.
As its name suggests, Ghost Hunt presents us with the stories of a team of paranormal investigators who are hired to solve bizarre and hair-raising cases.
We can expect various typical horror/horror genre elements in this anime, from ghoulish ghosts, demonic possessions, undead, vengeful 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: watching Ghost Hunter before bed means you have many chances to have not very pleasant dreams… Run at your own risk.
17. School Days (2007)
Well, at first we can’t define School Days as a horror anime , I know… But, as the story unfolds, like an apparently innocent slice of life , the plot begins to take such an unexpected and bizarre that will leave you in shock when you reach the end!
School Days shows the darkest side of human beings, the distortion of values and the loss of moral principles.
We advise you not to judge this anime by its first few episodes. Despite its initial appearance, it goes much deeper and contains several important lessons that can lead to your next existential crisis.
16. Pet Shop of Horrors (1999)
Este anime cuenta la historia de una tienda de mascotas regentada por el misterioso Conde D. Evidentemente, no es una tienda común, sino que está especializada en la venta de “animales especiales”. En el momento de llevarse el animal doméstico a su casa, el cliente debe firmar un contrato con tres condiciones. Si alguna de las reglas es violada … Bueno, el nuevo dueño del animal tendrá que asumir todas las consecuencias.
Cada episodio presenta una historia diferente, mostrando los motivos que llevan a los personajes a buscar esta tienda de animales tan “especial”.
As expected, when several strange and unexplained deaths begin to occur, all the signs point to a common place: Count D’s pet shop. At that moment, homicide detective Leon Orcot enters the scene, who assumes the investigation. about this mysterious place.
The anime was originally based on the manga by Matsuri Akino, published between 1995 and 1998.
15. Mirai Nikki (2011 – 2012)
Mirai Nikki revolves around Yukiteru Amano, a rather peculiar student who has trouble making friends. Since 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. The 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 fate will remain a mystery to him.
Just like Yukiteru, 11 other people are also given “special diaries”, and each one has a different ability. The challenge that the “god of time and space” proposes is that they all face each other until death and, whoever survives, will take the place of divinity. Fun, huh?
As if that “little game” wasn’t weird enough, Gasai Yuno’s character particularly contributes to the anime ‘s disturbing and weird tone . She is one of the bearers of the “special diaries” and is literally CRAZY with passion for Yukiteru.
The young woman is the creepiest stalker you can find. We mean it very seriously: Yuno is capable of absolutely EVERYTHING because of her platonic love. ALL!
Mirai Nikki is based on the homonymous manga created by Sakae Esuno, originally published between 2006 and 2010.
14. Chaos;Head (2008)
The series introduces us to the young Takumi Nishijou, a student who suffers from paranoia and constant delusions. The boy doesn’t have many friends and he 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 horrific crimes. In addition, the young man also discovers the existence of people with “special gifts” that allow them to project hair-raising delusions on others.
The anime is packed with 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 manga developed by Nitroplus and 5pb.
13. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (2006 – 2007)
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, the protector of the town.
Keiichi discovers that every year one person turns up dead and another goes missing during the festival. From then on, the young man is dedicated to investigating the creepy and strange cases involving Watanagashi and the god Oyashiro.
Like Umineko no Naku Koro ni , this anime is also based on the When They Cry game series , developed by 7th Expansion.
Note: The series currently has multiple seasons, and the most recent one came out in 2020 and continues the story, focusing on the character of Rika Furude.
12. Blood-C (2011)
This really is a perfect anime for fans of horror gore! Blood-C has so much blood, that the animators probably used all the red ink existing in Japan to make the series !
Hype aside, by watching the series you understand why blood plays such 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 extract their blood.
The character design is done by the CLAMP group (which needs no introduction for fans of the genre) and the terrible “Elders” are inspired by the creatures described in HP Lovecraft’s tales, 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 into a manga only after the anime’s release.
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)
A visually very strong and disturbing anime. By the way, this series is known for its horrific death scenes that will resonate in your memory for a long time…
The story takes place in a primary school that was demolished after being the scene of terrible murders. The Kisaragi Academy was built on the site, a high school college where the characters of the plot study.
The whole nightmare begins when a group of friends stay at school telling horror stories and, before leaving, they decide to make a pact of friendship ( sachiko-san onegai shimasu ). Suddenly, a violent earthquake begins, transporting 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 each more terrible.
The series is based on the game franchise launched in 1996 by the Team GrisGris group. Later, Corpse Party was adapted into a manga, had OVAs, a live-action , and even became a theme park attraction.
10. Another (2012)
Perhaps this is one of the most hyped anime on this list, managing to win over fans due to its well-constructed plot and characters.
The story is about a cursed class at Yomiyama North School (class 3-3), where the young Misaki Yomiyama studied 26 years ago, an exemplary student and adored by all. However, Misaki dies unexpectedly and his classmates continue to behave as if the boy is still alive, even conversing with the chair where the young man used to sit in class (and which had been left empty).
Well, things get really tense when Misaki’s spirit appears in the class’s graduation photo. At that moment the chills begin…. Since then, Mikasi’s chair was never occupied by another person, and in case the opposite happened, the students and teachers had to prepare to deal with the “consequences”.
