By Aedan Juvet
Now that spooky season is upon us, we have a legitimate excuse to binge watch the best horror and supernatural content around, and there’s plenty of anime to choose from!
Horror and supernatural anime alike have continued to gain traction over the last two decades, with everything from Junji Ito’s horror shorts to the bloodshed action of Hellsing Ultimate. Thanks to that shift, we’re extremely lucky there’s a taste of every sub-genre imaginable at our fingertips.
So with all this anime to choose from, what are some of the must-watch titles to enjoy during a month we can collectively get spooky?
The grim and nerve-racking series, The Promised Neverland
One of the most inventive anime series to come out of 2018 was the horror title The Promised Neverland. Under the guise of an orphanage employing doting caretakers, the series quickly pivots and becomes a fight for survival as three of the oldest and most aware children Emma, Ray and Norman realize they are being handed over for a sinister and mysterious purpose.
The Promised Neverland has a very satisfying way of keeping you at peak suspense with constant twists, or the brilliant use of cliffhanger endings to make the following episode a necessity. Given that the series centers around both the horror genre and young protagonists, it also provides a surprising amount of maturity, which is an impressive pairing!
For the entirety of its first season, The Promised Nerverland isn’t afraid to take risks and the payoff is one of the best examples of how a genre series can end up chronicling a much larger story—but remain true to its horror concept. With another season already confirmed to be in production, this is one series you’ll likely be hearing about for years to come.
The Japanese master of horror brings his ideas to life with Junji Ito Collection
The name Junji Ito instantly catches fans’ attention for his countless contributions to the horror genre. Having written several unforgettable short stories, it only seemed sensible to adapt his diverse work into an anime, and the result was nothing short of incredibly unsettling, in the best way possible.
The series takes some of his most iconic tales, separating an episode into two standalone horror stories per episode. Each chapter of Junji Ito Collection preys on our wildest fears and smoothly introduces original concepts that keep the series from feeling repetitive by any means.
One of the biggest perks of Junji Ito’s episodic-stylized series is that horror can tend to lose some of its luster when answers are revealed, but with Junji Ito, it spends just enough time to give you a vague introduction of several unforgettable horrors. That constant dose of originality makes it impossible to overshare, ultimately succeeding in one of the best achievements in horror—leaving plenty to the imagination.
A chaotic murder mystery known as Danganronpa: The Animation and Danganronpa 3
If you are jumping into the Danganronpa anime series entirely clueless, prepare yourselves for one of the wildest, most bizarre and unforgiving genre titles around! Based on a series of video games, the animation initially depicts a twisted academy where the students excel in their own respective field and murder is their only way to find freedom.
Structuring itself like a competitive reality series, each student begins to get picked off one by one, as trials follow with the intent of solving each murder. The only way to escape? Whoever can commit and get away with the perfect crime. The whodunnit backbone of Danganronpa plays up some of the best cinematic horror commonalities, and the intricate details in each episode are enough to reinforce itself as one of the suspenseful greats.
With alliances forming, students dying and mysterious motives aplenty, Danganronpa has an undeniable spark that challenges your sleuthing skills and caters to those who love an added layer of mystery. Danganronpa: The Animation will keep you on edge for a solid period of time, especially with the gripping Danganronpa 3, streaming exclusively on Funimation.
The mind-bending methods of Paranoia Agent
When discussing horror and psychological thrills in anime, the sheer mind boggling brilliance of Satoshi Kon is a requirement. Kon is responsible for some of the most celebrated anime in the medium, and his series Paranoia Agent is no different. Without the strikingly unmatched work of Kon, some of the most celebrated titles in cinema such as Inception and Black Swan might not exist, so to say that he’s earned his reputation as a true storyteller is a massive understatement!
Knowing that his work tends to explore the dark corners of the human psyche, Paranoia Agent arguably feels like one of Kon’s most impactful contributions to anime just for the fact that this was the longest overarching narrative in his career.
In the series, a group of strangers are all connected by a possible attack from an assailant known as ‘lil slugger, and from the very first moments of Paranoia Agent you are questioning everything down to the ending theme and credits. There are several distinct characters and intense graphic focal points keeping the narrative extremely unpredictable, and that makes this a perfect selection if you enjoy psychological tension in your horror.
Brutality awaits you in Boogiepop and Others
The anime series Boogiepop and Others (based on the light novel) is the second anime adaptation from the Boogiepop universe, with this recent addition becoming a strong contender in the horror and supernatural genres. The premise of the series is that a supernatural entity known as Boogiepop is behind a string of mysterious disappearances, when in actuality, they’re acting as a guardian.
The Boogiepop persona shares a body with a high school student, giving duality to both personalities from the jump. The series embarks on an arc-driven story that plays with psychological horror and mystery to lure you in within the two episode plot. Boogiepop and Others follows a few select characters in their own arcs, but each one of them almost instantly establishes an importance which is always helpful when telling effective tales of horror.
Boogiepop and Others is the type of series that promotes revisiting the material multiple times because there’s so much content that you’ll need to rewatch it for your own benefit. Because of that, Boogiepop and Others is perfect Halloween choice for new viewers and returning fans alike.
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