5 truly scary Japanese horror anime to set the mood for Halloween

By Limarc Ambalina

Japanese anime is a medium that has stellar titles in virtually every genre.

One genre, though, that I believe that is filled with too many low-quality titles in both anime, television and film is horror. I love horror stories, but when I say “horror” I mean tales that actually inspire fear. Whether it be films, books, TV or anime, true horror doesn’t always require excessive gore, jump scares or even gratuitous violence.

What it does need is to do is create a genuine, unsettling feeling of fear — and that is a difficult thing to do.

When people know they’re reading, watching or playing a work of fiction it’s hard to get them to forget that it’s make believe. Making the reader, viewer or gamer forget the real world for a moment and truly be terrified is the art of horror. Recently, one horror series that did just that — becoming a big hit with Western audiences in the process — is "American Horror Story." But with its own terrifying films like "The Ring" and "The Grudge," Japan has a lot of scary titles that can compete with American franchises in the horror industry.

Horror anime, however, are few and far between. So, if we’re going to compare Japanese shows with a current Western trend, then here are five rare anime titles that are just as scary as — if not, scarier — than "American Horror Story" or others of its ilk.

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Well, I definitely agree with Another and Higurashi. Two of the strongest examples of why anime isn't just for children as some critics like to say. H.O.T.D and School Days though? Are you having a laugh? One is about a total a-hole and his harem of busty females (plus token otaku) trying to survive zombies in a show that can't decide if it's a horror or a hentai, and the other is the adaptation of an eroge about a horny guy who can't stay faithful. I wouldn't recommend either one for getting into the Halloween mood.

Might I make a few more appropriate suggestions: Blood: The Last Vampire, Blood+, Blood-C (all about vampiric monsters; Chiroptera in the first two and Elder Bairn/Furukimono in Blood-c, so highly appropriate for Halloween)

Kuroshitsuji (not especially scary, but it does have a lot of creepy plotlines that would be suitable. Certainly more suitable than hentai and eroge)

Deadman Wonderland (again, not scary, but it is pretty darn visceral)

Elfen Lied (creepy and visceral)

Gakkougurashi (this one... it starts off seeming so cute and innocent, and then the brutality starts. A few scares, and also a few moments that hit you right in the feels)

Gen'ei wo Kakeru Taiyou, Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, Mahou Shoujo Ikuseu Keikaku and Mahou Shoujo Site (despite the impression "Magical Girls" might give you, the genre is more often dark and horrifying than cute and innocent. Ikusei Keikaku in particular is very visceral, and possibly the darkest of these four)

Jigoku Shoujo (not gory, but still quite dark in its plotlines. I feel that it's a better version of Death Note, which started off strong and ended so limply)

Owari no Seraph (vampires, demons, and plenty of the red stuff. As long as the main character doesn't bug you too much, you ought to find this enjoyable)

And I'll throw a bit of a curveball for my final suggestion: Koutetsujyou no Kabaneri. A Zombie survival show set in a steampunk universe. It has its scary moments, mostly jumpscare-style, and plenty of gore without being overwhelming. It also happens to be my current favourite anime.

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Corpse Party, Higurashi, Pupa, Shiki. If School Days make it, then so should Ousama Game. Death Parade is interesting.

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