The protagonist of the plot is Sakakibara Kouichi, a young man recently arrived in the city who is going to study in Yomiyama. Guess where? Exactly, in class 3-3. After a series of macabre events, Kouichi and some friends go on to try to unravel the mysteries that surround the class.
Of course, we can’t forget about Misaki Mei, a mysterious eyepatch-wearing student who can apparently only be seen by Kouichi.
9. Elfen Lied (2004)
We advise you to be there for the psychological trauma that this anime is going to cause you. Elfen Lied will talk about the diclonius, a kind of human mutation with horns, and their conflictive and violent relationship with other human beings.
This is definitely not an anime for minors. Elfen Lied is full of gore scenes, nudity and a lot of physical and psychological violence. Not suitable for sensitive stomachs…
However, the anime basically presents 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)
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 that feed exclusively on fresh meat. In this way, humans become the favorite dish of these “butchers”.
The story revolves around Ken Kaneki who, after being attacked by a ghoul and torn between life and death, discovers that he has become a half-ghoul. Therefore, just like cannibal hunters, Kaneki needs to consume human flesh if he wants to stay alive.
This anime develops a high-quality plot that has been praised by several critics. The characters are also well built and the scenes will undoubtedly leave you 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.
7. Ghost Hound (2007 – 2008)
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 devastate the region.
For the rest, at first glance the characters can 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 gained a manga adaptation, under the name Shinreigari ANOTHER SIDE (2007 – 2008).
6. Boogiepop Phantom (2000)
This series is considered by fans to be an example of “dark anime”. Boogiepop Phantom is also often described as a complex anime, drawing comparisons to another 1990s Japanese cyberpunk production, 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 over a period of five years and at all times we are taken to witness events from the past and the present, which take place without a linear order.
A large beam of light appears and makes some people gain special powers. At the same time, some young people begin to mysteriously disappear, these disappearances being attributed to Boogiepop, a creature from a local urban legend.
If you don’t have the patience to waste your time with plots that lead nowhere, Boogiepop Phantom is an excellent choice. The story goes straight to the point and without nonsense, constantly maintaining the climate of tension.
5. Jigoku Shoujo (2005 – 2009)
What would you do if you had the power to immediately send your enemies to the ends of hell? In Jigoku Shoujo we can witness what the consequences of such actions would be…
The anime revolves around Ai Enma, a mysterious girl who is responsible for fulfilling the requests for revenge made through the Jigoku Tsuushin (which can be translated as “Hell Correspondence”) website.
This website of darkness is available every day, but only during midnight sharp. In this period, the user can write the full name of the person he wants to take revenge on, sending him directly to hell. But, not only that… If the person decides to send the cause of her disaffection to hell, she will also be marked by Ai Enma, and when she dies, she will also be taken to the underworld of darkness.
Jigoki Shoujo has three seasons, with 26 episodes each, and in each chapter we witness a different revenge story. The series does not avoid addressing various controversial topics, such as bullying, adultery, sexual violence, etc.
The anime is based on the manga by Miyuki Etoo, originally published between 2005 and 2008.
4. Ayakashi – Samurai Horror Tales (2006)
For anyone who is a fan of horror stories based on folklore, Ayakashi is the perfect anime!
This anime is inspired by three traditional (and terrifying) 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 kicks off 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 anthology series in which all parts have a beginning, a middle, and an end, though each in a different way.
For those unfamiliar, Ayakashi are the malevolent creatures and spirits that permeate traditional Japanese folklore stories. Among the better known Ayakashi are Oni, Kappa and Tengu, for example.
3. Shiki (2010)
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 are constantly dying and the local doctor, Toshio Ozaki, no longer knows what to do to save the population.
Entire families disappear little by little and no one is able to discover why… Until Dr. Ozaki finally faces reality. Trust us, the worst of the Black Plagues would be better than the horror gripping Sotoba.
We could easily define Shiki (as well as several other titles on this list) as gore , mainly due to the raw scenes of violence and the enormous amount of blood.
The heavy and gloomy tone does not abandon the plot throughout the entire series, but Shiki does not cease to surprise viewers with many plot twists that promise to keep us entertained from start to finish.
Shiki is based on the manga and 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)
This series is actually a spin-off of another anime that we have already talked about: Ayakashi – Samurai Horror Tales , more precisely of its last part, entitled Bake neko.
The story is about Kusuriuri, a traveling medicine vendor who investigates supernatural cases and performs exorcisms.
The plot is all divided into different arcs, each featuring a different type of mononoke that must be exorcised by the protagonist. But for that, Kusuriuri needs to investigate various facts about the situation surrounding the spirit first.
The animation contains very well executed scenes, with a strong color palette that guarantees the macabre tone of the series. The representation of the mononokes also deserves to be highlighted, as they manage to be exaggerated and abstract at the same time, possessing a truly disturbing air.
If you’re looking for some serious free fanservice anime , be sure to check out Mononoke .
1.Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories (2013 – 2017)
A wonderful anime! Whether it’s because of its stories that harken back to classic Japanese tales and urban legends or because of its unique aesthetic, Yamishibai is a masterpiece of horror animation!
The animation in Yamishibai is done to mimic 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 dealing with classic myths and legends that are part of the oriental fantastic imaginary.
Yamishibai is best enjoyed served in small doses, but in just the right amount to send a shiver down your spine. A 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.